Monday, January 31, 2011

Carnality in Corinth (and Today!)

I am finding myself swamped again, and thus did not get to posting the weekend installment from The Fundamentals. I repent in sackcloth and ashes . . . however . . .

. . . I am swamped again today. Therefore, I offer up this excellent post from Phil Johnson over at Pyromaniacs. His subject is the all-too-easy carnality in vogue today in all too many churches, especially when it comes to sexual sin.

Read and ponder.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Arkansas and Elton

It never ceases to amaze me how a tiny minority manages to intimidate the rest of the population into letting it have its evil way.

Case in point is this story from ABC about a Harps Supermarket in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Mountain Home is a small, rural town in the Ozarks. I know it fairly well. It's in the middle of the Bible Belt. Completely in keeping with rural, Bible-belt values, some people objected to the fawning treatment of homosexuality on the cover of a national entertainment magazine. So the store covered it up, yet left it on sale for anyone who wanted it.

Looks like a local woman (whether she is from the area or a transplant is unknown) who undoubtedly also falls on the far left side of the fence decided to gin up some controversy. So she started tweeting all the usual gay activist suspects around the country, and they mounted a loud, shrill campaign of intimidation to force the store to reverse course and again show Elton John, his gay lover and their newborn little adopted baby — i.e. look at what a happy, normal family we have, no matter whether it's morally right in the eyes of God, nor the values of the local residents.

The store caved, sadly. Funnily enough, if they had stood their ground and stood by the residents of where the bulk of their stores are concentrated, they wouldn't have lost much business. In fact, they might have actually gained some business. Instead, they were spooked by the mouse that roared.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Glenn Beck, Gov. Bentley and Biblical Truth

It appears Glenn Beck is not too happy with Alabama Governor Bob Bentley. While the hyperlink will take you to the entire article on this subject, I want to post the essence of it below, then comment:

When you are a Republican and even Glenn Beck is joining the chorus of liberal critics about something you have said, you know you’re in trouble. Count the Fox News and radio talk meister among those upset by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley’s inauguration day remarks that non-Christians are not his brothers. Beck replayed Bentley’s comments for his nationally syndicated radio audience last week. Beck also played Bentley’s apology, in which he said he needed to choose his words more carefully. Beck said the problem was with the sentiment, not the wording. A true messenger of Jesus Christ, he said, must consider every person a brother or sister. "Even Luke Skywalker recognized that Darth Vader was his father," Beck said. Later, he added, "Governor, you are sadly mistaken about your Christianity."

First, a Mormon is not the best person in the world to describe biblical Christianity, being part of a pseudo-Christian cult. And I suspect that is part of the problem here.

As I noted in an earlier post, the governor was not giving a speech in the state capitol building. He was speaking to a group of fellow evangelical Christians in a church/Christian group setting. Contrary to Mr. Beck's opinion, what Bentley said IS biblical Christian theology. Period. End of discussion. Now, as a matter of politics, it probably wasn't wise for Bentley to make the statement in front of reporters who were likely there, especially knowing the media's bloodlust to humiliate and try to embarrass any Republican. At the very least, if he was going to make such a statement, true as it is, he should have provided explanation and context for those who were there so that his statement could not be so easily distorted.

Having said this, I suspect what bothers Glenn Beck is the fact that biblical Christians do not consider Mormonism to be true Christianity. He wants — as do most Mormons — to be considered part of mainstream Christianity and thereby lose his cultist status (Funny, because you should hear what official Mormon teaching is on mainstream Christianity). There are other possibilities about why Beck is backing liberals on this one, but I do think that his Mormonism is likely at the root of it.

Again, the fact is that in terms of being a spiritual family, only true Christians are brothers and sisters in Christ -- part of the Lord's spiritual family. The only way you can say that non-believers are "brothers and sisters" is in context of our common humanity. But that was NOT the context in which Gov. Bentley was speaking.

