Saturday, December 28, 2013

Is Men Loving Jesus Homoerotic?

We hope all our readers had a very Merry Christmas this year. As Christians celebrate the birth of our Savior, the major news media typically trots out many stories to discredit the event, and Christianity in general. Perhaps the most interesting twist this season is the Georgetown professor on MSNBC claiming that Christian men loving Jesus is “Interestingly Homoerotic”.

Professor Michael Eric Dyson made the remarks to substitute host Joy Reid on the Ed Show last week while attempting to recruit the LGBT community to join with “African-Americans” as common victims of the “right” on the heels of the remarks made by Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty. We’d like to thank our friends at Newsbusters for being one of the few dozen that still watches MSNBC and brings us the few highlights worth considering.

From the video and transcripts:

Dyson: Jesus was a Jew who, around whom a religion was made. So the anti-Semitism of many of the Christians is ironic to begin with. And then secondly, the gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual stuff - look through the Bible. There’s a lot of interesting things. The same men who will stand up in the church of all men, ‘I put my God, Jesus, overall women. I love him more than I love her.’

Hmmm. Do you really? That sounds interestingly homoerotic to people who are outside your religious traditions. I’m not suggesting it is but I’m suggesting that there are some very interesting, subtle, narrative tensions within the Bible itself and within Christianity beyond that.

Of course, Ms Reid agrees with Dyson throughout the interview, praises him for his Bible knowledge, and ends the segment by hoping the audience will consider Dyson’s words alongside those of Jesus. The article also points out that neither Reid nor Dyson (or apparently the executives at MSNBC) realize that “humans can love without sexual intimacy”, giving parents and children as an example.

It is also obvious that neither the professor nor host has a clue as to how to interpret the Bible. We’ll just mention two basic aspects, context and original language. Beginning with the latter, the professor may not be aware that the New Testament was written in Greek, not in English. The Greek language contains four words for “love”, agape, phileo, eros and stergo.

In the Bible, human love for Jesus is always given as agape (Godly, selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love) or phileo (brotherly love). By his description, the professor attempts to substitute eros love (physical attraction or passionate desire) which can be used in a positive sense relating to husband and wife, or negatively for a number of forbidden acts, but is never used in the Bible with respect to loving Jesus.

Turning to the aspect of context, Ms Reid opened the segment by saying that anyone can manipulate the Bible to support any argument or position. It is somewhat ironic that, although the host was directing her comment to those she perceived to be intolerant of behavior that is condemned in Scripture, her guest then proceeded to make erroneous statements about the Bible in an attempt to prove his point. In reality however, Ms Reid's opening statement is only true to a point. In order to support a false argument, one must disregard the most important interpretation principle, that of regula fidei (rule of faith) or analogia fidei (analogy of faith). This rule basically means that we should interpret any portion of Scripture within the context of the whole because Scripture (when properly understood) will never contradict itself. The “tensions” spoke of by the professor are introduced by those who either don't understand the Scriptures or twist them for their own agenda (or both).

Thus, even though a person may not have a working knowledge of the original language, they can still understand the basic meaning by consulting related Scripture passages. In our case, we could look at the descriptions of love (agape) in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (1Cor 13:4-8).
Would a person without an ulterior motive equate these characteristics of love to physical or sexual attraction?

We find much more of “love” in the the second, third and fourth chapters of John’s first epistle. In addition, it also contrasts the professor’s version of worldly love with Godly love, “the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world” (1Jn 2:16). The letter (and John’s Gospel) also makes multiple ties between our love for Jesus and our obedience to Him.

Students of the Bible should not be surprised at the lack of ability by the professor and members of the media to properly understand Scripture. The Bible tells us

We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned (1Cor 2:12-14).
Returning to the second chapter of John’s first epistle, immediately after contrasting worldly love with Godly love, John follows with a warning to us about the many antichrists that we'll encounter, describing them as “those who are trying to lead you astray” (1Jn 2:26). Therefore, we must regularly put on all our armor, particularly by studying and properly interpreting the Word of God.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Source of Abe Lincoln's Thanksgiving

From our country's early history, the Thanksgiving holiday was celebrated in many individual states. Finally in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation instituting the National Day of Thanksgiving as a official holiday. The October 3, 1863 proclamation began:
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.
The empty suit currently occupying the White House often compares himself to Lincoln (aided by his adoring media), yet these words would be foreign to him. We've previously documented the differences between BHO and Lincoln on our National Day of Prayer. When asked by a reporter for a self-assessment in comparison with former leaders, BHO credited Lincoln as being only one of three presidents that has been as good a president as himself. The other two were FDR, whose war on free enterprise led to the Great Depression, and LBJ, whose "War on Poverty" has cost the country trillions of dollars and actually increased the poverty levels.

Yet, when our nation marked the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address earlier this week, BHO was a no-show. He did join with many other politicians, celebrities and others in filming a recital of the address to encourage the others to memorize the speech. Unlike every other participant however, he purposely left out the words "under God" in his version of the address. While Lincoln encouraged and defended religious freedom, BHO has used his influence to suppress freedom of belief and speech in the military, government, schools and other public venues. To Obama, it is the federal government rather than the Creator that is autonomous and responsible for the blessings we enjoy.

Further evidence for President Lincoln's reliance on the Almighty is seen in his proclamation issued the following year (Proclamation 118 on Thanksgiving Day, October 20, 1864).

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with His guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps and our sailors on the rivers and seas with unusual health. He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while He has opened to us new sources of wealth and has crowned the labor of our workingmen in every department of industry with abundant rewards. Moreover, He has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage, and resolution sufficient for the great trial of civil war into which we have been brought by our adherence as a nation to the cause of freedom and humanity, and to afford to us reasonable hopes of an ultimate and happy deliverance from all our dangers and afflictions:

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 20th day of October, AD 1864, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-ninth.

By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State

Unfortunately, the moral state our nation has deteriorated much over the past century. We must hope and pray that our nation will return to the worldview of reliance on God rather than government or self.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Circle Game

Almost every year around my birthday, a couple of favorite songs from my school daze inevitably pop into my head. This year, they were triggered by a conversation with my cousin Sandi about the great childhood days visiting my grandmother’s old country farm and home place.

The first was written by Neil Young, who holds the distinction of ranking second only to Bob Dylan in the number of volumes in my CD collection. Growing up in Canada, he often played in front of his many friends at his favorite hangout known as “Sugar Mountain”, in which only teenagers were admitted. On November 12, 1964 (his 19th birthday), Neil wrote the song Sugar Mountain lamenting the end of his teenage years when he could no longer hang out with his friends.

Oh, to live on Sugar Mountain
With the barkers and the colored balloons,
You can't be twenty on Sugar Mountain
Though you're thinking that
You're leaving there too soon.
While the younger band members continued to play the club, Neil struck out on his own. Shortly thereafter, fellow Canadian folk singer Joni Mitchell wrote a song for Mr Young called The Circle Game. My favorite version is the 1974 live performance that ended up on the “Miles of Aisles” album (think large vinyl CD with grooves for those under thirty), but I found a nice video with excellent graphics by Bob Marshall

In Ms Mitchell’s response, she offers hope for a bleak future.
So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through.

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game.

Yet as Christians, our hope is not merely a wish or desire, but a rock-solid expectation based on revelation from God. While we are in some sense “captive on the carousel of time”, we serve a God that is not bound by space and time.

I would also contend that the Christian life is more like a spiral than a circle. Although some events tend to repeat themselves in our lives, we are growing and following a set plan for us as decreed by God before time began. Each year, we are being made into the image of Christ (Rom 8:29), although I seem to be getting there slower than many others. Nevertheless, in contrast to unbelievers, we can have this confident assurance that although we may face many hardships, we’ll never have to face them alone or under our own power.

Even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2Cor 4:3-16)

So as we get older, we get closer and closer to the unseen, our real eternal life in which we’ll see our Savior face to face and be re-united with our loved ones who have gone on before. What a glorious day that will be.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dating Historical Bible Events – Progress Update

Recently, we’ve been working on a series of articles tentatively entitled “The Bible in History” emphasizing the historicity of the Bible; that is to say that the events portrayed as literal episodes really happened and the associated characters were real people that physically existed, as opposed to being myths and legends as critics like to charge. Because these biblical narratives are real, we can date them along the historical timeline along with extra-biblical secular events. Unlike modern historical books however, events in the Bible are not tied to a chronological calendar dating system. Still, there is enough internal (within the Scriptures) and external evidence to date most characters and events with reasonable accuracy.

At the moment, the series will consist of a main article, currently in progress and subtitled simply as “Dating Bible Events”. This article will discuss various methods and challenges of establishing a Biblical timeline within our modern calendar system. There will also be several spin-off articles on subjects such as the date of the Exodus and Conquest and the life of Christ, both in progress.

Part of the series has already been completed and uploaded. We first mention the article Biblical Genealogies - Interpretation Challenges and Bible Inerrancy Issues. This was uploaded to our Bible Genre section in May, but it also contributes. It was written prior to the “Dating Bible Events” series, but contains much info that contributes to the current articles.

A major challenge we face in translating the dates of Bible events is the various calendar systems themselves, so we composed a Calendar Systems series consisting of an introduction and five parts that we uploaded last week. This sub-series not only examines the various calendar and dating systems, but provides much background on the various political and historical backgrounds for the various nations and time periods in which they developed.

The introduction contains a table of contents with links to all chapters. In part 1, we examine the basic types of calendars and dating systems along with their common components. In Part 2 we explore the political and historical context of Israel, Egypt, Babylon, the Roman Empire and other major nations in which the various calendar systems developed during the biblical era and the early church period.

If you think that “BC” stands for “Before Christ” and “AD” for “After Death”, and thus wondered how the years between Christ’s Incarnation and Crucifixion are dated, you might want to check out Part 3. Here, we discuss the origin and significance of our modern dating system (aka Anno Domini system). In part 4, we look at the historical events that led to its acceptance by Christendom in the midst of the church-state power struggles between the papacy and the Roman political leaders from the eighth to the fourteenth centuries. We then consider the development of alternative naming conventions to the Anno Domini system by unbelievers.

In our fifth and final installment, we focus on the historical events that led to the development and adoption of our modern Gregorian calendar system to replace the Julian calendar. We also summarize the methods and process of converting dates between different calendar systems and add some final thoughts on the Anno Domini system as it relates to the Christian era.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Face to Face with Christ my Savior

In the June 2013 issue of Turning Point magazine, Pastor David Jeremiah relays a story about pastor and author Robert J Morgan’s visit to Vietnam. During the trip, Pastor Morgan met a local elderly pastor who had been previously imprisoned for his faith. When asked how the pastor endured those many years of hardship, he stated “My two 333's got me through”.

He then explained that the first 333 was Jeremiah 33:3, in which God promises “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (NKJV). The other comfort was song number 333 in the Vietnamese hymnbook. The elderly pastor didn’t know the English title so he began singing it in his native language. Pastor Morgan immediately recognized the tune as “Face to face with Christ my Savior” written in 1898 by Carrie Elizabeth Ellis Breck (1855-1934).

As told in Pastor Morgan’s book, Then Sings My Soul - Volume 1, the tune that he recognized was originally meant for another hymn. Its composer was Grant Colfax Tullar who was named after Ulysses S Grant and Schuyler Colfac, the president and vice-president of the US in the year of Tullar’s birth (1869). Years later, Grant was leading the music at a revival in Rutherford NJ. One afternoon, he sat down at the piano in the local pastor’s house and penned a song and music, “All for me the Savior suffered; All for me He bled and died.” The local pastor, Rev Charles Mead reportedly sang the song at the evening service. Due to the events of the following morning however, “All of Me” would never be published.

Read the entire Face to Face with Christ my Savior article, including the hymn's lyrics.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ministry and Website Programming Updates

Spare time from my “other” job (the one that pays the bills) has been quite minimal over the past couple of years, but I'm finally seeing a small work decrease the past few weeks. The maritime port in South Jersey is under construction and the electrical design for the International Terminal in Virginia is getting close to completion. I still have the electrical substation, transmission, distribution, telecommunications and street lighting design for a few industrial cities in the Middle East, but they've been relatively quiet for the past few months. I'm hoping the trend continues and that I can even drop back to flex or even part-time withing the next couple of years. I can just hear many of my friends thinking, "yeah, we've heard that before", but I did turn down the offer of taking the lead for the substation, and electrical and telecom distribution for the downtown renovation of a city in the western US, something that I would never have done a few years ago.

That said, my primary goal is to be able to devote more time to our ministry. I have dozens and dozens of articles in various stages of completion, some from over ten years ago. I'd get to a certain point, get interrupted (job deadlines, questions from readers or class members, deciding to do additional research on a particular topic ect) and be off on another engineering or ministry project. I'm still planning new articles and series, but will attempt to place a priority on finishing existing ones.

Website Programming Update

Still, although we neglected our blog during this time, we were able to make excellent progress on many articles and series for our main website. We’ve completed two articles on the historicity of the Bible that includes a discussion of the sources and methods used in dating bible events, difficulties and challenges that are often encountered, and a look at the history and development of various calendar systems from Biblical times to our modern day. We should have these formatted and uploaded in the next few days and will continue work on other articles in this series. We’ve also made some headway on the series of articles related to the OT prophets overview that was loaded last fall.

By the grace of God, we were able to format and upload some articles during this busy time. We added Bible Genealogies to our Bible Genre Analysis section that explores some of the common literary types found in the Bible. In this latest entry, we examine the nature and purposes of genealogies in the Hebrew culture, along with some various interpretation challenges when encountering the genealogical records. Many people skip these lists when reading through the Bible, but they have some very important applications which we include in the discussion.

Finally, a good friend emailed us with a question that came up in their Bible study class, “Did Judas Go to Heaven or Hell?” In response, we wrote an article examining the most popular arguments for and against, reveal what we believe to be the key question in the matter, and provide reasons for our answer to the subject question.

We’d like to thank our readers for your patience during these times of heavy workload. The good (and bad) news is that Obamanomics is catching up to us again, so it appears we’ll have more time for writing this fall. Let us continue to pray for all those who are unable to find work in this economy or must work multiple jobs in an attempt to support their families.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

How do we find the words to adequately express our gratitude for those brave heroes who paid the ultimate price for the freedoms that we enjoy today. Words of course, are never enough so we'll get right to our tribute this year and just say a very heartfelt "Thank You".

See our Memorial Day Tribute 2013 page on our main website for our salute to all who have sacrificed their very lives for our freedoms. God Bless our brave troops.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

National Day of Prayer 2013

Tomorrow, May 2 marks the 62nd annual National Day of Prayer. This year’s theme is Pray for America and Greg Laurie is the Honorary Chairman. The theme is “In His name the nations will put their hope” from Matthew 12:21.

Pastor Laurie’s national prayer is

Father, we come to You to pray for our nation, the United States of America.

How You have blessed us through the years, Lord! We rightly sing, “America, America, God shed His grace on thee.” Yet we see trouble in our culture today. We see the breakdown of the family, crippling addictions, and random acts of horrific violence.

Lord, we need Your help in America. In recent days, we have done our best to remove Your Word and Your counsel from our courtrooms, classrooms and culture. It seems, as President Lincoln once said, that we have “forgotten God.” But Lord, You have not forgotten us! You can bless and help and revive our country again.

Scripture tells us that “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). Lord, in Your mercy, we ask that You would exalt our country again. We have had a number of great awakenings in America. We have experienced times of refreshing, and revivals that changed not only the spiritual but also the moral landscape. As the psalmist said, “Will You not revive us again, so that Your people may rejoice in You?” (Psalm 85:6)

That is our prayer for America today, Lord. Send a mighty spiritual awakening that will turn the hearts of men and women, boys and girls back to you. You have told us if we will humble ourselves and pray, and seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways, that You will forgive our sins and heal our land. (2 Chronicles7:14)

Forgive us today, Lord, and heal this troubled land that we love so much.

We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ.

Please pray also for Pastor Laurie who has endured calls from the “tolerant” liberals and even the Obama military to resign as chairman due to his support for biblical defined marriage. Here are a few suggested prayers for our leaders or you may choose to offer your own requests.
  • That God’s name will once again be hallowed (revered and kept holy) throughout our land rather than constantly profaned.
  • For the return of religious freedom, that Christians would be given the same rights to express our beliefs in all public venues as are currently granted to atheists and humanists.
  • That our leaders will respect and obey our Constitution, return to the biblical principles on which we were founded, and reject the current policies that weaken our defenses as a sovereign nation.
  • That our leaders realize that they serve by God’s permission and will look to Him for wisdom and guidance.
  • That our leaders transform the entitlement mentality and restore the Christian work ethic.
  • That our president put aside his personal agenda and do what is best for the country.
The last election has shown that America is well beyond the tipping point of being able to hold our government leaders responsible for the godless path on which they continue to take our nation. With God as our only solution, our nation needs prayer more than ever. It is only through the consistent and fervent prayers of the Christian remnant that God may choose to bless this nation once again. We hope you will join us, not only for today, but each day of the year.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Good Earth Steward

This past week, while I continue to recover from bronchitis, the world celebrated “Earth Day 2013”. As Christians, we should celebrate God’s creation, remembering the One who not only created, but continues to sustain all things according to His perfect plan. We are also to be good stewards of the creation according to His word.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. (Gen 1:26-28,31)

So, the mission of humans, who are created in the image of God, is to responsibly exercise dominion over the earth. Unfortunately, the radical Green environmental movement has completely flipped these commands. Rooted in pagan religion (Animism, Pantheism etc), Eco-Utopianism, socialist economics, globalism, Eugenics and other unbiblical beliefs and agendas, this movement seeks to fundamentally transform our entire society, culture, and traditional values.

The results? The creation, rather than the Creator is now the object of worship. Man has become subject to nature. Unborn human children can be legally murdered, but don’t try this with a tortoise egg. Many want humans eliminated altogether so that the earth can return to her “natural” state. We’ll elaborate further on this movement in other articles, but we’d like to return to our subject of being a good steward of the creation.

One of the leading defenders of the biblical worldview of creation is the Cornwall Alliance, a coalition of theologians, religious leaders, scientists, and other scholarly experts founded by our friend, Dr E Calvin Beisner. We received an email from Dr Beisner this week that contained an excerpt from a lecture given by his good friend, Dr Clyde Kilby, a long-time English professor at Wheaton College. Dr Kilby concluded a 1976 lecture with suggestions meant to provide or renew a sense of amazement at what it means to be alive in this world:

  1. At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above and about me.

  2. Instead of the accustomed idea of a mindless and endless evolutionary change to which we can neither add nor subtract, I shall suppose the universe guided by an Intelligence which, as Aristotle said of Greek drama, requires a beginning, a middle, and an end. I think this will save me from the cynicism expressed by Bertrand Russell before his death when he said: "There is darkness without, and when I die there will be darkness within. There is no splendor, no vastness anywhere, only triviality for a moment, and then nothing."

  3. I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event, filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities. I shall not be fool enough to suppose that trouble and pain are wholly evil parentheses in my existence, but just as likely ladders to be climbed toward moral and spiritual manhood.

  4. I shall not turn my life into a thin, straight line which prefers abstractions to reality. I shall know what I am doing when I abstract, which of course I shall often have to do.

  5. I shall not demean my own uniqueness by envy of others. I shall stop boring into myself to discover what psychological or social categories I might belong to. Mostly I shall simply forget about myself and do my work.

  6. I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. I shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what Lewis calls their "divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic" existence.

  7. I shall sometimes look back at the freshness of vision I had in childhood and try, at least for a little while, to be, in the words of Lewis Carroll, the "child of the pure unclouded brow, and dreaming eyes of wonder."

  8. I shall follow Darwin's advice and turn frequently to imaginative things such as good literature and good music, preferably, as Lewis suggests, an old book and timeless music.

  9. I shall not allow the devilish onrush of this century to usurp all my energies but will instead, as Charles Williams suggested, "fulfill the moment as the moment." I shall try to live well just now because the only time that exists is now.

  10. Even if I turn out to be wrong, I shall bet my life on the assumption that this world is not idiotic, neither run by an absentee landlord, but that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course I shall understand with joy as a stroke made by the architect who calls himself Alpha and Omega.
We’d like to invite our readers to join us in praying for and supporting the Cornwall Alliance and their faithful work. Thank you and God bless.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Reliance on the Holy Spirit - Spurgeon

Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Gal 3:3
Yes, we are just so foolish. Folly is bound up not only in the heart of a child, but in the heart of even a child of God. I suppose we are all very sound as a matter of theory upon this point. If any should ask us how we hope to have our salvation worked in us, we should without the slightest hesitation proclaim our belief that salvation is of the Lord alone, and we should declare that, as the Holy Spirit first commenced our piety in us, we look alone to his might to continue and to preserve and at last, to perfect the sacred work.

I say we are sound enough on that point as a matter of theory, but we are all very heretical and unsound as a matter of practice. For alas… you will not find a Christian who does not have to mourn over his self-righteous tendencies. You will not discover a believer who has not at certain periods in his life, felt the need to groan because the spirit of self-confidence has risen in his heart and prevented him from feeling the absolute necessity of the Holy Spirit. Instead, it has led him to put his confidence in the mere strength of nature, the strength of good intentions, or the strength of strong resolutions, instead of relying upon the might of God the Holy Spirit alone.

This one thing I know brethren, that while as a preacher I can tell you that the Holy Spirit must work all our works in us, and that without him we can do nothing, yet as a man I find myself tempted to deny my own preaching; not in my words, but to deny them in fact by endeavoring to do deeds without looking first to the Holy Spirit. While I should never be unsound in the didactic part of it [the teaching or theory], yet in that part which concerns the working of it out [application and practice], in common with all who love the Lord Jesus but are still subject to the infirmities of flesh and blood, I have to groan that I repeatedly find myself, having begun in the Spirit, seeking to be made perfect in the flesh. [The Greek word sarx translated as "flesh" refers to our human sinful nature.]

Yes, we are just as foolish as that, my brethren; and it is well for us if we have a consciousness that we are foolish. For when a man is foolish and knows it, there is the hope that he will one day be wise: to know one’s self to be foolish is to stand upon the doorstep of the temple of wisdom. To understand the wrongness of any position is half way towards amending it. To be quite sure that our self-confidence is a heinous sin and folly, and an offense towards God, and to have that thought burned into us by God’s Holy Spirit, is going a great length towards the absolute casting away of our self-confidence, and the bringing of our souls in practice, as well as in theory, to rely wholly upon the power of God’s Holy Spirit.

--Charles H Spurgeon (from a Sermon delivered at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark, London on Nov 5, 1857)

Note: We have modernized the language somewhat, added bold emphasis, and inserted a few brief comments in brackets.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Forty Years of Lies

Each January is National Sanctity of Life Month, a month set aside each year to raise our awareness of the value of life. It is a great opportunity for Christians and pro-life supporters to focus on the dignity of human beings from the moment of conception (Jer 1:5, Ps 139:13-14). Babies are not “an inconvenience”, but a gift from God (Ps 127:3-5) and must be celebrated and protected (Ex 20:13), especially since they cannot protect themselves.

This year’s NSLM is even more noteworthy in that it marks the 40th anniversary of Roe vs Wade, the infamous court case in which the unborn child was ruled to be a non-person, thus giving women the “constitution right” to kill their unborn babies on demand for any, or even no reason whatsoever. Since that day, over 50 million babies have been "legally" killed.

Many people are not aware however, that the abortion industry was initially built on lies, and continues to operate on lies today. We hope to produce several articles on the subject this year, beginning with the court case itself.

To give a brief summary, Norma McCorvey (“Jane Roe” in Roe v Wade) never wanted to be part of a court case; she only wanted an abortion. Her feminist attorneys assured her that they would get her an abortion, but didn’t. They also used the lie that she was gang-raped when she wasn’t raped at all. She was simply a tool in their hands. She never even had an abortion, and was discarded after she served their purpose. Later, when the Clintons threw a huge festivity at the White House celebrating the 1993 twentieth anniversary of Roe v Wade with many of the participants, Norma was not even invited.

Incidentally, an independent but similar case (Doe vs Bolton) that permitted second and third trimester abortions, even outside of a hospital and thus leading to the opening of abortion clinics all over the country, had many similarities. Sandra Cano never wanted (or had) an abortion. She was offered legal help in her divorce and custody fight over her two children if she would sign the affidavit as “Mary Doe”.

Both Ms McCorvey and Ms Cano are now pro-life proponents. They are extremely disappointed with those who took advantage of them, and at what has been perpetrated in their names. They have even challenged the court decisions without success. Due to the lies of the attorneys, the killing goes on to this day.

In 2008, the courageous Norma McCorvey recorded a television commercial pleading with voters to support a president that would protect the unborn. From the script:

“I’m Norma McCorvey, the former Jane Roe of the Roe vs. Wade decision that brought ‘legal child’ killing to America. I was persuaded by feminist attorneys to lie; to say that I was raped, and needed an abortion. It was all a lie.

Since then, over 50 million babies have been murdered. I will take this burden to my grave.”

She ends the ad by saying “Please, don’t follow in my mistakes. DO NOT vote for Obama. Obama murders babies.” Yet, the problem is much bigger than Mr Obama. While he is one of the biggest promoters of abortion, even taking it to new levels by using executive orders, government subsidies and political influence, he is also a product of our expanding culture of death.

Therefore, we urge our readers to pray and get involved, whenever and wherever we can to stop this holocaust. It is after all, literally a matter of life and death.