Sunday, August 31, 2008

Michael Moore and Divine Judgment

The blogs and news sites are astir with recent remarks by far-left filmmaker Michael Moore -- remarks made in conjunction with the approaching Hurricane Gustav. Moore was quoted as saying that Gustav's pending landfall during the Republican Convention was proof that there was a God in Heaven.

Whenever Republicans say things like this -- especially religious leaders like Pat Robertson, the hue and cry from the left (and a few Republicans as well) is deafening. I am offended by Moore's remarks, but for a different reason.

I have no problem with the idea that God can use meteorological events to render judgment on mankind. Scripture demonstrates that fact quite abundantly. I am not a prophet or the son of a prophet, so I can't tell you why God is allowing this hurricane to hit at this particular time. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. There might well be a message being sent to the GOP, but there's also a message being sent to the Donkey Party. Don't forget that there is a Democratic mayor (and lots of other Democrats) in New Orleans, which is now in Gustav's sights. Whetever the case with Gustav, Michael Moore is missing the point.

When God sends judgment, the intention is to both chastise and to call mankind to repentance. There is plenty of need for repentance in both the Democratic and Republican parties. My own feeling is that a bit more is needed on the left end of the spectrum because of their open embrace of evil i.e. abortion and homosexuality, but with Republicans caving on those issues, there's enough chastisement needed to go around. The long and short of it is, this entire country needs to repent and return to the Lord. We're running on grace fumes now as it is. To me, the message of any calamity is a reminder to repent and return to the Lord, who is sovereign over our lives.

Michael Moore would do well to consider the claims of God on his own life. His very porcine nature makes me think he's in more danger of a sudden heart attack or stroke than some of the rest of us. The truth is that every one of the human race is only a heartbeat away from eternity.

It doesn't take a hurricane to do it, either.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin - Good Choice!

John McCain has eased my concerns a little by naming a strong conservative -- Alaska Governor Sarah Palin -- as his running mate. As the first woman in the GOP to be on a presidential ticket, McCain has made history as well as choosing someone who will help him among Christian conservatives.

I think it's kind of funny how the Obama camp responded to the choice of Palin. They are trying to make the case that because Sarah Palin is from a small town, she's not experienced enough to be a "heartbeat away from the presidency." Obama raising experience questions is laughable, as is his attitude toward a small town upbringing. Once again, the limousine liberal arrogant elitism rears its ugly head.

As a first term governor, Sarah Palin is one who has captured national attention for her success thus far. Interestingly enough, Alaska is just across the Bering Strait from Russia, a country causing concern in the West because of its resurgence. Alaska is also the vortex of the debate over energy i.e. drilling in Anwar -- something that is supported by the majority of Alaskans, I might add.

This is going to be very interesting to watch.

What Is It With Democrats and Scripture?!?

Well, the Democratic nominee did it again. I've seen all I need to see now. Last night, presidential candidate Barack Obama thought he'd sound spiritual, so he threw a Bible verse out there. The problem is that he misapplied it. I'll tell you which one in a moment.

First, let's remember how Bill Clinton did it at one of Democratic National Conventions. Here's the verse he mangled . . .

. . . but just as it is written, “things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9).

The problem is, Billy Bob changed the last part of the verse, a serious offense in and of itself. He said, "which have not entered the heart of man, all that we can build together." I would like to hear the explanation Clinton gives God for altering His Word for political purposes. The Zipper-in-chief won't be able to obfuscate, lie and parse his way out of it either.

Last night, the Obamanation decided to play with Scripture a bit. He said . . . "At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise — that American promise — and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess."

That's a quote from Hebrews . . . Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23). To Obama's credit, at least he quoted the passage right. The problem is, the Scripture he quoted didn't have anything to do with marching into the future with Barack Obama or keeping an American promise. Instead, the verse is talking about holding fast to OUR CONFESSION OF CHRIST AND OUR FAITH IN HIM, without wavering.

Whether they misquote the Bible or misapply the Bible, the point is that these candidates use Scripture for cynical political purposes -- purposes that have nothing to do with the reasons God had for inspiring the biblical writers to pen His Word and His revelation to mankind.

Let me be blunt. Doing this with God's Word is a grave sin, and both Clinton and Obama will be held accountable. If John McCain or any Republican does the same thing, they will be held accountable by God. We all will be held accountable if we dare put words in God's mouth or make it appear that He meant something He didn't mean. The Apostle Peter makes it abundantly clear in II Peter that those who distort God's Word do so to their own destruction.

The really sad thing is that most people in that arena probably got all sorts of warm fuzzies, not realizing how God's Word was being misappropriated by spiritual charlatans. In fact, I would conjecture most of them wouldn't care if it was pointed out to them. It is indeed wondrous how so many people can be so easily deceived. Then again, maybe it's not so wondrous given what God says He will do in the last days, when people and large turn their backs on Him . . .

For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false (2 Thessalonians 2:11).

Yep. The populace is being groomed to run right into the arms of the Antichrist. And no, I don't think Obama is the Antichrist. He's a stage-setter.

It's sad. It's really, really sad.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ted Baehr: God's Banging on the Pipes

I am short of time today, so I am posting this link to a great Ted Baehr column. It's keeping in with the undercurrent of my previous post, which is that God is trying to get the attention of this country.

The country isn't listening.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Here Comes Gustav . . .

It looks like it's going to be an interesting September, which is the peak of hurricane season.

Tropical Depression Fay is still inundating the southeast, which isn't necessarily a bad thing for northern Georgia and other drought-stricken areas. Now we have a full-fledged hurricane named Gustav on its way. The latest forecast tracks call for it to go into the Gulf of Mexico after nailing Haiti and Cuba, possibly strengthening into a Category 3 storm or better.

What will Gustav's final target be? New Orleans? Galveston? Brownsville? Perhaps Pensacola? These hurricanes are pretty unpredictable, as Fay most recently demonstrated.

It's interesting that Gustav will likely be making his presence known during the Republican convention in Minneapolis. Talk about an excuse for the news media not to cover it. After all, covering McCain would take attention away from Barack the Bountiful, and the news media can't have that.

Oh, well. Denver had a near-miss with a tornado during the early part of the Democratic convention. Perhaps meteorology is trying to be fair and balanced.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Matthew Henry on God's Sovereignty

To start the week off, I'd like to share a brief clip from Matthew Henry's commentary on Romans 9. This particular chapter in Paul's letter to believers in Rome is the one that started me off on my way to a Reformed/Calvinist view of things. The doctrine of election was initially a difficult one for my human mind to grasp, but once you understand Romans 9, the rest of it begins to make sense. Here's what Matthew Henry said about verses 14-24 . . .

"The apostle, having asserted the true meaning of the promise, comes here to maintain and prove the absolute sovereignty of God, in disposing of the children of men, with reference to their eternal state. And herein God is to be considered, not as a rector and governor, distributing rewards and punishments according to His revealed laws and covenants, but as an owner and benefactor, giving to the children of men such grace and favour as He has determined in and by His secret and eternal will and counsel; both the favor of visible church-membership and privileges, which is given to some people and denied to others, and the favor of effectual grace, which is given to some particular persons and denied to others . . . He quotes that Scripture to show God's sovereignty in dispensing His favors (Exodus 33:19: I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious). All God's reasons of mercy are taken from within Himself. All of the children of men being equally plunged alike into a state of sin and misery, equally under guilt and wrath, God, in a way of sovereignty, picks out some from this fallen apostatized race, to be vessels of grace and glory. He dispenses His gifts to whom He will, without giving any reason: according to His own good pleasure He pitches upon some to be monuments of mercy and grace, preventing grace, effectual grace, while He passes by others. The expression is very emphatic, and the repetition makes it more so: I will have mercy on whom I have mercy. It imports a perfect absoluteness in God's will: He will do what He will, and giveth not account of any of His matters, nor is it fit that He should. As these great words, "I am that I am," (Exodus 3:14) do abundantly express the absolute independency of His being, so these words, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy," do as fully express the absolute prerogative and sovereignty of His will.

And God is entirely just to do so. This great doctrine gives offense to people, especially in churches whose theology is man-centered, but God isn't worried about who likes it or doesn't like it. He is entirely just. No one will be in Hell who doesn't deserve to be there.

