Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fatal Union Games?

Those of us in Illinois remember the blizzards of the late 70s — one of which cost the late Chicago mayor Michael Bilandic his job. Now we have a similar contretemps brewing in New York City in the wake of the weekend blizzard that crippled transit.

Enter this little story from the New York Post, claiming that the city union bosses ordered a slowdown to protest budget cuts. People are mad enough at Michael Bloomberg, but if this story actually checks out, their rage could well be re-directed and rightly so.

Mayor Bloomberg was high-handed enough in his dismissal of the complaints, and he deserves a bit of a slap-down for his attitude. But this alleged action by the unions contributed to fatal consequences for several people. If proven, someone should cool their heels in jail for a while.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Obama's Faith

There has certainly been no shortage of commentaries and articles -- both print and broadcast -- on the religious faith of President Barack Obama. The latest examination comes from Politico, and they're discussing how Obama is increasingly talking about his faith on the stump.

I find that interesting on several levels, but I'll comment on one -- namely, I have found that liberal Democratic politicians who dare speak publicly about Scripture usually muff it pretty badly. Remember the howler of a misquote that Bill Clinton gave at a Democratic convention? "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard what we can build together . . . "

What? Ahem! Cough, cough. I think the verse actually reads . . . 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. That's in I Corinthians 2:9, if you're interested.

Bill Clinton loved to carry that huge Bible. It would have been nice if he had actually read it, not to mention taking to heart how seriously the Lord takes it when His Word is misquoted or mishandled.

The linked Politico article talks about President Obama often referencing as a "mantra" the biblical phrase, "I am my brother's keeper." He uses it to justify the ever-expanding government reach into peoples' lives, businesses and the economy. But just where did that little phrase come from, you might ask. Let's see. I believe . . . ah, yes! It comes out of Genesis, and the one who says it is none other than Cain, son of Adam and the world's first murderer . . .

Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.” Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is too great to bear! Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” So the LORD said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him. Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden (Genesis 4:9-16).

As you can see from the context (a wondrous thing that is -- context), the oft-quoted phrase from Obama has nothing to do whatsoever with expansion of government, even to do good things. It's a smart-aleck response from a guilty man trying to pass off just snuffing his brother.

I wish these politicians would actually read Scripture. They just might learn something. They might even get saved.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A False Prophet Strikes Again

For my first post after Christmas, why not something to raise our blood pressure? It looks like Harold Camping is at it again. Specifically, Harold is once again date-setting for the return of Christ, despite the clear teaching of Scripture that no one will know the date or the hour.

Harold muffed the date back in the 1990s. Edgar Whisenant muffed it back in the 80s. Edgar did the same thing Harold did this time. Edgar predicted in a book "88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988." The day came and went, and Edgar said his mathematics was off a year. Well, 1989 came and went too. Edgar justly lost any credibility and faded away into the woodwork.

Unfortunately, Harold has a broadcast network and people still send him money.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Christmas Week Addendum

As a supplement to yesterday's post, it would be good to peruse this USA Today article about how the Christian aspect of Christmas is steadily losing out in American society.

Ironic, because there wouldn't even BE a Christmas without the Lord Jesus Christ. And while I find the story very saddening, it also should serve as a motivator for churches (and individual believers) to do what the church is supposed to do, and that is to proclaim the truth — also known as the Gospel.

The long and short of it is that we need to take back our holiday, and stop apologizing for it. We are WAY too concerned over whether or not someone is offended. I find the anti-Christian spirit highly offensive, and I'm not the slightest bit worried over whether someone is bothered by it. They can just go rub their mad place.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

No doubt you have noticed the dearth of posts for the past month, and before that, my increasingly sporadic attempts at maintaining this blog. I don't like neglecting The Seventh Sola, but the past few months have been challenging in both my work and family circumstances. Beginning with my late stepfather's illness starting this past spring and subsequent passing in October, I've been absorbed quite a bit at home caring for my mother, which demands a lot of attention. The office is busy also, with changes in personnel requiring me to pick up additional duties.

I am hopeful things will settle down a bit after the first of the year, and that I can get back to being a more regular contributor to blogdom. I am going to take a bit of a Christmas-week hiatus, and plan on being back with a post the following week -- definitely before the first of the year.

In the meantime, let me wish you and yours a most blessed and wonderful Christmas. May we always remember the true meaning of the season -- beginning in that humble Bethlehem manger 2,000 years ago . . .

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them
(Luke 2:1-20).

Friday, December 17, 2010

Nuking in the News?

Yesterday in USA Today. I saw a story on surviving a nuclear attack -- I guess some new consideration of that question is afoot. I looked on their website this morning and couldn't see it, and didn't feel like slogging through a bunch of clicks. So instead, I googled and found this story from the New American on the same thing. I guess the "newspaper of record," the New York Times, originally published on the topic December 15.

Yes, you can still find old fallout shelter signs in some cities, but I suspect most Americans have forgotten about those. Interesting to me that now we have a spate of stories on surviving a nuclear attack.

Kind of makes you wonder if they're trying to prepare us for something coming, doesn't it? That's a nice thought for a very merry Christmas, isn't it?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chavez: Dictator for Life?

I never cease to be amazed that someone like Hugo Chavez can get elected to the position of dog-catcher, much less the presidency of a country. I'll bypass for now the wisecrack I could make about my own nation.

Anyway, the Associated Press posted this little story about Chavez wanting the authority to rule by decree for a year. I guess this will be the fourth time he's done it. The Venezuelan opposition seems powerless to do anything about it.

Let's have some fun. Suppose our own Mr. Obama takes a notion to ask Congress for authority to rule by decree for a year? Aside from the obvious constitutional issues, would he get away with it? I used to think, "no way." Now, I'm not so sure.

Look at the rioting across Europe because people are suddenly realizing that womb-to-the-tomb social programs cost a lot of money, and eventually the government runs out of other people's money. What would happen here in the U.S. should the government checks suddenly dry up?

I'm sure it wouldn't be pretty. And I'm sure some in the government would love the opportunity.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Obamacare and the Court

The news is all a-chatter tonight (as I write this) about a federal judge striking down the mandate portion of Obama/Pelosi/Reid's health care law as unconstitutional. Please allow me to join in some of the chatter and a bit of prognostication.

The first thing I found interesting about today's coverage is that the AP and other media breathlessly reported that it was a Bush-appointed federal judge that struck the law down. In passing, they casually mentioned that two other judges had ruled to uphold the law. Wouldn't it have been more fair and balanced if they had mentioned the party affiliation of the president who appointed those judges? Can I guess that it probably was a Democratic president? Just asking.

Next, a couple of things to watch. The governors, state attorneys general and others are planning on asking the Justice Department's concurrence in bypassing the appeals courts and taking this directly to the Supreme Court to get it settled. It is possible that the Obama Administration might try and run out the clock on this one, dragging it out as long as possible in hopes of being able to appoint more justices to the court. That is, assuming one or more of the conservative justices either retires or dies. Barring that scenario, if it does actually get to the Supreme Court, it is no guarantee that the law will be found unconstitutional there, despite a 5-4 split between conservative vs. liberal justices. Justice Anthony Kennedy has largely taken Sandra Day O'Connor's place as the "swing" justice. He could go either way on this one.

I would like to see more federal courts tell the executive branch and the legislative branch they have gone too far in ignoring the Constitution and usurping states' rights. I'd love to see the Supreme Court do that in this case.

I won't hold my breath.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Stirring the Pot With God's Word

This week's installment from The Fundamentals

by Philip Mauro
Attorney at Law

Here is one book among countless millions which is singled out for relentless hatred, and that fact alone is sufficient to provoke astonishment and invite the closest scrutiny to ascertain the explanation of the unique phenomenon. What characteristic is it that distinguishes this Book from all other books in so strange a fashion? Has its influence upon men been corrupting or otherwise evil? Does it teach doctrines dangerous to individuals or communities? Does it promote disorder, vice or crime?

On the contrary, it will not be questioned that its influence, wherever it has gone, has been beneficial beyond that of all other books combined, and that the most fruitful human lives are those which have been moulded by its teachings. One explanation alone will account for the astounding fact that such a Book should be the only one now or ever in existence to provoke active and persistent animosity among men who refuse to acknowledge it as from God; namely, that it declares man to be a fallen creature, and his whole career to be the mere outworking of his corrupt nature in the path of disobedience; and that it predicts in plain language what the end of that path will be for all who do not accept God's method of deliverance out of it through Jesus Christ.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Hey, Bud! Got a Nickel?

Thanks to James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal for reminding me of this in his column today. I've seen this fact referenced many times by various talking heads and meant to call attention to it, but I kept forgetting.

Anyway, we are hearing an increasing number of liberal-friendly wealthy people cheering the idea of a tax increase by saying that they'd LOVE to pay more taxes. That's fine. Go ahead. But I'll thank you to write the check yourself and leave me out of your coerced charity.

The federal government would be happy to receive the heartfelt gifts of liberal millionaires and billionaires who think the government doesn't have enough money. Here's where you can send your generous contribution . . .

Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Credit Accounting Branch
3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
Hyattsville, MD 20782

My word to the rest of you -- don't hold your breath waiting for them to do it. I've found many of them have a hard time putting their money where their mouths are.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Evolution in the Pulpit

This week's installment from The Fundamentals

by "An Occupant of the Pew"

If, as some assert, the clergymen who accepted the evolutionary theory were driven to it by fear of ridicule, or of not being thought abreast of "the trend of modern thought," it was not only cowardly on their part, but grossly inconsistent with their Christian profession. For even a partial investigation of the subject must have made clear to them that evolutionism and Christianity are, essentially, intensely antagonistic.

The pulpit efforts of some ministers at reconciling them would be laughable from a logical standpoint were the issues involved not so serious and the effects upon some of their unthinking hearers not so deplorable. Certainly, scholarship can no longer be pleaded as an excuse for clinging to Darwinism; and, in the interest of common honesty, these men ought to either drop their materialism or leave the Christian pulpit.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

When Sodom Reigns

As the so-called "lame duck" session of Congress proceeds, one of the things the rabid "progressives" are pushing is repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on open homosexuals serving in the military.

In this column, Dave Welch examines the long term implications of American society's sexual permissiveness.

Worth reading and pondering.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Not Ashamed of the Gospel

Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury in England, is helping to publicize "Not Ashamed Day" in response to what UK Christians believe are growing attacks on their faith.

Here is a BBC web article about the campaign. I am glad to see this, and personally think we could do with a bit of it here in the United States before we get to the state of affairs believers are experiencing in England. A notable clip from the article:

In recent years, Lord Carey said Christians had been penalised for activities such as wearing crosses and offering to pray for other people.

"Christianity is a public religion, always has been and always will be," he said as he launched the campaign outside the House of Lords. What we believe in is of paramount importance to our nation and were we to lose it, then I have no idea what will happen to the Christian faith in this country."

The former archbishop unveiled a leaflet warning that Britain's Christian culture was "under attack".

I was watching a video today put out for the 60th anniversary of Slavic Gospel Association's UK branch. In it, almost as an aside, one of the individuals being interviewed from the UK office was harkening back to what Christian ministry was like during the communist years in the Warsaw Pact nations, comparing it to the freedom believers had in the UK. Then he added, "back then, at least." It was a quiet acknowledgement of how the tide has turned against Christian expression in England, and Western Europe in general.

It's a warning we'd do well to heed.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Worship and Truth

As you'll notice on my sidebar, Pyromaniacs is a favorite must-see blog stop for me. Phil Johnson, Dan Phillips, Frank Turk, and occasionally Phil's son "Pecadillo" do a stellar job contending for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints.

Today, Phil takes up the subject of worship and truth. How often do we focus on the mechanics of song and ritual, forgetting that the truth behind the songs etc. is supposed to be the real object. And God Himself is truth personified.

Read Phil's post today and be edified!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Neglect of Prophecy Pt 2

This week's installment from The Fundamentals

by Arno C. Gabelein

The prophecies of the Bible must be first of all divided into three classes:

1. Prophecies which have found already their fulfillment.

2. Prophecies which are now in process of fulfillment.

Many predictions written several thousand years ago are now being accomplished before our eyes. We mention those which relate to the national and spiritual condition of the Jewish people and the predictions concerning the moral and religious condition of the present age.

3. Prophecies which are still unfulfilled.

We have reference to those which predict the second, glorious and visible coming of our Lord, the re-gathering of Israel and their restoration to the land of promise, the judgments which will fall on the nations of the earth, the establishment of the Kingdom, the conversion of the world, universal peace and righteousness, the deliverance of groaning creation, and others.

These great prophecies of future things are often robbed of their literal and solemn meaning by a process of spiritualization. The visions of the prophets concerning Israel and Jerusalem, and the glories to come in a future age, are almost generally explained as having their fulfillment in the Church during the present age. However, our object is not to follow the unfulfilled prophecies, but prophecies fulfilled and in process of fulfillment. At the close of our treatise, we shall point out briefly that in the light of fulfilled prophecies, the literal fulfillment of prophecies still future is perfectly assured.

