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 ( 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, 16 September 2014

Novels Every Christian Should Consider Reading--Part IV

Philip Ryken: A Novel Every Christian Should Consider Reading

Sep 06, 2014

I am doing a blog series on Novels Every Christian Should Consider Reading.


Philip Graham Ryken (DPhil, University of Oxford) is the eighth president of Wheaton College and has served in that capacity since 2010. Prior to his appointment at Wheaton, he served as senior minister at historic Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.
His newest book is Loving Jesus More (which releases on Monday), and he is the co-author (with Leland Ryken and Todd Wilson) of Pastors in the Classics: Timeless Lessons on Life and Ministry from World Literature.

Cry, the Beloved Country is widely regarded as the definitive novel of the South African experience. Although the book was written more than half a century ago and published before apartheid was established as a system of racial segregation, its hopeful yet honest treatment of social issues has ongoing relevance for South Africa and the world. Alan Paton invited his readers to embrace this global perspective when he described his novel as “a song of love for one’s far distant country . . . the land where you were born.”

Daily Devotional

Jesus Will Trample All Our Enemies

John Piper

Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. (1 Corinthians 15:24)

How far does the reign of Christ extend?

Verse 25 says, “He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” The word ALL tells us the extent.

So does the word EVERY in verse 24: “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.”

There is no disease, no addiction, no demon, no bad habit, no fault, no vice, no weakness, no temper, no moodiness, no pride, no self-pity, no strife, no jealousy, no perversion, no greed, no laziness that Christ does not aim to overcome as the enemy of his honor.

And the encouragement in that promise is that when you set yourself to do battle with the enemies of your faith and your holiness, you will not fight alone.  Jesus Christ is now, in this age, putting all his enemies under his feet. Every rule and every authority and every power will be conquered.

So, remember that the extent of Christ’s reign reaches to the smallest and biggest enemy of his glory. It will be defeated.

For more about John Piper's ministry and writing, see 
Sourced from BibleGateway

Seven Easy Steps

The Islamic Caliphate

In 2005, Jordanian journalist and researcher, Fouad Hussen published a piece entitled al-Zarqawi - al-Qaida's Second Generation. A synopsis of his book was published in Der Spiegel in August 2005.  The introduction to the synopsis read:
There must be something particularly trustworthy about the Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein. After all, he has managed to get some of the the most sought after terrorists to open up to him. Maybe it helped that they spent time together in prison many years ago -- when Hussein was a political prisoner he successfully negotiated for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to be released from solitary confinement. Or is it because of the honest and direct way in which he puts his ideas onto paper?
Fouad Hussein had spent time with key terrorist figures, including al-Zarqawi, who has now been killed by a US drone strike.  Prison conversations amongst prison comrades are often truthful.  What is there to lose?  In any event, Hussein has outlined the "Seven Steps" set out by the idealogues of an Islamic Caliphate to take over the world.  Back in 2005, it may have sounded wacky stuff to Western ears.  Now, maybe, not so much.  (Remember, as you read below, this was published in Der Spiegel in 2005; the resemblances to what is now unfolding in Iraq and Syria are striking.  Back in 2005, it must have seemed pretentious and boastful--which the Der Spiegel article reflects.)

Monday, 15 September 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

What Became of the Witty Pirate Then

Douglas Wilson
Blog and Mablog
September 6, 2014

Because taxes can be a form of theft, and because taxes need not be theft at all, a reasonable question to ask is how we can tell the difference.

The baseline, the starting point, is that property belongs to the individual. He is the one that Thou shalt not steal applies to. He is the one with the house, the vineyard, the lawn mower, the wallet, the smart phone, and so on. Whenever the Bible talks about property, it always talks about it two categories. The first is God’s absolute ownership of all things (Dt. 10:14), and the second is the relative ownership that you and your neighbor enjoy (Dt. 8:18). When we talk about the state possessing things, this possession is derivative. The state extracts value from the taxpayer, the appointed steward of God’s wealth, and this extraction can also be divided into two categories. This value can be extracted lawfully, or the state can play the role of the thief. So how are we to tell the difference?