Those who were there at this Christian function know it. The media knows it. And Glenn Beck no doubt knows it. But it's publicity. Who cares if it's accurate or not.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Nullification Strikes Again

It appears there's an interesting move afoot among the states in response to the federal takeover of health care in the country. According to WorldNetDaily and other media, several states are jumping on board the nullification bandwagon.

It will be most interesting to see how this goes. In Cooper vs. Aaron and other rulings from federal courts, nullification efforts didn't go very well. The most extreme nullification efforts helped contribute to the Civil War.

My sympathies lie with the states' rights view of nullification, especially when the federal government usurps power it does not constitutionally have, and when the federal courts refuse to recognize it. In that case, the states might well have to do an Andrew Jackson and say, "the court has an opinion. Now let's see the court enforce it."

Interesting days lie ahead, don't they?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Elton Still Doesn't Get It

There are some stories that crop up from time to time that just make you shake your head. And then some.

It appears Sir Elton John is mad at the church over its opposition to marriage for homosexuals. He just can't understand why he and his, um, partner, don't have the respect of the church, that is outside of the heretical Metropolitan crowd. Truth is, he doesn't want to understand and doesn't care.

God's Word is abundantly clear on the subject of homosexuality and what constitutes marriage in the sight of God. That is the stand of churches that still maintain fidelity to biblical truth. God's Word is not subject to politics, negotiation, revision or anything else. God commands what He commands and there are no options. Disobedience has eternal consequences. Elton and his partner need to repent of their sin and place their faith in Christ for salvation.

I also get very, very tired of the oft-repeated lie that to disapprove of homosexuality is "homophobia," or worse yet, "hate." Love is what motivates the call to repentance -- repentance from ANY sin, not just homosexuality. In fact, it would be worse than unloving to remain silent and not warn sinners about the eternal consequences of sin.

It's only going to get worse. Jesus Himself said the world would hate His followers because they hate Him first. Elton would dispute that, no doubt. But the Jesus of his conception is not the Jesus of the Bible. The Jesus of the Bible is the real Jesus. This Jesus that would wink the eye at Elton's unrepentant sin does not exist.

He talks in the article about his blessings, i.e. health, life etc. Elton has indeed been blessed by the mercy and grace of God. But God's patience cannot be taken for granted and it will not last forever. Things could change in Elton's life very, very abruptly. He might ought to consider that before it's too late.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Some Poe Fun

Now, for a little diversion from the norm on The Seventh Sola . . .

The news wires were abuzz this week with a tragic event at the grave of Edgar Allen Poe. The mystery man who has left roses and a half-consumed bottle of cognac at Poe's grave for years has not shown up for the past two. People are afraid that he might have died. Oh, there have been impostors that have shown up, but according to a person in the know, there is a secret sign the real visitor gives and a certain way of arranging the roses. Here's the story if I have whetted your curiosity.

As interesting as this all is, I am troubled by a deeper question. Why in the world was (and is) cognac being left at Edgar's resting place? Shouldn't it be a Cask of Amontillado? Fortunado would be highly displeased at the substitution, even if Edgar did have a taste for cognac. In fact, I think Edgar would have found it amusing, given his rather macabre outlook on things.

One more bit of fun. If you want a musical treatment of the legendary Poe story, here is the Alan Parsons Project song of the same name.

Quoth the Raven,"Never more!"

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Chinese Menace?

I suppose most world-watchers in the West (that is, those who aren't brain-dead) have been watching the ascendancy of China in the past decade with some level of disquiet.

This story from the London Guardian is just one of many this week about the summit meeting of sorts taking place between President Obama and Chinese President Hu on his state visit to Washington. Aside from head-scratching about placing the Chinese flag on an equal footing with the U.S. flag on U.S. soil (I thought there was a protocol rule about that), I am concerned that, once again, Obama is being seen as groveling before yet another world leader who is not really a friend of the U.S.

They can all they want about China holding a lot of U.S. debt. Believe it or not, the U.S. still has considerable levers on China as they tend to need a lot of imports from America. As for the other hot buttons such as Korea, China can certainly instigate, but so could the U.S. if it so chose. The Chinese don't want a flood of refugees coming in from North Korea any more than the U.S wants to see a conflagration ignite. These aren't the only tensions that exist. China's ongoing military buildup warrants watching, and a host of other things China is quietly doing in the Western Hemisphere.