Editor's Note: I will try to post in future installments clips out of this essay by Mr. Gaebelein, however it is too lengthy and detailed to post the whole thing verbatim. If you don't have a copy of The Fundamentals, I highly recommend it. A very affordable version can be found at Christian Book Distributor's website.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; And to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God (Psalm 50:23)

The Seventh Sola wishes everyone a most joyous Thanksgiving. And may we indeed be thankful for God's abundant blessings.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Calling Admiral Mullen!

A story from this weekend has caused me to once again defer "From the Fundamentals." Namely, I'm talking about Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen's statement about gays in the military.

If you go to the bottom of the Puffington Host article, you'll see that Mullen makes the claim that asking servicemen and women to "lie about themselves" goes against military ethics.

What a load of hogwash. In the first place, look again at the current policy. It's called "don't ask, don't tell." In other words, the military won't ask, and expects those in the service not to go around yapping about their sexual predilections. I don't see where the current policy asks people to lie. It doesn't. It just says to shut up.

Of, of course someone will say that if someone gets caught in flagrante delicto or gets asked point blank, they'll have to lie if they want to stay in the service. That might be true, but no one asked them to lie. They chose to do it themselves. And they're the ones who went into the military knowing full well what the regulations and standards are. Instead, we get a media-driven false guilt trip and pity party.

Maddening, isn't it?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Blatant Apostate

Hold on to your hats and get ready. I'm about to show you some of the most blatant apostasy I've ever seen, at least in terms of a news story carried by Christian media.

Get a load of the "Reverend" Jim Swilley, a "pastor" in Georgia. According to this Christian Post article, the good bishop is not only homosexual and proud of it, he also openly demonstrates that he doesn't care what God's Word has to say on the subject.

I could go line by line and rip his statements to shreds, but I don't think it's really necessary. He does a fantastic job of condemning himself out of his own mouth. He doesn't want to argue Scripture because Scripture is abundantly clear about what God thinks of homosexual behavior.

As a final observation, Bishop Swilley says he is "at peace" with God. Not quite. Instead, this false "peace" can be more likely traced to the Holy Spirit stopping His conviction on a rebelling heart. Scripture says that God will not strive with man forever. The Lord Jesus also makes it pretty clear that if the Holy Spirit doesn't draw you, you're not coming to saving faith. You won't even want to. Bishop Swilley is a good example of what we're in for in the days ahead in terms of the spiritual condition of the planet. It's just what we expect prior to Christ's return.

I'll leave aside any puns on the Bishop's last name. But you can put two and two together.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Airport Security? Do It Like Israel!

By now, I'm sure even non-flyers have heard of the growing outrage over what I call federally-paid group groping. In other words, the very, very invasive "pat downs" and nude body scans in the name of stopping terrorism on planes.

Columnist Franklin Naff has some cogent advice for us. In fact, it echoes something I've said on my radio program many times. If we're really interested in airline security, we ought to emulate the Israelis in how they do it. They're better than anyone else in the world.

Sadly, our government would rather be politically correct and try to coerce everyone like cattle in the name of "equality." In my more cynical moments, I could almost see the government relenting to the public outrage, then letting a terrorist bombing slip through so they can say, "See! See! We told you so!" Then they'd put through even more draconian measures.

Hopefully enough of the public is waking up to this stuff to the point Big Sis and allies are going to be slapped down a little.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Close Washington's "Open Bar"

I've always liked Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, but have questioned whether he has national standing enough to mount a viable presidential campaign.

In a special op-ed piece written for the Union Leader, Governor Pawlenty rightly whacks the "open bar" in Washington D.C. He reminds us that "nothing is free."

As an aside, that's part of why my blood pressure goes up every time I see actor Andy Griffith's folksy puffery in favor of Obamacare. "Free checkups, free screenings." No, they're NOT free. Someone is paying for them, namely me.

Here's another aside to pop the left's bubble. I am not a millionaire. Not even close. In fact, my salary is only five figures. I'll bet you think I'm envious of those who make in excess of $250,000 and am demanding that they "pay their faire share."

Nope. I'll leave ginning up class warfare and envy to the left. I happen to know what creates jobs and what causes jobs to go elsewhere. And if little ol' me can understand it, I wish Washington would get it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pray for the Persecuted Church

Today is the official Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. As you'll see from this Christian Post article, more violence against believers is on the horizon.

Jesus said that His people would have tribulation in this world. He also said that believers would be hated for His name's sake. Here in North America, we don't really know what persecution for the Christian faith is like outside of some occasional name calling. That could change in the future. Are we ready for it?

Note: Our weekly installment from The Fundamentals will resume next weekend.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I'm Really Getting Tired of This Stuff!

No doubt, many of you have seen this story about a new flag flap. Seems a patriotic 13-year-old named Cody has been proudly flying a flag on his bike for the past couple of months. Now, right at Veterans Day, Cody's school ordered him to take the flag off of his bike. The reason? A couple of students complained. And the school authorities said they were worried about "unrest."

This is a bunch of cockamamie nonsense. I am glad the school relented, and pledged afterward to focus their efforts on the students causing "unrest." Good idea. Follow it through with a good sound crack of a paddle on their backsides.

I'd be interested to know which students were complaining about the American flag, and more than that, where they got their notions about the American flag being so offensive. I'm beginning to wish we'd begin deportations of people who hate this country so much. I have a hunch that after a while of living in Haiti or Burma, they might be thankful for what they had here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dr. MacArthur on Social Networking

I'm very pressed for time this week, so in lieu of a post, I recommend this little column by Dr. John MacArthur on social networking -- the pros and the cons.

Worth considering as these little devices called computers and smart phones consume more and more of our time.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Yanking the Judges' Chains

Another columnist I often like to read is Dr. Thomas Sowell. In this column posted today, Dr. Sowell applauds the voters of Iowa for reminding their Supreme Court who is ultimately in charge.

Now, if we could only do that at the federal level.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Warriors for Doctrine

In lieu of my usual weekend post from The Fundamentals, I am going to take a brief detour and put up a clip from Philip Schaff's "History of the Christian Church."

Born in Switzerland, Schaff eventually came to the United States and was a professor at Union Theological Seminary until his death in 1893. In Volume 3 of his church history, he takes up the issue of the early church and the battles over doctrine. It's worth reading.