Daily Devotional

The Weed of Unbelief

Charles Spurgeon

"How long will it be ere they believe me?"
Numbers 14:11

Strive with all diligence to keep out that monster unbelief. It so dishonours Christ, that he will withdraw his visible presence if we insult him by indulging it. It is true it is a weed, the seeds of which we can never entirely extract from the soil, but we must aim at its root with zeal and perseverance. Among hateful things it is the most to be abhorred.

Its injurious nature is so venomous that he that exerciseth it and he upon whom it is exercised are both hurt thereby. In thy case, O believer! it is most wicked, for the mercies of thy Lord in the past, increase thy guilt in doubting him now. When thou dost distrust the Lord Jesus, he may well cry out, "Behold I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves." This is crowning his head with thorns of the sharpest kind. It is very cruel for a well-beloved wife to mistrust a kind and faithful husband. The sin is needless, foolish, and unwarranted.

Talking Heads

The Sixth Opinion

The jokes about economists are legion.  It's all in good fun, but as with most jibes, there is usually a bit of truth in each.  Economics has not been called the "dismal science" for nothing.  Was it not Winston Churchill who growled one day, "if you laid all the economists in the world face down, head to tail . . . well, that would be a good thing to do"?  And was it not Winnie who also grumbled that he would give half his kingdom to meet a "one-handed economist"? And some long forgotten sage observed that if you meet two economists you will always be blessed by at least three opinions.

So, we are regaled by the pronouncements of one Shamubeel Eaqub, rated as one of the country's top economists.  Entering into the spirit of the discipline of economics, we wish to give him the two handed salute.

On the one hand, Shamubeel Eaqub hit the nail right on the head when he opined recently on the state of politics in this current election season:

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Letter From the UK (About Consequences of Perverse Multi-cultualism)

Islamic Rape Gangs

Rotherham is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

James Delingpole
7th September 2014

If you haven't yet listened to the latest Radio Free Delingpole podcast I urge you to do so: but first you'll need a strong stomach.

In it, I talk to George Igler of the Discourse Institute who has been following the Rotherham child rape gang story closely for the last three years. The full story is more shocking than you can possibly imagine, not just because of the ugliness of the abuse itself (redolent of that horrible scene from the movie Taken where smack-addled girls are serially abused in a filthy dive by countless grubby men) but also because of the extent of the cover-up by the left-liberal establishment of social workers, local government officers, child welfare charities, diversity co-ordinators, not to mention the regional police forces and even imams.

Truly this is one of the biggest scandals of our time. And it's going to get bigger.  Here are some of the disturbing revelations in the podcast.

Daily Devotional

Shadows and Streams

May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works, who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke! I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord. (Psalm 104:31–34)
John Piper

God rejoices in the works of creation because they point us beyond themselves to God himself.
God means for us to be stunned and awed by his work of creation. But not for its own sake. He means for us to look at his creation and say: If the mere work of his fingers (just his fingers! Psalm 8:3) is so full of wisdom and power and grandeur and majesty and beauty, what must this God be like in himself!

These are but the backside of his glory, as it were, darkly seen through a glass. What will it be to see the Creator himself! Not his works! A billion galaxies will not satisfy the human soul. God and God alone is the soul’s end.

The Visible Reign of Christ

Well Done

An issue which bubbles to the surface from time to time concerns the form and shape of Christendom.  What does a society look like when it becomes thoroughly Christianised?  More and more evangelical Christians appear to be thinking seriously about such a question.

One aspect of Christendom--the visible reign of Christ over a particular society or nation--is that Christianity has become culturally "thick" in the sense of pervading, influencing, controlling, and shaping everything.  It encompasses the small and the great, the least to the most significant, the weak and the powerful.  Because the Christian faith involves the regeneration of human souls and the progressive conformity of men, women, and children, and their families and households, to the image of Christ Himself, Christendom thereby encompasses the depth and breadth of human culture.

Every so often we are given a glimpse of what this might look like.  A recent obituary published in the Washington Post provided just such.  Probably few people have ever heard of Truett Cathy, who has just passed away, aged 93.  Millions of people, however, will be familiar with the business he founded--Chick-fil-A.  What is instructive in the life and ministry of Cathy--and in the business he founded--is the insight it provides into how Christendom takes shape.  Mr Cathy was a Christian and he wanted to build a Christian business.  What form did it take?

