Friday, 31 October 2014

Wild Exaggerations

The Sheriff of Nottingham Redivivus

While Rome burns, hapless world "leaders" like UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon and US President Barack Obama, drone on about how climate change is the world's biggest imminent threat.  Never has so much misdirection been attempted by so many, convincing so few.

Meanwhile, more and more heretics are taking to the hustings to deride the whole sordid conspiracy.


Britain's Former Environment Minister: Abandon Carbon Targets and Embrace Shale and Nuclear

15 Oct 2014

LONDON, United Kingdom – Former Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has called for Britain to abandon is carbon targets, saying that renewable energy cannot help Britain meet its energy needs and only a combination of shale gas, Combined Heat and Power and more, smaller nuclear power plants can provide renewable energy for the foreseeable future in Britain.

Speaking to the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London, Paterson also derided wind farms, saying that Britain's wind energy policy is the "single most regressive policy we have seen in this country since the Sheriff of Nottingham," calling it: "The coerced increase of electricity bills for people on low incomes to pay huge subsidies to wealthy landowners and rich investors."  He added that it was "immensely costly, regressive and damaging to the environment", and has had virtually no impact on carbon emissions.

Daily Devotional

Prayer’s First Priority

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” (Matthew 6:9)
John Piper

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches that the first priority in praying is to ask that our heavenly Father’s name be hallowed.

Notice that this is a petition or a request. It is not a declaration (as I thought it was for years). It is a request to God that he would see to it that his own name be hallowed.

It is like another text, Matthew 9:38, where Jesus tells us to pray to the Lord of the harvest that he would send out laborers into his own harvest. It never ceases to amaze me that we, the laborers, should be instructed to ask the owner of the farm, who knows the harvest better than we do, to add on more farm hands.

But isn’t this the same thing we have here in the Lord’s Prayer — Jesus telling us to ask God, who is infinitely jealous for the honor of his own name, to see to it that his name be hallowed?

Well it may amaze us, but there it is. And it teaches us two things.

Militant Secularism as an Unwitting Ally

Secularist Atheism is Driving Us To a Second Christendom

In 2008, Mark A.Noll--an evangelical historian--penned an interesting essay, entitled "Reconsidering Christendom".  In its opening paragraphs, Noll pointed out that one of the great watershed moments in Western history occurred at 6.00pm, April 15, 1521 in the "city" of Worms, just south of Mainz.  Martin Luther, an Augustinian friar, announced to the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire that his conscience would be held bound by Holy Scripture, as a higher authority than the deliberations of church councils and rulers.

Luther's stand was rejected by his "adversary", Johann Eck, the secretary of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V.  He asserted that Luther's argument amounted to a dissolution of the authority of the Church, on the one hand, and a retreat into radical agnosticism, on the other.  In his rejoinder to Luther, Eck stated:
But if it were granted that whoever contradicts the councils and the common understanding of the church must be overcome by Scripture passages, we will have nothing in Christianity that it certain or decided.  [Mark Noll, "Reconsidering Christendom?" The Future of Christian Learning: An Evangelical and Catholic Dialogue, edited by Thomas Howard (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2008), p. 24. Emphasis, ours.]
Eck was clearly reflecting the mind of Charles V himself, insofar as the very next day, the Emperor stated that Luther would not be allowed to prevail because he held an opinion that was "against all of Christendom".  In this view, Luther and the Protestant Reformation signified the end of Christendom--the visible reign of Christ upon earth--were they allowed to go forward.  Which, of course, they did.  And in which the fear of Charles proved justified.  Christendom came to an end.  It broke up, and broke down.  Nevertheless, as the old saw has it, "But wait, there's more!"

Thursday, 30 October 2014

A Chronicle of Corruption

How the West Was Lost

We blogged yesterday on egalitarianism.  We argued that modern Western democracies are rife with bribery and corruption.  Recently, the son of the Vice-President, Joe Biden was dismissed from the US Navy because of cocaine use.  His father has been using his position to line his son's pockets for a long, long time.  His son, Hunter has proved no slouch operating on his father's influence peddling coattails.

Michelle Malkin documents the systemic corruption:

Flowers of Islam

Asia Bibi's Death Sentence Upheld by Lahore High Court

Supreme Court appeal likely to delay outcome for 3 more years

Asia Bibi's Death Sentence Upheld by Lahore High Court
Asia Bibi

Asia Bibi’s death sentence was upheld by the Lahore High Court in Pakistan on Thursday. Bibi, a Roman Catholic mother of five also known as Aasiya Noreen, was sentenced to die in 2010 after she was convicted of blasphemy. Bibi’s Muslim coworkers accused her of drinking the same water as them and verbally challenging their faith.

Daily Devotional

Quantum Change

C. S. Lewis

‘Niceness’—wholesome, integrated personality—is an excellent thing. We must try by every medical, educational, economic, and political means in our power to produce a world where as many people as possible grow up ‘nice’; just as we must try to produce a world where all have plenty to eat. But we must not suppose that even if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world—and might even be more difficult to save.

For mere improvement is not redemption, though redemption always improves people even here and now and will, in the end, improve them to a degree we cannot yet imagine. God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man. It is not like teaching a horse to jump better and better but like turning a horse into a winged creature. Of course, once it has got its wings, it will soar over fences which could never have been jumped and thus beat the natural horse at its own game. But there may be a period, while the wings are just beginning to grow, when it cannot do so: and at that stage the lumps on the shoulders—no one could tell by looking at them that they are going to be wings—may even give it an awkward appearance.

From Mere Christianity
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis
Mere Christianity. Copyright © 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1980, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Sourced from BibleGateway.

The Gods of War

Winning the War, Losing the Faith

One of the more interesting conundrums of recent history is the rapid decline of the Christian faith throughout the West.  Our view is that the time frame is roughly equivalent to the decline from true faith in Israel from King David's reign down to the invasion and destruction of Israel, first by Assyria (722 BC), then subsequently by Babylon (605 through to 586BC). But these were the final acts.  The scripture records a thorough-going, comprehensive rejection of God and His covenant throughout Israel and Judah, preceding these final (military) denouements.  

While the collapse of Christendom in the United Kingdom and its WASP colonies (Canada, Australia and New Zealand) was precipitous, its gradual precursors were not.  From the time of the Enlightenment, the poison of idolatry had been quietly killing off true faithfulness.  Peter Hitchens argues that the final collapse and capitulation was also due to war, as happened in ancient Israel, together with the nationalistic, jingoistic idolatry that mixed the Christian faith with nationalism.  The West won the war, but lost the Faith.  The "state religion" became perverted to the cause of the nation, not Messiah.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Daily Devotional

Love’s Greatest Happiness

No one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. (Ephesians 5:29–30)

John Piper

The union between Christ and his bride is so close (“one flesh”) that any good done to her is a good done to himself. The blatant assertion of this text is that this fact motivates the Lord to nourish, cherish, sanctify, and cleanse his bride.

