Friday, 31 July 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Just Terrifgggkkkk . . .


When it comes to our interactions with unbelievers, we have two scriptural requirements we have to keep in mind. We have to do both of these things at the same time, which presents a monumental challenge to the tidy-minded. The question is this — do we share table companionship with unbelievers and sinners? This question is an urgent one because of the current full court press coming from the totalitolerance brigade. And the answer of course is that we certainly may, and we must not.

And behold, Levi threw a bash . . .
And behold, Levi threw a bash . . .
It is comparable to those two verses in Proverbs that are side by side:

“Answer not a fool according to his folly, Lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own conceit” (Prov. 26:4–5).

Do not get down on a fool’s level because you don’t want to become a fool yourself. Make sure you answer a fool at that level lest he walk away thinking he won the exchange. But when do you do which? You measure by the result.

Daily Devotional

Ultimate Selfishness

Screwtape reveals Hell’s intentions for human marriage:

C. S. Lewis

The Enemy’s demand on humans takes the form of a dilemma; either complete abstinence or unmitigated monogamy. Ever since our Father’s first great victory, we have rendered the former very difficult to them.

The latter, for the last few centuries, we have been closing up as a way of escape. We have done this through the poets and novelists by persuading the humans that a curious, and usually shortlived, experience which they call ‘being in love’ is the only respectable ground for marriage; that marriage can, and ought to, render this excitement permanent; and that a marriage which does not do so is no longer binding.

This idea is our parody of an idea that came from the Enemy. The whole philosophy of Hell rests on recognition of the axiom that one thing is not another thing, and, specially, that one self is not another self. My good is my good and your good is yours. What one gains another loses. Even an inanimate object is what it is by excluding all other objects from the space it occupies; if it expands, it does so by thrusting other objects aside or by absorbing them. A self does the same. With beasts the absorption takes the form of eating; for us, it means the sucking of will and freedom out of a weaker self into a stronger. ‘To be’ means ‘to be in competition’.

From The Screwtape Letters
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis
The Screwtape Letters. Copyright © 1942, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright restored © 1996 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.

Habermas Versus Merkel

Why "Europism" is a Very Bad Idea

Taken as a whole, European intellectuals are not known for their clarity, nor even their ability to reason logically.  Rather, they take refuge in generalisations couched in vague polysyllabic terms.  From Kant to Heidegger to Sartre and to Jergen Habermas the trail of confused obfuscation is well marked.

Habermas has been grandly described as "one of the most influential contemporary European intellectuals" [The Guardian] which probably arises out of most people struggling to understand what he is saying.  One thing is clear, however.  Like most continental philosophers, Habermas is decidedly anti-democractic and elitist.  The common people are not to be trusted.  The intellectuals know best.

Habermas has argued for a new kind of politics which needs to play out in a different kind of arena.  There is such a thing as "the public square" where political debates and discussions need to take place where all accept certain fundamental constructions that limit and direct the discussion.  Self, private opinions, individual identities--all need to be laid aside in this more neutral "public sphere".  This had all led Habermas to advocate for an undemocratic, imperial Europe.  He is sure that everyone who enters and participates in his "public sphere" will end up thinking the same way he does.  Such a sentiment is elitist at its core.

Like many post-war German intellectuals there is a strong streak of guilt over the spectre of Nazism.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Obama Administration Endorses Trafficking in Babies

"We Will Not Defund Planned Parenthood" 

Steven Ertelt

Just three days after saying that Planned Parenthood’s selling the body parts of aborted babies is “ethical,” President Barack Obama’s top spokesman this afternoon cut off a reporter and refused to discuss the issue further. The Obama official also confirmed President Obama will not agree to cut off taxpayer funding of the abortion company over the shocking news. Last week, Obama’s top spokesman today defended the Planned Parenthood abortion business after a shocking new expose’ video caught Planned Parenthood’s top doctor describing how the abortion business sells the body parts of aborted babies.

As LifeNews reported, new undercover footage shows Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, describing how Planned Parenthood sells the body parts of aborted unborn children and admitting she uses partial-birth abortions to supply intact body parts. Nucatola is an Obama administration adviser.

Obama spokesman Josh Ernest defended the abortion giant, despite not having seen the video.

Daily Devotional

Continually In His Favour

"Nevertheless I am continually with thee."
Psalm 73:23

Charles H. Spurgeon

"Nevertheless,"--As if, notwithstanding all the foolishness and ignorance which David had just been confessing to God, not one atom the less was it true and certain that David was saved and accepted, and that the blessing of being constantly in God's presence was undoubtedly his. Fully conscious of his own lost estate, and of the deceitfulness and vileness of his nature, yet, by a glorious outburst of faith, he sings "nevertheless I am continually with thee."

Believer, you are forced to enter into Asaph's confession and acknowledgment, endeavour in like spirit to say "nevertheless, since I belong to Christ I am continually with God!" By this is meant continually upon his mind, he is always thinking of me for my good. Continually before his eye;--the eye of the Lord never sleepeth, but is perpetually watching over my welfare. Continually in his hand, so that none shall be able to pluck me thence. Continually on his heart, worn there as a memorial, even as the high priest bore the names of the twelve tribes upon his heart forever. Thou always thinkest of me, O God.

The bowels of thy love continually yearn towards me. Thou art always making providence work for my good. Thou hast set me as a signet upon thine arm; thy love is strong as death, many waters cannot quench it; neither can the floods drown it. Surprising grace! Thou seest me in Christ, and though in myself abhorred, thou beholdest me as wearing Christ's garments, and washed in his blood, and thus I stand accepted in thy presence. I am thus continually in thy favour--"continually with thee."

Here is comfort for the tried and afflicted soul; vexed with the tempest within--look at the calm without. "Nevertheless"--O say it in thy heart, and take the peace it gives. "Nevertheless I am continually with thee."

More on the Maori Language

The Sad Fate of the Dodo

Making Maori an official language of the country and committing millions of tax-extracted State money to the propagation and teaching of Te Reo have had the unintended consequence of seeing a decline in Te Reo competence and use.  In effect, it has removed the language out of its cultural context--and without that life force it cannot survive.

Desperate calls for Te Reo to be made compulsory in all government schools represents a doubling down on folly and will end up doing even more damage to the language--just as facility in reading, writing, and maths has declined under the intrinsic incompetence of compulsory government education.  Since the government school system makes a virtue out of teaching pupils nothing but what they themselves want to learn, what hope is there for the Maori language if it becomes subject to such pedagogical inanity?

Professor Paul Moon--an expert on Maori and the NZ colonial period--has written an excellent piece on the Maori language and its prospects.  He sets it in the broader context of the extensive decline and extinction of languages over the last century.  [NZ Herald]  He asserts that this bleak general trend is worsening.  A key issue is who ends up speaking the language and the brute reality is that Maori has not broken out of its ethnic constraints. It remains a race-based language, unable to break out of its cultural constraints.  Other languages have broken that barrier and proved to be more acquisitive of speakers and more dynamic in adjustment and change.
Holding Maori Language Week in the chill of winter somehow makes the challenges that Te Reo face seem that much bleaker.  It's certainly a tough world out there for minority languages, especially those battling against the relentless onslaught of English.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The Ugly Trade

Tipping Point?

By Casey Mattox
Alliance Defending Freedom

A second video released by the Center for Medical Progress shows Dr. Mary Gatter, President of the Planned Parenthood Medical Directors’ Council haggling over prices for baby parts. She suggests that she can use a “less crunchy technique” to preserve organs of babies killed during an abortion. Inviting the person posing as a harvester to name his price she says, “I want a Lamborghini!”

This follows on last week’s video of Planned Parenthood’s Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, describing what sounds like an illegal partial birth abortion to obtain intact baby organs for buyers.

Planned Parenthood grosses well over $1 billion annually, half of that from taxpayers. Will these videos change things?

Daily Devotional

What It Means to Love Money

The love of money is the root of all evils. (1 Timothy 6:10)

John Piper

What did Paul mean when he wrote this? He couldn’t have meant that money is always on your mind when you sin. A lot of sin happens when we are not thinking about money.  My suggestion is this: he meant that all the evils in the world come from a certain kind of heart, namely, the kind of heart that loves money.

Now what does it mean to love money? It doesn’t mean to admire the green paper or the copper coins or the silver shekels. To know what it means to love money, you have to ask, What is money? I would answer that question like this: Money is simply a symbol that stands for human resources. Money stands for what you can get from man instead of God.

God deals in the currency of grace, not money: “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!” (Isaiah 55:1). Money is the currency of human resources. So the heart that loves money is a heart that pins its hopes, and pursues its pleasures, and puts its trust in what human resources can offer.

So the love of money is virtually the same as faith in money — belief (trust, confidence, assurance) that money will meet your needs and make you happy.  Love of money is the alternative to faith in God’s future grace. It is faith in future human resources. Therefore the love of money, or trust in money, is the underside of unbelief in the promises of God. Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters . . . You cannot serve God and money.”

You can’t trust in God and in money at the same time. Belief in one is unbelief in the other. A heart that loves money — that banks on money for happiness — is not banking on the future grace of God for satisfaction.

Low Hanging Fruit

Speaking in Klingon At a Federation Conference

The social ethic of free speech can only flourish within a broader, deeper religious context.  It is always messy.  Those who desire a utopia on earth, created and sustained by law, end up destroying the liberty rights of free speech. 

The problem lies here.  Free speech ends up tolerating evil as well as good.  Worse, it ends up fostering evil.  Because all men are evil, born in sin, free speech necessarily gives opportunity and, therefore encouragement, to evil thoughts, sentiments, words--and eventually acts.  Language is powerful.  Language and human thought motivate to action.  Evil speech, therefore, always ends in propagating evil acts in a community.  The ethics of free speech argue that such bad consequences are a worthwhile trade-off in order to be free and live in a free society.

Secular society, however, knows only the dead weight of the law, administered by the State, when it comes to controlling free speech.  In the secularist utopia, the law establishes the right of free speech.  The law defines, rules and regulates free speech.  But the State is also the agent of punishment for crime.  The law ends up crushing free speech because the secularist law refers only to itself as the highest ethic when it comes to deciding what speech to tolerate and what speech to repress and punish.  Secularist utopias have no centre beyond the law of the State: therefore, in the end, liberty of conscience and the ethic of free speech cannot survive. Everything kind of speech becomes constrained by the demand to submit to the law.  

We have been afforded a real life example of the unsustainable tensions over free speech in a secular society.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Their Respective Beheadings


We do not yet know who the nominees for the two major political parties will be. Hillary is supposed to be a lock, although in my view there are significant signs of trouble. On the Republican side, they not only have a very deep bench, they also have a handful who ought not to have made the team, including a hot dog vendor, who is quite good at that I hear.High Double Standards

But regardless who the two candidates are, the current job of every pro-life American is to continue to apply public pressure across the board on the ghastly reality of Planned Parenthood’s body parts emporium. The pressure has to be unrelenting, constant, focused, and hot. If we do what we now have a plain opportunity to do, we can make the hideous strength of Planned Parenthood one of the central issues of the presidential campaign. If that happens, then it is likely that the choice will come down to a candidate who wants the DOJ to continue investigating the Center for Medical Progress and a candidate who promises to give David Daleiden at CMP the Medal of Freedom. There really is no middle ground on this.

And Obama’s DOJ has already opened an investigation — not of the organization that is selling baby heads, of course not, but of the organization that revealed them to be doing so.

Daily Devotional

Preach to Yourself

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. (Psalm 42:11)

John Piper

We must learn to fight despondency. The fight is a fight of faith in future grace. It is fought by preaching truth to ourselves about God and his promised future.

This is what the psalmist does in Psalm 42. The psalmist preaches to his troubled soul. He scolds himself and argues with himself. And his main argument is future grace: “Hope in God! — Trust in what God will be for you in the future. A day of praise is coming. The presence of the Lord will be all the help you need. And he has promised to be with us forever.”

Martyn Lloyd-Jones believes this issue of preaching truth to ourselves about God’s future grace is all-important in overcoming spiritual depression.
Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking . . . yourself is talking to you!
The battle against despondency is a battle to believe the promises of God. And that belief in God’s future grace comes by hearing the Word. And so preaching to ourselves is at the heart of the battle.

Field of Dreams

Build It and They Will Come

The attempt to revive the Maori language, making New Zealand a genuinely bi-lingual nation was the stuff of dreams.  But, the protagonists of the dream made a fatal tactical mistake.  Substituting appearance and image for reality, they turned to the State.  By accessing taxpayer funding, Maori language instruction from pre-school onwards would ensure the survival and prospering of the Te Reo--or so all parties believed. 

But "top down" in such matters never works.  If a culture is to survive, if a language is to continue, it needs to be inculcated in hearth and home from parents to children.  No amount of state funded schooling is going to make up for parental neglect.  The old adage, "the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world" still holds. 

The state funded initiative to revive the Maori language through government schools has been running for forty years--almost half a century.  The results?  Dr Timoti Karetu is described as one of the leading experts on the Maori language.  He has issued a report card on how the language is progressing.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Letter From the UK (About Cameron's Sinister Version of Free Speech)

The Conservative Party has just introduced thought policing to the UK

If this really is the struggle of our generation, it just got off to a bad start 

Brendan O'Neill
The Telegraph 

There is a dark, twisted irony to David Cameron's tub-thumping speech against the poison of extremism. The PM presents himself as standing up for British values yet he is demolishing what ought to be the most important British value of all: freedom of speech.
Cameron let rip on Isil and its apologists. In a wide-ranging speech he had a pop at everyone from internet companies that fail to protect web-surfers from violent Islamist videos to the National Union of Students, whose alliance with Cage, the jihadi-sympathising charity, he described as shameful.He talked about the failure of integration, and how this left some sections of certain British communities out in the cold — where conspiracy theories about 9/11 can take hold and where the propaganda of Isil can seem like a “glamorous" alternative to life in Blighty.  We must remind these people, and everyone, that Britain remains a “beacon to the world”, said Cameron. We have good values and we should big them up, he said, in the "struggle of our generation” — the struggle against violent Islamist extremism. 

Yet elsewhere in the speech, a mere few breaths after talking about Britain’s beacon status, Cameron showed just how cavalier he is about freedom of speech — surely the most important values in any society that considers itself enlightened.

Daily Devotional

Our Iniquity is Gone

"The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
1 John 1:7

Charles H. Spurgeon

"Cleanseth," says the text--not "shall cleanse." There are multitudes who think that as a dying hope they may look forward to pardon. Oh! how infinitely better to have cleansing now than to depend on the bare possibility of forgiveness when I come to die. Some imagine that a sense of pardon is an attainment only obtainable after many years of Christian experience. But forgiveness of sin is a present thing--a privilege for this day, a joy for this very hour. The moment a sinner trusts Jesus he is fully forgiven.

The text, being written in the present tense, also indicates continuance; it was "cleanseth" yesterday, it is "cleanseth" today, it will be "cleanseth" tomorrow: it will be always so with you, Christian, until you cross the river; every hour you may come to this fountain, for it cleanseth still. Notice, likewise, the completeness of the cleansing, "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin"--not only from sin, but "from all sin." Reader, I cannot tell you the exceeding sweetness of this word, but I pray God the Holy Ghost to give you a taste of it. Manifold are our sins against God. Whether the bill be little or great, the same receipt can discharge one as the other.

The blood of Jesus Christ is as blessed and divine a payment for the transgressions of blaspheming Peter as for the shortcomings of loving John; our iniquity is gone, all gone at once, and all gone forever. Blessed completeness! What a sweet theme to dwell upon as one gives himself to sleep.
"Sins against a holy God;
Sins against his righteous laws;
Sins against his love, his blood;
Sins against his name and cause;
Sins immense as is the sea-
From them all he cleanseth me."

Cleansing the Islamic Tradition

Facing Up

While the West continues to temporize and sing itself just-so ditties over Islam,  Islamic adherents themselves are forming other views about their religion.  The latest is a Jordanian lawyer, who acknowledges there is a problem with Islam itself. 

‘We have a problem’

By Zaid Nabulsi
Feb 10, 2015
The Jordan Times

Enough is enough. It is time to speak out.

“Islam is innocent” is an incomplete sentence. Introspection is needed, for, if we shy away from reality, the alternative will be more images like those we witnessed last Tuesday night, when brave Lt. Muath Al Kasasbeh was burnt to death in a cage.

The inconvenient truth that is overlooked or willfully ignored by apologists for the indefensible is the fact that Wahabism, the cult of mediaeval austerity founded by Ibn Abdul Wahab (1703-1792), has over the last half century been exported to every mosque and school throughout the Muslim world until it completely enveloped mainstream Sunni Islamic teachings.

Wahabism has entirely replaced, and become, Sunni Islam; the two cannot be told apart anymore.

Some Wahabist teachings, which have permeated the air we breathe in the Muslim world, are simply irreconcilable with decent human values, especially the ones that declare that every non-Wahabist is a disposable body whose bloodletting is unproblematic.

So enough of this burial of our heads in the sand.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

An Industry Which Can be Crushed

Planned Parenthood Has Handed GOP Candidates a Gift — They’re Running with It

The era of Todd Akin-ism may be over.  

By Ian Tuttle

National Review Online

Abortion is back in the news in a big way, thanks to two harrowing videos from the Center for Medical Progress. It turns out there is such a thing as bad publicity — for example, the revelation that your taxpayer-subsidized “women’s health” operation has been trafficking in the remains of aborted babies, and that you “huddle” in the morning to figure out how many babies you need to crush and crunch” to fill orders. This is, then, prime time for left-wing media types to remind voters that, don’t you know?!, when it comes to abortions these Republicans are crazy! So it comes as a delight to see that Republican presidential candidates are not having it.

Last week, Rick Perry stopped by Morning Joe, where Mark Halperin — best known of late for trying to test Ted Cruz’s Cuban bona fides — thought he’d put Perry’s abortion “extremism” on display:

Daily Devotional

Rats in the Cellar

C. S. Lewis

We begin to notice, besides our particular sinful acts, our sinfulness; begin to be alarmed not only about what we do, but about what we are. This may sound rather difficult, so I will try to make it clear from my own case. When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed. And the excuse that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected; I was caught off my guard, I had not time to collect myself.

Now that may be an extenuating circumstance as regards those particular acts: they would obviously be worse if they had been deliberate and premeditated. On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding.

In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.

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.

No Fatal Wounds Possible

The Beginning of the End

When Rommel was finally defeated in North Africa, Winston Churchill uttered his memorable sentiment to the effect that  this was not the end.  Nor was it the beginning of the end.  It was perhaps the end of the beginning.

Christians operate in a similar, yet different frame of mind.  Human history is a war between two human races: those called the "seed of the woman", and those called the "seed of the serpent".  What divides these two seeds (or human races) is not their respective goodness, for "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)  The "seed of the woman" are those who have repented of sin and have believed in Christ as their Saviour and Lord.

So, two human races.  Not distinguishable by race, ethnicity, intelligence, appearance, or in any other way, except that one race has sworn loyalty and devotion to Christ; the other has not, and in fact refused to do so, leaving their ultimate loyalty to man.

In the struggle between these two for the control of the world (for this is what is at stake) the seed of the woman, known as Christ-ones or Christians, often are in a minority, and face reverses on every side.  But the Head of the new redeemed human race is the Resurrected One, and out of death comes life.  It is His way.  But there is something else.  The decisive battle has already been won.  Christ faced Satan at Calvary and defeated him--once, and for all time.  The god of this world had been cast down and broken.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Police Doing Their Lawful Duty

Some Good Apples Remain in the Barrel

We have been following various stories emanating from the UK in which authorities turned a blind eye to gross evils and crimes.  Rotherham has become a by-word for criminal negligence on the part of the police, the local councils, and bureaucrats.

But this malaise is, thankfully, not yet universal in Britain.  Consider the following story:

Daily Devotional

God’s Grace in Spiritual Gifts

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace. (1 Peter 4:10)

John Piper

Future grace is “varied grace.” It comes in many colors and shapes and sizes. This is one of the reasons spiritual gifts in the body are so diverse. The prism of your life will refract one of the colors of grace that would never come through my prism.

There are as many future graces as there are needs in the body of Christ — and more. The purpose of spiritual gifts is to receive and dispense the future grace of God to those needs.  But someone may ask, “Why do you take Peter to refer to future grace? Doesn’t a steward manage a household store that is already on hand?”

The main reason I take Peter to refer to future grace is because the next verse illustrates how this works, and the reference there is ongoing supplies of future grace. He says, “Whoever serves . . . by the strength that God supplies — in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11).  When you fulfill your spiritual gift to serve someone tomorrow, you will be serving “by the strength that God supplies” tomorrow. The word is supplies, not supplied.

God goes on, day-by-day, moment-by-moment, supplying the “strength” in which we minister.

Throwing Off the Shackles

The Last Stage of Idolatry

Idolatry is the act of worshipping or devoting oneself to the creation, not the Creator.  It is the most foolish act humans can do.  Historically it has taken two generic forms.  The first, and most common, is the worship of images or idols, made by man, but said to represent a force or being beyond man.  This is the kind we normally associate with the noun, idolatry.  But there have been ages when an even more depraved, crass idolatry has taken hold.  It is the devotion to the creator of the idol--that is, man himself.  In other words, this rarer version of idolatry more closely represents the heart of the matter.  Whilst all idolatry is an implicit worship of man, the latter, rarer kind makes the devotion to man overt and explicit. It is idolatry in its most consistent, realized form.

The first time this more depraved version of idolatry emerged in human history was at the Tower of Babel.  The huge tower was built in order for mankind to "make a name for ourselves." (Genesis 11:4)  God's judgement fell because the unified devotion to man and his "name" would mean that there would be no restraint nor restriction upon their capability to devise and execute evil.

"Normal" idolatry operates in a world of superstition and fear.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow


By now most of you have seen the video sting of Deborah Nucatola, a high placed operative in Planned Parenthood, discussing PP’s brisk trade in fetal body parts. If you haven’t, the video is embedded below.

What will it take before that which is self-evident is treated as self-evident?
What will it take before that which is self-evident is treated as self-evident?
That video perfectly captures the insolence of our secularist elites. The fact that she could discuss the sale and distribution of livers, hearts, and baby heads, and do it over wine and salad, has left everyone with a functioning conscience aghast. She looks like a nice lady, and Kermit Gosnell looked like a creepy abortion doctor, and so it just goes to show. The whole thing is vile. The face of evil looks out at America from the mirror — but we have not yet recognized it.

C.S. Lewis described modern evil in this way:

Daily Devotional

Glory in Adversity

"The Lord our God hath shewed us his glory."
Deuteronomy 5:24

Charles H. Spurgeon

God's great design in all his works is the manifestation of his own glory. Any aim less than this were unworthy of himself. But how shall the glory of God be manifested to such fallen creatures as we are? Man's eye is not single, he has ever a side glance towards his own honour, has too high an estimate of his own powers, and so is not qualified to behold the glory of the Lord.

It is clear, then, that self must stand out of the way, that there may be room for God to be exalted; and this is the reason why he bringeth his people ofttimes into straits and difficulties, that, being made conscious of their own folly and weakness, they may be fitted to behold the majesty of God when he comes forth to work their deliverance. He whose life is one even and smooth path, will see but little of the glory of the Lord, for he has few occasions of self-emptying, and hence, but little fitness for being filled with the revelation of God.

They who navigate little streams and shallow creeks, know but little of the God of tempests; but they who "do business in great waters," these see his "wonders in the deep." Among the huge Atlantic-waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach, we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man.

Thank God, then, if you have been led by a rough road: it is this which has given you your experience of God's greatness and lovingkindness. Your troubles have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge to be gained by no other means: your trials have been the cleft of the rock in which Jehovah has set you, as he did his servant Moses, that you might behold his glory as it passed by.

Praise God that you have not been left to the darkness and ignorance which continued prosperity might have involved, but that in the great fight of affliction, you have been capacitated for the outshinings of his glory in his wonderful dealings with you.

Hunger Is a Great Discipline

Indulgent Parenting Leads to a Nanny State

There are at least two perspective on offer when it comes to the nurture and raising of children: the first is the world-views requiring parental indulgence; the second is world views requiring parental discipline.

Whilst it is a generalisation-- we trust not a hasty one--the Chattering Classes and the Commentariat generally favour parental and societal indulgence when it comes to raising children.  The little tykes are assumed to be nascent adults and the more they are treated as if they were adults, the more quickly they will mature.  In contrast, those adults whose parenting involves consistent rules, structure, and discipline are regarded as harmful agents, implicitly guilty of child abuse.

A recent newspaper piece illustrates this great divide.  The issue was food--the right food--for children.  Some parents complain that whilst they know sugar-saturated food is bad for their bairns, the whole world conspires against them

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Letter From America (About Banal Evil)

Sipping Wine, Selling Baby Corpses
By Michelle Malkin

National Review Online

Hannibal Lecter ain’t got nothing on the profit-maximizing abortion ghoul caught on tape hawking aborted baby parts as she swilled wine and nibbled on a gourmet salad.

In newly released undercover footage from the pro-life Center for Medical Progress, seasoned abortionist Dr. Deborah Nucatola, who serves as national senior director of “medical services” at Planned Parenthood, chitter-chattered eagerly about fulfilling the bloodthirsty demand for “intact hearts,” “lower extremities” and lungs.  Price tag? “You know, I would throw a number out,” she babbled breezily as she twirled her fork. “I would say it’s probably anywhere from $30 to $100” per specimen.

Hollywood couldn’t conjure monsters this chillingly, banally evil.

Daily Devotional

Energy for Today’s To-Dos

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12–13)

John Piper

God is the decisive worker here. He wills and he works for his good pleasure. But believing this does not make Christians passive. It makes them hopeful and energetic and courageous.  Each day there is a work to be done in our special ministry. Paul commands us to work at doing it. But he tells us how to do it in the power of future grace: believe the promise that in this day God will be at work in you to will and work for his good pleasure.

It is God himself, graciously arriving each moment, that brings the future into the present. It is not the gratitude for past grace that Paul focuses on when explaining how he “worked harder than any of them.” It is fresh grace for every new conquest in his missionary labor.

The power of future grace is the power of the living Christ — always there to work for us at every future moment that we enter. So when Paul describes the effect of the grace of God that was with him, he says, “I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience — by word and deed” (Romans 15:18).

Therefore since he would not dare to speak of anything but what Christ accomplished through his ministry, and yet he did, in fact, speak of what grace accomplished through his ministry (1 Corinthians 15:10), this must mean that the power of grace is the power of Christ.

Which means that the power we need for tomorrow’s ministry is the future grace of the omnipotent Christ, who will always be there for us — ready to will and ready to work for his good pleasure.

Sea Changes?

The Left Rethinks a Centralised European State

There are some interesting conversations taking place over the fate of Greece and the EU.  One is in the form of a cartoon, reproduced below, which manages to squeeze the issues of economic and national sovereignty into a nutshell.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Brief Sexual Catechism 2.0


1. How was mankind created?
We were created by God in the image of God, male and female together (Gen. 1:27).

2. Who is the author of marriage?
When God presented the first bride, our mother Eve, to Adam, He was establishing the first marriage (Gen. 2:22).

3. After the first marriage, how are marriages to be formed?
A man should leave his father and mother, be joined to his wife, so that they might become one flesh (Gen. 2:24).

4. What is the biblical standard for marriage?
One man devoted to one woman for life.

5. How do we know that such monogamy is the normal biblical standard?

Daily Devotional

A Kindly Feeling For the Old Rattle-Trap

TO MARY WILLIS SHELBURNE: On the resurrection of the body and of all creation; and on the goodness of the bodies we now have.
26 November 1962

C. S. Lewis

My stuff about animals came long ago in The Problem of Pain. I ventured the supposal—it could be nothing more—that as we are raised in Christ, so at least some animals are raised in us. Who knows, indeed, but that a great deal even of the inanimate creation is raised in the redeemed souls who have, during this life, taken its beauty into themselves? That may be the way in which the ‘new heaven and the new earth’30 are formed. Of course we can only guess and wonder.

But these particular guesses arise in me, I trust, from taking seriously the resurrection of the body: a doctrine which now-a- days is very soft pedalled by nearly all the faithful—to our great impoverishment. Not that you and I have now much reason to rejoice in having bodies! Like old automobiles, aren’t they? where all sorts of apparently different things keep going wrong, but what they add up to is the plain fact that the machine is wearing out. Well, it was not meant to last forever. Still, I have a kindly feeling for the old rattle-trap. Through it God showed me that whole side of His beauty which is embodied in colour, sound, smell and size. No doubt it has often led me astray: but not half so often, I suspect, as my soul has led it astray. For the spiritual evils which we share with the devils (pride, spite) are far worse than what we share with the beasts: and sensuality really arises more from the imagination than from the appetites: which, if left merely to their own animal strength, and not elaborated by our imagination, would be fairly easily managed. But this is turning into a sermon!

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.

A Foreign and Bloody God

Multitudes, Multitudes in the Valley of Decision

President Obama is the most ardently pro-abort president the United States has ever seen.  He has made it his business to do all he can to promote the cause.  In one now-infamous occasion he addressed Planned Parenthood, a group engaging in the industry of abortion, and "celebrated" their hard work and achievements.  He concluded by pronouncing the benediction, "god bless you".

In every which way one might look at it, Obama's invocation of "god" referred to his loyalty and devotion to "Baal"--the state.  Like the Baal worshippers of old, Obama has a lust for money, power, the devotion of his subjects and celebrity-status.  The labours of Planned Parenthood fit right into his idolatrous world-view: hence his proffered congratulations and invocation of blessing from his god.

Now Planned Parenthood has been exposed as an organisation trading in the body parts of aborted children, selling them for profit.  This courtesy of Michelle Malkin:

Monday, 20 July 2015

Human Trafficking

Planned Parenthood And The Buying And Selling Of Aborted Baby Parts

Dana, writing at

A disturbing undercover video released today shows Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director of Medical Services Dr. Deborah Nucatola casually discussing the purchase of aborted baby parts with interested “buyers”. This in spite of it being illegal (The sale or purchase of human fetal tissue a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 (42 U.S.C. 289g-2). Nucatola trains new Planned Parenthood abortion doctors and also performs abortions herself up to 24 weeks. The video is part of a three-year investigation by The Center for Medical Progress (part of the Manhattan Institute) looking into illegal trafficking of aborted fetal parts by Planned Parenthood:

Daily Devotional

There Will Be No Doubt

"Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God."
1 Thessalonians 1:4

Charles H. Spurgeon

Many persons want to know their election before they look to Christ, but they cannot learn it thus, it is only to be discovered by "looking unto Jesus." If you desire to ascertain your own election;--after the following manner, shall you assure your heart before God.

Do you feel yourself to be a lost, guilty sinner? go straightway to the cross of Christ, and tell Jesus so, and tell him that you have read in the Bible, "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out." Tell him that he has said, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." Look to Jesus and believe on him, and you shall make proof of your election directly, for so surely as thou believest, thou art elect.

If you will give yourself wholly up to Christ and trust him, then you are one of God's chosen ones; but if you stop and say, "I want to know first whether I am elect," you ask you know not what. Go to Jesus, be you never so guilty, just as you are. Leave all curious inquiry about election alone. Go straight to Christ and hide in his wounds, and you shall know your election. The assurance of the Holy Spirit shall be given to you, so that you shall be able to say, "I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him." Christ was at the everlasting council: he can tell you whether you were chosen or not; but you cannot find it out in any other way.

Go and put your trust in him, and his answer will be--"I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." There will be no doubt about his having chosen you, when you have chosen him.
"Sons we are through God's election,
Who in Jesus Christ believe."

Rotherham and Its Aftermath

Systemic Evil and Complicit Authorities

Some things are so bizarre and systemically evil that they appear incredible at first glance.  Far more strange than fiction.  Some of the worst exigencies occur when people believe they are going good as they perpetrate great wickedness.

There is a belief in the secular West that it represents the good, the kind, the generous and the loving.  It believes itself to be so morally superior that it is licensed to do evil, that good may result.  The asserted goodness of the secular, atheistic ideals justifies any collateral damage as inconsequential--a minor, justified price for the greater good.  Never has such moral degeneracy been on such proud display as in the United Kingdom recently--a once Christian nation.  We still shake our heads, as more and more of the truth emerges.

The Guardian has published a piece on Alexis Jay, who was responsible for exposing the Rotherham industrial rape and sexual abuse matrix which continued to flourish under the wilful blind eye of authorities--both government and police.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

A Welcome Blast From the Past

Rarely is the Appellation "Medieval" Meant Positively, But in This Case . . . 

AncientBiotics - a medieval remedy for modern day superbugs?

The University of Nottingham

Image: © The British Library Board (Royal 12 D xvii)

A one thousand year old Anglo-Saxon remedy for eye infections which originates from a manuscript in the British Library has been found to kill the modern-day superbug MRSA in an unusual research collaboration at The University of Nottingham.

Dr Christina Lee, an Anglo-Saxon expert from the School of English has enlisted the help of microbiologists from University’s Centre for Biomolecular Sciences to recreate a 10th century potion for eye infections from Bald’s Leechbook an Old English leatherbound volume in the British Library, to see if it really works as an antibacterial remedy. The Leechbook is widely thought of as one of the earliest known medical textbooks and contains Anglo-Saxon medical advice and recipes for medicines, salves and treatments.

Early results on the 'potion', tested in vitro at Nottingham and backed up by mouse model tests at a university in the United States, are, in the words of the US collaborator, “astonishing”. The solution has had remarkable effects on Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which is one of the most antibiotic-resistant bugs costing modern health services billions. 
It makes one wonder how many age-old remedies contain cures for modern antibiotic "superbugs".  It also makes one muse how quickly the overuse of such rediscovered and reapplied cures will produce a new crop of superbugs. 

Daily Devotional

 Living a Day at a Time

On the present moment

C. S. Lewis

Never, in peace or war, commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment “as to the Lord.” It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.

From The Weight of Glory
Compiled in Words to Live By
The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses. Copyright © 1949, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1976, revised 1980 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

A Willing Suspension of Disbelief

Theatre of the Absurd

Would the real Iran please stand up.  As we read of the congratulations and rejoicing amongst the Western Commentariat, we find ourselves in fundamental confusion.  A deal with Iran has been struck, we are told, whereby Iran will lay aside its ambitions to develop nuclear weapons, and the West will remove its sanctions on that nation.

New Zealand's own foreign minister, now deeply ensconced in UN counsels and machinations (while NZ presently sits on the UN Security Council), has joined the chorus of self-congratulation.
New Zealand's foreign minister has welcomed the Iran nuclear deal.  Murray McCully said today the nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers was an "important" breakthrough.  "Over the last eighteen months negotiators have been working to secure an agreement that will increase international confidence in the nature of Iran's nuclear programme," Mr McCully said.

"This agreement is a positive development for regional stability in the Middle East and will allow for further progress to be made in the relationship between New Zealand and Iran.  As the current president of the United Nations Security Council, New Zealand will do what it can to expedite any necessary Security Council action, and we call for the agreement to be implemented as soon as possible," he added. [NZ Herald]
This "deal" with Iran has been struck whilst Iran, throughout the process, has publicly and repeatedly called for the annihilation of the United States (with whom it was negotiating) and the obliteration of Israel off the map.  It has also been one of the biggest sponsors of  Islamic terrorism over many years.  But have no fear.  Iran is run by trustworthy, truthspeaking, honourable men.  We know.  We can tell.  We can see what you ordinary rubes cannot. 

Friday, 17 July 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Time for a Little Q & A

Douglas Wilson

So in response to Kevin DeYoung’s very pertinent questions to rainbow-affirming Christians, Matthew Vines has responded with 40 questions of his own, these directed at Christians who are, as he puts it, “non-affirming.” Being as I am found in that latter category, let me have a shot at it.

What I want to do is either answer Matthew’s questions, or explain why I will not take the bait of answering a particular question. Put another way, I will answer the questions, but not the loaded questions.

1. Do you accept that sexual orientation is not a choice?
First, I do not believe there is one answer that fits for everyone living a homosexual lifestyle. For some it is very much a choice, while for others the inclinations that lead to same sex attraction run very close to the bone. I do not believe there is one Platonic form of “homosexuality.”

Having said this, I would then point out that sin is defined by Scripture, and not by our guesswork on the strength of our abilities in choosing the contrary. To assume that sin is absent because of an inability to choose righteousness is to fall prey to Pelagianism.

2. Do you accept that sexual orientation is highly resistant to attempts to change it?
Yes, it certainly can be. But this is true of all sin, and true for all of us. The Christian life is described in Scripture as a life of mortification. “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Rom. 8:13). This is certainly true for those seeking to put their same sex attractions to death. But it is also true of all the rest of us. John Owen put it well when he said that we should not think we make any progress in godliness if we do not walk daily over the bellies of our own lusts.

3. How many meaningful relationships with lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) people do you have?
I could answer this question in a way that defeated the purpose of asking it, but this is one that I will decline to answer. Meaningful relationships with friends and parishioners cease to be meaningful when they are used as pawns in political chess games.

Daily Devotional

Faith Expels Guilt, Greed and Fear

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1:5)

John Piper

Faith in God’s grace expels from the heart the sinful powers that hinder love.

If we feel guilty, we tend to wallow in self-centered depression and self-pity, unable to see, let alone care, about anyone else’s need. Or we play the hypocrite to cover our guilt, and so destroy all sincerity in relationships. Or we talk about other people’s faults to minimize the guilt of our own.

It’s the same with fear. If we feel fearful, we tend not to approach a stranger at church who might need a word of welcome and encouragement. Or we may reject frontier missions for our lives, because it sounds too dangerous. Or we may waste money on excessive insurance, or get swallowed up in all manner of little phobias that make us preoccupied with ourselves and blind us to the needs of others.

If we are greedy, we may spend money on luxuries — money that ought to go to the spread of the gospel. We don’t undertake anything risky, lest our precious possessions and our financial future be jeopardized. We focus on things instead of people, or see people as resources for our material advantage.

Faith in future grace produces love by pushing guilt and fear and greed out of the heart.  It pushes out guilt because it holds fast to the hope that the death of Christ is sufficient to secure acquittal and righteousness now and forever (Hebrews 10:14).  It pushes out fear because it banks on the promise, “Fear not, for I am with you. . . . I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).  And it pushes out greed because it is confident that Christ is greater wealth than all the world can offer (Matthew 13:44).

In every case the glory of Christ is magnified when we are more satisfied with his future grace than we are with the promises of sin.

More Food-Nazi's Desperately Needed

Bankruptcy Alley a 'shocking commentary' on NZ--Debt Commissioner

Matthew Theunissen is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday. (This piece documents another attempt by the Commentariat--of which we are an important part--to argue for more state intrusion to protect people from themselves.  Our reporters are on task and remain zealously committed to seeing it done.  At the Herald, we are proud to be making a difference.)

Liam Joyce and Alex Wood with their lunch from Burger Fuel, Lincoln Road. Photo / Michael Craig
Liam Joyce and Alex Wood with their lunch from Burger Fuel, Lincoln Road. Photo / Michael Craig.  Smart Kiwis Avoiding the Debt Trap of Fine Dining.
A NZ Debt Commissioner has dubbed a 3km stretch of road featuring more than 30 expensive fine dining restaurants as  "Bankruptcy Alley".  In Central Auckland, the Viaduct precinct, Vulcan Lane and O'Connell Street offers an astonishing 33 high priced restaurants, 30 of which will force patrons into even more credit card debt, such is the exorbitant cost of their meals.  The remaining three have only two items on the menu,  so the bankruptcy risk is not as great.

Debt Commissioner, David Impecunious described it as a "shocking commentary on our exorbitant, gratuitously wasteful, first-world country".  "I don't think it would be going too far to call it Bankruptcy Alley - call it what it is. If it's going to be contributing to people's increased use of credit card debt, it's going to cause more financial stress, leading to more heart attacks and strokes--and even suicides  Yes, let's call it for what it is."

He said it was compounding an environment where being in debt was the norm.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Letter From the UK (About the Duplicitouis Junk Scientists at the Met Office)

Claim of UK’s ‘Hottest Day on Record’ Demolished By The Facts

The Met Office’s claim that July 1 was the hottest July day on record has fallen flat after climate bloggers discovered that the temperature peak may have been caused by a plane landing at Heathrow.

Early July saw Britain basking in a brief heatwave, with air temperatures across much of south and east England hitting the mid 30’s centigrade. On July 1, the Met Office announced that the UK had recorded the hottest July day on record, with temperatures hitting 36.7° centigrade at Heathrow airport.

The claim was widely repeated in the media – the BBC’s headline read “Hottest July day ever recorded in UK”, while The Guardian opted for a live blog under the headline “Heatwave live: Britain swelters on hottest July day on record”.

But eagle-eyed climate bloggers immediately spotted a problem with the so-called ‘record’: it was measured at Heathrow airport, where the hot tarmac and plane engines pumping out hot air can raise local temperatures by as much as two degrees.  Christopher Booker, blogging at the Telegraph pointed out: Even the Met Office’s own hourly record only showed its highest Heathrow reading on Wednesday as 35.9C, while four other sites nearby showed the day’s hottest recording at just 35C.

Daily Devotional

Crucifying our Temper

"God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry?"
Jonah 4:9

Charles H. Spurgeon

Anger is not always or necessarily sinful, but it has such a tendency to run wild that whenever it displays itself, we should be quick to question its character, with this enquiry, "Doest thou well to be angry?" It may be that we can answer, "YES." Very frequently anger is the madman's firebrand, but sometimes it is Elijah's fire from heaven.

We do well when we are angry with sin, because of the wrong which it commits against our good and gracious God; or with ourselves because we remain so foolish after so much divine instruction; or with others when the sole cause of anger is the evil which they do. He who is not angry at transgression becomes a partaker in it. Sin is a loathsome and hateful thing, and no renewed heart can patiently endure it.  God himself is angry with the wicked every day, and it is written in His Word, "Ye that love the Lord, hate evil."

Far more frequently it is to be feared that our anger is not commendable or even justifiable, and then we must answer, "NO." Why should we be fretful with children, passionate with servants, and wrathful with companions? Is such anger honourable to our Christian profession, or glorifying to God? Is it not the old evil heart seeking to gain dominion, and should we not resist it with all the might of our newborn nature?

Many professors give way to temper as though it were useless to attempt resistance; but let the believer remember that he must be a conqueror in every point, or else he cannot be crowned. If we cannot control our tempers, what has grace done for us? Some one told Mr. Jay that grace was often grafted on a crab-stump. "Yes," said he, "but the fruit will not be crabs." We must not make natural infirmity an excuse for sin, but we must fly to the cross and pray the Lord to crucify our tempers, and renew us in gentleness and meekness after His own image.

Our Future Beckons

Greece--the Bigger Picture

In the lead up to World War II, British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain proceeded to negotiate with Hitler because he believed him to be a man who would keep his word.  In a now infamous sentence he said he had looked into Hitler's eyes and saw integrity in his soul.  When Hitler subsequently broke solemn agreements, Chamberlain's offence was such that he resolved to war against Hitler with might and main.  When it dawns on you that the person across the table is lying, there is no point in continuing further negotiations.

And so it has come to this point in the small matter of Greece remaining in the European Union.  Clearly some of the European nations (Germany and Finland amongst them) believe that Greece as a nation, and its Prime Minister as its representative, are complicit in telling and living systemic lies.  Therefore, negotiations are not worth anything, and, like Chamberlain, all further attempts should be suspended immediately.

But the charade must needs go on.  The pretensions demands of a United Europe built to the glory of Man demand it.  The Greek Prime Minister returns to Athens to drum up support for all the concessions he must make in order to get an 80bn euro loan, just to keep Greece Inc. going and to keep Greeks in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.  One can imagine what is taking place behind the closed doors.  "Look, chaps, it doesn't matter what we agree or sign up to.  It's just words, scribbles on a paper.  We have fudged our way through before.  We can do it again.  Easily.  It's the Greek way."

Whether the bailout goes through is not yet a done deal.  But close.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

That Decoupaged Chapter

Douglas Wilson

One of Saul Alinsky’s rules was that the activist should always make his adversary live by his own purported rules. In the case of what Christians are currently up against, one of the secularist rules is their so-called commitment to free speech. They are quite pleased with themselves about that commitment, and preen themselves in the mirror. But at the same time, their inner tyrant wants to control public discourse in such a way as to quit losing all those debates. Thus they have devised an interesting workaround.

They still defend free speech, ardently and sincerely, but free speech is now defined as that which contributes to the public good, makes them feel better down to their toes, and releases multi-colored butterflies into the public square. When I was dealing with a crowd of hostiles a couple years ago at Bloomington, one of their chants was “We believe in free speech! But this is hate speech!”

How's this for an argument?
How’s this for an argument?
In other words, in order to feel good about shouting a speaker down, they had to reassure themselves that they were still sound on the fundamentals. They were still obeying their own rule, or so they said, even though they were manifestly not doing so. They have gotten themselves into the epistemic rat hole of shouting down a visiting speaker with the words “we believe in free speech.” Ooohhkay. 

Daily Devotional

We Experience the Spirit Through Faith

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)

John Piper

The Spirit came to you the first time when you believed in the blood-bought promises of God. And the Spirit keeps on coming, and keeps on working, by this same means.  So Paul asks, rhetorically, “Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?” (Galatians 3:5). Answer: “By hearing with faith.”  Therefore, the Spirit came the first time, and the Spirit keeps on being supplied, through the channel of faith. What he accomplishes in us is through faith.

If you are like me, you may have strong longings from time to time for the mighty working of the Holy Spirit in your life. Perhaps you cry out to God for the outpouring of the Spirit in your life or in your family or church or city. Such cries are right and good. Jesus said, “How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13).

But what I have found most often in my own life is the failure to open myself to the full measure of the Spirit’s work by believing the promises of God. I don’t mean merely the promise that the Spirit will come when we ask. I mean all the other precious promises that are not directly about the Spirit but, perhaps, about God’s provision for my future — for example, “My God will supply every need of yours” (Philippians 4:19).

This is what is missing in the experience of so many Christians as they seek the power of the Spirit in their lives. The Spirit is supplied to us “by hearing with faith” (Galatians 3:5) — not just faith in one or two promises about the Spirit himself, but about all the soul-satisfying presence of God in our future.

The Scottish Ostrich, Part II

All Dark Down Here.  Nothing to See.

In Part I of The Scottish Ostrich we reviewed the case of a Scottish theologian who was excised from a newspaper for an offensive column.  Arguing from earlier historical patterns, he had suggested the following:
In his column on May 22, Professor Macleod wrote that all minorities prefer to keep a low profile. He added: “Generations of British Muslims have done exactly that, many have made an invaluable contribution to British society, and many are perfectly prepared to listen quietly while Christians 'witness' to them. "But when minorities become majorities, things change... in the event of Islamic dominance in Britain our friendly Muslim shopkeepers will have little option but to march behind the radicals."
Is this nothing more than xenophobic ignorance?  Was the paper for which he wrote correct when it judged Professor MacLeod to have transgressed the West's secular values of "liberty, equality, and fraternity" and to be guilty of hate-speech?  No.  It seems that the contemporary evidence strongly supports Professor Macleod's argument.

Raymond Ibrahim reviews the experience of non-Muslim groups in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The Beginning of the End?

London Mayor: Greece Should Tell Germany to ‘Get Stuffed’

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has described the German proposals for a deal with Greece as “tyrannical”, and has advised the Greek people to “rediscover the spirit of Marathon” and exit the euro.

Eurozone leaders argued long into the night at which has been described as a “brutal summit“, but finally, in the early hours of this morning, tweets emerged from Brussels announcing that a deal had been reached.
Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, had been holding out against demands from Germany’s finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble that Greece hand over €50 billion worth of state assets for privatisation by entities in Luxembourg.

Writing for the The Telegraph, Johnson remarked that the proposal was: “breathtaking in its candour and brutality. It marks a new departure in modern European diplomacy; indeed, at first I thought it must be a spoof”. He continued:

Daily Devotional

Too Much Love

C. S. Lewis

Those Divine demands which sound to our natural ears most like those of a despot and least like those of a lover, in fact marshal us where we should want to go if we knew what we wanted. He demands our worship, our obedience, our prostration. Do we suppose that they can do Him any good, or fear, like the chorus in Milton, that human irreverence can bring about ‘His glory’s diminution’? A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.

But God wills our good, and our good is to love Him (with that responsive love proper to creatures) and to love Him we must know Him: and if we know Him, we shall in fact fall on our faces. If we do not, that only shows that what we are trying to love is not yet God— though it may be the nearest approximation to God which our thought and fantasy can attain. Yet the call is not only to prostration and awe; it is to a reflection of the Divine life, a creaturely participation in the Divine attributes which is far beyond our present desires.

We are bidden to ‘put on Christ’, to become like God. That is, whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want. Once more, we are embarrassed by the intolerable compliment, by too much love, not too little.

From The Problem of Pain
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis
The Problem of Pain. Copyright © 1940, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright restored © 1996 by 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.

The Scottish Ostrich, Part I

Traitors to the Cause in the Highlands

The West is confronted with Islam--on home soil, moreover.  The Chattering Classes and the Commentariat are frenetically attempting to win this culture war by insisting upon Western "values".  They act like generals berating the troops: "Hold the line, boys.  Steady! Steady!"  They want the West to remain true to liberty, equality, and fraternity.  It is only as the West practises these cultural values towards Islamic people that they, grateful subjects, will come to see the West as culturally superior.  It is only by enjoying Western liberty, equality and fraternity practised towards them that Islamic believers will see the light and move away from their historically primitive, violent religion into Westernised modern Islam, a new reformed religion (as argue for by Ayaan Hirsi Ali) bearing the aura of Western glory.   

In this great cultural cold-war, the Chattering Classes believe that the real enemies in their midst are those in the West who speak critically of Islam. Even Hirsi Ali is regarded as an enemy of the West because of her strident criticism of Islam.  By so speaking they are traitorously spiking the great guns by which Islam will be won over to Western cultural and "religious" values.  The critics, by their criticism, actually blaspheme and undermine liberty, equality, and fraternity.  They are the West's Fifth Column.  The Western critics of Islam are more like medieval Crusaders than truly tolerant sons of the post-modern West.  Thus runs today's received wisdom amongst the Chattering Classes. 

Overstatement?  Nah.  Let us give a typical example--one amongst many.