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).

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Letter From Iraq (About the Caliphate's Pogrom)

Canon Andrew White (Frrme.org)
Canon Andrew White (Frrme.org)

‘They’re So Evil’

Pastor Serving in Iraq Says Islamic State’s Murderous Rampage Like Nothing ‘Seen Since the Days of the Holocaust’



TheBlaze

Canon Andrew White, vicar of St. George’s Anglican church in Baghdad, and his organization, the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, have been on the front lines of helping displaced Iraqis survive in the midst of the Islamic State’s violent assault on the region.

White recently told TheBlaze that the conditions on the ground in Iraq are “absolutely horrendous,” noting that 250,000 Christians have been displaced from their homes in Mosul, Nineveh and other locations; this figure, he said, doesn’t include Yazidis, another minority group.
“They are sheltering in the north and the mountains. They have nothing,” White said. “They have lost their homes, they have lost their future. We are providing them with as much food as we can, as much help as we can.”
White, who continues to speak out about the plight of Christians and Yazidis in the region, said that the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation, a group he founded and runs, has staff on the ground in northern Iraq working to ensure people have what they need to survive.

As of Friday, he said his organization, which has 150 total staff members, including doctors, dentists and relief workers, had raised about a half million pounds (approximately $828,540) toward these efforts — money that had predominately come from British churches.
They’re so evil. You cannot talk to them. You cannot win them over,” he said. “That is a terrible thing. How do we cope in this horrendous situation? How do we move forward?”

White went on to describe what the Islamic State — a group known for its violent and murderous tendencies — has done to Iraqi minorities aside from pushing them out of their homes.
White said that there’s no reasoning with the Islamic State, describing its members as “evil.”  “You cannot deal with these people. They’re so evil. You cannot talk to them. You cannot win them over,” he said. “That is a terrible thing. How do we cope in this horrendous situation? How do we move forward?”

Daily Devotional

Pleased to Praise

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! (Psalm 67:3, 5)
John Piper

Why does God demand we must praise God?

C.S. Lewis:
Just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: “Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?”

The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about. My whole, more general, difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can’t help doing, about everything else we value.

I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.
There is the solution! We praise what we enjoy because the delight is incomplete until it is expressed in praise. If we were not allowed to speak of what we value and celebrate what we love and praise what we admire, our joy could not be full.

So if God loves us enough to make our joy full, he must not only give us himself; he must also win from us the praise of our hearts — not because he needs to shore up some weakness in himself or compensate for some deficiency, but because he loves us and seeks the fullness of our joy that can be found only in knowing and praising him, the most magnificent of all beings.

If he is truly for us, he must be for himself! God is the one Being in all the universe for whom seeking his own praise is the ultimately loving act. For him, self-exaltation is the highest virtue. When he does all things “for the praise of his glory,” he preserves for us and offers to us the only thing in all the world that can satisfy our longings.

God is for us! And the foundation of this love is that God has been, is now, and always will be for himself.
For more about John Piper's ministry and writing, see DesiringGod.org.

Ignominious Multi-culturalism

Rotten Fruit

Multi-culturalism is at first glance an empty, anodyne proposition.  Because it ostensibly embraces all cultures, regarding them all as equally valid and good, it has nothing meaningful or helpful to say about any culture.  (To be fair, in reality multi-culturalists are usually marked by a deep loathing for their own culture, but that's a personal failing, not one of the ethic of multi-culuralism per se.)

Discrimination is a necessary aspect of critical and rational discourse.  Proposition A is "sound" or "unsound"; conclusion C is "invalid" or "valid".  Action D is "ethical" or "unethical".  The scale of "good", "better" and "best" is always useful for critical discernment.  But multi-culturalism requires a pre-commitment that no culture or cultural group shall be subject to such critical analysis or discrimination.  When the Apostle Paul wrote, "one of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, 'Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.'  This testimony is true."  (Titus 1: 12, 13) he was violating the ethic and principles of secular multi-culturalism, which requires that we do not say anything bad or negative about any culture.  The endless, relentless positive sentiment of multi-culturalism is nothing more than a Pollyannaish anodyne gush.

