Sunday, February 27, 2011

Facing a Decaying Culture

Most readers of this blog know that I enjoy Dr. Al Mohler's insights on things, even when they deal with grim things going on in American culture.

As you'll see in this Christian Post article, Dr. Mohler believes the gay marriage juggernaut will advance to acceptance in the United States. His message is one of urgency to Christians to prepare for it, and to be able to stand in the face of ongoing cultural decay brought about by national sin and rebellion against God.

Christians becoming a minority in their culture isn't anything new. We're going to go through some rough water, but God is still faithful and He will have the last word on the subject. Our task is to remain faithful — with His enabling.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Three Myths in America

Now and then, I like to post articles that have been published in Imprimis, the flagship newsletter of Hillsdale College in Michigan. For the January 2011 edition, they are offering this excellent article by Brian T. Kennedy, who serves as president of the Claremont Institute and publisher of the Claremont Review of Books.

In his article, Mr. Kennedy takes up what he calls three myths:

1. Islam is a religion of peace.

2. America will never go to war with China because our economic interests are intertwined.

3. America won the Cold War and Russia is no longer our enemy.

Kennedy states that we believe these notions at our peril, and he makes a good case. But is anyone listening?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

So This is Democracy? Not!

In between times at the office and the hospital with my mother, I have been watching the news off and on. Like many, I've been pretty aggravated at what's going on in the state of Wisconsin.

Check out today's Christian Post column by Dr. Tony Beam, (pictured right) who makes the astute point that mob action is not democracy. America's Founding Fathers didn't create a pure democracy for that very purpose.

I have a hunch the Democrats' tactics will backfire this time around. More and more people are catching on to the fact that Big Labor is every bit as much of a Big Money special interest as the Big Business interests the unions (and the Dems) decry so much. The reason that the Dems are fighting tooth and nail with the unions on this is not because they're so concerned about working people. They aren't. The unions are a huge source of Democratic money and power. More than that, how many times have I personally heard from rank-and-file union members that the leadership really doesn't speak for them. They get angry about their union dues being used to fund political causes and candidates with which they do NOT agree. But many are forced to be part of the union whether they like it or not.

Nope, I think there could be some comeuppance coming this time around, and long overdue.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Life Trials

By now, some might be wondering about an even more dearth of posts than usual. Here's why. My 87-year-old mother, who lives with me, was unexpectedly hospitalized Tuesday with heart problems. It was decided that she had to have a pacemaker put in. Mom will remain in the hospital through this weekend until the surgery heals and she can once again use her arms.

Thank you to all who knew of this and prayed for her (and me) during this time. I've been pretty much at the hospital since this happened, only going home to rest. I will try to get a couple of posts up this week if all goes well.

I average about 300 to 400 readers each week from all over the world. Thank you for your patience with these occasional spells of unproductivity. You're the best!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Jesus - The God Man

This week's installment from The Fundamentals

by John Stock (originally published by the American Baptist Publication Society)

Jesus of Nazareth was not mere man, excelling others in purity of life and conduct and in sincerity of purpose, simply distinguished from other teachers by the fullness of His knowledge. He is the God-man. Such view of the person of Messiah is the assured foundation of the entire Scriptural testimony to Him, and it is to be irresistibly inferred from the style and strain in which He habitually spoke of Himself. Of this inferential argument of the Saviour we can give here the salient points only in the briefest presentation.

1. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God.

2. Jesus, on several occasions, claimed a divine supremacy in both worlds.

3. Jesus always claimed absolute and indisputable power in dealing with every question of moral duty and destiny.

4. Jesus asserted His full possession of the power to forgive sins.

5. Jesus claimed the power to raise his own body from the grave, to quicken the souls of men into spiritual life, and to raise all the dead at the last great day.

6. Jesus declared that He had the ability to do all His Father's works.

7. Jesus spake of Himself as the greatest gift of infinite mercy even.

8. Jesus announced Himself as the center of rest for the human soul.

9. Jesus permitted Thomas to adore Him as his Lord and his God, and pronounced an eulogiam upon the faith thus displayed.

10. Jesus indirectly compared Himself with God.

11. Jesus demands of us an unhesitating and unlimited faith in Himself; such faith, in short, as we should only exercise in God.

12. The affection and devotion to His glory, which Jesus demands, are such as can be properly yielded only to God.

13. Jesus set Himself forth as the appropriate end of our lives and of all divine providences.

14. Very suggestive, too, are those passages in which Jesus promised His continued presence to His disciples after His ascension.

