Monday, 31 March 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Why Nature Is Necessary

Let’s clear a few things out in the first paragraph. Nature is nature, which seems obvious enough, but less obvious is that nature has a nature. The grain of the natural order runs in a particular way. It is not amorphous goo that can be shaped by any volunteer demiurge that happens by. It is not an inert substance that can successfully be altered by an act of Congress, or runaway judges. I just read in the news this week that a federal judge determined that in Michigan water must now run uphill.

This why sex change operations are such a fine example of pomosexual confusion. If nature does not have a nature, then subsets of nature (that would be us) would not have a nature either. If we do not have a nature, then it cannot be possible to contradict or violate it. But if we do have a nature, as established by nature’s God, then one of the first things that rebels against that God will want to do is declare war on it.

Not only does nature have a nature, nature also has a way of instructing us about herself. We see this in the realm of sexual customs. For example, nature teaches us that long hair is a disgrace for a man, but is a woman’s glory. But this creates an interesting set of questions.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 31

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

Here the fair tree of knowledge grows,
And yields a free repast

In the days of the Psalmist they did not have God's Word as you and I have it today. It is not only in the sanctuary; it is available everywhere. Turn to it in the home or in the church; it does not matter where, and it will immediately make you think spiritually.... One of the reasons why God has given us this Word is in order to help us to deal with this problem that we are considering....

Take a Psalm like this one [73] and its story. Merely to read what this man went through puts me right, and all the histories do the same.... Begin to read your Bible and its great teaching and doctrines, and you are again reminded of God's gracious purposes for man....

Then it has explicit teaching on the question of the suffering of the godly.

Deadly Official Dietary Advice, Part II

Public Policy Demands Science Be "Settled and Certain"

Public Policy Requires Junk Science

In our previous post on this subject, we canvassed how much  "official" dietary and food advice of the past fifty years is turning out, not just to be counter productive, but actually harmful.  This advice has been delivered with emphatic certainty, as if those giving it were utterly convinced of the accuracy and truthfulness of what was being purported.  And they no doubt were.

The reason for such certainty turned upon the overwhelming veracity of  Science.  The discipline which exploded all myths, errors, and superstitions, replacing them with certainty and truth was Science.  That is an overwhelming presumption of our world.  "Science says" is tantamount to the word of a god in our  understanding--an understanding held in common by officials, governments, scientists, the Commentariat and even the common man.

Much of the research into diet and human health relies upon statistical research and analysis.  Much of the research and inferences there-from are flawed.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Letter From America (About Marijuana)

My Trip to the Pot Shop

Medical marijuana is quite literally a life saver.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 29

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

Born of the Spirit

[Nicodemus] is a master of Israel, but here he is confronted by Someone who clearly has more than he has himself. But he thinks ... "It is only a more advanced stage than that which I have already reached." ... He is on the point of saying, "What do I need in addition?" And our Lord turns upon him and says, " ... You are all wrong.... What you need is to be born of water and of the Spirit.... You need the illumination and power of the Spirit. You cannot do this thing for yourself...."

You see the same thing in practice in the Acts of the Apostles. The first Christian convert on the continent of Europe ... was a woman called Lydia.... How was she converted? Was she carried away by the personality of the Apostle Paul? ... This is not what the record says. In Acts 16:14 we read, "Whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul."

Even Paul could not save a soul, mighty man that he was.

Deadly Official Dietary Advice, Part I

The Ministry of Food Propaganda

Almost everything the "authorities" have told you about bad food over the past forty years is wrong.  The assertion was made in The Guardian by  Joanna Blythman. There are at least two aspects to this story, equally important.  The first is to expose the errors, fallacies, and chicaneries for what they are.  The second is to expose the research methodologies, posing as scientific, for the sugar puffs they often are.

First, the exposure of the errors.
Could eating too much margarine be bad for your critical faculties? The "experts" who so confidently advised us to replace saturated fats, such as butter, with polyunsaturated spreads, people who presumably practise what they preach, have suddenly come over all uncertain and seem to be struggling through a mental fog to reformulate their script.

Last week it fell to a floundering professor, Jeremy Pearson, from the British Heart Foundation to explain why it still adheres to the nutrition establishment's anti-saturated fat doctrine when evidence is stacking up to refute it. After examining 72 academic studies involving more than 600,000 participants, the study, funded by the foundation, found that saturated fat consumption was not associated with coronary disease risk. This assessment echoed a review in 2010 that concluded "there is no convincing evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease".
No convincing evidence.  None.  Nada.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Saruman Rejoins the White Council--or Not

Not So Fast

Yesterday, we published a piece about World Vision's announcement that it was going to turn a blind eye to homosexual practice, becoming agnostic as to its ethics.  Now, the reaction . . .   

World Vision USA Reverses Its Decision

Justin Taylor 
Mar  26  2014

World Magazine broke the news earlier this afternoon that the U.S. board of World Vision released a statement reversing their decision to allow Christian employees to engage in homosexual intercourse as long as they are in a legally recognized same-sex marriage. The letter reads as follows:
Dear Friends,
Today, the World Vision U.S. board publicly reversed its recent decision to change our employment conduct policy. The board acknowledged they made a mistake and chose to revert to our longstanding conduct policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 28

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

Walking in the strait way

The Christian is a man who always walks in the fear of God—not craven fear because "perfect love casteth out" that fear. Not only does he approach God in terms of the Epistle to the Hebrews, "with reverence and godly fear," but he lives his whole life like that.

The Christian is the only man in the world who does live always with and under this sense of judgment. He must do so because our Lord tells him to do so. He tells him his building is going to be judged; the test of life is going to come. He tells him not to say, "Lord, Lord," nor to rely upon his activities in the Church as being of necessity sufficient because judgment is coming and judgment by One who sees the heart....

These New Testament people lived in the fear of God. They all accepted the teaching of the Apostle Paul when he said, "We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10). That is addressed to Christians.

Crass and Crasser

Ignorance Extraordinaire 

The economic ignorance and illiteracy of the Left wing is well documented.  All heat and no light.  Consider the following piece of antediluvian ignorance from a Labour candidate.

The back-story is the the government's proposal to build some new government schools using a private/public partnership approach.  This erudite Labour candidate shows she can jump right to the chase, putting front and centre the ignorant prejudice which bedevils the Left when it comes to economic reality.  No wonder they struggle for  electoral traction.  There are few things more telling than this post.

It is always the assumptions which kill in these matters.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Saruman Amongst Us

The Hole in World Vision’s Gospel

Justin Taylor 
March 24, 2014
Between Two Worlds

Russell Moore, president of the ERLC, comments on the stunning announcement that the Christian relief agency World Vision USA will hire professing Christians who engage in homosexual behavior as long as they are in a legally sanctioned same-sex “marriage,” even though World Vision does not see this as a “compromise” and thinks they are remaining morally neutral on this issue.  Moore's piece follows:
World Vision, an evangelical relief organization, announced today that they would now hire persons who are in same-sex marriages. The organization said, further, that this was no capitulation, just a recognition that some groups supporting World Vision have differing views on sex and marriage.

This is no surprise, on one level. The constellation of parachurch evangelical ministries founded after World War II have been running headlong, with some notable exceptions, toward the very mainline liberalism to which they were founded as alternatives. Some think if we can just barter away Christian orthodoxy fast enough we can catch the wave of that Presbyterian Church (USA) church growth boom.

But here’s what’s at stake.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 27

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

Christ died for my sin

[Lack of conviction of sin] is in particular the problem of all those who have been brought up in a religious or Christian manner. Their chief trouble often is their wrong idea of sin. I remember ... a woman who had been brought up in a very religious home, who had always attended a place of worship and been busily and actively engaged in the life of the Church. She was then a member in a church where a number of people had been converted suddenly from the world and from various kinds of evil living—drunkenness and such like things. I well remember her saying to me: "You know, I almost wish that I had not been brought up in the way I have been brought up. I could wish that I had been living their kind of life in order that I might have their marvelous experience."

What did she mean?

A Few Left Wing Moral Contradictions

Potemkin Fakes

Left wing ideologues tend to hate people with money.  More accurately they hate other people with money, particularly if the selfsame other people have more moolah than they. The ratiocination to arrive at this rather sophisticated position is complex and turgid.  It runs like this: rich people can only become rich by exploiting the weak and the dispossessed.  Therefore, their wealth is evidence of immoral usury.  Moreover, it proves their guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Sophisticated reasoning.

Now of course when left wing folk manage to garner some money of their own, their money is righteous (by definition).  Their money has been earned whilst they have been standing up for the poor and downtrodden, so their money is clean, laundered money.  Everybody else's is corrupt and evil--presumably because it was earned in trade, rather than from taxpayer funded salaries paid out to politicians.  A classic example was provided by the last Labour administration in New Zealand.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Belgium's Heart of Darkness

Belgium’s Terrible Decline

After euthanasia-on-demand for children, the next step is euthanasia without-demand

Posted on  March 24, 2014 
By J.C. von Krempach, J.D.

Joseph Conrad once coined the term “heart of darkness” to describe the atrocities of the Belgian colonial rule in what today is the Democratic Republic of Congo. Nowadays, however, the heart of darkness seems to be closer to home: in Belgium itself. By adopting a law that makes euthanasia available for minors, Belgium has surpassed its neighbours Netherlands and Luxembourg as the most euthanasia-friendly jurisdiction in the world, and must now be regarded as a world-wide champion of the Culture of Death.

The new law allows euthanasia for minors without any lower age limit, albeit with parental consent.

It is certainly strange that a legal system, in which children are below 14 are generally considered unable to form any legally relevant decision should nevertheless attach relevance to a declaration by which a child gives up its right to live.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 25

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

How to pray

Do you know that the essence of true prayer is found in the two words in [Matthew 6] verse 9, "Our Father"? ... If you can say from your heart, whatever your condition, "My Father," in a sense your prayer is already answered....

There are people who believe it is a good thing to pray because it always does us good. They adduce various psychological reasons. That of course is not prayer as the Bible under­stands it. Prayer means speaking to God, forgetting ourselves, and realizing His presence.

Then again, there are others ... who rather think that ... one's prayer should be very brief and pointed and one should just simply make a particular request. That is something which is not true of the teaching of the Bible concerning prayer. Take any of the great [Bible] prayers.... None of them is simply what we might call this "business-like" kind of prayer which simply makes a petition known to God and then ends.

Every prayer recorded in the Bible starts with invocation....

The Acme of Christian Witness

In Search of a New Poster-Child

The Westboro Baptist Church has become villainous in the mind's eye of many, if not most.  Here, apparently, must be a serious threat to the realm.  Westboro is a modern day megachurch albeit with the grand total of 40 members.  Yes, you read that right.  Forty members--most of which are related to one man, its recently deceased founder, Fred Phelps  It is what we Christians refer to as congregation standing firmly on the lunatic fringe.  

But for some reason it is front and centre--a major concern--for the chattering classes, the Commentariat and the media. Just Google Westboro to gain some appreciation of its notoriety.  It's claim to ignominy is its public protests against homosexuals and homosexuality and any other public issue that can be remotely connected to homosexual promotion, even when drawn by a very, very long bow.  What an impact forty misguided febrile people have had. 

It is true that the Christian Church has always had its wacky outliers.

Binding in the Darkness

Command and Control Versus a Mutual Submission in Love

Islam is a command and control philosophy/religion.  Consequently, it is marked by authoritarian command and control structures.  It is one of its main characteristics which "does not compute" in the West.  Some western apologists for Islam have argued that the authoritarian nature of Islam is not intrinsic to the religion itself, but reflects the more primitive authoritarian cultures in which it began and continue to this day. 

The basic thesis here is that various authoritarian cultures and societies have shaped Islam, giving it an authoritarian cast which is not germane to the doctrines and teachings of Muhammad.  As evidence for this idea, Western commentators cite thousands of Westernised Muslims who do not hold to the authoritarian structures found is almost all Islamic cultures and nations. 

A weakness in this thesis is that as Western Muslims come to take their religion more seriously, authoritarian command and control structures rear up once again.  In other words, the laid-back, easy-ozie Western Muslim is regarded as not true to the faith, but is compromised.  As soon as he is "converted" and becomes a strict Muslim, taking the classical teachings of the faith seriously,  he slots right into the prevailing Islamic authoritarian world view. 

Christianity is not a command and control philosophy or religion.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Aluminium Deniers

A couple of posts ago, I said that limited government was absolutely dependent upon public virtue. Here’s why.

It all goes back to Burke’s “little platoons.” Raw individualism is not the opposite of the collective. It is what makes the collective possible. The collective likes it. The Hive can handle a pothead bee. The collective cultivates individualism because the collective knows how to take genuine rivals out of commission.

The atomistic individual has no ability to mount a principled and structured stand against the state. Whatever the romantic appeal of “going Galt” might be, to the extent it might work it would have to work in concert with others. And to the extent that it doesn’t work in concert with others, it will not work.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 25

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

How to pray

... We remind ourselves of the vital importance of the right approach, for this is the key to the understanding of successful prayer. People so often say, "You know, I prayed and prayed, but nothing happened. I did not seem to find peace. I did not seem to get any satisfaction out of it." Most of their trouble is due to the fact that their approach to prayer has been wrong....

We tend to be so self-centered in our prayers that when we drop on our knees before God, we think only about ourselves and our troubles and perplexities. We start talking about them at once, and of course nothing happens.... That is not the way to approach God. We must pause before we speak in prayer.

The great teachers of the spiritual life throughout the centuries, whether Roman Catholic or Protestant, have been agreed ... that the first step in prayer has always been what they call "Recollection." There is a sense in which every man when he begins to pray to God should put his hand upon his mouth.

A Fallacious Binary World

Greenist Folly

In Australia some commentators are arguing that the Greens are out for the count.  The party has lost electoral ground everywhere. For example, read Andrew Bolt's indictment of Green electoral and political failure, as published in The Telegraph:

The Greens are finished. They lost more than a third of their voters in Tasmania’s election and are everywhere in retreat. In Saturday’s election, in the Greens’ birthplace, the party’s vote crashed from 21 per cent to 13.  Last year’s federal election was little better. The party lost 500,000 voters — more than a quarter of their support — in the Senate poll.  In the 2012 ACT election, the Greens were also hammered, losing a third of their vote. In Western Australia last year, they lost a quarter. . . .

But the fantasy of the Greens taking over from Labor is over.
A fantasy, by the way, which has also been voiced in New Zealand.   Bolt continues:

Monday, 24 March 2014

Testing, Testing, Testing . . .

The Show Never Starts

When civil government assumes itself as demi-god powers to rule over families and their children, bad things happen.  When civil government forgets the most fundamental and essential duty of government is self-govenment, which in the case of overreaching state authority means restricting its own powers and overreaches, saying no to itself and its besetting lust for command and control, bad consequences necessarily follow. 

When civil government determines for itself that it has a duty and responsibility to teach children, subverting or replacing parents and families, illiteracy, innumeracy, and educational failure is the inevitable outcome.  One of the causes is that bureaucrats cannot stop being bureaucratic.  Instead of teaching, the bureaucratic mind requires measuring teaching, testing teaching, weighing teaching, and assessing teaching.  It's what bureaucrats do.  The bigger the country, the bigger the government, the worse the educational outcomes.  Pity the poor US kids in government schools.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 24

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

Behold the servant of the Lord

The Christian is a man who of necessity must be concerned about keeping God's law.... We are not "under the law," but we are still meant to keep it; the "righteousness of the law" is meant to be "fulfilled in us," says the Apostle Paul in writing to the Romans.... So the Christian is a man who is always concerned about living and keeping the law of God. Here he is reminded how that is to be done.

Again one of the most essential and obvious things about a Christian is that he is a man who lives always realizing he is in the presence of God. The world does not live in this way; that is the big difference between the Christian and the non-Christian.

The Christian is ... not, as it were, a free agent. He is a child of God so that everything he does, he does from this standpoint of being well-pleasing in His sight. That is why the Christian man, of necessity, should view everything that happens to him in this world entirely differently from everybody else....

Telling Signs

Unbelief Bearing Consistent Fruit

We are told that "by their fruits you shall know them".  In similar vein, we are told that "wisdom is vindicated by her children".  The implication of the latter is that folly and Unbelief is exposed and condemned by its children.

The modern husting-hugger seems to believe that public anger conveys genuineness.  It apparently magnifies the horror and evil of whatever they happen to be protesting and shouting.  Outrage substitutes for argument, but somehow that is a good thing, because passion, even inchoate passion, sprinkles an aura of authenticity to a cause when rational argument fails.  Passion therefore cloaks itself as truth.

Of course there is nothing wrong with passion, provided it is grounded in truth and righteousness.  But what our modern protesting shock-troops fail to grasp is that the tenuousness of the cause is being exposed by the antics.  The children are shaming the parents.  The actions illustrate the evil of the underlying beliefs. 

When the "Occupy" movement had its half-life of public attention the media was captivated by the prospect of a genuine, grass-roots, little-person rebellion.  A few more headlines and sales dollars for the media beckoned.  But before you could say, "Down with the capitalists"  stories began to filter out of the "spontaneous" protest camps about rape, dirt, filth, drugs, public defecation, and general lawlessness.  Ah, said the fellow-travellers--that shows its a genuine protest movement concerned about real evils.

What the Occupy "movement" actually showed is the highest, most committed flowers of Unbelief.  The children were shaming the parent--which in this case was the doctrine that God is dead.  The protesting children began publicly to live as if God really were dead.  Since they did not fear God, they did not fear man.  They were free to abuse, shout, spit, rape and steal.

There was recently another manifestation of the fruits of Unbelief--this time in Australia.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Sanctuary and Parish

I have written before on the ideal relationship of church and kingdom, comparing it to the church at the center of town, and life in the kingdom fanning out into the parish from that center. Word and sacrament are at the center, and they shape and form the lives of believers outside the sanctuary, but without ruling and dictating what goes on out there. I am using the words sanctuary and parish in a figure. The elders of the church do not rule over auto mechanics, or garbage collection, or interior design. First, it is none of their business, and secondly, they would do a bad job.

Family government and civil government and church government are the three governments ordained and established directly by God. Our task is therefore to make sure they are in a right relationship with each other, and to take care that one of them doesn’t try to swallow up the others. In our day, it is the state that is swollen with this particular conceit, but other eras have seen the other two governments try it.

After the Great Commission is fulfilled it would be appropriate, in a figure of speech, to say that “the Church” has filled the earth, as the waters cover the sea, but this is not talking about the church in the strict sense — gathered worship, the preached Word, the bread and wine, etc. A great deal of what will have been done by that point will have been done by nations and by families. These nations and families will have been baptized, and they will return to the sanctuary every Lord’s Day to be instructed and strengthened, but they will do what they do as Christians — not as officers of the sanctuary.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 22

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

"The scandal of the Cross"

There was a time when it was true to say of the masses of the people that ... they recognized the truth of the Gospel ... but failed to put it into practice. They may have gone further and objected to its stringent ethical and moral demands. But even then they were paying tribute to it and merely putting up defenses for their own sin and weaknesses. The gospel in those days was recognized as presenting the highest and the best way of life....

That was once the position. But it is no longer so.... The general attitude towards the gospel has changed completely; ... today it is being actively attacked and opposed. Indeed, we have even reached a stage beyond that; it is being ridiculed and dismissed. The claim today is that it is something which no educated, reasonable person can possibly accept and believe. It is placed in the category of folklore and superstition....

The Futility of Taxing Foods to Achieve Social Change

Lazy Intellects and Food Zealots

We have endured the monstrous regime of the feminazis.  We continue to labour under the monstrous regime of the foodnazis.  There are those who wish to command and control all that we put in our mouths--for our own good--and, of course, society's good, since the state pays for health care.  And we are facing a plague of illnesses, about to descend with more deadly intent than the Bubonic Plague.  Obesity, diabetes, heart disease: this evil triumvirate must be combated with taxes, rules, regulations, controls, bans and government sponsored cotton-wool. 

One biggie is the cost of fast food--you know, that fatty stuff sold in burger bars and fish 'n chip shops.  What's wrong here, you ask.  Well, it's too cheap the foodnazis tell us.  It is being bought and consumed by the truckloads because it is cheaper than decent food.  Coke is cheaper than milk.  So, let's force the price upwards. Let's tax it.  The new-left command and control economists tell us that if you tax something, you get less of it.  Let's put a tax on sugar saturated drinks.

Such moves would hit the poor obese, forcing them to consume something better, argue the zealots

Friday, 21 March 2014

When All Men Speak Well of You . . .

Feet of Clay

The West has attempted to fill its spiritual and moral vacuum with the cult of the celebrity, or the cult of fame or stardom.  It creeps into the Church.  We are comforted to believe that we, too, have our "stars", our "celebrities".  We Christians like to have our heroes, our saints, our spiritual titans doing battle with the forces of evil.  In reality there is only one hero, and He does not share His glory with another (Isaiah 48:11).  In reality we are fallen creatures, stricken with sin--in the process of being redeemed utterly, to be sure, yet still with feet of clay.

Justin Taylor has re-posted some thoughts from Kevin DeYoung on the cult of celebrity pastors and the dangers of thinking that we are "someone", when in reality we are miserable beggars engaged in telling other beggars where to find bread.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 21

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

The pattern prayer

[The Lord's Prayer] is undoubtedly a pattern prayer. The very way in which our Lord introduces it indicates that ... it really covers everything in principle. There is a sense in which you can never add to the Lord's Prayer; nothing is left out.

That does not mean, of course, that when we pray we are simply to repeat the Lord's Prayer and stop at that; for that ... was not true of our Lord Himself.... He spent whole nights in prayer; many times He arose a great while before day and prayed for hours. You will always find in the lives of the saints that they have spent hours in prayer. John Wesley used to say he held a very poor view of any Christian who did not pray for at least four hours every day....

[The Lord's Prayer] really does contain all the principles.... What we have is a kind of skeleton....

Going Surety Needs to be Re-Instituted

Reforming The Parole System

Most Western judicial systems have problems with the parole system.  Criminals, let out early, often re-offend.  An Australian correspondent, for instance, recently complained about the state of the parole system in that country:
Unbelievably, across Australia there have been more than 20 people who’ve been killed by criminals on parole in the last five years.  That is disgusting.  More broadly, the Bureau of Crime Statistics has ­reported, 64 per cent of crooks on parole reoffend within two years of release. [Jason Morrison, The Daily Telegraph.]
We have two suggestions.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

What Mardi Gras Has for Breakfast

This is happening in lots of different areas, so I don’t want to pick on Rand Paul. But for the sake of convenience, let us start with him. He recently called for a “truce” within the Republican Party on “social issues,” but what such a truce would actually amount to is total capitulation on the part of social conservatives.

To agree to a truce on such issues is to acknowledge in some fundamental way that the issue is not what you have been claiming for it all these years. Principled incrementalism would never use the word truce.

Face-saving surrenders do. If abortion is murder, you don’t go halvsies on it. If you had been fighting the Nazi genocide for years, and they suddenly offered you a truce, wherein they agreed to stop killing the Feingolds and so on through the end of the alphabet, and you agreed to such a deal, would this not reveal that you had no earthly clue what position you had actually been advocating?

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 20

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.

... There are large numbers of people outside the Church, and outside Christ, at the present time solely because ... they seem to have determined not to allow the gospel to work on their lives until they understand the gospel itself.... They say that they do not desire to commit intellectual suicide and to submit themselves passively to what they do not understand.

The fear of passivity is a genuine and a good one.... The gospel places no premium on our ignorance.

The ContraCelsum S-Files

Removing Guilt

We are not big on national pride, believing it to be the cause of much evil in the world.  National pride is nothing other than personal pride writ large.  And the proverb tells us that the Lord hates and abominates haughty eyes (Proverbs 6:16-17).

But sometimes things are done in this small country which make us thankful, wanting to acknowledge special achievements.  This time, the accolades go to Environmental Science and Research ("ESR") and, in particular, scientist Catherine McGovern and her team.  Now we are aware that ESR operates at times under severe budget constraints, and that its dedicated staff are called out all hours to crime scenes--usually the most horrific--to investigate and gather evidence.

It turns out that McGovern and the ESR has helped secure a conviction in a very cold case in Australia.  The NZ Herald has the account:

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Letter from the UK (About Vlad the Impaler)

 A Good News Day

In politics and government, the unintended consequences are usually the silent killer.  In this case, however, it appears the unintended consequences of Vlad the Impaler's lawless soft-war overreach into the Ukraine, with its implicit threats to Europe, is going to prove a great boon to the European Union, whilst ending up a  self-inflicted economic blow to Crazy Ivan.  Vlad will have impaled his own nation's foot with his short-guy-syndrome, tough-talk sabre-rattling. 

Vlad had calculated that Europe would be suppliant and cowering before the might of the Russian bear, since it depends upon Russia for natural gas. But . . . 

Vladimir Putin: Hero of the European Union

14 Mar 2014

Vladimir Putin's adventurism in the Ukraine has had a strange side effect: it may well have prolonged the life of his chief rival and antagonist – the European Union – by several years. (h/t Benny Peiser - Global Warming Policy Foundation)

Until Russia began rattling its sabre, the EU's economy was locked in a downward death spiral.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 19

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

What none deserve, all may receive

If a knowledge of the truth were really dependent upon man's capacity, man's reason, man's sense-perception, man's intellectual intuition, and all that the scientific method postulates, then it follows that a knowledge of truth ... would be possible only to a very select number of V.I.P.s who can follow the arguments of the philosophers.... But what a few! The vast majority would never have any hope at all for any knowledge of truth ... for any solution to their pressing problems.

But when you come to the Christian method, there is hope for all. Why? Because all are inadequate, all are insufficient, all are failures. Here the position depends not upon man's capacity but upon his incapacity; ... it does not depend upon my capacity to understand or to discover but upon God's power to give. And He can give to all; therefore there is a chance and a hope for all....

Minatory Chorus

The Centre Will Not Hold

One puzzling thing about Islam is what we call the Rushdie Syndrome.  Whenever negative opinions or views are expressed about Muhammad, Islam, or the doctrine of Allah, the purveyor can end up with death threats--and in some cases, actual martyrdom.  In the West people are encouraged to hold some respect for the opinionated, even if one finds their opinions objectionable. Not so in Islam.  

We would argue that the Western tradition only abides if the centre holds.  The historical centre of the West has been the Christian faith.  We say "has been" because for over 150 years that philosophical and religious core has been gradually replaced by humanism (a doctrine of the ultimacy of man).  Humanism ends up proposing that some humans are more equal than others, and the abuse begins.  The centre no longer holds.  First to go are the most vulnerable--defenceless, silent babies in wombs which become death chambers, the aged, the infirm, then women trafficked into bondage as sex-slaves, and so forth.  In this devolutionary process  respect for one's ideological opponent dissipates.  One only has to spend a few minutes reading a mere fraction of the the vituperative rantings sizzling electronic communication devices to have the point both illustrated and demonstrated. 

But for Islam, the centre has always been wrong.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Comfort and Encouragement

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 18

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

Forever in my great Taskmaster's sight

The whole of [Matthew] chapter 6, I suggest, relates to the Christian as living his life in the presence of God, in active submission to Him, and in entire dependence upon Him.... Take, for instance, the first verse: "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven."

It continues like that from beginning to end.... "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? ... or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? ... Your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." There, I say, is a description of the Christian as a man who knows he is always in the presence of God, so that what he is interested in is not the impression he makes on other men but his relationship to God.

Breathing Toxic, Foetid Air

The Nauseating Stench of Vapid Idealism

It seems that idealism has inundated the Commentariat, at least in New Zealand.  It's not just the government and its agencies.  A form of insipid idealism also appears to pervade the atmosphere of the once smoke-filled editorial rooms of our daily newspapers.  How bizarre.  Cynicism was once not only a trade-mark of the media, it was a requirement to get a union card.  Now we are all being asked to breathe the free air of an imaginary, ideal world.

Consider the following editorial discussing government sex education which appeared in the NZ Herald:
In an ideal world, parents would teach their children respectful attitudes to sex. In reality, that is not always happening. . . .

Arguments about individual morality and cultural sensitivity have made this an area in which governments have hesitated to intrude. They know also that there will be a backlash from a minority who believe sex education has no place in schools and is the plaything of dissolute liberals.  But what the select committee has suggested is far removed from that.
Ideally, boys would have improved attitudes and girls would be safer and better understand their rights. At present ... the balance may be tilted against this outcome.
(The parliamentary committee evaluating government sex education in schools has clearly also be caught up in this miasma.  It too is asking us to dream up an ideal world--of improved attitudes and better understanding of rights.  Apparently the Herald has gone to a revival meeting and got religion; it has bought into this aura of hope and change. )

The yellow brick road to sexual utopia is going to be paved with students in schools making "respectful and informed choices".  Ideally.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Rand Paul, National Review, and a View From the Cheap Seats

Blog and Mablog

I first subscribed to National Review when I was in high school, which would be somewhere northwards of 42 years ago. I  have been a faithful subscriber since that time, and — disagreements and all — it remains my favorite magainze. They are still genuinely conservative, although it should be said at the outset that they are not conserving quite as much as they used to.

Rand Paul, the senator from Kentucky, is a skosh more libertarian than I would like, but I like what he has been doing very much. About time somebody did, and all that. There are places where the libertarian streak will lead you astray (e.g. marriage), but there are other places where it supplies a much needed corrective to our putative lords and masters (e.g. metadata).

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 17

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

The rock of Scripture

... All teaching and all truth and all doctrine must be tested in the light of the Scriptures. Here is God's revelation of Him­self, given in parts and portions in the Old Testament with an increasing clarity and with a culminating finality, coming eventually "in the fulness of the times" to the perfect, absolute, final revelation in God the Son. He in turn enlightens and reveals His will and teaching to these apostles, endows them with a unique authority, fills them with the needed ability and power, and gives them the teaching that is essential to the well-being of the Church and God's people. We can build only upon this one, unique, authority.

The choice for us today is really as simple as it was for those first Christians in the early days. We either accept this authority or else we accept the authority of "modern knowledge," modern science, human understanding, human ability. It is one or the other....

A Liberated Fourth Estate

Breaking Down the Established Commentariat

Back in the day, political pamphlets were a big deal.  One only has to think of the Federalist Papers to evoke a reminder of how significant the happy convergence of the printing press with short, sharp, pithy political argumentation became.  One could go further back and argue that the German reformation owed a great deal to a controversial pamphleteer, one Martin Luther, whose mass produced pamphlets did much to carry the Reformation into villages, hamlets, and city back alleys, thereby capturing the popular imagination.

It seems that blogs have become a modern form of pamphleteering--now an influential media in their own right.  Some newspapers have presciently caught the wave and surfed it well.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Not the Best Deal

Planned Parenthood Will Push Harmful Injectable on Zambian Girls and Women

Posted on | March 12, 2014 
by Lisa Correnti

[The story is told in the days of the Soviet Union of a Soviet Commissar lining up to buy bread.  The line was long and the Commissar was in a hurry to get home, so he shouted out, "All Jews in this line, go home."  A significant number of people in the line fell out and went home.  About half an hour later the Commissar made it to the shop door, only to read a sign just put up, which read "Bread Sold Out."  Grumbling, the Commissar returned to his limousine.  His driver turned to him, and asked, "Why is it, Comrade Commissar, that the Jews always get the best deal?" 
Below is a story about how women in Israel appear to be getting a much better deal than women in Zambia, thanks to the "tender" embraces of Planned Parenthood.  Ed. ]

Despite scientific research finding women using the contraceptive Depo Provera are at higher risk to transmit HIV/AIDS and develop breast cancer, Planned Parenthood plans to widely distribute the injectable to women in Zambia.

Abortion advocates are lauding the Zambian governments decision to create, for the first time, a line item within the country’s budget for the procurement of contraceptive supplies – $9.3 million.  The successful advocacy which led to securing the funding from the Zambian government, is being attributed to the Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ) from a $50,000 advocacy grant awarded to them.

The advocacy grants flow from the Advance Family Planning initiative established through the UK Family Planning Summit in July 2012, which partnered with Melinda Gates and the United Nations Population Fund. The goal of the summit was to secure commitments from pharmaceutical companies, Foundations, and governments to scale-up the delivery of modern methods of contraceptive to 120 million women and girls in low-income countries by 2020 – $4.6 billion was committed.

The Fund is part of a 5-year AFP project providing grants to reproductive rights groups – like Planned Parenthood, to target high birth rate countries to secure these governments financial investment and political commitment to assure access to contraceptives, especially long-acting methods like injectables.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 15

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

Fall to rise

There are certain simple principles about which we must be quite clear before we can ever hope to enjoy this Christian salvation. The first is conviction of sin. We must be absolutely clear about our sinfulness. Here I follow the method of the Apostle Paul and raise an imaginary objection. I imagine someone saying at once: "Are you going to preach to us about sin; are you going to preach about conviction of sin? You say your object is to make us happy; but if you are going to preach to us about conviction of sin, surely that is going to make us still more unhappy. Are you deliberately trying to make us miserable and wretched?" To which the simple reply is, "Yes!" That is the teaching of the great Apostle in these chapters.* It may sound paradoxical—the term does not matter—but beyond any question, that is the rule, and there are no exceptions.

Embarrassed Scientists

Awkward Syndrome of Embarrassing Advocates

We have sometimes wondered what real scientists think of the human-caused global warming charade.  To laymen it has always seemed odd that so-called scientists would commit themselves irrevocably to a theory which relied upon assumptions being fed into a computer which spat out "results" purporting to predict the future.  Early on in the development of ubiquitous PC computing we were repeatedly told "garbage in-garbage out".  Secondly, we have always been suspicious of group-think.  Thirdly, when we observed scientists refusing to engage with critics on the grounds that "the science is settled" and global warming sceptics were either mentally deficient or socially unacceptable misanthropes we knew that something wrong, if not evil, was afoot. 

We use the term "evil" deliberately.  When a prevailing speculative theory leads to objections to poorer countries developing an electricity generating industry on the grounds that it would contribute to "global warming", thereby consigning millions of impoverished people to cooking over smoky dung stoves--their lungs gooped with years of smoke and fumes--"evil" is not too strong a word.

Now some real scientists have spoken out.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Seven Theses on the Age of the Earth

Posted on  

I recently came to the conclusion that it was time to set down in one place my reasons for approaching Genesis the way I do. I have noticed that the topic has become a matter of increased debate in classical Christian circles — and because schools cannot honestly stay out of it — it matters a great deal what we teach and why. So here are seven theses on the age of the earth.

1. First, the age of the earth, considered in isolation, is neither here nor there. The issue is always what God said, and not how old something is. If the earth is six thousand years old now, it will eventually be one hundred thousand years old at some point, about ninety-four thousand years from now. Will theologians at that time still be required to hold to a “young earth” view? So the issue is not age, or day, or young, or old, but rather the substance of what God actually said. Whatever He actually revealed should be what we use as the foundation for all our subsequent thought. After we have our foundation, we may incorporate truth from other sources — natural revelation included — but we must take care that we never privilege what we think we know over what God actually told us.

2. Therefore, the debate — which is most necessary — should be conducted primarily between Christians who accept the Scriptures as the absolute Word of God, perfect and infallible in all that they affirm.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 14

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

Today, while it is called today!

It is only in the light of God's hatred and abhorrence of sin that we can really see His love and appreciate the wonder and the glory of the gospel. The measure of His anger against sin is the measure of the love that is prepared to forgive the sinner and to love him in spite of the sin. In spite of all the talk and writing about the love of God during the past century, there has been much less evidence of true appreciation of the love of God and less readiness to surrender all to it.

The idea of love has been so sentimentalized that it has become little more or better than a vague general benevolence. The love of God is a holy love. It expresses itself not by condoning sin or compromising with it; it deals with it and yet does so in such a way that the sinner is not destroyed with his sin but is delivered from it and its consequences....

Politicians--Why We Hold Them In Such Low Regard

Over-egging the Pudding

The Labour Party has announced some new initiatives about the internet.  If it is elected to government, Nanny will provide internet access to all human souls in the country.  It will become part of a government guarantee.  How do we know this?  Because Labour is promising to do the very same. 
Citizens will have their access to the internet guaranteed . . .
What will that mean?  Don't know really.  Hints are contained later in the grand policy announcement:
Accessing the internet is now an essential part of modern life. Labour will explore means of increasing public internet access –such as through libraries and Wi-Fi hotspots – to ensure all Kiwis can go online when they need to.
Wait a minute.  Exploring means of  increasing access to the internet is not a guarantee of access.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

What Do Islam and the Cold War Have in Common?

 Jihad To Control Schools Justifies Lying

We wrote recently about the Muslim practice of taqiyya, which justifies Muslims lying in three circumstances, one of which is war or jihad.  It is discussed extensively in  Patrick Sookhdeo's, Global Jihad: The Future in the Face of Militant Islam. (McLean, VA: Isaac Publishing, 2007), who cites Islamic leaders, teachers, and historical sources, including quotations from Muhammad.

A basic idea is that non-Muslims or outsiders are not owed the truth.  In recent days a potential case study of taqiyya in action has come to light.  Muslims are allegedly trying to take over schools in Birmingham and Bradford in the UK and lying and dissembling appear to be at the heart of their tactical approach.  We say "appear" because at this stage investigations by school authorities, local councils, and the police are underway and are not yet completed. 

But the prima facie case appears pretty strong.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 13

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

The way to salvation—and the only way

Is not [modern man] trusting for salvation to himself, his own sincerity, and his own efforts? Why is it that he still refuses the gospel concerning Jesus Christ and His atoning death and glorious Resurrection? Think again of the utter folly and futility of that position. Contemplate once more the task which faces us, and what is demanded of us. It is all utterly impossible for man in his own effort. Try to think of being in the presence of God; and if you realize to any extent what that means, you will be compelled to agree with him* who said,

Eternal light! Eternal light!
How pure the soul must be,
When, placed within Thy searching sight,
It shrinks not, but, with calm delight,
Can live, and look on Thee!

Oh, how shall I, whose native sphere
Is dark, whose mind is dim,
Before the Ineffable appear,
And on my naked spirit bear
That uncreated beam?

How can one rise to perfect purity?

Well Passed the Use-by Date

Maori Inferiority

It is becoming more evident with the passing of time that the Maori electoral seats in New Zealand are an anachronism.  For the benefit of our non-Kiwi readers, four Maori electorates were created by the Maori Representative Act, 1867.  This guaranteed representation of the indigenous people in the New Zealand Parliament. 

But that guarantee is now redundant.  The parliament has published an excellent account of the origins, intent, and subsequent history of the Maori seats.  Political developments and constitutional changes over the last thirty years have significantly attenuated the rationale for Maori seats.    They are looking more and more like a vestigial organ.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 12

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

We praise Thee for the radiance
That from the hallowed page,
A lantern to our footsteps,
Shines on from age to age

The authority of the Scriptures is not a matter to be defended, so much as to be asserted.... I am reminded of what the great Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said in this connection: "There is no need for you to defend a lion when he is being attacked.  All you need to do is to open the gate and let him out"; ... it is the preaching and exposition of the Bible that really establish its truth and authority.

I believe that this is more true today, perhaps, ... than it has been for the last two centuries.... There is nothing that really explains the whole world situation, as it is today, except the Bible. Take even the question of the origin of the world and the very nature and character of the world itself. We know that there have been certain scientists in this present century who ... have been forced to come to the conclusion that there must be a great Mind, a great Architect, behind the universe.... The Bible has always asserted this, but at long last some of these men are coming to admit it.

Dumb and Dumber

The Wondrous Works of Windmill Tilters

Electricity power  prices in New Zealand are rocketing northward.  The official Left-wing political party, Labour is thinking that it can make political capital out of the pain of rising power bills.  The gaffe-prone leader, David Cunliffe tweeted the following:

Hat Tip: Keeping Stock

He was immediately confronted with a howl of raucous Twitter ridicule.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Why Lies Digest So Well

As Flannery O’Connor put it, “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” But a falsehood, as Chesterton notes, is engineered precisely so that the listeners would in fact be able to stomach it. Stomachability is a design feature when it comes to a lie. Who would invent lies that nobody is going to want to believe?

But the truth simply is what it is.

This is why truth tellers are always troublemakers. And this is also why the postmodern heart loves the coherence view of truth, and detests the correspondence view of truth. The coherence view includes all those things that might be pleasant to digest, and the correspondence view encompasses the rest of the world, which is not really all that edible. It is measured by criteria other than how it might make us feel half an hour after dinner.

This is why, incidentally, C.S. Lewis is beloved by conservative American evangelicals even though he wasn’t one. He hated subjectivism, and saw that subjectivism was the portal through which every foul error makes its way into the lives of believers. It is the same portal, come to think of it, from which Rob Bell made his escape. The world is simply there, and we are the ones who must conform to it, and not the other way around.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 11

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

A picture of true faith

What are the characteristics of the true Christian? ... It is that he "doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."

The first part of the answer is to make clear what it does not mean.... Obviously it does not mean "justification by works"; the first statement [in the Beatitudes] is, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." We can try from now until we are dead, but we shall never make ourselves "poor in spirit," and we can never make ourselves conform to any of the Beatitudes....

Neither is it a teaching of sinless perfection. Many people read these pictures at the end of the Sermon on the Mount and say that they mean that the only man who is allowed or able to enter into the kingdom of heaven is the man who, having read the Sermon on the Mount, puts each detail into practice, always and everywhere. This again is obviously impossible. If that were the teaching, then we could be quite certain that there never has been and there never will be a single Christian in the world....

"Sex Education" in Government Schools

Parents Are Smarter Than Government Bears

In New Zealand government schools--which are part of a government mandated and enforced monopoly--sex education is compulsory.  Now the official reason the government insists on educating your children about sex is the high rate of teenage pregnancy in this country.  But when the government runs a programme with the aim of reducing teenage pregnancy, there is only one possible outcome--more teenage pregnancies--which is what has been happening.
. . . a cross-party [parliamentary] inquiry [has] found New Zealand's high teenage-pregnancy rate was partly the result of inconsistent and sometimes non-existent sexual and reproductive lessons in schools.  [NZ Herald]
According to the propaganda employed to justify compulsory government sex lessons, non-existent sex education in schools causes teenage pregnancies.  Now, however, since government sex education has been compulsory and has been going for some time now and yet more teenage pregnancies have occurred, what's the excuse?  Well, it's because monopoly government sex propaganda has been inconsistent, and sometimes non-existent.  This is what we call the "great double down".  Sex education in the monopolistic government schools is not working because there is not enough of it.  So, we will have more.

But also, a qualitative improvement is being proposed.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Queer Theory for the Tea Party

Let us abandon for a moment the idea of culture war, and shift the image over to a game or a sport. Many conservative believers think we are in a straightforward contest of strength, something like sumo wrestling, when we are actually in a chess game with a master who is consistently five moves ahead of us.

I bring this up because of this piece by Michael Hannon over at First Things, warning us off the false ideal of heterosexuality. And if you read that, I would then recommend this response over at Mere Orthodoxy. In this response of mine, I would want to go even farther than Matt Anderson did in registering concern. By “registering concern” I refer of course to the fact that I will be dancing in place, with my hair on fire, and waving my hands over the top of my head.

There are three problems that have each contributed to setting my head ablaze. Let me outline them for you, although concentration might be a problem.

The first problem with this essay is that it represents the triumph of nominalism run amok. Now I have a great deal of sympathy for a particular approach that Christian writers have taken in encouraging Christians struggling with same sex attraction. They do well in teaching these Christians that their identity should not be found in their temptations, but rather in Christ. Whatever our temptations are, of whatever kind, if we have trusted in Christ, we should not be defined by them. We are, all of us, commanded to turn to the form of new humanity in Jesus, and He is the one who sets our foundational identity.

But more than that is going on here.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 10

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

Why does God...? Why doesn't He...?
(continuing from March 08 devotional)

(e) God is faithful ... God is the God of the Covenant. Though He is independent and absolute, eternal, mighty, righteous, and holy, nevertheless He has condescended to make a covenant with men.... It was this covenant that entitled Israel to turn to God and say, "My God, mine Holy One." [Habakkuk] remembers that God has said, "I will be their God and they shall be my people."

For those saintly men, the prophets, and all who had spiritual understanding in Israel, this fact was more significant than anything else. While believing in the eternal attributes of God, they might have been chilled by the thought that such a God might be far away in the heavens and oblivious to their need. But what linked Him to them was the knowledge that He was a faithful, covenant-keeping God. God had given His word, and He would never break it.... Whatever the Chaldean army might do, it could never exterminate Israel because God had given certain promises to Israel which He could never break....

Gnashing Teeth

Impotence Over Ukraine Is Not A Bad Thing

The stew bubbling in a Ukrainian cauldron provides an occasion to reflect on how, in a more Christianised world, a nation state ought to act toward other states.  We do not claim that the issues are always easy.  They are certainly not as far as the Ukraine is concerned.  Here are some thoughts.

Firstly, nationalism (which elevates one's nation or people group into ultimate reverence) is a great evil and a false god.  All that stuff about love of country and hymns of praise to one's patria, is either dangerously borderline or overtly anti-Christian.  If Christians would baulk at singing hymns of praise to the nation's president or monarch or head of state then they ought also baulk at singing stirring hymns of pride and love to "Oh my country . . . "  Nations quickly become idols. 

It is a striking thing that Christians are called in Scripture to love God, to love the brethren and the Church, and to love all men--but never called to love one's country.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Letter From Europe (About Defending Marriage Against the Barbarians)

Slovakia Might Amend Constitution to Protect Marriage Against Re-Definition. 

Gay Lobby Gets Angry.

Posted on | February 28, 2014 
By J.C. von Krempach, J.D. 

Since the origins of human civilization until about ten years ago it was clear to everyone that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that same-sex “marriages” therefore cannot exist. No one should therefore be surprised that in the constitutional laws of most countries there is no definition of marriage – it simply was not needed.

With the adoption, by a small but growing number of countries, of legislation that allows for same-sex “marriages”, the once universal moral and legal consensus on marriage has been destroyed. As a consequence, there is now also a growing number of States that, in order to protect society against attempts of international institutions (such as the UN, the EU, or the European Human Rights Court) to impose on them a new concept of marriage and family from the outside, are amending their constitutional laws to explicitly define marriage as a permanent union between one man and one woman.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 07

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

Why does God... Why doesn't He...?

Let us follow [Habakkuk] as he applies biblical theology or thinking to the two major problems that troubled him....

(a) God is eternal. After stating his difficulty the prophet declares, "Art thou not from everlasting?" (1:12). You see, he is laying down a proposition. He is forgetting for a moment the immediate problem and asking himself what it was he was sure of about God....

He had just said (1:11) that the Chal­deans, flushed with success, imputed their power to their god; and ... he began to think, "Their god—what is their god? Just something they have made themselves (cf. Isaiah 46). God ... the everlasting God ... is not like the gods whom men worship.... He is God from eternity to eternity.... He has preceded history. He has created history. His throne is above the world and outside time. He reigns in eternity, the everlasting God."

Islamic Dissembling

"You Can't Handle the Truth"

We suspect that the Commentariat in the West is perpetually gulled by disciples of Islam.  What regularly occurs is that media and commentators take Islamic representations at face value.  They never question the veracity of what is being said.  Take, for example, the killing of women, children, and innocents by suicide bombers.  What do leading Islamic propagandists say about such atrocities?

Take, for example, Sayyid Tantawi, Grand Imam of al-Azhar in Cairo, seen as the highest spiritual authority by most Sunni Muslims around the world.  When addressing Western audiences, Tantawi has regularly condemned suicide bombings and terrorist attacks as "un-Islamic".  For example, in 1998, following the attacks upon embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, Tantawi opined:
Any explosion that leads to the death of innocent women and children is a criminal act, carried out only by people who are base, cowards, and traitors, because a rational man with just a bit of respect and manliness, refrains from such operations altogether.  [Cited by Patrick Sookhdeo, Global Jihad: The Future in the Face of Militant Islam. (McLean, VA: Isaac Publishing, 2007), p. 206.]
This sort of stuff cheers up the Western Commentariat no end.  It says, "See.  Radical Islam is not endorsed by true and faithful Islamic teachers and leaders."  Fair enough.

Friday, 7 March 2014

The Church in a Dehumanized Desert

The Prophetic John Stott

John Stott, writing over 30 years ago (in 1982):
It is difficult to imagine the world in the year A.D. 2000, by which time versatile micro-processors are likely to be as common as simple calculators are today.

We should certainly welcome the fact that the silicon chip will transcend human brain-power, as the machine has transcended human muscle-power.

Much less welcome will be the probable reduction of human contact as the new electronic network renders personal relationships ever less necessary.

In such a dehumanized society the fellowship of the local church will become increasingly important, whose members meet one another, and talk and listen to one another in person rather than on screen.

In this human context of mutual love the speaking and hearing of the Word of God is also likely to become more necessary for the preservation of our humanness, not less.
—John R.W. Stott, I Believe in Preaching (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1982), p. 69.
Hat Tip: Justin Taylor,
February 28, 2014

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 07

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

Thoughts in God's House (ii)

Then we go a step farther. We look round the congregation and suddenly find ourselves looking at someone who we know has had an infinitely worse time than we have been having. We thought our problem was the most terrible problem in the world and that no one had ever before suffered as we had. Then we see a poor woman, a widow perhaps, whose only child has died or has been killed. But she is still there. It puts our problem into a new perspective immediately.

The great Apostle Paul has a word for this, as for all things. "There hath no temptation taken you," he reminds us, "but such as is common to man" (1 Corinthians 10:13). Where the devil gets us is just there. He persuades us that nobody has ever had this trial before; no one has ever had a problem like mine; no one else has been dealt with like this....

The Contra Celsum S-Files

Seven Year Old Saves Two Lives

A young girl's calm, mature, quick-thinking has saved the life of her mother and her unborn sibling.  When her mother slipped into a sudden diabetic coma, Brooklyn Beazley:
-attempted to give her mother (lifesaving) sugar, but could not get the container open
-stayed calm
-called 111
-answered detailed questions from the operator
-performed diagnostic tests, as instructed by the operator
-didn't panic
-opened the door to the ambulance officers
-informed them her mother needed sugar
-saved two lives

St John Ambulance staff have given Brooklyn Beazley 10 out of 10 for her quick thinking after her mother, Sandee Mason, collapsed. Photo / Dean Purcell
St John Ambulance staff have given Brooklyn Beazley 10 out of 10 for her quick thinking after her mother, Sandee Mason, collapsed. Photo / Dean Purcell

A fuller description from the NZ Herald reads:

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Circumlocutions and Faggotré

Blog and Mablog

Comes now the NFL, on the cusp of bringing in their first openly gay player, and they are also contemplating banning the n-word and the other eff-word at the same time.

The Left is currently attempting quite a hat trick — they are unleashing, simultaneously, their inner wowser, their inner totalitarian, and their inner lust monkey. The results are not pretty — it is a kind of warp spasm of irrational overreach.

This is classic overreach. It was just a matter of weeks ago that we were being told that an abandonment of the Defense of Marriage Act would leave states free to make their own decisions on the matter, yay federalism, and so what happened? Since lo, these many weeks ago, federal judges have now been striking down state laws, one after the other.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 06

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

Thoughts in God's House (i)

What a wonderful place God's house is. Often you will find deliverance by merely coming into it. Many a time have I thanked God for His house. I thank God that He has ordained that His people should meet together in companies and worship together. The house of God has delivered me from "the mumps and measles of the soul" a thousand times and more—merely to enter its doors.

How does it work? I think it works like this. The very fact that there is a house of God to come to at all tells us something. How has it come into being? It is God who has planned and arranged it. To realize that in itself puts us immediately into a more healthy condition. Then we begin to go back through history and remind ourselves of certain truths.

Here am I at this present time with this terrible problem, but the Christian Church has existed all these long years. (I am already beginning to think in an entirely different way.) The house of God goes back through the centuries to the time of our Lord Himself. What is it for? What is its significance? And the cure has begun.

Deadly Force

Muhammad's Great Commission

In his book, Global Jihad, scholar Patrick Sookhdeo, who was himself raised a Muslim, addresses Islam's version of the Great Commission.  Drawing on the Qur'an, he writes:
Islam teaches that all lands belong to Allah who has given them to Muslims.  Some they already possess, the rest are theirs in theory and will gradually become theirs in practice.  This doctrine is based on several verses in the Qur'an.  [Patrick Sookhdheo, Global Jihad: The Future in the Face of Militant Islam. (McLean, VA: Isaac Publishing, 2007), p.85.]
 Now, this may not seem startling in any general sense, since monotheistic religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Christianity) necessarily have a belief that the entire world, indeed creation, belongs to God, since there is no other God and no false deities or authorities or powers will ever prevail in the face of the one and only God.  Thus, imperial possession of the entire world is a necessary corollary of monotheism. 

But all three monotheistic religions face a world which is manifestly neither Christian, nor Jewish nor Islamic.  How, then, do they believe it will come about?

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Letter From America (About China)

China Persecuting Christians, But . . .

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

March 05

A First Book of Daily Readings

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

Prayer—the highest activity of the human soul

When a man is speaking to God, he is at his very acme. It is the highest activity of the human soul, and therefore it is at the same time the ultimate test of a man's true spiritual con­dition. There is nothing that tells the truth about us as Christian people so much as our prayer life.

Everything we do in the Christian life is easier than prayer. It is not so difficult to give alms...; you can have a true spirit of philan­thropy in people who are not Christian at all.... The same applies also to the question of self-discipline--refraining from certain things and taking up particular duties and tasks. God knows it is very much easier to preach like this from the pulpit than it is to pray.

The Panoptican State

Texas Senator Gets Anonymous Phone Call

It seems that the Snowden revelations tell a far, far worse story than was imagined when they began.  Now it turns out the government spying agencies have been eavesdropping and watching private video exchanges between individuals.  No warrants.  No suspicion of spying.  Just snooping. Just testing out technical capabilities.  Imagine the local cop shop sneaking up to your house and peering the the windows at night just because they could.  We have a word for this--voyeurism.  But, far worse, is the realisation that the panoptican state is here, is now, and is operating.  All in the name of national security.  Does that make you feel any better? 

This, from The Guardian:
Britain's surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the US National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal.  GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not.  In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery – including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications – from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally. [Emphasis, ours]
Snigger.  Snigger.  Snigger.  We are watching you!