Saturday, 30 May 2015

Letter From the UK (About Sovereignty)

Britain Needs a Bill of Rights for the Individual and the Country


Telegraph View: We understand the concern for civil liberties expressed by those who favour retaining the Human Rights Act. But it is far too open to abuse, and it is time to repatriate legal authority 

This week will presage the first serious domestic test for the new Conservative Government. The Queen’s Speech will include a proposal to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights. For some this represents an assault on the very principle of universal human rights. The Government, however, sees it as a repatriation of British legal authority. The man who has been appointed to make its argument is Michael Gove, formerly in charge of the education department and now the Justice Secretary. As one Tory put it, taking on this particular task “will make education reform look like child’s play”.

There are voices of scepticism to be found within Mr Gove’s own party – and a rebellion allied to the SNP, Lib Dems and Labour looms. As we report today, one member of the Government has threatened to resign. Speaking to this newspaper, senior Conservatives have said that they fear scrapping the Act might remove certain legal safeguards and send the message that Britain is somehow uninterested in the principle of human rights. These concerns are well motivated by people worried about the rights of their constituents.

Nevertheless, there is plainly something wrong with the Human Rights Act as it stands.

Daily Devotional

Strength to Wait

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. (Colossians 1:11)

John Piper

Strength is the right word. The apostle Paul prayed for the church at Colossae, that they would be “strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience” (Colossians 1:11). Patience is the evidence of an inner strength.

Impatient people are weak, and therefore dependent on external supports — like schedules that go just right and circumstances that support their fragile hearts. Their outbursts of oaths and threats and harsh criticisms of the culprits who crossed their plans do not sound weak. But that noise is all a camouflage of weakness. Patience demands tremendous inner strength.

For the Christian, this strength comes from God. That is why Paul is praying for the Colossians. He is asking God to empower them for the patient endurance that the Christian life requires. But when he says that the strength of patience is “according to [God’s] glorious might” he doesn’t just mean that it takes divine power to make a person patient. He means that faith in this glorious might is the channel through which the power for patience comes.

Patience is indeed a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22), but the Holy Spirit empowers (with all his fruit) through “hearing with faith” (Galatians 3:5). Therefore Paul is praying that God would connect us with the “glorious might” that empowers patience. And that connection is faith.

A Despotism of the Mind

Evidence That J. S. Mill Was Right

One terrible consequence of New Zealand's pervasive socialism-without-doctrines was that from early days a near universal consensus was that education and schooling should be a state run monopoly.  The government was not just going to fund education: it was to own and operate virtually all schools in New Zealand.  Education, according to the Education Act of 1877 was to be free, compulsory, and secular and completely controlled, regulated and provided by the State. The "far seeing" progressives were ecstatic.

Doubtless thoughtless pragmatism was a significant influence.  But J. S. Mill had published his essay On Liberty in 1859.  Contained in it was a dire warning about education being controlled by the government.  He wrote:
The objections which are urged with reason against State education, do not apply to the enforcement of education by the State, but to the State's taking upon itself to direct that education: which is a totally different thing.  [J. S. Mill, On Liberty, Representative Government, The Subjection of Women (London: Oxford University Press, 1912), p.130.]
Mill could accede to the State requiring that children be educated and chastising negligent parents.  But the idea that the State should itself produce that education as the virtual sole provider was an entirely different proposition.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Greenist Luddites and GMO

Let Them Eat Frass

G. K. Chesterton once pointed out that when men stop believing in God, they do not believe in nothing.  Rather they believe in anything.  The greenists of our day are a moot example of just this syndrome.  Chesterton would have said, "See, I told you so." 

One of the more stentorian, militant greenist campaigns has been against genetically modified food.  It is little more than alarmist, phobic ignorance.  But that's what's likely to happen when you stop believing in God, the creator and sustainer of all things.

The following is a transcript on an interview with Pamela Ronald, entitled, "The Case for Engineering Our Food".  For all those who suspect, even believe, that the greenists are on the side of the good when it comes to opposing genetic engineering and modification, Ronald's address is a must read.

Daily Devotional

The Separation

Lewis, grieving the death of his wife, Joy:

There’s a limit to the ‘one flesh.’ You can’t really share someone else’s weakness, or fear or pain. What you feel may be bad. It might conceivably be as bad as what the other felt, though I should distrust anyone who claimed that it was. But it would still be quite different. When I speak of fear, I mean the merely animal fear, the recoil of the organism from its destruction; the smothery feeling; the sense of being a rat in a trap. It can’t be transferred. The mind can sympathize; the body, less. In one way the bodies of lovers can do it least. All their love passages have trained them to have, not identical, but complementary, correlative, even opposite, feelings about one another.

We both knew this. I had my miseries, not hers; she had hers, not mine. The end of hers would be the coming-of-age of mine. We were setting out on different roads. This cold truth, this terrible traffic- regulation (‘You, Madam, to the right—you, Sir, to the left’) is just the beginning of the separation which is death itself.
And this separation, I suppose, waits for all. I have been thinking of H. and myself as peculiarly unfortunate in being torn apart. But presumably all lovers are. She once said to me, ‘Even if we both died at exactly the same moment, as we lie here side by side, it would be just as much a separation as the one you’re so afraid of.’ Of course she didn’t know, any more than I do. But she was near death; near enough to make a good shot. She used to quote ‘Alone into the Alone.’ She said it felt like that. And how immensely improbable that it should be otherwise! Time and space and body were the very things that brought us together; the telephone wires by which we communicated. Cut one off, or cut both off simultaneously. Either way, mustn’t the conversation stop?

From A Grief Observed
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis
A Grief Observed. Copyright © 1961 by N. W. Clerk, restored 1996 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Preface by Douglas H. Gresham copyright © 1994 by Douglas H. Gresham. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. 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.

Proving Too Much

Man Up, Everybody

A euthanasia case is currently being argued before NZ courts.  One blogger reviews the case, making reference to an article published in the NZ Law Journal which gives the case a strong chance of success.  Amidst the review, we find the following:
. . . . This alternative meaning would distinguish between the sorts of intentional self-inflicted deaths we ordinarily think of as being “suicide” (the lovesick teen, the family breadwinner facing financial crisis, etc.) and the act of a competent, terminally ill person who is seeking (as in Ms Seales’ case) to choose a more peaceful death when brought to death’s door by the advance of disease and enduring unbearable suffering. Are these scenarios distinguishable from each other, and can that distinction be given effect under the specific wording of the Crimes Act?
I think that the two situations are very different. Not helping a depressed teenager kill themselves is very different to not helping someone who is facing an agonising death, from avoiding some suffering.
The situations referred to have differing accidents to be sure.  But what is common to both is the alleged sovereign will of an individual human being to take his or her own life.  One cannot have a sovereign will at 65, and not at 16.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Keep It Up, Boys


The graphic (below) is from a pro-abort article at Mashable, which you can read here. This is a real sign of genuine progress. We are not where we need to be yet, but we are well on the way there.

And this should be an encouragement to those Christians who have clearly understood the nature of the evils we are up against. This really is a war between fruitfulness and fruitlessness, between harvest and pillage.

Because self-restraint is not their strong suit, they jammed Roe v. Wade down the throats of the overwhelming number of states in the hope that everyone would eventually come around to see it their progressive way. But it is now a full generation later, and the majority of our states still don’t want it. The left is poised to make the very same mistake via the Supreme Court’s decision of same sex mirage next month, and so, if they do, we should respond in precisely the same way. The only difference should be that now we require no time to mobilize, and the push-back should be immediate and hard. Just say no.

Saying no to tyrants can be an exhilarating experience. And as the graphic shows, it can be a successful one. Keep it up.

Abortion Graphic

Daily Devotional

Is Christ Worth It?

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26–27)

John Piper

Jesus is unashamed and unafraid of telling us up front the “worst” — the painful cost of being a Christian: hating family (v. 26), carrying a cross (v. 27), renouncing possessions (v. 33). There is no small print in the covenant of grace. It is all big, and bold. No cheap grace! Very costly! Come, and be my disciple.  But Satan hides his worst and shows only his best.

All that really matters in the deal with Satan is in small print on the back page.  On the front page in big, bold letters are the words, “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4), and “All these things I will give to you, if you fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9). But on the back page in small print — so small you can only read it with the magnifying glass of the Bible — it says: “And after the fleeting pleasures, you will suffer with me forever in hell.”

Why is Jesus willing to show us his “worst” as well as his best, while Satan will only show us his best?  Matthew Henry answers, “Satan shows the best, but hides the worst, because his best will not [counterbalance] his worst; but Christ’s will abundantly.”

The call of Jesus is not just a call to suffering and self–denial; it is first a call to a banquet. This is the point of the parable in Luke 14:16–24. Jesus also promises a glorious resurrection where all the losses of this life will be repaid (Luke 14:14). He also tells us that he will help us endure the hardships (Luke 22:32). He also tells us he will give us the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). He promises that even if we are killed for the kingdom, “not a hair of your head will perish” (Luke 21:18).

Which means that when we sit down to calculate the cost of following Jesus — when we weigh the “worst” and the “best” — he is worth it. Abundantly worth it (see Romans 8:18).

Not so with Satan. Stolen bread is sweet, but afterward the mouth is full of gravel (see Proverbs 20:17).

The First Criminal Sitting of the Supreme Court

Justice Versus Colonialism

In November 1841 a terrible murder of five people occurred in New Zealand--a woman, a servant, and three children--occurred in the Bay of Islands.  The murderer was one Maketu; his victims were pakeha and Maori.  The date is significant because it closely followed on the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in the North.  Signatures were still being secured in parts of the country further south.

Missionary, Richard Davis who had arrived in Paihia in 1824, was by now a very fluent Maori speaker.  In a letter he describes what subsequently happened:
It was Maketu's own father who came forward and gave him up.  A meetings of chiefs was called at Paihia, and Wake Nene, Heke, Tawai (Tawhai), Patuone and Pomare, all leading chiefs of the Ngapuhi tribe, discussed the situation.  Heke was furious at the surrender; he would not in the least have minded the Maoris shooting the murderer, but to pass over the whole adjudication to the British Government, was, he thought, to give up his independence.  But the others insisted that the young man should be tried according to the law that by treaty they had accepted, and sent a letter to Hobson, expressing their loyalty to the Queen and their confidence in British justice. [Cited by Florence Keene, By This We Conquer, (Keene: Whangarei, 1974), p.34.]
This incident is significant insofar as it shows how the majority of Ngapuhi chiefs understood that the signing of the Treaty meant a ceding of sovereignty to, and government by, the British Crown.  Hone Heke (of the flagpole fame) was of a different mind.  The subsequent trial was the first of the Supreme Court of NZ.  Davis was asked to be an interpreter of the proceedings for the Maori witnesses and attendees at court.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Beyond Shame and Desperation

$5.3 Trillion On Government Fossil Fuel Subsidies? What Total And Utter Bilge!

James Delingpole

If I play my Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy too loud and the government hasn’t  charged me for the $1000 worth of lost sleep my neighbours claim it has cost them, does that mean the government has given me a $1000 “subsidy”? (H/T @sambowman)

You’d think the very notion absurd. And so would I. But not the Guardian, which has made this novel definition whereby an unacknowledged “negative externality” qualifies as a “subsidy” the subject of a massive front page splash. Nor the alleged economist Lord Stern who was given space to argue much the same thing on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. Nor a formerly respectable institution called the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has decided to throw its credibility to the wind with a bizarro headline announcement this week that the world’s fossil fuel industry is benefiting from global subsidies to the tune of $5.3 trillion.

$5.3 trillion. Imagine! That’s $5,300,000,000,000, which is more money than the human mind can possibly conceive. It’s also, I would suspect, a lot, lot, lot more than any of the world’s governments could afford to hand out in subsidies to an industry perfectly capable of looking after itself.

How then did the IMF reach that extraordinary figure?

Daily Devotional

As Far As Possible, Before Death

On holiness

C. S. Lewis

If He does not support us, not one of us is safe from some gross sin. On the other hand, no possible degree of holiness or heroism which has ever been recorded of the greatest saints is beyond what He is determined to produce in every one of us in the end. The job will not be completed in this life: but He means to get us as far as possible before death.
From Mere Christianity
Compiled in Words to Live By
Mere Christianity. Copyright © 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1980, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publisher.  Sourced from BibleGateway.

Numbered Amongst the Saints

Baptised With Laundry Water

Teina Pora was once a notorious criminal.  Now he has a different kind of notoriety imputed to him.  The  charges and convictions against him have been quashed and dismissed. This happens rarely in New Zealand.  So Pora is once again notorious, but for different reasons. 

He has given his first interview.  It is reproduced below.  We conclude with some observations.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Letter From the UK (About More State Persecution of Christians)

Let Them Eat Cake

The Victimization Of Christian Bakers Signals It’s Time to Fight Back

Daily, the provocation grows more extreme, the oppression of Christian and secular traditional beliefs more intolerant and the imposition of the PC consensus more aggressive.

The latest attack by the state against freedom of conscience is the ruling in a Belfast court that Ashers Baking Company illegally discriminated against a homosexual activist by refusing to produce a cake carrying a slogan in support of same-sex marriage. The family that owns the business is devoutly Christian and producing such a cake would gravely have offended their conscience.

On the face of it, this looks like just another example of the British state persecuting Christianity in the same degree to which it favours Islam. But there are certain unique features of this case which make it a potential own goal for the forces of intolerance. This incident took place in Northern Ireland, where same-sex marriage is illegal. Less than a month ago the Northern Ireland parliament, for the fourth time, refused to legalise marriage between persons of the same sex.

So, the McArthurs, who own the bakery, have been found guilty by a court of illegal discrimination because they refused to produce a cake bearing a slogan promoting something that is itself illegal in Northern Ireland.

Daily Devotional

Spasms of Importunity

"Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer."
Psalm 66:20

C. H. Spurgeon

In looking back upon the character of our prayers, if we do it honestly, we shall be filled with wonder that God has ever answered them. There may be some who think their prayers worthy of acceptance--as the Pharisee did; but the true Christian, in a more enlightened retrospect, weeps over his prayers, and if he could retrace his steps he would desire to pray more earnestly.

Remember, Christian, how cold thy prayers have been. When in thy closet thou shouldst have wrestled as Jacob did; but instead thereof, thy petitions have been faint and few--far removed from that humble, believing, persevering faith, which cries, "I will not let thee go except thou bless me." Yet, wonderful to say, God has heard these cold prayers of thine, and not only heard, but answered them.

Reflect also, how infrequent have been thy prayers, unless thou hast been in trouble, and then thou hast gone often to the mercy-seat: but when deliverance has come, where has been thy constant supplication? Yet, notwithstanding thou hast ceased to pray as once thou didst, God has not ceased to bless. When thou hast neglected the mercy-seat, God has not deserted it, but the bright light of the Shekinah has always been visible between the wings of the cherubim. Oh! it is marvellous that the Lord should regard those intermittent spasms of importunity which come and go with our necessities.

What a God is he thus to hear the prayers of those who come to him when they have pressing wants, but neglect him when they have received a mercy; who approach him when they are forced to come, but who almost forget to address him when mercies are plentiful and sorrows are few. Let his gracious kindness in hearing such prayers touch our hearts, so that we may henceforth be found "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit."

Orwellianism Stalks the Land of the Free

Prejudiced Ignorance

Kirsten Powers has written an important expose on the reign of intolerance in college campuses across the United States.  However, she begs a number of questions, which she does not address.  

1.  Why has this happened?
2.  What does it represent?
3.  What is the right tactical response?
4.  What is the right strategic response?

We will endeavour to deal with these questions below Powers's piece.

How Liberals Ruined College

College should be a place of new ideas and challenging views. Instead, liberals have made it a place of fear and intimidation.

Kirsten Powers
The Daily Beast

The root of nearly every free-speech infringement on campuses across the country is that someone—almost always a liberal—has been offended or has sniffed out a potential offense in the making. Then, the silencing campaign begins. The offender must be punished, not just for justice’s sake, but also to send the message to anyone else on campus that should he or she stray off the leftist script, they too might find themselves investigated, harassed, ostracized, or even expelled. If the illiberal left can preemptively silence opposing speakers or opposing groups— such as getting a speech or event canceled, or denying campus recognition for a group—even better.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Death Squads and Their Lists

Tarek Fatah and Taslima Nasreen On my way to Delhi's Indira Gandhi airport Sunday night for a flight back to Canada, I made a detour to pay my respects to someone I consider the bravest woman alive today — exiled Bangladeshi author, Taslima Nasreen. She and her cat "Minu" live alone on the top floor of a four-story apartment complex in the suburbs of India's sprawling capital.

Millions of Indians live in such complexes. Except in this building, she is the only resident. For security reasons, the elevator is disabled. The lights in the stairway leading up to her Spartan flat are as dim as those in a coal mine. Armed Indian security officers guard the complex around the clock. Outside her apartment door stands a towering soldier, bearing an automatic rifle.

Daily Devotional

How to Hate Your Life
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:24–25)

John Piper

“Whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” What does that mean?

It means, at least, that you don’t take much thought for your life in this world. In other words, it just doesn’t matter much what happens to your life in this world.
If men speak well of you, it doesn’t matter much.
If they hate you, it doesn’t matter much.
If you have a lot of things, I doesn’t matter much.
If you have little, it doesn’t matter much.
If you are persecuted or lied about, it doesn’t matter much.
If you are famous or unheard of, it doesn’t matter much.
If you are dead, these things just don’t matter much.

But it’s even more radical. There are some choices to be made here, not just passive experiences. Jesus goes on to say, “If anyone serves me, let him follow me.” Where to? He is moving into Gethsemane and toward the cross.  Jesus is not just saying: If things go bad, don’t fret, since you are dead anyway. He is saying: choose to die with me. Choose to hate your life in this world the way I have chosen the cross.

This is what Jesus meant when he said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). He calls us to choose the cross. People only did one thing on a cross. They died on it. “Take up your cross,” means, “Like a grain of wheat, fall into the ground and die.” Choose it.

But why? For the sake of radical commitment to ministry: “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). I think I hear Paul saying, “It doesn’t matter what happens to me — if I can just live to the glory of his grace.”

The Little Bighorn of Satellite Data

Climate Custer's Making a Last Stand

We are approaching the next big global warming push.  Paris will host the next IPCC conference in December.  Doubtless it will fail.  But in the meantime we will be treated to all kinds of histrionic tom-foolery.  One such cheerleader-cum-scaremongerer is Pressie Obama.  We almost fell off our chair laughing at his stentorian efforts to "re-frame" fighting global warming into a military campaign.
The US president issued a forceful call to action to combat climate change, framing global warming as a national security priority, at the commencement ceremony – or graduation – of the United States coast guard academy in New London, Connecticut.

In his speech, Obama detailed the ways the US military would be forced to respond to climate change in the future. He called refusing to act “a dereliction of duty” and said it undermined American readiness.  “This is not just a problem for countries on the coast or for certain regions of the world,” Obama said. “Climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security, and make no mistake: it will impact how our military defends our country.

“We need to act, and we need to act now,” he said.
 Remember, now.  The Pressie said that the rise of ISIS and Boko Haram was caused by global warming.  Well, he's the President.  He's cool.  He's a graduate of Ivy League universities.  He's the Voice.  He must be right.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

They Think They’re Jesus


Last night I had the privilege of sharing the platform at an event in Coeur D’Alene with Aaron and Melissa Klein. They were the owners of the bakery in Oregon that was shut down by the sexual totalitarians. They were then fined a chunk of cash by some despotic bureaucratic flunky, and when a GoFundMe campaign promised to raise the necessary funds in a matter of hours, the Liberal Forces of Enforced Tolerance did enough screaming to get that shut down. GoFundMe changed the terms of service, and said that Aaron was not a worthy recipient because he was guilty of a heinous crime. That heinous crime was that he told someone that he was very sorry, but that he could not bake a cake for their event.

If you want to help them now — and you should — go to, and search for Aaron and Melissa Klein. Give now, while there is time, before Christians helping Christians becomes a heinous crime.

In my remarks, I basically made four points. First, these controversies are not because evangelical Christians want to avoid doing business with sinners. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 5:9-10 not to associate with sinners, but he hastens to add that he was talking about professing Christians who were living this way.  If we had to avoid contact with sinners “of this world” we would have to leave the planet. There is no requirement that conservative Christians feel burdened by to avoid commerce with homosexuals. In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul tells us that meat offered to idols is still acceptable as meat, which means that there is no ethical contamination in doing business with people who are not Christians and who live as though they are not Christians.

Daily Devotional

The Moment It All Flows Back

TO MARY WILLIS SHELBURNE: On the return of Joy’s cancer.

18 October 1959


Will you redouble your prayers for us? Apparently the wonderful recovery Joy made in 1957 was only a reprieve, not a pardon. The last X Ray check reveals cancerous spots returning in many of her bones. There seems to be some hope of a few years life still and there are still things the doctors can do. But they are all in the nature of ‘rearguard actions’. We are in retreat. The tide has turned. Of course God can do again what He did before. The sky is not now so dark as it was when I married her in hospital. Her courage is wonderful and she gives me more support than I can give her.

The dreadful thing, as you know, is the waking each morning—the moment at which it all flows back on one.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III
Compiled in Yours, Jack
The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume III: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C. S. Lewis. Copyright © 2008 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Sourced from BibleGateway.

The Madness of the Gentiles

We Have Time, But Less Than Yesterday

We posted a piece yesterday about crucial questions every culture and civilisation must needs answer: who am I?  Why am I here and alive?  What are my duties and responsibilities?  The world of post-modernism--our world--is inevitably agnostic when faced with such questions.  Consequently our world descends into endless crises of identity.

This is not an exaggeration.  It is an inevitable result of a culture controlled and dominated by atheistic materialism.  There is no true Truth.  No absolutes (except this one).  There is merely the constant flux of being upon an ocean of chance.  And the results are becoming more and more entrenched in the institutions of our culture.  How entrenched?  More than ten years ago, that's for sure.  Consider this:

Friday, 22 May 2015

Letter From the UK (About the Big Sulk)

Contempt For Ordinary People

By Dominic Sandbrook for the Daily Mail

The incredible sulk: All week, the Left have been frothing with fury that their fellow Britons could be so wicked and stupid as to vote in the Tories. Nothing better shows their contempt for ordinary people... 

Just over a week has passed since perhaps the most extraordinary General Election result of modern times, and at last the dust is beginning to settle.  In Westminster, David Cameron’s new all-Conservative government has settled down to business, while a succession of ambitious contenders have set out their stall for the Labour leadership, most of them insisting, not entirely plausibly, that they never agreed with a word Ed Miliband said anyway.

In the real world, most people have simply got on with their lives. Yet in one strange corner of Britain, the campaign is far from over. This is a world in which we are forever poised on the brink of Socialist conversion, the only obstacles are the Right-wing press and the brainwashed masses, and Ed Miliband was the greatest prime minister we never had.

Daily Devotional

 For An Eye to His Glory

"And he requested for himself that he might die."
1 Kings 19:4

Charles H. Spurgeon

It was a remarkable thing that the man who was never to die, for whom God had ordained an infinitely better lot, the man who should be carried to heaven in a chariot of fire, and be translated, that he should not see death--should thus pray, "Let me die, I am no better than my fathers." We have here a memorable proof that God does not always answer prayer in kind, though he always does in effect.  He gave Elias something better than that which he asked for, and thus really heard and answered him.

Strange was it that the lion-hearted Elijah should be so depressed by Jezebel's threat as to ask to die, and blessedly kind was it on the part of our heavenly Father that he did not take his desponding servant at his word.

There is a limit to the doctrine of the prayer of faith.

The Times They are A-Changing

The Slow-Release Poison of Post-Modernism

The question of what changed in society to enable it to develop from mediaevalism to modern economic powerhouses is a fascinating one.  One centrally important change was in the way men thought about the world and their place in it.  Who am I?  Why am I here and alive?  What are my duties and responsibilities?

Medieval man had a set of fairly standard answers to these questions.  Modernist man had a different understanding of life and being, and answered these questions differently.  Post-modern man has a different set of answers again.  The different answers were (and are) all religious in nature. 

The change from medievalism to modernism took place amidst developments in Christian doctrine; those changes in understanding essentially produced what we call the Modern period.

Modernism itself then went through two major developmental stages.  Early modernism was essentially Christian in nature and philosophy: it answered the questions above accordingly.  Later modernism moved away from orthodox Christianity to deistic-atheism, changing its answers to reflect this.  Post-modernism's religion, for its part, is materialistic atheism.  In each of these stages or phases, the questions above have been answered differently. The outcome and results have been very different. 

Charles Taylor documents the post medieval, early modern answers to the questions, who am I? why am I here? and what are my duties and responsibilities?  A major change that moved Europe from mediaevalism to the modern age had to do with "secular" work.  Taylor's is one of the best summaries we have read:

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Letter From Ireland (About Global Persecution of Christians)

‘Eleven Christians Killed Every Hour,’ Says Irish Bishop

by Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D.

According to Bishop John McAreavey, the Chair of the Council for Justice & Peace of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, statistics show that the situation of Christian persecution in the world is far more dire than most people understand.

The bishop called the breadth and scale of the suffering of Christians “unprecedented.”  At least 100,000 Christians are killed every year because of their faith, which amounts to 273 per day, or eleven every hour, McAreavey said, without mentioning those who are “being tortured, imprisoned, exiled, threatened, excluded, attacked and discriminated against on a widespread scale.”

In a sobering presentation before the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade this past week, McAreavey said that Christianity is the most oppressed religion in the world, and the followers of Jesus are actively persecuted in some 110 countries.  More striking still, he contended, according to the International Society for Human Rights, a non-religious organization, “80 percent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed against Christians.”

Daily Devotional

The Freest Love

Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it; yet the LORD set his heart in love upon your fathers and chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as at this day. (Deuteronomy 10:14–15)

John Piper

God’s electing love is absolutely free. It is the gracious overflow of his boundless happiness guided by his infinite wisdom.  Deuteronomy 10:14–15 describes the delight God had in choosing Israel from all the peoples of the earth. Notice two things.

First, notice the contrast between verses 14 and 15. Why does Moses describe the election of Israel against the backdrop of God’s ownership of the whole universe? Why does he say in verse 14, “To God belongs everything in heaven and on earth” and then say in verse 15, “Yet he chose you for his people”?  The reason seems to be to get rid of any notion that God was somehow hedged in to choose this people. The point is to explode the myth that each people has its own god and this god has a right to his own people but no more. The truth is that this is the only true God. He owns everything in the universe and can take any people he wants for his own special possession.

Thus the unspeakably wonderful truth for Israel is that he chose them. He did not have to.

NZ Welfare Reforms Roll On

More, Please . . .

In the realm of social welfare, there are some good things happening in New Zealand.  Whilst it will probably not survive the inevitable return of the Left to government in New Zealand, the following report makes very encouraging reading.  If only we could have thirty years of this, many of our present social problems and ills would be ameliorated.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Two Cheers for Nominal Christianity!

In this post, Russell Moore makes a sharp distinction between Christianity and almost-Christianity. He did so in a way that made me think of the distinction between a great point and almost-a-great-point.

Moore is talking about the results of a Pew Center study which shows that nominal Christianity is taking it on the chin. Christians who actually believe what they say they believe are holding their own, and Moore rejoices in the vibrancy of faithful churches, and rejoices also in the collapse of the ecclesiastical also-rans.
What he says is all quite true, and pretty helpful, and . . . almost a great point. But there is a vast territory to be explored in this sentence of his in the penultimate paragraph. “We’ve been on the wrong side of history since Rome, and it was enough to turn the world upside down.” Right — but what happens in an upside down world? What then?

There is absolutely no way to create a vibrant center without also creating a wanna-be periphery. If there is the vibrant faith that Moore and I both want, then there will be worldly counterfeit versions of it. If there are no worldly counterfeits, then that means there is nothing there worth counterfeiting.

Daily Devotional

Reigning With Christ Jesus

"I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth."
Ecclesiastes 10:7

Charles H. Spurgeon

Upstarts frequently usurp the highest places, while the truly great pine in obscurity. This is a riddle in providence whose solution will one day gladden the hearts of the upright; but it is so common a fact, that none of us should murmur if it should fall to our own lot. When our Lord was upon earth, although he is the Prince of the kings of the earth, yet he walked the footpath of weariness and service as the Servant of servants: what wonder is it if his followers, who are princes of the blood, should also be looked down upon as inferior and contemptible persons?

The world is upside down, and therefore, the first are last and the last first. See how the servile sons of Satan lord it in the earth! What a high horse they ride! How they lift up their horn on high! Haman is in the court, while Mordecai sits in the gate; David wanders on the mountains, while Saul reigns in state; Elijah is complaining in the cave while Jezebel is boasting in the palace; yet who would wish to take the places of the proud rebels? and who, on the other hand, might not envy the despised saints? When the wheel turns, those who are lowest rise, and the highest sink. Patience, then, believer, eternity will right the wrongs of time.

Let us not fall into the error of letting our passions and carnal appetites ride in triumph, while our nobler powers walk in the dust. Grace must reign as a prince, and make the members of the body instruments of righteousness. The Holy Spirit loves order, and he therefore sets our powers and faculties in due rank and place, giving the highest room to those spiritual faculties which link us with the great King; let us not disturb the divine arrangement, but ask for grace that we may keep under our body and bring it into subjection. We were not new created to allow our passions to rule over us, but that we, as kings, may reign in Christ Jesus over the triple kingdom of spirit, soul, and body, to the glory of God the Father.

A Cautionary Tale

Obese on the Taxpayers' Dime

They say that sunlight is the best disinfectant.  Sadly the sunlight is not found too often on the pages and screens of the archaic media.  So, letting the searchlight shine has become a responsibility of the new media.  Here is the latest thrust and parry.

The NZ government has been trying to move the delivery of social services away from bureaucrats and government ministries to the private sector.  The government is attempting to recast its role to be funder and auditor, with the delivery of services contracted out to the private sector.  The rationale behind this change is that historically government bureaucracies have failed systematically and repeatedly to deliver services efficiently.  After all, in this country we have seen  a nationalised train company employing 18,000 people, largely to shuffle paper, not trains.  But more "employees" were being added by the day to help keep the country's unemployed numbers down.  In other words, the train business had become an arm of social welfare services.  [See Richard Prebble's account in I've Been Thinking (Auckland: Seaview Publishing, 1996)]

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

If It Disappears, Resurrect It

Obamacare Exchanges on Life Support

by Michelle Malkin 
May 15, 2015
National Review Online

At a recent White House science fair celebrating inventors, a Girl Scout who helped design a Lego-powered page-turning device asked President Obama what he had ever thought up or prototyped. Stumbling for an answer, he replied: “I came up with things like, you know, health care.” 
Ah, yes. “Health care.” Remember when the president’s signature Obamacare health-insurance exchanges were going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, the remote control, jogger strollers, Siri, the Keurig coffee maker, driverless cars, and Legos all rolled into one? The miraculous, efficient, cost-saving, innovative 21st-century government-run “marketplaces” were supposed to put the “affordable” in Obama’s Affordable Care Act. 
Know-it-all bureaucrats were going to show private companies how to set up better websites (gigglesnort), implement better marketing and outreach (guffaw), provide superior customer service (belly laugh), and eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse (LOLOLOL).

Daily Devotional

No Fickle Lover

"Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee."
Isaiah 41:9

Charles H. Spurgeon

If we have received the grace of God in our hearts, its practical effect has been to make us God's servants. We may be unfaithful servants, we certainly are unprofitable ones, but yet, blessed be his name, we are his servants, wearing his livery, feeding at his table, and obeying his commands. We were once the servants of sin, but he who made us free has now taken us into his family and taught us obedience to his will. We do not serve our Master perfectly, but we would if we could.

As we hear God's voice saying unto us, "Thou art my servant," we can answer with David, "I am thy servant; thou hast loosed my bonds." But the Lord calls us not only his servants, but his chosen ones--"I have chosen thee." We have not chosen him first, but he hath chosen us. If we be God's servants, we were not always so; to sovereign grace the change must be ascribed. The eye of sovereignty singled us out, and the voice of unchanging grace declared, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love."

Long ere time began or space was created God had written upon his heart the names of his elect people, had predestinated them to be conformed unto the image of his Son, and ordained them heirs of all the fulness of his love, his grace, and his glory. What comfort is here!

The End Game

Puffs of Smoke

Long ago, the issue of global warming passed out of the realm of scientific research and inquiry into the realm of propaganda.  A core part of the propaganda campaign to bolster its credibility was to assert scientific (that is, empirical and factual) warrant for global warming being caused by mankind.  But between the assertion and the reality fell the shadow.

Some sceptics have argued that in retrospect anthropogenic (man caused) global warming will be seen as the greatest hoax perpetrated upon human history in the name of pseudo-science.  The key reason for this claim is that the sea of data upon which SS Global Warming sails is largely fabricated.  It is true that such an assertion sounds like a barmy conspiracy theory.  But conspiracies exist.  The question is whether one exists in the case of global warming.

Already there has been evidence.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscor

My Militance

One of the stockbook arguments that liberals use is that conservative militance is “offputting.” By “liberals” I am referring both to those who are openly so, as well as those who have that crisply moderate evangelical shell surrounding a gooey center.

A sure way to identify a liberal disposition is to listen for warnings about hypothetical offenses. But if this were as real a concern as it pretends to be, surely someone would have taken note of the fact that liberal denominations are hemorrhaging all over the floor, while those offputting religious groups are keeping their blood inside the skin, and are continuing to grow. What if the key to growth in the next generation is standing strong against same sex mirage?

Daily Devotional

On Grief

C. S. Lewis

Real sorrow ends neither with a bang nor a whimper. Sometimes, after a spiritual journey like Dante’s, down to the centre and then, terrace by terrace, up the mountain of accepted pain, it may rise into peace—but a peace hardly less severe than itself. Sometimes it remains for life, a puddle in the mind which grows always wider, shallower, and more unwholesome. Sometimes it just peters out, as other moods do. One of these alternatives has grandeur, but not tragic grandeur.

From Experiment in Criticism
Compiled in Words to Live By
Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.  Sourced from BibleGateway.

Forty Years to Figure It Out

It's Time For a Thank Offering

Wonderful progress in the fight to scour the blot of abortion from the landscape was made in the United States this past week.  The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to ban abortion if the unborn child was twenty weeks in gestation or older.  Of course the Bill does not immediately pass into law.  It must firstly be approved by the Senate.  Then it must be signed into law by Pressie Obama, who has already declared that he would veto the Bill.

So, more work must needs be done.  But this is progress nevertheless and the fight was always going to be a long one.  Maggie Gallagher explains the significance of the event:

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Political Circus Maxima

Loons and Bigots

Modern political contests in the West resemble Monty Python's Flying Circus more and more with each passing year.  One of the reasons is that the traditional divides between Left and Right have pretty much broken down.  All mainstream parties are statist in orientation and seek to out-compete by promising to expand the role and power of the state.  It's "deck-chairs on the Titanic" sort-of-stuff. 

The sad reality is that the vast majority of people throughout the West "have no god, but Caesar".  When "conservative" and "right wing" governments win elections to take or retain power, the Left have nowhere to go but into cloud-cuckoo land to explain their losses.  The same phenomenon applies when "left wing" governments win elections and displace "right wing" governments.

Here is an example.  With the recent Conservative election victory in the UK, all sorts of theories are being expounded by the Left to explain their electoral failure.  Usually a conspiracy of some sorts is seen as the real cause of electoral defeat.  One explanation will inevitably blame the interference by the US Republican party in the UK election.  This from the Guardian:
The Conservatives are to draft in a deployment of Republican activists to bolster their efforts in key seats before the UK election.  In an unusual move, a team organised by the US Young Republicans International Committee will arrive on 2 May to help out in the marginal seat of Enfield North, and the constituency of Aylesbury, where the Conservatives face a challenge from the UK Independence party (Ukip), as well as the safer seat of Windsor. The move will be controversial because they are set to campaign though they are not able to vote in the UK.

The Americans will arrive during a campaign in which the Conservatives lack ground troops in tight battleground seats compared with Labour, meaning they are relying on mailshots of election literature and busloads of mostly young Tory activists at weekends known as Team 2015.

The expected arrival of the US activists has infuriated Labour candidates in the targeted seats, who pointed out the Republican party’s opposition to President Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms aimed at improving care for the poorest in society.
The "comments" section under the article--if representing the true heart of the UK Labour Party--shows how the Labour Party core is now evolving into what might be called the lunatic fringe. 
  • Well they've been importing their policies from the Republicans (who get their policies from ALEC and the corporations that fund it) for years so it's not exactly a shock.
  • Worse than that, this is TREASON. Importing lunatics into place that still have sane heads makes it worse.
  • The Tories are subverting democracy in every way imaginable.
  • Foreign activists interfering in the democratic process of a sovereign nation? Well done, Tories. You have sold everything and you're officially bankrupt.
  • Importing thugs from America.
  • Guaranteed to piss off any English voter. Who the hell are these swivel-eyed republican loons telling me to vote toff? I reckon this is a clever ploy by Labour to get more votes. It might just work...
Needless to say, the abiding theme of the commentators is that it is the Young Republicans who are the wacky extremists.

These events, of course, took place before the election.  Now that Labour lost handsomely, the bad result will stand as proof that a deadly conspiracy was inflicted upon the Left by the dark forces of monied evil: the right wing, creationist bigots from America.  Since both parties contest the statist centre, the losing party now has no room to move, except to the fringes and the extremes.   

Daily Devotional

At the Bottom of It All

In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will. (Ephesians 1:5)

John Piper

The experience of Charles Spurgeon is not beyond the ability of any ordinary Christian.  Spurgeon (1834–1892) was a contemporary of George Mueller. He served the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London for over thirty years as the most famous pastor of his day.

His preaching was so powerful that people were converted to Christ every week. His sermons are still in print today and he is held up by many as a model soul–winner.  He recalls an experience when he was sixteen that shaped his life and ministry for the rest of his days.
When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me. I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this.

I can recall the very day and hour when first I received those truths [the doctrine of election] in my own soul — when they were, as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron, and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown on a sudden from a babe into a man — that I had made progress in Scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, that clue to the truth of God.

One week–night, when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher’s sermon, for I did not believe it.

The thought struck me, How did you come to be a Christian? I sought the Lord. But how did you come to seek the Lord? The truth flashed across my mind in a moment — I should not have sought Him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him. I prayed, thought I, but then I asked myself, How came I to pray? I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. How came I to read the Scriptures? I did read them, but what led me to do so?

Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, “I ascribe my change wholly to God.”

Satan's "Finest" Creation

All Is Well

Co-incidental surveys have been conducted in New Zealand and the United States showing that "religion" amongst the population is declining.  In our capital city, Wellington a survey has reported that fifty percent of people deny the existence of any god whatsoever.  This is not at all surprising.  New Zealand is one of the most secular countries in the world.  Similarly the number of Unbelievers is reported to be increasing in the United States.

None of this catches us by surprise.  Atheistic secularism is Satan's last throw of the dice, his greatest and most powerful achievement, as it were.  When a country is oppressed with evil spirits, evil is tangible.  It is felt. Fear--genuine, righteous fear--drives many people to Christ.  But the culture most under the control of the Great Dissembler, the Liar from the beginning, is the culture which denies the very existence of  the Devil.

Vern Poythress puts it this way:

Friday, 15 May 2015

Letter From the UK (About Tons of Polar Ice)

What The BBC Doesn’t Want You To Know About Polar Ice

Global Warming? Global Sea Ice Levels Defy Alarmist Predictions
Daily Caller

The BBC’s Science Editor David Shukman recently got back from an expedition to the high Arctic. Amazingly, despite having gone all that way, he seems completely to have missed the big story: that contrary to the doomsday predictions we’ve been hearing from all the experts over the last few years the ice up there seems to be getting thicker and thicker.

Here, courtesy of Paul Homewood at Notalotofpeopleknowthat is the evidence.

Multi-year ice in the Arctic Ocean is now at its highest levels since the winter of 2007.


Volume too has been growing rapidly – and is now back at 2006 levels

But this wasn’t what Shukman told BBC viewers in his report. On the contrary, Shukman’s version of events could scarcely have been more different.
Changes in the Arctic Ocean are so profound that the region is entering what amounts to “a new era”, according to Norwegian scientists.  A switch from a permanent cover of thick ice to a new state where thinner ice vanishes in the summer will have far-reaching implications, they say.
Ooh. Scary.  But you wait for the killer evidence that backs up these extravagant claims. And instead what you get is flannel like this, from the Norwegian Polar Institute’s Jan-Gunnar Winther:

Daily Devotional

Co-Inheriting the World

"Joint heirs with Christ."
Romans 8:17

Charles H. Spurgeon

The boundless realms of his Father's universe are Christ's by prescriptive right. As "heir of all things," he is the sole proprietor of the vast creation of God, and he has admitted us to claim the whole as ours, by virtue of that deed of joint-heirship which the Lord hath ratified with his chosen people.

The golden streets of paradise, the pearly gates, the river of life, the transcendent bliss, and the unutterable glory, are, by our blessed Lord, made over to us for our everlasting possession. All that he has he shares with his people. The crown royal he has placed upon the head of his Church, appointing her a kingdom, and calling her sons a royal priesthood, a generation of priests and kings.

He uncrowned himself that we might have a coronation of glory; he would not sit upon his own throne until he had procured a place upon it for all who overcome by his blood. Crown the head and the whole body shares the honour. Behold here the reward of every Christian conqueror! Christ's throne, crown, sceptre, palace, treasure, robes, heritage, are yours. Far superior to the jealousy, selfishness, and greed, which admit of no participation of their advantages, Christ deems his happiness completed by his people sharing it. "The glory which thou gavest me have I given them." "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."

The smiles of his Father are all the sweeter to him, because his people share them. The honours of his kingdom are more pleasing, because his people appear with him in glory. More valuable to him are his conquests, since they have taught his people to overcome. He delights in his throne, because on it there is a place for them. He rejoices in his royal robes, since over them his skirts are spread. He delights the more in his joy, because he calls them to enter into it.

Knowing One's Limitations

A Mistake

It's encouraging to see some Republican candidates for US President articulating a much, much more responsible doctrine of war.  We have often noted in this blog that the United States has shed more blood in warfare than any other nation on the globe over the past fifty years.  Instead of talking softly and carrying a big stick, it has shouted loudly and used a stick to kill people all over the world. 

Christians often get confused over war.  Because we worship and serve the Prince of Peace, some Christians unfaithfully and ignorantly elide into pacifism.  They forget that the Prince ordained the magistrate to bear a sword to punish evil doers.  Moreover, because there are many evils in the world, and the US has the most powerful, global military force, other Christians think it right to use the nation's military might to solve problems and conflicts anywhere on the globe.  "Because we can, we should" is the argument.  This latter folly represents naivete and arrogance way beyond the norm. 

Remember when President Obama decided that the US had to "nation-build" in Afghanistan.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Letter From London (About The Real Problem in Palestine)

Daily Devotional

Go and Do It

C. S. Lewis

Very often the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you had it already. That is why children’s games are so important. They are always pretending to be grown-ups—playing soldiers, playing shop. But all the time, they are hardening their muscles and sharpening their wits so that the pretence of being grown-up helps them to grow up in earnest.

Now, the moment you realise ‘Here I am, dressing up as Christ,’ it is extremely likely that you will see at once some way in which at that very moment the pretence could be made less of a pretence and more of a reality. You will find several things going on in your mind which would not be going on there if you were really a son of God. Well, stop them. Or you may realise that, instead of saying your prayers, you ought to be downstairs writing a letter, or helping your wife to wash- up. Well, go and do it.

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.

Little Petal

Thin Skinned Media

The NZ Herald is no grey lady.  True, its moniker back in the day used to be "Granny Herald".  Venerable, stable, weighty.  But like many media it has been outpaced and outdistanced by the mass democratisation effect made possible by emerging electronic media.  Like most "mainstream" media it has responded by cutting costs (usually quality reporting staff are the first to go) and by sensationalising the news to attract readers.  Granny Herald has morphed into a bimbo with diamonds on the souls of her shoes. 

Breathless sensationalism is now the staple diet.  Virtually every news story has to be twisted to allude to a  subterranean scandal.  But recently it has sunk to new levels.  It has been caught editing readers' letters to the Editor critical of the paper's performance to blunt the criticism and cast itself in a more favourable light.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Deadly Internationalism

Calling Turtle Bay . . . Are You Receiving?

European nations have no sovereignty left.  It's substantially been transferred to the European Union.  And the European Union, for its part, has substantially transferred it to the UN.

The following paragraph in the Guardian about the proposed actions and policy with respect to the wave of people "migrating" to Europe via smugglers plying their evil trade of human trafficking says it all:
The EU is seeking UN approval to take military action in the Mediterranean against people smugglers including the destruction of boats used by gangs operating out of Libya. France and the UK are due to formally propose the use of military action to the UN security council, although the UN’s secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has already warned against such a move. [Guardian]
Anyone care to speculate about how long it will take the UN to consider the matter and reach a decision?  Anyone care to put a number on how many more lives of desperate, duped innocents will be lost in the Med over this deadly, misconceived  monstrosity? 

Daily Devotional


"Only be thou strong and very courageous."
Joshua 1:7

Charles H. Spurgeon

Our God's tender love for his servants makes him concerned for the state of their inward feelings. He desires them to be of good courage. Some esteem it a small thing for a believer to be vexed with doubts and fears, but God thinks not so.

From this text it is plain that our Master would not have us entangled with fears. He would have us without carefulness, without doubt, without cowardice. Our Master does not think so lightly of our unbelief as we do. When we are desponding we are subject to a grievous malady, not to be trifled with, but to be carried at once to the beloved Physician. Our Lord loveth not to see our countenance sad. It was a law of Ahasuerus that no one should come into the king's court dressed in mourning: this is not the law of the King of kings, for we may come mourning as we are; but still he would have us put off the spirit of heaviness, and put on the garment of praise, for there is much reason to rejoice.

The Christian man ought to be of a courageous spirit, in order that he may glorify the Lord by enduring trials in an heroic manner. If he be fearful and fainthearted, it will dishonour his God. Besides, what a bad example it is. This disease of doubtfulness and discouragement is an epidemic which soon spreads amongst the Lord's flock. One downcast believer makes twenty souls sad. Moreover, unless your courage is kept up, Satan will be too much for you. Let your spirit be joyful in God your Saviour, the joy of the Lord shall be your strength, and no fiend of hell shall make headway against you; but cowardice throws down the banner. Moreover, labour is light to a man of cheerful spirit; and success waits upon cheerfulness. The man who toils, rejoicing in his God, believing with all his heart, has success guaranteed.

He who sows in hope shall reap in joy; therefore, dear reader, "be thou strong, and very courageous."

Bearing God's Image

Transcending to Abuse

Christians believe in the dignity of Man.  They believe in the glory of Man.  Christians believe--as true truth--that man is the only creature on this planet made in the image of God Himself.  Christians believe this astounding truth not because they think it is a good idea, but because God has revealed it to be so.
Then God said, "let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  [Genesis 1: 26-27]
There are many capabilities and abilities possessed by human beings that other creatures do not have.  All of them testify to our being in the image of God Himself.  Vern Poythress gives us one example:

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

We Will Not . . .

Dobson: 'Fall of Western Civilization' at Hand

'Barring a miracle, the family will likely crumble'

Bob Unruh

Dr. James Dobson, who founded the highly influential groups Focus on the Family and Family Research Council and now runs Family Talk Radio, is warning that if the U.S. Supreme Court redefines marriage as analysts predict, the ruling will presage the “fall of Western civilization.”  “I do not recall a time when the institutions of marriage and the family have faced such peril, or when the forces arrayed against them were more formidable or determined,” he writes in a letter distributed to his hundreds of thousands of supporters.

“Barring a miracle, the family that has existed since antiquity will likely crumble, presaging the fall of Western civilization itself. This is a time for concerted prayer, divine wisdom and greater courage than we have ever been called upon to exercise,” he writes. . . .

“We … are not simply ‘slouching toward Gomorrah,’ as Judge Robert Bork warned in his best-selling book; we are hurtling toward it,” he writes. “The old earthen dam that has held and protected the reservoir of Judeo-Christian values since the days of our Founding Fathers has given way.”

Daily Devotional

Programmatic Christianity

TO MRS. JOHNSON: On God’s unique way with each soul, even in the pattern of conversion; and on various Christian nonessentials.

C. S. Lewis

2 March 1955

It is right and inevitable that we should be much concerned about the salvation of those we love. But we must be careful not to expect or demand that their salvation should conform to some ready-made pattern of our own. Some Protestant sects have gone very wrong about this. They have a whole programme of ‘conviction’, ‘conversion,’ et cetera, marked out, the same for everyone, and will not believe that anyone can be saved who doesn’t go through it ‘just so’. But (see the last chapter of Problem of Pain) God has His own unique way with each soul.

There is no evidence that St. John even underwent the same kind of ‘conversion’ as St. Paul. It’s not essential to believe in the devil; and I’m sure a man can get to Heaven without being accurate about Methuselah’s age. Also, as MacDonald says, ‘the time for saying comes seldom, the time for being is always there.’ What we practice, not (save at rare intervals) what we preach, is usually our great contribution to the conversion of others.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III
Compiled in Yours, Jack
The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume III: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C. S. Lewis. Copyright © 2008 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.  Sourced from BibleGateway.

Licensing Lusts

The Unbelieving Commonwealth

Christians believe in universal government.  The Christian commonwealth or Christendom is a society in which government is ubiquitous.  But--and this is the telling point--Christians also believe in very limited civil government.  The magistrate, the State, and the judicial powers play a vital role in a Christian commonwealth but it is very limited and focused upon the punishment of evil doers and the administration of just judgment in civil disputes.

But government functions ubiquitously throughout society in a Christian commonwealth.