The Nicene and Chalcedonian age is the period of the formation and ecclesiastical settlement of the ecumenical orthodoxy; that is, the doctrines of the holy trinity and of the incarnation and the divine-human person of Christ, in which the Greek, Latin and evangelical churches to this day in their symbolical books agree, in opposition to the heresies of Arianism and Appolinarianism, Nestorianism and Eutychianism. Besides these trinitarian and christological doctrines, anthropology also, and soteriology, particularly the doctrines of sin and grace, in opposition to Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism, were developed and brought to a relative settlement; only, however, in the Latin church, for the Greek took very little part in the Pelagian controversy.

The fundamental nature of these doctrines, the greatness of the church fathers who were occupied with them, and the importance of the result, give this period the first place after the apostolic in the history of theology. In no period, excepting the Reformation of the sixteenth century, have there been so momentous and earnest controversies in doctrine, and so lively an interest in them. The church was now in possession of the ancient philosophy and learning of the Roman empire, and applied them to the unfolding and vindication of the Christian truth. In the lead of these controversies stood church teachers of imposing talents and energetic piety, not mere book men, but venerable theological characters, men all of a piece, as great in acting and suffering as in thinking. To them, theology was a sacred business of heart and life, and upon them we may pass the judgment of Eusebius respecting Origen; "Their life was as their word, and their word was as their life."

The theological controversies absorbed the intellectual activity of that time, and shook the formation of the church and the empire. With the purest zeal for truth were mingled much of the
odium and rabies theologorum, and the whole host of theological passions; which are the deepest and most bitter of passions, because religion is concerned with eternal interests.

That last line really arrested me. "Religion is concerned with eternal interests." When I consider how loosely some in today's evangelical church throw doctrine around, I have to wonder whether they really have eternity in view at all.

On another note, I think we can also see that theological controversies never go away. That's because we have an enemy of our souls whose zeal to deceive has never relented. All the more so in these last days, and that makes it all the more important to hold on to biblical truth.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Post Election Doldrums

I imagine most of my regular readers will know that I've sort of been in the doldrums for the past few months. When I began this blog back in 2005, it was a new and novel opportunity to express myself. However, it seems the bloom has worn off. I trust that's only temporary, but right now it's reality.

Of course, I could attribute it to lots of things. Being way too busy in my off-line life, difficult family issues i.e. lots of deaths and illness, being tired. All of that's probably true. I think some of it also has to do with seeing the predicament our country is in, and knowing that there's precious little I can do about it outside of praying. When you have a good half or more of the nation ready to chuck our founding principles out the window in favor of the nanny state on steroids, it is depressing.

I voted, of course, in the most recent election. Generally Republican, although I voted for the Libertarian in the race for the U.S. Senate in Illinois because I couldn't stomach the liberal Republican running. And how in the world the state could have given the Governor's office to Pat Quinn (Rod Blagojevich's Lieutenant Governor) is beyond me. Oh, well. We'll have to reap the whirlwind.

And what about the national situation? Yes, the GOP won big in the House of Representatives, but failed to take the Senate, although they did increase their numbers enough to deny Democrats the 60 votes they need to pass major legislation. The Republicans have big goals, beginning with repealing and replacing the health care monstrosity inflicted on the country by the Democrats. Unfortunately, President Obama will veto any such attempt, and there is not a 2/3 majority in either house to override a veto. Sounds like a recipe for gridlock until 2012, which might not be a bad thing unless it backfires on the Republicans like it did in 1996, helping Bill Clinton win re-election.

All in all, the same old fun and games. But the stakes are a bit higher this time around. And who knows what the end game will be.

The long and short of it is . . . I'm tired.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Recovering our Republic

I've always liked Indiana's Mike Pence. In this issue of Imprimis (Hillsdale College's newsletter), Congressman Pence underscores the importance of today's election and the need to recapture the constitutional basis of our Republic.

Here's hoping and praying for a good, conservative victory today. But the battle will just be beginning.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Neglect of Prophecy

This week's installment from The Fundamentals

by Arno C. Gaebelein

In view of this fact (the Bible is shown to be a supernatural book) it is deplorable that the professing Church of today almost completely ignores and neglects the study of prophecy, a neglect which has for one of its results the the loss of one of the most powerful weapons against infidelity. The denial of the Bible as the inspired Word of God has become widespread.

If prophecy were intelligently studied, such a denial could not flourish as it does, for the fulfilled predictions of the Bible give the clearest and most conclusive evidence that the Bible is the revelation of God. To this must be added the fact that the destructive Bible criticism, which goes by the name of "Higher Criticism," denies the possibility of prophecy. The whole reasoning method of this school, which has become so popular throughout Christendom, may be reduced to the following: Prophecy is an impossibility; there is no such thing as foretelling future events. Therefore a book which contains predictions of things to come, which were later fulfilled, must have been written after the events which are predicted in the book. The methods followed by the critics, the attacks made by them upon the authenticity of the different books of the Bible, especially upon those which contain the most startling prophecies (Isaiah and Daniel), we cannot follow at this time. They deny everything which the Jewish Synogogue and the Christian Church always believed to be prophecy, a supernatural unfolding of future events.

The prophecies of the Bible must be first of all divided into three classes. 1. Prophecies which have found already their fulfillment. 2. Prophecies which are now in process of fulfillment. 3. Prophecies which are still unfulfilled.

To be continued next weekend.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

More Gales of November

If you'd like to see some more great shots of various outdoor excursions, check this site out by Sawtooth Outfitters. I wanted to post these today due to the current nasty windstorm in the Midwest, and nearing anniversary of the November 10, 1975, wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

As the pix attest, Lake Superior isn't nice during a storm.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Creeds and Today's Church

Every now and then, commenters on blogs or other social networking sites like Facebook post remarks that are keepers. Enter a comment from "Jerry," who posted the following about the historic church creeds on John Ankerberg's site . . .

"The Creeds were useful, but they did not deal with other errors that crept in like the hierarchical Church structure, Replacement Theology, allegorical biblical interpretation and baptismal regeneration. This is why these ancient Churches claim to be orthodox because they keep the creeds . . . but in the Gospel and the structure of the Church . . . they have departed from " the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints." (Jude 1:3).

Well said. I would add to the "ancient churches" some of the Emergent crowd who talk much these days about creeds such as The Apostle's Creed, claiming to adhere to them as hallmarks of their churches' orthodoxy. Sounds fine and good on the surface until you start digging deeper about what they really believe about truth, epistemology and orthodox doctrine in general. You often find they're quite liberal. And the biblical apostles most certainly would not approve.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Thelma, Louise and Barack Obama

Barack Obama has been yukking it up with his base during campaign appearances this week. Actually, his entire administration thus far has been on nothing but campaign mode since inauguration, but that's beside the point.