By some definitions, this cannot be love. Love, they say, must be free of self-interest — especially Christlike love, especially Calvary love. I have never seen such a view of love made to square with this passage of Scripture.

Yet what Christ does for his bride, this text plainly calls love: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church . . . ” (5:25). Why not let the text define love for us, instead of bringing our definition from ethics or philosophy? According to this text, love is the pursuit of our joy in the holy joy of the beloved.

There is no way to exclude self-interest from love, for self-interest is not the same as selfishness. Selfishness seeks its own private happiness at the expense of others.  Love seeks its happiness in the happiness of the beloved. It will even suffer and die for the beloved in order that its joy might be full in the life and purity of the beloved.

This is how Christ loved us, and this is how he calls us to love one another.

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

Driven to Drink

The Consequences of Forced Equality

Equality is a tricksy notion.  It has intrinsic appeal.  For example, the principle that there should be one law for all, and that before the bar of justice all should be treated equally, regardless of wealth, title, position, or lack thereof is intrinsically and self-evidently just.  It is the unjust society which has one law for the rich and another for the poor, and which has regard for a man's "face" when deciding guilt or innocence.

This is a fundamental Christian principle.  The law of God declares that judges must never take a bribe and that justice is to be administered "blindly"--that is, neutrally, without regard for class, colour, or culture.  Justice, in order to be just, must maintain strict impartiality.  (Deuteronomy 16:19)  Because God does not take bribes, nor must His judges.

When a culture moves from being grounded upon God and His law, bribery rapidly reappears.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

America in C Major

Douglas Wilson
Blog and Mablog
October 20, 2014

I do understand there has been some debate over whether America was once a Christian nation. But whether it was or no — and I believe it was — there should be no debate among Christians over whether it was a normal one. Defenders and revolutionaries alike insist that those norms be defended, or smashed, as it suits them, but everybody agrees that the norms were actually there. Twenty years ago, same sex mirage was unthinkable. Now you are an enemy of all mankind if you call the mirage for what it is — a shimmer in the air over the desert sands — instead of what everyone is demanding you call it, which is something that rhymes with carriage. But it also rhymes with disparage, which brings me to my theme.

Rejected New Yorker Cover
Rejected New Yorker Cover

. . . . But whatever the mix was in helping to establish what used to be normal, I want to insist cannot be reattained apart from a reformation and revival, the kind which impels us to call on the name of Jesus Christ. Not only do I believe this must happen, or we are all lost, but I also believe that we will not be lost. This will happen. It is happening now.

Daily Devotional

Growing Up

"Grow up into him in all things."
Ephesians 4:15

Charles Spurgeon

Many Christians remain stunted and dwarfed in spiritual things, so as to present the same appearance year after year. No up-springing of advanced and refined feeling is manifest in them. They exist but do not "grow up into him in all things." But should we rest content with being in the "green blade," when we might advance to "the ear," and eventually ripen into the "full corn in the ear?"

Should we be satisfied to believe in Christ, and to say, "I am safe," without wishing to know in our own experience more of the fullness which is to be found in him. It should not be so; we should, as good traders in heaven's market, covet to be enriched in the knowledge of Jesus. It is all very well to keep other men's vineyards, but we must not neglect our own spiritual growth and ripening.

Why should it always be winter time in our hearts?

It Would Never Happen, They Said

Leviathan Showing His Claws

When the homosexual "marriage" bill was passed in New Zealand, faithful Christians could clearly see God's handwriting on the wall.  Like that ancient writing which appeared amidst a pagan feast during the days of Daniel, we knew that the days of our nation were numbered.  We knew that God had weighed us and found that our sin was grossly abhorrent.  We knew that our nation had already been given over to enemies.  We warned that homosexual "marriage" would soon morph into the persecution of Christians and the Church.

Christians have always been an ornery people.  They quaintly claim to believe in God and His Messiah.  They assert that their highest, deepest, and ultimate loyalty is to the God of gods.  They will not transgress His law, even unto death.  Now, in "ordinary circumstances" Christians get along just fine with their neighbours.  They seek to do good to all men.  They care for and serve the poor and the oppressed.  They live peaceable lives.  They mind their own business.  They raise their children to be decent citizens.  So far, so good.  But militant Unbelief cannot help itself.  In the end, it will brook no opposition.  In the end, Christians will be made to conform--or, more accurately, the attempt to make them conform will break out.

When the homosexual "marriage" law was passed, anyone who suggested that it was only a matter of time before Christians were persecuted for their resistant unbelief in the secular religion and for their rejection of illicit sex and perverse "marriage" were mocked as extremists and alarmists.  But Unbelief is implicitly totalitarian.  Given enough opportunity, it will brook no opposition.  Given half a chance, Unbelief will be militantly oppressive, demanding total conformity to its apostate religion.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Climate Change, But Not As We Know It

Hanging Out for 2013

Daily Devotional

Songs in the Night

"God, my maker, who giveth songs in the night."
Job 35:10

Charles Spurgeon

Any man can sing in the day. When the cup is full, man draws inspiration from it. When wealth rolls in abundance around him, any man can praise the God who gives a plenteous harvest or sends home a loaded argosy. It is easy enough for an Aeolian harp to whisper music when the winds blow--the difficulty is for music to swell forth when no wind is stirring.

It is easy to sing when we can read the notes by daylight; but he is skilful who sings when there is not a ray of light to read by--who sings from his heart. No man can make a song in the night of himself; he may attempt it, but he will find that a song in the night must be divinely inspired. Let all things go well, I can weave songs, fashioning them wherever I go out of the flowers that grow upon my path; but put me in a desert, where no green thing grows, and wherewith shall I frame a hymn of praise to God? How shall a mortal man make a crown for the Lord where no jewels are? Let but this voice be clear, and this body full of health, and I can sing God's praise: silence my tongue, lay me upon the bed of languishing, and how shall I then chant God's high praises, unless he himself give me the song?

The Secular Mind

Conspiracy Theories and Their Fruit

Sometimes it seems as if modern society is riven by two extremes.  On the one hand, we have the conspiracy fanatics.  On the other, the nihilists.

The "conspiracists" believe that dark forces, hidden and subterranean, control society by various means, but almost always by use of money.  These "forces" have successfully insinuated themselves into the fabric of society to the point that they are able to influence and shape all governmental and economic and social interaction.  They conspire against the rest of us.  They have a secret plan to divide, conquer, and pillage.

There have been various candidates about which conspiracists mutter darkly: the Jews, bankers, capitalists, the masons, the Roman Catholic Church, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, or whatever.  Each of these "candidates" are believed actually to control the estates of government, the media, holding or controlling or manipulating all the levers of power.  Each--and sometimes all--are at work. 

The Left and their minions are reflexive conspiracists because they believe that money and capital control almost everything, which means that the Moneymen are conspiring against us all.  But it is not just the Left.  Secular libertarians have also fallen prey to conspiracy theories.  In this version, everything that happens is a government plot controlled by some dark, sinister forces.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Jitney Messiahs

Douglas Wilson
Blog and Mablog
October 14, 2014

As the same-sex mirage juggernaut continues to roll through our pathetic little festival, crushing both devotees and opponents alike, a number of conservative Christians have begun to prepare themselves for life in a post-Christian America. Not only so, but they have been encouraging others to do the same. But this is radically unhelpful and unbecoming — nobody much likes seeing the team manager giving up in the fourth inning, and especially when the score is just 10 to 8. And particularly when we are the ones who have 10.

The reason all this is happening is that we are so distracted by the effrontery of the last lie that we are not able to see the current lie being told. We were being told — oh, about ten minutes ago — that there was no reason why individual states could not keep their restrictions on same-sex mirage, and that it was not necessary to have one monolithic approach to marriage within the republic. Anybody remember all that? Ah, good times. And then federal judges started striking down the laws of multiple states as unconstitutional, and you know the rest of the drill.

But that was the last lie.

Daily Devotional

Plan for Prayer

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7)

John Piper

Prayer pursues joy in fellowship with Jesus and in the power to share his life with others.

And prayer pursues God’s glory by treating him as the inexhaustible reservoir of hope and help. In prayer, we admit our poverty and God’s prosperity, our bankruptcy and his bounty, our misery and his mercy.
Therefore, prayer highly exalts and glorifies God precisely by pursuing everything we long for in him, and not in ourselves. “Ask, and you will receive . . . that the Father may be glorified in the Son and . . . that your joy may be full.” Unless I’m badly mistaken, one of the main reasons so many of God’s children don’t have a significant life of prayer is not so much that we don’t want to, but that we don’t plan to.

If you want to take a four-week vacation, you don’t just get up one summer morning and say, “Hey, let’s go today!” You won’t have anything ready. You won’t know where to go. Nothing has been planned.  But that is how many of us treat prayer. We get up day after day and realize that significant times of prayer should be a part of our life, but nothing’s ever ready.

The Execration of All Things

A Meditation Upon Suicide

The chattering classes have been animated in recent days over a young female cancer sufferer who has made plans to kill herself.  She has been, and continues to be a "Right to Death" advocate.  The media have lionised her, lauded her, and praised her to the skies as a great example for us all.  What courage!  What dedication!

G.K. Chesterton wrote the following in his essay, "The Flag of the World". It will help us reflect more closely upon such things:
. . . an argument arose whether it was not a very nice thing to murder one's self.  Grave moderns told us that we must not even say "poor fellow," of a man who has blown his brains out, since he was an enviable person, and had only blown them out because of their exceptional excellence.  Mr William Archer even suggested that in the golden age there would be penny-in-the-slot machines, by which a man could kill himself for a penny.  In all this I found myself utterly hostile to man who called themselves liberal and humane.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Will the Real Islamic Stand Up

10 verses from the Koran essential to understanding the Islamic State

Daily Devotional

The Jezebel of Our Unbelief

"And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul."
1 Samuel 27:1

Charles Spurgeon

The thought of David's heart at this time was a false thought, because he certainly had no ground for thinking that God's anointing him by Samuel was intended to be left as an empty unmeaning act. On no one occasion had the Lord deserted his servant; he had been placed in perilous positions very often, but not one instance had occurred in which divine interposition had not delivered him.

The trials to which he had been exposed had been varied; they had not assumed one form only, but many--yet in every case he who sent the trial had also graciously ordained a way of escape. David could not put his finger upon any entry in his diary, and say of it, "Here is evidence that the Lord will forsake me," for the entire tenor of his past life proved the very reverse.

Crime and Punishment

Three Strikes About to Bite Hard

David Garrett, former ACT MP
Republished from Kiwiblog

When the three strikes (3S) bill was making its way through parliament I told Clayton Cosgrove – in response to an interjection – that it might be ten to fifteen years before 3S would really start to bite. Although Cosgrove immediately tried to make capital from my answer, I was not  unhappy with that prediction – in fact I thought it a little optimistic. In my view we have taken a generation to get into the mess we are in with violent offending, and it might take a generation to reverse it. It seems I was unduly pessimistic.

Unless there are extremely good reasons which would preclude such a result, we are about to get our first  “strike” offender sentenced to Life Without Parole ("LWOP") for murder as a second strike.  Justin Vance Turner, aged 28, has pleaded guilty to murder. It is his second “strike” offence, and accordingly, he should be sentenced to LWOP in accordance with s.86E (2) of the Sentencing Act. That section requires that a stage two offender guilty of murder should serve a sentence of LWOP “unless the court is satisfied that given the circumstances of the offence and the offender, it would be manifestly unjust to do so.”

The “manifestly unjust” provision was one of the conditions the National Party required in order for them to support the 3S Bill beyond first reading.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Sloganising, We Love Thee

The Leftist's Dictionary

Daily Devotional

Fear and Hope in God’s Jealousy

The LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14)

John Piper

 God is infinitely jealous for the honor of his name, and responds with terrible wrath against those whose hearts should belong to him but go after other things.

For example, in Ezekiel 16:38–40 he says to faithless Israel,
I will judge you as women who break wedlock and shed blood are judged, and bring upon you the blood of wrath and jealousy. And I will give you into the hand of your lovers and they shall throw down your vaulted chamber . . . they shall strip you of your clothes and take your fair jewels, and leave you naked and bare. They shall bring up a host against you and cut you to pieces with swords.
I urge you to listen to this warning. The jealousy of God for your undivided love and devotion will always have the last say. Whatever lures your affections away from God with deceptive attraction will come back to strip you bare and cut you in pieces.

It is a horrifying thing to use your God-given life to commit adultery against the Almighty.

But for those of you who have been truly united to Christ and who keep your vows to forsake all others and cleave only to him and live for his honor — for you the jealousy of God is a great comfort and a great hope.
Since God is infinitely jealous for the honor of his name, anything and anybody who threatens the good of his faithful wife will be opposed with divine omnipotence.

God’s jealousy is a great threat to those who play the harlot and sell their heart to the world and make a cuckold out of God. But his jealousy is a great comfort to those who keep their covenant vows and become strangers and exiles in the world.

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

One of History's Greats

A Paragon of Mendacity and Hypocrisy

Paul Johnson demonstrates repeatedly that the rise of "intellectuals" to be an influential caste in the West has been characterised by their general veneration.  In life, however, their  actual practice belies their principles.  [Paul Johnson, Intellectuals (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1988)]  Many of them lived repugnant family lives.  Many practised a very different ethic from the one they advocated for the rest of mankind.

Karl Marx typifies the kind of perversity so common amongst those who regard themselves as too smart for the ordinary pleb.   Marx had numerous children with his wife, Jenny.  He lived as an intellectual in London, in poverty and squalor, choosing not to support his family.  He insisted that his high calling as a seer and revolutionary justified the suffering and deprivation of his wife and children by his hand.  Johnson reproduces a description of Marx's family life as observed by visitors, written around 1850:

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Letter From America (About the Imperial Presidency)

The War-Time Constitution Swap

How did we get to where a British executive goes to the legislature and an American does not?

Daily Devotional

The Day of His Appearing

"But who may abide the day of his coming?"
Malachi 3:2

Charles Spurgeon

His first coming was without external pomp or show of power, and yet in truth there were few who could abide its testing might. Herod and all Jerusalem with him were stirred at the news of the wondrous birth. Those who supposed themselves to be waiting for him, showed the fallacy of their professions by rejecting him when he came. His life on earth was a winnowing fan, which tried the great heap of religious profession, and few enough could abide the process.

But what will his second advent be? What sinner can endure to think of it? "He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked." When in his humiliation he did but say to the soldiers, "I am he," they fell backward; what will be the terror of his enemies when he shall more fully reveal himself as the "I am?" His death shook earth and darkened heaven, what shall be the dreadful splendour of that day in which as the living Saviour, he shall summon the quick and dead before him?

O that the terrors of the Lord would persuade men to forsake their sins and kiss the Son lest he be angry!

Hopeless Causes

If At First You Don't Succeed, Shout Louder

The animus of Babel lurks in the heart of every Unbeliever to one extent or another.  Conformity, oneness, uniformity, and group-think all manifest the ideology of Babel, the desire to have one unified Borg-like mind on everything.  We have always sensed the presence of this animus in the Global Warming crusade.

A danger was allegedly facing the entire race.  Only concerted, unified effort would avoid the inevitable calamity.  A unified effort required both group-think and One Mind. One language. Unbelievers, whose hearts lust after that ancient One-Tower, were always going to get suckered.  More often than not they wanted the Global Warming narrative to be true because it justified re-erecting that ancient monolith. In a perverse way, One World Government is a comforting prospect to those who live apart from God.

Naturally those who dissented were regarded as dangerous traitors.  They had to be silenced.  At root, as with ancient Babel, it was never science which was driving the enterprise but a lust to unify the world in its rebellion against the Creator.  It appeared, for a time, that the cause was big enough, the implications horrendous enough, and the urgency pressing enough that Babel, like Mordor, would be rebuilt. The Necromancer was taking a new shape.

But time was always going to be the greatest enemy--time, and the decree of the Living God.  More and more we are observing holes, cracks, detritus, and decay in the latest re-emergent One Tower.  Now, even Environment Editors in national newspapers are eschewing group-think.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Getting It Right

Douglas Wilson
Blog and Mablog
October 11, 2014

Once there was a Presbyterian minister who had made the whole topic of sola fide his special field of study. He had mastered the subject, as far as any mortal man can be said to have mastered anything. After a long and fruitful ministry, he eventually did what all Presbyterian ministers do, which is to say, he died.

As he approached the pearly gates, he was mildly surprised to see that St. Peter was there, just like in all the jokes. But he was, he thought, prepared to roll with it because, after all, he was going to Heaven.

Right next to St. Peter was a long wooden table, of the kind you see in examination rooms. A chair was pulled out for him, and on the table was a thick test, and a pencil next to it. As he walked up to St. Peter, he was greeted warmly and the set-up was explained to him.

Daily Devotional

God Heals by Humbling

“I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the LORD, “and I will heal him.” (Isaiah 57:18–19)
John Piper

In spite of the severity of man’s disease of rebellion and willfulness, God will heal. How will he heal? Verse 15 says that God dwells with the crushed and humble. Yet the people of verse 17 are brazenly pursuing their own proud way. What will a healing be?

It can only be one thing. God will heal them by humbling them. He will cure the patient by crushing his pride. If only the crushed and humble enjoy God’s fellowship (v. 15), and if Israel’s sickness is a proud and willful rebellion (v. 17), and if God promises to heal them (v. 18), then his healing must be humbling and his cure must be a crushed spirit.

The Irresistible Power of God

Lights In Dark Places

As Shia, Sunni, and ISIS forces have swept over the landscape in Syria and Iraq Christians have been driven out, fleeing in the face of torture and death.  Some Christian enclaves have been there for more than a millennium.  It seemed as though this region would become Christian-less.  But, recent news would indicate something different. This, from Breaking Christian News
(Iraq)—Working in northern Iraq's Kurdish region day and night to help meet the needs of people displaced by the threats and violence of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Mosul and other areas, members of an Iraqi ministry team recently came into contact with a colonel from the Kurdish forces battling ISIS.  
The colonel was serving as a division commander of the Peshmerga, the Kurdistan Regional Government's armed forces, which have helped to slow the incursion of ISIS in its brutal push to establish a caliphate imposing a strict version of Sunni Islam. With the aid of U.S. airstrikes, the Peshmerga have also slowly retaken some territory. They are helping to secure the Kurdish capital of Erbil, where the ministry team assisted by Christian Aid Mission is supplying displaced people with food, clothing, beds and medicine.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Video of the Week

Keeping Track

Daily Devotional

Repentance--A Divine Work

"Godly sorrow worketh repentance."
2 Corinthians 7:10

Charles Spurgeon

Genuine, spiritual mourning for sin is the work of the Spirit of God. Repentance is too choice a flower to grow in nature's garden. Pearls grow naturally in oysters, but penitence never shows itself in sinners except divine grace works it in them. If thou hast one particle of real hatred for sin, God must have given it thee, for human nature's thorns never produced a single fig. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh."

True repentance has a distinct reference to the Saviour. When we repent of sin, we must have one eye upon sin and another upon the cross, or it will be better still if we fix both our eyes upon Christ and see our transgressions only, in the light of his love.

True sorrow for sin is eminently practical. No man may say he hates sin, if he lives in it. Repentance makes us see the evil of sin, not merely as a theory, but experimentally--as a burnt child dreads fire. We shall be as much afraid of it, as a man who has lately been stopped and robbed is afraid of the thief upon the highway; and we shall shun it--shun it in everything--not in great things only, but in little things, as men shun little vipers as well as great snakes. True mourning for sin will make us very jealous over our tongue, lest it should say a wrong word; we shall be very watchful over our daily actions, lest in anything we offend, and each night we shall close the day with painful confessions of shortcoming, and each morning awaken with anxious prayers, that this day God would hold us up that we may not sin against him.