Now is the time for toughness in Washington. Not subservience.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Life-Transforming Word

This week's installment from The Fundamentals

by Philip Mauro

Feeding upon the Word of God, the bread of life, must necessarily be beneficial to the whole man, including his intellectual and physical being as well as his spiritual.

Much deference is paid in these days to the "powers of the mind." Intellectual prowess is what wins the victories in the fierce commercial struggle of the times. Businessmen are, of course, keen to take advantage of this condition, as may be seen by the many and costly advertisements of "brain foods," and many millions of dollars are annually acquired by the shrewd explointers of these preparations. This, of course, could not be unless there were multitudes who give heed to the assurance that, by use of the advertised article, it is possible to produce "a new set of brains."

The Bible does not speak of a new set of brains, but it does say to believers, "Be renewed in the spirit of your mind" (Ephesians 4:23), and "Be not conformed to this world [or age], but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2). The new man requires a new mind, and provision is made to that end. The old mind, with all its habits of self-occupation (a sure breeder of unhappiness and discontent), its morbid tendencies, its craving for excitement and sensation, its imaginations, appetites, tastes, inclinations and desires, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, is to be displaced, and a new mind substituted; for godliness has the promise of the vigor of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Mighty Quinn?

Pity those of us stuck in Illinois. The lame-duck Democratic legislature and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn have unleashed a 66 percent tax increase on us, purportedly to balance the budget and dig the state out of the hole it's in. Here are the details of the story.

I think New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said it best. The only ones in glee over this are the Republican governors of Iowa, Wisconsin and Indiana, because the Democrats have just invited more business to leave the state.

The tax increase is supposed to be "temporary." Yeah, right. So were highway tolls. I seem to remember the tall tale that lottery money would be used solely for education. Another "promise." Anyone who thinks this tax will be temporary is smoking weed . . . that is UNLESS we get a conservative legislature with enough votes to repeal and impose spending cuts, AND a conservative governor to sign it all into law.

Humph. All I can say is that Illinois is managing to slit its own throat without help from anyone else. It's painful to watch a state self-destruct.

A New, Loathsome Low

Until now, I had regarded Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders — the only avowed, admitted socialist in the Senate — as an amusing curiosity. I also scratched my head a bit, because Vermont is pretty much the only state where town-hall style democracy still exists, and it once had a pretty strong conservative streak.

Until now, I said. Check out this little report from The Weekly Standard, which highlights a recent letter sent out by Sanders. In essence, he is using the tragic shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to raise funds for his political campaign. Quite frankly, I'm not amused any longer.

The knee-jerk, opportunistic reaction of the hard left to the incident was contemptuous enough. They didn't waste any time blaming conservatives, talk radio and the usual bogeymen. The Tea Party got blamed. Rush Limbaugh got blamed. Bill O'Reilly got blamed. Sean Hannity got blamed. Blogs got blamed. Plenty of blame to go around, until the facts intervened. The shooter turned out to be an unhinged crackpot with no discernible links to any conservative group or political philosophy.

It's funny, because these same far left loons are the ones who clucked their tongues and told America not to rush to judgment when a Muslim fanatic in the military tried to shoot up Fort Hood. Now they rushed to judgment, not wanting to "waste a good crisis," in the words of former White House Chief of Staff and wannabe Chicago mayor, Rahm Emanuel.

Now we have Socialist Bernie Sanders raising money on the tragedy, and Congresswoman Giffords isn't even off the ventilator yet. Amazing, isn't it?

There is one good thing to say about it. If they keep this kind of nonsense up, the Senate and White House will both likely go in conservative hands in 2012. And not a moment too soon.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Prayer Request for a Friend and Colleague

Update as of 1/11/11: Kevin was released from the hospital yesterday, although his kidney and heart function had not improved much. He was to have follow-up treatment and monitoring through a hospital closer to home. However, this morning he was taken back to Rockford and re-admitted to the hospital there after having a very bad night. I have no further information as of this update. Thanks to everyone who has been praying for Kevin and his family. Please keep it up.

I have not had much time to work up a new post for the blog, and there is certainly plenty happening around the country and the world needing some comment. I hope to find some time tomorrow to put a new post up.

This week's post from "The Fundamentals" is being superceded by an urgent prayer request.

My friend and colleague, Rev. Kevin S. Johnson, was hospitalized on New Year's Day in Rockford, IL, with congestive heart failure, double pneumonia and kidney malfunction. Tests also revealed that he suffered a heart attack at some point, although it's uncertain precisely when. His kidneys are barely functioning and he will need to go on dialysis unless the Lord provides a miracle. While Kevin is out of intensive care and in a regular room, he is not out of the woods.

Kevin and I have co-hosted Perspective Underground — a Christian apologetics, current events and prophecy program — for nearly 20 years. I have also served on his ministry board for years. Please be in prayer for Kevin's recovery, and pray for the finances of both the ministry and family. As Kevin's family is a missionary family and finances are at rock bottom, there is no health insurance and hospital expenses are enormous.

Pray also that God would be glorified in the midst of this difficult situation, and that people will be brought to repentance and saving faith in the midst of it.

If anyone is led of the Lord to help financially, gifts can be sent to P.O. Box 5761, Rockford, IL, 61125. They can be made out to Mount Carmel Outreach. Thank you in advance.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Reclaiming the Constitution

Today's story is one that ought to register high on the applause meter. In this WND commentary, former Congressman Tom Tancredo gives one of the best summations I've seen on the differing attitudes held by conservatives and liberals on the U.S. Constitution. He also asks whether or not the American people will be able to force the government to once again live within its constitutional limits.

I hope so, but I have my doubts. It just seems to me that the country is headed toward violence in the long run. Governments seldom willingly give up power that they've usurped, and when the government is openly contemptuous of a majority of the people who insist on having their rights back, no good can come of it. I honestly don't know what will happen in the long run, or if the people even have the stomach left for a fight.

One big thing that concerns me is that we no longer have the strong Judeo-Christian consensus and high value on traditionalism in the U.S. It's more like a postmodern mash these days, thanks to the stranglehold "progressives" have had on generations through our educational system. If things did come down to some sort of bloody fight, we have no guarantee at all that what arises from the ashes will be anything like the country our Founding Fathers designed.

Please God, in Your mercy, don't let it come to that.

Late addendum: In the opinion section of USA Today (today's issue), Jonah Goldberg shines a light on liberals' attitudes toward the Constitution. Worth reading.

***Another late addendum: Check out David Limbaugh's article on the Constitution — again noting the left's disdain for the historic founding document and its timeless principles.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Atheists on the Attack

My, my, my. According to this Christian Post article, the atheists are on the warpath.

Actually, militant atheists have always been on the warpath, but this particular crop seems especially aggressive. The late (and probably now in Hell) Madelyn Murray O'Hair filed her share of lawsuits, but this new crop of atheists is adding to the tally with aggressive marketing.

I'm not that bothered, really. It just makes for more witnessing opportunities and opportunities to bring God glory, especially when one of the atheists sees their folly, repents and becomes a believer in Christ. It's happened many, many times and no doubt will again.

It also provides for books like the one illustrated by the photo. Dr. Norman Geisler and Frank Turek co-authored "I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist" a few years back, and I had the privilege of having Frank on our radio program several times to discuss the topic. Here is Frank's website, where you can no doubt get a copy of the book in addition to your local Christian bookstore, Amazon or Christian Book Distributors. I recommend Norm and Frank's book wholeheartedly. It will provide a good chuckle, in addition to some very useful information to use when encountering the militantly unbelieving.

It kind of makes you wonder why they insist on throwing down the gauntlet. Doing so often accomplishes the exact opposite of what they want.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy 1/1/11!

The Seventh Sola wishes you and yours a very Happy New Year! If you don't know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, this would be a good time to start.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16-18).