Friday, October 28, 2011

Watching Over Me

Now and then the subject of "guardian angels" comes up, and as usual, we get a plethora of opinions about them. Sometimes they are biblically sound and reasonable, and others are really whacked-out with little basis in Scripture, or a verse is cherry-picked and a whole doctrine is built around it, which is an exegetical no-no.

I look at my own life and how the Lord Himself has engineered things to take care of me and my family. While angels might have been involved in some of it, I have to give the Lord Himself the glory for how things work out. Today I received one more of those little "God moments," and I'll get to in in a moment. But let me tell the whole story first.

When I first moved out from Rockford, IL, to my little rural village about 40 miles off, I had really prayed for a good location, especially keeping in mind that I would be taking my elderly mother and stepfather in to live with me eventually. I needed a good, peaceful quiet location for them so they could live out their last years in a modicum of comfort and peace.

The Lord seemed to confirm every step of the way, and I ended up in this little village. Come to find out, the chief deputy sheriff of the county is a believer, and goes to a nearby Evangelical Free Church — my denomination. He lives right up the road from me. His mother and father live next door to me, and keep an eye on Mom for me when I have to be away on business. His mother in law — also a believer — lives right up the road. A further jump up the road on the outside of the village, there is another dear couple who attend my church and are in the Sunday school class I teach. They walk by my house and say good morning every day.

But it gets better. I ended up having to switch banks because my bank went belly up, so I switched to a local branch in the main town nearby. The bank manager turns out to be a believer who goes to my church!

Once when Mom needed a caregiver during the day post-surgery, I chose a local firm to help and the first one they sent out here turns out to be a believer who loves the Lord, and she took excellent care of Mom.

Today, my car broke down, so I took it to the local Buick dealership for service. The man who runs their shuttle service to take me back home recognized my voice, and it turns out he is a believer and attends my church.

It seems like the Lord has graciously surrounded me and my mother with His people. It is such a blessing and encouragement to both of us. The enormity of the blessing hit me rather forcefully this morning, so I just wanted to say "Praise God," and have you join me in offering Him glory and thanksgiving. He always looks after His people!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dawkins Ducks Debate over Atheism

This one really takes the cake.

No doubt, many of you have heard that Christian apologist William Lane Craig has been trying to get virulent atheist Richard Dawkins to debate on the subject of God's existence etc. Dawkins generally refuses to accept these challenges, but this time he really irritated me.

Check out this little London Guardian column on the subject. A key reason Dawkins says he refuses to debate Craig is the idea that Craig would defend a God who is "guilty of genocide." What a hoot and what a load of malarkey. I suspect the real reason is that William Lane Craig would hand Dawkins his head.

Note also the undercurrent smug arrogance of Richard Dawkins. As if he has the right to sit in judgment on an omniscient Creator for executing righteous judgment that only He has the right to execute. Mr. Dawkins ought to do some research on Canaanite culture and some of their grotesquely wicked practices before he gets in a huff at God. Oddly enough, if he doesn't believe such a God exists, it's interesting that he gets so excised over the subject.

Richard Dawkins can feign anger and outrage at William Lane Craig and other Christians all he wants. But his real problem is much more serious. Deep down inside, denials aside, Dawkins KNOWS there is a God, and that he is one day going to have to stand before that God and give an account for himself. That makes him angry and full of wrath, much like the reality of this causes Satan to have great wrath, because he knows his time is short.

Unless Dawkins has a serious change in attitude, repents of his sins and acknowledges Christ as Savior, Lord and God, their future encounter will not go very well.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Government/Psychiatric Tandem

I don't know if you've ever heard of 30-year-old Stanley Thornton, Jr. He's the man who wants to live like a baby. If you haven't yet heard of him, I'm sure most of you have heard of Dr. Keith Ablow, who recently contributed this opinion piece to Fox News Channel.

I remember something of this story before, and it made me pretty mad. It's making me mad again, and I think Dr. Ablow is spot-on in his criticism of both the government and modern-day psychiatry/psychology.

At its root, psychology is "study of the soul." I have little use for it, and my attitude has been formed from personal experience witnessing its tender, loving ministrations in the lives of loved ones. Studying the history and background of psychology hasn't helped, especially when you consider the atheistic Freud and the occult leanings of Jung. Sounds to me like they got most of their ideas out of the pit, if you get my meaning.

I don't mean to suggest that there aren't real psychological problems. I also don't mean to suggest that there can't be psychological issues with underlying medical causes i.e. chemical imbalances etc. But in my humble opinion - based on the truth of God's Word - you can't ignore the spiritual, especially the role of the demonic in deceiving people.

Sometimes people don't need a pill. Sometimes they just need a good kick in the pants. And the Gospel.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sex Selection Abortions?

Thanks to Frank Turk of Pyromaniacs for the heads up on a very thought-provoking essay by Michael Stokes Paulsen, who serves as University Chair and Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. Professor Paulsen is also the co-director of its Pro-Life Advocacy Center (“PLACE”).

The essay can be seen here at The Public Discourse website. It deals with the troubling subject of abortion, and makes the case that some minds might be changed on the subject if they realized that many abortions are being done on the basis of sex selection. And the ones harmed the most? Females.

Oh, the tragic irony of it — the thought that some women are hell bent on "the right to choose," and it turns out that females are the ones getting aborted.

And when I say tragic, I mean it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gilad Shalit: What Price Freedom

As with most supporters of Israel, I was pleased to see IDF soldier Gilad Shalit released from his captivity by Hamas terrorists. This linked article from the BBC has more details of Sgt. Shalit's release.

The thing that I find particularly galling is that young Shalit was freed only after Israel bit the bullet and agreed to release 1,000 Palestinian terrorists. Israel freed 477 Palestinians on Tuesday, including people convicted of murder and of planning suicide attacks. Another 550 jailed Palestinians are to be freed next month under the deal. To get one young man freed, they had to let more than 1,000 killers or would-be killers go. And of course, global attention is applauding the terrorists and continuing to condemn Israel.

I suppose you could look at it this way - at least Israel will no longer be responsible for the feeding and housing of these thugs. And we can hope that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not hesitate to order severe military strikes should any of these released terrorists return to their murderous ways.

But for now, I will celebrate young Gilad's release, and I can only imagine what he endured in captivity. I will also continue to be amazed at the double standard aimed at Israel by the bulk of the media and the international community.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Birthday Posts

Today is my 51st birthday, so that's my excuse for being a slacker on blog posts. We won't discuss the other postless days, shall we? I thought not.

Anywhoo, allow me to point you to a couple of things that caught my attention, one great and one, ahem, not so great. I'll start with the not so great one first.

Harold Camping's recent stroke has apparently done nothing to rattle his cage about false prophecies and false teaching. As the linked Christian Post article shows, he's doubling down on his errors, with a bit of adjustment on the horrific level of doomsday. I wish his family would step in and yank the microphone away from this guy. It's really, really sad.

On a happier note, Pastor Tullian Tchividjian has written a great little column on the issue of law and Gospel. Legalism never helped anyone live a holy life. If anything, it leads to licentiousness.

Amen, preach it brother!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rick Perry Has a Choice

Today, Governor Chris Christie endorsed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for president. In their remarks, both Romney and Christie said that anyone who agrees with this week's statement by Baptist Pastor Robert Jeffress about Mormonism being a cult is "not worthy of being president."

Excuse me?

Let me say at the outset that I'm not a huge Rick Perry fan. His stance on illegal immigration is troublesome, plus some other concerns. Having said that, he claims to be a strong evangelical Christian. He will increase my respect for him if he responds appropriately to Romney and Christie throwing down this gauntlet. He can't stay above the fray any longer, even though he was not personally responsible for Pastor Jeffress' statement.

Perry's answer ought to be this: "In making this demand, Governors Christie and Romney are asking me to deny my faith. They are asking me to do what I cannot do: to deny the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If I have to make a choice between being faithful to the biblical Gospel and the biblical Jesus Christ or being president, I will choose being faithful to the Gospel and to my Lord."

What this does is throw the ball back in their court and require them to define the Gospel and define the biblical Jesus Christ. That opens the door to examination of exactly what Mormonism believes, and how it departs from historic, biblical, evangelical Christianity. And that would be somewhat harmful to Gov. Romney's cause among conservative, Bible-believing Christians. And quite possibly to the wider body politic. Most Christians do not believe that Jesus is the spirit brother of Lucifer, nor do they believe that they will one day become gods and create their own planets.

Let me be clear on something. I do not believe we ought to have religious tests for office, nor did our Founders. This really should not have been brought up in the context of a political campaign. But the gauntlet has now been thrown down.

Now we will see who has biblical integrity.

P.S. I also hope that Chris Christie's statement disabuses some Christians from thinking he's such a godsend to conservatives.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Family Movies Do Well! (Duh?)

Amid flaps this past weekend over politics and Mormonism, I have decided to call some deserved attention to another story. This time, we turn to Forbes columnist Paul Jankowski, who writes of some interesting findings regarding family films. You're going to be shocked, shocked!

They do well at the box office. And shhhhh . . . they do better than films with sex, drugs and violence.

No surprise to us and perhaps Paul, but it seems to always shock the Hollywood folks. Think they'll learn something by this?

I doubt it. It's too much a part of their hard-wiring to be "edgy and subversive." But then again, maybe I should be hopeful. The dollar can be a powerful motivator, even if it has no ultimately eternal value. Sometimes you just wish they'd do it because it's the right thing to do.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Don't Sell Your Soul to Politics

My, my. I haven't posted since Monday. To assuage my guilt, a story tailor-made for The Seventh Sola dropped into my lap from the world of politics. Especially because the political intersected with the spiritual.

At the moment, the media — not to mention the GOP and the Dems — are all aflutter. Why? Because Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, dared to say something in reference to Mitt Romney that evangelicals have always taught and believed. What did he say? He said that Mormonism is a cult and not biblical Christianity. Here's a link to the story in case you haven't read it or heard about it yet. Fox News was jumping into the fray, and that's how I first heard about the story.

This is a classic example of why Christians — and by that I mean true, Bible-believing Christians who have a saving knowledge of Christ — need to be wary of hitching their wagons to any political party. There will be times when we will be tempted to be silent about our convictions because of political expediency, and there are some things that we cannot be silent about because the very nature of the Gospel is at stake.

Mitt Romney may well make a capable president. One does not have to be an evangelical Christian to make a good president. However, I am very disappointed at Rick Perry and others at Fox News who have identified themselves as Christians for running as hard as they can from Pastor Jeffress' comments. In fact, the purportedly evangelical Perry flatly said "No!" when asked if he agreed with Pastor Jeffress. Tragic, because in essence that means Perry just denied the Gospel.

The correct answer should have been something along the lines of this: "It is no secret that evangelicals such as myself disagree with Mormonism in terms of what true Christian doctrine is. But a political campaign is not the venue to discuss those differences. We do not have religious tests for public office, and other Mormons have served with distinction in elective office, such as Governor Romney's father and the late Ezra Taft Benson, who served as a Cabinet member of a past administration. If you want to know what evangelicals believe about Mormonism, that's another discussion for another time and in another venue."

Instead, we have compromise for the sake of political expediency from some within the evangelical camp who ought to know better. I will be watching very closely to see what Mike Huckabee has to say when he chimes in.

Late addendum: Reuters weighs in on the story. Thanks to Frank Turk for the heads up on this. I'm glad Reuters actually demonstrated where Mormonism departs from orthodox Christianity. And there's much more than Reuters revealed.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Circus Evangelium?

For this afternoon's offering, I take you to the Pyromaniacs blog, where Phil Johnson offers some comments on the current campy state of evangelicalism.

I say that with a wince, because I am still trying to hold on to the term "evangelical" for myself, with a deep nod of appreciation for its original definition and original stances on doctrine.

If the decay continues within the evangelical camp, I'm going to have to find another word or series of words. It's not as easy as it might sound, because we live in an age where everything gets redefined within weeks or months of its original usage.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

In Memoriam: Rev. Lacy A. Williams (1923-2010)

Today (Sunday, October 2, 2011) was a normal day in some respects. My mother and I arose early. I put the finishing touches on my Sunday school lesson on 1 Timothy. Then we both headed out for Sunday worship and fellowship with other believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

But today was also a difficult day, especially for my mother. It is the first anniversary of my stepfather's homegoing, and it's remarkable that this first anniversary was also on a Sunday — the Lord's Day — as it was last year.

We're taking it kind of quiet today and for the next few days. In the meantime, my family and I honor the memory of Lacy A. Williams, a gentle, quiet man of God who desired to honor the Lord with his life and in his calling as a preacher of the Gospel.

May I remain as faithful a servant of Christ for as long as Lacy, should the Lord in His grace allow me 87 years of service.