Sincere repentance is continual. Believers repent until their dying day. This dropping well is not intermittent. Every other sorrow yields to time, but this dear sorrow grows with our growth, and it is so sweet a bitter, that we thank God we are permitted to enjoy and to suffer it until we enter our eternal rest.

Vested Interests--Innoculating Against Belief

A High Opinion of One's Own Virtue

It is commonplace in our age to sneer at the Christian faith and those who believe.  This attitude is used to cover over the hypocrisy, the cant, and the prejudices of  Unbelief.  Peter Hitchens in his book, Rage Against God documents Virginia Woolf's reflexive arrogance and sarcasm towards those who believe, as an example of this cant.  But it is the arrogant who are usually the most blind--as Hitchens himself came to realise as he reflected on his years as a Prodigal Son.
The fury and almost physical disgust of the Bloomsbury novelist Virginia Woolf at T.S. Eliot's conversion to Christianity is an open expression of the private feelings of the educated British middle class, normally left unspoken but conveyed by body language or facial expression when the subject of religion cannot be avoided.  Mrs Woolf wrote to her sister in 1928, in terms that perfectly epitomize the enlightened English person's scorn for faith and those who hold it:
I had a most shameful and distressing interview with poor dear Tom Eliot, who may be called dead to us all from this day forward.  He has become an Anglo-Catholic, believes in God and immortality, and goes to church.  I was really shocked.  A corpse would seem to me more credible than he is.  I mean, there's something obscene in a living person sitting by the fire and believing in God. 
Look at these bilious, ill-tempered words: "Shameful, distressing, obscene, dead to us all."  There has always seemed to me to be something frantic and enraged about this passage, concealing its real emotion--which I suspect is fear that Eliot, as well as being a greater talent than her, may also be right.  [Peter Hitchens, The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), p. 23f.]
Most people in our day make the same mistake that Hitchens made at the time.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Phil, Andre, and Barack

Jibe of the Day

No doubt this story has prima facie racist overtones, because Mitt Romney related it and he is white.

President Obama went to the bank to cash a check and he didn't have his ID. And the teller said you've got to prove who you are. 

He said, "How should I do that?" She said the other day Phil Mickelson came in, he didn't have his ID but he set up a little cup on the ground, took a golf ball, putted it right into that cup so they knew it was Phil Mickelson. They cashed his check.

And then Andre Agassi came in. And Andre Agassi didn't have his ID either. He put a little target on the wall, took a tennis ball and racquet– hit it onto that target time and again. We knew that was Andre Agassi so we cashed his check.

And she said to him, "Is there anything you can do to prove who you are?" And [Obama] said, "I don't have a clue."

And she said, "Well, Mr. President, do you want your money in small bills or large bills."

"Clueless".  Sounds like a winning title for a movie. 

H/T National Journal

Daily Devotional

Never Private

No Christian and, indeed, no historian could accept the epigram which defines religion as “what a man does with his solitude.” It was one of the Wesleys, I think, who said that the New Testament knows nothing of solitary religion. We are forbidden to neglect the assembling of ourselves together. Christianity is already institutional in the earliest of its documents. The Church is the Bride of Christ. We are members of one another.

In our own age the idea that religion belongs to our private life— that it is, in fact, an occupation for the individual’s hour of leisure—is at once paradoxical, dangerous, and natural.

Rights Inflation

Corpulent Human Rights

Freedom (civil, political, words, speech, thought, etc.) is a fragile flower.  It does not take much to squash it flat.  These days the most fragile "freedom flower" in New Zealand is freedom of speech or expression.  The reason is that taking offence or being offended has been elevated into an enduring crime against humanity.  If someone causes another to be offended, the latter has suffered a quasi-criminal act, of similar ilk as theft, assault, or battery.  The offender has transgressed upon the rights of another.  We have discovered yet another human right, hitherto not known--a right not to be offended.   

It seems that a retail clothing company, Hallenstein Glasson has offended people.  It had deployed mannequins in stores dressed in skimpy bikinis.  The plastic "models" represented skinny teenagers.  The mannequins were displaying ribs in a very realistic manner--just as you would expect to see on such a young lady if she had an arm extended upwards, as was the bodily attitude of the mannequins in question.  But people (mainly women) took offence because it was promoting an ideal body shape for women that is allegedly unhealthy.  The public outcry, combined with sensational, breathless beat-up articles in the media, resulted in the company sacking the mannequins without even the courtesy of redundancy pay.  Just like that.  Behold the power of our new human right.  Another fragile freedom flower is crushed beneath the relentless weight of a few offended human beings who have suffered near-criminal damage.

But obesity (we are told) is also unhealthy.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

University-Trained Mole Rats

Douglas Wilson
October 10, 2014

Scripture teaches us that the creation is articulate.

“The heavens declare his righteousness, And all the people see his glory. Confounded be all they that serve graven images, That boast themselves of idols: Worship him, all ye gods” (Ps. 97:6–7).

The created order pours forth speech. Nature is not a dumb mute, vaguely gesturing in the direction of some nameless god, who must have made “all this.”

It is far more than that. The creation pours forth moral speech. In the text cited above we should note that the heavens declare God’s righteousness, and does so in a way that makes it unmistakeable that this righteousness is glorious, and that it humiliates those who pray to their statues. An honest look at the night sky, in other words, not only blows away the pretended rationality of idolatry, but also the pretended morality of it. The heavens declare God’s righteousness, and shames the unrighteousness of every alternative pretense.

Daily Devotional

Best Passage Ever
God put [Jesus] forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:25–26)
John Piper

Romans 3:25–26 may be the most important verses in the Bible.

God is wholly just! And He justifies the ungodly!

Not either/or! Both! He acquits the guilty, but is not guilty in doing so. This is the greatest news in the world!
  • “[God] made [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

  • “By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.” (Romans 8:3)

  • “[Christ] bore our sins in his body on the tree.” (1 Peter 2:24)

  • “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:18)

  • “If we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Romans 6:5)

If the most terrifying news in the world is that we have fallen under the condemnation of our Creator and that he is bound by his own righteous character to preserve the worth of his glory by pouring out his wrath on our sin . . .

. . . Then the best news in all the world (the gospel!) is that God has decreed a way of salvation that also upholds the worth of his glory, the honor of his Son, and the eternal salvation of his elect. He has given his Son to die for sinners and to conquer their death by his own resurrection.

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

Deliverance From Pride and Lesbianism

God Would See Me Home

Some instructive thoughts from Rosaria Butterfield: 

In April 1999, I felt the call of Jesus Christ upon my life.  It was both subtle and blatant, like the peace inside the eye of the hurricane.  I could in no way resist and I in no way understood what would become of my life.  I know, I know.  How do I know that it was Jesus?  Maybe it was my Catholic guilt, my caffeine-driven subconscious, or last night's curry tofu?  We, I don't.  But I believed--and believe--that it was Jesus.

At this time, I was just starting to pray that God would show me my sins and help me to repent of them.  I didn't understand why homosexuality was a sin, why something in the particular manifestation of same-gender love was wrong in itself.  But I did know that pride was a sin, and so I decided to start there.  As I began to pray and repent, I wondered: could pride be at the root of all my sins?  I wondered: what was the real sin of Sodom?  I had always thought that God's judgment upon Sodom (in Genesis 19) clearly singled out and targeted homosexuality.  I believed that God's judgment against Sodom exemplified the fiercest of God's judgments.  But as I read more deeply in the Bible, I ran across a passage that made me stop and think.  This passage in the book of Ezekiel revealed to me that Sodom was indicted for materialism and neglect of the poor and needy--and that homosexuality was a symptom and extension of these other sins.  In this passage, God is speaking to his chosen people in Jerusalem and warning them about their hidden sin, using Sodom as an example.

Importantly, God does not say that this sin of Sodom is the worst of all sins.  Instead, God uses the sin of Sodom to reveal the greater sin committed by his own people:

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Letter From America (About Emotive Detritus)

There Is Nothing Brave About Suicide

Matt Walsh

If you spend any time on Facebook then you’ve probably seen Brittany Maynard’s face pop up on your newsfeed over the last few days. And your Facebook friends sharing links to stories about her have probably included supportive and adoring captions like the one I just saw a couple of minutes ago: “Wow. What an inspiring story! Brittany, you are so brave!!”

You’ll be excused if you’ve chosen not to click and read further. We are all so overloaded with social media-provided ‘inspiration’ that it’s getting hard to ingest any more of it. But before you continue on with your day, harboring the vague impression that someone out there named Brittany Maynard is apparently performing a heroic and awesome deed of some kind, I think you should know what it is, exactly, that has all of your friends so inspired:

On November 1st of this year, 29-year-old Brittany Maynard is going to kill herself.  With the help of a doctor and a poison pill, she is going to end her life.  Suicide.

Daily Devotional

 Oil For Those Who Mourn

"The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost."
John 14:26

Charles Spurgeon

This age is peculiarly the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, in which Jesus cheers us, not by his personal presence, as he shall do by-and-by, but by the indwelling and constant abiding of the Holy Ghost, who is evermore the Comforter of the church. It is his office to console the hearts of God's people. He convinces of sin; he illuminates and instructs; but still the main part of his work lies in making glad the hearts of the renewed, in confirming the weak, and lifting up all those that be bowed down.

He does this by revealing Jesus to them. The Holy Spirit consoles, but Christ is the consolation. If we may use the figure, the Holy Spirit is the Physician, but Jesus is the medicine. He heals the wound, but it is by applying the holy ointment of Christ's name and grace. He takes not of his own things, but of the things of Christ. So if we give to the Holy Spirit the Greek name of Paraclete, as we sometimes do, then our heart confers on our blessed Lord Jesus the title of Paraclesis. If the one be the Comforter, the other is the Comfort.

Priggish Hypocrisy

Light in Dark Places

Incest remains officially verboten in New Zealand.  Consequently, a brother and sister who have borne a child, are before the courts.  This from Stuff:
A brother and sister who met as young adults have been sentenced for incest as they co-parent their child in Christchurch. The sister has been put on community detention that will keep her at home at night caring for her daughter – a healthy baby – and she must do a year of intensive supervision.

Her older brother’s sentencing was put off at the Christchurch District Court sentencing today because his probation report had not been done. Judge David Saunders told the brother that he must not go within 100m of flat where his sister is living unless he has prior approval of the Community Probation service. The sister has the child for five days a week, and the brother has it for the other two days. He will be sentenced on December 2, on charges of incest, wilful damage, and a breach of a community work sentence.
One self-confessed liberal blogger sniffs the wind in both directions: 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Currying Favour

The Curse of Popular Favour

7 Responses to the Strategy of Church Silence during Ethical Confusion

Oct 08, 2014


Andrew Wilson:
I’ve heard rumours of a silent trend beginning to take hold in some city churches in the UK and the US. I don’t just mean a trend that takes hold silently; presumably most trends do that. I mean a trend towards silence: a decision not to speak out on issues that are considered too sticky, controversial, divisive, culturally loaded, entangled, ethically complex, personally upsetting, emotive, likely to be reported on by the Guardian or the New York Times, uncharted, inflammatory, difficult, or containing traces of gluten.

Since I do not attend a city church, but am a proud member of the backward bungalow bumpkin brigade, this is coming to me second hand, and it may turn out to be a storm in the proverbial teacup, or even (for all I know) entirely fictional. But let’s imagine that there were such things as well-written booklets which had been discontinued simply because they were about sexuality, and leaders who were avoiding making any public comments at all on controversial ethical issues, or churches whose lectionaries or sermon "serieses" were systematically avoiding passages which addressed pressing contemporary questions, presumably in the name of being winsome or wise or likeable or culturally sensitive, because of the number of Influencers and Powerful People in the area.

Without knowing any of the behind-the-scenes discussions that had taken place – all well-intentioned, I’m sure—what would I say then?
Wilson outlines his response in seven steps:
  1. Winsomeness is a good servant and a terrible master.

  2. Likeability stops at the water’s edge.

  3. Pastors are to proclaim the whole counsel of God, not just the parts that won’t cause any fluttering in the Fleet Street dovecotes.

  4. Ducking difficult ethical questions leaves churches in confusion when they most need clarity.

  5. Ethical confusion makes church discipline much, much harder.

  6. Silence unwittingly reinforces the dominant cultural narrative.

  7. Those of us who instinctively cheer when we read the previous six points are probably in the greatest need of hearing what the advocates of silence have to say.

You can read his explanation of each point here.

Daily Devotional

We Wait, He Works

From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him. (Isaiah 64:4)
John Piper

Only a few things have gripped me with greater joy than the truth that God loves to show his God-ness by working for me, and that his working for me is always before and under and in any working I do for him.
At first it may sound arrogant of us, and belittling to God, to say that he works for us. But that’s only because of the connotation that I am an employer and God needs a job. That’s not the connotation when the Bible talks about God’s working for us. As in: “God works for those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4).

The proper connotation of saying God works for me is that I am bankrupt and need a bailout. I am weak and need someone strong. I am endangered and need a protector. I am foolish and need someone wise. I am lost and need a Rescuer.

“God works for me” means I can’t do the work.

And this glorifies him not me. The Giver gets the glory. The Powerful One gets the praise.

Read and be freed from the burden of bearing your own load. Let him do that work.

Clear and Present Danger It Ain't

 Degrade and Destroy--But Whom?

Is anyone getting a sense of deja-vu over what is unfolding in the Caliphate?  We have a vague memory of the sixties as President Kennedy was mulling over what to do with a tiny "country" in South East Asia called Vietnam.  Initial attempts to neutralise communist armed forces were failing dismally.  Should the US commit ground troops?  Yes, it should.  Thus began the Vietnam war in earnest.  Disaster for the US beckoned--and eventually came to pass.

Fast forward to 2014.  Isis proclaims a Caliphate.  It captures some civilians and turns them into gruesome political theatre.  How dare they!  Ever a "can do" people, the United States demand action of their ineffectual President.  He admits that he does not have a strategy for ISIS.  But he needs something.  Nation-building is so overrated--and in any event that was the last term's policy.  He decides upon air-strikes--the preferred weapon of armchair, left-wing Commanders-in-Chief.  (The preferred option of Republican Presidents tends to be "boots-on-the-ground" but only because they usually have more respect for the Joint-Chiefs of Staff, who know what it takes to win wars.  But that, too, has its pitfalls and beckoning disasters for a war-weary nation--like body bags.)

Part of the strength of the fundamentalist movement is a sense that there is something inevitable and divinely inspired about its victories, whether it is against superior numbers in Mosul or US airpower at Kobani.

So, air-strikes it is.  How is it going?  Here is an assessment from Patrick Cockburn:

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Letter From the UK (About the Netherlands)

Assisted Suicide 'Out of Control' in Netherlands

3 Oct 2014

The number of mentally ill people who have been killed through euthanasia in the Netherlands has trebled in a single year, according to new figures.

The Daily Mail reports that in 2012, 14 people with "severe psychiatric problems" were killed by lethal injection, a figure that rose to 42 in 2013.  There had also been a 15 percent overall rise in assisted dying over the past year, with the number of cases increasing from 4,188 to 4,829.

Deaths from euthanasia have risen by a total of 151 percent in a period of just seven years, with most cases involving cancer sufferers. However, there were also 97 people who were killed by their doctors because they had dementia.

The figures do not include "terminal sedation", where the patient is sedated and then has food and fluids withdrawn. If they did, however, euthanasia would account for one in eight of all deaths in the Netherlands.
Dr Peter Saunders of the Christian Medical Fellowship told the Daily Mail that euthanasia in the Netherlands is "way out of control", saying that it proves that assisted dying is impossible to regulate.

Daily Devotional

Toiling Until Night Comes

Charles Spurgeon

"Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught."
Luke 5:4

We learn from this narrative, the necessity of human agency. The draught of fishes was miraculous, yet neither the fisherman nor his boat, nor his fishing tackle were ignored; but all were used to take the fishes.

So in the saving of souls, God worketh by means; and while the present economy of grace shall stand, God will be pleased by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. When God worketh without instruments, doubtless he is glorified; but he hath himself selected the plan of instrumentality as being that by which he is most magnified in the earth.

Damnable Lying

A Web of Self-Deceit

O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive!

Sir Walter Scott

Telling habitual lies is not unusual amongst intellectuals.  So Paul Johnson alleges in his book, Intellectuals.  [Paul Johnson, Intellectuals (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1988.]  He cites Rousseau (a notorious dissembler), Shelley, Marx, Ibsen, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Russell, Sartre and Gollancz.  Their lying was systemic, infecting their personal relationships (wives, children, friends), their writing and public personae. 

The more a culture removes itself from the constant exfoliation of Scripture upon the epidermis of its conscience, the more it tends to tolerate, accept, and practise mendacity.

Despite this, and despite in many cases the public exposure of their respective mendacities, the public has continued to fawn over them--both whilst alive and long after their deaths.  In a post-Christian culture, this comes as no surprise.  In a Christian culture--or a culture pervasively influenced by Christian ethics--lying is regarded as an egregious evil.  The reason why rests with God, Who is Truth.  He has declared definitively that He hates lies.

There are six things that the Lord hates,
    seven that are an abomination to him:

haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
    and one who sows discord among brothers.
(Proverbs 6: 16-19)
Notice that lying gets a condemnatory double billing.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Letter From the UK (About An Assault Upon Christian Doctrine)

Forced Promotion of Homosexual "Marriage"

New Government Regulations 'Compel' Schools to Promote Same-Sex Marriage

10 Oct 2014

The Coalition for Marriage has denounced new Government regulations for independent schools in England which are clearly aimed at compelling schools to promote same-sex marriage, regardless of the wishes of parents or teachers. This measure provides the latest evidence of the insincerity of the Cameron government in claiming that rights of conscience would be respected when marriage for homosexuals was forced onto the statute book.

These coercive provisions are contained in the new Independent School Standards regulations which change the legal framework for academies, free schools and private education. This means that they target a total of 6,238 schools. The number of pupils enrolled in academies alone amounts to 2,423,535, so millions of schoolchildren, teachers and parents will be affected by this new imposition. Ofsted has been charged with enforcing the same minimum standards on all other schools.

The Coalition for Marriage has published an analysis of the new provisions, accompanied by detailed advice from a senior QC consulted by the Christian Institute. This latest aggression by social engineers in a supposedly Conservative-led government is ominously significant, even historic, in that it crosses a red line never before violated by introducing state interference in the curriculum. Even Labour never went as far as that in its social engineering mania.

Daily Devotional

Our Good Is God’s Delight

“I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.” (Jeremiah 32:40–41)
John Piper

God’s pursuit of praise from us and our pursuit of pleasure in him are one and the same pursuit. God’s quest to be glorified and our quest to be satisfied reach their goal in this one experience: our delight in God, which overflows in praise.

For God, praise is the sweet echo of his own excellence in the hearts of his people.

For us, praise is the summit of satisfaction that comes from living in fellowship with God.

The stunning implication of this discovery is that all the omnipotent energy that drives the heart of God to pursue his own glory also drives him to satisfy the hearts of those who seek their joy in him.  The good news of the Bible is that God is not at all disinclined to satisfy the hearts of those who hope in him. Just the opposite: The very thing that can make us happiest is what God delights in with all his heart and with all his soul.

With all his heart and with all his soul, God joins us in the pursuit of our everlasting joy because the consummation of that joy in him redounds to the glory of his own infinite worth.

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

Charlatans and Snake-oilers

A Dishonest Man, But Useful Idiot

Karl Marx had a theory that capital exploits workers. His theory was derived from the ramblings of the idealist or rationalistic philosopher, Hegel.  That particular luminary propounded the idea that history moved forward by a mechanism of a "dialectic" (love those big technical terms).  A concept or idea (a thesis) would be opposed by its opposite (an anti-thesis), resulting in conflict and struggle, leading to a temporary resolution (the synthesis), whereupon the whole process started over again.  The synthesis became the new thesis, which would be confronted by its antithesis, and so forth. 

Karl Marx studied in the German universities and became enamoured with Hegel.  He sought to apply Hegel's dialectic to the economic history of mankind.  Actually, he cherry picked a whole cluster of economic facts, figures and data, made up heaps more, then fitted them into Hegel's rationalistic scheme.  In short, Karl Marx was a fraud.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Letter From Australia (About How Christians Ought Treat Muslims in our Midst)

Muslims Need Truth and Love

by Mark Durie
September 26, 2014

The past few weeks have been hard ones for Australians, not least for Australian Muslims. Various alleged plots by Islamic State supporters to slaughter Australians has Islam in the news. Even as I write, five out of ten of the "most popular" articles on The Australian's website are about Islamic jihad and national security.

What are ordinary Australians to make of conspiracy theories aired by Muslims on the ABC's Q&A program, implying that recent police raids were staged as a cynical act to manipulate public opinion? Are Muslims being unfairly victimised by all these security measures?

How are we to evaluate Senator Jacqui Lambie's claim that sharia law "obviously involves terrorism"? Or the Prime Minister's decision to mobilise Australian troops against the Islamic State?

What about the Islamic State's grandiose claim that "We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women." Or [Prime Minister Tony] Abbott's declaration that the balance between freedom and security needs to be adjusted in favour of greater security and less freedom?

Daily Devotional

Make War with Unbelief

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)
John Piper

When I am anxious about getting old, I battle unbelief with the promise, “Even to your old age, I shall be the same, and even to your graying years I shall bear you! I have done it, and I shall carry you; and I shall bear you, and I shall deliver you” (Isaiah 46:4).

When I am anxious about dying, I battle unbelief with the promise that “not one of us lives for himself and not one of us dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living” (Romans 14:7–9).

When I am anxious that I may make shipwreck of faith and fall away from God, I battle unbelief with the promises, “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:6); and, “He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

Let us make war, not with other people, but with our own unbelief.

Global Freeloaders

The Follies of New Zealand's "Defence" Policies

New Zealand's history as a non-aligned nation lasted about a nano-second--and even then existed only in the imaginations of a few peace-niks.  New Zealand has never been non-aligned.  It has always relied upon other nations to defend itself.  Relying upon other nations requires alignment.

Our unwillingness to take responsibility for the defence of the country is one of the most shameful aspects of our national life.  Relying upon other nations to come to our defence if attacked is a dereliction of fundamental government responsibilities; it also is an indictment upon the citizenry.  We are global free-loaders.

New Zealanders and their politicians maintain an unjustified pride in the false narrative that we "punch above our weight" in global affairs.  We don't.  The most fundamental duty of a state government is that it defend its citizens against armed aggression from other states and random malefactors.  In this sacred duty, successive New Zealand governments have failed.  Instead we have chosen the cheap option--all the while congratulating ourselves on how clever and cunning we have been. 

For well over a century or more, New Zealand has relied upon "others" to defend our shores.  Ironically this has resulted in our soldiers and military going to war to assist other nations--with which we have become aligned by means of mutual defence treaties.

Douglas Wilson's Letter from Moscow


Douglas Wilson
Blog and Mablog
October 2, 2014

C.S. Lewis observes somewhere that there are two different motivations for spreading the political power as thinly as possible. The first is the motive of the sunny democrat, one who believes that man is the repository of wisdom, and that before we do anything of a civic nature, we ought to check in with as many of those wisdom nodes out there as we can.

The second motivation is driven by a Christian view of man, in which the radical nature of sin is acknowledged, and we confess ourselves unwilling to deposit too much power in any one individual or institution. And why? Because Lord Acton knew his onions, and aptly said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

This adage does not apply to God, obviously, who is untempted and uncorrupted by His omnipotence. It does apply,  however, to all those little creatures who are still affected by the aboriginal temptation, which is “to be as God.”

The former view is trying share the power with all those out there who are worthy of it, and the latter view is trying to keep the power from accumulating in any one place. The former view is pagan, and the latter is Christian. In this latter view, given the nature of the case, we are not trying to spread as much power as possible across the entire population, but rather trying to take essential precautions by limiting the exercise of any essential power by spreading as far as we reasonably can, separating the powers and checking the balances.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Daily Devotional

This Whole World We Rate At a Penny

TO DON GIOVANNI CALABRIA, who had sent Lewis the Litany of Humility composed by Cardinal Merry del Val: On the danger of being too aware of global worries and of forgetting to help Christ in the people close at hand; on the dignity to which God raises human beings when they receive Holy Communion; and on Lewis’s besetting temptations against humility.
27 March 1948

I was glad to receive your letter—so full (as is your wont) of Charity.

Everywhere things are troubling and uneasy—wars and rumours of war: perhaps not the final hour but certainly times most evil.  Nevertheless, the Apostle again and again bids us ‘Rejoice’[Philippians 4:4].  Nature herself bids us do so, the very face of the earth being now renewed, after its own manner, at the start of Spring.

I believe that the men of this age (and among them you Father, and myself) think too much about the state of nations and the situation of the world. Does not the author of The Imitation warn us against involving ourselves too much with such things?  We are not kings, we are not senators. Let us beware lest, while we torture ourselves in vain about the state of Europe, we neglect either Verona or Oxford.  In the poor man who knocks at my door, in my ailing mother, in the young man who seeks my advice, the Lord Himself is present: therefore let us wash His feet.

Understanding Prophetic Scriptures

The Promise of a Horse and Buggy 

G.K. Beale’s Illustration on OT Prophecy

Oct 02, 2014 

G.K. Beale, writing in The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God (Apollos/IVP, 2004), argues that “We should want to follow an interpretive method that aims to unravel the original intention of biblical authors, realizing that that intention may be multi-layered, without any layers contradicting the others.

Such original intentions may have meaning more correspondent to physical reality (hence so-called ‘literal interpretation’) while others may refer to ‘literal’ spiritual realities…” This means that “the progress of revelation certainly reveals expanded meanings of earlier biblical texts. Later biblical writers further interpret earlier biblical writings in ways that amplify earlier texts. These subsequent interpretations may formulate meanings that earlier authors may not have had in mind but which do not contravene their original, essential, organic meaning. This is to say that original meanings have ‘thick’ content and that original authors likely were not exhaustively aware of the full extent of that content. In this regard, fulfilment often ‘fleshes out’ prophecy with details of which even the prophet may not have been fully cognizant” (p. 289).
To illustrate this, Beale asks us to imagine a father in the year 1900 promising his young son a horse and buggy when he grows up and marries: