Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Letter From America (About Planned Parenthood)

Imagining How Planned Parenthood Might Respond to Gosnell

 Trevin Wax|

In light of the recent trial of the abortion doctor, Kermit Gosnell, Planned Parenthood continues to stand with women across the country in reinforcing the importance of access to abortion that is safe, legal, and common.

The actions of Dr. Gosnell and the atmosphere of his clinic for reproductive health do not represent the experience of women who visit Planned Parenthood for access to birth control and other reproductive services.

Here are some important differences to keep in mind:

Daily Devotional

April 30

Thine Is My Heart: Devotional Readings from the Writings of John Calvin

by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Republished from OPC Website

Bible Text:
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might harve peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. —John 16:33

"I have overcome the world." As there is always in us much reason for trembling, he shows that we ought to be confident for this reason, that he has obtained a victory over the world, not for himself individually, but for our sake.

Thus, though in ourselves almost overwhelmed, if we contemplate that magnificent glory to which our Head has been exalted, we may boldly despise all the evils which hang over us. If, therefore, we desire to be Christians, we must not seek exemption from the cross, but must be satisfied with this single consideration, that, fighting under the banner of Christ, we are beyond all dangers, even in the midst of the combat. —Commentaries

John Calvin was the premier theologian of the Reformation, but also a pious and godly Christian pastor who endeavored throughout his life to point men and women to Christ. We are grateful to Reformation Heritage Books for permission to use John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart as our daily devotional for 2013 on the OPC Web site. You can currently obtain a printed copy of that book from Reformation Heritage Books.

Letter From the UK (About Europe)

German Hegemony, Consternation, and Grass Roots Scepticism

European Union was never going to work.  The Grand Idea was that respective European nations could be gradually moved towards giving up sovereignty bit by bit.  Gradualism was the plan.  The initial execution was brilliant.  It started with low level wins.  First the euro itself.  A common currency had immediate benefits for commerce across borders.  Business loved it.  Consumers likewise.  Then the dismantling of borders with respect to customs duties and migration and travel.  No more long queues up at the border between France and Spain.  Citizens of Europe could freely travel across the Fourth Reich.  Then there was the boon of a common labour market.  Poles could freely come into the UK to get work.  Gone were the long struggles to get work permits.

These easy wins made the EU project very popular.  But wait, there was more.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

A Deeply Flawed Human Being 

Written by Douglas Wilson
Tuesday, 23 April 2013

One of the first things a reformer has got to get used to is the experience of being despised and unpopular. Societies do awful things (that which needs to be reformed) because they want to, and the reformer is the one beckoning them to a state of affairs that they don't much want.

"You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice, nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit" (Ex. 23:2-3, ESV).

Notice what this passage requires of us. There are times when the doing of evil is popular. Many want to do evil, and they summon you to join them. There are other times when you are being pressured to bear false witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, in order to pervert justice. And if you didn't trip over the next verse, you weren't paying attention. It prohibits every form of affirmative action, along with all its ugly cousins. The man of integrity decides according to the law, and not according to whether the plantiff has had a hard life.

Calvin's Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

April 29

Thine Is My Heart: Devotional Readings from the Writings of John Calvin

by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Republished from OPC Website

Bible Text:
I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; —Isaiah 42:6

"For a light of the Gentiles." We have here another clear proof of the calling of the Gentiles, since he expressly states that Christ was appointed to be "a light" to them. He calls him a light, because the Gentiles were plunged in the deepest and thickest of darkness, at the time when the Lord illuminated none but the Jews.

Now, then, the blame lies solely with ourselves, if we do not become partakers of this salvation; for he calls all men to himself, without a single exception, and gives Christ to all, that we may be illuminated by him. Let us only open our eyes, he alone will dispel the darkness, and illuminate our minds by the "light" of truth. —Commentaries

John Calvin was the premier theologian of the Reformation, but also a pious and godly Christian pastor who endeavored throughout his life to point men and women to Christ. We are grateful to Reformation Heritage Books for permission to use John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart as our daily devotional for 2013 on the OPC Web site. You can currently obtain a printed copy of that book from Reformation Heritage Books.

Capitalism's Ozymandian Moment

Looking Upon Mighty Works and Being Afraid

Jeffrey Sachs is an insider.  He is part of the financial-academic-media-political complex.  But he is also a heretic.  He is a strident opponent of the theft and corruption of the finance sector in the United States.  In addition he  is also a fierce critic of the corruption of Washington and how it has become suborned to the love of money.  Other people's money--being siphoned off into the back pockets of politicians and political insiders. 

In April this year he spoke at a Philadelphia Federal Reserve conference.  In the course of his remarks he had this to say:

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

A Fixed Given 

Sex and Culture
Written by Douglas Wilson
Wednesday, 24 April 2013

One of the reasons conservative Christians are doing poorly in the public square debates over human sexuality is that the philosophical ground has shifted under our feet over the course of the last generation or two. We are trying to fight for a different conclusion from the same ground that our adversaries have defined for us, and that is hard to do. And here is what I mean.

The apostle Paul says that homosexual behavior is contrary to nature. The words seem plain enough, but what is nature? That is where we find ourselves wandering in a labyrinth. We wander because we are refusing to read nature in the light of Scripture.

If I may make the problem stark, what is the difference between a man shaving his head, or a woman dying her hair, or a teen-ager getting braces on her teeth, or a man getting a sex change operation? All four can be cast as examples of us "tinkering with" nature.

Calvin's Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

April 27

Thine Is My Heart: Devotional Readings from the Writings of John Calvin

by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
OPC Website

Bible Text:
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? —Psalm 8:3, 4

My readers, however, must be careful to note the design of the Psalmist, which is to enhance by this comparison the infinite goodness of God; for it is, indeed, a wonderful thing that the Creator of heaven, whose glory is so surpassingly great as to ravish us with the highest admiration, condescends so far as graciously to take upon him the care of the human race. That the Psalmist makes this contrast may be inferred from the Hebrew word, which expresses the frailty of man rather than any strength or power which he possesses.

We see that miserable men, in moving upon the earth, are mingled with the vilest creatures; and, therefore, God, with very good reason, might despise them and reckon them of no account if he were to stand upon the consideration of his own greatness or dignity.

The Psalmist, therefore, speaking interrogatively, abases their condition, intimating that God's wonderful goodness is displayed the more brightly in that so glorious a Creator, whose majesty shines resplendently in the heavens, graciously condescends to adorn a creature so miserable and vile as man is with the greatest glory, and to enrich him with numberless blessings.

If he had a mind to exercise his liberality towards any, he was under no necessity of choosing men who are but dust and clay, in order to prefer them above all other creatures, seeing he had a sufficient number in heaven towards whom to show himself liberal. Whoever, therefore, is not astonished and deeply affected at this miracle, is more than ungrateful and stupid. —Commentaries

John Calvin was the premier theologian of the Reformation, but also a pious and godly Christian pastor who endeavored throughout his life to point men and women to Christ. We are grateful to Reformation Heritage Books for permission to use John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart as our daily devotional for 2013 on the OPC Web site. You can currently obtain a printed copy of that book from Reformation Heritage Books.

Hiding Behind Infinity

The Foolishness of the Age

In the debate between the pseudo-science of evolutionism and Christian belief one battleground is over what is called the "anthropic principle".  The idea is that the earth has and endless sequence of "just so" conditions that support human and other forms of life.  The physical structure of the world is precisely what it has to be in order to support life.  Without any one of these conditions, life would not be possible. 

Evolutionism insists that these "just so" pre-conditions and conditions for life are the product of random accidents.  But the more we learn about the number and intrinsic complexity of these pre-conditions, the more unbelievable the evolutionist hypothesis becomes.  This has been acknowledged by evolutionism and pagan cosmologists in a peculiar way, which we address below. 

But, first, let's consider some of the anthropic aspects of the material world.  Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey provide some examples:

Friday, 26 April 2013

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Our Gosnell Gulag 

Culture and Politics - Sex and Culture
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, 20 April 2013

The Gosnell moment, for that is what it is, presents a clear opportunity for a real change of cultural heart. There are moments when some suppressed or ignored horror comes sharply into focus, and after that, it is not really possible to go back to the way it was before. This is what happened when Solzhenitsyn published his Gulag, for example. Something that had been successfully accommodated became impossible to accommodate any further. It was a conscience moment, which, given the nature of the case, most often come to us unsought. But they do come.

This is that kind of moment for us. This is an atrocity that has rocked even many "choice" advocates, and the media has been suppressing it for clear and obvious reasons.

Calvin's Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

April 26

Thine Is My Heart: Devotional Readings from the Writings of John Calvin

by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
OPC Website

Bible Text:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. —John 3:16

"For God so loved the world." Christ opens up the first cause, and, as it were, the source of our salvation; and he does so, that no doubt may remain; for our minds cannot find calm repose until we arrive at the unmerited grace of God. As the whole matter of our salvation must not be sought anywhere else than in Christ, so we must see whence Christ came to us, and why he was offered to be our Savior.

Both points are distinctly stated to us; namely, that faith in Christ brings life to all, and that Christ brought life, because the Heavenly Father loves the human race, and wishes that they should not perish.

And this order ought to be carefully observed; for such is the wicked ambition which belongs to our nature, that when the question relates to the origin of our salvation, we quickly form diabolical imaginations about our own merit.

Accordingly, we imagine that God is reconciled to us, because he has reckoned us worthy that he should look upon us. But Scripture everywhere extols his pure and unmingled mercy, which sets aside all merits. —Commentaries

John Calvin was the premier theologian of the Reformation, but also a pious and godly Christian pastor who endeavored throughout his life to point men and women to Christ. We are grateful to Reformation Heritage Books for permission to use John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart as our daily devotional for 2013 on the OPC Web site. You can currently obtain a printed copy of that book from Reformation Heritage Books.

Church and State--Whither Now?

Constantine Versus the Apostle of the Secular Public Square

The issue of church establishment is one which Christians need to start thinking seriously about again and commence reading, writing and debating the teachings of Scripture and of the historical church.  In the West our debates and discussions and research will of necessity be largely academic and theoretical (although not completely so) because of the small (and shrinking) proportion of the population that is Christian and because of the dominant strength of secularism. 

The same cannot be said of other regions and countries, where Christian growth is explosive.  It is also true that in countries where Christians live under authoritarian governments and the church continues by means of state permission, the issue of church and state is alive and very pressing. 

But we in the West have one great contribution to make to this discussion: we have proven that a secular public square, neutral to religion, is a chimerical myth.  It is an oxymoron.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Letter From America (About Moral Schizophrenia)

Postmodern Prudes 

In the age of relativism, popular morality hasn’t so much disappeared as become schizophrenic.

By Victor Davis Hanson
April 18, 2013
National Review Online

More than 500 people were murdered in Chicago last year. Yet Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel still found time to berate the fast-food franchise Chick-fil-A for not sharing “Chicago values” — apparently, because its founder does not approve of gay marriage.

Two states have legalized marijuana, with more to come. Yet social taboos against tobacco smoking make it nearly impossible to light up a cigarette in public places. Marijuana, like alcohol, causes far greater short-term impairment than does nicotine. But legal cigarette smoking is now seen as a corporate-sponsored, uncool, and dirty habit that leads to long-term health costs for society at large — in a way homegrown, hip, and mostly illegal pot smoking apparently does not.

Calvin's Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

April 25

Thine Is My Heart: Devotional Readings from the Writings of John Calvin

by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
OPC Website

Bible Text:
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. —John 15:13

"Greater love hath no man than this." Christ sometimes proclaims the greatness of his love to us, that he may more fully confirm our confidence in our salvation; but now he proceeds further, in order to inflame us by his example, to love the brethren. Yet he joins both together; for he means that we should taste by faith how inestimably delightful his goodness is, and next he allures us in this way to cultivate brotherly love.

Thus Paul writes, "Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and sacrifice to God of a sweet-smelling savor" (Eph. 5:2). God might have redeemed us by a single word, or by a mere act of his will, if he had not thought it better to do otherwise for our own benefit, that, by not sparing his own well-beloved Son, he might testify in his person how much he cares for our salvation.

But now our hearts, if they are not softened by the inestimable sweetness of Divine love, must be harder than stone or iron. —Commentaries

John Calvin was the premier theologian of the Reformation, but also a pious and godly Christian pastor who endeavored throughout his life to point men and women to Christ. We are grateful to Reformation Heritage Books for permission to use John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart as our daily devotional for 2013 on the OPC Web site. You can currently obtain a printed copy of that book from Reformation Heritage Books.

Historical Forces and Slippery Slopes

Slip Sliding Away . . . 

"Slippery slope" arguments can be true or false, valid or invalid.  In the public controversies over marriage, for example, slippery slope arguments have been deployed and serially mocked.  Yet they are proving to be true.  If one starts with the radical move in the eighties to legalise "no fault" divorce and then consider where we are now it is as plain as the noses on our faces that a devolutionary, downward spiral has been developing with respect to marriage.   There are strong forces within society that are driving this devolution faster and faster.  The concept of marriage is becoming so inflated that the institution will become more and more meaningless.  Almost anything and everything will end up qualifying as a marriage.

If someone had argued back then that it was the beginning of the end for marriage in society and that within a couple or more decades the parliament would be recognizing, legalizing, and sacralising homosexual "marriage" he would have been laughed out of the room as an idiot.  But in hindsight it turns out that the former signified the latter.  The slope has indeed been slippery, rapidly so.

The factor that makes a "slippery slope" argument true is when broader causative forces are at work.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Letter From America (About Obama's Political Impotence)

 Populist Charade

President Obama has to be one of the most ineffectual presidents of the past century.  His grandiloquence has few equals.  His accomplishments as President are few, period.  He talks a bit game, but rarely delivers. Jonah Goldberg reads the score.  There is a huge disconnect between Obama and people.

America’s Just Not That into Obama
The president believes his own bull****, but does America?

National Review Online

‘You know, I actually believe my own bull****.”  That’s what President Obama once told a reporter. If the man ever uttered a statement that spoke more to his approach to politics, I haven’t heard it.

Whether it stems from a grandiose overconfidence in his own powers of persuasion, or the lessons he took from his years as a community organizer, or his own messianic conviction that he is on the right side of everything, including history itself, the president has always operated under the theory that he can move the American people to his causes. And he can’t. He just can’t.

The Constantinian Solution

 Did Constantine Establish the Church?

The accomplishment that Constantine the Great is known for more than any other is his official recognition of Christianity and the Christian church.  For some this was momentous for all the wrong reasons: it signalled the beginning of the end.  As soon as the state acknowledges the Christian faith, the church becomes worldly, looking more to the favour of government than to God. 

But it begs an inevitable question: what is the proper and biblically legitimate face of the state towards Christ and the Christian church?  As long as the Church remains a small minority amidst a sea of paganism this question may be avoided, since it is speculative and irrelevant to actual circumstances.  But when the Christian population grows to double figure percentages the issue can no longer be avoided. 

A legitimate question then is where ought we to stand with respect to the Constantinian solution?

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Backpacks From the Sky 

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Friday, 19 April 2013

When you get to the crazy part, it is important to remember that nothing will make much sense. If sin made any real sense, it wouldn't be sin. If being struck with a judicial stupor and blindness helped you see better, it wouldn't be a judicial blindness.

As I write this, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev is being pursued for his alleged role in the Boston bombing. What does he think he is trying to do? Pad a resume for a job application to Columbia like Kathy Boudin did? Trying to create a story that Robert Redford can try to lionize a decade or two from now? That movie can be called The Company You Keep II, and hopefully it will do every bit as badly as the first one did. Or maybe Dzhokhar is wanting to be the next Bill Ayers, grooming some Chicago lightweight on how he can learn how to use that liability as a strength as he floats up to the highest office in the land.

Now the way everybody is talking and acting, you would think that the Boston bombing was a bad thing.

Calvin's Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

April 23

Thine Is My Heart: Devotional Readings from the Writings of John Calvin

by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Republished from OPC

Bible Text:
Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. —Psalm 4:4

To commune upon one's bed is a form of expression taken from the common practice and experience of men. We know that, during our intercourse with men in the daytime, our thoughts are distracted, and we often judge rashly, being deceived by the external appearance; whereas in solitude, we can give to any subject a closer attention; and, farther, the sense of shame does not then hinder a man from thinking without disguise about his own faults.

David, therefore, exhorts his enemies to withdraw from those who witnessed and judged of their actions on the public stage of life, and to be alone, that they may examine themselves more truthfully and honestly.

Gentile Madness

Nothing is Sacred; Anything Goes

Let's consider the following piece from The Guardian, and make applications to and draw implications for New Zealand, and for the West as a whole.

Firstly, the link to the article (it is not unexpected, but jarringly unbelievable nonetheless):

'Why three in a bed isn't a crowd' - the polyamorous trio

Patrick Barkham
The Guardian, Saturday 20 April 2013

The first observation to make is, "Behold the madness of the Gentiles."  

Secondly, we assert that this madness is now implicitly endorsed and encouraged throughout virtually all the West.  This past week the New Zealand parliament overwhelmingly voted in favour of homosexual "marriage".  The predominant justification was that it was wrong to deny a couple's love for one another.  That love was not only genuine, but sacred.  It had to be sacralised in a "marriage" recognized in law, otherwise that love would be discriminated against and denied.  So ran the line.  The Gentiles and more than a few ignorant and poorly taught Christians in the parliament went along with the emotive pablum.

How would these parliamentarians respond to the three people profiled above, in their loving polyamorous relationship?  Note that the individuals in question want their relationship to be sacralised in marriage.  If any one of those ignorant parliamentarians were put to the question and asked, Why oughtn't these three peoples' relationship be recognised as marriage? the answer doubtless would come back, "Because marriage is a relationship between two people."  And were we to ask, "Why ought that be so?" they would have no answer.  They, if they were honest and rational and non-hypocritical, would have to concede that by their lights there can be no objection to the relationship of these three being recognised as marriage.  Any such objection would be discriminatory, prejudicial, and harmful. 

Thirdly, this madness is not just implicitly endorsed, it is where we are actively heading in the West.  The arguments have already been made, the principles already enunciated and agreed.  It's just that our pollies are either too dumb to see it or too sly to acknowledge it.  Most of them are not dumb.  It is far more likely that most of them are sly.  They self-consciously know where this is going to go and they relish it--relish the revolution, the madness, the nihilism of it all. They are amidst a "flood of debauchery".

When one of Britain's most celebrated newspapers carries an article profiling and implicitly promoting such madness the softening-up process is well underway.  "Expand your minds, people.  Push those tolerance barriers out a bit further.  Sure these people are not like you.  But they love each other.  They have rights.  They deserve their crack at self-fulfilment and happiness."

For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.  With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready the judge the living and the dead.  (I Peter 4: 3-5)

Behold the madness of the Gentiles.  Behold first their surprise that Christians will not go along, then their malignity toward us.  But at such times the Lord is always near. 

Monday, 22 April 2013

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

A Final Wrap-Up: Thabiti Anyabwile and Douglas Wilson 

The Bible, Culture, and Race
Written by Douglas Wilson
Thursday, 18 April 2013

When our discussion first started, we were both surprised at how well it went, and both of us are very grateful to God, and to one another, for this great blessing. We have also been grateful to the readers and commenters who participated in this discussion in the same spirit, praying with us, and laboring to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3).

We wanted to bring our discussion to some sort of formal close, and so this is it. As we understand it, our points of agreement are:

1. Mankind is one in Adam, which means we share a common humanity, and a common slavery to sin. We together believe that mankind cannot come together in a true unity until they do so in the second Adam, the only one who is capable of overcoming the sorts of things that divide us.

2. We both believe that racism is a grievous sin, and we believe that it is a sin that has the practical effect of undercutting the gospel.

Calvin's Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

April 22

Thine Is My Heart: Devotional Readings from the Writings of John Calvin

by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
OPC Website

Bible Text:
Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. —John 4:10

"Jesus answered." Christ, now, availing himself of the opportunity, begins to preach about the grace and power of his Spirit, and that to a woman who did not at all deserve that he should speak a word to her. This is certainly an astonishing instance of his goodness. For what was there in this wretched woman, that, from being a prostitute, she suddenly became a disciple of the Son of God? Though in all of us he has displayed a similar instance of his compassion.

All the women, indeed, are not prostitutes, nor are all the men stained by some heinous crime; but what excellence can any of us plead as a reason why he deigned to bestow on us the heavenly doctrine, and the honor of being admitted into his family? Nor was it by accident that the conversation with such a person occurred; for the Lord showed us, as in a model, that those to whom he imparts the doctrine of salvation are not selected on the ground of merit.

And it appears at first sight a wonderful arrangement, that he passed by so many great men in Judea, and yet held familiar discourse with this woman. But it was necessary that, in his person, it should be explained how true is that saying of the Prophet, "I was found by them that sought me not; I was made manifest to them that asked not after me. I said to those who sought me not, Behold, here I am" (Isaiah 65: 1). —Commentaries

John Calvin was the premier theologian of the Reformation, but also a pious and godly Christian pastor who endeavored throughout his life to point men and women to Christ. We are grateful to Reformation Heritage Books for permission to use John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart as our daily devotional for 2013 on the OPC Web site. You can currently obtain a printed copy of that book from Reformation Heritage Books.

Calvin's Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

April 12

Thine Is My Heart: Devotional Readings from the Writings of John Calvin

by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Reproduced from the OPC Website

Bible Text:
Arise, O Lord, in thine anger, lift up thyself because of the rage of mine enemies: and awake for me to the judgment that thou hast commanded. My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart. —Psalm 7:6, 10

And, indeed, we can never pray in faith unless we attend, in the first place, to what God commands, that our minds may not rashly and at random start aside in desiring more than we are permitted to desire and pray for. David, therefore, in order to pray aright, reposes himself on the word and promise of God; and the import of his exercise is this: Lord, I am not led by ambition, or foolish headstrong passion, or depraved desire, inconsiderately to ask from thee whatever is pleasing to my flesh; but it is the clear light of thy word which directs me, and upon it I securely depend.

Is it not wonderful that David often mingles meditations with his prayers, thereby to inspire himself with true confidence?

The Constantine Problem

Wolf in Sheep's Cloth, or a Christian Brother?

One of the debates that has swirled around Constantine the Great is the issue of whether he was a genuine Christian.  One theory is that he was an exponent of Realpolitik.  He remained a pagan, but exploited the Christian church and elements of Christian doctrine to exert his control over rivals who served pagan gods.  In this view, Constantine was leveraging off  the Christian God to claim authority for his rule, his precepts, and his control.  He was never a genuine believer. At best he was a cynical manipulator. 

Another theory is that Constantine was a genuine Christian, which is to say he was two shades away from a credulous superstitious simpleton, since all Christians alike are to be thus characterised. 

In his book,  Defending Constantine: The Twilight of and Empire and the Dawn of Christendom (Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 2010), Peter Leithart gives careful consideration to this question.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Calvin's Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

April 21

Thine Is My Heart: Devotional Readings from the Writings of John Calvin

by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Republished from the OPC Website.

Bible Text:
Thy mercy, 0 Lord, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. —Psalm 36:5

After having spoken of the very great depravity of men, the prophet, afraid lest he should become infected by it, or be carried away by the example of the wicked, as by a flood, quits the subject, and recovers himself by reflecting on a different theme. It usually happens, that in condemning the wicked, the contagion of their malice insinuates itself into our minds when we are not conscious of it; and there is scarcely one in a hundred who, after having complained of the malice of others, keeps himself in true godliness, pure and unpolluted.
The meaning therefore is: Although we may see among men a sad and frightful confusion, which, like a great gulf, would swallow up the minds of the godly, David, nevertheless, maintains that the world is full of the goodness and righteousness of God, and that he governs heaven and earth on the strictest principles of equity.

And certainly, whenever the corruption of the world affects our minds, and fills us with amazement, we must take care not to limit our views to the wickedness of men, who overturn and confound all things; but in the midst of this strange confusion it becomes us to elevate our thoughts in admiration and wonder, to the contemplation of the secret providence of God. —Commentaries

John Calvin was the premier theologian of the Reformation, but also a pious and godly Christian pastor who endeavored throughout his life to point men and women to Christ. We are grateful to Reformation Heritage Books for permission to use John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart as our daily devotional for 2013 on the OPC Web site. You can currently obtain a printed copy of that book from Reformation Heritage Books.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

The Payroll of the Bilderbergers 

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Boston bombing brings the whole question of terrorism front and center again, and so it is worthwhile to discuss what the point of terrorism is, considered as a tactic. In the case of the Boston horror, we do not yet know which direction the tactic was pushing, but we should make a point of knowing how such pushes are designed to work.

Terrorism aims at eliciting particular political responses from the targeted society. Those responses would include weariness, fragmentation, self-accusation, coddling of the perpetrating group, and immediate politicization. It does not aim at creating a united and angry response toward the perpetrators of the terrorism. If it were to do that, it would be a failure as a tactic. This means that the targeted society must be soft, not hard. Terrorism works only on cultures that are adrift.

Calvin's Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

April 20

Thine Is My Heart: Devotional Readings from the Writings of John Calvin

by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Reprinted from the OPC Daily Devotional

Bible Text:
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to he called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. —Hebrews 11: 24–26

You have already felt, as I think, that the sharpest and most difficult assault is that of those who under color of friendship, with insinuating arts, seek to make you swerve from the right way. Those persons are never unprovided with plausible pretexts and allurements; so much the more then you have need to put in practice the doctrine of the apostle, to take good heed and to steel yourself against flatteries as well as fears.

The Greens and Labour

Not What We Meant At All

If you are on the left of the political spectrum and a mainstream media reporter is decrying your latest policy announcement as "loony" you know you have strayed way off the reservation.  Such is the ignominious result of two of New Zealand's smartest politicians declaring that once elected a Labour/Green coalition would nationalise the electricity industry.   The characters of this comedy are Russel Norman, leader of the Greens and David Shearer, leader of the Labour Party.  The establishment reporter is Colin Espiner. 

Here is Espiner's reaction to the Norman/Shearer bombshell.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Cavin's Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

April 19

Thine Is My Heart: Devotional Readings from the Writings of John Calvin

by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Republished from the OPC Daily Devotional

Bible Text:
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, —Philippians 3:13

... Depravity never ceases in us, but is perpetually producing new fruits —those works of the flesh which we have already described, like the emission of flarne and sparks from a heated furnace, or like the streams of water from an unfailing spring. For lust never dies, nor is altogether extinguished in men, till by death they are delivered from the body of death, and entirely divested of themselves.

Modern Niceties

 Secularist Persecution

In the early chapters of his book on Constantine, Peter Leithardt sets the scene of Constantine's accession to the purple, documenting the reign of Diocletian. As part of the scene-setting, he reviews the Diocletian persecution of the Church, which commenced in 303AD.  It was pretty gruesome stuff.  The move was a failure, although the suffering and bloodshed real enough. 

Leithardt also reviews modern revisionist views of Roman persecution of Christians in general, and Diocletian's in particular.  The revisionism began with the Enlightenment which had a general commitment to a piece of deliberate propaganda: the Christian religion was perverse superstition; therefore, the classical age that preceded it was the watershed of human sophistication and cultural maturity.  The Enlightenment was deliberately styled as a movement to recapture of the high points of classical culture, so that mankind could continue on its glorious upward trajectory.  In order to do so it must throw off the chains of Christian superstition and recapture the glories of ancient Greece and Rome. 

This particular piece of propaganda meant that the persecution of the Church by the Roman Empire needed some decent revisionist work.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Better Late Than Never

Media Acknowledge Blowing Gosnell Story, Pledge Extensive Coverage

13 Apr 2013

Something truly remarkable happened yesterday. After days and weeks of pushing by New Media and social media, the mainstream media have not only admitted that they should have covered the ongoing capital murder trial of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell; they have promised to immediately remedy that mistake:
The Daily Beast's Megan McArdle: "Why I didn't write about Gosnell's trial -- and why I should have."
Bloomberg columnist Jeffrey Goldberg writes: "It’s too late now, though, to suppress coverage. [Kirsten] Powers and others have shamed the media into paying attention, and the press is now on the case. It’s remarkable that it took this long."

Homosexual Suicide and False Hopes

Hope Deferred Makes the Heart Sick

The NZ Herald is running a pro and con series on homosexual "marriage".  One piece by a minor public celebrity includes this attempt at prophecy:

When we start telling our kids and our grandkids that being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered is okay, they will stop killing themselves. They will feel like contributing members of society.
The suppressed premises in this bald assertion are as follows: the cause of high suicide rates amongst homosexuals is society's heretofore disapproval of homosexuality.  Society does not like homosexuality, therefore homosexuals are depressed; if a homosexual commits suicide the cause is society's disapproval of homosexuality. 

To someone with no memory this may sound a substantial argument, but anyone who is not comatose knows that homosexuality has been trumpeted and promoted and wowed over for decades in the public sphere.  It has been promoted in schools.  It has been celebrated in women's magazines.  It has been defended in law.  Homosexuality has become a much vaunted and celebrated human right.  It would seem that the suppressed premises are wrong.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Sanitized Language

From Dehumanizing Word Games to Gosnell 

By Andrew C. McCarthy
April 13, 2013
National Review Online

In Philadelphia, at a human abattoir on Lancaster Avenue, is where it ends, not where it starts. It starts with the perversion of language. It starts when the icons of a dissipated culture reduce a baby to a “fetus.” From there, Yeats’s blood-dimmed tide rolls rapidly in. Before long, a baby is not a person but a punishment, as President Barack Obama framed the matter in his familiar off-the-cuff iciness.

Of course, to describe newborn children in their boundless possibilities and wonder would be to acknowledge, foremost, their humanity. That is why, instead, abortion enthusiasts must grope for words when circumstances force them to speak publicly about their gruesome business.

. . . But Not As We Know It, Jim

 A Strange Kind of Nation Building

It was going to take over twenty-five years, we were told.  But Afghanistan would be a different kind of war.  Sure, there would be the usual conflict with insurgents, campaigns against the Taliban and those seeking to overthrow the corrupt government in Kabul.  But, more importantly, it would be a war with a human face, a face moulded around an idealist, even utopian belief in human rights. 

This war would be unlike dirty wars, fought over filthy lucre and oil.  This was to be a pure war.  A war worth fighting.  This war would lead to better things.  Out of it all, over the long term, over a quarter of a century's ministrations by the idealistic humanitarianism of the West, a new nation would emerge.

Consequently, President Obama grandiloquently intoned, it was the war we had to have.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Letter From America (About Dr Gosnell)

10 of the Most Shocking Allegations in the Gruesome ‘House of Horrors’ That Was Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s Abortion Clinic

The details emerging from Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s murder trial are so gruesome that, based on the descriptions, one would assume they are fictional scenes from a horror movie. However, the reality is that the court case, which continues to expose the details of the alleged murders of at least seven babies, is, according to witness testimony, anything but a concocted tale.

TheBlaze first covered the case back in Jan. 2011, when we reported that Gosnell, 72, a Philadelphia-based abortion doctor, was charged with eight murders. Our coverage at the time, based on an AP report, provides just a brief overview of the horrific allegations:

Defending Constantine

 Bring It On

We have been reading with appreciation Peter Leithart's Defending Constantine: The Twilight of and Empire and the Dawn of Christendom (Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 2010).  The issues raised give fuel to to the fires of reflection.

The question of Christendom is one every serious Christian should ponder.  The issues are not easy; solutions are not facile.  The fundamental question is whether a time and realm of regnant Christianity is possible and feasible.  Many--the majority, many would say--answer in the negative today.  They believe that a cultural dominance of Christ over human culture and civilisation within history is impossible.  They believe that this has never been God's intention.  They hold to a kingdom beyond human history.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Go, Fight, Win . . . 

In this piece, Douglas Wilson reflects upon the past and future of Canon Press.

Outfitters of the Reformation
Getting By With a Little Help for My Friends

Shameless Appeals
Written by Douglas Wilson
Thursday, 11 April 2013

Outfitters of the Reformation: Why Canon Press?

One of the things that God’s people like to do is figure out ways to communicate with one another. “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: And the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name” (Mal. 3:16). This impulse is God-given, and it will manifest itself in different ways over the centuries. However they did it in Malachi’s day, it almost certainly did not involve social media, printing presses, or conferences in great meeting halls with giant media screens on each side. But still, God’s people have always found a way to share the Word with one another.

A common practice among the 16th century English Puritans corresponded—kind of—to our modern day conference circuit. They called them prophesyings or exercises, and they were perhaps a little tougher on their speakers than we are on ours.


 Marriage: The Light Set Upon Hill

With the expected passage of the homosexual "marriage" bill new challenges and opportunities appear before us.  One challenge and opportunity will be for the Christian community to become more self-conscious and self-actualised.  It is a challenge and opportunity we hope the Christian community and Christian churches accept with joy.

The world of Unbelief has its view of marriage--which is that in the final analysis, "marriage" is a meaningless construct.  It is a wilful arrangement that exists if one or two (or more) people will it to be so.  But the concept is thus inflated to where marriage has no meaning any longer.  What is marriage in the Brave New World?  Nothing really.  If a man and his cat believe themselves to be married, so be it.  Who in the world of Unbelief could reject it, in principle or conscientiously.  Imagine the exchange between the prudish self-righteous, priggish Unbeliever and the degenerate who wishes to live in a relationship of bestiality.   The exchange would run something like this:

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Letter From America (About Wilful Blindness)

Nothing to See Here . . . Move Along

We have written several pieces on Dr Kermit Gosnell, the late term abortionist from Philadelphia that is on trial for infanticide. It would seem that there is an informal (but effective) media blackout on the story of the "nothing to see here, move along" variety. 

This, from Patterico.com


What Is Behind the Kermit Gosnell News Blackout?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:55 am 
Twitchy.com reports that there is a concerted effort today on Twitter to spread the word about Kermit Gosnell and his trial for serial murder of newly born babies. The idea (which appears to have originated on Facebook) ignores Instapundit’s now age-old plea: “can we please stop scheduling PR stunts on Fridays?”

Nevertheless, it is still a good idea. The story has been pooh-poohed as a “local crime story” by national reporters. As Jim Geraghty points out, what was the O.J. Simpson trial? The Trayvon Martin case? The arrest of Henry Louis Gates? I would add to that stories about serial murderers of strangers, which often make national news — or indeed, the single murder of any abortion doctor.

The attempt by leftists to black out the story is so complete, they’re even considering deleting the Wikipedia article about Gosnell.


God's Business

We have often remarked that the Kingdom of God is exceedingly thick: it addresses and covers everything.  When folk turn their attention to the coming of the Kingdom and what it might look like, oftentimes they naively compare the Kingdom to the kingdoms of this world: all pomp, circumstance, trappings, and a lust for power.  But the Kingdom of God, whilst coming in the world, is definitely not of this world.  It is of another order entirely.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Letter from the UK (About Margaret Thatcher)

Margaret Thatcher: A champion of freedom for workers, nations and the world

Charles Moore, Baroness Thatcher's authorised biographer, analyses her personal strengths – and her weaknesses.

The Telegraph 

9:34PM BST 08 Apr 2013

Margaret Thatcher loved her country. Like Charles de Gaulle in France, she had a certain idea of it. This idea was forged by a God-fearing, hard-working provincial childhood and by the Second World War. She believed in our strenuous virtues. The British, to her, were brave and free and unique. When, during the Falklands crisis, she suddenly found war leadership thrust upon her, she quoted Shakespeare: ''Nought shall make us rue if England to itself do rest but true.’’ She wanted Britain – and especially England – to be true to itself.
After the Conservative government of Edward Heath lost the general election of February 1974, Mrs Thatcher realised, quite suddenly, that her nation was failing. At home, trade union power, over-government, over-borrowing, high taxes, inflation, were destroying it. On the international scene, Soviet Communism was threatening the future of freedom in the West. Until that time, she had believed, almost deferentially, that the men in charge could put things right. Now she saw that they hadn’t, and couldn’t. She began to think that perhaps a woman could.

Her strong personal ambition and her strong patriotism came together.

Stakes in the Heart

Limitations of Public Health Exposed

A debate is taking place in the UK about public health.  The cold hard reality is that the UK government has run out of money and its debt levels are worrying.  It has consequently put the squeeze on the public health system.  It now has a duty to raise more money by providing health services to the more wealthy, to those who can pay for medical services and procedures. 

This from The Guardian:
Hospitals are seeking a radical increase in revenue from the treatment of private patients as their budgets come under pressure from the needs of an ageing population, according to new figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.  Great Ormond Street children's hospital has budgeted for an extra £11m from treating private patients in the financial year ending in 2013 compared with 2010 – a 34% increase. The Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is also expecting to boost revenues by £9m over the same period – a 42% rise. The Royal Marsden is expecting an extra 28% increase on 2010 revenues, equating to about £12.7m. Across all trusts an 8% increase in revenues from private patients is expected to be posted for 2012-13 compared with 2010-11.
Previously, successive governments have decried and rejected the idea that state funded health services should generate any money from the more wealthy.  It was a rationing system that was a bridge too far for socialists.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Reactions From the Hive

Swarms Over Stockman

We published several days ago an extended argument by David Stockman about the economic catastrophe looming in the United States.  Until recently Stockman was a Washington insider, but now not so much.  The establishment has turned upon him.  No surprises there. 

What is interesting to note is the style of argumentation and rebuttal Stockman has faced.  The upshot is that he stands unscathed and the establishment reveals itself to be as intellectually bankrupt as it has made the country fiscally bankrupt.

The Financial Times reviews the reaction:

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Iron Lady

Not For Turning

The tributes are flowing for Margaret Thatcher.  British Prime Minister, David Cameron said that she would be remembered as Britain's greatest peace time Prime Minister.  Maybe.  Possibly the greatest of the twentieth century.  The Daily Mail cites the former Prime Minister, John Major:
Former Conservative prime minister Sir John Major described Baroness Thatcher as a 'true force of nature' and a 'political phenomenon'.  He said: 'In government, the UK was turned around under - and in large measure because of - her leadership.  'Her reforms of the economy, trades union law, and her recovery of the Falkland Islands elevated her above normal politics, and may not have been achieved under any other leader.  'Her outstanding characteristics will always be remembered by those who worked closely with her: courage and determination in politics, and humanity and generosity of spirit in private.'
Thatcher was an Establishment outsider, which meant that she owned few favours, had made few compromises on her way to the top.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013


Martin Luther on How to Say Amen 

Luther: . . .

you must always speak the Amen firmly. Never doubt that God in his mercy will surely hear you and say “yes” to your prayers. Never think that you are kneeling or standing alone, rather think that the whole of Christendom, all devout Christians, are standing there beside you and you are standing among them in a common, united petition which God cannot disdain.

Do not leave your prayer without having said or thought, “Very well. God has heard my prayer; this I know as a certainty and a truth.” That is what Amen means. 

—Martin Luther, “A Practical Way to Pray” (1535), in Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings, 2d ed., ed. Timothy Lull (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012), 35.

Justin Taylor

Ruminations On "MRP"

How "Mighty" is Mighty River Power?

In New Zealand the government is selling down 49 percent of some Crown owned businesses.  The objective is to reduce government borrowing and debt service.  It is all part of the drive to get the country back into fiscal surplus within a couple of years or so.  This objective is laudable and to be strongly commended.

The first of the businesses to be floated is Mighty River Power ("MRP"), a state owned electricity generator and retailer. The float looking like being wildly popular.  We are not so sure. 

All investments have positives and negatives. MRP is no exception. It can be assessed on a long term basis versus a short term basis.  Probably on a short-term basis the share price will appreciate.  Share demand hangover will likely contribute to post-float demand. Who knows?  But on a longer term basis more serious questions about the company emerge.

Monday, 8 April 2013

More Do, Less Reporting

Success With Charter Schools

An editorial in USA Today challenges the educational establishment in the US to come up with a new set of arguments.  Its passe, repetitious cavilling has worn thin. 

Charter school experiment a success: Our view

Research confirms KIPP students do better.

The arrival of charter schools in any city usually starts a fight.  Critics — whether district superintendents or teachers' unions or school boards or a traveling band of academic doubters — snipe at the newcomers, arguing that they're siphoning students and money from traditional public schools. But as evidence from the 20-year-old charter experiment mounts, the snipers are in need of a new argument. There's little doubt left that top-performing charters have introduced new educational models that have already achieved startling results in even the most difficult circumstances.
Because the educational establishment is replete with vested interests one can expect that a charter school policy will generate an avalanche of criticism.  Therefore, politicians or political leaders who are not convinced or who believe that this is a fight not worth having will rapidly become lily-livered on the whole matter.  Discretion is definitely the better part of political valour.

Charter schools have been proposed in New Zealand.  They look like they are going to be more regulated, scrutinised and controlled than government schools.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Letter From America (About Capitalism, Part III)

State-Wrecked: The Corruption of Capitalism in America--Part III
New York Times
. . . While the Fed fiddles, Congress burns. Self-titled fiscal hawks like Paul D. Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, are terrified of telling the truth: that the 10-year deficit is actually $15 trillion to $20 trillion, far larger than the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of $7 trillion. Its latest forecast, which imagines 16.4 million new jobs in the next decade, compared with only 2.5 million in the last 10 years, is only one of the more extreme examples of Washington’s delusions.

Even a supposedly “bold” measure — linking the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security payments to a different kind of inflation index — would save just $200 billion over a decade, amounting to hardly 1 percent of the problem. Mr. Ryan’s latest budget shamelessly gives Social Security and Medicare a 10-year pass, notwithstanding that a fair portion of their nearly $19 trillion cost over that decade would go to the affluent elderly. At the same time, his proposal for draconian 30 percent cuts over a decade on the $7 trillion safety net — Medicaid, food stamps and the earned-income tax credit — is another front in the G.O.P.’s war against the 99 percent. 

Without any changes, over the next decade or so, the gross federal debt, now nearly $17 trillion, will hurtle toward $30 trillion and soar to 150 percent of gross domestic product from around 105 percent today.

Yeah, Right

Lies Are Unacceptable in a Democracy

The story below is becoming the new normal.  A public figure conducts a crusade against this or that perceived public evil, all the while being guilty of the very same thing.  Here are the details, according to The Guardian:

France's former budget minister admits lying about secret offshore account

Jérôme Cahuzac plunges Hollande's government into crisis after shock confession to hiding €600,000 for more than 20 years

The French government is in crisis after François Hollande's former budget minister and tax tsar was charged with tax fraud following a shock confession that he had held a secret foreign bank account for 20 years and had repeatedly lied about it.

Jérôme Cahuzac's sudden admission that he hid €600,000 (£510,000) offshore for more than two decades is the biggest scandal to hit Hollande's presidency.

The public admission by the man who led France's fight against tax evasion that he secretly defrauded the taxman and was "caught in a spiral of lies" is a huge embarrassment for Hollande, who promised that his government would be beyond reproach after the corruption allegations that dogged previous French administrations.
One reaction to this kind of thing is jaded cynicism.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Letter From America (About Capitalism, Part II)

State-Wrecked: The Corruption of Capitalism in America--Part II
New York Times
The culprits (of the coming collapse of capitalism) are bipartisan, though you’d never guess that from the blather that passes for political discourse these days. The state-wreck originated in 1933, when Franklin D. Roosevelt opted for fiat money (currency not fundamentally backed by gold), economic nationalism and capitalist cartels in agriculture and industry. 

Under the exigencies of World War II (which did far more to end the Depression than the New Deal did), the state got hugely bloated, but remarkably, the bloat was put into brief remission during a midcentury golden era of sound money and fiscal rectitude with Dwight D. Eisenhower in the White House and William McChesney Martin Jr. at the Fed. 

Then came Lyndon B. Johnson’s “guns and butter” excesses, which were intensified over one perfidious weekend at Camp David, Md., in 1971, when Richard M. Nixon essentially defaulted on the nation’s debt obligations by finally ending the convertibility of gold to the dollar.

Unnecessary Sacrifice

A Spot of Nation Building

The NZ Army is finally returning from Afghanistan.  Ten soldiers died over that time.  They deserve to be remembered, although it is a very long bow to relate their effort to our own national security.  Essentially, the NZ effort was part of the US/UN inspired global war for democracy, peace and justice. It has had nothing to do with defending New Zealand and its citizens from armed aggression.

Consequently, the politicians have lauded the socio-economic contribution of the NZ Army to Bamiyan province in Afghanistan where it served.  Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President lauded the NZ Army effort, we are told, in terms of its contribution to nation building and to genuine assistance of the Afghan people.  Our Minister of Defence took a similar tack:

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Letter From America (About Capitalism, Part I)

 State-Wrecked: The Corruption of Capitalism in America
New York Times
The Dow Jones and Standard & Poor’s 500 indexes reached record highs on Thursday, having completely erased the losses since the stock market’s last peak, in 2007. But instead of cheering, we should be very afraid. 

Over the last 13 years, the stock market has twice crashed and touched off a recession: American households lost $5 trillion in the 2000 dot-com bust and more than $7 trillion in the 2007 housing crash. Sooner or later — within a few years, I predict — this latest Wall Street bubble, inflated by an egregious flood of phony money from the Federal Reserve rather than real economic gains, will explode, too.

The Last Dodo

RIP, "Think Big"

In the early 1980's the government in New Zealand decided that it was smarter than the average joe when it came to business.  The government was going to pick some economic winners.  The policy was dubbed "Think Big" which had more than a communist, central-economic-planning ring to it. 

It had been the oil shocks jolted the government into action.  Borrowing vast sums of money on world money markets, the government persuaded lenders that huge government sponsored and endorsed energy projects were pretty much risk free.  Whilst they could never stack up on a risk/return basis in the open market, they sure could if the gummint were the borrower.  In time, Think Big delivered, according to Wikipedia:

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Letter From the UK (About the Cold)

More Deadly Government Kindness

The cost of heating has risen throughout the world due to greenist policies.  Oil--a plentiful, cheap energy source--has been successively taxed in the vain attempt to nudge everyone towards "green" energy: solar, hydro, and wind power.  Moreover, further oil exploration and exploitation has been actively prevented in places such as the United States and New Zealand.  It's Tower of Babel stuff. 

Part of the propaganda drive supporting this Canutelike overreach has been to klaxon forth the threat to human life from global warming.  People die of heat, don't you know.  Well, yes it's true.  But people die far more from the cold.  In Britain, if a new Ice Age--or, at least, a period of colder temperatures--is coming, the old will die at a far faster pace.  They will be unable to afford the high prices of energy.  This year, Britain has weathered an unusually cold winter.  Many more elderly have died because they cannot afford the higher prices of energy--higher prices which have come about due to greenist energy policies. In order to save us all, Britain's Canutish government must first kill some off. 

This from The Telegraph:

Big Puzzles

Treacherous Thermometers

It is now unofficially official.  When The Economist finally acknowledges something as true--whilst previously having persistently argued against it--one can be pretty certain that it's all over, Rover.  So, it's now official that global warming has not occurred now for twenty years.  According to The Australian:
In a lengthy article this week, The Economist magazine said if climate scientists were credit-rating agencies, then climate sensitivity - the way climate reacts to changes in carbon-dioxide levels - would be on negative watch but not yet downgraded. . . . The Economist says the world has added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010, about one-quarter of all the carbon dioxide put there by humans since 1750. This mismatch between rising greenhouse gas emissions and not-rising temperatures is among the biggest puzzles in climate science just now, The Economist article says.

The climate changers are starting to acknowledge that empirical reality is not aligning with their speculations.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Letter From the UK (About Domestic Persecution)

Former archbishop lambasts David Cameron

Government is aiding and abetting secularisation of UK and leaving Christians feeling persecuted, says Lord Carey

Friday 29 March 2013

A former archbishop of Canterbury has attacked David Cameron for doing more than any other recent political leader to feed Christian anxieties that they are part of a persecuted minority.  Lord Carey said it was a bit rich to hear Mr Cameron tell religious leaders to face down aggressive secularisation when the coalition seemed to be aiding and abetting such practices.

In an article for the Daily Mail, he wrote: "I like David Cameron and believe he is genuinely sincere in his desire to make Britain a generous nation where we care for one another and where people of faith may exercise their beliefs fully.  But it was a bit rich to hear that the prime minister has told religious leaders that they should 'stand up and oppose aggressive secularisation' when it seems that his government is aiding and abetting this aggression every step of the way.

Homosexual "Marriage"

The Light Can Shine More Brightly

Homosexual "marriage" is now on the cusp of becoming lawful--an institution recognized in secular law as a genuine bona fide marriage.  This outcome is not surprising.  It has both positive and negative aspects to it.

On the positive side, this piece of political theatre serves clearly to reflect the spiritual state of our society.  Not that we needed any revision.  All faithful Christians know that New Zealand was never a Christian country to begin with and it has long since committed itself to erasing adumbrations of the historical Christian faith.  In the names of modernity, progress, evolution, and freedom the vast majority of our Parliamentarians have decided that the testimony of Scripture on the matter of homosexuality and marriage is simply wrong, if not offensive.  No surprises there.

But it may be helpful to Christians who yet cling to the hope they can reason together with Unbelievers on some kind of common ground in order to get agreement and respect.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Good Friday and the Death of Same Sex Envy 

Culture and Politics - Sex and Culture
Written by Douglas Wilson
Friday, 29 March 2013

Allow me to start with my conclusion so that when I wind up there at the end, there will be no surprises. The same sex marriage crusade has nothing whatever to do with what people can do sexually in private, and it has everything to do with what you will be allowed to say about it in public. We are not talking about whether private homosexual behavior will be penalized, but whether public opposition to homosexual behavior will be penalized. Further, there is only one effective response to this, which is the cross of Jesus Christ.

When I have made this point before, the comeback is always something like, "No, no, you Christians will still have the guaranteed right of free speech . . . honest." And if you believe that, I have this Cypriot bank account I would like to open up for you . . . it's insured.

The Changing of the Guard


The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  It is one of those fundamental Christian doctrines which divides.  One either believes it, or one does not.  If one believes it, one is almost certainly a Christian.  If one denies it, or doubts it, or qualifies it, one is not a Christian. 

Why is the resurrection of Christ so fundamental to the Christian faith?  One reason is that it rests upon the testimony of Scripture and the Spirit.  One cannot "prove" the resurrection of Jesus.  Whilst apologists of various stripes have sought to marshal a case for the resurrection based upon historical evidences and related argumentation (for example, refer to Frank Morrison's Who Moved the Stone?, first published by Faber and Faber in 1930, reprinted many times, most recently by Zondervan in 2002) the mere marshalling of evidence does not produce certainty nor saving faith.

Then there is the small matter of relevance.