To me, the amazing thing isn't that God elects some to salvation. The amazing thing to me is that He elects to save anybody.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Hollywood Freudian Slip?

Okay, maybe it's not a textbook Freudian slip, but I couldn't think of any other way to get across my meaning in the following post. Irony, maybe?

In 1942, a delicious little movie called "The Male Animal" was released. It starred Henry Fonda, Olivia de Havilland and Jack Carson. It's pretty funny, but one line really grabbed me this morning and gave me a chuckle.

If you follow politics these days, the frequently-repeated charge is that the far right has taken over the Republican Party in recent years . . . at least since 1980. While you might hear some liberal Republicans making the charge, most of the disdain comes from the Democrats and other leftists.

In "The Male Animal," Henry Fonda and Olivia de Havilland are a married couple. Jack Carson is the third person in a triangle of sorts. Toward the end, when both Fonda and Carson are nursing hangovers, Ms. de Havilland (in an effort to crack both their heads together) mentions to Carson that they could leave for his town and live together (despite her being married to Fonda). Both Fonda and Carson are horrified, and Carson points out that it wouldn't work, because -- among other things -- his town is a Republican town.

Isn't that rich? In other words, Democrats don't get hung up on silly little things like adultery as much as Republicans do.

I had to howl at that one. If that was a punch line back in 1942, it's interesting that some are trying to argue that the GOP only recently discovered sexual mores. Regardless, it does fascinate me that the far left always seems to want to defend the indefensible. The more libertine, the more hotly they will defend it and make excuses.

We haven't seen anything yet.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Isaiah 17 -- The Fulfillment?

In the previous post, I said that I would comment on a few highlights from Isaiah 17, otherwise known as the oracle of Damascus. The prophet is predicting the future destruction of Damascus, which has not yet been fulfilled. Damascus is among the oldest cities in the world, and it's sudden removal would be global news, to say the least.

In the first few verses, Isaiah talks of the city being a "fallen ruin." Toward the end of the chapter, we see Isaiah penning these sobering words: "At evening time, behold, there is terror. Before morning, they are no more."

Another interesting part of this chapter is its prediction for Israel: "Now in that day the glory of Jacob will fade, And the fatness of his flesh will become lean."

Various prophecy students today interpret Isaiah's prophecy to mean a war breaking out between Israel and Syria -- and perhaps some other nation-states. This war will result in the destruction of Damascus, possibly by Israeli nuclear weapons. If Israel's back was pushed against the wall and her very survival threatened, there is little doubt that Israel would use her nuclear weapons. Behind the scenes, this is called the "Samson Option." If you remember the biblical account of Samson, the strongman was captured by his enemies and blinded, then was shackled between two huge columns holding up a building. In one last prayer to Yahweh, Samson asked that his strength might be returned long enough to avenge himself on his enemies. His prayer was granted, and Samson pulled the two columns down, killing everyone in the place, including himself.

What would be the reaction of the world if Israel did indeed launch such a strike? Given the global attitude toward the Jewish state right now, one can well imagine. Outrage, condemnation, and no doubt severe economic sanctions. It wouldn't matter if Syria used poison gas or other weapons of mass destruction on Israel. It wouldn't matter if Israel's destruction was threatened. A significant mass of the planet could care less if Israel was wiped off the map. So, the fat of Jacob would indeed be sharply curtailed . . . a genuine time of belt-tightening.

Another point of note in this chapter. Note what God says through the prophet the world: "In that day man will have regard for his Maker And his eyes will look to the Holy One of Israel. He will not have regard for the altars, the work of his hands, Nor will he look to that which his fingers have made, Even the Asherim and incense stands. In that day their strong cities will be like forsaken places in the forest, Or like branches which they abandoned before the sons of Israel; And the land will be a desolation. For you have forgotten the God of your salvation And have not remembered the rock of your refuge. Therefore you plant delightful plants And set them with vine slips of a strange god."

Today, Syria and much of the Middle East follows the false prophet of Islam, and a strange god named Allah. A good part of Israel is agnostic or atheist, with only a minority of Jews truly practicing their faith. The Western world, including the United States, is turning aside from the true God to a watered down gruel of nebulous spirituality. Even previously faithful evangelical churches are embracing nonsense, if not outright apostasy, in growing numbers.

The world stage is indeed ripe for a move of God. I pray that it will be one of repentance and revival, rather than one of judgment. Unfortunately, the experience of history is that it takes a good dose of the latter before the former can take place.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Oracle of Damascus

Seeing this photo of the Syrian capital of Damascus reminded me of a very sobering passage of Scripture. It's known as the oracle of Damascus, and is found in Isaiah 17. I'll quote it here, with some areas in bold for emphasis . . .

The oracle concerning Damascus. “Behold, Damascus is about to be removed from being a city And will become a fallen ruin. “The cities of Aroer are forsaken; They will be for flocks to lie down in, And there will be no one to frighten them. “The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim, And sovereignty from Damascus And the remnant of Aram; They will be like the glory of the sons of Israel,” Declares the LORD of hosts. Now in that day the glory of Jacob will fade, And the fatness of his flesh will become lean. It will be even like the reaper gathering the standing grain, As his arm harvests the ears, Or it will be like one gleaning ears of grain In the valley of Rephaim. Yet gleanings will be left in it like the shaking of an olive tree, Two or three olives on the topmost bough, Four or five on the branches of a fruitful tree, Declares the LORD, the God of Israel. In that day man will have regard for his Maker And his eyes will look to the Holy One of Israel. He will not have regard for the altars, the work of his hands, Nor will he look to that which his fingers have made, Even the Asherim and incense stands. In that day their strong cities will be like forsaken places in the forest, Or like branches which they abandoned before the sons of Israel; And the land will be a desolation. For you have forgotten the God of your salvation And have not remembered the rock of your refuge. Therefore you plant delightful plants And set them with vine slips of a strange god. In the day that you plant it you carefully fence it in, And in the morning you bring your seed to blossom; But the harvest will be a heap In a day of sickliness and incurable pain. Alas, the uproar of many peoples Who roar like the roaring of the seas, And the rumbling of nations Who rush on like the rumbling of mighty waters! The nations rumble on like the rumbling of many waters, But He will rebuke them and they will flee far away, And be chased like chaff in the mountains before the wind, Or like whirling dust before a gale. At evening time, behold, there is terror! Before morning they are no more. Such will be the portion of those who plunder us And the lot of those who pillage us.

The news is very interesting of late for those of us who have an interest in Bible prophecy and events in the Middle East. The Russian bear is on the prowl again. There are rumblings of Israel possibly attacking Iran's nascent nuclear facilities, and possibly Lebanon again. Syrian president Bashar Assad trundled off to Moscow to meet with Russian president Dmitri Medvedev to seal a defense agreement. Moscow wants to regain its Mediterranean port in Syria. All very, very interesting.

This particular prophesy foretelling the destruction of Damascus has never been fulfilled. Is it about to be fulfilled? Are we soon to see the fulfillment of other prophecies such as Ezekiel 38 and 39? It remains to be seen. I'll have some more to say later about the particular verses I highlighted in bold, but for now a preliminary remark.

If I have learned anything at all, it's this. Events can sometimes proceed at the pace of molasses (or sorghum) in January. After all, with God one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as one day. But when things have a hankering to begin happening, the speed can be breathtaking. Who in 1985 would have foreseen the Berlin Wall coming down just a few short years later? We sure prayed for it, but we were really surprised when it happened. We've seen how quickly political attitudes can change on the global scene. A war can break out overnight.

God is sovereign over His creation, and things will proceed on His timetable. In the midst of it, He tells us to watch, pray, and be faithful. These are exciting days. But let's not get caught up in events so much that we forget our God-given responsibility to be salt and light in our world, and to proclaim the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ. Events can certainly help open doors to begin the discussion.

And if things continue to happen as they have, we're going to have plenty of opportunities and matters to discuss.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Classic One-Sided Reporting on Corporal Punishment

No time to digress today, but check this story out. It deals with the subject of corporal punishment in American schools, and is a classic example of one-sided bias. No voices at all to challenge the data and conclusions reached in these "expert studies."

The experts have increasingly had it their way in the majority of states for the last 30 or more years, and the public schools continue to slide in an ever-increasing downward spiral. No discipline allowed for fears that will hurt the child's fragile self-esteem.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lincoln-Douglas Debates . . . Today?

A few days ago, I saw an AP story talking about how a group is planning to re-enact the Lincoln-Douglas debates here in Illinois. The history buff part of me thought, "Wonderful!" Especially as one of them was in nearby Freeport and that meant easy access if I wanted to go. The social critic part of me thought, "Oh, dear. Will anyone come, and will anyone be able to follow the discussion?"

You see, our society has the attention span of a gnat, if not worse. I would love to see today's candidates -- Obama and McCain -- actually engage in a genuine debate of the issues. Debate sans insults. Debate sans demagogic accusations. Debate sans appealing to the lowest common denominator. An actual discussion of issues from each candidate's vantage point. "Here's my proposal. Here's why I think your proposal won't work, and here's why I think mine will work."

Unfortunately, we can't have that today. It has to be a spectacle. Sort of like a cross between the WWE and mud wrestling at Hugh Hefner's ranch. We have no one to blame but ourselves because we don't demand better.

As a result of our inability to pay attention to detail, we'll get what we deserve, and then some.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Boycotting Mickey D's

Since I slapped the ex-Burger King employee around a bit last week, I am going to slap McDonalds around a bit today in a gesture of fairness.

By now, quite a few of you have heard about the American Family Association's boycott of McDonalds for its open advocacy of homosexual issues. You can find out more here. Still more probably have not heard of the boycott. I have been skeptical about the overall effectiveness of boycotts, but they have been known to have an impact from time to time. This is one that I can support wholeheartedly. Why?

This is not about non-discrimination. This has nothing to do with not serving or not hiring gays. This is about support and advocacy of the lifestyle, including giving money to gay rights groups. McDonalds has crossed the line in my judgment. Therefore, I for one am not buying from them until they reverse course.

I can make a better hamburger anyway.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Fall of Todd Bentley

The word is quickly spreading about the recent uproar in Lakeland, Florida, involving the controversial charismatic revival preacher/healer Todd Bentley. According to published reports, Bentley recently announced that he and his wife were separating, bringing his public ministry to a crashing halt.

At his "Desiring God" blog, John Piper has some prescient comments about this whole situation, as I would expect. But what are the charismatics saying about it?

In this blog column, Charisma Magazine editor Lee Grady shares his thoughts. Grady took a lot of heat a few months ago when he raised some questions about this "revival." Far from gloating, Grady is issuing a call for his fellow Pentecostals and charismatics to wise up.

I think "wising up" would be a good thing for ALL Christians to do in this day and age. Non-charismatics aren't immune from deception either.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Burger King: Off With His Head!

Get a load of this. You've probably heard by now of the ex-Burger King employee that decided to bathe (looking at this guy, I'm surprised he'd bother) in the restaurant's sanitization sink. He got canned, rightly.

As far as I am concerned, that's not enough for this narcissistic idiot. I'd love to ship him off to Singapore where they know how to handle juvenile-minded delinquents like this. Several strokes on his bare derriere with a bamboo cane that's been soaked in brine. Plus a fine, a haircut and forcible tattoo removal. Maybe even jail.

Yeah, I know..the guy probably needs the Lord. Indeed. He also needs to be held accountable for this kind of tomfoolery that could have resulted in the illness of a whole lot of people. How in the world do we know what the guy's carrying in his body?

A Nod to Days Gone By

I know there are lots of serious things going on in the world that demand my incisive analysis, but I am so swamped this week that Okefenokee looks like a swimming pool. So, until I can really concentrate on a good post, here's a trip down memory lane for those of you who live/lived in northern Illinois.

Stopping at the Prince Castle was a must after church on Sundays. Their wonderful hamburgers, fries, shakes and square ice cream cones (with chocolate chip mint ice cream) are legendary for people my age and older. Their headquarters was in my home town, and they lasted up until the early 1980s, when owner Earl Prince decided to shut the chain down. A sad day in the Land of Lincoln.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Homeschoolers Win One in California

This link will take you to a WorldNetDaily story I have been following for a while. Looks like an appellate court has rapped the state on the knuckles for trying to outlaw homeschooling. In other words, saying the parents had no rights to govern the education of their children.

Let's hope this trend of vindicating parents continues. Score one for the good guys.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Praying and Eagerly Watching

I've always loved Psalm 5. It might be partially due to hearing and singing a musical arrangement of it back in the days when Christian coffeehouse ministries were the rage (and yes, I am talking about the days before Starbucks kiosks invaded the narthexes of evangelical churches).

Let's review the first few verses for a moment . . .

Give ear to my words, O LORD, Consider my groaning. Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, For to You I pray. In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with You. The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity (Psalm 5:1-3).

Now, some like to focus on the imprecations later on in King David's psalm, but as usual, I take a bit of an alternate route. Verse 3 is what grabbed my attention today. In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. Do you note the confident expectancy in David's words? He begins the psalm by crying out to God in distress, beginning the morning by ordering his prayer to the Lord. And then he watches and waits for the Lord's response with an eager, expectant heart.

Of course, King David's prayer is not of those "amiss" prayers, asking for frivolous things. David again is under attack by his enemies, which we can see in reading through the entire psalm. Under attack, but not despairing. He is hoping ultimately in God's goodness and justice, and certain that God's favor will not be with those who despise Him, or His people. And in that certainty, he asks God to intervene, certain -- eagerly certain -- that God will be faithful and act.

Verse 8 is also interesting. O Lord, lead me in righteousness because of my foes. If David is walking in righteousness, his foes will have no grounds upon which to justly accuse him.

There's an interesting parallel to that in II Peter 2, where the Apostle discusses those who follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned. It's easy to point to the excesses of some televangelists (and believe me, plenty of them set my teeth on edge), but we all need to be careful how we walk. It's one thing if we get slapped around for bad behavior on our part, but it's much better -- if we HAVE to get slapped around -- to be the blameless party.

I know how I often stew and resent it if I am treated badly. I find it hard to suffer injustice. When I think of King David with enemies galore out to kill him, all of a sudden I realize that I've really had a fairly easy time of it. Thankfully, no one has tried to kill me yet that I know of.

Regardless, we know what the Lord expects of us, after suffering Himself at the hands of sinners. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God (1 Peter 2:20).

Of course it's not easy. But we aren't in it alone. We have the example of our Master Himself. And He promised to never leave or forsake us. We have the promise of His sure judgment in His own good time.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A Word from J.I. Packer

Theologian J.I. Packer is always a man of great insight. His book, "Knowing God," is a classic in evangelical literature. It's very sad that in his twilight years, he had to be faced with the decision to leave his fellowship — the Canadian Anglican Church — due to its ever-increasing lurch into heresy.

In his blog today, Southern Baptist theologian Dr. Al Mohler discusses the Anglican meltdown in his usual astute way. But the quote he used from Dr. Packer really grabbed me. Substitute the name of any theologically liberal church for "Anglicanism," and you'll have a spot-on diagnosis of the problem at its root. A disdain for God's Word. Here are the words of J.I. Packer:

Sadly, however, the present-day reality of Anglican comprehensiveness is not like that. It is both more complex and more painful. There are two reasons for this.

One is that since biblical criticism, in the sense of systematic study of the origins, composition, literary character and purpose of the biblical books as human documents, established itself in the Protestant world a century ago, many Anglicans have ceased to view Bible doctrine as God’s revealed truth, and no longer let biblical thoughts determine their thinking. Allowing Scripture great human authority as a primary witness to archetypal Christian experience, they deny it divine authority as instruction from heaven. So at every turn we find them distinguishing divine realities from New Testament ideas about them, and refusing to concede that they lose touch with the former by questioning the latter.

But to those who believe that the Holy Spirit spoke by the prophets and their apostolic counterparts, making biblical testimony as truly God’s utterance as were the words of the incarnate Son, and who take the fundamentals to be just what Scripture says they are, the claim to uphold those fundamentals while relativizing or recasting Scripture statements about them seems incoherent nonsense. Thus discussion of fundamentals falls into deep confusion, and the question whether there is essential agreement on what is essential to the essentials becomes-problematical to the last degree.

Wow! Just . . . wow.

Too Fat to Execute?

From James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal's "Opinion Journal" . . .

Richard Cooley raped and murdered two women in 1986, landing him on Ohio's death row. Now he is so fat, his lawyers argue he shouldn't be executed. As the Associated Press reports:

Lawyers for Richard Cooey argue in a federal lawsuit that Cooey had poor veins when he faced execution five years ago and that the problem has been worsened by weight gain. . . .
The lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court in Columbus, also says prison officials have had difficulty drawing blood from Cooey for medical procedures. Cooey is 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 267 pounds, according to the lawsuit. . . .
Cooey's use of the drug Topamax, a type of seizure medication, may have created a resistance to thiopental, the drug used to put inmates to sleep before two other lethal drugs are administered, Dr. Mark Heath, a physician hired by the Ohio Public Defender's Office, said in documents filed with the court.
Heath also says Cooey's weight, combined with the potential drug resistance, increases the risk he would not be properly anesthetized.
That's a real concern for Cooey, his public defender, Kelly Culshaw Schneider, said Monday.
"All of the experts agree if the first drug doesn't work, the execution is going to be excruciating," she said.
Ironically, the ACLU has called for a capital-punishment moratorium on the ground that a disproportionate number of death-row inmates are "skinny."

This is yet another example of how ridiculous our legal system has gotten. The inmates run the prisons, and the courts get clogged with silly appeals like this. Guilt isn't the issue, and after all, today guilt is academic, isn't it?

Hmm. This convicted rapist and killer of two women says he's too fat to use the gurney? I have a suggestion, but it means Ohio will have to modify it's capital punishment law a bit . . .

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Stealing a Moment From Mr. Time . . .

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 (Isaiah 46:10).

For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it passes by, Or as a watch in the night (Psalm 90:4)

Time is on my mind a lot these days, because as it marches on I seem to have less of it. Our God and Father is eternal -- He's the Author of time itself -- but we are finite. As we read Scripture, I sometimes wonder if we really think about how much time passed between events and between the Testaments.

In the latest issue of Jews for Jesus' newsletter, executive director David Brickner comments . . . "It was on Mount Moriah that Solomon built the First Temple some 3,000 years ago. It was there that Ezra built the Second Temple some 2,500 years ago."

"Genesis 22 records "the Akedah," or binding of Isaac . . . Centuries later, Moses envisioned "the mountain of inheritance" . . . "Moses prayed prophetically . . . 'You will bring them in and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which You have made for Your own dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established.' Centuries passed before the answer to that prayer was realized."

David's entire article is worth reading, and time wasn't really his focus. Rather, it was Tisha B'Av, and discussing how religious Jews mourn the loss of the Temple in Jerusalem. But the time aspect leaped out at me in the course of reading the piece. The destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D. was more than 2,000 years ago. It's been 2,000 years since the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. We're waiting for His return. How long will it be?

There is so much more on which to reflect. Even considering the Old Testament alone, think of the hundreds upon hundreds of years that went by between Genesis and Malachi. The intertestamental period was quite a long time. And in our Western, instant-gratification culture, we think waiting a year for something is torture.

Time is long, but our time is limited. May the Lord enable me to be a better steward of the time He has given me, however much longer that will last.

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Unpatriotic Left

This article from The American Thinker is a good way to start the week. I am sure it will cause a frenzy of spewing if it should become more widely circulated, so I am doing my part here to help fan the flames.

Those of us who are familiar with the "Tradition, Flag, Mom and Apple Pie" aspect of county and state fairs ought to be outraged. I certainly am.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Wisdom from Lord Acton

While we can certainly find things with which to quibble in the writings of any philosopher or historian, it's hard to quibble with the late Lord Acton. If you'll notice, he has a very jaundiced view of humanity on a high horse. I offer this today in lieu of trying to be witty myself. It's the weekend . . . in the dog days of summer . . . and I am feeling very lazy. No doubt Lord Acton would disapprove, and rightly so.

“Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

“There is not a soul who does not have to beg alms of another, either a smile, a handshake, or a fond eye.”

“The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.”

“[History is] not a burden on the memory but an illumination of the soul.”

“And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that. All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

"The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks."

"The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. EVERY class is unfit to govern."

"Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right to do what we ought."

"There is no error so monstrous that it fails to find defenders among the ablest men."