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).

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

They Think They’re Jesus


By

Last night I had the privilege of sharing the platform at an event in Coeur D’Alene with Aaron and Melissa Klein. They were the owners of the bakery in Oregon that was shut down by the sexual totalitarians. They were then fined a chunk of cash by some despotic bureaucratic flunky, and when a GoFundMe campaign promised to raise the necessary funds in a matter of hours, the Liberal Forces of Enforced Tolerance did enough screaming to get that shut down. GoFundMe changed the terms of service, and said that Aaron was not a worthy recipient because he was guilty of a heinous crime. That heinous crime was that he told someone that he was very sorry, but that he could not bake a cake for their event.

If you want to help them now — and you should — go to continuetogive.com, and search for Aaron and Melissa Klein. Give now, while there is time, before Christians helping Christians becomes a heinous crime.

In my remarks, I basically made four points. First, these controversies are not because evangelical Christians want to avoid doing business with sinners. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 5:9-10 not to associate with sinners, but he hastens to add that he was talking about professing Christians who were living this way.  If we had to avoid contact with sinners “of this world” we would have to leave the planet. There is no requirement that conservative Christians feel burdened by to avoid commerce with homosexuals. In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul tells us that meat offered to idols is still acceptable as meat, which means that there is no ethical contamination in doing business with people who are not Christians and who live as though they are not Christians.

Daily Devotional

The Moment It All Flows Back

TO MARY WILLIS SHELBURNE: On the return of Joy’s cancer.

18 October 1959

C.S.Lewis

Will you redouble your prayers for us? Apparently the wonderful recovery Joy made in 1957 was only a reprieve, not a pardon. The last X Ray check reveals cancerous spots returning in many of her bones. There seems to be some hope of a few years life still and there are still things the doctors can do. But they are all in the nature of ‘rearguard actions’. We are in retreat. The tide has turned. Of course God can do again what He did before. The sky is not now so dark as it was when I married her in hospital. Her courage is wonderful and she gives me more support than I can give her.

The dreadful thing, as you know, is the waking each morning—the moment at which it all flows back on one.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III
Compiled in Yours, Jack
The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume III: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C. S. Lewis. Copyright © 2008 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Sourced from BibleGateway.

The Madness of the Gentiles

We Have Time, But Less Than Yesterday

We posted a piece yesterday about crucial questions every culture and civilisation must needs answer: who am I?  Why am I here and alive?  What are my duties and responsibilities?  The world of post-modernism--our world--is inevitably agnostic when faced with such questions.  Consequently our world descends into endless crises of identity.

This is not an exaggeration.  It is an inevitable result of a culture controlled and dominated by atheistic materialism.  There is no true Truth.  No absolutes (except this one).  There is merely the constant flux of being upon an ocean of chance.  And the results are becoming more and more entrenched in the institutions of our culture.  How entrenched?  More than ten years ago, that's for sure.  Consider this:

Friday, 22 May 2015

Letter From the UK (About the Big Sulk)

Contempt For Ordinary People

By Dominic Sandbrook for the Daily Mail

The incredible sulk: All week, the Left have been frothing with fury that their fellow Britons could be so wicked and stupid as to vote in the Tories. Nothing better shows their contempt for ordinary people... 

Just over a week has passed since perhaps the most extraordinary General Election result of modern times, and at last the dust is beginning to settle.  In Westminster, David Cameron’s new all-Conservative government has settled down to business, while a succession of ambitious contenders have set out their stall for the Labour leadership, most of them insisting, not entirely plausibly, that they never agreed with a word Ed Miliband said anyway.

In the real world, most people have simply got on with their lives. Yet in one strange corner of Britain, the campaign is far from over. This is a world in which we are forever poised on the brink of Socialist conversion, the only obstacles are the Right-wing press and the brainwashed masses, and Ed Miliband was the greatest prime minister we never had.

Daily Devotional

 For An Eye to His Glory

"And he requested for himself that he might die."
1 Kings 19:4

Charles H. Spurgeon

It was a remarkable thing that the man who was never to die, for whom God had ordained an infinitely better lot, the man who should be carried to heaven in a chariot of fire, and be translated, that he should not see death--should thus pray, "Let me die, I am no better than my fathers." We have here a memorable proof that God does not always answer prayer in kind, though he always does in effect.  He gave Elias something better than that which he asked for, and thus really heard and answered him.

