ContraCelsum Backup

Dear Reader: Although Google professes to have a policy of free speech, there are now disturbing examples of Google peremptorily shutting down blogs on the Blogger platform espousing views which (presumably) Google wants to censor. Therefore ContraCelsum has set up a mirror blog via WordPress (http://contracelsum.com/). We update the latter weekly. If this site should suddenly go dark, you will find ContraCelsum alive and well at the above address. You may want to bookmark it now (just in case).

Friday, 28 November 2014

The Historical Zeitgeist of the American Holiday of Thanksgiving

'The Pilgrim Chronicles' (Excerpt)

The Faith and Focus of the Puritans

 
27 Nov 2014


Through the Act of Supremacy and the Act of Uniformity, Queen Elizabeth’s Settlement solidly established the Church of England as the nation’s official government denomination. It was a compromise of sorts: the Church of England would retain its Protestant doctrine, but it would also keep familiar, Catholic-style worship ceremonies and traditions. The publication of English language Bibles, once outlawed in England, now proliferated, and commoners and gentry alike eagerly purchased personal copies. Learning and sharing Scripture became the rage in England. “Everywhere might be heard the eager conversation of minds enlightened by the truth, speaking those wonderful words which the Most High had spoken unto men,” reported nineteenth-century church historian Edward B. Underhill. “The street, the tavern, the ale-house, the church and every company were the scenes of earnest dispute or holy zeal [as] scripture was compared with scripture and its sense closely scrutinized.” By the early 1600s, the common people of England were awash in a flood of faith. “The whole moral effect . . . was simply amazing,” observed renowned English historian John Richard Green. “The whole nation became a church.”

While Queen Elizabeth’s compromise solidified Protestant doctrine in the Church of England, it also placed requirements and restrictions on Protestants as well as Catholics. The English people were required to abide by the standards and policies of the Church of England as stated in the 1559 Book of Common Prayer.

Pastors and preachers were forbidden to publicly “preach, declare or speake any thing” that was not sanctioned by the Anglican Church. Disobedient pastors could be discharged from their salaried positions in the Church and even imprisoned for life. The punishment for any minister who deviated from Church policy was outlined in the Book of Common Prayer:

Daily Devotional

Jesus Prays for Us

He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)

John Piper

It says that Christ is able to save to the uttermost — forever — since he always lives to make intercession for us. In other words, he would not be able to save us forever if he did not go on interceding for us forever.
This means our salvation is as secure as Christ’s priesthood is indestructible. This is why we needed a priest so much greater than any human. Christ’s deity secures his indestructible priesthood for us.

This means we should not talk about our salvation in static terms the way we often do — as if I did something once in an act of decision, and Christ did something once when he died and rose again, and that’s all there is to it. That’s not all there is to it.

This very day I am being saved by the eternal intercession of Jesus in heaven. Jesus is praying for us and that is our salvation.  We are saved eternally by the eternal prayers (Romans 8:34) and advocacy (1 John 2:1) of Jesus in heaven as our high priest. He prays for us and his prayers are answered because he prays perfectly on the basis of his perfect sacrifice.

For more about John Piper's ministry and writing, see DesiringGod.org.

Too Right!

I Was Born This Way

One of the weasel words employed by homosexual apologists is that for some, same sex attraction is "natural".  By which is meant that some people are born to be homosexuals; they are wired that way.  To which we respond with a firm affirmation: of course homosexuals are wired to be homosexuals.  For them it is natural.  When they enter into homosexual thought, desires, social patterns, expectations, activity, and even more permanent relationships they are acting naturally, according to their natural inclinations and desires.

That's precisely what the Apostle Paul means when he says, "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned."  The natural person has his natural heart set on things which are opposed to the Spirit of God.

Consider the person who seeks justifies his adulterous lechery as he leers at others by claiming it is natural.  Our Lord, recognizing the depravity that either rules or insinuates itself into every human heart, condemned such desires, their very naturalness notwithstanding:
But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28)
Woe to him who would retort:  "How dare Christ criticise or condemn the natural desires with which I was born.  I have been wired this way.  It is natural.  It is not just harmful, but positively evil to require me to deny who I am."

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Letter From America (About Superior Beings)

Thomas Sowell
Thomas Sowell

Beware of Our Betters

Media downplaying role of Jonathan Gruber

Thomas Sowell
The Lane Report
November 25, 2014

Jonathan Gruber’s several videotaped remarks about the gross deceptions that got ObamaCare passed in Congress should tell us a lot about the Obama administration. And the way that the mainstream media hesitated for days to even mention what Professor Gruber said, while they obsessed over unsubstantiated charges against Bill Cosby, should tell us a lot about the media.

Whatever did or did not happen between Bill Cosby and various women is not likely to affect the lives of 300 million Americans. But ObamaCare does.
For both the politicians and the media, this was not just an isolated incident. Gruber’s videotaped discussions of the complicated deceptions built into ObamaCare with his help, designed to take advantage of what he called the “stupidity” of the public, are all too typical of the role played by the political left.

Daily Devotional

Divine Discrimination

"For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."
Romans 9:15

Charles Spurgeon

In these words the Lord in the plainest manner claims the right to give or to withhold his mercy according to his own sovereign will. As the prerogative of life and death is vested in the monarch, so the Judge of all the earth has a right to spare or condemn the guilty, as may seem best in his sight.

Men by their sins have forfeited all claim upon God; they deserve to perish for their sins--and if they all do so, they have no ground for complaint. If the Lord steps in to save any, he may do so if the ends of justice are not thwarted; but if he judges it best to leave the condemned to suffer the righteous sentence, none may arraign him at their bar. Foolish and impudent are all those discourses about the rights of men to be all placed on the same footing; ignorant, if not worse, are those contentions against discriminating grace, which are but the rebellions of proud human nature against the crown and sceptre of Jehovah.

When we are brought to see our own utter ruin and ill desert, and the justice of the divine verdict against sin, we no longer cavil at the truth that the Lord is not bound to save us; we do not murmur if he chooses to save others, as though he were doing us an injury, but feel that if he deigns to look upon us, it will be his own free act of undeserved goodness, for which we shall forever bless his name.

How shall those who are the subjects of divine election sufficiently adore the grace of God? They have no room for boasting, for sovereignty most effectually excludes it. The Lord's will alone is glorified, and the very notion of human merit is cast out to everlasting contempt. There is no more humbling doctrine in Scripture than that of election, none more promotive of gratitude, and, consequently, none more sanctifying. Believers should not be afraid of it, but adoringly rejoice in it.

Secularism's Messiah

Salvation by Law and the Prison

It is axiomatic in a Christian Commonwealth that a sharp distinction is drawn between sins and crimes.  All crimes, of course, are sins.  But not all sins are crimes--in fact, very few of them are.

But in the world of Unbelief no-one can draw a demarcation between sins and crimes.  All iniquities, all evil is potentially criminal.  Since, in modern secularist Unbelief there is no god or saviour apart from the state, all attempts to remove evil from society will lead inevitably to more and more sins being criminalised.  The upshot is the rise of a progressive tyranny.  The state becomes more and more authoritarian, intrusive, hectoring, demanding, ruling, and bossy.  In the end, authoritarianism risks developing into full throated totalitarianism.

In the United Kingdom (once a Christian Commonwealth, now a secularist paradise) a draft bill would have husbands face fourteen years in prison if they shout at their wives.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

The Old Gray Mare

Douglas Wilson
Blog and Mablog
November 25, 2014

The goal of the pansexualist movement is to remove all creational distinctives. They want to batter down every border, every barrier, so that when we are all done, every sentient being has been melted down into their great cauldron of lust. If you really think that when same sex mirage is a done deal, everyone will settle down into a recognizable normal, then you are a chump, a patsy. We are already at the stage when mainstream publications can run puff pieces on guys who like to have sex with horses.

The issue is not the fact that there are pervs who do this kind of thing. We have always had them, and the Bible prohibits it for a reason. The issue is how everybody else is being manipulated. The issue is not the sin, but rather the societal response to the sin. Get a load of the first lines.

Daily Devotional

On Worship

C.S. Lewis

He demands our worship, our obedience, our prostration. Do we suppose that they can do Him any good, or fear, like the chorus in Milton, that human irreverence can bring about “His glory’s diminution”? A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word “darkness” on the walls of his cell. But God wills our good, and our good is to love Him (with that responsive love proper to creatures) and to love Him we must know Him: and if we know Him, we shall in fact fall on our faces. If we do not, that only shows that what we are trying to love is not yet God—though it may be the nearest approximation to God which our thought and fantasy can attain.

From The Problem of Pain
Compiled in Words to Live By
The Problem of Pain. Copyright © 1940, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright restored © 1996 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Sourced from BibleGateway.

Cavernous Sockets Instead of Seeing Eyes

Averted Eyes and Western Silence

Our previous post addressed the horrendous practice of female genital mutilation ("FMG").  We wish to follow this theme a bit further.  The practice is occurring in the West; however, it is largely ignored in the time honoured Nelsonian fashion of lifting a telescope to the blind eye. 

Why is the West failing miserably to confront, interdict, and punish this terrible practice?  May we suggest a number of likely reasons.  The first is the West will struggle to oppose this practice because to do so would be deeply hypocritical.  The West has championed the spurious "right" that of woman to her own body in the dishonest attempt to justify wholesale, industrial abortion.  If a woman has a right to kill her own unborn child because of a higher right to her body as her own selfish possession, then she must have a lesser right to submit to FMG.  It would, therefore, be entirely inappropriate to criminalise the choice of a woman to do so.  Does she not have a right over her own body to do with it as she will? Behold the cacophonous silence of Western feminists in contending against the horrific abuse of FMG. 

Of course there is the issue of consent.  Do young women really get to choose freely to genital mutilation, or is it forced upon them by their families?  But this is splitting hairs.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

A Terrible Crime

Female Genital Mutilation in the West

A Creeping Crime Against Humanity

by Phyllis Chesler
Breitbart
November 19, 2014

Tomorrow, on November 20, 2014, an Egyptian doctor, Raslan Fadl, will for the first time in history be sentenced because his 13-year old patient died during a female genital mutilation (FGM) procedure; he claims she was allergic to penicillin. [update: Fadl was unexpectedly acquitted.]

This girl died—but she was probably viewed as among the lucky few who have real physicians perform the mutilation in a clinic, as opposed to a midwife or tribal elder who performs the mutilation on a mud floor and with a rusty knife or razor blade.

We know that this horrendous practice is pandemic in the Middle East and Africa. Some claim that FGM is not an Islamic practice per se but is, rather, an African and tribal practice. Thus, FGM is practised in Muslim Africa (Egypt, Somalia, Sudan) but also in pagan and Christian Africa, as well as nations that are a mix of Christian and Muslim (Nigeria, Sierre Leone, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Kenya). It is also increasingly practised in Muslim Indonesia.

Recently, a photographer was present at the FGM "ceremonies" of four teenage Kenyan girls of the Potok tribe. They look terrified.  According to UNICEF, 91% of Egyptian women have been genitally mutilated.  The practice is supported by both women and men who view women as unclean and unmarriageable if they have not been "cut." A number of brave and poignant memoirs have been written by women who have undergone this procedure. Dr. Nawal el-Sadawii, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Soraya Mire all come to mind.

But we also know that this practice flies under the radar in the West as well among immigrant communities, mainly from these regions. And we know that Western authorities have failed to stop it.

Daily Devotional

When God Swears by God

Since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” (Hebrews 6:13-14)

John Piper

There is one Person whose worth and honor and dignity and preciousness and greatness and beauty and reputation is more than all other values combined — ten thousand times more, namely, God himself. So God swears by himself.

If he could have gone higher, he would have gone higher. Why? To give you strong encouragement in your hope. What God is saying in swearing by himself is that it is as unlikely that he will break his word of promise to bless us as it is that he will despise himself.

God is the greatest value in the universe. There is nothing more valuable or wonderful than God. So God swears by God. And in doing that he says: “I mean for you to have as much confidence in me as it is possible to have.” For if more were possible, verse 13 says he would have given us that.

Now this is our God. The God who is reaching as high as he can reach to inspire your unshakable hope. So flee to God for refuge. Turn from all the superficial, self-defeating hopes of the world and put your hope in God. There is nothing and no one like God as a Refuge and a Rock of hope.

For more about John Piper's ministry and writing, see DesiringGod.org.

Prime Ministerial Panic

A Wall Too Far

Historically, walls were built to keep enemies out and provide security and protection to inhabitants.  Hadrian constructed "his" wall to keep out the marauding barbarians.  Likewise the Great Wall of China served to protect citizens from northern barbarians.  [What is it about the "north" you may well ask?]  There is not a single instance in recorded history of walls being constructed to keep citizens imprisoned inside a nation.

Until the Berlin Wall.  That is the first instance known when a nation constructed a fortified wall, not to protect from hordes of Berliners trying to gain entrance to the socialist workers' paradise of East Germany, but to keep their own citizens from leaving.  They, under the tender embrace of a socialist paradise, were prisoners in the own country.   Berlin Walls can only exist when states have assumed dictatorial, totalitarian powers. 

New Zealand has plenty of walls.  Normally, they function well via immigration controls, passports, and border security.  Generally the barbarians from the north are kept at bay.  All this is perfectly normal and consistent with human practice since Cain began rampaging on the earth.  Defence is a divinely lawful state function.  Only those who represent no clear and present threat to the nation and its citizens are permitted to enter the country, regardless of the visa type.  But over the past year circumstances have emerged which have the country coming dangerously close to erecting its own version of the Berlin Wall.  We are dangerously close to removing the long established liberties of the renunciation of citizenship and self-exile.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Green Energy Meets the Real World

Renewable Energy

So Useless That Even Greenie Google Gave up on it

22 Nov 2014

Some people call it "renewable energy" but I prefer to call it "alternative energy" because that's what it really is: an alternative to energy that actually works (eg nuclear and anything made from wonderful, energy-rich fossil fuel.)

Now a pair of top boffins from uber-green Google's research department have reached the same conclusion.
Ross Konigstein and David Fork, both Stanford PhDs (aerospace engineering; applied physics) were employed on a Google research project which sought to enhance renewable technology to the point where it could produce energy more cheaply than coal. But after four years, the project was closed down. In this post at IEEE Spectrum they tell us why.
We came to the conclusion that even if Google and others had led the way toward a wholesale adoption of renewable energy, that switch would not have resulted in significant reductions of carbon dioxide emissions. Trying to combat climate change exclusively with today’s renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.

Daily Devotional

Fellowship with him
1 John 1:6

Charles Spurgeon

When we were united by faith to Christ, we were brought into such complete fellowship with him, that we were made one with him, and his interests and ours became mutual and identical. We have fellowship with Christ in his love. What he loves we love. He loves the saints--so do we. He loves sinners--so do we. He loves the poor perishing race of man, and pants to see earth's deserts transformed into the garden of the Lord--so do we.

We have fellowship with him in his desires. He desires the glory of God--we also labour for the same. He desires that the saints may be with him where he is--we desire to be with him there too. He desires to drive out sin--behold we fight under his banner. He desires that his Father's name may be loved and adored by all his creatures--we pray daily, "Let thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, even as it is in heaven."

More Gadfly Than Blowfly

Syndrome of the Embarrassing Advocate

Every so often we are treated to one of our resident Unbelievers pontificating away as if his life depended upon it.  Sir Bob Jones is a wealthy man--irreverent, atheistic, and entertaining--who likes to throw together an occasional opinion piece in the NZ Herald with all the panache and thoughtfulness of someone deep in his cups.  In other words, Bob is not to be taken seriously.  Mercifully he does not take himself seriously.  More gadfly than blowfly.

Nevertheless, Bob is a self-professed empiricist.  It's all science for him.  Not religion.  All hard data, not superstitious rubbish.  He bombastically writes:
I'll stick with science rather than fairy tales.  All the primitive praying never saved us from the Creation's syphilis and rabies as antibiotics have, this just one of the thousands of examples of our debt to science.
Except that old Bob doesn't stick with science.  If he were to do so, he would be entirely more believable.  On the contrary, he appears not to understand much about science nor fairy tales for that matter.  As things stand, Bob has convictions about everything as do all opinionated folk.  Yet, for some bewildering reason, Bob has apparently never considered the limitations of his beloved empiricism.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Letter From Australia (About Trotskyite Sydney University)

Orwell Would Weep at the Demonisation of Professor Barry Spurr 

Miranda Devine
The Sunday Telegraph
November 16, 2014

I MUST assume Eden Caceda is an inspired satirical creation by Sydney University students outraged at the brutalisation of poetry professor Barry Spurr. 
 
After all, the anagram of the name is “A Decadence”. That’s one way of looking at the descent into Orwellian thought-control at the nation’s finest university, which has suspended Spurr indefinitely and banned him from campus for using “offensive” language in private emails, which he said had been hacked and sent to a left-wing website.

“Eden Caceda”, an office-bearer with the university’s “Autonomous Collective Against Racism”, ho, ho, led the campaign last week against Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence’s “racist” Mexican-themed staff Christmas party.  The dress code was “Mexican Fiesta — bring your own sombreros and ponchos”.  But “Caceda” was deeply ­offended by the “culturally ­insensitive” invitation.  “My family has a poncho and it is really important to us, and these people are treating it like a costume,” he said.

Spence, who made the decision to render Professor Spurr a non-person, now finds himself hoist with his own petard.  He has been forced to send an email to staff, cancelling the Mexican dress code: “I have today asked the event organisers to amend our plans so the party has no particular theme.”

You really couldn’t make this stuff up.

Daily Devotional

On Humility

C. S. Lewis

For each of us the Baptist’s words are true: “He must increase and I decrease.” He will be infinitely merciful to our repeated failures; I know no promise that He will accept a deliberate compromise. For He has, in the last resort, nothing to give us but Himself; and He can give that only in so far as our self-affirming will retires and makes room for Him in our souls.

From The Weight of Glory
Compiled in Words to Live By
The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses. Copyright © 1949, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1976, revised 1980 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Complex Polymers and Human Society

Civilisation as a Thin Translucent Skin

We have argued many times that human society is "thick"--that is, it is multi-layered, complex, and variant. It is a thoroughly complex polymer.  This truth is either denied or repeatedly ignored by Unbelief.  People who seek control over the world or human society all start with an assumption that society is pretty thin and distinctly one-dimensional.  A few laws here, a bit of education there and nirvana will be upon us before lunchtime.  Or to change the metaphor, Unbelief unsheathes a sword and approaches human society as if it were a skeleton.  In so acting, Unbelief takes upon itself--whether it admits it or not--the mantle of a god. 

Ironically, one of Unbelief's more more prominent sects these days are the Greenists, who constantly remind us that the environment is a multi-layered, complex, mutually dependant entity, such that a few tweaks here can have enormous ramifications over there.  Notice, however, that when is comes to "doing something" about environmental degradation, more often than not their proposed solutions are both legalistic and one-dimensional.  Are people over-weight?  Ban fats and sugars.  Is the atmosphere over-saturated with carbon dioxide?  Ban the internal combustion engine and legislatively require battery-run cars.  The Greens very definitely regard human society as a skeleton through which they can see clearly and their sword is big enough to dismember every bone in sight.  The irony of this contradiction becomes even more acute when one considers that if the physical environment is intricately complex, human society is exponentially more so.

Human society cannot long continue as a good and blessed realm if the "mundane things" are not right.  Take for example the mundane dimension of how people regard one another.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Letter From the UK (About Racial and Religious Profiling In Adoption)

Social Worker Tried to Stop Couple Adopting Because They Were 'Too Jewish'

15 Nov 2014


A former Justice of the UK's Supreme Court has told how he had to overrule complaints that a couple were "too Jewish" to adopt. Lord Wilson told an audience this week that rules regarding the ethnicity of a child in care were discriminating against those same children they were intended to protect.

Child Protection agencies and local authorities recognise that an adoptive home is often the only viable solution for a child in care and the best opportunity they will get for a stable family home, particularly those who were taken into care because of abuse by their biological parents.

"But", said Lord Wilson, "that has lead to other problems."

Daily Devotional

Prudence

C. S. Lewis

Prudence means practical common sense, taking the trouble to think out what you are doing and what is likely to come of it.

Nowadays most people hardly think of Prudence as one of the ‘virtues’. In fact, because Christ said we could only get into His world by being like children, many Christians have the idea that, provided you are ‘good’, it does not matter being a fool. But that is a misunderstanding.

In the first place, most children show plenty of ‘prudence’ about doing the things they are really interested in, and think them out quite sensibly. In the second place, as St Paul points out, Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary. He told us to be not only ‘as harmless as doves’, but also ‘as wise as serpents’. He wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim.

The fact that you are giving money to a charity does not mean that you need not try to find out whether that charity is a fraud or not. The fact that what you are thinking about is God Himself (for example, when you are praying) does not mean that you can be content with the same babyish ideas which you had when you were a five-year-old.

It is, of course, quite true that God will not love you any the less, or have less use for you, if you happen to have been born with a very second-rate brain. He has room for people with very little sense, but He wants every one to use what sense they have.

From Mere Christianity
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis
Mere Christianity. Copyright © 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1980, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.  Sourced from BibleGateway.

Religious Establishment

Secularist Hypocrisy

One of our parochial secularist bloggers has opined on the subject of parliamentary prayers.  His "personal" view is that there should not be any official prayers in the parliament.  He writes:
I personally don’t think Parliament as an institution should have a prayer. Religious belief is a personal decision, not an institutional one. MPs who wish to offer a prayer should be able to do so as they see fit, but my preference would be that there be no official prayer led off by the Speaker as this jars with being a secular country. [Kiwiblog]
This statement is unremarkable insofar as it is typical of the hypocrisy found in almost every place in our day.  Let's see if we can de-construct the statement  to illustrate.  We are given the following justification for not having parliamentary prayers: "Religious belief is a personal decision, not an institutional one".  The question is immediately begged, "Who says so?" Or, by what standard, or rule, or principle can the assertion that religion is a "personal decision" stand? It is, after all, a claim of universal dimensions.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Taking Advantage of the Vulnerable

Worse Than Fiction

John Le Carre's novel, The Constant Gardner is a story of pharmaceutical exploitation.  Big Western drug companies distribute drugs in African countries, but the drugs are untested, dangerous, and end up killing people.  They were not approved for use in the US and other Western countries.  Since the West was smart enough not to distribute them, African countries were easy pickings.  Sound far-fetched.  Not at all.  It is actually happening, as the following article from Turtle Bay and Beyond reveals:

Daily Devotional

When I Am Anxious

. . . casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

John Piper

When I am anxious about being sick, I battle unbelief with the promise, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). And I take the promise with trembling, “knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3–5).

When I am anxious about getting old, I battle unbelief with the promise: “Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” (Isaiah 46:4).

When I am anxious about dying, I battle unbelief with the promise that “none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living” (Romans 14:7–9).

When I am anxious that I may make shipwreck of faith and fall away from God, I battle unbelief with the promises, “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6); and, “He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

Let us make war, not with other people, but with our own unbelief. It is the root of anxiety, which, in turn, is the root of so many other sins.

So let us turn our eyes fixed on the precious and very great promises of God. Take up the Bible, ask the Holy Spirit for help, lay the promises up in your heart, and fight the good fight — to live by faith in future grace.

For more about John Piper's ministry and writing, see DesiringGod.org.

Myopia and Living in Denial

Send In the Clowns

A US Republican congressman recently opined that Vice-President Joe Biden was only two shoes short of a clown. The jibe was intended to remind the country why Republicans don't want to impeach the President. Were Obama to go, Joe would ascend to the Oval Office. It's a scary thought to many.
ISIL's actions represent no faith, least of all the Muslim faith which Abdul-Rahman adopted as his own. Today we grieve together, yet we also recall that the indomitable spirit of goodness and perseverance that burned so brightly in Abdul-Rahman Kassig, and which binds humanity together, ultimately is the light that will prevail over the darkness of ISIL. President Obama

But the jibe was a double entendre. The irony of the second meaning refers to that which Joe Biden presently lacks (two clown feet). Obama has them in spades. He is the clown complete with two enormous feet. The only time he opens his mouth is to change them. That's why he is qualified for the top job, and Biden is a pale understudy. Uproariously funny.

Obama as the consummate clown entertained us all recently with his formal statement lamenting the sad death of an US aid worker, Peter Kassig, murdered by ISIS. Adopting the mien of a celebrated and revered Doctor of Theology, Obama emphatically assures us that Kassig's murder had nothing to do with Islam and its teaching.

It is just this kind of chutzpah and ideological drivel which makes Obama the laughing stock of most of the world. His utterance in this instance reminds us of risible afflations of Soviet disinformation at the height of the Cold War, or, more recently, out of Pyongyang, North Korea.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Letter From America (About Godless Schools)

One Nation Under Godlessness

A high school in Colorado Springs bans students from meeting outside class for prayer and fellowship.

By Michelle Malkin
November 14, 2014

Daily Devotional

Fighting Words

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10)

John Piper

When I am anxious about some risky new venture or meeting, I battle unbelief with one of my most often-used promises: Isaiah 41:10.

The day I left for three years in Germany, my father called me long distance and gave me this promise on the telephone. For three years, I must have quoted it to myself five hundred times to get me through periods of tremendous stress.

When the motor of my mind is in neutral, the hum of the gears is the sound of Isaiah 41:10.

When I am anxious about my ministry being useless and empty, I fight unbelief with the promise of Isaiah 55:11. “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

Never Another Cent to the Red Cross

Priggishness, Self-Righteousness, And Bigotry

It is the duty of every donor to complete at least basic due diligence upon groups soliciting donations.  For example, we have never given a cent to Greenpeace, not just because of its extreme Greenist stance, but because of its wilful lawbreaking.

We used to respect Amnesty International, but once it became obvious that they had morphed from a creditable and respectable organisation speaking out on behalf of political prisoners to one espousing radical left wing causes they have been banned as far as donations go.  The same can be said for Oxfam whose espousal of Leftwing causes is both nauseating dull and utterly predictable. 

To this list of ill-repute we now need to add the Red Cross.  In the United Kingdom one of their long-term volunteers has been sacked because of a terrible crime.  He happens to oppose homosexual "marriage".  Bryan Barkley had been a senior, long-serving volunteer, so experienced that he was doing sensitive specialist work helping reunite people with lost family members across borders.  But he, himself, has now crossed the border into the Darklands.  He happened to stand in public holding a sign opposing the British Government's plans to ram through homosexual "marriage" legislation.  For this inexcusable breach, he was fired from the Red Cross.  He had, he was told, done terrible things which "went against the group's values".  One would have thought that he had raped someone, or committed murder, or was guilty of some other capital crime.  But no.  He was acting lawfully at all times.

OK.  If Bryan could be fired for actions "going against the group's values" then it seems only fair that every donor at this point has an inalienable right to determine never again to donate to the Red Cross since it has adopted positions which go against the values of donors.  Seems fair.

But to get your gander up in a serious way, consider how the Red Cross has responded to the public outcry against its intolerance and bigotry.  It has reacted in high dudgeon via a statement oozing with oleaginous self-righteousness and priggishness of prodigious proportion.  BreitbartLondon records the malodorous eructation:
The Red Cross has responded, however, by accusing Mr Bickley's supporters of distracting the organisation from its work dealing with international disasters. A spokeswoman said: "The British Red Cross is working internationally tackling enormous issues like the Ebola crisis, Syria and the food crisis in South Sudan.

"Orchestrated actions like this inevitably divert us from our humanitarian mission.

"Tragically it has taken up vital staff time and resources away from our international mission and in the UK."
Apparently "enormous issues" like the Ebola crisis, Syria, and the food crisis in South Sudan pale in significance to the really vital mission of ensuring that all staff comply with the (perverted) values of the Red Cross.  Until miscreants like Bryan Bickley are purged from the organization, its "humanitarian mission" can be suspended, Ebola can whistle Dixie, Syria can cool its heels, and South Sudan can take a hike.  Ensuring that all staff are dedicated supporters of homosexual "marriage" will clearly preoccupy vital staff time and resources as top priority.  Such things are far more important than a few dying people in Africa.

This has to take the cake as the most egregious self-righteous priggery in a long, long time.

Never another cent to the Red Cross. 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter from Moscow

Betting With Real Money

Douglas Wilson
Blog and Mablog
November 12, 2014

I want to answer two very basic questions. Let’s all wish me luck. First I want to define marriage — what is marriage anyhow? — and I want to explain why the answer to this first question is any business of the civil magistrate. The two matters are wound tightly together, as we shall see.

I have defined marriage before in at least a couple of places.

“A common error among Christians holds that if the sexual act is completed, then the couple are married ‘in God’s sight.’ Many destructive complications occur in contemporary culture because we have adopted the idea that people can be married in God’s sight without being married. It is hard to say where this idea originated, but it has caused a lot of damage . . . Marriage is scripturally defined as a sexual relationship within the boundaries of a covenant commitment that has been formally ratified. The sexual relationship by itself does not constitute marriage” (Her Hand in Marriage, pp. 28-29).

“The first is that you must have an explicit covenant surrounding a sexual relationship. Not everyone who is sexually united is married, and not everyone who has exchanged vows is married. The covenant exists when the two elements are there together: covenant vows surrounding a covenant union” (For a Glory and a Covering, p. 33).

Thus far the assertions. Why do I believe that the two essential elements in a marriage are sexual union (of the sort that could result in pregnancy) and a publicly recognized covenant? To use the language of the philosophers, these are necessary conditions but not sufficient conditions. A necessary condition means that without it you do not have the thing in question. A sufficient condition means that with it you will have the thing in question, of necessity. Thus the presence of oxygen is a necessary condition for a blazing fire but not a sufficient condition.

You cannot have a marriage without old school heterosexual copulation and you cannot have a marriage without a covenant. Nevertheless you can have a covenant without a marriage and you can have sexual intercourse without a marriage.

Daily Devotional

Petitions Never Return Empty Handed

"Men ought always to pray."
Luke 18:1

Charles Spurgeon


If men ought always to pray and not to faint, much more Christian men. Jesus has sent his church into the world on the same errand upon which he himself came, and this mission includes intercession. What if I say that the church is the world's priest? Creation is dumb, but the church is to find a mouth for it.

It is the church's high privilege to pray with acceptance. The door of grace is always open for her petitions, and they never return empty-handed. The veil was rent for her, the blood was sprinkled upon the altar for her, God constantly invites her to ask what she wills. Will she refuse the privilege which angels might envy her? Is she not the bride of Christ? May she not go in unto her King at every hour? Shall she allow the precious privilege to be unused?

The church always has need for prayer. There are always some in her midst who are declining, or falling into open sin. There are lambs to be prayed for, that they may be carried in Christ's bosom? the strong, lest they grow presumptuous; and the weak, lest they become despairing. If we kept up prayer-meetings four-and-twenty hours in the day, all the days in the year, we might never be without a special subject for supplication.

Are we ever without the sick and the poor, the afflicted and the wavering? Are we ever without those who seek the conversion of relatives, the reclaiming of back-sliders, or the salvation of the depraved? Nay, with congregations constantly gathering, with ministers always preaching, with millions of sinners lying dead in trespasses and sins; in a world full of idols, cruelties, devilries, if the church doth not pray, how shall she excuse her base neglect of the commission of her loving Lord? Let the church be constant in supplication, let every private believer cast his mite of prayer into the treasury.

New Zealand Schools

Amongst the Worst In the OECD

The propaganda machines have been busy for the past twenty-five years assuring New Zealand that our education system amongst the best in the world.  If the criteria for determining "best" included pass rates in our parochial secondary school qualification (NCEA) or conformity with the latest post-modern pedagogical theories the propaganda may have verisimilitude.  But when objective tests about what students actually know are completed, the Potemkin Village collapses. 

The OECD runs a research programme testing the knowledge levels of fifteen year old students across its membership [OECD Programme for International Student Assessment 2012 (PISA)].  The research is conducted every three years.  In our most recent examination New Zealand fell from 13th to 22nd in the OECD maths ratings.  This, after decades of being told by the propagandists that our education system was right up there with the best in the world. 

The Ministry of Education is producing some diagnostic reports looking for causes and explanations for our systemic educational failure.  Amongst the causes of failure were: