Friday, December 25, 2009

Christ is Our Greatest Gift

2 Corinthians 8:9: 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Publish or Perish

Michael Behe’s book - Darwin’s Black Box is a valuable work for several reasons, not the least of which is his argument of irreducible complexity (IC) – an idea that is often scoffed at by many within the “scientific” community but has never been refuted via any empirical method.  Beyond IC itself, another valuable presentation in his book is given in his chapter entitled: Publish or Perish – which reveals the financial engine that drives much of what is called science today.  In this chapter Behe reveals what many of us already know – scientific objectivity is often flushed down the toilet of personal greed, ambition, and rank pragmatism.  In order for researchers to “stay afloat” financially, they must retain research grants which support their continued studies.  As long as there is a problem to solve, whether real or perceived, then there will be a perpetual flow of dollars supplied for their research.  But what happens when a perceived problem disappears?  Well, for honest researchers, the data will be exposed, and they will just go on to the next scientific frontier.  On the other hand, for those researchers who are not so honest, they may be tempted to invent certain “fudge factors” in their research in order to perpetuate the myth of their needed research, and with it, the myth of their needed grant money. 

As one who came out of a science background, and who spent a number of years writing computer code, I find the video below (original source) to be both alarming and strangely familiar: I am not surprised by what is presented here in view of the “publish or perish” culture, but I am alarmed that so much weight has been placed on such a flimsy pursuit of scientific analysis. 

A word of caution to the potential viewer, in code form:

begin;

If video_viewed = 0 then;

goto: cabinet;

procedure: taketwodramamine AND hit_play;

else;

procedudre: do_not_watch;

end;

{yup, my awful programming strikes again}

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Speaking of Slavery

Reid:  “Y’all jus’ stop your whining.  Jus’ do what we say and we’ll feed ya, House…ya and maybe give ya free health care.”

Taxpayers: “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen…”

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be a Pluralist

Being popular in our modern and shallow culture isn’t necessarily a compliment.  Actually, in any generation, friendship with this world is counted as enmity with God (James 4:4).  We see the shallowness of public fame whenever people mention men like Joel Osteen.  Should you dare question the man’s teaching by one iota, his devotees will quip canonically: “…but he’s so popular!”   Similarly, Rick Warren’s popularity affords him the unspoken right to teach just about anything.  His willingness to ride on the pluralism train is accepted without a wince in the interview below.  The video clip was originally posted by hotair.com as an example of Warren’s comments against Atheism: “I don’t have enough faith to be an Atheist.”  That’s a good statement – it is loaded with much truth, by itself; however, he apparently has enough faith to be a pluralist

Exit question – would we expect the prophet Elijah to attend a worship ceremony populated with Baal worshippers? 

Oh, wait… he did do that (1 Kings 18).

After which time he confronted the idolaters with a verbal blast that would cause genteel ecumenists like Osteen and Warren to blush pink:

1 Kings 18:27: It came about at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Call out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside, or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened.”

Might I suggest that the NASB translators are being too polite in the above text.  When Elijah said “…either he is occupied or gone aside…” it doesn’t exactly reveal the intensity of Elijah’s mockery.  The verbs employed by Elijah rhyme quite well, and connote a symmetry of thought: siych…siyg.  Siych speaks of heavy contemplation, and siyg speaks of a person undergoing a bowel movement (The Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains).  If you take Auguste Rodin’s sculpture “The Thinker” and put him on a toilet – then you’ve approximated, in picture form, Elijah’s rebuke of their idolatry.  Clearly, Elijah was no ecumenist, nor pluralist; he was a prophet of God who was filled with a holy indignation against the idolatry of Baal.

Who knows, perhaps Warren is preparing for such a public renunciation of Allah at his next Ramadan gathering – although, I’d rather doubt it.  After renaming Jesus as “Isa” at our President’s inauguration, we are left with little grounds for a better hope.  If you think that using the Koran’s name of “Isa” for Jesus isn’t a problem, then just remember this: according to the Koran, Jesus was not the Son of God, nor was He ever crucified.  Why would we desire to render indifference to such heresy as this, any more than we might with, say…. Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses?

Below are some other posts dealing with the dangers of ecumenism and pluralism in our world today:
An Open Response to an Open Letter

The Hall of Fame vs. The Hall of Shame

The Hall of Shame @ The Armoury

Rick Warren's Inaugural Prayer - 2009
Judas Iscariot: Rome’s First Pope

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Humiliation Day

The modern mind may think of several things when remembering Thanksgiving Day, but how many would consider this to be a time of serious contemplation and even…humility?  For those who would dare to examine the beginnings of our Thanksgiving Day holiday, they would find that prayer and humiliation formulated the basis of and necessary prelude to this day of joy and celebration.  Frankly speaking, one cannot find the latter lest they seek the former. 

History reminds us of this truth, especially when we consider the writings of Mr. William Bradford who served as the governor of Plymouth Plantation almost continuously from 1621 to 1656 (except for five of years of this period).  His description of the early pilgrims, their devotion to God, and their endurance through suffering, helps us to comprehend better the significance of what we now refer to as Thanksgiving Day.  Before their own day of thanksgiving came about there was an even greater event which http://www.hdg.de/eurovisionen/images/religion/mayflower.jpgpreceded it. In Bradford's record below we learn of the hardships that visited Plymouth, even after new supplies and passengers arrived on the ship called the Anne:

"These passengers, when they saw their low and poor condition ashore, were much daunted and dismayed, and according to their divers humors were diversely affected. Some wished themselves in England again; others fell a-weeping, fancying their own misery in what they saw now in others; other some pitying the distress they saw their friends had been long in, and still were under. In a word, all were full of sadness. Only some of their old friends rejoiced to see them, and that it was no worse with them, for they could not expect it should be better, and now hoped they should enjoy better days together. And truly it was no marvel they should be thus affected, for they were in a very low condition; many were ragged in apparel and some little better than half naked, though some that were well stored before were well enough in this regard. But for food they were all alike, save some that had got a few peas off the ship that was last here. The best dish they could present their friends with was a lobster or a piece of fish without bread or anything else but a cup of fair spring water. And the long continuance of this diet, and their labours abroad, had something abated the freshness of their former complexion; but God gave them health and strength in a good measure, and showed them by experience the truth of that word, (Deuteronomy 8:3) 'That man liveth not by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth a man live.'"

"When I think how sadly the Scriptures speaks of the famine in Jacob's time, when he said to his sons, 'God buy us food, that we may live and not die,' (Genesis xlii.2 and xliii.1) that the famine was great or heavy in the land. And yet they had such great herds and store of cattle of sundry kinds, which, besides flesh, must needs produce other food as milk, butter and cheese, etc. And yet it was counted a sore affliction. Theirs here must needs be very great, therefore, who not only wanted the staff of bread but all these things, and had no Egypt to go to. But God fed them out of the sea for the most part, so wonderful is His providence over His in all ages; for His mercy endureth forever."

http://www.plimoth.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/5e06319eda06f020e43594a9c230972d/P/l/Ply_Plan_Brad.jpg"I may not here omit how, notwithstand all their great pains and industry, and the great hopes of a large crop, the Lord seemed to blast, and take away the same, and to threaten further and more sore famine unto them. By a great drought which continued from the third week in May, till about the middle of July, without any rain and with great heat for the most part, insomuch as the corn began to wither away though it was set with fish, the moisture whereof helped it much. Yet at length it began to languish sore, and some of the drier grounds were parched like withered hay, part whereof was never recovered. Upon which they set apart a solemn day of humiliation, to seek the Lord by humble and fervent prayer, in this great distress. And He was pleased to give them a gracious and speedy answer, both to their own and the Indians' admiration that lived amongst them. For all the morning, and greatest part of the day, it was clear weather and very hot, and not a cloud or any sign of rain to be seen; yet toward evening it began to overcast, and shortly after to rain with such sweet and gentle showers as gave them cause of rejoicing and blessing God. It came without either wind or thunder or any violence, and by degrees in that abundance was that the earth was thoroughly we and soaked and therewith. Which did so apparently revive and quicken the decayed corn and other fruits, as was wonderful to see, and made the Indians astonished to behold. And afterwards the Lord sent them such seasonable showers, with interchange of fair warm weather as, through His blessing, caused a fruitful and liberal harvest, to their no small comfort and rejoicing. For which mercy, in time convenient, they also set apart a day of thanksgiving."

[Note: "...A law of 15 Nov. 1636 (Plymouth Colony Records XI 18) allows the Governor and Assistants 'to command solemn days of humiliation by fasting, etc., and also for thanksgiving as occasion shall be offered.'"]. Excerpt of William Bradford - Of Plymouth Plantation [1620-1647] by William Bradford, edited by Samuel Eliot Morison.

**************************************

What I love about this excerpt is that the institution of their thanksgiving celebration came some time after a day of prayer and humiliation. Here is a great lesson for us all: Genuine thankfulness can only grow and flourish in a heart that has been softened and prepared by humility (Philippians 2:1-14; 1 Cor 4:7). In view of the truth of God's word, and in view of the historic example of these godly brethren, let us all seek the Lord prayerfully, with humility, and with thanksgiving!

Soli Deo Gloria

(Repost from The Armoury, November 2005)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Playing the Devil’s Advocate

Washington D.C. is lost. 

By this I mean that, in the broader scheme of things, our nation’s capitol is spiritually dead.  Thus whatever kernels of wisdom may still exist there, we can be sure that such rarities are utterly buried beneath a mountain of chaff…

…and it doesn’t appear that this vast pile will be blowing away anytime soon.   

Despite the better intentions of our nation’s founding fathers, America’s governmental structure has become a self-absorbed and self-perpetuating monster, and the politicians who direct this behemoth do so for the sake of their own wealth and empowerment.  It is for this reason that we see a growing tendency for lawmakers to legislate in a vacuum of consideration of our nation’s genuine needs, not to mention the needs of the future generations who will follow us.  What has been dizzying about the past year and a half is that the number of bad policies streaming out of capitol hill has been gushing at a rate which makes it impossible to filter and sort through it all.  But this is no accident.  Strategically speaking, Washington knows very well how impossible it is for the American public to drink from such a policy fire-hydrant; let alone from a gushing, unfiltered sewer pipe. 

The most recent policy fiasco comes to us via our nation’s characterization and treatment of Muslim jihadists.  Liberal educators, the media, as well as politicians have practically written, in blood, their own manifesto regarding what everyone must think and believe concerning Islam: that it is “a peaceful religion.”  Politically speaking, this motif has been created by both Democrats and Republicans (to one degree or another), and thus my criticism here is not partisan, nor is it about politics per se.  What I write here is a rebuke against what has become a bipartisan convergence of foolishness that is endangering our nation.  Those who prescribe the mandate for the presumption of Islamic innocence reveal a false dilemma that should be quite obvious to anyone who would care to observe it: if Islam is such a “peaceful religion” (as we are instructed to believe), then why do we see such a steady stream of bloodshed and violence committed in the name of Allah?  Rather than admit the obvious (that Islam is not an inherently peaceful religion), liberals are compelled to find another villain in order to sustain their precious narrative; after all, someone is to blame for all this violence.  

And who or what is this villain?  Well, depending on who you may ask, the answer usually lands in the realm of -anyone who may criticize and oppose Islamic ideology.  Thus, the Muhammad cartoons of yesteryear were thought to be a legitimate basis for Islamic retaliation and violence.  Our foreign policies toward Islamic states (which are mostly hated for their advancement of religious freedom) are thought to give Muslims a cause for slaying more infidels.  And after 8 years of the supposed “Bush-Hitler” era, we find that our military is a part of this equation of blame and justified violence.  The left’s diatribe against our nation’s war on terror became so vehement that they had no problem vilifying our military (thereby endangering them and our nation overall) all for the purpose of political power back home.  Therefore, the forced narrative of the liberal community became this: until we stop fighting Jihadists, we will only exacerbate and facilitate more Jihadist attacks against America.  Or to put it more succinctly:

the only way to achieve peace is by surrendering to our enemies. 

This form of thinking was fodder for the antiwar crowd leading up to Barack Obama’s election late last year.  Now that he is in office, President Obama is realizing that the real world is much more complex than the mythological one in which he, and the people who voted for him, hoped to live.  Even now, the political ramifications of a hasty withdrawal of troops would be damaging to the Democratic party – and so we now wait to hear about the President’s next chess move in what is a perpetual pursuit of a checkmate for political power. 

In this vein, I would like to play the Devil’s advocate for a moment, and offer advice on how this “Islam is a religion of peace” narrative can be advanced even further, especially in the wake of two unpopular wars, and as well, in the wake of two significant tribunals: the trials of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) and Maj. Nidal Hasan.  I would submit to the reader that in the trials of KSM and Maj. Hasan, we have a potential convergence of this “if a victim, then a justified aggressor” motif that will further enrapture the left into their imagined Nirvana.  Never mind reality, facts, or believability – I am addressing those who rest on unreasoned hope and change, thus, here is my Devil’s advocacy:

Their Victimhood:  The narrative of Islamic victimhood must be advanced at all costs – even if it endangers our nation in its wake.  This will be necessary for our Attorney General, Eric Holder, as he requires more public support in order to probe and prosecute those public officials who supported the Bush-torture-era.  These two trials should supply him with all the help that he needs.  Concerning our two pawns in question, Maj. Hasan is a victim in view of the fact that he was constantly tortured by those who failed to endure his open advocacy of Islam; and he was tortured by the personal testimonies of those who received psychiatric counsel from him.  Leniency should be granted to him because he is a Muslim, and was no doubt psychologically abused by the testimony of such violent military personnel.  As for KSM, he is a victim in view of the fact that he was never read his Miranda rights when captured.  As well, he was water-boarded such that he, no doubt, was coerced into making confessions against his will.  Such an argument is no small matter.  KSM has a strong precedent of self defense based upon the recent release of the Cole bombing suspect Adb al-Rahim al-Nashiri who was also waterboarded, as confirmed by CIA director General Michael Hayden on February 6th, 2008.  As a defense against his prosecutors, al-Nashidri’s claimed to be compelled, through such torture, to render false confessions.  On February 5, 2009, al-Nashiri's charges were withdrawn without prejudice.  

Their Publicity:  Maj. Hasan and KSM will require a world stage upon which their victimhood can be seen by all.  America must be punished for its failure to appease the Muslim world, and the trials of these men will further this cause.  Maj. Hasan’s victimhood is already an established fact, especially as the media has been working overtime setting the stage for a proper narrative of victimhood – even disdaining the apparent ties between his Islamic convictions and his violence.    As for KSM, his trial has been advanced to the world stage in view of the fact that he will be judged in a civilian court.  Protected by a presumption of innocence, his accusers will be required to work from a legal ground zero in order to seek prosecution.  With the privacy that would have attended a military tribunal now eliminated, the media will have an unfettered stage in order to broadcast the story of a man who was tortured by the CIA and forced to make his confessions, just like al-Nashiri, whose story was muzzled because of his “enemy combatant” status.

Their Example:  The stories of these men, when dictated by the media to a listening world, will establish a paradigm of foreign policy for ages to come.  The anti-military narrative will enable us to further discussions concerning the need for American passivity, anti-nuclear proliferation, world cooperation, and ultimately, world peace.  Our ultimate goal will be the subjugation of all nations beneath a one world government, headed by the UN - which is the sine qua non institution for world peace.  These are only two trials of two different men, but the convergence of their victimhood narrative will, in time, serve much greater purposes beyond themselves.

I apologize for the disturbing nature of the above “Devil’s advocacy” – but I fear that it is all too real.  As the trial-circus proceeds, we should wonder: how many future “Maj. Hasans,” residing within the US, will be radicalized through the open testimonies of these two men?  These trials could last for years, and the liberal media will be running alongside them in order to broadcast the narratives of such victimized Muslims. 

On another note, it is strikingly odd is to hear our political leaders pontificate about KSM’s guilt, and how he will pay the ultimate cost for his crimes.  But here’s a much needed news flash: he’s now being tried in a new legal venue (civilian court) as one who is not an “enemy combatant,” and within this new paradigm, no one is in a position to presume his guilt in this case.  What is revealing in these contradictions is the fact that many of our nation’s “lawmakers” have very little regard for the law.  Apparently, they just make things up as they go along. 

Washington D.C. is lost.  The political monster which drives it is more interested in power and control than truth or justice.  The Lord said to the nation of Israel in Hosea’s day: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).  History reveals that the signs and symptoms of national sin are very much the same, generation after generation. 

May God have mercy on America.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Friends from Facebook

A Grouchy Disclaimer Regarding Facebook:  Some time ago I received an e-request to sign-up for the popular website called Facebook.  This was initiated by someone that I know personally, and the purpose for the request was so that I would be able to see pictures of this individual, along with his family.  Reluctantly, I signed up as one who is not much of a fan of such things.  In fact, let me admit right here and now that I am the official e-curmudgeon of all such personal e-sites – a veritable Grinch, green skin and all.  Yet despite my worst complaints and criticisms, I have found that it has afforded some helpful contact with various people.  As the website grows, more friends from the past will be able to connect and keep in touch in time. 

Yes, I’ll admit it - my appreciation for Facebook is growing a little.

But I do have some points of minor caution regarding this new e-tool.  One thing that still makes me uncomfortable is this concept of having “friends” of whom I have no personal knowledge.  Like any other biblical concept, friendship is a very important one, and let us remember that it doesn’t take much to diminish the meaning and significance of words – words like friend, or righteous, or even the word awesome.  For example, in our modern culture the terms righteous and awesome have become synonyms for something that is considered to be “cool.” 

Such is the plight of modern society.

Let me suggest to the reader that we who are Christians have a mandate from God to preserve the meaning of language, especially as it relates to God’s Word.  Particularly in this relativistic, post-modern culture of ours, we should be uniquely careful about this matter of upholding the meanings of such key words.  For example, concerning our word in question - friend, we are commanded not to be the friends [philos] of this world (James 4:4).  Jesus said: “you are my friends [philoi] if you do what I command you,” and as well, “greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends [philon]” (John 13:13).  Above any other friendship that we might claim, our friendship (loving affection) with the Lord is the sine qua non of the Christian experience, such that “If anyone does not love (philei) the Lord, he is to be accursed” (1 Cor 16:22). 

In the N.T., the Greek word philos is a word which speaks of the tender affection, love, devotion, and care that is attributable to the relationship between family members or even of close friends.  Unfortunately, most English translations of the Bible will also use the word “friend” for the Greek word hetairos which actually means an associate – which can connote a very close or remote idea, depending on the contextThus, when Judas came to betray Christ, Jesus said to him: “Friend (hetairos) do what you have come for” (Matt 26:49-50); and in the parable of the Marriage Feast (Matt 22:1-14) the man who attempted to enter the King’s presence without the prescribed wedding clothes was called hetaire (NASB - “friend”) before being bound hand and foot and being cast out “into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 

Now that’s some friend.

If I could have my own way on this matter, based upon the language of Scripture alone, my Facebook account would have levels of “friends” to comport with the layers of thought presented within the words - philos and hetairos:

1.  Friends who are believers that I know personally and trust explicitly by observance of their life, words, and actions [philos].

2.  Friends who are believers that I have known personally in the past, who I still trust implicitly [philos]. 

3.  Friends who are e-acquaintances, whose testimonies of faith I trust implicitly [philos].

4.  Acquaintances of the most general kind who, for all I know, could be a James, John, or a Judas [hetairos].

The reality is that it is hard enough to know well the people with whom we have direct contact on a regular basis.  Christian accountability within the local church is difficult enough as it is, and I would submit that developing genuine friendship relationships is becoming increasingly difficult in time.  In reality, e-friendships belie the depth of genuine accountability that we really need, and the folks at Newsweek even understand this.  My only goal here is to avoid shallowness, rather than exalt it.  The world has enough such shallowness and we all need to work against such trends without developing a hard heart.  Thus, I submit this as my official Facebook disclaimer: should I ever fail to “accept” someone as a Facebook friend, this may be that I am just generally slow with such things.  In other cases, I may have reviewed the requestor’s information and found something uncertain or even questionable.  I might add that If you ever find something ambiguous or questionable about what I have listed about myself, then please feel free to query the matter; or if you ever visit my facebook account and find associates there who have questionable lives/testimonies – please let me know.  I want to be generous, not foolish.  I’m not a perfect man myself, nor do I claim to be, but neither do I want to exalt sin so that “grace might abound” – may it never be (Romans 6:1-2).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

WDYS @ DCF 9

Today I have Hannah, Maria, and Micaiah with me for what is a very long day.  Their presence is giving me a bit of a break for now.

As I mentioned earlier – the kids are all here because they want to be – no small detail for any parent.  In fact, I had to insist that they stay home on Thursday and Friday in order to save their strength for today and tomorrow.  This morning, Lydia asked to come and help me – a hard request to resist (the day would be too hard for her).  We’re pacing ourselves more now, retrieving and saving DVDs when we suspect that we’re talking to Christians, but handing off a www.wheredoyoustand.us business card in its place when we can.  Approximately 6000 DVDs are now gone and thus we want to make sure that our distribution is as deliberate as possible.  Overall, we look to the Lord to plant these where they need to go, and we are continually petitioning Him to that end.

WDYS @ DCF 8

Most days here are simply fast and furious.  Don’t get me wrong, there are lulls and moments of quiet – but this is often disrupted quickly by an unexpected onslaught of people.  The only way to stay on top of this roller-coaster of traffic is to stand ready at the front of the booth – ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within us, or at least to hand out a WDYS DVD, or an Amazing Grace Gospel CD.   Thus, there isn’t much time for anything else, and the daily blogging has been quite slow – but, of course, we’re not here to blog.  Dean was with me for the day once again.  When Dean is here, I end up eating more than usual.  For example, Dean arrived at our booth with a delivery of Yaki-Soba – one of my favorite Japanese dishes – a kind of late morning brunch.  This was later supplemented with an “Awsome Blossom” onion concoction (with lunch).  Dessert was maple cotton candy (compliments of Dean, despite the scandal below), topped off late in the evening with an ice cream concoction.  I’m pretty sure now that Dean is trying to kill me – slowly.  Actually, kidding aside, it is because of Dean that I’m actually taking the time to get a meal – something that I’m not very good at doing, especially when I’m in the midst of a busy schedule.

We had some fun throughout the day... 

Concerning the schedule, I have been here every day from the start – Fri (11 hrs), Sat (13 hrs), Sun (10 hrs), Mon (7hrs), Tues (7 hrs), Wed (11 hrs), Thurs (7hrs), Fri (11 hrs), Saturday – today (13 hrs), Sunday – tomorrow (10hrs).  After my first Saturday, I paused and reflected on the fact that I probably have never before stood for 13 hours and talked nearly non-stop; this, followed by preaching the following morning, only to return for 10 hours of more of the same.  The Lord is sustaining me wonderfully.  He has guarded me with good health and a voice that hasn’t suffered too much.  Yesterday was a blessing – seasoned with several conversations with people about the Gospel.  However, with many apologies, I failed to capture Dean’s “singing” of various songs throughout the day.  For reasons unknown to me, he didn’t want his performances recorded on video.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

WDYS @ DCF 7

Scott’s labor of opening on Monday, Tuesday, and today (Thursday) has proven to be an important help.  An 11 hour shift, on one’s feet – talking for the overwhelming majority of the time, is quite demanding.  Yesterday, I began having some trouble with my voice.  It’s loud in the Annex building, especially when there is a crowd – and so it is important to speak up so that others can hear you.  Whenever I come in for my “shift,” Scott is working right there at the booth, talking to folks and handing out DVDs.  Dean will be with me again tomorrow for the full day…more later:

WDYS @ DCF 6

Perhaps it was the weather, but Wednesday presented the challenge of a full crowd.   It was a blessing to have Dean with me for the entire 11 hours – a long haul indeed.  Because of the pace of the day, I had no time to post on the The Armoury, nor did I have any time to take any pics either.  Overall, our day was dominated with DVD distribution, but the Lord did supply a few in-depth conversations throughout the day.   The most key witnessing opportunities revolve around the subjects of mere religion, paganism, and racism.  As well, the thematic question “Where do you stand?” has supplied a consistent means by which to engage people regarding their own convictions about life etc.  There is much that we are learning through this experience.  In many respects we are learning more about the culture in which we live. 

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

WDYS @ DCF 5

This post will be a bookmark for now – until the camera is recharged, we’ll have no pictures.  Scott Rogers opened for me once again – this has been a great help, since it gives me a chance to catch my breath from the previous day.  More to come later…

Update, 5:28 PM: As a review of yesterday – when the Beasley clan came by for a visit, Sandra left Lydia with me for a while (per Lydia’s request).  Without my asking her to do anything – she immediately went towards the front of the booth and proceeded to give DVDs away as if she’d been doing it for quite a while.  Very few refused her…

Hannah & Micaiah take a very well deserved lunch break…

Today has been a bit busier than yesterday, but it still pales in comparison to the weekend.  At this point, approximately 3500 DVDs have been given away.  Please continue to pray that the seed of the Gospel would be received by many.  As I normally do, I blinked for the photo below –

Monday, October 05, 2009

WDYS @ DCF 4

This morning I prayed for a number of individuals with whom I spoke over the weekend.  Their willingness to hear the Word of God being presented was an encouragement to me and reminded me of the need to pray that the Lord might open their eyes to the truth – I can talk until I’m blue in the face, but until the Spirit convicts and leads men to the truth, nothing will happen.  Scott Rogers Opened the booth this morning which was a great help – many thanks Scott!  It blessed my soul to see him sharing, not just the DVDs, but the truth of Christ’s centrality in everything.  Not every encounter with people leads to lengthy conversations, but when we have the opportunity, we are glad to drive our discussions to the cross!

My family came in order to give me some sustenance, and Sandra and the kids handed out DVDs while I ate…

Now it’s just Ruth and Dad – I will keep her with me for a few hours.  She’s been a front-line soldier here, connecting with people, telling them about what we’re sharing with people.  She’s still quite young, but she’s laboring like a big girl!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

WDYS @ DCF 3

After a 13 hour day yesterday, Micaiah is at it again.  I thank the Lord for the joyful countenance of my children and their willingness to serve the Lord!  Without their help, this would become a nearly breakless endeavor for myself.  But after 5 hours of sleep, and preaching this morning – their help is indispensible.  Hannah will be with us today for this 3rd day at the DCF.  Each day is packed with a host of conversations and experiences, and I haven’t the time or ability to write about them all, but suffice it to say – there have been many opportunities to speak to people here – and I thank the Lord for it all.  We’ll have a few updates as the day progresses.

7:42 PM – Since this is a first-time experience for us, we have wondered what the pace would be like from day to day.  Saturday was busy, but today (Sunday) has been even busier!  Because of this we have had slightly fewer in-depth conversations with folks than in the past few days, however, things are still going very well.  Hannah & Micaiah provide stellar help, for which I am very thankful.  The biggest scandal of the day is that, despite the wonderful lunch that was packed for me, I opted for a little “Fiesta Role” from Ichiban. 

Blog-confession is good for the soul:

Note – the racism video/discussion has been a great aid for witnessing to people.  It has proved to be pivotal for several conversations today.

Update:  Alright (Hannah here) - I need to finish my dad’s confession. =) He did admit to getting food at Ichiban, but he failed to mention that he completed what we call the “Thruway Triangle.” Starbucks, Krispy Kreme, and Ichiban are all in the same shopping center, so when we are on Stratford road we tend to complete the “triangle” – and that’s just what dad did today. =) (Of course, Micaiah and I did enjoy our pumpkin spice doughnuts…but I couldn’t resist an opportunity to tease Dad!)

Saturday, October 03, 2009

WDYS @ DCF 2

From 2009-10-03

10:30 AM:  One of my greatest joys in life and ministry is seeing the way in which my children are growing in the wisdom of Christ.  As well, their desire to help and be a part of my labors is a joy that transcends description.  They all want to help, but the constraints of a 9’x10’ booth limit the number of people who can be with me at a given point in time.  Three’s nearly a crowd here, and thus I’m keeping my volunteers to two at this point.  Micaiah is joining us today, and Maria is here for day two. 

12:10 PM: Micaiah is doing a great job!

1:15 PM: Scott & Amanda paid us a visit – it was a blessing to have a moment of fellowship with them!

Friday, October 02, 2009

WDYS @ DCF 1

Already we have had some great opportunities to talk to folks about our need for Christ and His word.  I’m very thankful for this open door and opportunity for the Gospel.  Hannah and Maria have joined me (@ 4:30) and we have been having a blessed time together…

From 2009-10-02

From 2009-10-02

It is 5pm and 300 DVDs have already been given away!

Update – this is a new experience for us.  Overall, Friday was fast and furious – we concluded the day having given away approximately 570 DVDs, and - having had a number of blessed conversations with passers-by about mankind’s need for Christ.  We’ve also had a few moments with the KJV “fighting fundy” types – a few conversations were rather contentious.  At one point (after stepping away for a few minutes), I came upon two people who were being contentious with my eldest daughter – Hannah.  I diffused the moment quickly, but was reminded by it that the American “church” is rife with much confusion and conflict.  Frankly speaking, this is one of the reasons that we’re out here today.  No matter who we speak with, our desire is to pass along the truth of God’s Word.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

We Live in a World of Many “isms”

This year we will have an opportunity to be at the Dixie Classic Fair here in Winston-Salem NC.  For those of you outside of NC, this fair is a fairly big event here in the Piedmont Triad area (Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and High Point).  We have on hand 12 cases of the “Where Do You Stand?” DVD on hand to give away.  Of course, we hope to do more than just hand out DVDs – we are looking forward to talking to people about the very contents of the 12 videos thus featured: 

1.  Do We Live in a Pointless Universe?
As scientists continue to research the vastness of space, we are discovering that the universe is much larger than we have ever imagined.  Because of these ongoing findings within cosmology, many have surmised that mankind is utterly insignificant.  As well, if it is true that the Universe will continue to expand forever into a cold and lifeless void, can it be said that “We live in a Pointless Universe?”

2.  Philosophy vs. True Science.
Can it be argued that the Universe “created itself out of nothing” as posited by Mr. Stephen Hawking?  Is such a supposition the product of philosophy or empirical science - and does it matter?  Will C.E.R.N.’s Large Hadron Particle Accelerator be able to unlock the universe’s deepest secrets?

3.  “Religulous” - by Bill Maher
Bill Maher’s movie “Religulous” argues that religion is harmful to humanity, and that all forms of theism amount to a single genre of foolishness called “religion.”  Is he entirely wrong, or entirely right?; or does he make some valid points within his movie?

4.  The Reality of “Atheism”
Atheism is one of the fastest growing movements in America.  What is Atheism, and how is it that atheists can come to such a conviction that there is no God?  As well, why are the advocates of atheism becoming more active in advancing their viewpoints?

5.  God is not Great?
Christopher Hitchens’ book - “god is not Great” has become very popular throughout the world.  He, like Bill Maher, argues that theism is “child abuse” and is a “poisonous branch that should have been snapped off long ago...” p. 275.  Is religion a dangerous and poisonous branch within mankind?

6.  The Dangers of Violent Religion
No one can deny that many acts of violence have been committed in the name of religion.  This is true today, and it has been true for centuries.  But why is this so?  What relationship does religion have with such violence?

7.  All Men are Created Equal?
Can it really be said that “all men are created equal?”  Were men “created” and in what sense does the notion of “race” factor into this question?  As well, is “racialism” a valid concept of the human race?

8.  Religion, Politics & True Hope
Perhaps you have seen examples where religious faith has been used for the sake of political advantage.  Is there anything wrong with using spiritual terms to describe our American politics & patriotism? 

9.  My Country ‘Tis of Me?
The hymn “America” supplies some very important lessons about the nature of our nation’s independence, dependence, and liberty.  What is that message, and why is it still so important for our own day and age?

10.  True Patriotism
Do you consider yourself to be a good American patriot?  What does it mean to be a patriot, and how might one live out such patriotism?  As well, does your sense of patriotism change at all based upon who is  serving in leadership at the time? 

11.  The Failures of Mere Religion & Atheism
What good can religion, agnosticism, or even atheism bring to a person?  This video presents an important query about all three belief systems.

 12.  A Song of True Liberty
The hymn “America,” or “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” is considered to be our nation’s second national anthem.  In this hymn, America is called a “sweet land of liberty.”  How was this liberty forged, and what is the ultimate message of this historic hymn?

We will be “live blogging” the event over the next 10 days.  We ask for your prayers that the Word of God would run and have success (2 Thess. 3:1-2) as we may have opportunity to describe to others the anatomy of this important question - “Where do you stand?”

Friday, August 21, 2009

Al-Megrahi‘s Safe Flight Home


On Thursday, August 20th 2009, Abdel Basset Al-Megrahi, the man who was convicted of murdering 270 men, women, and children on Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988, safely returned to his home country of Libya as a free man.  All this took place because the Scottish government felt compassion for Al-Megrahi in view of the fact that he has terminal prostate cancer – it would appear that he doesn’t have long to live. 

Fortunately for Al-Megrahi, his flight home was a safe and uneventful one.

It is an odd subtext to Al-Megrahi’s story: the man who murdered scores of human beings by blowing up their airplane, safely travelled home in…an airplane.  But there is a reason why his flight was safe and uneventful: it is because Al-Megrahi lives in a world that is, to a greater extent, civil and orderly.  Despite the darkness of Mr Al-Megrahi’s own beliefs, many in the world today still hold to a belief in something that is called free agency: a concept that Mr. Al-Megrahi considers to be a reprehensible threat to Islam.  You see, free agency stipulates that human beings are free to account for their own thoughts and actions as individuals.  At a very fundamental level, this doctrine is rooted in the Old Testament Scriptures (Ezekiel 18:20).  The opposite of free agency would be the belief which says that people aren’t free to live as the advocates of their own thoughts and actions.  In other words – those who deny free agency often resort to the destruction of those who have a differing belief system.  In Mr Al-Megrahi’s language, this would be summarized in the expression: “slay the infidel” (Surah 8:7, 9:5, 47:4).

It is this principle of free agency and personal responsibility that enables free societies to exist, subsist, and even thrive.  Even a moderately studied student of early American history well knows that our own nation was founded on this very principle of free agency.  It enables freedom of religious belief, freedom of uncertainty, and even freedom of unbelief. 

In brief, free agency removes vengeance from the hands of fallible men, even enabling those who deny such a principle to “fly the friendly skies.”

As for Scotland’s gesture of “compassion” towards this mass murderer, we must remember that compassion without justice is nothing more than corrupt human sentimentality (Genesis 9:6).  As Christians we know that the injustice of this event will be fully and perfectly handled by the One who alone has the right of redemption and vengeance.

Friday, August 14, 2009

There is Swearing, Deception… (Hosea 4:2)

Hosea 4:1-2: 1 Listen to the word of the Lord, O sons of Israel, For the Lord has a case against the inhabitants of the land, Because there is no faithfulness or kindness Or knowledge of God in the land. 2 There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing and adultery. They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed.

Whatever one thinks about the subject of healthcare, all should be appalled by the manner in which the debate is being conducted, or avoided.  Clearly, the sins of swearing and deception are not new to the American political scene – these things have been around since the fall of man.  What is so disturbing is that there appears to be no sense of personal shame for the hypocrisy that often attends the politics of our nation’s leaders.  Contemporary news is rife with illustrations which reveal an America that more resembles the Israel of ancient history, to whom the Lord said: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” Hosea 4:6.

May God have mercy on America:


Thursday, August 06, 2009

All Men are Created Equal? A Brief History of Racialism…

Are all men created equal?  Yes, they are, but how can we know this for certain?  Some people, if they were forthright about the matter, would have to say no.  For example, the secularist shuns the idea of mankind being created at all.  And, if we were to consult  Darwinism on this question we would discover a philosophy which teaches that some so-called "human races" are more favorable than others - debunking the idea of essential equality among humans.  For example, Darwin's work entitled "The Origin of Species" - Originally had an alternate title, which reads -

"The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle of Life." 

Now Darwin's notion of such racialism (the idea that some races have more favorable qualities than others), is clearly displayed in his writings - particularly in this cryptic passage, where he says: 

"At some future period... the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes will no doubt be exterminated.  The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla." 

Darwin believed that those with dark skin were more closely related to primates.  Most modern copies of "The Origin of Species" will conveniently omit Darwin's alternate title in an effort to dissociate the hypothesis of evolution from the notion of racialism - but discerning minds should know better. 

But should one dare argue that Darwinism is the root source of racism...or does the idea of racialism have an earlier beginning?  I would submit to you that all men, by virtue of sinful pride and arrogance, are naturally prone to believe in some form of racialism.  As an illustration of this, we see that ancient Athenian mythology (for example) was used in order to advance a very aggressive form of racialism.  The ancient Athenians believed that they were autochthonous - meaning that they were literally derived out of their own native soil.  In addition to this, they believed that they originated through a complex interaction of several deities.  Through the union of Gaia and Hephaistus - came a child named Erechtheus (Erechthoneus)* - who was said to be begotten out of the earth and was then raised by the goddess Athena.  This mythological genealogy was so important to the Athenians that they often refered to themselves as Erechtheidai (sons of Erechtheus).  Such a name as this reminded them of their supposed superior lineage.

This is just one historic illustration of how mankind is inclined to believe in the notion of "favored races" - especially when they themselves possess whatever traits are deemed as favorable.  Clearly, Darwin didn't invent this idea of "favored races" - this is an ancient notion that is rooted in historic mythology and paganism. 

Now think for a moment about those ancient Athenians.  What if you had the opportunity to speak to a crowd of these ancient "Erechtheidai" - these proud and superior descendents of Erechtheus?  Well - the Apostle Paul did just that when he preached in the city of Athens.  We read about this event in Acts 17:

Acts 17:22-26: 22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 “For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation...

What Paul declared in the city of Athens was very bold.  He began by explaining that the Athenians were worshipping in ignorance of the truth (a bold enough statement by itself).  But he went further by teaching them that mankind is not divided by distinct races, but that we are all members of a single race - called the human race - and that the one true God created all the nations of mankind through one human source.  With this one brief sermon, Paul had exposed the ignorance of Athenian racialism, while revealing the supremacy and Lordship of the one true creator of everything.  For Paul to say these things to a group of people who were convinced of their own supremacy would be like visiting a clan rally and proclaiming the biblical truth that God is not a respecter of persons - whether their skin is white, black, yellow or brown.  What Paul did was quite bold - but for the sake of the Gospel, it was necessary.

The Bible refutes the fallacious notion of multiple races, because by definition, the notion of race is rooted in genealogy - not skin color.  And since all men are derived from one human source by the handiwork of the one true God, it makes no sense to speak of multiple races.  To be sure, there are differing tribes, tongues, peoples, and nations (Rev. 5:9) - but there certainly is no such thing as "multiple races," nor is skin color to be seen as an important distinction among men.  To say that race can be defined by means of skin color makes as much sense as saying that race can be defined by eye color or even hair color.  The legacy of this form of thinking is indeed horrific - and it reveals that those who want to believe in a "favored race" do so by means of great pride, arrogance, and mostly - great ignorance.

So how confident can we be to utter the saying that "all men are created equal?"  Very confident, because our basis of assurance on this matter is established from the authority of the One who made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth..."

Those who wish to compel others to look at the world through the prism of skin color, rather than our shared humanity and individual character, only serve to increase the fear and resentment of racism in our nation and in the world.  And many of these individuals are actually undoing the best achievements of the civil rights movement by placing such a stilted emphasis on the color of one's skin - as if this were the most significant aspect of the human experience - such an emphasis as this is nothing less than sin.  And such racialism cannot end apart from the transforming work of Christ through the power of the Gospel...

*Note: The original identity being Erechthonius, but a possible later descendent named Erechtheus became prominent within the overall mythology.  By the time that Paul preached in Athens, the Athenians made no distinction between the two names/identities.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Coming Fiery Ordeal

1 Peter 4:12-14: 

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Where Do You Stand?

  http://www.thearmouryministries.org/wdysheader.png

We live in a world of many conflicting philosophies and ideas. As a result, one doesn't have to go very far to see the contests that rage within the realm of theism, science, and politics. Some people enjoy such contests, while others have had their fill with such debates. The website - www.wheredoyoustand.us is designed to expose some of the core "isms" in our world in order to evaluate the more fundamental realities of life. Some of the core queries are:

Politics: Do you lean towards liberalism or conservatism; or are you beginning to lose interest in the politics of our nation?

Patriotism: Do you consider yourself to be a patriot, and if so, how do you define true patriotism?

Religionism & Seculariam: Is our nation leaning more towards progressive secularism, or is it becoming more steeped in religionism?

Science: Do you believe in all that is dubbed as "scientific," or are you willing to examine everything with a critical eye?

Philosophy: Do your thoughts lean more towards atheism, agnosticism or secularism?

Amidst the hustle and bustle of life, few stop long enough to ask the question: "What is the point and purpose of life?" As a video website, www.wheredoyoustand.us addresses this root question by peering through the maze of the many "isms" of our world today. The same videos presented on www.wheredoyoustand.us and www.bornagainamericans.org are also available on a single DVD, providing nearly 90 minutes of video presentations.

We all lead very busy lives, and it is therefore easy to “go through the motions” in our daily routine without considering the more important questions in life. Clearly, we live in a world of countless “isms” and philosophies, but the question always remains: Where do you stand?

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Saturday, June 06, 2009

Lift Up Your Eyes: Beholding the True Wonder of the Visible Universe

Below is a video version of the "Lift Up Your Eyes" presentation that we have had the privilege of presenting over the past several years.  It doesn't contain all of the details of the standard presentation, but it summarizes the most important parts (be sure to view this in HD full screen for the best effect):

Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Do Not Be Surprised: the Hatred of Perez Hilton

When we think of God's commandments our thoughts tend to be drawn to those concrete instructions which deal with our external relations with others: do not steal, do not lie, do not bear false witness, do not kill etc.  But there are also commandments which deal with our internal thoughts and intentions, and these are no less important.  After all, a man who is innocent of the physical act of adultery may still be guilty of spiritual infidelity via his unfaithful heart and mind (Matt. 5:27-28).  With this simple premise in mind, allow me to remind the reader of yet another commandment which offers a rebuke to those who have allowed themselves to wane in their mental discernment:

1 John 3:13: 13 Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.

It is too often the case that passages of Scripture are read without noticing the important details therein.  Thus we should note that the words "do not be surprised" represent just two words in the Greek - me thaumazete - the imperatival construct being translated literally as: "you must not be surprised!"  I have placed the exclamation mark at the end in order to remind the reader that, as an imperatival construct, this statement must be understood to be a command rather than a quaint suggestion.   John is literally commanding his readers that they must never be surprised (thaumazete) when the world dishes out its venomous hatred against the followers of Christ.  Because of this, we can know that if we are ever surprised then we are simply evidencing our naivete and forgetfulness of what Christ Himself declared:

John 16:33 In the world you have tribulation...

Representing, evincing, and communicating Christ (which is the definition of a true Christian) will beget much in the way of tribulation, hatred, and hostility from those who disdain the Lord Himself.  As Christians, we must make sure that we are never the source of offense through sin; and yet we must also remember that sometimes the most gracious presentations of truth can be met with the hottest hostility.  When such hostility occurs then the true believer must not be surprised, for the simple reason that - worldly people act in worldly ways.  

I mention all of this in view of the recent debacle concerning the recent Miss USA pageant.  Even though I don't watch or support such programs, it has been impossible to avoid the subject in recent days.  The grand controversy swells around a judge's question (Perez Hilton) for the contestant from California - Carrie Prejean:

Hilton:  "Vermont recently became the 4th state to legalize same sex marriage (background applause) do you think every state should follow suit?  Why, or why not?"

Miss Prejean's response followed:

"Well I think that it's great that Americans are able to choose one or the other; um, we live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage and...you know what, in my country, and in my family, I think that I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman - no offense to anybody out there - but that's how I was raised and that's how I think that it should be - between a man and a woman, thankyou."

Now I know nothing about Miss Prejean herself, and will not attempt to decipher questions about her profession of faith, however it is enough to say that her above response was tepid at best.  One could hardly charge her with being firm, rough, or inappropriate with her questioner, and yet following the contest (which she did not win) Hilton (who is openly gay) proceeded to lambaste her on his website for offering her...personal opinion.  This he did despite the fact that in his original question, he asked "...do you think.."; which most English-speaking earthlings would comprehend as a query for someone's personal opinion. 

Yes, that's right: he actually got what he asked for, but became angry anyway.

Hilton's webcam invectives were disgusting and revealed a childishness that has become popular, even encouraged, in our Internet/Reality-TV culture of today.  Yet despite his dark behavior, Hilton has been paraded about as a champion of a superior cause.  And as disturbing as this all is, we find that others are digging desperately to find a new low in their disdain for the supporters of traditional marriage:

Mr. Duncan (Libertarian MP) may think that it is funny to joke about murdering someone for opposing homosexual marriage, but I wonder if he would still be laughing if the same favor were returned to him.  Had a heterosexual man or woman spewed such a thing about a supporter of homosexuality, the mainstream media would do all that it could to set the world on fire in its defensive rage.  But please note this:

No Christian should be surprised by any of this.

Perez Hilton is just one person, but he represents an entire generation of youth who have been raised by the ill-fated philosophies that gush out of the cesspool of the entertainment industry on a daily basis.  There are many people today, like Hilton, who desire a society that is genderless, lawless, licentious, and Christless - and they won't stop until they create such a beast.  In many respects, people like Perez Hilton are simply fulfilling Scripture (2 Timothy 3:1-4) along with the promise that, in this ancient world, nothing is substantially new (Ecc. 1:10).  I say that nothing is new because Christian persecutions of the past always began through the instrumentality of hatred and systematic dehumanization.  During the Neronian persecutions, Christians were portrayed as "haters of humanity" for the following reason: Christians could not, in good conscience, pay homage to the countless Roman and Greek deities, and therefore they were characterized as those who opposed the common good of society because most Romans believed that sacrifices offered to the gods were needful in order to receive an abundant harvest every year.  Thus, by failing to offer the prescribed sacrifices, Christians were reputed as those who opposed productive harvests and therefore Roman society itself.  From all of this it is easy to see that the dehumanization, hatred, and vitriol that was directed towards the 1st century Christian community became the perverted grounds for their massive, systematic murder. 

Thus, Mr. Duncan seems to be leading this generation's angry mob.

Perez Hilton is no statistical aberration, whether by the standards of human history, or by the recent accounting of America's degrading culture.  Ultimately, our nation has been busy producing Perez Hiltons en masse through the following means:

Effeminate Men:  Many young men today have never had real male role models in their lives.  In a society that has been almost totally emasculated, many men today grow up with no real notions of biblical masculinity.  From this vacuous condition, we often find an increase in the number of effeminate and homosexual men arising within society.

The Abandonment of Motherhood:  The role of motherhood is another casualty in our emasculated and feminized culture today.  Children are rarely nurtured in the home by the leadership of a father, and by the tender nurture of a mother.  The end result is that many young women and men grow up without the slightest concept of this ancient institution called marriage.

A World Without Truth:  In a world where there are no perceived absolutes, save the absolutes of one's personal opinion, there can be no actual foundation of truth whatsoever.  The subjectivism of our culture has made it so that the group who screams the loudest wins.  What they win isn't the battle over absolute truth, rather they win the contest of self-protection amidst the larger scheme of political correctness.  Sometimes screaming leads to violence - but this doesn't matter, just so long as you are on the correct side of the politically correct fence.

As to this latter point, Miss Prejean's personal opinion doesn't even matter in the final, authoritative analysis.  I would rather direct Mr. Hilton to the actual object of his hatred by referring to Christ who was also asked about the nature of marriage:

Matthew 19:4-6: 4 And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

Perez Hilton may not like Miss Prejean's opinion, or even her right to express it, but in the final analysis he will have to appear before the judgment seat of the Creator, Who made all things including marriage

When that day comes I can assure you that the Lord will entertain no appeals when His final judgment is rendered.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

When You're More Worldly than the World

"Shock Theology," as I call it, is becoming more of the fad these days in view of the growing number of churches that are trying to fill their ranks with people who are looking for church thrills.  Sadly, such tactics do fill the pews, but usually this is accomplished at the grave expense of a real Gospel witness and a sound reputation among men.  Of course, we've been here before, but this time, the world is striking back:   

MELBOURNE, Fla. —  A church giving sermons about sex may have to find a new home.  Brevard Public School District's risk-management department has threatened to boot New Hope Church out of Sherwood Elementary because of a worship series titled "Great Sex for You."

Church leaders mailed 25,000 fliers, asking residents "Is Your Sex Life A Bore?" ... Mark Langdorf, the director of risk management, says the mailers generated complaints, were not appropriate for elementary school children and shouldn't be used to advertise the sermon in the school.

Langdorf says the church's lease contract is under review.

[Full article here]

[Original photo/mailer here]

"Great Sex for You" - that's nice... 

This is the same headline that I often see in my e-mail's spam folder.  Such messages are instantly deleted, and for a good reason.  Now, we can sympathize with a church that is being rejected and persecuted for its godliness; but when churches employ a "Shock Theology" that is unnecessarily offensive, and alienating to the world, then I'm less inclined to offer much compassion.  Of course, people make mistakes and God can intervene in His Providence and even use such efforts despite their desperately flawed tactics, however, as Christians we must remember that we have the most serious and important message in the world, and we have been commissioned to deliver it with great joy and great solemnity (Acts 20:18-21).  Alternatively, those who preach theological spam, in the name of Christ, should be ashamed of themselves.  My prayer for New Hope Church is that they would confess this matter before God and men as a means of communicating a genuine Gospel humility to those who desperately need to see and hear it.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Surety Before Politics

Porter GossThe examples of political expediency and compromise in our nation's capitol should remind every Christian that we must pray earnestly for those who are in governing authority (Jeremiah 29:7, 1 Timothy 2:1-8).  It is disturbing to see the way in which our nation's well-being is being sacrificed on the altars of greed, power, and naive populism.  Such bad examples in the world often stand as illustrations of other spiritual contests.  For example the modern church has become quite political itself such that in an effort to increase it's influence in the world many "churches" today are incrementally exchanging the truth of God for worldly popularity.  Such doctrines of compromise and political expedience lead to the loss realism, truth, and integrity.  In like manner, many of our nation's leaders are exchanging the substance of reality, truth, and integrity for the mythological hope of an American Utopia - a land of peace that is begotten by means of political deception, public pacifism, and the naive pursuit of friendship with enemy states who are committed to our destruction - no matter who is president.  

Porter Goss, former director of the CIA, has recently written a revealing article exposing the dangerous activities that are now freely flowing from Capitol Hill.  It is difficult to ascertain which is worse: the dangerous policies themselves, or the manner in which they are pursued: 

Security Before Politics [Excerpts from the Washington Post]

By Porter J. Goss, Saturday, April 25, 2009

A disturbing epidemic of amnesia seems to be plaguing my former colleagues on Capitol Hill. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, members of the committees charged with overseeing our nation's intelligence services had no higher priority than stopping al-Qaeda. In the fall of 2002, while I was chairman of the House intelligence committee, senior members of Congress were briefed on the CIA's "High Value Terrorist Program," including the development of "enhanced interrogation techniques" and what those techniques were. This was not a one-time briefing but an ongoing subject with lots of back and forth between those members and the briefers...

Today, I am slack-jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed; or that specific techniques such as "waterboarding" were never mentioned. It must be hard for most Americans of common sense to imagine how a member of Congress can forget being told about the interrogations of Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. In that case, though, perhaps it is not amnesia but political expedience...

Circuses are not new in Washington, and I can see preparations being made for tents from the Capitol straight down Pennsylvania Avenue. The CIA has been pulled into the center ring before. The result this time will be the same: a hollowed-out service of diminished capabilities...

Unfortunately, much of the damage to our capabilities has already been done. It is certainly not trust that is fostered when intelligence officers are told one day "I have your back" only to learn a day later that a knife is being held to it. After the events of this week, morale at the CIA has been shaken to its foundation...

Trading security for partisan political popularity will ensure that our secrets are not secret and that our intelligence is destined to fail us. [full article here]

Apart from the new birth from above, with God's intervention of mercy and grace, such stories will continue to flow from our nation's capitol.  Let us then pray for the welfare (Jeremiah 29:7), repentance, and redemption (1 Timothy 2:1-8) of the people of our nation.  Without a surety in Him, we will have no security at all.