Friday, 12 September 2014

Hear No Evil, See No Evil

Age of intolerance

The War on Religion

Barney Zwartz
November 2, 2013

As Christian villager Asia Bibi languished in a Pakistani jail awaiting death by hanging for drinking water from a Muslim cup, two suicide bombers killed 85 worshippers in a Peshawar church.

For Egypt's Copts, who risk having the small cross-tattoos many wear on their wrists burnt off with acid by militant Muslims, the Arab Spring has been wintry. In August it got worse: Muslim Brotherhood supporters, blaming them for the army's removal of president Mohamed Mursi, attacked more than 100 Christian sites - 42 churches were razed.

In Somalia, al-Shabab, which slaughtered scores of people at a Kenyan shopping mall in September, has reportedly vowed to kill every Somali Christian.

In northern Nigeria, Boko Haram has butchered thousands of Christians, as well as Muslims they consider inadequately ideological - such as those seeking an education.

Four of every five acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed against Christians, according to the Germany-based International Society for Human Rights. The secular US think tank the Pew Forum says Christians face harassment or oppression in 139 nations, nearly three-quarters of all the countries on earth.

Daily Devotional

C. S. Lewis

Today's Reading
TO GENIA GOELZ, who had asked Lewis for a prayer in her struggle to believe: Lewis’s prayer for a daily increase in obedience and faith.

18 March 1952

Don’t bother at all about that question of a person being ‘made a Christian’ by baptism. It is only the usual trouble about words being used in more than one sense. Thus we might say a man ‘became a soldier’ the moment that he joined the army. But his instructors might say six months later ‘I think we have made a soldier of him’. Both usages are quite definable, only one wants to know which is being used in a given sentence.

The Bible itself gives us one short prayer which is suitable for all who are struggling with the beliefs and doctrines. It is: ‘Lord I believe, help Thou my unbelief.’

Would something of this sort be any good?: Almighty God, who art the Father of lights and who has promised by thy dear Son that all who do thy will shall know thy doctrine: [John 7:17] give me grace so to live that by daily obedience I daily increase in faith and in the understanding of thy Holy Word, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume II
Compiled in Yours, Jack
The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume II: Family Letters 1905-1931. Copyright © 2004 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

No Surpises There

Media and Used Car Salesmen

Phil Goff has been a Labour politician since Noah was a lad.  His party has been jumping up and down demanding that an inquiry be constituted to investigate "leaks" from the Security Intelligence Service (otherwise known as NZ Spooks Incorporated) to a right-wing blogger, Cameron Slater (otherwise known as the Enemy).  These events allegedly took place six years ago.

So Phil Goff, who was leader of the Opposition at the time, and who, consequently, received regular briefings from the SIS upon any clear and present dangers to New Zealand, has been summoned to appear under oath.  The back story is this: Goff was briefed on a possible threat to NZ security, which he subsequently denied ever knowing about.  Clever Cameron Slater, smelling a malodorous dead rat, put in an official information request to the SIS, to secure the contents of the briefing.  This material would eventually expose Phil Goff in a deliberate lie. 

Phil Goff, huffing and puffing with indignant sanctimony, wanted to know why the SIS "colluded" with a private blogger by releasing information under the Official Information Act.  Was there a deeper and darker conspiracy between the Prime Minister's office--which is ultimately responsible for the SIS--to discredit Goff, using the services of Slater?  Now, Goff, under oath, has been caught out once again.  No Right Turn, a left-wing blog, has reported:

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Best Political Speech So Far

The Least of All Evil Options 

We are in the midst of New Zealands tri-ennial general election campaign.  In our view, Dr Jamie Whyte, leader of the libertarian leaning ACT party has delivered the best speech of the campaign so far.  It rips his opponents, but not in the crass manner of meaningless insulting slurs, but in a way which manages to make clear points on his party's philosophical and political positions.  This is a clever, classy roast.

Daily Devotional

The Greater Glory of Jesus Christ

Charles Spurgeon

"The people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him."
Mark 9:15

How great the difference between Moses and Jesus! When the prophet of Horeb had been forty days upon the mountain, he underwent a kind of transfiguration, so that his countenance shone with exceeding brightness, and he put a veil over his face, for the people could not endure to look upon his glory. Not so our Saviour. He had been transfigured with a greater glory than that of Moses, and yet, it is not written that the people were blinded by the blaze of his countenance, but rather they were amazed, and running to him they saluted him.

The glory of the law repels, but the greater glory of Jesus attracts. Though Jesus is holy and just, yet blended with his purity there is so much of truth and grace, that sinners run to him amazed at his goodness, fascinated by his love; they salute him, become his disciples, and take him to be their Lord and Master. Reader, it may be that just now you are blinded by the dazzling brightness of the law of God. You feel its claims on your conscience, but you cannot keep it in your life.  Not that you find fault with the law, on the contrary, it commands your profoundest esteem, still you are in nowise drawn by it to God; you are rather hardened in heart, and are verging towards desperation. Ah, poor heart! turn thine eye from Moses, with all his repelling splendour, and look to Jesus, resplendent with milder glories.

Exemplary Western Civilisation

Modelling Democracy

There is an intriguing parallel to be drawn between the secession of the Southern states from the Union of the United States in 1861 and what is now taking place in Scotland.  It appears as though, if the voting intentions are being counted correctly, Scotland will secede from the United Kingdom.  This will be accomplished peacefully, by the will of the people.

Since Scotland has been part of the United Kingdom for three centuries, unwinding the two will be quite a task.  But, it is achievable.  Will Scotland be doing the "right thing"?  Yes.  If the majority want it, then they are welcome to it.  (One caveat might be that a simple majority of fifty percent for such a huge change is a bit light.  Amongst the time-honoured principles of sound governance is the need to have constitutional changes achieve a larger majority support than a mere fifty percent because they are changes of such a profound import.)

The Scots have been a redoubtable people.  Their world-wide influence has been far, far greater than their relatively small population.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Novels Every Christian Should Consider Reading--Part III

Leland Ryken: A Novel Every Christian Should Consider Reading

Sep 01, 2014

I am doing a blog series on Novels Every Christian Should Consider Reading. Leland Ryken (PhD, University of Oregon) served as professor of English at Wheaton College for over 43 years. He has authored or edited over three dozen books—including Dickens’s “Great Expectations” in the Christian Guides to the Classics series and the forthcoming A Complete Handbook of Literary Forms in the Bible. He also served as literary stylist for the English Standard Version Bible.

Here he commends a novel he has read over thirty times.

GEA magazine editor once invited me to join other contributors in answering the question, What is the best novel originally published in English?  My answer began, The best novel originally published in English is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

Great Expectations was recommended to me when I was preparing to go on my first Wheaton in England program.  Through the years I have maintained that this novel is the best possible introduction to the people and places of England.

The Britishness of Great Expectations is related to my first commendation of the novel.  The first thing we want when we sit down to read a novel is to be transported. Great Expectations delivers the goods.  No fiction writer has excelled Dickens in the gift of world making.  The world to which we are transported when we read Great Expectations is quintessential Britain and Victorian England.  It is a world of nature and countryside, the small town, and London.

Daily Devotional

When God’s Love Is Sweetest

John Piper
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word. (Ephesians 5:25–26)
If you only hope for unconditional love from God, your hope is great, but too small.

Unconditional love from God is not the sweetest experience of his love. The sweetest experience is when his love says: “I have made you so much like my Son that I delight to see you and be with you. You are a pleasure to me, because you are so radiant with my glory.”

This sweetest experience is conditional on our transformation into the kind of people whose emotions and choices and actions please God.

Unconditional love is the source and foundation of the human transformation that makes the sweetness of conditional love possible. If God did not love us unconditionally, he would not penetrate our unattractive lives, bring us to faith, unite us to Christ, give us his Spirit, and make us progressively like Jesus.

Ships Passing In the Night

Secularism Does Not "Get It"

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs. He wrote piece recently wondering why ISIS is so bent on provoking the United States.  In our view, the piece is not worth much consideration, at least on its own terms.  But, from another perspective, it provides powerful insight into the drone-like hive  mind of the West. 

Keating offers five reasons why ISIS appears deliberately to be provoking the US.  They are (in short)

1. They feel cornered.
2. They don't think the US will act.
3. They think this is working.
4. They are "upping the price" (for ransom monies on remaining hostages)
5. This was the plan all along.

What this on display in his analysis, however, is the mindset of a Western secularist.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

On Pirate Ship Governance

Douglas Wilson
September 1, 2014

I have been arguing that Christians need to learn how to stand for liberty, but in order for this to happen they must first learn what it is. And when this happens, they will find themselves saying some outrageous things, like I am about to do.

Human rights — which everyone is automatically in favor of — are nonsensical and absurd unless we have a robust understanding of property rights. Property rights are human rights. In our age, we understand that human rights are a grand and glorious thing, but we are bewildered when it comes to the crucial matter of property. We are entirely in favor a birthday cakes, but are dubious and confused about the concept of cake batter.

First, some history. In 1772, the first statement by the colonial Committees of Correspondence was released. Samuel Adams is credited with being the primary force behind that statement, and it begins by itemizing the rights of the colonists as men. The first right was the right to life, the second was liberty, and the third was property. The echo we hear in the Declaration four years later is obvious. We are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, and among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The pursuit of happiness is therefore grounded in our ability to own property.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

September 09

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

Be not weary in well–doing

Frequently there comes a point at which development and advance seem to have come to an end and we are in some kind of doldrums when it is difficult to know whether the work is moving at all, either backwards or forwards. All seems to be at a standstill and nothing seems to be taking place ... some of these Galatian Christians had arrived at that particular point... the false teaching, the heresies and so on, undoubtedly had something to do with this ... we are considering people who are not so much tired of the work as tired in it.... What shall we say about it and what shall we do about it? Let me say at the outset that there is no aspect of this great problem of depression in which negatives are more important than they are on this particular occasion. Whenever we are found in this position of weariness, before we begin to do anything positive, there are certain negatives that are absolutely all–important.

The first is this: Whatever you may feel about it do not consider the suggestion that comes to you from all directions— not so much from people, but from within yourself, the voices that seem to be speaking around and about you—do not listen to them when they suggest that you should give up, or give way, or give in. That is a great temptation that comes at this point. You say, ‘I am weary and tired, the thing is too much for me.’ And there is nothing to say at that point but this negative—do not listen. You always have to start with these ‘don’ts’ on the very lowest level; and that is the lowest level. You must say to yourself, ‘Whatever happens I am going on.’ You do not give in or give way.

Spiritual Depression, pp. 193–4

Feminista Cooking

Eggs Must Be Broken

We have pointed our previously on this blog that feminist movement leaders are more fundamentally committed to Marxist revolutionary ideology than they are to actual women.  According to this pernicious and perverted world-view women are just one target in a vast conspiracy against the poor and oppressed.  Feminist ideology calls for the dismantling of all the oppressive power structures that exploit others around the globe.  If killing a few women, as part of the revolutionary overthrow of the oppressors, happens to occur--as collateral damage--it is the necessary, inevitable, and good outcome of the global revolution.

Here is the latest example of perverse feminist ideology.  Some bright sparks have invented a colour changing nail polish as a defence against date-rape--the practice of spiking the drinks of females to facilitate their being overpowered and raped later.  This from the NZ Herald:
A simple coat of nail polish could soon prevent Kiwi women from falling victim to date rape.  Four United States students have created a nail polish that changes colour when exposed to date rape drugs, and support for the product is growing in New Zealand. . . .

The official Facebook page explains: "With our nail polish, any woman will be empowered to discreetly ensure her safety by simply stirring her drink with her finger. If her nail polish changes colour, she'll know that something is wrong."  Aucklander Terry Vercoe, a father of five including two daughters aged 13 and 15, thought the nail polish was a great invention.
To the discombobulation of most reasonable folk, this revolutionary nail polish is being excoriated by some feminist leaders.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

500 in the Boot

Douglas Wilson
Blog and Mablog
August 29, 2014

A story is told of a fellow who was mugged in an alley by a band of thugs, and he put up a ferocious fight. After about fifteen minutes, they got him down on the ground, and found just two dollars in his wallet. “Two dollars?” one of them said. “You put up that fight for two dollars?”

“Well, no, actually. I thought you were after the $500 in my boot.”

One of the most precious possessions a government has is its moral legitimacy. When they have it, taxes are paid, for the most part, voluntarily. Any society requires force for the outliers, but is not held together at the center by force. When the ruling elites start to opt out of this societal bond — “laws are for the little people” — there is usually a time lag, but the “little people” do catch on. When they catch on, the whole thing spirals down into chaos.

One of the central techniques that is used by despots for divesting themselves of moral legitimacy is the technique of governing through arbitrary administrative law. A free people live under laws passed by legislatures in which they have freely chosen representatives. The prerogative of passing such laws may not be transferred. So if you chafe under rules and regs that spew forth from all the alphabet agencies, then you are not free. It doesn’t matter that you are currently not being harassed. No despot can torment all his slaves simultaneously.

Daily Devotional

The Message of Creation

Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:22–23)
It would be a great folly and a great tragedy if a man loved his wedding band more than he loved his bride. But that is what this passage says has happened.

Human beings have fallen in love with the echo of God’s excellency in creation and lost the ability to hear the incomparable, original shout of love.

The message of creation is this:

There is a great God of glory and power and generosity behind all this awesome universe; you belong to him; he is patient with you in sustaining your rebellious life; turn and bank your hope on him and delight yourself in him, not his handiwork.

Day pours forth the “speech” of that message to all who will listen in the day, speaking with blindingly bright sun and blue sky and clouds and untold shapes and colors of all things visible. Night pours forth the “knowledge” of the same message to all who will listen at night, speaking with great dark voids and summer moons and countless stars and strange sounds and cool breezes and northern lights (Psalm 19:1–2).

Day and night are saying one thing: God is glorious! God is glorious! God is glorious!

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

Leviathan Stirring

The Serpent Has Means and Opportunities

Motive He has Never Lacked

The headline was eyecatching:

Philadelphia Police Confiscating Thousands of Families Homes

 The piece appeared in Breitbart News, and the opening paragraphs just had to be sensationalised by to a considerable degree.

Monday on CNN's "The Lead With Jake Tapper," CNN justice correspondent Pamela Brown reported on Philadelphia police and prosecutors seizing the homes of people with no criminal charges. 

 The report highlighted a family who's 22-year-old son was arrested for a $40 drug charge but the parents, who were unaware of their adult sons criminal activity, were never charged with any crime are currently fighting city prosecutors to stay in the family home.

The homeowners told the story of police bursting into their home in suburban Philadelphia with a sledgehammer reportedly saying, "We're going to break your walls and pipes. This house is going to be ours."  As he was explaining what was going on, there was people closing doors with screws, locking them. They had the electric company here to turn off my electric and gas."
There had to be something more going on here.  But the next paragraph was even more sensational:

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Novels Every Christian Should Consider Reading--Part II

David Powlison's Pick

Aug 29, 2014

 I am doing a blog series on Novels Every Christian Should Consider Reading.

David Powlison worked for four years in psychiatric hospitals, during which time he came to faith in Christ. He teaches at the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation, where he is executive director, and edits The Journal of Biblical Counseling. He hold an MDiv from Westminster Theological Seminary and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in the history of science and medicine (focusing on the history of psychiatry), and has been a counselor for over 30 years.


Mark Helprin’s A Soldier of the Great War (1991) is book every reading Christian should consider.

In making this recommendation, I am taking seriously that the verb is “should consider,” not “should read.” This novel is not for everyone. It’s long (almost 800 pages). Helprin’s style (magical realism) won’t appeal to some people. You won’t find Christian theology. This is purely a work of fiction. It tells the story of a very interesting man. It does not present opinions, views, and advice. That’s the disclaimer.

But here’s the draw. A Soldier of the Great War is beautiful. It is thought-provoking.

Daily Devotional

On Pleasure

C. S. Lewis

[The demon Screwtape writes:] [God, the “Enemy,” is] a hedonist at heart. All those fasts and vigils and stakes and crosses are only a facade. Or only like foam on the sea shore. Out at sea, out in His sea, there is pleasure, and more pleasure. He makes no secret of it; at His right hand are “pleasures for evermore.” Ugh!

Don’t think He has the least inkling of that high and austere mystery to which we rise in the Miserific Vision. He’s vulgar, Wormwood. He has a bourgeois mind. He has filled His world full of pleasures. There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least—sleeping, washing, eating, drinking, making love, playing, praying, working. Everything has to be twisted before it’s any use to us. We fight under cruel disadvantages. Nothing is naturally on our side.

From The Screwtape Letters
Compiled in Words to Live By
The Screwtape Letters. Copyright © 1942, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright restored © 1996 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Reproduced from BibleGateway

Roiling in the Belly

Labour's Capital Gains Tax To Strike the Elderly--Hard

New Zealand is a socialist country without socialism's formal doctrines.  Its fundamental unstated doctrine, however, is the omni-competence of the state to be as god to the people.  All political parties reflect this basic commitment to one degree or other.  Consequently, each can be categorized as to whether they are more or less Baalist.

The one saving grace--for which we can claim no merit whatsoever--is that we are a small nation.  This necessarily limits the attendant evils of statism.  News about rorts, corruption, exorbitant taxes, government overreach, and state incompetence tends to get disseminated quickly and the electorate reacts. National politicians are just a phone call or e-mail away.  De Tocqueville was right when he observed that small states are "naturally" protected from the creeping evils of soft-despotism.   But the spiritual and philosophical principles at play remain evil, nonetheless.

In this vein we do not doubt that the latest proposal by the Labour Party not to tax capital gains on residential houses until the owners die is going to be an absolute clanger with the electorate.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Novels Every Christian Should Consider Reading--Part I

The Aubrey-Maturin Stories

Justin Taylor is writing a series of blogs on "Novels that Every Christian Should Consider Reading".  Since it is likely that many of our readers have never heard of these novels, we believe it is worth republishing Taylor's pieces for the wider and greater good of the Kingdom.

Here is the first:

Kathy Keller: A Novel Every Christian Should Consider Reading

Aug 28, 2014
Justin Taylor

Today I am beginning a new blog series on Novels That Every Christian Should Consider Reading. Only the Bible is a “must read,” so put these in the category of “should consider reads.” Over the next couple of weeks I will post one or two entries a day.

The first contributor is Kathy Keller.

Kathy holds an MA in theological studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, has worked as an editor for Great Commission Publications, and presently serves on the staff of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, where her husband, Tim, is senior pastor. In Redeemer’s early years, Tim preached and Kathy was the entire staff; now she serves as assistant director of communications.

Kathy writes below about a series of books—which can also be considered one long novel—that will leave you “forever dissatisfied with poorly written fiction.”

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

 Charles Spurgeon

"If fire break out, and catch in thorns, so that the stacks of corn, or the standing corn, or the field, be consumed therewith; he that kindled the fire shall surely make restitution."
Exodus 22:6

But what restitution can he make who casts abroad the fire-brands of error, or the coals of lasciviousness, and sets men's souls on a blaze with the fire of hell? The guilt is beyond estimate, and the result is irretrievable. If such an offender be forgiven, what grief it will cause him in the retrospect, since he cannot undo the mischief which he has done! An ill example may kindle a flame which years of amended character cannot quench. To burn the food of man is bad enough, but how much worse to destroy the soul! It may be useful to us to reflect how far we may have been guilty in the past, and to enquire whether, even in the present, there may not be evil in us which has a tendency to bring damage to the souls of our relatives, friends, or neighbours.

The fire of strife is a terrible evil when it breaks out in a Christian church.

Begging Bowls and Ebbing Tides

Samoan Peril: Please Help

Uh, oh.  It looks as though charity is growing coldly disdaining.  The Samoan Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi put out the begging bowl last week in the UK.  Global warming was about to inundate his island country paradise.  Samoa needs the world's help.  Some cynics thought the sub-text was, "Please send money."

His moving plea was published in The Guardian, long time mouthpiece for global warming propagandists.  But, if the Guardian's comments roll to this piece is any guide, it appears there is growing scepticism about global warming, even amongst the Guardian's readership.  James Delingpole, writing for Breitbart London,  takes a peek:

The Prime Minister of Samoa has launched a heartfelt plea in the Guardian newspaper on behalf of his allegedly drowning Pacific nation. (H/T Bufo 75)

Unless concerted international action is taken to deal with the threat of 'climate change', apparently, small islands like his will be "inundated by rising sea levels."

Tragically, it looks as if this request by the splendidly named Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, is destined to fall on deaf ears.  Even a fair chunk of the Guardian's impeccably green, left-liberal readership, it seems, is now sufficiently well-informed to appreciate that sea levels aren't actually rising in any dramatic, significant or unprecedented way, and that the "drowning Pacific islands" meme is just a piece of a Third World blackmail designed to guilt-trip richer Western nations into stumping up more aid.

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