But it produces, say the multi-culturalist Pharisees, peace, tolerance and harmony in society.  Everybody tolerates every other group.  Being critical of a culture is a manifestation of intolerance, discrimination and hate speech.  Actually, on the contrary, multi-culturalism foments, encourages and empowers evil.  Society X practises cliterodectomy.  No problem. Who are we to judge another culture.  It has significance and meaning, harmony and purpose in its own context, drones the card-carrying multi-culturalist.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Letter From New Zealand (About Gaza and Israel)

Progressive Hypocrisy

Chris Trotter
The Christchurch Press
26th August, 2014


Where are the impassioned streams of citizens flooding our nation's streets to protest against the actions of the Islamic State?

The righteous wrath stirred up by the Israeli assault upon Gaza has been plain to see. But the barbaric punishment meted out to Christians, captive Iraqi soldiers, Shia Muslims and followers of the ancient Yazidi faith has yet to inspire anyone to apply paint to placard.

Given the chorus of rage currently directed at the "Zionist Entity", why are those who profess "progressive" sympathies so silent when it comes to the outrages perpetrated by the self-proclaimed caliphate?  The latest of these, the beheading of an American journalist, has generated a wave of revulsion around the world. Not least on account of the perpetrators' cynical (but effective) use of social media to publicise their medieval celebration of cruelty and death.

But where are the Hollywood movie stars emoting to camera over the ritual killing of their defenceless compatriot? Where are the protest crowds of outraged progressives demanding justice for James Foley?
Does nobody else think it odd that the gunning down of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, can spark days of passionate protest, but the agonising decapitation of a helpless journalist elicits condemnation only from "mainstream" politicians and the equally despised "mainstream" media? Did progressives maintain a similar silence when images of a terrified Palestinian boy, caught in a deadly crossfire of Israeli bullets, appeared on the world's television screens? No, they did not.

More and more, it seems to me, we are being presented with what some commentators are calling "good dead" and "bad dead".

Daily Devotional

An Unshakably Happy God

“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11)
John Piper
Sourced from BibleGateway

God is absolutely sovereign.

“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Psalm 115:3).

Therefore he is not frustrated. He rejoices in all his works when he contemplates them as colors of the magnificent mosaic of redemptive history. He is an unshakably happy God.

His happiness is the delight he has in himself. Before creation, he rejoiced in the image of his glory in the person of his Son. Then the joy of God “went public” in the works of creation and redemption.

These works delight the heart of God because they reflect his glory. He does everything he does to preserve and display that glory, for in this his soul rejoices.

All the works of God culminate in the praises of his redeemed people. The climax of his happiness is the delight he takes in the echoes of his excellence in the praises of the saints. This praise is the consummation of our own joy in God.

Therefore, God’s pursuit of praise from us and our pursuit of pleasure in him are the same pursuit. This is the great gospel!

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

Burger King's Smart Move

The Capital Express Is On the Move

"Progressive"  ideology is generally anti-business, anti-profit , pro-taxes and pro-redistribution of property.   But in our modern world, "time" has moved on; capital and labour are now more global and international than ever before. Because trade is increasingly global, pay rates in China affect trading conditions in New Zealand.  Capital and labour are more mobile than ever and can move relatively freely around the world. 

In the face of this growing internationalism (theoretically favoured by progressive ideology) progressives have actually become more and more regressive, wanting to drive national economies back to a more autarkic past with higher taxes and more government interventions to control wages, prices, and business activity.  One manifestation of this retrogression is the complaint of governments that "business" is evading tax by setting up in lower foreign tax jurisdictions, channelling their profits through the lower tax regime and maximising returns thereby to their shareholders.  President Obama has moaned about this tax leakage in terms which suggest he regards the practice as unpatriotic, if not corrupt.  Left-wing politicians in New Zealand have chanted the same mantra with respect to multi-nationals doing business in New Zealand.

Naturally the most easy and straightforward solution to a shrinking corporate tax base is to lower corporate tax rates.  If taxes are lower, businesses are encouraged to stay put; international businesses are encouraged to set up shop if the tax rate is competitive.  But since progressive ideology calls for an ever vaster government, lowering taxes is a hard trick to perform.   Meanwhile, business is driven by economic rationality and the globalisation of business requires that one must remain competitive world-wide or eventually be driven under.

The most recent high-profile example is international conglomerate, Burger King which is moving its business headquarters out of the United States to Canada, where its tax burden will be less.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Prohibition Always Produces the Same Fruits

Behold the Works of the Health Do Gooders

 
16 Aug 2014
Breitbart News

The European anti-fraud agency OLAF has recently announced that between 2009 and 2013 the European Union (EU) lost €700 million in taxes as smugglers cross into Spain to sell cigarettes at half the prices. 

Two hundred Marlboro in Spain are €47, compared to €18.50 in Gibraltar. However, it is trivial compared to the estimated €10.9 billion lost throughout the EU, with 10 percent of all EU cigarettes being illegal. 

The irony is that many British visitors see Spain as a cheap place to buy cigarettes. By comparison the UK price is an eye watering €120. Between 2006 and 2011, the amount of tobacco imported into Gibraltar tripled and organised crime has exported it to the mainland. It is also one of the pretexts for Spain to hold time-consuming searches of Gibraltar cars in their attempt to pressure the British government into relinquishing control of the territory.

The authorities both sides of the border have been hand-wringing under the mantra that something must be done, however much of it may well be in vain.

Daily Devotional

God Is Not an Idolator

When he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. (2 Thessalonians 1:10)
John Piper

People stumble over the teaching that God exalts his own glory and seeks to be praised by his people because the Bible teaches us not to be like that. For example, the Bible says that love “does not seek its own” (1 Corinthians 13:5, NASB).

How can God be loving and yet be utterly devoted to “seeking his own” glory and praise and joy? How can God be for us if he is so utterly for himself?

The answer I propose is this: Because God is unique as an all-glorious, totally self-sufficient Being, he must be for himself if he is to be for us. The rules of humility that belong to a creature cannot apply in the same way to its Creator.

If God should turn away from himself as the Source of infinite joy, he would cease to be God.

Saudi Government and "Honour" Kidnappings

 The Long Reach of Islamic Totalitarianism

It's difficult to know what to make of the story below, which appeared in a NZ daily recently.  It is being alleged that two Saudi Arabian Christian converts, resident in New Zealand, have been kidnapped and repatriated against their will to Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Arabian government pays for hundreds of students to attend universities in New Zealand.  It is generally understood that the totalitarian Saudi government monitors them, keeping tabs on their activities whilst in this country.  Now we read this:

Friday, 29 August 2014

Worship and Liturgy

Liturgy and Culture

Aug 20, 2014 
Frank Senn:
The liturgy is transcultural in that it includes orders and symbols that witness to the church as a worldwide communio.
It is contextual in that it always admits the use of natural or cultural elements in worship in each locality.
It is countercultural in that the gospel it proclaims and celebrates always holds out the vision of an alternative worldview and lifestyle.
It is cross-cultural in that it uses expressions from different cultures.
—Frank C. Senn, Christian Liturgy: Catholic and Evangelical (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1997),  678.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional
 
Loving One's Neighbour
C. S. Lewis
Reproduced from Bible Gateway

The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbour; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less. There is, indeed, one exception. If you do him a good turn, not to please God and obey the law of charity, but to show him what a fine forgiving chap you are, and to put him in your debt, and then sit down to wait for his ‘gratitude’, you will probably be disappointed. (People are not fools: they have a very quick eye for anything like showing off, or patronage.) But whenever we do good to another self, just because it is a self, made (like us) by God, and desiring its own happiness as we desire ours, we shall have learned to love it a little more or, at least, to dislike it less.

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.

Australian Muslim Leaders Speak Up

Waddling Like a Duck

Newspaper columnist, Andrew Bolt calls our attention to a recent proclamation by Australia's "leading Muslims".  They were objecting to the current policy settings of Australia towards Israel, Hamas, and Australian citizens who have gone to the Middle East to participate in the Islamic jihad.

The signatories include "moderate Muslims" as well as more radical types.  "Moderates" are represented by
academics, the Australian Muslim Women’s Association, the Canberra Islamic Centre and numerous university Islamic societies.
Ok, then.  But here comes one of the more revealing protestations:
We also reject government attempts to divide the Muslim community into ‘radicals’ and ‘moderates’
So, the Australian Muslim community is actually one homogeneity.  It does not consist of "radicals" and "moderates"--by its own testimony.  What are we to make of this?

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Letter From Australia (About Propaganda Frames)

The Bolt Report


Daily Devotional

Hope to Obey Hard Commands


John Piper
Whoever desires to love life and see good days . . . let him turn away from evil and do good. (1 Peter 3:10–11)
There is only one basic reason why we disobey the commands of Jesus: it’s because we don’t have confidence that obeying will bring more blessing than disobeying. We do not hope fully in God’s promise.
What did he promise? Peter passes on his teaching like this:
Do not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling; but on the contrary bless, for to this you have been called that you may obtain a blessing. He who would love life and see good days . . . let him turn away from evil and do good.
You will always be better off to obey than to disobey, even if it costs you your life.
Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and the gospel’s, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time . . . with persecutions and in the age to come eternal life. (Mark 10:29–30)
The only way to have the power to follow Christ in the costly way of love is to be filled with hope, with strong confidence that if we lose our life doing his will, we will find it again and be richly rewarded.
For more about John Piper's ministry and writing, see DesiringGod.org.

Not Unexpected

Picking Through a Deceased Estate

The sanctimony and self-righteousness of the media never fail to surprise.  The media like to trumpet their standing as the Fourth Estate--a vital component in civil society to keep government and the powers honest.  What they often completely fail to comprehend is that standing as the Fourth Estate requires their behaving responsibly.

Sadly, the media is generally held in contempt by the wider population.  Their behaviour so often makes them complicit in unethical behaviour.  We have seen this on display in Murdoch's News of the World in the UK.  In order to get "stories" phones were hacked.  Private conversations of important or newsworthy people were accessed.  Salacious and sensational headlines followed.  Revenue went up.  Media people have now gone to prison for this illegal behaviour.

The media in New Zealand have tut tutted.  How unprofessional.  How unethical.  How tawdry.  Now it appears that all of the head-shaking was little more than holier-than-thou, self-righteous, malodorous sanctimony.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America (About The Moral Centre)

In a World Gone Crazy

Douglas Wilson
Blog and Mablog
August 20, 2014

In a world gone crazy, it is important for us to learn how to see the root causes. I use the phrase “root causes” deliberately, because it is the kind of thing that liberals love to appeal to, whether we are talking about race riots here, or barbarity in the Middle East. But when they get to talking about root causes and the “broader context” of whatever outrage it is, they invariably veer toward their programs which desperately need more funding.

The root cause is sin — high handed sin in the first instance, and a quiet and mousy enabling sin in the second. What we are talking about is basic — evil behavior in the first instance, and bewilderment about what to do about it in the other. We are now seeing on the national and international stage, over and over again, the same realities that play out when a three-year-old flips out in a restaurant because he didn’t want that kind of ice cream, and his hapless parents are completely and utterly at a loss about what to do about it.

All of these issues are matters of understanding the moral center, and the attendant issues of discipline, strength, incentives, disincentives, resolve, and leading from somewhere other than from behind.

Daily Devotional

Charles Spurgeon

Morning and Evening Devotions

"The mercy of God."
Psalm 52:8

Meditate a little on this mercy of the Lord. It is tender mercy. With gentle, loving touch, he healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. He is as gracious in the manner of his mercy as in the matter of it. It is great mercy. There is nothing little in God; his mercy is like himself--it is infinite. You cannot measure it. His mercy is so great that it forgives great sins to great sinners, after great lengths of time, and then gives great favours and great privileges, and raises us up to great enjoyments in the great heaven of the great God. It is undeserved mercy, as indeed all true mercy must be, for deserved mercy is only a misnomer for justice.

There was no right on the sinner's part to the kind consideration of the Most High; had the rebel been doomed at once to eternal fire he would have richly merited the doom, and if delivered from wrath, sovereign love alone has found a cause, for there was none in the sinner himself. It is rich mercy.

That's Not What I Meant At All . . .

Vaunted Moral Principles

Poor old Richie Dawkins is getting lots of bad press these days.  Most unfair.  The recent furore is over his general advice to any woman pregnant with a Downs Syndrome child to abort--that is, kill--the child immediately.  How odious for anyone to criticise such a patron saint of evolutionism, our established religion.

The Telegraph summarises the "incident":
Richard Dawkins, the atheist writer, has claimed it is “immoral” to allow unborn babies with Down’s syndrome to live. The Oxford professor posted a message on Twitter saying would-be parents who learn their child has the condition have an ethical responsibility to “abort it and try again”. . . .
Now, of course, Professor Dawkins has always suffered from a grossly enlarged sanctimony gland.  One cannot criticise him for this affliction.  It's the way things roll and who can criticise Nature?

One mindless critical response to his "abort it and try again" gaff suggested that he was making killing a Downs Syndrome victim in-utero a moral equivalent to killing a Downs Syndrome adult.  Not at all, insisted the good professor.  Don't you know that infants when born start to have "feelings" and that makes all the difference. Anything that is "unfeeling" is not a human life; once a Downs Syndrome baby has feelings, then he she or it deserves the protection of the law proscribing infanticide.  Whew.  Glad we got to hear that.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Letter From America (About Black Violence)

WSJ’s Jason Riley On Obama, Black Leadership And The Media Over Ferguson

The Daily Caller
Brendan Bordelon
18th August, 2014 

[No doubt there are plenty of issues to be addressed one way or another in the United States over the relationships between blacks and the police.  For our part, we remain sceptical of the "crowd" which would use the tragedies in Ferguson as a pretext for looting and abusing their neighbours, claiming their acts are moral because of the oppression they face.  As for the attention hungry faux-celebrities that cruise into town in the attempt to exploit the issues as part of their PR spin they are bottom barrel scrapers.  There is no doubt that the issues have to do with morality and ethics--a reality which crosses all ethnic distinctions.  In the piece below, Jason Riley brings his moral compass to bear upon the Ferguson rioting. We are intrigued because it is a perspective not often voiced. Ed.]

Normally soft-spoken Wall Street Journal editor Jason Riley became heated during a rant on the Ferguson crisis, calling President Obama’s most recent statement “a dodge” and slamming the “false narrative” that black men are targeted by white cops.  Riley appeared on Fox News’ “Special Report” on Monday to discuss the White House statement about the riots ravaging Ferguson, Missouri since the death of black teenager Michael Brown at the hands of a white police officer.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

August 26

A First Book of Daily Readings

by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Sourced from the OPC website

Our strength is our weakness.

When we are converted and saved and become Christian our temperaments do not change; they remain exactly what they were. You do not become somebody else, you are still yourself ... You are always yourself, and, though you become Christian, you are still yourself. You have your own peculiar temperament, your own peculiar characteristics, and the result is that we all have our special problems.

There are certain problems that are fundamental and common to us all, and even our particular problem comes under the general category of sin and the results of the Fall, but it comes to us in different ways.... All members of the Church are not the same, all members of any group, however small, are not the same; we all have certain things about which we have to be particularly and exceptionally careful. Other people are not troubled by these things at all. Ah, yes, but they have other things about which they have to be careful.

Myopia Faces Malefaction

Make Believe World

Pity US Secretary of State, John Kerry.  He has just been inflicted with a reality check, and, to his horror, discovered that his world of make-believe is looking somewhat puerile.  Not a good look for the United States.

Dear John has a view that the world is populated by two different kinds of human being: the first is the humanist human being who looks and acts remarkably like a John Kerry doppelganger.  Urbane.  Sophisticated. Liberal.  Open minded. Educated.  A man of good will.  The humanist human is found everywhere around the globe, in all religions, faiths, and countries.  The second kind of human being is the really, really evil kind who would like to kill the first kind.  John, of course, knows how to distinguish between the two.

The Islamic State Caliphate ("IS") has beheaded a Western photojournalist.  No doubt he was given the opportunity to avoid his fate in the usual terms: convert to Islam or die.  Quite reasonable really, if you are Islamic, since that particular ethic is clearly taught in the Koran itself, when one is engaged in jihad, which we all know now is believed to be a perpetual and constant reality.  But, for some inexplicable reason, Secretary Kerry is outraged.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Letter From America (After Surviving Ebola)

Calling Time On Ebola

The media have carried the news of the full recovery from Ebola by two US missionaries to Liberia, West Africa.  After contracting the disease, they were flown home and treated at Emory University Hospital.  Not without controversy.  A virtual, viral flash mob rapidly formed driven by the irrational fear of a bubonic plague about to kill everyone in the United States.  One conservative commentator, Ann Coulter complained that it did not make any sense for US missionaries to go abroad.  Weren't there enough problems to face in the United States?  Poor Ann overlooked a slight problem with her argument: when God calls, no man can successfully gainsay.  A reluctant prophet by the name of Jonah springs to mind.  Apparently, Ann had neglected to read Matthew 28: 18-20 recently.

In any event, Dr Kent Brantly has released a public statement  which he read after being released from Emory University Hospital.  It bears testimony to the Spirit of Christ, Himself.  

Daily Devotional

Charles Spurgeon

"Ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit."
Romans 8:23

Present possession is declared. At this present moment we have the first fruits of the Spirit. We have repentance, that gem of the first water; faith, that priceless pearl; hope, the heavenly emerald; and love, the glorious ruby. We are already made "new creatures in Christ Jesus," by the effectual working of God the Holy Ghost.

This is called the firstfruit because it comes first. As the wave-sheaf was the first of the harvest, so the spiritual life, and all the graces which adorn that life, are the first operations of the Spirit of God in our souls. The firstfruits were the pledge of the harvest. As soon as the Israelite had plucked the first handful of ripe ears, he looked forward with glad anticipation to the time when the wain should creak beneath the sheaves.

So, brethren, when God gives us things which are pure, lovely, and of good report, as the work of the Holy Spirit, these are to us the prognostics of the coming glory. The firstfruits were always holy to the Lord, and our new nature, with all its powers, is a consecrated thing. The new life is not ours that we should ascribe its excellence to our own merit; it is Christ's image and creation, and is ordained for his glory.

Arrogance and Irrelevance

Born That Way

It never ceases to surprise how many Unbelievers fail to understand Christians and the Christian faith.  Clearly there are exceptions--some signal and helpful.  But most Unbelievers cannot escape the cocoon of their own Unbelieving perspectives.  When they confront Christians their arguments amount to a bewildered and annoyed "why can't you think and act like everyone else--that is, like us"?

Why indeed?  Homosexuality right now is a touchstone for highlighting the ignorance of Unbelief when it comes to the Christian position, doctrine, and teaching on homosexuality, in particular and sexual sin, in general.  Unbelievers almost universally assert that homosexuality is genetic: people cannot help be what they are born to be.  To oppose or resist homosexuality is as foolish and blind as opposing blue eyes or red hair.  They cannot conceive why Christians do not grant this.  They are take offence at Christians because they refuse to think in the categories and gratuitous assumptions of Unbelief.  A most bizarre situation.

We will attempt a Christian reply to such nonsense shortly, but firstly, here is an example of that which we speak.  The Guardian, ever a champion of Unbelief, carries a column by Peter Omerod on why discrimination against "Christian homosexuals" must stop!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Letter From the UK (About Supine Compliance with Bullies)

Kosher vs Halal is a Battle for the Soul of our Supermarkets

18 Aug 2014

In the red corner, a peaceful, creative, successful and admired diaspora that has gifted economic and cultural bounties wherever it has settled. In the blue corner, bigoted vandals, in hock to an ugly and violent ideology, bullying others while playing the victim and demanding special treatment. Guess who our supine supermarkets are sucking up to? Why, the bullies and bigots, of course. 

Yesterday, we learned that Sainsbury's had removed kosher products from the shelves of its Holborn store after pressure from Islamist thugs. They later admitted to customers it had been a mistake to do so, but stopped short of issuing a proper apology. Would Sainsbury's, or any other supermarket, have removed halal products from sale in the face of similar threats? Not on your nelly.

Indeed, our supermarkets go a step further and feed halal products to their customers in some cases without even correctly labelling it. And I think we've all seen the "halal section" of the meat aisle slowly expanding over the past few years. Brits are right, I think, to feel disorientated by its rapid growth. The amount of space they take up is wildly disproportionate to the number of Muslims in Britain.

In the Tesco near where I live, there is a wider selection of chicken and beef products in the halal section than in the normal bit. So if you want a full range of meat you are basically obliged to pick from cuts that have been prepared for Muslims. I don't know about you, but the thought of my Sunday roast having been ululated over gives me the creeps.

Daily Devotional

What It Means to Bless the Lord

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! (Psalm 103:1)
Daily Devotional by John Piper

The psalm begins and ends with the psalmist preaching to his soul to bless the Lord—and preaching to the angels and the hosts of heaven and the works of God’s hands. The psalm is overwhelmingly focused on blessing the Lord. What does it mean to bless the Lord? It means to speak well of his greatness and goodness.

What David is doing in the first and last verses of this psalm, when he says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” is saying that speaking about God’s goodness and greatness must come from the soul.

Blessing God with the mouth without the soul would be hypocrisy. Jesus said, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8). David knows that danger, and he is preaching to himself that it not happen.

Come, soul, look at the greatness and goodness of God. Join my mouth, and let us bless the Lord with our whole being.

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

Inverse Naming and Shaming

New Anti-Abortion Database

A new tactic is being deployed in the struggle against state sanctioned killing of children.  A group in New Zealand is putting together a database of doctors and medical practitioners opposed to abortion.  This is a smart move.  As our knowledge of the humanness of the unborn child grows exponentially, medical practitioners are increasingly uneasy about abortion.  To persist in killing the unborn child requires some sort of over-arching ideology to justify the abhorrent practice.  Medical research alone just doesn't get you there any more.

An over-arching ideological cover to justify abortion can come from various directions.  Greenism, for example, rejoices in abortion because Greenism believes human beings are killing the planet.  The less of us the better.  Killing human beings whilst in the womb is, therefore, justified because it contributes to the greater good.  Doing evil that good may come has long been a seductive argument from the Serpent of old. Feminism provides another "greater good" argument.  Anything which curtails the life options of a woman (which pregnancy and childbirth certainly do) constitute the enslavement of women.  Therefore, abortion is necessary to maintain the human freedom rights of the female sex. The unborn victim, of course, does not get to vote. 

The struggle against this modern Molech-worship is long and difficult.  Every contribution helps.  Hence, we applaud the development of a database which publicly identifies those medical practitioners opposed to abortion.  This from the NZ Herald:

Friday, 22 August 2014

Letter From the UK (About the Ferguson Race Riots)

A black president couldn’t stop the Ferguson race riots 

Tim Stanley
The Telegraph
August 17, 2014 

Violence continues in Ferguson, Missouri. It began on August 9 with the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager cut down by a white cop’s bullets. Peaceful demonstrations turned into looting, the local police went in with rubber bullets and tear gas, all hell broke loose and, eventually, Missouri’s governor pulled out the local police and sent in state officers instead. But the rioting only paused; it didn’t cease. And it may continue. That’s probably because it’s driven by a deep, deep anger that will take a long time to calm.
Observers might ask, “How can this be happening in an America that has elected a black president?” How can black kids still get killed by white cops and how can towns still burn in race riots?

Part of the explanation is that the recession has been especially tough on African-Americans – reinforcing historical disparities of wealth between the races. Before the credit crunch, the median net worth of a black household was $12,124, compared with $134,992 in white households. After the crunch, the black net worth fell to just $5,677, compared with $113,149 among whites. Black home equity fell by an average of 28 per cent and retirement savings by 35 per cent. In May 2014, the black unemployment rate stood at 11.5 per cent – more than double the white jobless rate of 5.4 per cent.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

August 22

A First Book of Daily Readings

by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Sourced from the OPC website


Seek ye first the kingdom of God

[Our Lord] says: You are concerned about these other things, and you are putting them first. But you must not. What you have to put first is the kingdom of God and His righteousness. He ... said that, in the model prayer which He taught these people to pray.... You come to God. Of course you are interested in life and in this world; but you do not start by saying, ‘Give us this day our daily bread’. You start like this: ‘Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.’ And then, and only then, ‘Give us this day our daily bread’. ‘Seek ye first’—not ‘your daily bread’, but, ‘the kingdom of God and his righteousness’. In other words, you must bring yourself to that position in mind and heart and desires. It must take absolute priority over everything else.

Australia Rights the Ship

Refugees, the Australian Government and Christian Basics

The Australian government has shown the way when it comes to the vexed question of immigration.  Things have been scandalous, prior to the election of Tony Abbott's Liberal Coalition to government.  Australia was beset by boatloads of economic migrants, mainly via Indonesia, landing on its shores demanding refugee status, together with all the entitlements attached.  Genuine refugees were squeezed out.

The Commentariat, and the Left in particular, had long employed a faux guilt and pity approach which framed  turning the boats back to be completely reprehensible, cruel, unthinkable--and so forth.  Anyone who even suggested such heresy was pilloried immediately as a moral monster.  You know the drill.  But how times have changed--and quickly.  Miranda Devine takes up the narrative: