Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Theresa May On Song

Britain Will Not ‘Cherry Pick’ Bits of EU Membership

Nick Hallett
Breitbart London

Britain will leave the European Single Market and will not “cherry pick” parts of European Union membership to keep after Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May has said.  In an article for French newspaper Le Figaro, Mrs. May said it was important to maintain economic links with the EU, including “access” to the single market, but she added Britain cannot accept a continuation of freedom of movement.
“As we leave the EU, we will seek the greatest possible access to the European single market through a new, comprehensive, bold, ambitious free trade agreement,” Mrs. May wrote.  “This cannot, however, mean retaining membership of the single market.  President Hollande [of France] and other European leaders have been very clear that this would mean accepting the ‘four freedoms’ of goods, capital, services, and people and I respect their position.

Britain understands that EU leaders want to continue with the process of integration. We do not, to borrow the phrase, seek to cherry-pick which bits of membership we desire.”

She also warned in the article against giving Britain a bad Brexit deal as the UK is France’s fifth largest export market.  “UK companies are responsible for an estimated 230,000 jobs in France, and French companies for about 370,000 jobs in the UK,” she said, pointing out that the two countries have bilateral trade of €50 billion per year."

The article comes as Mrs. May meets French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve for talks in Downing Street.  Earlier this week, French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said Britain should not be “punished” for leaving the EU.

“What is the point in punishing a country?” she said. “It is senseless, unless you think the EU is a prison, and you are condemned if you escape. I want to rebuild our damaged relations with the United Kingdom.  A people decides its own destiny. You cannot force a country to do something that is against its own interests, or against the democratic process,” Ms. Le Pen added.

Daily Devotional

Confessing Sin As a Child

"Father, I have sinned."  Luke 15:18

Charles H. Spurgeon

It is quite certain that those whom Christ has washed in his precious blood need not make a confession of sin, as culprits or criminals, before God the Judge, for Christ has forever taken away all their sins in a legal sense, so that they no longer stand where they can be condemned, but are once for all accepted in the Beloved; but having become children, and offending as children, ought they not every day to go before their heavenly Father and confess their sin, and acknowledge their iniquity in that character?

Nature teaches that it is the duty of erring children to make a confession to their earthly father, and the grace of God in the heart teaches us that we, as Christians, owe the same duty to our heavenly Father. We daily offend, and ought not to rest without daily pardon. For, supposing that my trespasses against my Father are not at once taken to him to be washed away by the cleansing power of the Lord Jesus, what will be the consequence?

If I have not sought forgiveness and been washed from these offences against my Father, I shall feel at a distance from him; I shall doubt his love to me; I shall tremble at him; I shall be afraid to pray to him: I shall grow like the prodigal, who, although still a child, was yet far off from his father. But if, with a child's sorrow at offending so gracious and loving a Parent, I go to him and tell him all, and rest not till I realize that I am forgiven, then I shall feel a holy love to my Father, and shall go through my Christian career, not only as saved, but as one enjoying present peace in God through Jesus Christ my Lord.

There is a wide distinction between confessing sin as a culprit, and confessing sin as a child. The Father's bosom is the place for penitent confessions. We have been cleansed once for all, but our feet still need to be washed from the defilement of our daily walk as children of God.

The Benedict Option, Part I

The Western Church Enters the Long Dark of Moria

Rod Dreher has written a book to prepare Western Christians for the coming Dark Age.  It is entitled The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation.  Whilst its particular focus is the United States, it is applicable to the West as a whole.  

A fundamental assertion made by Dreher is that the present post-Christian, pagan world views now gaining not just currency, but regnancy throughout the West, are not a short-term, temporary phenomenon.  Rather, paganism will dominant the West for a thousand years or more.  His concern is to prepare the Western Church for this new, semi-permanent reality

It is refreshing to find someone speaking and thinking in such long time frames.  Most evangelicals in the Western world believe that the Lord is about to return any minute.  Their operating time frame spans little more than a generation in most cases.  Dreher, a professing Roman Catholic--more Catholic than Roman--operates in the biblical time frame, which not infrequently speaks of thousands of generations.

Here is a summary of Dreher's thesis, provided by the publisher, Barnes and Noble:

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The US Version of the Star Chamber

Washington’s Supreme Court Imposes Its Progressive Faith on a Christian Florist

The ruling in Washington v. Arlene’s Flowers should chill First Amendment advocates everywhere.

John French
National Review Online

[A few days ago, we published a piece on how the state in the UK is taking steps in the direction of persecuting those who speak to others about the Christian faith.  Persecution is taking a different form in the United States, but the end result is same.  In the US, some courts are overtly insisting upon submission to the state religion and are beginning to punish non-conformity.  Ed.]  

If you care about the Bill of Rights, the rights of conscience, or even the English language, there’s a chance that this morning you felt a disturbance in the Force — as if the Founders cried out in rage and were suddenly silenced. That disturbance was the Washington Supreme Court’s oppressive ruling in State of Washington v. Arlene’s Flowers, a case holding that a florist was bound by state law to use her artistic talents to design floral arrangements to celebrate what she viewed as an immoral event: a gay wedding.

The pretext for overriding the florist’s rights to free speech and religious liberty was Washington’s so-called “public accommodations law,” which required the owner, Barronelle Stutzman, to provide goods and services to customers “regardless” of their sexual orientation.

Let’s be clear, according to the plain language of the law and the undisputed facts of the case, Stutzman did nothing illegal. She had always consistently and joyfully served gay clients, including the man who ultimately decided to bring potentially ruinous legal claims against her. On each of those prior occasions, however, she was not using her artistic talents to help her clients celebrate an occasion she considered immoral.

In other words, she was not discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.

Daily Meditation

On Comfort

C. S. Lewis

Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don’t understand.

From A Grief Observed
Compiled in Words to Live By A Grief Observed. Copyright © 1961 by N. W. Clerk, restored 1996 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Preface by Douglas H. Gresham copyright © 1994 by Douglas H. Gresham. 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

Fragrant Grease

Far Greater Risks Than "Buyer Beware"

China, over many generations, has believed deeply in the pragmatic virtues of  "fragrant grease".  The bribe facilitates all.

When Taiwanese visit the mainland they often report about the role of the bribe in mainland China.
They noted that mainlanders are not conscientious in their work, that officials live well and demand bribes from the poor, that anything including admission to schools may be had for a bribe, and that "lack of sincerity", cheating, and extortion are prevalent.  They noted that "many long-haired jobless youth loiter about, and some rob people" and that there has been a general decline in traditional Chinese virtues.  It takes no special sophistication for a traveler to see that everything is for sale, from immunity for one's self to the ruin of one's enemies.  [Angelo M. Codevilla, The Character of Nations: How Politics Makes and Breaks Prosperity, Family and Civility (New York: Basic Books, 1997),  p.143.]
Let anyone doing business in China beware.  It's not just that the payment of fragrant grease is expected by local officials in order for them to facilitate and permit one's company to operate.  It's also the reality that one's  "enemies"--commercial competitors--can bribe in the opposite direction, leading not just to one's own commercial loss, but to one's company managers and directors being hauled into prison.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

The Hot Politics of the Moment

Douglas Wilson

So now would be a good time for all of us to listen to Rand Paul on big data security concerns. And here is why.

Michael Flynn has just stepped down as the president’s National Security Advisor. My concern is not whether he was wise or foolish in his interaction with the Russians, or whether he completely misrepresented himself to the vice-president or not, or whether the president was right to seek his resignation or not. My concern is not with the decisions that have been made, but how it came about that a decision had to be made.

Before he was part of the government, before he was sworn in, his phone conversations with foreigners were recorded. Those conversations were then subsequently leaked and the controversy ensued.

What this means is that someone in the intelligence community, with access to the surveillance data that is routinely collected, released some of that data in the interests of a political agenda. It does not matter for my purposes if that political agenda is wise or foolish. It is simply that this information was released for political purposes, and the person who released it is not in jail. This is all we really need to know.

Daily Meditation

The Kind of Cold That Kills

He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. (Psalm 147:15)

John Piper

Tonight it will be 40 degrees warmer in our kitchen freezer than it is outside here in Minneapolis. The high temperature tomorrow will be five degrees below zero (Fahrenheit). We receive this from the Lord’s hand.
He sends out his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
He gives snow like wool;
he scatters hoarfrost like ashes.
He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs;
who can stand before his cold?
He sends out his word, and melts them;
he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.
(Psalm 147:15–18)

This is the kind of cold you do not play with. It kills.

Tears Dropping Upon the Bowl of Morning Porridge

It's All Over, Rover

Doomsday has arrived for the Doomsday Clock.  We at Contra Celsum are enjoying hearty chuckles over the dissipation of angst that will now attend the Doom Ticker.

Columnist Bob Brockie described the history of Doomageddon's clock, and how it has morphed into meaninglessness.
The Doomsday Clock is not what it used to be. In its early days, the clock simply measured the threat of nuclear war but this year is quite different. The atomic scientists have widened the range of world threats to include climate change, genetically engineered alien flu strains, transgenic plants that could be malignly used to produce toxic proteins, potential paramilitary robots with a license to kill, hackers crashing the grid, giant asteroids, fake news but, above all, that horseman of the apocalypse, Donald Trump, whose strident nationalism, inflammatory rhetoric and his dismissal of scientific expertise threatens us all.  Scary stuff. No wonder that they've moved the clock 2.5 minutes closer to midnight.  [Stuff]
The multitudinous Apocalypse du Jour crowd have taken over the Doomsday Clock.  It seems that folk cannot live without the chill winds of fear cooling down their morning porridge into a tepid slurry of multi-variate, competing dooms.  The problem with this is twofold.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Douglas Wilson Writes to the Vice-President

An Open Letter to the Vice-President of the United States

Douglas Wilson

Mr. Vice-President,

I am writing you as one who has appreciated your work, and as one who has been most grateful for your presence and influence in the new administration. Your impact has not gone unnoticed, and we thank God for you. I am extraordinarily mindful of what you did in appearing to speak at the pro-life march. I have thanked God for you. We have prayed for you.

At the same time, there has also been obvious influence in the other direction, and so I wanted to take this opportunity address you in my capacity as a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. I know that you are a believer, and that you respect the authority of the holy Scriptures. I am appealing to those Scriptures, and come to you as a fellow servant of those Scriptures. I know, in fact, that we agree on
this common ground.

I saw that you recently defended the president’s approach to LGBTQ issues, in his extension of President Obama’s executive order on LGBT rights. In the past you have said that you are a Christian first, a conservative second and a Republican third, in that order. In the past you have recognized that “societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.” But just recently, in this interview with George Stephanopoulos, you said that you applauded the president’s continued inclusion of the “LGBT community” in this way.  You further said that there is no room in a patriot’s heart for prejudice. This is problematic in many ways, which I would like to take a moment to explain.

In the first place, as you well know, no responsible Christian leader advocates queer-bashing.

Daily Meditation

Christ As Means and End

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  (Galatians 2:20)

John Piper

Why did God create the universe, and why is he governing it the way he is? What is God achieving? Is Jesus Christ a means to this achievement or the end of the achievement?

Jesus Christ is the supreme revelation of God. He is God in human form. As such, he is the end, not a means.

The manifestation of the glory of God is the meaning of the universe. This is what God is achieving. The heavens and the history of the world are “telling the glory of God.”  But Jesus Christ was sent to accomplish something that needed doing. He came to remedy the fall. He came to rescue sinners from inevitable destruction because of their sin. These rescued ones will see and savor and display the glory of God with everlasting joy.

Others will continue to heap scorn on the glory of God. So Jesus Christ is the means to what God meant to achieve in the manifestation of his glory for the enjoyment of his people.  But in that accomplishment on the cross, as he died for sinners, Christ revealed the love and righteousness of the Father supremely. This was the apex of the revelation of the glory of God — the glory of his grace.

Therefore, in the very moment of his perfect act as the means of God’s purpose, Jesus became the end of that purpose. He became, in his dying in the place of sinners and his resurrection for their life, the central and supreme revelation of the glory of God.

Christ crucified is therefore both the means and the end of God’s purpose in the universe.  Without his work, that end to reveal the fullness of the glory of God for the enjoyment of God’s people would not have happened.

And in that very means-work he became the end — the one who forever and ever will be the focus of our worship as we spend eternity seeing and savoring more and more of what he revealed of God when he became a curse for us.

Jesus is the end for which the universe was made, and the means that makes that end possible to enjoy.

A New Tune, Or An Old Dirge

The Turning of the Tide?

At this year's Waitangi Day, the New Zealand Prime Minister, Bill English gave a couple of speeches which asserted that a quiet revolution is underway in New Zealand.  One person covering the speeches claimed that what English said was "extraordinary".  
English chose not to go to Waitangi, preferring to attend a breakfast hosted by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei. When it came his turn to speak during the powhiri, which was held inside the wharenui, he began with a short mihi and then he said, “I want to tell you why I’ve come here, to this marae.”

He said it was because of what had been achieved by Ngāti Whātua and the manner of its achievement. He spoke directly to Joe Hawke, the much-loved Uncle Joe, the man who in 1976-78 led a 506-day protest “occupation” of the very land they were on that day. Hawke sat front and centre across from English, flanked by other kaumātua, many of whom were also protest veterans. He soaked it up.

Hawke is silver haired now, a thin man with the sad eyes of age, but what draws you is the whispery smile that keeps flitting over his face, creasing the skin, puckering the lips, lighting those eyes. He leaves it to others to do the talking, and none of them leaves you in any doubt of their pride at their achievements.  English understood it very well.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Lessons From US Agriculture

 A ‘Farm Bust’ Could Help Renew American Agriculture

Current farming methodologies aren't just bad for land, community, and ecology—they're increasingly bad for business. Something's gotta give.

[This piece profiles the crisis of American agriculture.  The operating paradigm of "bigger is better" is in the process of falling apart.  We suspect that the same realities will be faced eventually in New Zealand because of the large scale industrialization of dairy farming in this country.  Ed.]

Gracy Olmstead
The Federalist

The Wall Street Journal is predicting a farm bust on the horizon, as America’s role in the global grain market shrinks, and the price for corn continues to drop. Reporters Jesse Newman and Patrick McGroarty write
The Farm Belt is hurtling toward a milestone: Soon there will be fewer than two million farms in America for the first time since pioneers moved westward after the Louisiana Purchase.  This number definitely reflects a growing decline in farming. But what the Wall Street Journal doesn’t note is that the nation’s largest farms are only growing more powerful and large. We have fewer farms, yes, but largely because we have a greater share of larger, industrialized farms.
The WSJ interviewed a specific type of farmer for this article: the commodity crop farmer. Yes, they represent the greatest portion of farms in the American heartland. But many are also beginning to realize that government subsidies and cushy crop insurance premiums can’t save them forever: when their supply is abundantly overstepping demand, eventually reality is going to hit. And if this WSJ piece is any indication, reality is indeed about to strike.

Daily Devotional

The Weakest, Smallest Faith

"She was healed immediately."  Luke 8:47

Charles H. Spurgeon

One of the most touching and teaching of the Saviour's miracles is before us. The woman was very ignorant. She imagined that virtue came out of Christ by a law of necessity, without his knowledge or direct will. Moreover, she was a stranger to the generosity of Jesus' character, or she would not have gone behind to steal the cure which he was so ready to bestow. Misery should always place itself right in the face of mercy.

Had she known the love of Jesus' heart, she would have said, "I have but to put myself where he can see me--his omniscience will teach him my case, and his love at once will work my cure." We admire her faith, but we marvel at her ignorance. After she had obtained the cure, she rejoiced with trembling: glad was she that the divine virtue had wrought a marvel in her; but she feared lest Christ should retract the blessing, and put a negative upon the grant of his grace: little did she comprehend the fulness of his love!

We have not so clear a view of him as we could wish; we know not the heights and depths of his love; but we know of a surety that he is too good to withdraw from a trembling soul the gift which it has been able to obtain.

But here is the marvel of it: little as was her knowledge, her faith, because it was real faith, saved her, and saved her at once. There was no tedious delay--faith's miracle was instantaneous. If we have faith as a grain of mustard seed, salvation is our present and eternal possession. If in the list of the Lord's children we are written as the feeblest of the family, yet, being heirs through faith, no power, human or devilish, can eject us from salvation. If we dare not lean our heads upon his bosom with John, yet if we can venture in the press behind him, and touch the hem of his garment, we are made whole.

Courage, timid one! thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace. "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God."


Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

The old saw asserting there are "lies, damned lies, and statistics" will afflict us until educational and schooling standards rise once more.  For the present we see commentators and reporters and government officials and politicians misusing statistics frequently.  Largely, they get away with it.

To this imbroglio we must add the recent phenomenon of the main stream media being captured by political animus against conservatives in general, and the Trump administration, in particular.  The sobriquet "fake news" has been deployed to characterise how en masse the media are framing everything they can find to ridicule and undermine the new US federal administration.  As Churchill used to say, by the time a lie is corrected, it has gone around the world, before the truth gets out of bed and puts its pants on.  Never was this more the case than in our days, where the animus of the media is so extreme.

Here is one "little exchange" to illustrate the point.  The topic: immigration to the US.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

It's Not OK to Punch Fascists

Even if they deserve the term

Liam Hehir

Not long ago, disreputable Right-winger Richard Spencer was attacked on live television. Spencer is often accused of being a Nazi though he disputes that label.

A man attacks Richard Spencer during the ABC's live interview.
A man attacks Richard Spencer during the ABC's live interview.

He is undoubtedly a purveyor of white identity politics, however, and is notable for coining the term "alt-right". At the time he was attacked he was being interviewed on the street during the Trump presidential inauguration. A man came up, smashed him in the side of the face and ran off.

A punch directly to the head is serious business. A blow to the cranium – even a relatively restrained one – can cause lasting damage. Spencer could have been seriously hurt or even killed.

Nevertheless, for many "liberals" in the United States and elsewhere, the sight of such a villainous personage being clocked caused much glee. The offender was compared to Indiana Jones, Captain America, the Blues Brothers and other pop-culture icons who were famous for their (fictional) assaults on Nazis.  Videos of the incident set to music went viral, with a former Obama administration speechwriter tweeting that, "I don't care how many different songs you set Richard Spencer being punched to, I'll laugh at every one."

Since then, it has become clear that the idea of using violence against alleged fascists has gained some respectability.

Daily Meditation

On Comfort

C. S. Lewis

God is the only comfort. He is also the supreme terror: the thing we most need and the thing we most want to hide from. He is our only possible ally, and we have made ourselves His enemies.

Some people talk as if meeting the gaze of absolute goodness would be fun. They need to think again. They are still only playing with religion. Goodness is either the great safety or the great danger—according to the way you react to it. And we have reacted the wrong way. . . .

Of course, I quite agree that the Christian religion is, in the long run, a thing of unspeakable comfort. But it does not begin in comfort; it begins in the dismay I have been describing, and it is no use at all trying to go on to that comfort without first going through that dismay.

In religion, as in war and everything else, comfort is the one thing you cannot get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth—only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.

From Mere Christianity
Compiled in Words to Live By 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. 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.

Desperate Artifices

The Bible is Not a Wax Nose To Be Twisted At Will

When consciences become seared one of the outcomes is folk attempting to "explain away" the Bible's clear teaching.  When the Bible commands, "Thou shalt not . . . " the man with a seared conscience responds with a couple of common subterfuges.

The first (and probably the most intellectually honest, albeit erroneous) is to agree that, yes, the Bible does indeed condemn "x", but the Bible has no standing in human life and society.  The Bible is mistaken, irrelevant, tells lies, etc.  This response does not deny that the Messenger says that "x" is wrong, forbidden, and condemned.  Rather, it attacks the Messenger as having no relevance, authority, or standing in the matter.

The second subterfuge is to agree that yes, the Bible condemns "x" and forbids the practice of "x" but "x" has a narrow or technical meaning.  It does not apply to every instance of "x".  In this way, one can still maintain some vestiges of credibility as a believer, but only by perverting the teaching of the Bible, making it say what it does not.

Thus it has come to pass with respect to the Bible's teaching on homosexuality.  There are plenty of scholars in subterfuge number one.  Such folk are knowledgeable on the widespread practice of homosexuality amongst the Greeks and Romans (that is, in New Testament times).

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America (About Killers)

When Seared Consciences Lust for Power

The president caused a stir the other day when he told Bill O’Reilly that there are lots of killers out there, and that America is “not so innocent.” This was in response to a question about how Trump could work with Putin, in that, as O’Reilly objected, “he’s a killer.” This is quite true. He is a killer, thug, and kleptocrat. Defenders of Putin have a moral compass that, instead of pointing true north, has a needle sticking out the side in order to point to Sheol.

That answer from Trump was taken by some as mightily offensive, as though he were flattening all differences between Russia and the United States, making the two morally equivalent. This is something liberals used to do all the time in the Cold War, where they would say things like “well, sure, the Soviets have the Gulag but we must never forget that the all-you-can-eat buffet at Ruby Tuesday is out of the reach of our working poor.” Stuff like that.

But the offense that was taken to Trump’s remark had a curious religiously indignant feel to it, as though the president had just heaved a dead polecat at the high altar.  How dare he compare us in any way to the lousy Russians?

There are just a couple of points to make here, and it shouldn’t take long.

Daily Meditation

Lincoln’s Providence

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! (Romans 11:33)

John Piper

Abraham Lincoln, who was born on this day in 1809, remained skeptical, and at times even cynical, about religion into his forties. So it is a most striking thing how personal and national suffering drew Lincoln into the reality of God, rather than pushing him away.

In 1862, when Lincoln was 53 years old, his 11-year-old son Willie died. Lincoln’s wife “tried to deal with her grief by searching out New Age mediums.” Lincoln turned to Phineas Gurley, pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington.  Several long talks led to what Gurley described as “a conversion to Christ.” Lincoln confided that he was “driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I have nowhere else to go.”

Similarly, the horrors of the dead and wounded soldiers assaulted him daily. There were fifty hospitals for the wounded in Washington. The rotunda of the Capitol held 2,000 cots for wounded soldiers.  Typically, fifty soldiers a day died in these temporary hospitals. All of this drove Lincoln deeper into the providence of God. “We cannot but believe, that He who made the world still governs it.”

His most famous statement about the providence of God in relation to the Civil War was his Second Inaugural Address, given a month before he was assassinated. It is remarkable for not making God a simple supporter for the Union or Confederate cause. He has his own purposes and does not excuse sin on either side.
Fondly do we hope — fervently do we pray — that this mighty scourge of war might speedily pass away . . . .

Yet if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two hundred years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid with another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago so still it must be said, “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.
I pray for all of you who suffer loss and injury and great sorrow that it will awaken for you, as it did for Lincoln, not an empty nihilism, but a deeper reliance on the infinite wisdom and love of God’s inscrutable providence.

The Winnowing Fork

"Choose You This Day Whom You Will Serve"

It is very sad to see some sections and traditions within the Church going all squishy over homosexuality.  But we must always bear in mind that when the Lord directs such things to confront His Church it is always to winnow and purify His body over the longer run.

The real issue is for us to return once more to the teaching of Scripture and stand upon the Word of God.  Regardless of the spurious doctrines and beliefs peddled by the world of Unbelief, we are called to be faithful to His Word.  By this we affirm our faith and our loyalty, and we confirm that we belong to Christ.  "If you love me, keep my commandments", says the King.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. . . . Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”  [John 14: 15,21]
In this light, we believe the following statement by a contemporary pastor, Kevin De Young on homosexuality and the Scriptures is right on the money:

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Deadly Lies and Deceit

I Used To Work For Planned Parenthood 

Yes, Late-Term Abortions Happened Regularly.

Abby Johnson

Rally Held In Support Of Cutting Planned Parenthood Funding - DC

Ever since the third and final presidential debate last week, many questions have been circulating online about the truth behind late-term abortions (performed in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy). As a former abortion clinic director, I can help answer some of these questions.

Yes, late-term abortions are legal in the U.S. and do take place through the entire 3rd trimester, including through the 9th month of pregnancy. According to the latest Guttmacher data, about 18,000 3rd trimester abortions are performed every year.

These abortions can be performed for the “life or health” of the mother. What this means is that a late-term abortion can be provided for any reason, as long as the abortionist checks a box on her chart stating it was affecting her “life or health.” No documentation of proof is required.

Daily Meditation

To Become a Little Christ

C. S. Lewis

Now the whole offer which Christianity makes is this: that we can, if we let God have His way, come to share in the life of Christ. If we do, we shall then be sharing a life which was begotten, not made, which always has existed and always will exist. Christ is the Son of God. If we share in this kind of life we also shall be sons of God. We shall love the Father as He does and the Holy Ghost will arise in us. He came to this world and became a man in order to spread to other men the kind of life He has—by what I call ‘good infection’. Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.

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.

When Media Twit and Tweet

Self-Destructive Emotional Exhaustion

The Federalist has published a piece on the media's use and abuse of "fake news".  It details 16 fake stories that for some strange reason made it past the editors and sub-editors.  Then, once the headlines trumpeted the falsehood, retractions and corrections were made in fine print at the bottom of page 23, days later, after the damage has been done.

This is happening far too often to be co-incidence.  Not that we are suggesting a formal conspiracy is at work.  But a reckless animadversion, bent against what we might generally call a conservative or classical liberal world-and-life view, is clearly evident.

Here are some examples, cited in the Federalist article:

Monday, 13 February 2017

Fetid Corruption in the Swamp

Draining the Great Grimpen Mire

Scandal Gives Perfect Pretext To Drain The Climate Swamp

James Delingpole
Breitbart London

So NOAA deliberately fiddled the climate data to hide the “pause” in global warming in time for the UN’s COP21 Paris talks.  Really, this whistleblowing revelation couldn’t have come at a better time for Donald Trump.

In the field of energy and climate, President Trump has said that there is a massive swamp that needs draining.  But his efforts are being resisted at every turn by all those lying scientists, bent politicians, rent-seeking businessmen, and Soros-funded activist groups who  insist: “What swamp? What crocodiles? What leeches? Nothing to see here!”

What the whistleblowing NOAA insider John Bates has just done is prove beyond reasonable doubt what some of us have long claimed: that from NASA GISS and NOAA across the pond to the UEA and the Met Office’s Hadley Centre, the world’s leading temperature data sets have been hijacked by climate activists and abused to advance a political agenda.

Here at Breitbart we smelt a rat from the moment NOAA released its dodgy, “Pause-busting” study two years ago.

Daily Meditation

No Temporary Gift

"He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever."  John 14:16

Charles H. Spurgeon

The Great Father revealed himself to believers of old before the coming of his Son, and was known to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as the God Almighty. Then Jesus came, and the ever-blessed Son in his own proper person, was the delight of his people's eyes. At the time of the Redeemer's ascension, the Holy Spirit became the head of the present dispensation, and his power was gloriously manifested in and after Pentecost.

He remains at this hour the present Immanuel--God with us, dwelling in and with his people, quickening, guiding, and ruling in their midst. Is his presence recognized as it ought to be? We cannot control his working; he is most sovereign in all his operations, but are we sufficiently anxious to obtain his help, or sufficiently watchful lest we provoke him to withdraw his aid? Without him we can do nothing, but by his almighty energy the most extraordinary results can be produced: everything depends upon his manifesting or concealing his power.

Do we always look up to him both for our inner life and our outward service with the respectful dependence which is fitting? Do we not too often run before his call and act independently of his aid? Let us humble ourselves for past neglects, and now entreat the heavenly dew to rest upon us, the sacred oil to anoint us, the celestial flame to burn within us.

The Holy Ghost is no temporary gift, he abides with the saints. We have but to seek him aright, and he will be found of us. He is jealous, but he is pitiful; if he leaves in anger, he returns in mercy. Condescending and tender, he does not weary of us, but awaits to be gracious still.

Sin has been hammering my heart
Unto a hardness, void of love,
Let supplying grace to cross his art
Drop from above.

A Bloody Prelate Makes a Comeback

An Ancient Curse Shows Signs of Life

We have seen a growing number of cases in the United Kingdom where Christians are being silenced for proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and His holy Word in public.  We are seeing the first signs of a recrudescence of the Star Chamber.

For those not aware of the Star Chamber, it is clothed with infamy.  An historical summary of that English court is as follows:
The importance of the Star Chamber increased during the reigns of James I (1603–25) and Charles I (1625–49). Under Archbishop William Laud, the court became a tool of royal oppression, seeking out and punishing religious and political dissidents. In the 1630s Laud used the Star Chamber to persecute a group of Puritan leaders, most of whom came from the gentry, subjecting them to the pillory and Corporal Punishment. Though the Star Chamber could not mete out Capital Punishment, it inflicted everything short of death upon those found guilty. During this time the court met in secret, extracting evidence by torturing witnesses and handing out punishments that included mutilation, life imprisonment, and enormous fines. It turned equity's traditionally broad discretion into a complete disregard for the law.  [Legal Dictionary]
Not for a moment do we mean to suggest that the UK has embarked on torturing witnesses and mutilating those judged to be guilty.  Rather, the link back to the Star Chamber comes with the increasing public and official persecution of Christians in the UK.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Keeping Up--With a Little Help, Part III

An Unintended Advocate 

OK, one final post on Neil Gorsuch, Trump's nomination to take the seat of the late Antonin Scalia on the bench of the US Supreme Court.  This quotation and reflection comes from the radical (establishment) Left.  We are referring, of course, to the New York Times--which, along with the Democratic Party it idolizes, has marched majestically off into the loony zone.

The editorialists at the Times have duly considered Neil Gorsuch and decided that he is entirely unfit for the job Supreme Court justice.  He is a radical.  He is an extremist.  He is dangerous.  You know, the usual eructations, when anyone is put forward who is slightly to the right of that forgettable "what's his name" who ran against Hillary in the Democratic primary.

Rod Dreher at The Federalist quotes from a correspondent on the matter:

Deceit And Data Manipulation: Dirty Science

When Numbers Lie

The climate shysters  have no shame.  The data they claim shows that the globe is warming is specious and manufactured.  The egregious mendacity operating amidst their group-think mind has caused much devastation and damage.

Recently, a whistle blower has come forth, revealing that the "temperature data" used to "prove" just before the Paris Conference that the world was indeed warming was a hoax.  It was manufactured deceit.

This, from Dr Thomas Williams, writing in Breitbart:

A high-level whistleblower at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has revealed that the organization published manipulated data in a major 2015 report on climate change in order to maximize impact on world leaders at the UN climate conference in Paris in 2015.  According to a report in The Mail on Sunday, NOAA scientist Dr. John Bates has produced “irrefutable evidence” that the NOAA study denying the “pause” in global warming in the period since 1998 was based on false and misleading data.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Keeping Up--With a Little Help, Part II

Gorsuch is the Anti-Trump

Rich Lowry
National Review Online

For those worried about executive power run amok under Trump, there could be no better remedy than Judge Gorsuch.

If President Donald Trump is a budding authoritarian, as his critics allege, one of the safeguards is Judge Neil Gorsuch.

For all that Trump has flouted norms and gotten off to an at-times amateurish start in the White House, his pick of Gorsuch was extremely normal and highly professional. The Gorsuch nomination is exactly what everyone should want from a President Trump, especially those who most fear and loathe him. Yet Trump’s fiercest opponents began denouncing Gorsuch immediately.

This is the dilemma for Democrats: Either Trump is a threat to the republic because he doesn’t appreciate the Constitution and is bound to violate it with excessive assertions of executive power, or Gorsuch is a threat to the republic because he has an overly punctilious view of the Constitution that entails, among other things, a dim view of executive overreach. Both can’t be true.