Thursday, April 28, 2011

Birth Certificates

Thus far, I haven't weighed in a whole lot on the so-called "birther" controversy, i.e. was President Obama born in a place other than the U.S. thereby making him ineligible for the presidency.

I always had the hunch that Obama was letting this thing drag on for political reasons, namely to make his detractors look as stupid as possible. What I find infinitely more troubling is the hypocrisy I see, along with an underlying contempt for the U.S. Constitution.

For those who can remember, this stuff didn't start with the right wing. Some on the Democratic side of the fence were happy to raise questions about John McCain's citizenship because he was born in the Panama Canal zone (his father was stationed there in the U.S. military). As for Mr. Obama, I understand that some in the Hillary Clinton camp actually began the birther issue during the presidential primaries. That is conveniently forgotten. But why be surprised at anything in politics? It's a hypocrite's paradise.

What really ought to trouble us is the idea that such a question is illegitimate, no matter who it involves. The Constitution mandates that the president be a natural born citizen. But listen to some of the talking heads and certain politicians, their attitude signals that it really doesn't matter. It's like they're thinking, "Down deep, you know that the Constitution is really an archaic document that is meaningless today. It ought to be replaced." Look no further than former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who had presidential ambitions at one time and who has expressed some irritation that the natural born provision is in the Constitution. (Given what's happened in California, let's thank the Lord he can't run for president).

More and more, our government pays lip service to our wonderful founding document, but ignores it at every opportunity. President Obama himself said that the Constitution stands in the way of "progress."

We'd best start paying attention, and insist that the Constitution be obeyed.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Warning from Dr. Sowell

As I've noted before, I enjoy reading Dr. Thomas Sowell. I've also noted my skepticism over a Donald Trump candidacy for the White House under the GOP banner. Dr. Sowell has some warnings about that possibility as well.

It seems to me like the GOP seldom misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. We had a Ronald Reagan once, but then the best we could offer was Bob Dole, George W. Bush and John McCain. Bush did indeed win the presidency, but he was hardly the most conservative leader around. And he helped lay the groundwork for Barack Obama.

Donald Trump may well be a decent businessman, but he's also a showboat. And he's a showboat whose conservative credentials are really, really suspect. If he actually runs, I am afraid the GOP will sustain incalculable damage.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Contemplating the Resurrection of Christ

As I write this the evening before Resurrection Sunday (Easter), I can't help but think of how much trouble evangelicalism is in these days. Not so much from attacks by those on the outside, but from a cancer eating away from within, i.e. from those who style themselves as evangelicals, yet waste no effort in casting doubt on core doctrinal truths that the Church universal has held to for 2,000 years.

Right now, the doctrine of Hell (everlasting, conscious punishment for those who reject Christ) is under increasing attack — or renewed attack, depending on your perspective. As we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, I am waiting for some pastor/author to pop up and say something like, "Well, we don't REALLY need to believe every jot and tittle when it comes to Christ's resurrection. Maybe it was spiritual, not physical. Maybe it was a symbol of hope..." You get the idea.

The Apostle Paul had a rather strong warning for those who would toy with dismissing the resurrection of the Lord . . .

Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

There are consequences for unbelief. And if we are still in our sins because Christ was not raised, I'd say we are in a whole world of hurt. Paul emphasizes that truth very powerfully. But thankfully, he doesn't stop there. He reassures us of something seen by many, many witnesses. Christ WAS raised, and for those who place their trust in Him, there is the promise of eternal life.

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death (1 Corinthians 15:9-26).

That is a wonderful thought for Resurrection Sunday. Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

John MacArthur Takes on Rob Bell

Today, I am linking you to one of Dr. John MacArthur's posts on the Rob Bell and Hell controversy. You'll need to click on the other links at the bottom of each post at the Grace to You blog to read the entire series thus far, but this is a good place to start. In this particular post (and the previous one) Dr. MacArthur dissects Bell's statements in his recent book and comments accordingly.

I've been interested to note Bell's subsequent statements pleading for "civility" and — as has become typical with Emergent-types — saying that his critics misunderstand him. He also professes a degree of mystification at the controversy, which I find a bit disingenuous. You attack an orthodox doctrine of the church and cast doubt on it, and you're surprised that there's a dust-up? Oh, please. Of course orthodox theologians and Bible scholars are going to take issue with you!

One more reason the Lord's brother James warned . . . Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment (James 3:1).

Addendum: Also review this commentary by Dr. Al Mohler.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The True Church (Continued)

This week's installment from The Fundamentals

Sola's Note: This was actually to have been posted a few weeks ago, and as you can see, I didn't get around to it. I'm thankful that I'm not blogging for a living! Anyway, enjoy part two of this segment by the late Bishop Ryle.

The true Church is a church whose existence does not depend on forms, ceremonies, cathedrals, churches, chapels, pulpits, fonts, vestments, organs, endowments, money, kings, governments, magistrates, or any act of favor whatsoever from the hand of man. It has often lived on and continued when all these things have been taken from it; it has often been driven into the wilderness or into dens and caves of the earth, by those who ought to have been its friends. Its existence depends on nothing but the presence of Christ and His Spirit; and they being ever with it, the Church cannot die.

This is the Church to which the Scriptural titles of present honor and privilege, and the promises of future glory, especially belong; this is the body of Christ; this is the flock of Christ; this is the household of faith and the family of God; this is God's building, God's foundation, and the temple of the Holy Ghost. This is the Church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven; this is the royal priesthood, the chosen generation, the peculiar people, the purchased possession, the habitation of God, the light of the world; the salt and the wheat of the earth; this is the "Holy Catholic Church" of the Apostle's Creed; this is the "One Catholic and Apostolic Church" of the Nicene Creed; this is that Church to which the Lord Jesus promises, "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it," and to which He says, "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 16:18, 28:20).

This is the only Cburch which possesses true unity. Its members are entirely agreed on all the weightier matters of religion, for they are all taught by one Spirit. About God, and Christ, and the Spirit, and sin, and their own hearts, and faith, and repentance, and necessity of holiness, and the value of the Bible, and the importance of prayer, and the resurrection, and the judgment to come—about all these points they are of one mind. Take three or four of them, strangers to one another, from the remotest corner of the earth; examine them separately on these points; you will find them all of one judgment.

Next installment: The Church which possesses true sanctity.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Trump, The Bible and CBN

The buzz for Donald Trump's possible presidential run continues to grow louder.

Now, we have an interview by CBN's David Brody, in which The Donald gives his views on Scripture and church.

I imagine there will be a few evangelicals taken in by this kind of God-talk, but I am hopeful that the stupid virus hasn't metastasized to stage four in the Christian body politic yet. Donald Trump is fun to watch sometimes. He's a successful businessman and expert at getting media attention. But for the presidency? I don't think so. And there's more to being a genuine Christian than "Sunday Go To Meetin," even at a Presbyterian church. Donald Trump is hardly known for his passion for a biblical Christian faith.

The late Pat Paulsen was known for his perennial presidential runs, albeit in a more comedic light. Then again, the current presidency is a daily routine that would be comedic if it wasn't so tragic for the country.

Donald Trump has every right to run for office if he wishes. For the sake of the GOP, I hope he gives up the notion pronto.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Goldstone's Bogus Israel Report?

Last week, a report came out in various media that seemed to go largely unnoticed by the mainstreams, at least as far as I could see. And it's a crying shame in my humble opinion.

Ever heard of a South African jurist named Richard Goldstone? According to this Jerusalem Post story, a Jewish group is going to file a class action lawsuit against Goldstone in the United States. This is all over an opinion piece Goldstone published in the Washington Post last week, in which he stated that he had erroneously accused Israel of internationally targeting innocent civilians in Gaza through a report he gave to the United Nations in 2009.

This report was used to blacken Israel around the world, and who knows how much more damage it has done since it was released. This deserves far more attention by the international press, and far more from the U.S. State Department.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Burning Books

In our staff chapel today, one of our senior missionaries made a very salient, cogent point in reference to the fringe pastor in Florida who ignited a global firestorm by burning the Muslim Quran. I'm paraphrasing, but here it is . . .

Christians don't have to be a bad witness for Christ by burning the Quran or any other religious text. Preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and make disciples. When people are converted to Christ, they'll do away with false religions and their texts all on their own.

This is certainly corroborated in Acts 19, where new believers of their own volition tossed their magic books into the fire. To quote the Lord Jesus, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

I wish the "pastor" with the bizarre mustache would learn that lesson and humbly preach the Gospel instead of his deadly, attention-seeking antics.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Save Liam!

If this doesn't make you mad, I don't know what will.

Various American media entities have done stories on the plight of Michael McCarty and his now 10-year-old son Liam. You can read the linked article, and also check out this "Save Liam" website. It perplexes me why the Italian government would play games like this with a family, and especially given the fact that Italy is supposed to be a friend of the United States. It does seem like the U.S. could apply more pressure to get Liam returned to his father.

I don't have the power to do much, but I can at least give this additional publicity. And what we can't do in our own personal power, we know that God's power is not constrained. I pray that Michael will soon get his son back, and that those responsible for this situation will be punished appropriately.