Monday, June 30, 2008

I Hate Computers



Late last week, my hard drive fried on my laptop. As I had to go out of town for a speaking engagement, it didn't matter too badly. I could check email via the web on other computers. The speaking engagement went well by God's grace (thanks to Fred and all at Grace Baptist in Waterloo, IA for a wonderful visit), and I made it home in one piece.

Today, I got my computer back with a temporary hard drive. I seem to have gotten most everything back, except for some music I had been working on in Garage Band and some other personal files. I'm sure I'll find other things not there, and you might hear a very loud "AIEEEE!" when I discover it.

Why do computers have to fry close to the weekend when nothing can be done about it?

I want my Royal Manual Typewriter back.

Yesterday!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Couple Days' Hiatus

I'll be away speaking at a friend's church in Iowa this weekend. The Seventh Sola will return, Lord willing, Sunday evening or Monday morning. Same bat time, same bat channel.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Man, What a Nightmare!



This is a proposed interchange along Interstate 44 in Missouri. Supposedly they've been using designs like this in Europe since the 1970s. To me, it looks like a jim-dandy accident waiting to happen.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Yet Another Warning . . .

Read this story from Mission Network News. Evangelist Sammy Tippit adds fuel to the fire by sounding a warning. Christians are moving away from God's Word and embracing "experience."

I think this goes quite well with what I posted last evening.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tattoo You! The Next Youth Group Trend?



You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD (Leviticus 19:28).

I heard something today that, quite frankly, outraged me. I was so shocked when I heard it that I am not clear on the precise detail -- whether it actually took place at the church youth group or at a youth convention attended BY the church youth group. I'll have to ask about it again. The youth group in question is from a rather prominent, supposedly conservative church in my region.

Anyway, wherever this Christian youth group was, they had a "tattoo artist" present, and said "artist" was tattooing anybody who wanted one. Let me stress this. At a church youth meeting of some kind. Not in a red light district. Not in a tattoo shop located in some seedy part of town. A church event. Unbestinkinlievable.

I'd expect this kind of carnival atmosphere in the wilder of the Emergent churches. They seem to celebrate this kind of thing. But that wasn't where this took place.

If this happened without parental or pastoral knowledge, heads ought to roll somewhere. And you know what? It matters little to me whether the youths in question had signed permission slips to get tatted. If that's the case, the parents' heads ought to roll. Or at least get cracked together good and hard.

What in the bowels of the earth is going on here? Have churches and individual Christians entirely lost their minds? Have we really fallen so far to the point that we have to prostitute ourselves to the world's way of doing things, thinking that's going to somehow be a witness for Christ, who actually commanded us NOT to be conformed to the world?

I've even heard it said that some view their tattoos and tongue studs as worship. So, let me get this straight? We worship God by doing something to our bodies that He commanded us not to do?

Let me be blunt. This stuff really, really makes me angry. Why is there such a mad rush in the church--among Christian kids--to look as much like Frankenstein as possible? Christians have absolutely no business getting tattooed, cut, studded or body pierced. Having it done prior to salvation is one thing. But mature Christians are supposed to know better, and have a much more fine tuned sense of what God would want of His people. All of this violates the modesty called for in Scripture, as well as the high value we are supposed to place on our bodies -- His creation and His temple. For some time, Christian boys and girls have been less and less modest in their dress despite the commands of Scripture. Now we have this. Far from glorifying Him, all it does is draw attention to the person. And it looks really, really awful.

It's bad enough some stupid, wet behind the ears kids would be allowed to mark or carve up the body God gave them. Just wait until they're quite a bit older, and like most people who get tattooed, wish to heaven that they hadn't done it. Especially when the mouse they tattooed on their stomach begins to look more like a hippopotamus with cancer. And their parents signed off on it. That's real godly, parental guidance, isn't it?

We all do stupid things when we're younger. We do stupid things when we're older, too. And yes, we have a loving God who forgives repentant hearts. But Christians of all stripes and of all levels of supposed maturity ought to think long and hard about what constitutes a rebellious spirit. It's hard to sanctify rebellion. Real hard. Everyone blabs on and on about their "self expression." As Christians, we're supposed to reflect Christ. We are supposed to lift Him up, not ourselves. The church's problem today is that there is way too much attention on "self" and a lessening amount of attention on Him.

While the church is not under the Law of Moses and the Law is not salvific, any command of God in Scripture -- from prior to the Law in Genesis to the end of Revelation -- was given for a purpose. There are deep biblical principles in play here. When God told His people not to mark themselves up and cut their bodies, He did so for a reason. There is a spiritual issue in play here outside of the physical action. I'll elaborate on what I mean sometime soon in in another post, and not necessarily immediately subsequent to this one.

I've got to cool down first.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Polls, Schmollz. No Compromise!!



Today, everyone is atwitter about this headline story/religion poll in the United States. I can't wait to hear how some in the Emergent Church camp will try to crow, saying "See! See! Your traditional way of doing things isn't cutting it anymore. You have to change!" (Sounds eerily like Obama, doesn't it?)

Let's look a bit at some of the numbers. (These reflect Washington State, but supposedly mirror the rest of the country in large part)

More than 90 percent of Americans — including one in five people who say they are atheists — believe in God or a universal power, and more than half pray at least once a day.

Nearly three-fourths of Americans believe in heaven as a place where people who have led good lives will be eternally rewarded. And almost 60 percent believe in hell, where people who have led bad lives and die without repenting are eternally punished, the poll found.

• About 64 percent said they were absolutely certain in their belief in God or a universal spirit, compared with 71 percent nationally.

• About 54 percent pray at least once a day, compared to 58 percent nationally.

• A third attend religious services at least once a week, compared with 39 percent nationally.

• A quarter say their faith is the one true faith leading to eternal life, about the same as the 24 percent nationally.

• About 25 percent say there's only one true way to interpret the teachings of their religion, compared to 27 percent nationally.


The news coverage is focusing a lot on the aspect that many more professing Christians don't believe that Christianity is the only way to God despite what their churches teach. And I'm not surprised that would capture the most attention of the secular press.

My feeling after reading all of this? It's interesting, but ultimately I don't care what the polls say. Furthermore, I don't care what people think or believe, if . . IF . . IF . . . did I stress that enough . . . IF the implied message is that the church should change what it teaches and believes.

Sadly, I think that's the tack we'll hear most often. A large reason for this sorry state of affairs is that a large segment of the professing church has abandoned biblical doctrine and biblical truth for trendy, faddy theologies. Get back to preaching and teaching God's Word in an uncompromising fashion, and you might be amazed at what God does in society.

And what if we preach Scripture and nothing happens? What if even more people's theology goes out the window?

It doesn't matter. Preach and teach the truth anyway. Those who reject it will be accountable before God. Those who fail to teach and preach His truth will also be held accountable for their compromise or betrayal.

I like the cover art to Keith Green's "No Compromise" album from years ago. (And no, I don't endorse all of the late singer's theology) It's taken from the book of Daniel, where Daniel and his friends refused to bow before Nebuchadnezzar's idolatrous statue. They refused to compromise even though everyone else did (and urged them to do).

We need to do the same no matter what societal pressure arises. Truth is not for sale.

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin Enters Eternity



So George Carlin has passed from the scene. I take no pleasure in it, and Scripture says God Himself takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Personally, it amazes me that someone would die and be remembered mostly for vulgarity and obscenity -- and take pride in it. Here's what Carlin himself had to say as recently as 2004 . . .

"The whole problem with this idea of obscenity and indecency, and all of these things — bad language and whatever — it's all caused by one basic thing, and that is: religious superstition. There's an idea that the human body is somehow evil and bad and there are parts of it that are especially evil and bad, and we should be ashamed. Fear, guilt and shame are built into the attitude toward sex and the body. ... It's reflected in these prohibitions and these taboos that we have."

Religious superstition. Well, let's clarify things, okay? Biblical Christianity does indeed call for modesty and chastity outside of marriage, and stands against vulgar speech. You bet it does. But the idea that the human body is evil has more in common with unbiblical Gnosticism than it does biblical Christianity. The body is good. God created it. He also designed how it was to be used, and set very strict rules about it, which is His right as Creator. God says that there are indeed things of which one should be ashamed. God will not be mocked in the long run.

I'm sure George is finding that out right about now.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Someone Always Acts Up . . .



Today I was reading an interesting passage in one of Henry Sheldon's church history volumes. It was dealing with the Reformation in Germany. I'll let the words speak for themselves.

Some noteworthy stumbling blocks, however, were thrown in the way of this general progress. Such was the Anabaptist fanaticism which raged in Munster. The Reformation had made considerable progress in Munster by the year 1533, under the leadership of the preacher Bernhard Rottmann; and the bishop had found it necessary to grant tolerance to the growing party of its adherents. There was a fair prospect that the whole city would be won to the Protestant cause.

But at this juncture the Anabaptist distemper made its appearance. Rottmann himself caught the infection, and the whole city became a chosen resort for the extremists of the Anabaptist sect. Such in particular were John Mathys from Harlem and John Bockelson from Leyden, who played the role of prophets or theocratic leaders. Adherents being rapidly won, the violent sectaries usurped the government, and in 1534 banished from the city all who were counted unbelievers. One excess led to another. Works of art perished before an indiscriminate iconoclasm. The principles of wildest communism were adopted. Polygamy was declared lawful. John of Leyden, who finally added the dignity of king to that of prophet, took sixteen wives. Everything was managed in the name of pretended revelation from heaven. A reign of terror prevailed, and it was instant death to disagree with the fanatical chief, or his principal agent, the sword-bearer Knipperdolling.

But this mad revel was soon brought to an end. In 1535 the bishop and his allies, among whom were numbered some of the Protestant states, succeeded in overpowering the fanatics. A re-action to Romanism naturally followed; Protestantism was utterly ruined in Munster.


Amazing, isn't it? There's a huge lesson here, in fact several of them.

Discuss.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

God's Judgment - New Testament Examples



When we last spoke of God's judgment, we asked the question of whether God judged individuals and nations directly in the New Testament era. I'd like to take a look at a few instances and then comment briefly.

First, we have the example of Ananias and Sapphira . . .

But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it. The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him. Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.” And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things (Acts 5:1-11).

In this example, Ananias and Sapphira were both struck dead. The purpose of this act of judgment was twofold - to discipline the erring couple severely, and to teach the early church a lesson. Remember the reasons for signs and wonders in the days of the Apostles and the early church -- to glorify God and confirm the Word, as well as to confirm that the Apostles spoke for the Lord.

Next, we have a warning from the Apostle Paul about improper handling of the Lord's Supper . . .

Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world (1 Corinthians 11:27-32).

This example is interesting to me. It is obvious from the context that the people mentioned were judged and disciplined because of their irreverent manner of taking communion. Was this something that only happened in the early church? Does it happen today? Good question. It ought to be asked. I know that there are plenty who do not take the Lord's Supper seriously, including letting toddlers partake because they begin whining and throwing a temper tantrum.

What about divine judgment in the form of natural disasters? In Old Testament times, when God sent calamity on a nation -- whether in the form of flood, disease or war -- there was generally a prophet of God around to warn the people of impending judgment. And it was generally for a specific reason given by the prophet. Do we see that today? Do we know of a direct case where a modern day prophet of God warned a city, state or nation that judgment was around the corner for their sin, and it happened as prophesied? Remember, the biblical test of a true prophet is 100 percent accuracy. You aren't allowed to "revise and extend" your prophecies.

We do see plenty of calamity in the Apostle John's book of Revelation. These calamities are around the end-times, and are largely directed toward the worshippers and followers of the Antichrist.

I generally believe that the world is under a period of grace, where people -- and the nations in which they live -- are being given a lot of room to repent. Or rope to hang themselves. That doesn't mean that God won't intervene in a nation, or in the lives of individuals. Someone's life of sin might well lead to their destruction. The actions of a nation might well lead to the destruction of that nation, or at least serious calamity. But before we call such events a direct judgment of God, we'd best be very, very careful. I can speculate. I can even make a very good educated guess. But I don't know for certain.

Unless there is direct revelation of the Holy Spirit, let's not put words into His mouth. As my prior commenters pointed out, so much can be the consequence related to God's general judgment and curse of a fallen world. Death happens. Disease happens. Weather happens. God is sovereign and allows things for a purpose. Did He allow the Midwest floods because of America's sin? Is He allowing the rash of tornadoes because of America's sin? It's possible. But remember, there are plenty of believers who suffer along with those who aren't believers.

Remember, in the Old Testament book of Daniel, there were four young men named Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who got hauled off to Babylon. Israel was faithless, but these four were faithful. Yet they got hauled off to Babylon too. Again, in that case, Israel's calamity was prophesied. I can't say that the recent disasters in America were prophesied.

It's a tough issue, and one which we should approach with great care.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chuck Missler on the Gay Issue

This article by Bible teacher Chuck Missler was so good that I am reposting it below.
This link will take you to his website.


SAME-SEX ATTRACTION, CAUSES AND CURES
by Chuck Missler

Dozens of gay and lesbian couples were married in California Monday evening, starting at 5:01pm when same-sex marriages officially became legal in the state. Some of those who rushed to sign up for marriage licenses were from out-of-state; unlike Massachusetts, California has no law requiring residency to obtain a marriage license. All of the new unions may yet be nullified, though. California voters can go to the polls in November to overturn the state Supreme Court’s ruling, and reinstate the state ban on same-sex marriages.

The promotion of gay marriage pulls from two basic assumptions, that:
1) homosexual attraction is inborn and genetic;
2) homosexual attraction, though found in a relatively small portion of the population, is still normal and harmless.

If people believe that homosexuals are normal and are truly “born that way”, then it is easy to argue that gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry just as other minorities are allowed to marry. These consider discrimination against same-sex couples as a cruel denial of basic human rights.

The gay and lesbian political machine has been working hard for decades to promote those two assumptions. Neither, however, is close to having been proven. While a significant number of gays and lesbians truly feel that they were “different” from birth, there is little to prove that same-sex attraction is purely genetic. Homosexuality flies in the face of basic laws of procreation, and cannot therefore be considered “normal”, and there is plenty of evidence that the lifestyles of gay men tend to be anything other than harmless.

In July, 1993, the magazine Science announced the existence of the “gay gene.” Of course, what the research actually determined was more like, “There could possibly be maybe a chance that this particular gene could conceivably have an influence on being gay. Sort of.” Unfortunately, many people in the public assumed an actual gay gene had been found, and the idea that people are “born gay” took off.

In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association voted to remove homosexuality from the list of psychiatric illnesses. According to a survey reported in the journal Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality in 1977, though, 69 percent of psychiatrists still considered homosexuality a disorder.

The fact is that the “experts” don’t know exactly what causes homosexual attraction. The APA does see it as a combination of nature and nurture. Certain trends pop up, though. Sensitive personalities, poor relationships with fathers, forceful mothers, trauma in childhood, early sexual activity and/or molestation, early rejection by peers – things that leave small children longing for love or acceptance, or that create an extreme sense of inadequacy – are the sorts of things in the backgrounds of many unwilling homosexuals. Then there is the spiritual aspect, which is even harder to nail down in politically correct America.

Ex-Gays

Perhaps the biggest arguments against the “born that way” mantra are the many men and women who have changed. The process is often difficult and takes a long time and careful, loving therapy. When the foundational causes of the same-sex attraction are addressed and dealt with, however, significant numbers of once-homosexuals have become heterosexual. They have been freed from something that was a chain around their necks and hearts, and have rejoiced in becoming whole.

Former lesbian Debbie Thurman says, “I can count myself among the growing numbers of men and women who have overcome a significant struggle with same-sex attraction. While our stories and the degree to which we have found wholeness may be different, the central themes are often similar. Frequently, you will find we came from broken homes, were alienated from one or both parents, were sexually abused as children, are sensitive by temperament, and suffered from depression.

"…Sticky problems arise when a number of those who have 'always felt' homosexual begin moving along the continuum of feeling less so, and at the same time, actually begin feeling better about themselves. How dare we forsake the gay cause célebrè? Like crabs trying to escape from a bucket, gay activists begin dragging us down.

“Detractors insist that measurable results must be quick, and that change 'isn't change' if it requires a long process. These same people generally see life as a continual 'journey' in all other respects. But if someone gives up during the long process, that is somehow 'proof' that change is a sham. Never mind that overeaters, alcoholics or drug addicts fall off the wagon every day. The standard for sexual identity change remains 'all or nothing'!

“So where are the mental health professionals who will stand up and challenge these untruths? Why do they allow the APA to hijack the truth?”

Regardless of what the politically-charged APA accepts, the Bible consistently condemns same-sex sexual intercourse as wrong. At the same time, Jesus Christ specifically came to save those who were lost. That’s all of us. He loves us. He died for our sins, and through the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives, we can all be freed from the various chains that hang around our necks. According to Paul in Romans 1:18-32, homosexuality has a root cause in a culture’s turning away from God the Creator. It’s easy to attack people lost in same-sex attraction, but we are all responsible as a culture to truly put Christ first in our lives, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. If we do that, maybe we will have fewer young people falling prey to the lie of homosexuality.

"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." - 1 Cor 6:9-11 (NKJV)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

God's Judgment



First, thanks to those who commented on the last post asking for feedback on whether God judges nations and individuals today. I was hoping for more, but apparently I have more readers than I do commenters. That's okay.

The ones who did comment had excellent points, and echo some of my own thinking on this issue. I'll elaborate a bit.

Whenever there is a major calamity in recent years, there are quite a few who immediately attribute the event to a judgment by God on evil of some type. Major earthquakes. Tsunamis. Wildfires. Tornadoes. And yes, floods.

Some in prophecy circles of late have tied various events in the United States to our nation's handling of Israel and the land given them by God. It is indeed interesting to see the number of bad things that happen that seem to hit when we force Israel to do something that will be ultimately harmful to her. The biblical justification for this is God's solemn warning in the Abrahamic Covenant . . . I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you (Genesis 12:3).

I could fill pages with various events that have happened in history since the Resurrection of Christ, and note how various individuals have labeled these events some kind of divine judgment. Some of them might well have been. But a lot of care is needed before we make those kind of pronouncements for certain.

We do know that God does indeed judge nations. Scripture says so. In Old Testament times, these judgments were meted out by God, typically after one of His prophets issued warnings and calls to repentance. In the New Testament era (we're in that now), we don't seem to have these prophetic warnings and specific judgments other than those given in Scripture that apply to the end times. I know my charismatic friends will beg to differ on that, but the test of a prophet in this sense is really strict. Look at the Old Testament's prophetic predictions and you'll see what I mean. When God said he'd bring calamity on a nation or an individual for their specific sins, He did it.

We know that the nations will be judged in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and that's according to my namesake prophet . . . I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land (Joel 3:2)

We know that there will be a final judgment of mankind according to Scripture. Believers will face the judgment seat of Christ, while unbelievers will stand at the Great White Throne judgment. But what about now? Aren't people judged for their sins?

We do see New Testament biblical examples of God's judgment. In my next post, we'll look at some of those.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Question of the Day



Think about this one for a while. It's a controversial question. I'm going to leave this up for a few days, and then comment.

Question: Does God still use events such as severe weather to bring judgment on nations and/or individuals?


Discuss.

Late note as of Sunday morning early. I thought I would have gotten more responses to this. (No slight intended to those who have posted comments. Thanks much!)

I will leave this up yet a few more days. I really want to see a variety of remarks before I comment. Hint -- one commenter has come pretty close to what I would say.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Shot Across the Bow

This horrifying account in WorldNetDaily ought to wake some people up in the United States. It concerns how a pastor is being ordered by a Canadian "human rights" panel to be silent about homosexuality. In essence, he is being ordered to renounce his faith.

I certainly hope this provokes a huge backlash among Canadian Christians and traditionalists. More than that, I hope it opens peoples' eyes here in the U.S. as to what the radical gays have in mind for us.

Word of warning to them and like-minded government bureaucrats. You won't have such an easy time silencing us. You'll be told in no uncertain terms what you can do with your "orders."

Monday, June 09, 2008

USA To-Gay Strikes Again



On page three of today's issue of USA Today, there's another puff piece on homosexual "marriage." The article shows a photo of two homosexual men lying in bed (clothed, of course) with their little adopted "son." Ostensibly, they've waited 23 years to marry. One of the men gave up a law practice to be a stay at home mommy to the boy.

No comments at all were printed that I could see from traditional or religious groups who would be opposed to the homosexual juggernaut. That's not journalism. It's outright propaganda.

One more thing. Aside from the outrage of the issue itself, isn't anyone just slightly bothered by the photo?

Think about it a while.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Back to Ephesus (Or, "It's All God!")



This morning, let's look at another passage in that wonderful letter of Paul to the church at Ephesus . . .

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them (Ephesians 2:4-10).

The one thing that leaps out in this passage is the fact that, when it comes to the fruit borne out in the lives of His people, it's all God's work and God's fruit. He gets the credit and the glory.

1. God is rich in mercy. We need it, too.

2. God's love is great. It would have to be, in view of our sins.

3. He saved us by grace. We don't deserve salvation. Period.

4. Our salvation is a gift, not our own doing. This point can't be emphasized enough with the false notion of "meriting the merits of Christ" out there so strongly.

5. No boasting allowed. Paul emphasizes grace and mercy here again to make the point sink in. NOTHING we do contributes to our salvation. If you think your good works and obedience play any role in your salvation, or earn one drop of Christ's blood, you're on your way to Hell. Do not pass go, and do not collect $200. Your obedience and good works are fruits of your salvation, not the cause of it.

6. Even our good works have been prepared in advance by God. We are His workmanship. We are conformed to His image by His power working in us.

Every day that I live, I can see this ever more clearly. In myself dwells no good thing. He is my only hope. If anyone gets me to Heaven, it's Him. Not me.

Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and rose again from the dead for my justification. That's the Gospel. And He has promised to complete the work He began in me. Not just me, either. That's His promise to all who place their trust in Him.

It's all God.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Yanking the Reins on Kids



I generally try to avoid doing two posts in a day, or premature bumps of posts. However, I saw a couple of news stories tonight that raised my ire a bit, therefore I had to make some comment.

I think the situation with out-of-control children and early teens is a growing concern in our society, and for good reason. There are many reasons, and among the chief is the influence of leftist social engineers (especially state "child welfare" workers) who think all children belong to the state, and that parents have no right to direct the upbringing of their children. Discipline of any kind, especially corporal punishment, is increasingly frowned on and prosecuted. There is also an entire generation of parents who are basically guilty of child worship, raising up an even worse new generation of little narcissists.

So what do we have today? Late elementary, middle and high school students are taking nude pictures of themselves with cellphones or digital cameras, and are either emailing them or posting them on the Internet. Parents are shocked, shocked. Schools are in an uproar (unless the teachers at the school are sleeping with the kids or training them to approve of deviant sexuality). I'm not kidding with that last remark, by the way. Ask residents of Florida, Massachusetts, and several other states.

First, take the cellphones away from the kids. They don't need them. They (as well as the adults) got along fine for generations without cellphones attached to their umbilical cords.

Second, no computer usage unless the computer is out in the main room and visible to the parents while the computer is being used. No computer usage at schools without supervision. There is blocking software out there and it should be used. Using a computer for a child is not a right, but a privilege. Violations of rules merit -- in the words of my friend Phil Johnson -- an instant, automatic and, if necessary, permanent ban. (That's my favorite phrase for the week)

Folks, it's really not rocket science. It involves re-asserting something that's been sorely lacking of late, and that's parental authority. Final and absolute, with no equivocation and no apologies.

While we're at it, I think its high time we re-asserted local community control of school districts from the teachers unions and professional administrators who think they know so much. As a matter of fact, why stop there? Let's start impeaching a few judges and sacking a few agency bureaucrats as well. The government is there to serve us -- their employers -- in this representative republic. Most of the government in all three branches has seemingly forgotten that little fact. It's time we reminded them.

Forcefully.

Obama Worship



I don't know about you, but I find this photo -- posted today on the Drudge Report -- a bit troubling. Of course, I must give the caveat that the photo is misleading as to what was really going on here. But it's still illustrative of a very real concern that I have when watching Obama's entranced crowds. If what was going on IS as it appears, we indeed have a very real problem.

How often in recent history have we seen such blatant fawning over a presidential candidate, for heaven's sake? I mean, come on! There is a term that I could use to describe what this scene looks like, but on reflection I decided to edit it out. As usual, people would be offended by the reference and miss the point altogether. I imagine the rest of what I say will make some people mad enough.

We are supposed to be electing a president, not a spiritual figure or Messiah. We already have one of those, thank you very much, and His name isn't Obama.

I can think of other examples in history when a speaker was able to mezmerize a crowd. Sometimes the speaker's control over the crowd was near demonic, if not genuinely so. The media being in the tank and advancing the cause/propaganda of the candidate doesn't help matters much.

People had better snap out of their glazed-eye trances and think about what they're about to do to this country.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A Living Temple? Wow!



I’d like to take a break from the political and cultural for a while, if you don’t mind.

Today, let’s look at a wonderful passage of Scripture from one of my favorite New Testament books — the letter of the Apostle Paul to the church at Ephesus . . .

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22).

So often — when we conceptualize the church — we tend to view either the building or denominational structure. Thinking of the church as people can be difficult, even though we know that’s what the church really is. People, called out by God and redeemed with the precious blood of our Savior.

What a marvel in these words of Scripture! Those who are in the camp of the redeemed are no longer strangers and aliens. Instead, the Lord has made us fellow citizens with the saints . . . of God’s household! Those of us alive today and reading the Scriptures left for us are being built on the foundation of those who have gone before, the apostles and prophets. The Lord Himself is the cornerstone. We are in Him. In Him, we are growing into a holy temple, being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit!

I don’t know about you, but that’s so hard for me to fathom. Knowing my own flesh, and the comparative rarity of moments when I feel holy, it astounds me that my Creator and Redeemer would even want to get near me, much less indwell me.

But that’s the amazing grace and mercy of our Lord and Savior. And He has promised to complete the work He began in us.

Amazing.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Barack the Brazen or Barack the Bumbler?



If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State. -- Josef Goebbels

The more I watch the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama unfold, I am increasingly perplexed by the seeming torpor of the electorate. No matter what comes out of this guy's mouth, or out of the mouths of his associates, all you seem to get is a "Ho hum. Whatever." You can't blame the media entirely either. Enough is out there now that even a pro-Obama media can't hush it all up.

First, (and I noted this in a previous post) Obama sniffs at "traditional" interpretations of Scripture when it comes to the issue of homosexuality. Not much of a surprise when you consider that his chosen denomination, the United Church of Christ, has largely fallen into apostasy. The Bible is as elastic as Silly Putty when it comes to that bunch. The Black Liberation Theology of Obama's particular (now former) congregation is another matter.

Then, as he was announcing his departure from Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago after the latest pastor/priest eruption, he had the chutzpah to say that his Christian faith was "fairly conventional." Excuse me? Twenty years in a church like that, and your faith is "fairly conventional?" In your view, homosexuality doesn't matter to God, and you call your "Christian" faith "fairly conventional?

What is Obama's soteriology? What is Obama's Christology? What is Obama's overall view of Scripture? Is it just a collection of stories or is it the inerrant Word of God? (I think we know that one already) Did Jesus come to pay the price for human sin, or did He come to achieve a Marxist revolution here on earth? Is Che Guevara a dead terrorist thug, or is he a patron saint?

I was waiting for at least one journalist to challenge Obama on his claim to a "conventional" Christian faith. If the mainstream media wouldn't, perhaps at least someone on Fox News would. I am still waiting. Then again, even though Fox has the reputation for being right-leaning, I am sure they're just as much in the tank for the homosexual agenda as any of the other media. The way that public opinion has been changing on this subject, aided and abetted by media accomplices and public education, I don't imagine it will be too long before someone starts a new church with the doctrine that Oscar Wilde died for our sins. And they'll probably get their services broadcast for free. But I digress.

Did you also notice that Obama kept insisting that the church was being caricatured? Did you notice that he wasn't leaving so much because of what the pseudo-pastors said, but rather because he didn't want his candidacy to be a distraction to the church? When he says things like that, I'm afraid it makes his rather tepid disavowal of the pastors' statements suspect.

But does anyone care? Does anyone notice? Isn't anyone bothered even a little by any of this? Why aren't more orthodox pulpits ablaze with warnings about this? This goes beyond politics. This deals with theology.

But hey. As Three Dog Night once sang, "What's all these crazy questions they askin' me?" Obama means hope. Obama means change. We love Obama.

Welcome to Oceania. Welcome to the Ministry of Truth. Welcome to Ingsoc. Shining, happy people. Shiny, happy proles.

Has this nation really fallen to that level of imbicility?

Never mind. Don't answer that.

Editor's note: Today, Cal Thomas posted this commentary basically making my point about whether Barack Obama is a true Christian as defined by Scripture. On the Fox News website. Good for Cal. Now if some others would jump on the bandwagon!