Note: Each one of these points is discussed in detail during the course of Mr. Stock's essay, which can be found in its entirety in Volume 1 of The Fundamentals. This fine series can be obtained via Christian Book Distributors. The listed price is $16, a great deal on a classic anthology.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sundry Soapbox Items

Several things to comment on today, so I will delay the weekend installment from The Fundamentals until tomorrow.

Mubarak and Israel

First, there's an interesting article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz recounting a phone call between former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and an Israeli lawmaker. It recounts Mubarak's anger at the United States and Western countries for their actions in helping to depose him from power. While I recognize the serious issues with Mubarak's regime, its corruption and its authoritarianism, I think what he said about opening the door to an Egypt controlled by Islamic fanatics is a legitimate concern. As we have observed numerous times, Western-style democracy is not necessarily the best thing in countries that have no tradition of it, especially in the Middle East. Democracy gave us Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Mitch Daniels

Next, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels spoke at the CPAC convention. We already had some controversy over a so-called "gay conservative" group being involved in CPAC, and that in turn resulted in many pro-family organizations bowing out for this year. I'll link to a commentary on that in just a moment. However, take a peek at this Des Moines Register blog. In his comments, Governor Daniels pushed for a "broad civil-conservative coalition." He wants a moratorium on social issues, supposedly so the tent gets big enough for a GOP victory in both the next presidential election and the next Congressional elections. We're going to hear that kind of din get louder. I have news for these "big tent" types. Social conservatives will not give in on the issues of abortion and homosexuality. It's a matter of principle. These big tent-types can't seem to understand the long term effects when ground is given on a moral issue. It eventually erodes the foundation of society.

Eastern Establishment Republicans have long held their noses in the air at those of us who are social conservatives, although they typically can't win an election without us. But do you notice it's always the social conservatives who are expected to give ground? We're the ones who are spoilers. It's all our fault. Sorry, I dissent. The Rockefeller Republicans can just go join the Democrats as far as I'm concerned.

Now, here is Star Parker's commentary on the shenanigans at CPAC. I think she's spot on.

I can hear the arguments already. If social conservatives don't shut up and go away, Barack Obama will get a second term, yada, yada, yada. I don't buy it, because typically when a total conservative message is proclaimed articulately and passionately, it resonates with most voters. The problem with the GOP is they often nominate lousy candidates like John McCain and Bob Dole. Not only are they lousy on camera and at the podium, they also pride themselves on their pragmatism — meaning their uncanny ability to help give the Democrats a victory when it matters.

In the end, I don't care how much yapping the establishment types do. I won't support one again.

Late addendum: It looks like more conservatives are waking up to the CPAC problem.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Liberals, Conservatives and the Arts

At the outset, I must say that I have serious issues with Christian Science as founded by Mary Baker Eddy. it is a pseudo-Christian cult and not evangelical Christianity.

Having said that, I must commend their newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor. Their reputation for good journalism and thorough reporting is well deserved. The article linked here is an examination of the power of the arts — especially cinema — and how liberals have used the arts to advance their agenda. Conservatives need to rediscover this much neglected area, especially when thinking about how to have more influence in the marketplace of ideas.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Professorial Childishness and the Constitution

Before the states' lawsuits over Obamacare make it to the Supreme Court, we're going to continue to hear lots of prognostications on both sides.

According to today's Best of the Web column by James Taranto, Professor Lawrence Tribe and others are refusing to deal with the actual reasoned legal arguments by Federal Judge Roger Vinson in striking down Obamacare. James likens it to the childish people who figuratively stick their fingers in their ears and yell "La la la la la" when they don't want to hear something.

Sadly, I can think of at least four Justices on the Supreme Court who will probably do the same thing.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Remembering Reagan and His Appeal

As we remember and celebrate the life of President Ronald Reagan at what would have been his 100th birthday this month, it is apparent that the nation's 40th president still looms large on the American psyche. Conservatives and Republicans have been looking for another Reagan, and have been frustrated that another one doesn't appear to be anywhere near the horizon.

Take a look at this column by Matt Lewis, who examines Reagan's ongoing appeal to young conservatives. I think Mr. Lewis captures things pretty well, as did former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin when she said looking for another Reagan was fruitless, as he was one of a kind.

I agree with Gov. Palin, but that doesn't mean we can't embrace and fight for the same things Reagan fought for in his political career. Reagan was right then, and he's right now. I think today's GOP would do well to remember it.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

The Centrality of Christ

This week's installment from The Fundamentals

Excerpted from an essay by Robert E. Speer entitled "Foreign Missions or World-Wide Evangelism"

As Bishop Westcott said, "A perfect religion—a religion which offers a complete satisfaction to the religious wants of man—must be able to meet the religious wants of the individual, the society, the race, in complete course of their development and in the manifold intensity of each separate human faculty.

"This being so, I contend that the faith in Christ, born, crucified, risen, ascended forms the basis of this perfect religion; that it is able, in virtue of its essential character, to bring peace in view of the problems of life under every variety of circumstance and character—to illuminate, to develop, and to inspire every human faculty. My contention rests upon the recognition of two marks by which Christianity is distinguished from every other religion. It is absolute and it is historical.

"On the one side, Christianity is not confined by any limitation of place, time, or faculty, or object. It reaches to the whole sum of being and to the whole of each separate existence. On the other side, it offers its revelation in facts which are an actual part of human experience, so that the peculiar teaching which it brings as to the nature and relations of God and man and the world is simply the interpretation of events in the life of men and in the life of One who was truly Man. It is not a theory, a splendid guess, but a proclamation of facts.

"These, I repeat, are its original, its unalterable claims. Christianity is absolute."

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Out of Control 9th Circuit

Some of you have seen posts I've made from time to time dealing with the uber-liberal federal 9th Circuit Court, which has jurisdiction in the western U.S. They've made some pretty ridiculous rulings over the years, many of which have been slapped down by the U.S. Supreme Court. Finally, it appears that the Supremes are growing a bit weary with their lower-level colleagues — even those on the court's liberal wing.

According to this Fox News story, there have been several back-to-back cases of late where the 9th Circuit has been reversed by the Supreme Court, and unanimously to boot. That ought to tell us something.

I've often heard that Congress has the power to restrict the jurisdiction of federal courts. I'm going to have to look into that further. If that is indeed true, then it's high time to rein in the 9th Circuit, or abolish it altogether. Then, replace it with a court that will have more fidelity to the Constitution.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Atheism, Revolution and Edmund Burke

In his classic essay on the French Revolution, English author/philosopher Edmund Burke had some thoughts on the subject of religion, piety and atheism that I found compelling, especially in light of the current "revolutionary fervor" around the world. Allow me to share a bit of his observation . . .

If our religious tenets should ever want a further elucidation, we shall not call on atheism to explain them. We shall not light up our temple from that unhallowed fire. It will be illuminated with other lights. It will be perfumed with other incense, than the infectious stuff which is imported by the smugglers of adulterated metaphysics. If our ecclesiastical establishment should want a revision, it is not avarice or rapacity, public or private, that we shall employ for the audit, or receipt, or application of its consecrated revenue. Violently condemning neither the Greek nor the Armenian, nor, since heats are subsided, the Roman system of religion, we prefer the Protestant; not because we think it has less of the Christian religion in it, but because, in our judgment, it has more. We are protestants, not from indifference but from zeal.

We know, and it is our pride to know, that man is by his constitution a religious animal; that atheism is against, not only our reason but our instincts, and that it cannot prevail long. But if, in the moment of riot, and in a drunken delirium from the hot spirit drawn out of the alembick of hell, which in France is now so furiously boiling, we should uncover our nakedness by throwing off that Christian religion which has hitherto been our boast and comfort, and one great source of civilization amongst us, and among many other nations, we are apprehensive (being well aware that the mind will not endure a void) that some uncouth, pernicious, and degrading superstition, might take place of it.

Well worth pondering.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Chick-Fil-A Caving?

Like many businesses owned and operated by Christians, Chick-Fil-A has been under growing pressure from homosexual activists to shut up about marriage and family issues. According to this Christian Post article, the CEO of the fast-food chain seems to be pledging not to "champion" the cause of standing for traditional marriage and Christian values.

This ought to be of concern to us. No doubt, there are discrimination laws to factor in, but I have a hard time applying those to people who engage in a sexual behavior rather than to racial or ethnic groups as the whole concept of "non-discrimination" was intended to apply. I don't think it's been held yet by the Supreme Court that sexual orientation cannot be factored, especially when someone's religious beliefs are concerned.

One could argue that Chick-Fil-A is a secular business, and therefore lies under a different standard. That might be true to some extent. But just wait and see. Gay activists won't settle for that. They will soon go after Christian non-profits, churches and other religious organizations that take a stand against homosexuality for moral reasons. Then they will have a choice. Do they obey God or do they obey man and perceived public pressure?

And keep this in mind. Homosexuals represent only 5 percent of the population, if even that. They are a tiny, tiny minority -- a minority based on a sexual behavior. Yet because of media complicity and liberal educators, they wield far more clout than they should. I think Chick-Fil-A should stand their ground.