As I noted in a previous post, the president has been making wisecracks about how we don't want to put the car in "R," meaning to go backwards with the Republicans. He thinks we should keep the car in "D" to go forward. Desiring to be helpful to the national discussion, I passed along my little quip about Thelma and Louise driving the car off the cliff to a Congressman friend of mine. When the national car is being driven off a cliff, it's wise to slam on the brakes and put the car in reverse.

I was happy to see Senator John Thune use the line on Fox and Friends this morning. I hope more politicians with access to media will begin using it also. We need to start being quicker on our feet in popping Barack's bubble.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

God's Glory Crushes Pride

By Dr. Les Lofquist
Executive Director, IFCA International

In my ministry, I work with pastors and church leaders. I’ve seen the subtle (and not so subtle) demonstrations of pride in their lives and in my own life. This always saddens me.

In a world that emphasizes aggression and rewards self-made men, what is the place for brokenness, humility, and dependence in a person’s life? What does the Bible say about the strength that comes from submission to Christ? What does all this mean and how important is all of this anyway?

Look at the catalogs of sin in Romans 3 and Galatians 5 and realize how desperately ugly sin is. Then look at the majestic beauty of our holy God. The result of this comparison and honest appraisal is that God’s holiness becomes severe and an encounter with Him becomes awful and painful and shameful and shattering. All pride is crushed under the weight of God’s glory and holiness.

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for “glory” is kavod and it means “to be heavy, weighty.” This is a description of God’s glory: His person is substantive while we as humans are all lightness and nothingness in comparison. Under God’s kavod, under His glory, we are crushed.

Men in Bible Who Were Crushed
Just take a look at some of the men in the Bible who encountered God is His glory and as a result were crushed. Here are a few examples of these broken men.

Job, after debating with his friends over the reasons and meaning of his trials, heard from God in His majesty. Here’s how Job responded to God’s revelation of His glory: “I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6).

Moses, after forty years of quietness as a shepherd, encountered God’s glory at the burning bush and it says: “he trembled and dare not look” (Acts 7:32).

Isaiah, the godly court prophet who had been faithfully serving the Lord saw the LORD high and lifted up in His glory and responded this way: “woe is me! I am undone [lit. destroyed]” (Isaiah 6:5).

Ezekiel, after seeing the vision of God in His throne room “fell on his face” (Ezekiel 1:28).

The great Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, after his incredible pride was crushed with a seven year bout of insanity, spoke these incredible words: “At the end of that time [seven years], I Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: ‘What have you done?’” (Daniel 4:17, 25, 32).

Peter, after fishing all night, with reluctance obeyed the Lord and then caught a net-breaking load of fish. In that moment Peter realized how proud and arrogant he was and responded in this way: “depart from Me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8).

John, the closest of Jesus’ earthly companions, saw the Risen Lord Jesus in His glory on the Isle of Patmos and it records that “when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead” (Revelation 1:17).

God’s glory is crushing! It crushes our pride and breaks us in our sin. Our pathetic, weak, worthless, feeble, puny pride gets crushed under the heavy weightiness of His awesome glory and holiness.

Some Demonstrations of Pride
As I wrote above, I’ve seen the subtle (and not so subtle) demonstrations of pride in the lives of many pastors and other Christian leaders. Here is a list of some of them I’ve seen. And yes I’m ashamed to say, I’ve been guilty of some of these in my own life:

Unwillingness to listen to advice, instruction, correction, information, and / or suggestions.

Prayerlessness: relying on your own abilities, strength, and self-sufficiency.

Reluctance to submit to authority, even anyone else’s set of rules.

Arguing and quarreling to prove you’re always right, even to the point of anger and rage.

Dominating conversations, saying something about every subject on every occasion (“with my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to help others with all their questions and difficulties”).

Maintaining an unteachable spirit (because you already know everything you need to know).

Responding to everyone around you with mockery, ridicule, and sarcastic put-downs YET you are unable to laugh at yourself along with everyone else.

Eagerly promoting yourself, who you know, what you’ve done, magnifying your achievements, illustrating your conversations with all the times you were right or you came to the rescue.

Enjoying the admiration of others, even secretly reveling in it.

Unwillingness to submit to the small indignities of daily life (like standing in a line, waiting your turn, driving an older used car, performing menial tasks or doing some manual labor).

An over-concern with externals, appearances, numbers (all designed to make you look good).

A reluctance to associate with people who cannot advance your status or enhance your image (like the poor, the shut-ins / infirmed, the severely handicapped, the elderly, or children).

You must always be in the role of teacher; you never listen to others as a student.

Being unwilling to admit you are wrong, apologize, seek forgiveness.

Controlling meetings by commenting on every subject and demanding your solution(s) be the final outcome for every agenda item.

Ungrateful for your present circumstances (“I deserve better… larger… more significant”).

Always having your family in charge, or up front, or in the spotlight.

Correcting others, even if they don’t ask for it (“they so desperately need my advice”).

Pride in you and / or your family’s intellectual development, acquisition of knowledge, academic achievement, class rankings, prestigious scholarships, awards / honors / trophies.

Knowing the truth, and defending the truth, because you are right (and you are!)… but doing so from a position of spiritual superiority and pride because it feels so good to be right.

In a world that emphasizes aggression and rewards self-made men, what must be the place for brokenness, humility, and dependence in a man’s life?

The proud and unbroken man’s only hope is found in experiencing the crushing glory of the Lord of the universe. Only then can he experience the freedom that comes from knowing Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (Galatians 5:1). Only then will he know the death of his arrogant, proud, sinful nature (Galatians 5:24). Only then will he come to the end of his self-importance and be able to surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26).

If we fail to renounce our pride and submit to the glory of the majestic King of the Universe, then we will experience the tragedy of 1 Peter 5:5. “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’” If we fail to clothe ourselves with humility, God will oppose us. It doesn’t say He will passively remove His blessing from us and our ministry… it says He will actively oppose us. Can you imagine anything worse than being actively opposed by the Lord God Almighty, all the while deceiving yourself into thinking you’re actually serving Him?

May God help us to see His glory and respond by renouncing all our pride!

Editor's Note: This article is being used with the gracious permission of Dr. Lofquist, IFCA International and VOICE magazine, Volume 89 Number 5 published September/October 2010. If you'd like more information on IFCA, please visit their website at

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

June Cleaver: What's Wrong with an Ideal?

Frazier Moore, the television writer for the Associated Press, has a column on the late Barbara Billingsley (June Cleaver) that I think is worth reading.

Barbara died over the weekend at the age of 94 -- yet another television icon gone from a bygone, more innocent era. In his column, Moore penned an insightful observation, which leads me to make one of my own. But first, here's Frazier Moore:

The original "Leave It to Beaver" series premiered in October 1957 and aired through September 1963. A curious thing: This glowing, picket-fenced vision of Americana ended two months before President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
An age of disillusionment had begun. And in TV sitcoms, the perfect nuclear family with the perfect stay-at-home mom was an endangered species.

In its place, "All in the Family" with addled doormat Edith Bunker came along. And raucous Roseanne Conner on "Roseanne." And raunchy Peg Bundy on "Married ... with Children." These were moms tailor-made for a different world of viewers. It was a different world of parents who weren't seeking escape by watching TV parents who were better than they could ever hope to be. They were seeking jagged reassurance from parents as hung up, or more so, than they had ever feared they could ever become.

This isn't the only time I've seen the downward spiral of television family entertainment — not to mention the decline of morals and traditionalism — linked with the demise of "Camelot." I don't know that Mr. Moore intends to say that the death of Kennedy caused the downward spiral, but many commentators view that time as when the nation became more jaded and questioning of traditional values.

I think it has more to do with the sin nature of human beings. It has more to do with what happens when a nation forgets God. It has more to do with what happens when society is drawn to (and glorifies) the coarse, irreverent, perverse and vulgar.

And what's with all this notion of people watching television "seeking escape?" Again, I've heard this many times before. To me, it's only so much psychobabble. I never watched television or any movie "seeking escape." I just watched it for entertainment. I didn't view things I watched as an electronic psychiatrist's couch or prescription anodyne.

Many people make fun of the 1950s, at least in the chattering class and entertainment world. Instead of creating wholesome, uplifting fare, they'd rather "push the envelope" and be "edgy" (read that to mean vulgar, crude, profane etc). And all the while, they continue to contribute to the downward spiral.

Yes, they make fun of the 1950s and the popular shows that were prevalent then. But truth be told, I'll bet a significant hunk of the American population wishes we were back in those halcyon days. What's wrong with an ideal mother and an ideal family? Isn't the whole point of an "ideal" something to be pursued, strived for and attained? What's wrong with an ideal?

Nothing at all.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hard to Starboard, All Engines Reverse!

Our beloved president is making lots of wisecracks these days about how the country needs to keep the national car in "D," and not go backwards with "R." In other words, don't vote Republican in November. Vote Democrat.

Yeah, right.

Let me pass along a little loving instruction to Sir Barack. When the national car is being driven over a cliff ala "Thelma and Louise," putting the car in reverse or slamming on the brakes is entirely appropriate.

Might want to switch drivers, too.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Bible: Never Obsolete

This week's installment from The Fundamentals

by Philip Mauro
Attorney at Law

One of the most prominent characteristics of books written by men for the purpose of imparting information and instruction is that they very quickly become obsolete, and must be cast aside and replaced by others. This is particularly true of books on science, textbooks, school books and the like. Indeed it is a matter of boasting (though it would be hard to explain why) that "progress" is so rapid in all departments of learning as to render the scientific books of one generation almost worthless to the next. Changes in human knowledge, thought and opinion occur so swiftly, that books, which were the standards yesterday, are set aside today for others, which in turn will be discarded for yet other "authorities" tomorrow. In fact, every book which is written for a serious purpose begins to become obsolete before the ink is dry on the page. This may be made the occasion of boasting of the great progress of humanity, and of the wonderful advances of "science;" but the true significance of the fact is that man's books are all, like himself, dying creatures.

The Bible, on the other hand, although it treats of the greatest and most serious of all subjects, such as God, Christ, eternity, life, death, sin, righteousness, judgment, redemption— is always the latest, best, and only authority on all these and other weighty matters whereof it treats. Centuries of "progress" and "advancement" have added absolutely nothing to the sum of knowledge on any of these subjects. The Bible is always fresh and thoroughly "up to date." Indeed it is far, far ahead of human science. Progress cannot overtake it, or get beyond it. Generation succeeds generation, but each finds the Bible waiting for it with its ever fresh and never failing stores of information touching matters of the highest concern, touching everything that affects the welfare of human beings.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Caving In to the "Agenda"

To take some liberty with Jerry Lee Lewis lyrics, it seems like there's "a whole lot of cavin' goin' on."

Let me explain. Homosexual rights activists are feeling their oats right now, and not just in the bedroom. A Bill Clinton-appointed federal judge just struck down the "don't ask, don't tell" policy against gays in the military (and even that policy was too much of a concession as far as I am concerned). They've been increasingly getting their way in terms of forcing their lifestyle down people's throats, and are stepping up their efforts to target churches and religious groups who have moral objections to homosexuality based on the tenets of their faith.

As indicated by this USA Today article about Elton John decrying anti-homosexual attitudes in American society, the media are joining in the full court press. Even conservatives are beginning to cave. Note in the Elton article how chummy he's been getting with Rush Limbaugh. Other conservative leaders are succumbing to the gay rights bandwagon. In the same issue of USA Today, there's a clip about gay activists pressing the Mormons to abandon their teaching that homosexuality is "unnatural."

We are basically seeing the fruit of what began when society allowed the psychobabblers to re-define homosexuality from an aberration or perversion into just a lifestyle choice. Things have deteriorated to the point where they are now trying to be recognized on the same grounds as a racial or ethnic minority -- a protected class. Never mind that we're talking about giving a sexual behavior the same protection and recognition that you'd give a black man sitting at a lunch counter. It's ridiculous.

I suppose I expect society in general to cave, but I have real problems when people who identify themselves as Christians start caving. I will need to leave the Mormons to answer for themselves, but my main point is for so-called evangelicals who are beginning to soften on this issue. What's the answer when the activists come knocking at our church doors demanding that we come to their point of view? Our answer ought to be that the Creator Himself has overruled them, and they need to repent. Here's what God's Word has to say on the subject:

You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination (Leviticus 18:22)

For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error (Romans 1:26-27).

Or 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 effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

The condemnation and judgment is severe, but as the last quoted verse indicates, there is hope and deliverance for those who repent of their sin and trust in Christ. "Such WERE some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified . . " Yes, there is hope for those who confess their sin and repent of it.

But Christians do no favors to homosexuals when they cave in to their demands. Society does no favors when society caves in to their demands. In the long run, their end will be destruction. And the society (and yes, the "church" ) that accepts the behavior as legitimate will share in the judgment.

I think that's the final observation I'd like to make. Homosexuals and liberals in general love to talk about "tolerance." But on this issue, they have moved beyond mere "tolerance." They are demanding acceptance and approval, and that is something true Christians can never give and be faithful to our Savior.

Late addendum . . . Check out this column by Joseph Farah, CEO of World Net Daily. A good summation of the public battle on this subject.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

More on Rewards/Punishment

This week's installment from The Fundamentals

by Sir Robert Anderson

Every treatise in support of these heresies (as discussed in the last installment on "Degrees of Heaven and Hell") relies on the argument that the words in our English Version, which connote endless duration, represent words in the original text which have no significance. But this argument is exploded by the fact that the critic would be compelled to use these very words if he were set the task of retranslating our version into Greek. For that language has no other terminology to express the thought. And yet it is by trading on ad captandum arguments of this kind, and by the prejudices which are naturally excited by partial or exaggerated statements of truth, that these heresies win their way. Attention is thus diverted from the insuperable difficulties which beset them, and from their bearing on the truth of the atonement.

But Christianity sweeps away all these errors. The God of Sinai has not repented of His thunders, but He has fully revealed Himself in Christ. And the wonder of the revelation is not punishment but pardon. The great mystery of the Gospel is how God can be just and yet the Justifier of sinful men. And the Scriptures which reveal that mystery make it clear as light that this is possible only through redemption; "not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 2:2). Redemption is only and altogether by the death of Christ. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

To bring in limitations here is to limit God.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Yoga and Christians

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Back in the late 1980s and 1990s, there was much concern in the conservative, evangelical wing of Christianity about yoga and other Eastern mystical practices getting a foothold in the church. I think those concerns were justified at the time, and I think they're still justified.

Southern Baptist theologian Dr. Albert Mohler is concerned, and wrote an article on the subject, an article referenced in this news clip. Predictably, a hue and cry has sallied forth blasting Mohler for attacking what is clearly an unbiblical practice with demonic roots. If you look at the angry responses from some of the women in the AP story, they're huffing and puffing about how yoga makes them "feel." They could care less about biblical truth. Feelings are all that matters.

At one time, I leaned toward allowing that yoga exercises per se were harmless if they were done as physical exercises alone without the spiritual chants and mind-emptying practices. I have changed my views since then. As they say down South, "you might as well eat the Devil's meat as to drink his broth."

We have come to a point in our culture where Christians must stand separate and distinct from the unbelieving world. We must not confuse spiritual truth by leaning into anything that smacks of syncretism. Participating in Eastern mystical practices only fudges and confuses. We'd better wake up to that fact and quit being so gullible and undiscerning.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

My Stepfather's Passing

Rev. Lacy A. Williams, 86, of Freeport (Red Oak), IL, died October 3, 2010, at Provena St. Joseph Center in Freeport, IL. Lacy was born December 15, 1923, in Rainelle, WV, the second of eight children. He was a World War II veteran, having served in the Navy for five years. He then attended Freed-Hardeman College, Henderson, TN, from 1951-1954, where he became deeply interested in the Bible.

Lacy’s strong faith in Christ became the foundation of his ministry, which lasted for more than 50 years. Lacy pastored churches in West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, New York, California and Missouri. He retired in 2000 after serving for several years as pastor of the Church of God in Forrest, Illinois. As he would often say, “I have a deep, abiding faith in Jesus Christ and His Word.”

During the last 15 years of his life, Lacy learned to use the computer, published two books, maintained an online blog, “The True Believer,” and published a weekly series of e-mail essays also entitled “The True Believer.”

Lacy is survived by his wife, May Lurea, and his children, Sharon Sellers, Dianne Hershman, Donna Bean and David (Marcy) Williams, and their mother, Betty Lilly Williams. He is also survived by step-children Carol Garrison, Vicki (Barry) Collinson and Joel Griffith, seven grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, his brother Lovell (Erma) Williams, and many loving relatives.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, October 7, 2010, at the Moreland Funeral Home, 55 E. Schrock Road, Westerville, Ohio. Visitation will be at the funeral home Wednesday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. In lieu of flowers, friends who wish may contribute in memory of Lacy to the youth ministry at Park Hills Evangelical Free Church, 2525 W. Stephenson Street, Freeport, Illinois, 61032. Donations may also be made to Provena St. Joseph Center, 659 East Jefferson Street
Freeport, Illinois, 61032

Friday, October 01, 2010

Every Picture Tells a Story

The Drudge Report linked this photo to a story about the fun weather Los Angeles has been enjoying of late. The photo in question was taken over Hollywood of all places. A rainbow and lightning bolt captured together. Wow.

Just to show you how differing worldviews compete, consider this. Some view it as an interesting meteorological phenomenon. I personally see some theological symbolism, i.e. God's promise of hope balanced by certain judgment if mankind does not repent. Knowing the Hollywood crowd, they'd misinterpret it to see a gay rights message.

Wonder how they'd interpret San Francisco or L.A. falling into the ocean?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

False Tolerance

I always enjoy reading David Brickner's columns in the Jews for Jesus newsletter. This month's column is a keeper.

Titled "Outside the Camp," David's column talks about the reluctance of Christians to share the Gospel in the name of "building relationships" or "earning the right" to share it. He also rightly raps the modern notion of "tolerance." Here's a quote . . .

True tolerance is treating people decently regardless of how they may differ from you. The false tolerance demanded by today's society requires that you accept all beliefs as equally true, or if you can't do that, you keep quiet about it.

Keeping quiet about the Gospel is not an option for us as believers. If we wait to "earn the right," we'll never get around to sharing it. I'm still trying to learn that lesson, and for an introvert like me, it's not easy. But it's a must.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Degrees of Heaven and Hell

This week's installment from The Fundamentals

by Sir Robert Anderson

We have seen then that man is a sinner in virtue both of what he is and what he does. We do what we ought not, and leave undone what we ought to do. For sin may be due to ignorance or carelessness, as well as to evil passions which incite to acts that stifle conscience and outrage law. And we have seen also that every sin gives rise to two great questions which need to be distinguished, though they are in a sense inseparable. The one finds expression in the formula, "guilty or not guilty," and in respect of this no element of limitation or degree is possible. But after verdict, sentence; and when punishment is in question, degrees of guilt are infinite.

It has been said that no two of the redeemed will have the same heaven; and in that sense no two of the lost will have the same hell. This is not a concession to popular heresies on this subject. For the figment of a hell of limited duration either traduces the character of God, or practically denies the work of Christ. If the extinction of being were the fate of the impenitent, to keep them in suffering for an aeon or a century would savor of the cruelty of a tyrant who, having decreed a criminal's death, deferred the execution of the sentence in order to torture him. Far worse indeed than this, for, ex hypothesi, the resurrection of the unjust could have no other purpose than to increase the capacity of their suffering. Or if we adopt the alternative heresy—that hell is a punitive and purgatorial discipline through which the sinner will pass to heaven—we disparage the atonement and undermine the truth of grace. If the prisonor gains his discharge by serving out his sentence, where does grace come in? And if the sinner's sufferings can expiate his sin, the most that can be said of the death of Christ is that it opened a short and easy way to the same goal that could be reached by a tedious and painful journey.

But further, unless the sinner is to be made righteous and holy before he enters hell—and in that case, why not let him enter heaven at once?—he will continue unceasingly to sin; and every fresh sin will involve a fresh penalty, his punishment can never end.

Next week, Sir Anderson deals with what he terms a "false argument" on this subject.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Slap Em' Down Again, Maw (the judge, I mean)

Looks like a federal judge in the 9th circuit has done it again, according to this news item today. For those not inclined to click away, here's a brlef clip . . .

A federal judge says the Air Force violated the constitutional rights of a highly decorated flight nurse when it discharged her for being gay, and ordered that she be given her job back as soon as possible.
U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton issued his highly anticipated ruling Friday in the case of former Maj. Margaret Witt. She was discharged under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays serving in the military and sued to get her job back.

Time to end the nonsense of redefining sexual immorality as a civil right and creating a new protected class like in the fashion of a racial minority. Time for Congress to impeach a judge for abusing his authority. Time for Congress to use their constitutional authority to restrict the jurisdiction of the courts, and even to abolish a court that has become infamous for idiotic rulings.

It's time, and way past time. But this nation is in rebellion and thusly increasingly under judgment, and when a nation is under judgment, people lose their ability to think.

You do not have the right to do what is wrong.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bede for Today

Lately (amid crises) I've been trying to read some of the works of the Venerable Bede (late 600s-early 700s). Here's a sample:

When the depredations of its enemies had ceased, the land enjoyed an abundance of corn without precedent in former years; but with plenty came an increase in luxury, followed by every kind of crime, especially cruelty, hatred of truth, and love of falsehood. If anyone happened to be more kindly or truthful than his neighbours, he became a target for all weapons of malice as though he were an enemy of Britain. And not only the laity were guilty of these things, but even the Lord's flock and their pastors. Giving themselves up to drunkenness, hatred, quarrels, and violence, they threw off the easy yoke of Christ.

Suddenly, a terrible plague struck this corrupt people, and in a short while destroyed so large a number that the living could not bury the dead.

Food for thought, isn't it?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Some Badly Needed Levity

It's been a bit of a rough week or so around The Seventh Sola house. Due to some health issues in my family, I've been neglecting the blog pretty badly. I didn't get this week's installment from The Fundamentals up, nor did I get the final installment of my Revelation series posted. In lieu of these items, I am offering up this bit of hilarity from a Bulgarian designer. He has taken world and regional maps and used them to highlight stereotypical images of various nations. Some of them are pretty funny, while others make me wince. And hopefully things will get back to normal soon so I can post more regularly.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Constitution Test

This week, we celebrate Constitution Day in the United States, or at least, we ought to celebrate it.

Thursday evening, I heard a disturbing story in the news that many school districts across the country are getting away from studying the Constitution, which if true is tragic. So, in honor of Constitution Day, I am happy to link you to this little quiz on the Constitution.

And do something yourself locally. If your school district isn't teaching the Constitution (and I don't mean from a liberal revisionist standpoint either), raise plenty of cain until they get back to it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Faithful and True - Philadelphia

The church at Philadelphia is the next stop in our review of the Lord Jesus' messages to the seven churches in Revelation. Note to the unbiblically-minded -- we're not talking about Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Our Philadelphia is a bit further east, and our biblical text begins in Revelation 3:7.

The Philadelphian congregation is the second church that receives no rebuke from the Lord. Jesus begins by stating that He knows their deeds, and tells them that He has put before them an open door to the kingdom that no one can shut, because they have a little power. More than that, they have kept His Word and not denied His name (and perhaps that's why they have a little power). The Philadelphia believers persevered no matter what Satan could throw in their path.

In addition to their steadfastness, the Lord tells these faithful believers that they will be an example to the unbelieving and the persecuting, and in the end, they will have their tormentors bow before them. He will also keep them from the hour of testing that is about to come on the whole world. The Greek in this particular passage (referring to the hour of testing) can mean "keep from or keep through." As I stated earlier, I have no desire or intent with this series to get into the eschatological significance of these seven churches and Christ's messages to each one. My desire is to have us reflect on what God is telling us about how a church is conduct itself now. For the church at Philadelphia (and for all of us), the main thing to carry from this particular message is that God is faithful.

The Lord has no rebuke for the Philadelphians, but he does have a final warning. He tells them to hold fast to what they have, so that no one will take their crown. We have already seen from some of the Lord's messages to the earlier churches that not all of them held fast to what they had. Several had already drifted into apostasy. We are warned in Scripture . . . Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall (1 Corinthians 10:12). Error is not far from any of us, and we must cling all the closer to the Word of God, and reliance on the Holy Spirit, who is our seal and keeper.

In this day and age of deception, it's a warning we'd better take to heart.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"Beckoning" Christians

In this week's issue of World Magazine, columnist and editor Marvin Olasky sounds a warning similar to the one I raised a while back about Christians getting sucked into the Glenn Beck phenomenon.

Again, it's not so much a concern over what Mr. Beck wants to accomplish in a political sense, i.e. drawing America back to its constitutional roots. We're all for that. Rather, it's out of concern over the danger of spiritual syncretism. Marvin's warning is spot on, and otherwise biblically-astute Christians would do well to heed it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Fatherhood of God

This week's installment from The Fundamentals

by Robert E. Speer

And what new courage and hope (the fatherhood of God) it brings into a man's life. You say to me, "Man, you have got to be like God," and I reply, "Take your preposterous blasphemy away. To be like God?" But you say to me, "He is your own Father, and you are His son. We are not asking you to become like that to which you are essentially unlike; we are simply asking you to become like your Father. It is His own nature in you that He will develop until restored to its full relationship to Him from Whom it came."

You talk that way about our duty as men in the world, and it makes all the difference between life and death to us. If God the Father did not come near to men in Jesus Christ, I do not know what I am going to do; I do not know where to find the help that I know I need. Nowhere else in the world has any voice arisen to offer it to men. But if God came near men in Jesus Christ and thereby guaranteed our own kinship to Him, I may believe that I can become like Him Whose son I am. It is on just this ground that St. Paul makes his appeal: "Be ye therefore imitators of God as dear children.