Strange was it that the lion-hearted Elijah should be so depressed by Jezebel's threat as to ask to die, and blessedly kind was it on the part of our heavenly Father that he did not take his desponding servant at his word.

There is a limit to the doctrine of the prayer of faith.

The Times They are A-Changing

The Slow-Release Poison of Post-Modernism

The question of what changed in society to enable it to develop from mediaevalism to modern economic powerhouses is a fascinating one.  One centrally important change was in the way men thought about the world and their place in it.  Who am I?  Why am I here and alive?  What are my duties and responsibilities?

Medieval man had a set of fairly standard answers to these questions.  Modernist man had a different understanding of life and being, and answered these questions differently.  Post-modern man has a different set of answers again.  The different answers were (and are) all religious in nature. 

The change from medievalism to modernism took place amidst developments in Christian doctrine; those changes in understanding essentially produced what we call the Modern period.

Modernism itself then went through two major developmental stages.  Early modernism was essentially Christian in nature and philosophy: it answered the questions above accordingly.  Later modernism moved away from orthodox Christianity to deistic-atheism, changing its answers to reflect this.  Post-modernism's religion, for its part, is materialistic atheism.  In each of these stages or phases, the questions above have been answered differently. The outcome and results have been very different. 

Charles Taylor documents the post medieval, early modern answers to the questions, who am I? why am I here? and what are my duties and responsibilities?  A major change that moved Europe from mediaevalism to the modern age had to do with "secular" work.  Taylor's is one of the best summaries we have read:

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Letter From Ireland (About Global Persecution of Christians)

‘Eleven Christians Killed Every Hour,’ Says Irish Bishop

by Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D.
BreitbartNews

According to Bishop John McAreavey, the Chair of the Council for Justice & Peace of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, statistics show that the situation of Christian persecution in the world is far more dire than most people understand.

The bishop called the breadth and scale of the suffering of Christians “unprecedented.”  At least 100,000 Christians are killed every year because of their faith, which amounts to 273 per day, or eleven every hour, McAreavey said, without mentioning those who are “being tortured, imprisoned, exiled, threatened, excluded, attacked and discriminated against on a widespread scale.”

In a sobering presentation before the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade this past week, McAreavey said that Christianity is the most oppressed religion in the world, and the followers of Jesus are actively persecuted in some 110 countries.  More striking still, he contended, according to the International Society for Human Rights, a non-religious organization, “80 percent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed against Christians.”

Daily Devotional

The Freest Love

Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it; yet the LORD set his heart in love upon your fathers and chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as at this day. (Deuteronomy 10:14–15)

John Piper

God’s electing love is absolutely free. It is the gracious overflow of his boundless happiness guided by his infinite wisdom.  Deuteronomy 10:14–15 describes the delight God had in choosing Israel from all the peoples of the earth. Notice two things.

First, notice the contrast between verses 14 and 15. Why does Moses describe the election of Israel against the backdrop of God’s ownership of the whole universe? Why does he say in verse 14, “To God belongs everything in heaven and on earth” and then say in verse 15, “Yet he chose you for his people”?  The reason seems to be to get rid of any notion that God was somehow hedged in to choose this people. The point is to explode the myth that each people has its own god and this god has a right to his own people but no more. The truth is that this is the only true God. He owns everything in the universe and can take any people he wants for his own special possession.

Thus the unspeakably wonderful truth for Israel is that he chose them. He did not have to.

NZ Welfare Reforms Roll On

More, Please . . .

In the realm of social welfare, there are some good things happening in New Zealand.  Whilst it will probably not survive the inevitable return of the Left to government in New Zealand, the following report makes very encouraging reading.  If only we could have thirty years of this, many of our present social problems and ills would be ameliorated.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Two Cheers for Nominal Christianity!


In this post, Russell Moore makes a sharp distinction between Christianity and almost-Christianity. He did so in a way that made me think of the distinction between a great point and almost-a-great-point.

Moore is talking about the results of a Pew Center study which shows that nominal Christianity is taking it on the chin. Christians who actually believe what they say they believe are holding their own, and Moore rejoices in the vibrancy of faithful churches, and rejoices also in the collapse of the ecclesiastical also-rans.
What he says is all quite true, and pretty helpful, and . . . almost a great point. But there is a vast territory to be explored in this sentence of his in the penultimate paragraph. “We’ve been on the wrong side of history since Rome, and it was enough to turn the world upside down.” Right — but what happens in an upside down world? What then?

There is absolutely no way to create a vibrant center without also creating a wanna-be periphery. If there is the vibrant faith that Moore and I both want, then there will be worldly counterfeit versions of it. If there are no worldly counterfeits, then that means there is nothing there worth counterfeiting.

Daily Devotional

Reigning With Christ Jesus

"I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth."
Ecclesiastes 10:7

Charles H. Spurgeon

Upstarts frequently usurp the highest places, while the truly great pine in obscurity. This is a riddle in providence whose solution will one day gladden the hearts of the upright; but it is so common a fact, that none of us should murmur if it should fall to our own lot. When our Lord was upon earth, although he is the Prince of the kings of the earth, yet he walked the footpath of weariness and service as the Servant of servants: what wonder is it if his followers, who are princes of the blood, should also be looked down upon as inferior and contemptible persons?

The world is upside down, and therefore, the first are last and the last first. See how the servile sons of Satan lord it in the earth! What a high horse they ride! How they lift up their horn on high! Haman is in the court, while Mordecai sits in the gate; David wanders on the mountains, while Saul reigns in state; Elijah is complaining in the cave while Jezebel is boasting in the palace; yet who would wish to take the places of the proud rebels? and who, on the other hand, might not envy the despised saints? When the wheel turns, those who are lowest rise, and the highest sink. Patience, then, believer, eternity will right the wrongs of time.

Let us not fall into the error of letting our passions and carnal appetites ride in triumph, while our nobler powers walk in the dust. Grace must reign as a prince, and make the members of the body instruments of righteousness. The Holy Spirit loves order, and he therefore sets our powers and faculties in due rank and place, giving the highest room to those spiritual faculties which link us with the great King; let us not disturb the divine arrangement, but ask for grace that we may keep under our body and bring it into subjection. We were not new created to allow our passions to rule over us, but that we, as kings, may reign in Christ Jesus over the triple kingdom of spirit, soul, and body, to the glory of God the Father.

A Cautionary Tale

Obese on the Taxpayers' Dime

They say that sunlight is the best disinfectant.  Sadly the sunlight is not found too often on the pages and screens of the archaic media.  So, letting the searchlight shine has become a responsibility of the new media.  Here is the latest thrust and parry.

The NZ government has been trying to move the delivery of social services away from bureaucrats and government ministries to the private sector.  The government is attempting to recast its role to be funder and auditor, with the delivery of services contracted out to the private sector.  The rationale behind this change is that historically government bureaucracies have failed systematically and repeatedly to deliver services efficiently.  After all, in this country we have seen  a nationalised train company employing 18,000 people, largely to shuffle paper, not trains.  But more "employees" were being added by the day to help keep the country's unemployed numbers down.  In other words, the train business had become an arm of social welfare services.  [See Richard Prebble's account in I've Been Thinking (Auckland: Seaview Publishing, 1996)]

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

If It Disappears, Resurrect It

Obamacare Exchanges on Life Support

by Michelle Malkin 
May 15, 2015
National Review Online

At a recent White House science fair celebrating inventors, a Girl Scout who helped design a Lego-powered page-turning device asked President Obama what he had ever thought up or prototyped. Stumbling for an answer, he replied: “I came up with things like, you know, health care.” 
Ah, yes. “Health care.” Remember when the president’s signature Obamacare health-insurance exchanges were going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, the remote control, jogger strollers, Siri, the Keurig coffee maker, driverless cars, and Legos all rolled into one? The miraculous, efficient, cost-saving, innovative 21st-century government-run “marketplaces” were supposed to put the “affordable” in Obama’s Affordable Care Act. 
Know-it-all bureaucrats were going to show private companies how to set up better websites (gigglesnort), implement better marketing and outreach (guffaw), provide superior customer service (belly laugh), and eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse (LOLOLOL).

Daily Devotional

No Fickle Lover

"Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee."
Isaiah 41:9

Charles H. Spurgeon

If we have received the grace of God in our hearts, its practical effect has been to make us God's servants. We may be unfaithful servants, we certainly are unprofitable ones, but yet, blessed be his name, we are his servants, wearing his livery, feeding at his table, and obeying his commands. We were once the servants of sin, but he who made us free has now taken us into his family and taught us obedience to his will. We do not serve our Master perfectly, but we would if we could.

As we hear God's voice saying unto us, "Thou art my servant," we can answer with David, "I am thy servant; thou hast loosed my bonds." But the Lord calls us not only his servants, but his chosen ones--"I have chosen thee." We have not chosen him first, but he hath chosen us. If we be God's servants, we were not always so; to sovereign grace the change must be ascribed. The eye of sovereignty singled us out, and the voice of unchanging grace declared, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love."

Long ere time began or space was created God had written upon his heart the names of his elect people, had predestinated them to be conformed unto the image of his Son, and ordained them heirs of all the fulness of his love, his grace, and his glory. What comfort is here!

The End Game

Puffs of Smoke

Long ago, the issue of global warming passed out of the realm of scientific research and inquiry into the realm of propaganda.  A core part of the propaganda campaign to bolster its credibility was to assert scientific (that is, empirical and factual) warrant for global warming being caused by mankind.  But between the assertion and the reality fell the shadow.

Some sceptics have argued that in retrospect anthropogenic (man caused) global warming will be seen as the greatest hoax perpetrated upon human history in the name of pseudo-science.  The key reason for this claim is that the sea of data upon which SS Global Warming sails is largely fabricated.  It is true that such an assertion sounds like a barmy conspiracy theory.  But conspiracies exist.  The question is whether one exists in the case of global warming.

Already there has been evidence.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscor

My Militance


One of the stockbook arguments that liberals use is that conservative militance is “offputting.” By “liberals” I am referring both to those who are openly so, as well as those who have that crisply moderate evangelical shell surrounding a gooey center.

A sure way to identify a liberal disposition is to listen for warnings about hypothetical offenses. But if this were as real a concern as it pretends to be, surely someone would have taken note of the fact that liberal denominations are hemorrhaging all over the floor, while those offputting religious groups are keeping their blood inside the skin, and are continuing to grow. What if the key to growth in the next generation is standing strong against same sex mirage?

Daily Devotional

On Grief

C. S. Lewis

Real sorrow ends neither with a bang nor a whimper. Sometimes, after a spiritual journey like Dante’s, down to the centre and then, terrace by terrace, up the mountain of accepted pain, it may rise into peace—but a peace hardly less severe than itself. Sometimes it remains for life, a puddle in the mind which grows always wider, shallower, and more unwholesome. Sometimes it just peters out, as other moods do. One of these alternatives has grandeur, but not tragic grandeur.

From Experiment in Criticism
Compiled in Words to Live By
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.

Forty Years to Figure It Out

It's Time For a Thank Offering

Wonderful progress in the fight to scour the blot of abortion from the landscape was made in the United States this past week.  The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to ban abortion if the unborn child was twenty weeks in gestation or older.  Of course the Bill does not immediately pass into law.  It must firstly be approved by the Senate.  Then it must be signed into law by Pressie Obama, who has already declared that he would veto the Bill.

So, more work must needs be done.  But this is progress nevertheless and the fight was always going to be a long one.  Maggie Gallagher explains the significance of the event:

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Political Circus Maxima

Loons and Bigots

Modern political contests in the West resemble Monty Python's Flying Circus more and more with each passing year.  One of the reasons is that the traditional divides between Left and Right have pretty much broken down.  All mainstream parties are statist in orientation and seek to out-compete by promising to expand the role and power of the state.  It's "deck-chairs on the Titanic" sort-of-stuff. 

The sad reality is that the vast majority of people throughout the West "have no god, but Caesar".  When "conservative" and "right wing" governments win elections to take or retain power, the Left have nowhere to go but into cloud-cuckoo land to explain their losses.  The same phenomenon applies when "left wing" governments win elections and displace "right wing" governments.

Here is an example.  With the recent Conservative election victory in the UK, all sorts of theories are being expounded by the Left to explain their electoral failure.  Usually a conspiracy of some sorts is seen as the real cause of electoral defeat.  One explanation will inevitably blame the interference by the US Republican party in the UK election.  This from the Guardian:
The Conservatives are to draft in a deployment of Republican activists to bolster their efforts in key seats before the UK election.  In an unusual move, a team organised by the US Young Republicans International Committee will arrive on 2 May to help out in the marginal seat of Enfield North, and the constituency of Aylesbury, where the Conservatives face a challenge from the UK Independence party (Ukip), as well as the safer seat of Windsor. The move will be controversial because they are set to campaign though they are not able to vote in the UK.

The Americans will arrive during a campaign in which the Conservatives lack ground troops in tight battleground seats compared with Labour, meaning they are relying on mailshots of election literature and busloads of mostly young Tory activists at weekends known as Team 2015.

The expected arrival of the US activists has infuriated Labour candidates in the targeted seats, who pointed out the Republican party’s opposition to President Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms aimed at improving care for the poorest in society.
The "comments" section under the article--if representing the true heart of the UK Labour Party--shows how the Labour Party core is now evolving into what might be called the lunatic fringe. 
  • Well they've been importing their policies from the Republicans (who get their policies from ALEC and the corporations that fund it) for years so it's not exactly a shock.
  • Worse than that, this is TREASON. Importing lunatics into place that still have sane heads makes it worse.
  • The Tories are subverting democracy in every way imaginable.
  • Foreign activists interfering in the democratic process of a sovereign nation? Well done, Tories. You have sold everything and you're officially bankrupt.
  • Importing thugs from America.
  • Guaranteed to piss off any English voter. Who the hell are these swivel-eyed republican loons telling me to vote toff? I reckon this is a clever ploy by Labour to get more votes. It might just work...
Needless to say, the abiding theme of the commentators is that it is the Young Republicans who are the wacky extremists.

These events, of course, took place before the election.  Now that Labour lost handsomely, the bad result will stand as proof that a deadly conspiracy was inflicted upon the Left by the dark forces of monied evil: the right wing, creationist bigots from America.  Since both parties contest the statist centre, the losing party now has no room to move, except to the fringes and the extremes.   

Daily Devotional

At the Bottom of It All

In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will. (Ephesians 1:5)

John Piper

The experience of Charles Spurgeon is not beyond the ability of any ordinary Christian.  Spurgeon (1834–1892) was a contemporary of George Mueller. He served the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London for over thirty years as the most famous pastor of his day.

His preaching was so powerful that people were converted to Christ every week. His sermons are still in print today and he is held up by many as a model soul–winner.  He recalls an experience when he was sixteen that shaped his life and ministry for the rest of his days.
When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me. I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this.

I can recall the very day and hour when first I received those truths [the doctrine of election] in my own soul — when they were, as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron, and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown on a sudden from a babe into a man — that I had made progress in Scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, that clue to the truth of God.

One week–night, when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher’s sermon, for I did not believe it.

The thought struck me, How did you come to be a Christian? I sought the Lord. But how did you come to seek the Lord? The truth flashed across my mind in a moment — I should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him. I prayed, thought I, but then I asked myself, How came I to pray? I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. How came I to read the Scriptures? I did read them, but what led me to do so?

Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, “I ascribe my change wholly to God.”

Satan's "Finest" Creation

All Is Well

Co-incidental surveys have been conducted in New Zealand and the United States showing that "religion" amongst the population is declining.  In our capital city, Wellington a survey has reported that fifty percent of people deny the existence of any god whatsoever.  This is not at all surprising.  New Zealand is one of the most secular countries in the world.  Similarly the number of Unbelievers is reported to be increasing in the United States.

None of this catches us by surprise.  Atheistic secularism is Satan's last throw of the dice, his greatest and most powerful achievement, as it were.  When a country is oppressed with evil spirits, evil is tangible.  It is felt. Fear--genuine, righteous fear--drives many people to Christ.  But the culture most under the control of the Great Dissembler, the Liar from the beginning, is the culture which denies the very existence of  the Devil.

Vern Poythress puts it this way:

Friday, 15 May 2015

Letter From the UK (About Tons of Polar Ice)

What The BBC Doesn’t Want You To Know About Polar Ice


Global Warming? Global Sea Ice Levels Defy Alarmist Predictions
Daily Caller

The BBC’s Science Editor David Shukman recently got back from an expedition to the high Arctic. Amazingly, despite having gone all that way, he seems completely to have missed the big story: that contrary to the doomsday predictions we’ve been hearing from all the experts over the last few years the ice up there seems to be getting thicker and thicker.

Here, courtesy of Paul Homewood at Notalotofpeopleknowthat is the evidence.

Multi-year ice in the Arctic Ocean is now at its highest levels since the winter of 2007.

age_coverage_time_series_83_15_w_labels2_thumb_thumb

Volume too has been growing rapidly – and is now back at 2006 levels
bpiomasicevolumeanomalycurrentv21_thumb_thumb_thumb

But this wasn’t what Shukman told BBC viewers in his report. On the contrary, Shukman’s version of events could scarcely have been more different.
Changes in the Arctic Ocean are so profound that the region is entering what amounts to “a new era”, according to Norwegian scientists.  A switch from a permanent cover of thick ice to a new state where thinner ice vanishes in the summer will have far-reaching implications, they say.
Ooh. Scary.  But you wait for the killer evidence that backs up these extravagant claims. And instead what you get is flannel like this, from the Norwegian Polar Institute’s Jan-Gunnar Winther:

Daily Devotional

Co-Inheriting the World

"Joint heirs with Christ."
Romans 8:17

Charles H. Spurgeon

The boundless realms of his Father's universe are Christ's by prescriptive right. As "heir of all things," he is the sole proprietor of the vast creation of God, and he has admitted us to claim the whole as ours, by virtue of that deed of joint-heirship which the Lord hath ratified with his chosen people.

The golden streets of paradise, the pearly gates, the river of life, the transcendent bliss, and the unutterable glory, are, by our blessed Lord, made over to us for our everlasting possession. All that he has he shares with his people. The crown royal he has placed upon the head of his Church, appointing her a kingdom, and calling her sons a royal priesthood, a generation of priests and kings.

He uncrowned himself that we might have a coronation of glory; he would not sit upon his own throne until he had procured a place upon it for all who overcome by his blood. Crown the head and the whole body shares the honour. Behold here the reward of every Christian conqueror! Christ's throne, crown, sceptre, palace, treasure, robes, heritage, are yours. Far superior to the jealousy, selfishness, and greed, which admit of no participation of their advantages, Christ deems his happiness completed by his people sharing it. "The glory which thou gavest me have I given them." "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."

The smiles of his Father are all the sweeter to him, because his people share them. The honours of his kingdom are more pleasing, because his people appear with him in glory. More valuable to him are his conquests, since they have taught his people to overcome. He delights in his throne, because on it there is a place for them. He rejoices in his royal robes, since over them his skirts are spread. He delights the more in his joy, because he calls them to enter into it.

Knowing One's Limitations

A Mistake

It's encouraging to see some Republican candidates for US President articulating a much, much more responsible doctrine of war.  We have often noted in this blog that the United States has shed more blood in warfare than any other nation on the globe over the past fifty years.  Instead of talking softly and carrying a big stick, it has shouted loudly and used a stick to kill people all over the world. 

Christians often get confused over war.  Because we worship and serve the Prince of Peace, some Christians unfaithfully and ignorantly elide into pacifism.  They forget that the Prince ordained the magistrate to bear a sword to punish evil doers.  Moreover, because there are many evils in the world, and the US has the most powerful, global military force, other Christians think it right to use the nation's military might to solve problems and conflicts anywhere on the globe.  "Because we can, we should" is the argument.  This latter folly represents naivete and arrogance way beyond the norm. 

Remember when President Obama decided that the US had to "nation-build" in Afghanistan.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Letter From London (About The Real Problem in Palestine)

Daily Devotional

Go and Do It

C. S. Lewis

Very often the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you had it already. That is why children’s games are so important. They are always pretending to be grown-ups—playing soldiers, playing shop. But all the time, they are hardening their muscles and sharpening their wits so that the pretence of being grown-up helps them to grow up in earnest.

Now, the moment you realise ‘Here I am, dressing up as Christ,’ it is extremely likely that you will see at once some way in which at that very moment the pretence could be made less of a pretence and more of a reality. You will find several things going on in your mind which would not be going on there if you were really a son of God. Well, stop them. Or you may realise that, instead of saying your prayers, you ought to be downstairs writing a letter, or helping your wife to wash- up. Well, go and do it.

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.

Little Petal

Thin Skinned Media

The NZ Herald is no grey lady.  True, its moniker back in the day used to be "Granny Herald".  Venerable, stable, weighty.  But like many media it has been outpaced and outdistanced by the mass democratisation effect made possible by emerging electronic media.  Like most "mainstream" media it has responded by cutting costs (usually quality reporting staff are the first to go) and by sensationalising the news to attract readers.  Granny Herald has morphed into a bimbo with diamonds on the souls of her shoes. 

Breathless sensationalism is now the staple diet.  Virtually every news story has to be twisted to allude to a  subterranean scandal.  But recently it has sunk to new levels.  It has been caught editing readers' letters to the Editor critical of the paper's performance to blunt the criticism and cast itself in a more favourable light.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Deadly Internationalism

Calling Turtle Bay . . . Are You Receiving?

European nations have no sovereignty left.  It's substantially been transferred to the European Union.  And the European Union, for its part, has substantially transferred it to the UN.

The following paragraph in the Guardian about the proposed actions and policy with respect to the wave of people "migrating" to Europe via smugglers plying their evil trade of human trafficking says it all:
The EU is seeking UN approval to take military action in the Mediterranean against people smugglers including the destruction of boats used by gangs operating out of Libya. France and the UK are due to formally propose the use of military action to the UN security council, although the UN’s secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has already warned against such a move. [Guardian]
Anyone care to speculate about how long it will take the UN to consider the matter and reach a decision?  Anyone care to put a number on how many more lives of desperate, duped innocents will be lost in the Med over this deadly, misconceived  monstrosity? 


Daily Devotional

Courage

"Only be thou strong and very courageous."
Joshua 1:7

Charles H. Spurgeon

Our God's tender love for his servants makes him concerned for the state of their inward feelings. He desires them to be of good courage. Some esteem it a small thing for a believer to be vexed with doubts and fears, but God thinks not so.

From this text it is plain that our Master would not have us entangled with fears. He would have us without carefulness, without doubt, without cowardice. Our Master does not think so lightly of our unbelief as we do. When we are desponding we are subject to a grievous malady, not to be trifled with, but to be carried at once to the beloved Physician. Our Lord loveth not to see our countenance sad. It was a law of Ahasuerus that no one should come into the king's court dressed in mourning: this is not the law of the King of kings, for we may come mourning as we are; but still he would have us put off the spirit of heaviness, and put on the garment of praise, for there is much reason to rejoice.

The Christian man ought to be of a courageous spirit, in order that he may glorify the Lord by enduring trials in an heroic manner. If he be fearful and fainthearted, it will dishonour his God. Besides, what a bad example it is. This disease of doubtfulness and discouragement is an epidemic which soon spreads amongst the Lord's flock. One downcast believer makes twenty souls sad. Moreover, unless your courage is kept up, Satan will be too much for you. Let your spirit be joyful in God your Saviour, the joy of the Lord shall be your strength, and no fiend of hell shall make headway against you; but cowardice throws down the banner. Moreover, labour is light to a man of cheerful spirit; and success waits upon cheerfulness. The man who toils, rejoicing in his God, believing with all his heart, has success guaranteed.

He who sows in hope shall reap in joy; therefore, dear reader, "be thou strong, and very courageous."

Bearing God's Image

Transcending to Abuse

Christians believe in the dignity of Man.  They believe in the glory of Man.  Christians believe--as true truth--that man is the only creature on this planet made in the image of God Himself.  Christians believe this astounding truth not because they think it is a good idea, but because God has revealed it to be so.
Then God said, "let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  [Genesis 1: 26-27]
There are many capabilities and abilities possessed by human beings that other creatures do not have.  All of them testify to our being in the image of God Himself.  Vern Poythress gives us one example: