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, 31 October 2014

Wild Exaggerations

The Sheriff of Nottingham Redivivus

While Rome burns, hapless world "leaders" like UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon and US President Barack Obama, drone on about how climate change is the world's biggest imminent threat.  Never has so much misdirection been attempted by so many, convincing so few.

Meanwhile, more and more heretics are taking to the hustings to deride the whole sordid conspiracy.

Recantation

Britain's Former Environment Minister: Abandon Carbon Targets and Embrace Shale and Nuclear

 
15 Oct 2014

LONDON, United Kingdom – Former Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has called for Britain to abandon is carbon targets, saying that renewable energy cannot help Britain meet its energy needs and only a combination of shale gas, Combined Heat and Power and more, smaller nuclear power plants can provide renewable energy for the foreseeable future in Britain.

Speaking to the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London, Paterson also derided wind farms, saying that Britain's wind energy policy is the "single most regressive policy we have seen in this country since the Sheriff of Nottingham," calling it: "The coerced increase of electricity bills for people on low incomes to pay huge subsidies to wealthy landowners and rich investors."  He added that it was "immensely costly, regressive and damaging to the environment", and has had virtually no impact on carbon emissions.

Daily Devotional

Prayer’s First Priority

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” (Matthew 6:9)
John Piper

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches that the first priority in praying is to ask that our heavenly Father’s name be hallowed.

Notice that this is a petition or a request. It is not a declaration (as I thought it was for years). It is a request to God that he would see to it that his own name be hallowed.

It is like another text, Matthew 9:38, where Jesus tells us to pray to the Lord of the harvest that he would send out laborers into his own harvest. It never ceases to amaze me that we, the laborers, should be instructed to ask the owner of the farm, who knows the harvest better than we do, to add on more farm hands.

But isn’t this the same thing we have here in the Lord’s Prayer — Jesus telling us to ask God, who is infinitely jealous for the honor of his own name, to see to it that his name be hallowed?

Well it may amaze us, but there it is. And it teaches us two things.

Militant Secularism as an Unwitting Ally

Secularist Atheism is Driving Us To a Second Christendom

In 2008, Mark A.Noll--an evangelical historian--penned an interesting essay, entitled "Reconsidering Christendom".  In its opening paragraphs, Noll pointed out that one of the great watershed moments in Western history occurred at 6.00pm, April 15, 1521 in the "city" of Worms, just south of Mainz.  Martin Luther, an Augustinian friar, announced to the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire that his conscience would be held bound by Holy Scripture, as a higher authority than the deliberations of church councils and rulers.

Luther's stand was rejected by his "adversary", Johann Eck, the secretary of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V.  He asserted that Luther's argument amounted to a dissolution of the authority of the Church, on the one hand, and a retreat into radical agnosticism, on the other.  In his rejoinder to Luther, Eck stated:
But if it were granted that whoever contradicts the councils and the common understanding of the church must be overcome by Scripture passages, we will have nothing in Christianity that it certain or decided.  [Mark Noll, "Reconsidering Christendom?" The Future of Christian Learning: An Evangelical and Catholic Dialogue, edited by Thomas Howard (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2008), p. 24. Emphasis, ours.]
Eck was clearly reflecting the mind of Charles V himself, insofar as the very next day, the Emperor stated that Luther would not be allowed to prevail because he held an opinion that was "against all of Christendom".  In this view, Luther and the Protestant Reformation signified the end of Christendom--the visible reign of Christ upon earth--were they allowed to go forward.  Which, of course, they did.  And in which the fear of Charles proved justified.  Christendom came to an end.  It broke up, and broke down.  Nevertheless, as the old saw has it, "But wait, there's more!"

Thursday, 30 October 2014

A Chronicle of Corruption

How the West Was Lost

We blogged yesterday on egalitarianism.  We argued that modern Western democracies are rife with bribery and corruption.  Recently, the son of the Vice-President, Joe Biden was dismissed from the US Navy because of cocaine use.  His father has been using his position to line his son's pockets for a long, long time.  His son, Hunter has proved no slouch operating on his father's influence peddling coattails.

Michelle Malkin documents the systemic corruption:

Flowers of Islam

Asia Bibi's Death Sentence Upheld by Lahore High Court

Supreme Court appeal likely to delay outcome for 3 more years

Asia Bibi's Death Sentence Upheld by Lahore High Court
Asia Bibi

Asia Bibi’s death sentence was upheld by the Lahore High Court in Pakistan on Thursday. Bibi, a Roman Catholic mother of five also known as Aasiya Noreen, was sentenced to die in 2010 after she was convicted of blasphemy. Bibi’s Muslim coworkers accused her of drinking the same water as them and verbally challenging their faith.

Daily Devotional

Quantum Change

C. S. Lewis

‘Niceness’—wholesome, integrated personality—is an excellent thing. We must try by every medical, educational, economic, and political means in our power to produce a world where as many people as possible grow up ‘nice’; just as we must try to produce a world where all have plenty to eat. But we must not suppose that even if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world—and might even be more difficult to save.

For mere improvement is not redemption, though redemption always improves people even here and now and will, in the end, improve them to a degree we cannot yet imagine. God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man. It is not like teaching a horse to jump better and better but like turning a horse into a winged creature. Of course, once it has got its wings, it will soar over fences which could never have been jumped and thus beat the natural horse at its own game. But there may be a period, while the wings are just beginning to grow, when it cannot do so: and at that stage the lumps on the shoulders—no one could tell by looking at them that they are going to be wings—may even give it an awkward appearance.

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.

The Gods of War

Winning the War, Losing the Faith

One of the more interesting conundrums of recent history is the rapid decline of the Christian faith throughout the West.  Our view is that the time frame is roughly equivalent to the decline from true faith in Israel from King David's reign down to the invasion and destruction of Israel, first by Assyria (722 BC), then subsequently by Babylon (605 through to 586BC). But these were the final acts.  The scripture records a thorough-going, comprehensive rejection of God and His covenant throughout Israel and Judah, preceding these final (military) denouements.  

While the collapse of Christendom in the United Kingdom and its WASP colonies (Canada, Australia and New Zealand) was precipitous, its gradual precursors were not.  From the time of the Enlightenment, the poison of idolatry had been quietly killing off true faithfulness.  Peter Hitchens argues that the final collapse and capitulation was also due to war, as happened in ancient Israel, together with the nationalistic, jingoistic idolatry that mixed the Christian faith with nationalism.  The West won the war, but lost the Faith.  The "state religion" became perverted to the cause of the nation, not Messiah.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Daily Devotional

Love’s Greatest Happiness

No one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. (Ephesians 5:29–30)

John Piper


The union between Christ and his bride is so close (“one flesh”) that any good done to her is a good done to himself. The blatant assertion of this text is that this fact motivates the Lord to nourish, cherish, sanctify, and cleanse his bride.

By some definitions, this cannot be love. Love, they say, must be free of self-interest — especially Christlike love, especially Calvary love. I have never seen such a view of love made to square with this passage of Scripture.

Yet what Christ does for his bride, this text plainly calls love: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church . . . ” (5:25). Why not let the text define love for us, instead of bringing our definition from ethics or philosophy? According to this text, love is the pursuit of our joy in the holy joy of the beloved.

There is no way to exclude self-interest from love, for self-interest is not the same as selfishness. Selfishness seeks its own private happiness at the expense of others.  Love seeks its happiness in the happiness of the beloved. It will even suffer and die for the beloved in order that its joy might be full in the life and purity of the beloved.

This is how Christ loved us, and this is how he calls us to love one another.

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

Driven to Drink

The Consequences of Forced Equality

Equality is a tricksy notion.  It has intrinsic appeal.  For example, the principle that there should be one law for all, and that before the bar of justice all should be treated equally, regardless of wealth, title, position, or lack thereof is intrinsically and self-evidently just.  It is the unjust society which has one law for the rich and another for the poor, and which has regard for a man's "face" when deciding guilt or innocence.

This is a fundamental Christian principle.  The law of God declares that judges must never take a bribe and that justice is to be administered "blindly"--that is, neutrally, without regard for class, colour, or culture.  Justice, in order to be just, must maintain strict impartiality.  (Deuteronomy 16:19)  Because God does not take bribes, nor must His judges.

When a culture moves from being grounded upon God and His law, bribery rapidly reappears.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

America in C Major

Douglas Wilson
Blog and Mablog
October 20, 2014

I do understand there has been some debate over whether America was once a Christian nation. But whether it was or no — and I believe it was — there should be no debate among Christians over whether it was a normal one. Defenders and revolutionaries alike insist that those norms be defended, or smashed, as it suits them, but everybody agrees that the norms were actually there. Twenty years ago, same sex mirage was unthinkable. Now you are an enemy of all mankind if you call the mirage for what it is — a shimmer in the air over the desert sands — instead of what everyone is demanding you call it, which is something that rhymes with carriage. But it also rhymes with disparage, which brings me to my theme.

Rejected New Yorker Cover
Rejected New Yorker Cover


. . . . But whatever the mix was in helping to establish what used to be normal, I want to insist cannot be reattained apart from a reformation and revival, the kind which impels us to call on the name of Jesus Christ. Not only do I believe this must happen, or we are all lost, but I also believe that we will not be lost. This will happen. It is happening now.

Daily Devotional

Growing Up

"Grow up into him in all things."
Ephesians 4:15

Charles Spurgeon


Many Christians remain stunted and dwarfed in spiritual things, so as to present the same appearance year after year. No up-springing of advanced and refined feeling is manifest in them. They exist but do not "grow up into him in all things." But should we rest content with being in the "green blade," when we might advance to "the ear," and eventually ripen into the "full corn in the ear?"

Should we be satisfied to believe in Christ, and to say, "I am safe," without wishing to know in our own experience more of the fullness which is to be found in him. It should not be so; we should, as good traders in heaven's market, covet to be enriched in the knowledge of Jesus. It is all very well to keep other men's vineyards, but we must not neglect our own spiritual growth and ripening.

Why should it always be winter time in our hearts?

It Would Never Happen, They Said

Leviathan Showing His Claws

When the homosexual "marriage" bill was passed in New Zealand, faithful Christians could clearly see God's handwriting on the wall.  Like that ancient writing which appeared amidst a pagan feast during the days of Daniel, we knew that the days of our nation were numbered.  We knew that God had weighed us and found that our sin was grossly abhorrent.  We knew that our nation had already been given over to enemies.  We warned that homosexual "marriage" would soon morph into the persecution of Christians and the Church.

Christians have always been an ornery people.  They quaintly claim to believe in God and His Messiah.  They assert that their highest, deepest, and ultimate loyalty is to the God of gods.  They will not transgress His law, even unto death.  Now, in "ordinary circumstances" Christians get along just fine with their neighbours.  They seek to do good to all men.  They care for and serve the poor and the oppressed.  They live peaceable lives.  They mind their own business.  They raise their children to be decent citizens.  So far, so good.  But militant Unbelief cannot help itself.  In the end, it will brook no opposition.  In the end, Christians will be made to conform--or, more accurately, the attempt to make them conform will break out.

When the homosexual "marriage" law was passed, anyone who suggested that it was only a matter of time before Christians were persecuted for their resistant unbelief in the secular religion and for their rejection of illicit sex and perverse "marriage" were mocked as extremists and alarmists.  But Unbelief is implicitly totalitarian.  Given enough opportunity, it will brook no opposition.  Given half a chance, Unbelief will be militantly oppressive, demanding total conformity to its apostate religion.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Climate Change, But Not As We Know It

Hanging Out for 2013





Daily Devotional

Songs in the Night

"God, my maker, who giveth songs in the night."
Job 35:10

Charles Spurgeon


Any man can sing in the day. When the cup is full, man draws inspiration from it. When wealth rolls in abundance around him, any man can praise the God who gives a plenteous harvest or sends home a loaded argosy. It is easy enough for an Aeolian harp to whisper music when the winds blow--the difficulty is for music to swell forth when no wind is stirring.

It is easy to sing when we can read the notes by daylight; but he is skilful who sings when there is not a ray of light to read by--who sings from his heart. No man can make a song in the night of himself; he may attempt it, but he will find that a song in the night must be divinely inspired. Let all things go well, I can weave songs, fashioning them wherever I go out of the flowers that grow upon my path; but put me in a desert, where no green thing grows, and wherewith shall I frame a hymn of praise to God? How shall a mortal man make a crown for the Lord where no jewels are? Let but this voice be clear, and this body full of health, and I can sing God's praise: silence my tongue, lay me upon the bed of languishing, and how shall I then chant God's high praises, unless he himself give me the song?

The Secular Mind

Conspiracy Theories and Their Fruit

Sometimes it seems as if modern society is riven by two extremes.  On the one hand, we have the conspiracy fanatics.  On the other, the nihilists.

The "conspiracists" believe that dark forces, hidden and subterranean, control society by various means, but almost always by use of money.  These "forces" have successfully insinuated themselves into the fabric of society to the point that they are able to influence and shape all governmental and economic and social interaction.  They conspire against the rest of us.  They have a secret plan to divide, conquer, and pillage.

There have been various candidates about which conspiracists mutter darkly: the Jews, bankers, capitalists, the masons, the Roman Catholic Church, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, or whatever.  Each of these "candidates" are believed actually to control the estates of government, the media, holding or controlling or manipulating all the levers of power.  Each--and sometimes all--are at work. 

The Left and their minions are reflexive conspiracists because they believe that money and capital control almost everything, which means that the Moneymen are conspiring against us all.  But it is not just the Left.  Secular libertarians have also fallen prey to conspiracy theories.  In this version, everything that happens is a government plot controlled by some dark, sinister forces.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Jitney Messiahs

Douglas Wilson
Blog and Mablog
October 14, 2014


As the same-sex mirage juggernaut continues to roll through our pathetic little festival, crushing both devotees and opponents alike, a number of conservative Christians have begun to prepare themselves for life in a post-Christian America. Not only so, but they have been encouraging others to do the same. But this is radically unhelpful and unbecoming — nobody much likes seeing the team manager giving up in the fourth inning, and especially when the score is just 10 to 8. And particularly when we are the ones who have 10.

The reason all this is happening is that we are so distracted by the effrontery of the last lie that we are not able to see the current lie being told. We were being told — oh, about ten minutes ago — that there was no reason why individual states could not keep their restrictions on same-sex mirage, and that it was not necessary to have one monolithic approach to marriage within the republic. Anybody remember all that? Ah, good times. And then federal judges started striking down the laws of multiple states as unconstitutional, and you know the rest of the drill.

But that was the last lie.

Daily Devotional

Plan for Prayer

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7)

John Piper


Prayer pursues joy in fellowship with Jesus and in the power to share his life with others.

And prayer pursues God’s glory by treating him as the inexhaustible reservoir of hope and help. In prayer, we admit our poverty and God’s prosperity, our bankruptcy and his bounty, our misery and his mercy.
Therefore, prayer highly exalts and glorifies God precisely by pursuing everything we long for in him, and not in ourselves. “Ask, and you will receive . . . that the Father may be glorified in the Son and . . . that your joy may be full.” Unless I’m badly mistaken, one of the main reasons so many of God’s children don’t have a significant life of prayer is not so much that we don’t want to, but that we don’t plan to.

If you want to take a four-week vacation, you don’t just get up one summer morning and say, “Hey, let’s go today!” You won’t have anything ready. You won’t know where to go. Nothing has been planned.  But that is how many of us treat prayer. We get up day after day and realize that significant times of prayer should be a part of our life, but nothing’s ever ready.

The Execration of All Things

A Meditation Upon Suicide

The chattering classes have been animated in recent days over a young female cancer sufferer who has made plans to kill herself.  She has been, and continues to be a "Right to Death" advocate.  The media have lionised her, lauded her, and praised her to the skies as a great example for us all.  What courage!  What dedication!

G.K. Chesterton wrote the following in his essay, "The Flag of the World". It will help us reflect more closely upon such things:
. . . an argument arose whether it was not a very nice thing to murder one's self.  Grave moderns told us that we must not even say "poor fellow," of a man who has blown his brains out, since he was an enviable person, and had only blown them out because of their exceptional excellence.  Mr William Archer even suggested that in the golden age there would be penny-in-the-slot machines, by which a man could kill himself for a penny.  In all this I found myself utterly hostile to man who called themselves liberal and humane.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Will the Real Islamic Stand Up

10 verses from the Koran essential to understanding the Islamic State

Daily Devotional

The Jezebel of Our Unbelief

"And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul."
1 Samuel 27:1

Charles Spurgeon


The thought of David's heart at this time was a false thought, because he certainly had no ground for thinking that God's anointing him by Samuel was intended to be left as an empty unmeaning act. On no one occasion had the Lord deserted his servant; he had been placed in perilous positions very often, but not one instance had occurred in which divine interposition had not delivered him.

The trials to which he had been exposed had been varied; they had not assumed one form only, but many--yet in every case he who sent the trial had also graciously ordained a way of escape. David could not put his finger upon any entry in his diary, and say of it, "Here is evidence that the Lord will forsake me," for the entire tenor of his past life proved the very reverse.

Crime and Punishment

Three Strikes About to Bite Hard

David Garrett, former ACT MP
Republished from Kiwiblog

When the three strikes (3S) bill was making its way through parliament I told Clayton Cosgrove – in response to an interjection – that it might be ten to fifteen years before 3S would really start to bite. Although Cosgrove immediately tried to make capital from my answer, I was not  unhappy with that prediction – in fact I thought it a little optimistic. In my view we have taken a generation to get into the mess we are in with violent offending, and it might take a generation to reverse it. It seems I was unduly pessimistic.

Unless there are extremely good reasons which would preclude such a result, we are about to get our first  “strike” offender sentenced to Life Without Parole ("LWOP") for murder as a second strike.  Justin Vance Turner, aged 28, has pleaded guilty to murder. It is his second “strike” offence, and accordingly, he should be sentenced to LWOP in accordance with s.86E (2) of the Sentencing Act. That section requires that a stage two offender guilty of murder should serve a sentence of LWOP “unless the court is satisfied that given the circumstances of the offence and the offender, it would be manifestly unjust to do so.”

The “manifestly unjust” provision was one of the conditions the National Party required in order for them to support the 3S Bill beyond first reading.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Sloganising, We Love Thee

The Leftist's Dictionary


Daily Devotional

Fear and Hope in God’s Jealousy

The LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14)

John Piper

 God is infinitely jealous for the honor of his name, and responds with terrible wrath against those whose hearts should belong to him but go after other things.

For example, in Ezekiel 16:38–40 he says to faithless Israel,
I will judge you as women who break wedlock and shed blood are judged, and bring upon you the blood of wrath and jealousy. And I will give you into the hand of your lovers and they shall throw down your vaulted chamber . . . they shall strip you of your clothes and take your fair jewels, and leave you naked and bare. They shall bring up a host against you and cut you to pieces with swords.
I urge you to listen to this warning. The jealousy of God for your undivided love and devotion will always have the last say. Whatever lures your affections away from God with deceptive attraction will come back to strip you bare and cut you in pieces.

It is a horrifying thing to use your God-given life to commit adultery against the Almighty.

But for those of you who have been truly united to Christ and who keep your vows to forsake all others and cleave only to him and live for his honor — for you the jealousy of God is a great comfort and a great hope.
Since God is infinitely jealous for the honor of his name, anything and anybody who threatens the good of his faithful wife will be opposed with divine omnipotence.

God’s jealousy is a great threat to those who play the harlot and sell their heart to the world and make a cuckold out of God. But his jealousy is a great comfort to those who keep their covenant vows and become strangers and exiles in the world.

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

One of History's Greats

A Paragon of Mendacity and Hypocrisy

Paul Johnson demonstrates repeatedly that the rise of "intellectuals" to be an influential caste in the West has been characterised by their general veneration.  In life, however, their  actual practice belies their principles.  [Paul Johnson, Intellectuals (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1988)]  Many of them lived repugnant family lives.  Many practised a very different ethic from the one they advocated for the rest of mankind.

Karl Marx typifies the kind of perversity so common amongst those who regard themselves as too smart for the ordinary pleb.   Marx had numerous children with his wife, Jenny.  He lived as an intellectual in London, in poverty and squalor, choosing not to support his family.  He insisted that his high calling as a seer and revolutionary justified the suffering and deprivation of his wife and children by his hand.  Johnson reproduces a description of Marx's family life as observed by visitors, written around 1850:

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Letter From America (About the Imperial Presidency)

The War-Time Constitution Swap

How did we get to where a British executive goes to the legislature and an American does not?

Daily Devotional

The Day of His Appearing

"But who may abide the day of his coming?"
Malachi 3:2

Charles Spurgeon


His first coming was without external pomp or show of power, and yet in truth there were few who could abide its testing might. Herod and all Jerusalem with him were stirred at the news of the wondrous birth. Those who supposed themselves to be waiting for him, showed the fallacy of their professions by rejecting him when he came. His life on earth was a winnowing fan, which tried the great heap of religious profession, and few enough could abide the process.

But what will his second advent be? What sinner can endure to think of it? "He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked." When in his humiliation he did but say to the soldiers, "I am he," they fell backward; what will be the terror of his enemies when he shall more fully reveal himself as the "I am?" His death shook earth and darkened heaven, what shall be the dreadful splendour of that day in which as the living Saviour, he shall summon the quick and dead before him?

O that the terrors of the Lord would persuade men to forsake their sins and kiss the Son lest he be angry!

Hopeless Causes

If At First You Don't Succeed, Shout Louder

The animus of Babel lurks in the heart of every Unbeliever to one extent or another.  Conformity, oneness, uniformity, and group-think all manifest the ideology of Babel, the desire to have one unified Borg-like mind on everything.  We have always sensed the presence of this animus in the Global Warming crusade.

A danger was allegedly facing the entire race.  Only concerted, unified effort would avoid the inevitable calamity.  A unified effort required both group-think and One Mind. One language. Unbelievers, whose hearts lust after that ancient One-Tower, were always going to get suckered.  More often than not they wanted the Global Warming narrative to be true because it justified re-erecting that ancient monolith. In a perverse way, One World Government is a comforting prospect to those who live apart from God.

Naturally those who dissented were regarded as dangerous traitors.  They had to be silenced.  At root, as with ancient Babel, it was never science which was driving the enterprise but a lust to unify the world in its rebellion against the Creator.  It appeared, for a time, that the cause was big enough, the implications horrendous enough, and the urgency pressing enough that Babel, like Mordor, would be rebuilt. The Necromancer was taking a new shape.

But time was always going to be the greatest enemy--time, and the decree of the Living God.  More and more we are observing holes, cracks, detritus, and decay in the latest re-emergent One Tower.  Now, even Environment Editors in national newspapers are eschewing group-think.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Getting It Right

Douglas Wilson
Blog and Mablog
October 11, 2014

Once there was a Presbyterian minister who had made the whole topic of sola fide his special field of study. He had mastered the subject, as far as any mortal man can be said to have mastered anything. After a long and fruitful ministry, he eventually did what all Presbyterian ministers do, which is to say, he died.

As he approached the pearly gates, he was mildly surprised to see that St. Peter was there, just like in all the jokes. But he was, he thought, prepared to roll with it because, after all, he was going to Heaven.

Right next to St. Peter was a long wooden table, of the kind you see in examination rooms. A chair was pulled out for him, and on the table was a thick test, and a pencil next to it. As he walked up to St. Peter, he was greeted warmly and the set-up was explained to him.

Daily Devotional

God Heals by Humbling

“I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the LORD, “and I will heal him.” (Isaiah 57:18–19)
John Piper

In spite of the severity of man’s disease of rebellion and willfulness, God will heal. How will he heal? Verse 15 says that God dwells with the crushed and humble. Yet the people of verse 17 are brazenly pursuing their own proud way. What will a healing be?

It can only be one thing. God will heal them by humbling them. He will cure the patient by crushing his pride. If only the crushed and humble enjoy God’s fellowship (v. 15), and if Israel’s sickness is a proud and willful rebellion (v. 17), and if God promises to heal them (v. 18), then his healing must be humbling and his cure must be a crushed spirit.

The Irresistible Power of God

Lights In Dark Places

As Shia, Sunni, and ISIS forces have swept over the landscape in Syria and Iraq Christians have been driven out, fleeing in the face of torture and death.  Some Christian enclaves have been there for more than a millennium.  It seemed as though this region would become Christian-less.  But, recent news would indicate something different. This, from Breaking Christian News
(Iraq)—Working in northern Iraq's Kurdish region day and night to help meet the needs of people displaced by the threats and violence of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Mosul and other areas, members of an Iraqi ministry team recently came into contact with a colonel from the Kurdish forces battling ISIS.  
The colonel was serving as a division commander of the Peshmerga, the Kurdistan Regional Government's armed forces, which have helped to slow the incursion of ISIS in its brutal push to establish a caliphate imposing a strict version of Sunni Islam. With the aid of U.S. airstrikes, the Peshmerga have also slowly retaken some territory. They are helping to secure the Kurdish capital of Erbil, where the ministry team assisted by Christian Aid Mission is supplying displaced people with food, clothing, beds and medicine.