Saturday, 31 October 2015

Letter From Europe (About Children Forced Into "Marriage")

Fears Rise Over Child Bride Epidemic

As Young Girls Go Missing In Europe

by Sarkis Zeronian

The already controversial issue of the European migrant crisis has worsened as countries face the problem of granting asylum to girls who got married in Syria but fall below the age of consent in their adopted country.

The issue of Syrian child brides has been highlighted in the Netherlands by the disappearance of a nine-month pregnant 14 year old girl and her 24 year old husband, reports The Independent. Fatema Alkasem had been staying in the Ter Apel asylum centre before she left on 31 August and police fear she may require medical care.

Dutch asylum centres are reported to be housing 20 child brides between the ages of 13 and 15. On average three a week now arrive in the country, reports Die Welt with at least 34 underage wives seeking asylum last year (according to leaked official papers).

Daily Devotional

The Mystery of Marriage

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)

John Piper

When God engaged to create man and woman and to ordain the union of marriage, he didn’t roll the dice or draw straws or flip a coin as to how they might be related to each other. He patterned marriage very purposefully after the relationship between his Son and the church, which he had planned from all eternity.

Therefore, marriage is a mystery — it contains and conceals a meaning far greater than what we see on the outside. God created man male and female and ordained marriage so that the eternal covenant relationship between Christ and his church would be imaged forth in the marriage union.

The inference Paul draws from this mystery is that the roles of husband and wife in marriage are not arbitrarily assigned, but are rooted in the distinctive roles of Christ and his church.  Those of us who are married need to ponder again and again how mysterious and wonderful it is that God grants us in marriage the privilege to image forth stupendous divine realities infinitely bigger and greater than ourselves.

This is the foundation of the pattern of love that Paul describes for marriage. It is not enough to say that each spouse should pursue his or her own joy in the joy of the other. It is also important to say that husbands and wives should consciously copy the relationship God intended for Christ and the church.

I hope you will take this seriously whether you are single or married, old or young. The revelation of the covenant-keeping Christ and his covenant-keeping church hangs on it.

When Migrants Reach the West Their Zeal Grows

Not It At All

When dealing with issues like the migrant wave now hitting European shores, Progressivism lurches from naivete to credulity, then to outrage, and then back again.  It's world-view, which requires denying some fundamental truths,  leaves it gasping and unable to cope.

A fundamental problem with Progressive ideology is its fervent belief in the righteousness and perfectibility of man.  All men are inherently good.  All evil, all violence is extrinsic to man.  It is environmental.  It is the product of bad teaching, hard circumstances, lack of training, oppression, and so forth.  Therefore, the naive Progressive expectation is that when Islamic migrants turn up to Europe's playgrounds, the attitudes and habits of the migrants will change.  It is simply assumed that each migrant will seamlessly elide into being a card carrying Westerner, indoctrinated and incarnated into the values and beliefs of Progressive liberalism.   

The assumption runs like this: migrants (by definition) are amongst the poor and the wretched of the earth.  Their circumstances have created and nurtured their primitive ideologies and beliefs.  Once they get to the West, all that will necessarily change because their circumstances will change: interior beliefs always follow external, environmental circumstances.   They will soon integrate and become "good people"--like us.

What Progressive ideologues don't grant, in their arrogant condescension, is that migrant Islamic people have deep and abiding convictions about their world-view.  By their lights, the rest of the world owes them their rights to practice their beliefs--not just in the privacy of their own homes--but in the public square.  They are the morally superior; the West is effete, immoral, and damned.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow (About Vlad the Impaler)

5 Reasons for Thinking that Putin is No Constantine


The reason for this small piece is that some Western Christians, who really ought to know better, have been taken in by Russian photo ops, propaganda, and posturing, and have begun to describe Vladimir Putin as a new Constantine. It just goes to show. What, I am not sure exactly, but it does go to show.

Work Here Is DoneI want to outline five reasons why I believe this is not the case, but first I want to put an important disclaimer up front. Some of my reasons below are critical of Eastern Orthodoxy, and so I want to place some important context here as a preamble. We live in a generation when not a small number of eastern Christians have been beheaded rather than deny Christ, and nothing said here should be taken as disparaging the honor of those martyrdoms. They bowed to icons more than they should have, but they have also died for the sake of Jesus Christ more times than I have. So that should be kept in mind. And second, none of my arguments should be taken as justification for continued Western apathy about the plight of such Christians in the Middle East. What we should do about it is a subject for another time, but what we should not do is continue to not care.

That said, why is Putin not a new Constantine?

Daily Devotional

Quiet Men

C. S. Lewis

The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid “dens of crime” that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.

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.

Well Passed the Use-By Date

Vestiges of Guild Socialism Linger On

Not too many years ago, if one wanted to be taught to play the piano in New Zealand, one was required to hire a registered piano teacher.  There was no other kind.  The profession of piano teaching was protected.  The justification for this inanity?  It was to protect the interests of piano students.  It was to ensure that when they hired a teacher, they hired quality. They would be taught "correctly".

In reality, the enforced registration of piano teachers served to protect a cosseted guild.  It stopped piano teachers entering the market.  It cut down competition.  It protected the jobs of the registered.  It also meant higher prices for piano tuition.  The entire practice was a medieval hangover.  But it lasted in New Zealand until the seventies.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with professional institutes with establishing standards, and admit into membership only those who have attained and maintain the standards.  To this day there is an Institute of Registered Music Teachers in New Zealand.  We are sure they do excellent work.  But the critical change lies here: no longer is there an institute running a state enforced monopoly over the supply of musical teaching services.

There remains in New Zealand at least one enormous state-enforced monopoly of a profession: teachers in the government schools.  In order to teach one has to be a state Registered Teacher.  The duties and functions of the NZ Teachers Council, which administers the registration process are similar to all professional associations existing to maintain standards.  But, in this case, it is a state run monopoly.  The arguments for such a state monopoly are the same as those used decades ago to justify a state enforced registry of piano teachers.  The effects are the same.  It represents guild socialism at its worst.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Race, Recidvism and Reform: The Centrality of the Family

We Can’t Reform Our Justice System Without Lifting Families

Racial injustice plays a role in the incarceration of so many black men, but so does the breakdown of the black family.

Ken Blackwell and Rob Schwarzwalder
The Federalist

Common-sense criminal sentencing reform is gaining momentum. Presidential candidate Jeb Bush and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins are among the signers of the Right on Crime Statement of Principles, which argues for applying “conservative principles to criminal justice policy” as “vital to achieving a cost-effective system that protects citizens, restores victims, and reforms wrongdoers.” Earlier this year, a collation of extraordinary political bedfellows—ranging from Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley to Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz—published a book of essays titled, “Solutions: American Leaders Speak Out on Criminal Justice Reform.”

What’s going on? Perkins, a former police officer, knows firsthand what is at stake when sentences are arbitrary, harsh, and simply unjust. He explains why so many political and other leaders are coming together on this critical issue.  Writing in 2013 about how to deal with nonviolent criminals, Perkins said, “Violent and career criminals must be locked up to protect society, and we must also exclude offenders whose crimes endanger their own children … But for many nonviolent offenders, we should do all we can to keep families together while maintaining public safety.”

Daily Devotional

There Are No Conditions

"I will love them freely."
Hosea 14:4

Charles H. Spurgeon

This sentence is a body of divinity in miniature. He who understands its meaning is a theologian, and he who can dive into its fulness is a true master in Israel. It is a condensation of the glorious message of salvation which was delivered to us in Christ Jesus our Redeemer.

The sense hinges upon the word "freely." This is the glorious, the suitable, the divine way by which love streams from heaven to earth, a spontaneous love flowing forth to those who neither deserved it, purchased it, nor sought after it. It is, indeed, the only way in which God can love such as we are. The text is a death-blow to all sorts of fitness: "I will love them freely."

Now, if there were any fitness necessary in us, then he would not love us freely; at least, this would be a mitigation and a drawback to the freeness of it. But it stands, "I will love you freely." We complain, "Lord, my heart is so hard." "I will love you freely." "But I do not feel my need of Christ as I could wish." "I will not love you because you feel your need; I will love you freely." "But I do not feel that softening of spirit which I could desire."

Remember, the softening of spirit is not a condition, for there are no conditions; the covenant of grace has no conditionality whatever; so that we without any fitness may venture upon the promise of God which was made to us in Christ Jesus, when he said, "He that believeth on him is not condemned." It is blessed to know that the grace of God is free to us at all times, without preparation, without fitness, without money, and without price! "I will love them freely." These words invite backsliders to return: indeed, the text was specially written for such--"I will heal their backsliding; I will love them freely." Backslider! surely the generosity of the promise will at once break your heart, and you will return, and seek your injured Father's face.

Justice Denied

Police Corruption In the UK

Doubtless for all of us there are some things which set the blood to boil.  Here is one of ours.  We despise the "perp walk" where the presumed guilty are paraded in public, before the media, to have their arrest or interrogation blazoned across the skies.  The Americans have made a fine art of this spectacle employed when a public figure has been apprehended. Let none doubt that the presumption of innocence until proven guilty is long gone.

The UK police have adopted similar practices.  Remember the "tip off" from the police to the media that singer, Cliff Richards's home was about to be raided.  (Richards was absent at the time.)  But the media had a helicopter in the sky to record it all.  Recently it was a New Zealander who suffered under their corrupt behaviour.  Mils Muliaina is a famous All Black--at least in rugby circles.  However, recently his name has been dragged through the mud because of the UK version of the "perp walk".  He was arrested at the conclusion of a rugby game in which he had played and charged with sexual assault.  "Naturally" the TV cameras were present to record the arrest.  Mmmm.  We wonder how the Repeaters knew that was going to go down.

Sexual assault is a charge which covers a broad spectrum of activity.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Fresh Catatrophes Loom: Woe To Us All

More Rules, Regulations, Restrictions Needed

Scientists Hit Back At W.H.O. For Claiming Red Meat Causes Cancer

by Nick Hallett
Breitbart London

Scientists have rounded on the World Health Organisation (WHO) for claiming that sausages, bacon and ham could pose as big a cancer risk as cigarettes.

Breitbart London reported yesterday how the WHO is due to add red and processed meats to its ‘encyclopaedia of carcinogens’, possibly leading to new government legislation demanding warning labels on packs of meat.

However, a number of scientists have expressed their concerns about the new classification, telling The Telegraph about their scepticism.

Dr Ian Johnson, Emeritus Fellow of the Institute of Food Research, said:
“Although there is epidemiological evidence for a statistically significant association between processed meat consumption and bowel cancer, it is important to emphasise that the size of the effect is relatively small, and the mechanism is poorly defined.  “It is certainly very inappropriate to suggest that any adverse effect of bacon and sausages on the risk of bowel cancer is comparable to the dangers of tobacco smoke, which is loaded with known chemical carcinogens and increases the risk of lung cancer in cigarette smokers by around 20 fold.”
Professor Richard Knox, formerly of the Institute of Cancer Research, echoed Dr Johnson’s comments, saying “most cancer deaths will not be due to bowel cancer and even fewer linked to meat consumption.”

Daily Devotional

Mere Improvement Is Not Redemption

C. S. Lewis

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

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

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

When Bobby Sang the Blues

And Nothin' Left Was All She Left To Me

Further to our piece on "Jolly Good Fellows" published yesterday,  Douglas Wilson has opined upon a  Professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary, who has decided that Bible needed revisin' and brought into twenty-first century.  The particular professor is not important: the decision of a professor in an evangelical theological seminary to affirm homosexuality and homosexual "marriage" as Christian is of some significance.  As is the reaction of Fuller, which, we understand will not be admitting said professor to a tenured position.  He will be departing Fuller shortly.  Good for Fuller.  Let's hope the particular professor will come to comprehend the viper he is clutching to his bosom, and repent. 

With that background, Wilson's piece, entitled "Our Decomposing Lusts" should be read in full.  But for our specific purposes, we want to quote his last two paragraphs, which echo the sentiments conveyed yesterday in "Jolly Good Fellows".

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Millennial Entitlement and Self-Love

You Need to be Awesome

We penned a piece recently on inflated expectations of Millennials when it comes to occupations and jobs.  Oftentimes the expectations are so huge, their possessors make themselves virtually unemployable.  David French, writing in National Review Online adds his perspective on the same topic.

A Note to Entitled Millennials in the Workplace: Give Humility a Try

By David French

Daily Devotional

The Purpose of Prosperity

Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. (Ephesians 4:28)

John Piper

There are three levels of how to live with things: (1) you can steal to get; (2) or you can work to get; (3) or you can work to get in order to give.

Too many professing Christians live on level two. Almost all the forces of our culture urge them to live on level two. But the Bible pushes us relentlessly to level three. “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).

Why does God bless us with abundance? So we can have enough to live on, and then use the rest for all manner of good works that alleviate spiritual and physical misery. Enough for us; abundance for others.
The issue is not how much a person makes. Big industry and big salaries are a fact of our times, and they are not necessarily evil. The evil is in being deceived into thinking a six-digit salary must be accompanied by a six-digit lifestyle.

God has made us to be conduits of his grace. The danger is in thinking the conduit should be lined with gold. It shouldn’t. Copper will do. Copper can carry unbelievable riches to others.

Jolly Good Fellows, Which Nobody Can Deny . . .

Disciples of The Shapeshifting Serpent

We have pointed out several times that when a hip-entity like Facebook offers subscribers 45 different options (and counting) to identify their gender, a major transformation of religion, philosophy, and culture is underway.  Behind it lies deeper beliefs which are not changing at all: they are becoming merely more consistent, more "outworked", more logically aligned.  The tectonic plates have just shifted, but the magma has been building up underneath for a long time.

Here are some of the evidences that the plates are moving and re-aligning.  Firstly, Houston, 2014--where we clearly have a problem.
After nearly nine hours of chanting and tears from seas of opponents and supporters in color-coded T-shirts, Houston City Council passed an ordinance on Wednesday extending equal rights protections to gay and transgender residents.  Despite weeks of discussion and dissent over the measure, the final vote was 11-6, a count that matched guesses made months ago, when Mayor Annise Parker — the first openly lesbian mayor of a major American city — said she planned to bring forward such a measure.

The approval was greeted with thunderous applause from the audience, largely full of supporters, and chants of "HERO," for the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. "While much of the debate has centered around the gay and transgender section of the ordinance, it is a comprehensive ordinance," Parker said after the vote. "It is a good step forward for the city of Houston."
Note the neologism "transgender" to which we will return shortly.

Monday, 26 October 2015

The SS Global Warming Is On the Verge of Sinking

The Turning of the Tide?

David Siegel is a convert to global warming scepticism. He is one of the lefty-cool set.  After extensive secondary source research he has concluded that global warming is a charade perpetrated upon the masses by an elite few.  He has written a very well reasoned and presented piece laying out his reasons for his paradigm shift from global warming advocate to principled sceptic.  

The entire essay is worth a calm, reflective read.  You can access it here.

If you want the short version, his concluding remarks provide an effective summary of his entire article:

Daily Devotional

Refusing to Obey

"Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice."
1 Samuel 15:22

Charles H. Spurgeon

Saul had been commanded to slay utterly all the Amalekites and their cattle. Instead of doing so, he preserved the king, and suffered his people to take the best of the oxen and of the sheep. When called to account for this, he declared that he did it with a view of offering sacrifice to God; but Samuel met him at once with the assurance that sacrifices were no excuse for an act of direct rebellion.

The sentence before us is worthy to be printed in letters of gold, and to be hung up before the eyes of the present idolatrous generation, who are very fond of the fineries of will-worship, but utterly neglect the laws of God. Be it ever in your remembrance, that to keep strictly in the path of your Saviour's command is better than any outward form of religion; and to hearken to his precept with an attentive ear is better than to bring the fat of rams, or any other precious thing to lay upon his altar.

If you are failing to keep the least of Christ's commands to his disciples, I pray you be disobedient no longer. All the pretensions you make of attachment to your Master, and all the devout actions which you may perform, are no recompense for disobedience. "To obey," even in the slightest and smallest thing, "is better than sacrifice," however pompous. Talk not of Gregorian chants, sumptuous robes, incense, and banners; the first thing which God requires of his child is obedience; and though you should give your body to be burned, and all your goods to feed the poor, yet if you do not hearken to the Lord's precepts, all your formalities shall profit you nothing.

It is a blessed thing to be teachable as a little child, but it is a much more blessed thing when one has been taught the lesson, to carry it out to the letter. How many adorn their temples and decorate their priests, but refuse to obey the word of the Lord! My soul, come not thou into their secret.

Cracks in Federalist Ideology

The Confederacy Reborn

It appears that Confederate principles are alive and well in the United States.  Not only that, they are being applied more and more at the "grass roots", municipal level.

Confederate political ideology was based upon the principle of States' Rights--that the individual states of the Union were a more fundamental political authority than the federal union of the States.  Each state had a right of withdrawal from the Union, implicit in the states deciding to join the Union in the first place.  A modern parallel might be the promised referendum in the United Kingdom (or, as held recently in Scotland) to vote on whether the UK should withdraw from the EU (or, in Scotland's case, to withdraw from the UK and become an independent, stand-alone national state).

Clearly the Brits still subscribe to the principles of States' Rights and are busy applying it to the United Kingdom.  Clearly, the political ideology of the UK and its Constitution subscribe to ideological and constitutional principles more aligned with nineteenth century American Confederate political principles, than with the one-way Federalism of the current United States of America.  Once in the Union, there is no exit door.  Or so Federalist ideology claims.

But, perversely, Confederate principles are making a huge comeback in the United States.  Only now, it's not States' Rights, but Municipal Rights--although the principles are the same.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Watch "The Science is Settled" Evaporate Like Pixie Dust

Delicious Ironies

As a bunch of self-deluded utopians gather in Paris in an irrelevant effort to "stop" global warming, the world is now said to be descending into a mini-ice age.  The only qualification that deserves to be made is that this prediction is being made by some of the very same people who, until a few months ago, were chicken-littling over global warming.

World is on brink of 50 year ICE AGE and BRITAIN will bear the brunt

BRITAIN faces DECADES of savage winters driven by freak changes in global ocean conditions and a weakening of the sun.

Daily Devotional

God Heals by Humbling

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

John Piper

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

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

Isn’t this Isaiah’s way of prophesying what Jeremiah called the new covenant and Jeremiah called a new heart? He said, “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel . . . I will put my law within them and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (31:31, 33).

Isaiah and Jeremiah both see a time coming when a sick, disobedient, hard-hearted people will be supernaturally changed. Isaiah speaks of healing. Jeremiah speaks of writing the law on their hearts.  So the healing of Isaiah 57:18 is a major heart transplant — the old hardened, proud, willful heart is taken out and a new soft, tender heart is put in which is easily humbled and crushed by the memory of sin and the sin that remains.

This is a heart that the lofty One whose name is Holy can dwell with and give life to.

Lawful Christian Resistance, Part IX

Dismantling Judicial Tyranny

Over recent weeks we have been running a series on lawful Christian resistance to ungodly government.  Such considerations come straight out of Scripture, and have been institutionalised through the development of the Christian doctrine of the State over fifteen hundred years or so.  Whilst such doctrines and concepts may appear radical and startling to many professing Christians today, all that goes to show is that we are a pretty badly taught people.  Far too many of us have been merely waiting around for something called the Rapture.

But the pagans aren't quietists.  They are militantly going for it.  They have plans, programmes, and politicians striving to bring in the Kingdom of Man, aka the Sepulchre of the Serpent.

One of the key concepts in godly Christian resistance to the pagan militants is the duty and responsibility of offices, officials, and political authorities to stand up to the tyrannies of Unbelief and call for their constituents to join them in a holy resistance.  All such offices, officials and political authorities have been called and appointed by God, long before they were ratified by man: their primary duty belongs to Him.

Douglas Wilson gives us an example of how this may be done.  In this case, the issue is how to deal with the ungodly decisions of the US Supreme Court.  He is making reference to the Statement Calling for Constitutional Resistance to Obergefell v. Hodges which we published on this blog yesterday.

The Nearest Breezy Hill



Comes now some scholars with backbone, in order to point out that the Obergefail decision is a Hefty bag filled up tight with balloon juice. This is quite right, and so they go on to make practical applications, which include encouraging all concerned to consider the decision as having no application beyond the named plaintiffs in the case. This advice amounts to encouraging all officeholders — who have sworn to uphold the Constitution, incidentally, which is to be distinguished from Anthony Kennedy’s opium dream, in which the Constitution played a walk-on cameo role — to feel free to tell the sexual tyrants to pound sand.

We do need a new political party. It doesn't need to be that big.
We do need a new political party. It doesn’t need to be that big.
Our Establishment pols want to say that this kind of showdown would provoke a constitutional crisis.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Resisting Resigning the Government To Elites

Statement Calling for Constitutional Resistance to Obergefell v. Hodges 

We are scholars and informed citizens deeply concerned by the edict of the Supreme Court of the United States in Obergefell v. Hodges wherein the Court decreed, by the narrowest of margins, that every state in the country must redefine marriage to include same-sex relationships. 

The Court’s majority opinion eschewed reliance on the text, logic, structure, or original understanding of the Constitution, as well as the Court’s own interpretative doctrines and precedents, and supplied no compelling reasoning to show why it is unjustified for the laws of the states to sustain marriage as it has been understood for millennia as the union of husband and wife.

The opinion for the Court substituted for traditional—and sound—methods of constitutional interpretation a new and ill-defined jurisprudence of identity—one that abused the moral concept of human dignity.

The four dissenting justices are right to reject the majority opinion in unsparing terms.

Daily Devotional

The Time For Speaking Seldom Arrives

TO Mrs. JESSUP, who seems to have written Lewis about the difficulties of being in a marriage in which one of the spouses is a Christian and one is not: On the slow process of being remade and how difficult we must be to live with after conversion as before; and on not concealing but not flaunting our conversion.

15 October 1951

C. S. Lewis

I agree with everything you say (except that I should publish anything on the subject: a bachelor is not the man to do it—there is such an obvious answer to anything he says!).

Our regeneration is a slow process. As Charles Williams says there are three stages: (1.) The Old Self on the Old Way. (2.) The Old Self on the New Way. (3.) The New Self on the New Way.

After conversion the Old Self can of course be just as arrogant, importunate, and imperialistic about the Faith as it previously was about any other interest. I had almost said ‘Any other Fad’—for just as the loveliest complexion turns green in a green light, so the Faith itself may have at first all the characteristics of a Fad and we may be as ill to live with as if we had taken up Nudism or Psychoanalysis or Pure Wool Clothing. You and I, clearly, both know all about that: one makes blunders.

About obedience, the principle is clear. Obedience to man is limited by obedience to God and, when they really conflict, must go. But of course that gives one very little guidance about particulars. The converted party must pray: I suppose it is not often necessary to pray in the presence of the other! Especially if the converted party is the woman, who usually has the house to herself all day.

Of course there must be no concealment, in the sense that if the question comes up one must say frankly that one does pray. But there is a difference between not concealing and flaunting. For the rest (did I quote this before?) MacDonald says ‘the time for speaking seldom arrives, the time for being never departs.’ Let you and me pray for each other.

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.

Lawful Christian Resistance, Part VIII

Laws To Which Kings Are Held

. . . . Seeing then that kings are ordained by God, and established by the people, to procure and provide for the good of those who are committed unto them, and that this good or profit be principally expressed in two things, to wit, in the administration of justice to their subjects, and in the managing of armies for the repulsing their enemies: certainly, we must infer and conclude from this, that the prince who applied himself to nothing but his peculiar profits and pleasures, or to those ends which most readily conduce thereunto, who contemns and perverts all laws, who uses his subjects more cruelly than the barbarous enemy would do, he may truly and really be called a tyrant, and that those who in this manner govern their kingdoms, be they of never so large an extent, are more properly unjust pillagers and free-booters, than lawful governors.  [Junius Brutus,  A Defence of Liberty Against Tyrants.  A Translation of Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos.  With an Historical Introduction by Harold J. Laski.  (Gloucester, Mass: Peter Smith, 1963) p. 143.]

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Letter From the UK (On The Second Islamic Generation in Denmark)

The Myth Of Integration

Muslims In Europe Getting More Radical With Time, Not Less

Oliver Lane
Breitbart London

Research in the European microcosm nation of Denmark has found three-quarters of Muslims in the country register on an important measure for radicalisation – more now than a decade ago.

Whereas 10 years ago Muslims in Denmark could have been considered to be comparatively moderate, today a poll by newspaper Jyllands-Posten finds attitudes have hardened – and the younger the Muslim, the more likely they are to hold hard-line views.

In a series of polls released by the paper over the course of this week, it has been revealed that Muslims are now more likely to take the word of the Quran literally, and that the teaching of the Islamic holy book should be implemented directly. In 2006 the number of people who agreed with the statement “the Quran’s instructions should be followed completely” was 62 per cent – today it has grown to 77 per cent; a strong majority.

While many have argued that the more violent verses of the Quran, which includes commandments to slay the enemies of the religion, have been taken out of context and are not to be interpreted literally, the view of three quarters of Muslims living in Denmark seems to contradict this view.

Daily Devotional

No Dark Foreboding

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

Charles H. Spurgeon

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

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

Though a lamb, he is yet the lion of the tribe of Judah, rending the prey in pieces; and though he breaks not the bruised reed, yet will he break his enemies with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. None of his foes shall bear up before the tempest of his wrath, or hide themselves from the sweeping hail of his indignation; but his beloved blood washed people look for his appearing with joy, and hope to abide it without fear: to them he sits as a refiner even now, and when he has tried them they shall come forth as gold.

Let us search ourselves this morning and make our calling and election sure, so that the coming of the Lord may cause no dark forebodings in our mind. O for grace to cast away all hypocrisy, and to be found of him sincere and without rebuke in the day of his appearing.

Fool's Paradise

 Normal Rules Don't Apply

The public square in New Zealand is a nasty place, where all kinds of germs fester.  Hang around in it long enough and you will find yourself sick, very sick.

Most people who have worked their way through adult life and ended their working careers with most debt paid off and able to afford a roof over their heads has had to watch their pennies very, very carefully throughout.  Spending plans have been strictly controlled for decades.  Credit cards have been rarely used.  Lifestyle plans have been rigorously cut back.  Hard work, self-control and thrift have marked their lives.

In the public square, none of these things applies.  The vast gulf between personal financial discipline and public square financial management makes the Pacific Ocean look like a puddle.  In the public square the only recognised virtue is spend, spend, spend.  Not one's own money, but the money of others.  And when public authorities run out of other people's money, they start pillaging the money of those not yet working, including those not yet born.  They go into debt.  Not small amounts mind.  But billions of billions of dollars (which are big bikkies for such a very small country).

The Commentariat has only one response to this madness.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Letter From America (About Recycling)

The Reign of Recycling

Despite decades of exhortations and mandates, it’s still typically more expensive for municipalities to recycle household waste than to send it to a landfill. Prices for recyclable materials have plummeted because of lower oil prices and reduced demand for them overseas. The slump has forced some recycling companies to shut plants and cancel plans for new technologies. The mood is so gloomy that one industry veteran tried to cheer up her colleagues this summer with an article in a trade journal titled, “Recycling Is Not Dead!”

While politicians set higher and higher goals, the national rate of recycling has stagnated in recent years. Yes, it’s popular in affluent neighborhoods like Park Slope in Brooklyn and in cities like San Francisco, but residents of the Bronx and Houston don’t have the same fervor for sorting garbage in their spare time.
The future for recycling looks even worse. As cities move beyond recycling paper and metals, and into glass, food scraps and assorted plastics, the costs rise sharply while the environmental benefits decline and sometimes vanish.

Daily Devotional

The Master Servant

. . . so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:7)

John Piper

To me, the Bible’s most astonishing image of Christ’s second coming is in Luke 12:35–37, which pictures the return of a master from a marriage feast:
“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.”
To be sure, we are called servants — and that no doubt means we are to do exactly as we are told. But the wonder of this picture is that the “master” insists on “serving” even in the age to come when he appears in all his glory “with his mighty angels in flaming fire” (2 Thessalonians 1:7–8). Why?

Because the very heart of his glory is the fullness of grace that overflows in kindness to needy people. Therefore, he aims “in the coming ages [to] show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7).

What is the greatness of our God? What is his uniqueness in the world? Isaiah answers: “From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides thee, who works for those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4, RSV).

Cleaning the Swamp

Empty Slogans and Vacuous Epithets

In New Zealand the Chattering Classes have been rabbiting on for weeks, months, even for years about "Dirty Politics".  For some strange reason, no-one can provide a cogent definition of what Dirty Politics actually is.  We fear that it will turn out that Dirty Politics is simply what the "other side" does.  But, when "we" do the very same (or similar) things, it's subtle, clever, prudent, and skilful.

We are not going to waste time entering the debating lists of who did what to whom.  Nor are we going to pick sides, and defend one at the expense of the other.  Nor are we going to cast doubt upon the existence of conspiracies to discredit political opponents either by fair or foul means.  But we do issue a plea to move beyond the empty epithets, the slogans, the platitudes and the faux outrage.

We would issue an open challenge to all political parties: rather than hurling meaningless charges of "Dirty Politics" at opponents, define "Clean Politics".  If a politician or political party or media pontificator cannot delineate the meaning and standards of "Clean Politics", the epithet "Dirty Politics" is vacuous.

By what standard--ethical, moral, or otherwise--must Clean Politics be represented?  Until politicians can delineate a code of clean conduct by which the electorate may judge them, and to which they rightly ought to be held to account, they should be presumed to be disreputable.  It's ironic that businesses and other societal groups and organisations promulgate codes of professional and ethical conduct for staff and members, yet political parties find it so difficult. 

Presumably this is one reason society ranks "politician" as one of the least trustworthy and least admired occupations. 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

We Thought You Said It Was Legal

Planned Parenthood: We’re Going To Stop 

The Federalist

Even though it swore up and down for weeks that it did nothing wrong, Planned Parenthood claimed today it will stop accepting payment in exchange for aborted baby parts harvested by its abortionists:
In order to completely debunk the disingenuous argument that our opponents have been using – and to reveal the true political purpose of these attacks – our Federation has decided, going forward, that any Planned Parenthood health center that is involved in donating tissue after an abortion for medical research will follow the model already in place at one of our two affiliates currently facilitating donations for fetal tissue research. That affiliate accepts no reimbursement for its reasonable expenses – even though reimbursement is fully permitted under the 1993 law. Going forward, all of our health centers will follow the same policy, even if it means they will not recover reimbursements permitted by the 1993 law.
Despite its previous claims of innocence, Planned Parenthood’s announcement today suggests that the organization knew its activities were almost certainly illegal.

When the shocking videos of Planned Parenthood were first released, the taxpayer-funded abortion mill said it only accepted reimbursement for the cost of harvesting and shipping aborted baby body parts. According to the group, accepting mere reimbursement, rather than profiting from the practice, is allowed by law. The undercover videos, however, showed multiple senior Planned Parenthood staff haggling over the prices they would accept in exchange for aborted baby body parts. In one video, one Planned Parenthood executive said she needed a good price for baby body parts because, “I need a Lamborghini.”

Daily Devotional

Sanctimonious Objections to Christ's Saving Work

C. S. Lewis

I have heard some people complain that if Jesus was God as well as man, then His sufferings and death lose all value in their eyes, ‘because it must have been so easy for Him’. Others may (very rightly) rebuke the ingratitude and ungraciousness of this objection; what staggers me is the misunderstanding it betrays.

In one sense, of course, those who make it are right. They have even understated their own case. The perfect submission, the perfect suffering, the perfect death were not only easier to Jesus because He was God, but were possible only because He was God. But surely that is a very odd reason for not accepting them? The teacher is able to form the letters for the child because the teacher is grown-up and knows how to write. That, of course, makes it easier for the teacher; and only because it is easier for him can he help the child. If it rejected him because ‘it’s easy for grown-ups’ and waited to learn writing from another child who could not write itself (and so had no ‘unfair’ advantage), it would not get on very quickly.

If I am drowning in a rapid river, a man who still has one foot on the bank may give me a hand which saves my life. Ought I to shout back (between my gasps) ‘No, it’s not fair! You have an advantage! You’re keeping one foot on the bank’? That advantage—call it ‘unfair’ if you like—is the only reason why he can be of any use to me.

To what will you look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself?

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.

Masters of the Universe At Work

Waste of Precious Time

We posted several days ago a piece profiling the bucolic but asinine pedagogical theory operating in "state of the art" schools in the UK and New Zealand.  We embedded a video of a school in Auckland which was doing its level best to practise pupil-centric education, where the pupil decided what, when, and how they would be taught, as in:
Adult Facilitator (aka, Teacher): "What would you like to do today, O masters of the universe?"

Pupil: "I want to play electronic games"

Second Pupil: "I want to make some cookies."

Adult Facilitator: "Wonderful.  It's so exciting to come to school to share in your wonderful creative instincts. Now, let's talk about how we can study these things today.  Any ideas?"
Just in case you thought that this Auckland school was an weird outlier, think again.

Monday, 19 October 2015

And Now, Some Good News . . .

If You Have Been Killed, Thank God

God moves in mysterious ways, we are told, His wonders to perform. 

Recently, we posted a piece on the hunger of Jewish people in Israel to study and research whether Yeshua of Nazareth was actually the long awaiting Jewish Mashiach.  Such things are taking place beneath the radar screen of the madding crowd and the buzzing hives of Unbelief.  As one church historian once observed, some of the greatest movements of the Spirit of God drawing people to the Master of the Universe are only seen and recognised after the event. 

Now, hot on the heels of that report, friends sent another report, this one published in Christian Today

'We are living in the midst of the greatest turning of Muslims to Christ in history'

Lucinda Borkett-Jones

Despite the daily news of the persecution of Christians around the world by Islamist groups, there is another, lesser-known story of growing numbers of Muslims around the world who are turning to Christ as Lord.
Missionary David Garrison's book, A Wind in the House of Islam, charts this phenomenon, which he says demonstrates that "we are living in the midst of the greatest turning of Muslims to Christ in history".

The book is the result of two and a half years of research and involved travelling more than 250,000 miles to conduct interviews with more than 1,000 people around the Muslim world. In the study, a 'movement' of believers is defined as a group of more than 1,000 baptised believers or 100 new churches within a Muslim community. In total he found 69 movements that had started in the first 12 years of the 21st century, in comparison with virtually no voluntary movements of converts to Christianity in the first 12 centuries of Islam.

Daily Devotional

Learn of Him

"I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord."
Philippians 3:8

Charles H. Spurgeon

Spiritual knowledge of Christ will be a personal knowledge. I cannot know Jesus through another person's acquaintance with him. No, I must know him myself; I must know him on my own account. It will be an intelligent knowledge--I must know him, not as the visionary dreams of him, but as the Word reveals him.

I must know his natures, divine and human. I must know his offices--his attributes--his works--his shame--his glory. I must meditate upon him until I "comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge." It will be an affectionate knowledge of him; indeed, if I know him at all, I must love him. An ounce of heart knowledge is worth a ton of head learning.

Our knowledge of him will be a satisfying knowledge. When I know my Saviour, my mind will be full to the brim--I shall feel that I have that which my spirit panted after. "This is that bread whereof if a man eat he shall never hunger." At the same time it will be an exciting knowledge; the more I know of my Beloved, the more I shall want to know. The higher I climb the loftier will be the summits which invite my eager footsteps. I shall want the more as I get the more. Like the miser's treasure, my gold will make me covet more.

To conclude; this knowledge of Christ Jesus will be a most happy one; in fact, so elevating, that sometimes it will completely bear me up above all trials, and doubts, and sorrows; and it will, while I enjoy it, make me something more than "Man that is born of woman, who is of few days, and full of trouble"; for it will fling about me the immortality of the ever living Saviour, and gird me with the golden girdle of his eternal joy. Come, my soul, sit at Jesus's feet and learn of him all this day.

Lawful Christian Resistance, Part VII

Doctrines, Focus and Tactics: Lessons From Wilberforce

We have been considering the political and social philosophy of lawful Christian resistance to tyrannical government.  As persecution of Christians increases in the West--an inevitable outcome of militant secular and atheistic doctrines--this is something that Christians will have to bone up upon, fast.

There are some factors working to our advantage in this up-schooling process, however.  Firstly, there is plenty of instruction and counsel within the Scriptures on these matters.  Those professing Christians who revere the Bible as the very Word of the Living God will find much to teach, instruct and counsel them as they work through the issues.  Secondly, the history of the First Christendom--centred in Western Europe and then latterly in the modern  and post-modern Anglo-Saxon world--reflects a great deal of the principles of rule, government, law, justice, and freedoms derived from the Scriptures.  Thus, in general Western political history provides a work book of faithful Christian doctrines of the State and lawful government, on the one hand, and the opposite notions, on the other--together with their respective outworkings and consequences.

The watershed issue, however, which divides the Christian doctrine of government from all other political ideologies is this:

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Letter From the UK (About How Good CO2 Is)

Carbon Dioxide Good For The Environment Says UN Scientist

by Nick Hallett
Breitbart London

Carbon dioxide emissions are making the Earth greener and more fertile, a United Nations (UN) climate scientist has said.

In a paper for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Dr Indur Goklany, who has previously represented the United States on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says that the rising level of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere “is currently net beneficial for both humanity and the biosphere generally”. 

The benefits are real, whereas the costs of warming are uncertain,” he adds.  “Carbon dioxide fertilises plants, and emissions from fossil fuels have already had a hugely beneficial effect on crops, increasing yields by at least 10-15 per cent,” Dr Golkany argues.  “This has not only been good for humankind but for the natural world too, because an acre of land that is not used for crops is an acre of land that is left for nature.”
Increasing crops yields has helped reduce hunger and improved human well being, as well as generating around $140 billion a year.

As well as crops, the “wild places of the Earth” have seen an improvement, becoming greener in recent decades.

Daily Devotional

In Defence of Tent-making

TO SHELDON VANAUKEN, who had asked whether he should continue with his postgraduate work in history or study theology: On the danger of combining one’s vocation with one’s spiritual interest.

C. S. Lewis

5 January 1951
We must ask three questions about the probable effect of your research subject to something more theological.

(1.) Would it be better for your immediate enjoyment? Answer, probably but not certainly, Yes.

(2.) Would it be better for your academic career? Answer, probably No. You would have to make up in haste a lot of knowledge which could not be very easily digested in the time.

(3.) Would it be better for your soul? I don’t know. I think there is a great deal to be said for having one’s deepest spiritual interest distinct from one’s ordinary duty as a student or professional man.

St. Paul’s job was tent-making. When the two coincide I should have thought there was a danger lest the natural interest in one’s job and the pleasures of gratified ambition might be mistaken for spiritual progress and spiritual consolation: and I think clergymen sometimes fall into this trap.

Contrariwise, there is the danger that what is boring or repellent in the job may alienate one from the spiritual life. And finally someone has said ‘None are so unholy as those whose hands are cauterised with holy things’: sacred things may become profane by becoming matters of the job. You now want truth for her own sake: how will it be when the same truth is also needed for an effective footnote in your thesis? In fact, the change might do good or harm. I’ve always been glad myself that Theology is not the thing I earn my living by. On the whole, I’d advise you to get on with your tent-making. The performance of a duty will probably teach you quite as much about God as academic Theology would do.

Mind, I’m not certain: but that is the view I incline to.

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.

Dark Racism

Why Some Find Ben Carson Is So Offensive

Racism can run really, really deep in the human soul.  It can have many manifestations.  Some represent what we would call Dark Racism, a phrase used in the sense, not of skin colour, but in the same sense as the phrases "Dark Web" and "Dark State".  In other words, Dark Racism refers to a form of racism so institutionalised and well covered that it is reflexively tolerated by society, the large majority being unaware of its existence.

We grant that we are on dangerous turf at this point.  We despise the modern preoccupation to see all events, all crimes, all judicial actions--and virtually every social action--as racist.  When a white policeman shoots a black person, it is automatically and reflexively categorised as racist oppression by the police.  When a non-Caucasian person shoots a white cop, it is automatically and reflexively legitimised as understandable, given what non-Caucasian people suffer.   And so on.

How, then, should we understand and interpret the peculiar phenomenon of some successful black people being pilloried by members of the black Commentariat in the United States, and by the liberal, Progressive set?

Friday, 16 October 2015

Massive Political Obstacles

CO2 Is Not the Problem

Miranda Devine believes that an electrical engineer's discovery will change the climate debate.  We have our doubts.  There is such a thing as invincible ignorance.  Nonetheless, she profiles an interesting development.

Perth electrical engineer’s discovery will change climate change debate

Daily Devotional

Dancing With Joyful Anticipation

"Faultless before the presence of his glory."
Jude 24

Charles H. Spurgeon

Revolve in your mind that wondrous word, "faultless!" We are far off from it now; but as our Lord never stops short of perfection in his work of love, we shall reach it one day. The Saviour who will keep his people to the end, will also present them at last to himself, as "a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but holy and without blemish." All the jewels in the Saviour's crown are of the first water and without a single flaw. All the maids of honour who attend the Lamb's wife are pure virgins without spot or stain.

But how will Jesus make us faultless? He will wash us from our sins in his own blood until we are white and fair as God's purest angel; and we shall be clothed in his righteousness, that righteousness which makes the saint who wears it positively faultless; yea, perfect in the sight of God. We shall be unblameable and unreproveable even in his eyes. His law will not only have no charge against us, but it will be magnified in us.

Moreover, the work of the Holy Spirit within us will be altogether complete. He will make us so perfectly holy, that we shall have no lingering tendency to sin. Judgment, memory, will--every power and passion shall be emancipated from the thraldom of evil. We shall be holy even as God is holy, and in his presence we shall dwell forever. Saints will not be out of place in heaven, their beauty will be as great as that of the place prepared for them. Oh the rapture of that hour when the everlasting doors shall be lifted up, and we, being made meet for the inheritance, shall dwell with the saints in light. Sin gone, Satan shut out, temptation past forever, and ourselves "faultless" before God, this will be heaven indeed!

Let us be joyful now as we rehearse the song of eternal praise so soon to roll forth in full chorus from all the blood-washed host; let us copy David's exultings before the ark as a prelude to our ecstasies before the throne.

Led By the Nose

The Father of Lies Knows His Own

Lena Dunham has been exposed as a fraud.  She is clearly a narcissist.  Yet like many pseudo-intellectuals she remains lauded by the glitterati, a class of doyens never inclined to let the facts get in the way of a good story.  So Marx, Tolstoi, Hemingway, Satre, Gollanz, Rousseau, and Lillian Hellman--notorious liars all-- were lionised by the Commentariat of their day.  They remain lionised amongst the "smart set" to this day.

It has been well said that a person's character can be known by their acquaintances and friends as well as by their enemies.  The glitterati of our day illustrate the point.  A fraud such as Dunham continues to be celebrated and lionised amongst them.  By so doing, the glitterati betray their true character.  Michelle Malkin puts the matter in perspective.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Holy Polemics

Fighting the Good Fight

Dr B. B. Warfield once held the chair of Polemical Theology at Princeton Seminary.  There is a great need for holy polemics--the will and skill to hammer the ruling prejudices and reigning vanities of Unbelief.

Douglas Wilson is one such warrior.  He responds to some of his facile critics:  
. . . But did Isaiah hate women?

“Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, And walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, Walking and mincing as they go, And making a tinkling with their feet . . .” (Is. 3:16).

When I say that some women are biddies, this is not because they differ with me. It is because they are biddies. If I say a woman is a harridan, it is not because she disagrees with me about something. Other factors are in play, one of them being that she is a harridan.

This is one of the central reasons why a certain kind of feminist mind is not capable of engaging with serious thought. Were I to describe a man coming out of his apartment in a wife-beater tee, gold chain nestled in his chest hairs, would I be attacking men? Or would I be attacking a particular version of little coxcomb men?

Suppose a group of feral feminist females organize a slut walk. Bear with me — I am reproducing yet another instance of the problem.

Daily Devotional

Possibly The Most Important Text in Scripture

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

John Piper

Romans 3:25–26 may be the most important verses in the Bible.
God is wholly just! And He justifies the ungodly!
Not either/or! Both! He acquits the guilty, but is not guilty in doing so. This is the greatest news in the world!
  • “[God] made [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

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

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

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

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

If the most terrifying news in the world is that we have fallen under the condemnation of our Creator and that he is bound by his own righteous character to preserve the worth of his glory by pouring out his wrath on our sin . . . . Then the best news in all the world (the gospel!) is that God has decreed a way of salvation that also upholds the worth of his glory, the honor of his Son, and the eternal salvation of his elect. He has given his Son to die for sinners and to conquer their death by his own resurrection.

Renewed Hearts and Minds

One Whom God Draws

A friend recently passed on a book by Holly Ordway [Not God's Type: A Rational Academic Finds a Radical Faith (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2010)].  It is an autobiographical account of the author coming to faith out of a state of antipathy and disdain for Jesus Christ, Christendom and Christians.  It is one more compelling account of God's saving power, the truth of His electing, choosing grace, and the irresistible power of the Spirit of God, the Hound of Heaven.

We always find such accounts thrilling and humbling at the same time.  Ordway found herself a typical child of a secularist age.  She makes no mention of father, mother, siblings or the home in which she was raised.  This is somewhat curious, as doubtless her home conditioned her to Unbelief.  But she focuses instead upon the conditioning effect of her schooling:
A memory from first grade: the teacher giving us children words to spell on the chalkboard.  I was a precocious reader and writer, so I wrote the word confidently: "g o d."  But the little boy next to me who wrote "G o d" was praised for his correct spelling, not me.  I knew about Greek and Norse gods, characters in my storybooks on myths, so the capital G puzzled me.  I did not understand that God was a name, the name of the Lord.

My indifference persisted as I grew up, went through high school, and started college.  In high school, religion of any kind seemed to me an odd but harmless pursuit, one that I treated with the same incurious disdain I held for other activities that didn't interest me, like golf or chess. [Op cit., p. 13f.]
But in later, college years the conditioning to Unbelief remained subtle, but became more negatively cast.  Indifference morphed into prejudice.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Letter From America (About Dying With Faith, Hope, and Dignity)

My Mom Just Died Of Brain Cancer

Here’s Why She Opposed Assisted Suicide

Mary Karner
The Federalist

I’ll admit it, I’m an adrenaline junkie. And judging from the plethora of new TV shows like “Trauma: Life in the ER” or “Code Black,” most of America is too. Except that’s my life. I’m a Trauma Nurse. I eat, sleep, and breathe trauma.
Every time I walk into work with a French Vanilla Swirl Latte from Dunkin’ Donuts in my hand, life and death are waiting for me. And up until this week I thought I’d seen just about everything. I’ve performed CPR till I thought my arms would fall off to keep blood pumping through a child’s body. I’ve administered life-saving medication to a patient having a stroke and seen the joy on his face when he regained his speech. I’ve had a patient fall through a ceiling onto another patient (I can’t even make that up.) I’ve held the hand of patients as they’ve taken their last breath, and I’ve hugged family members so tight I couldn’t breathe. I really thought I’d seen it all.

And then last week, my mom died.

Daily Devotional

Private Religion is an Oxymoron

C.S. Lewis

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

In our own age the idea that religion belongs to our private life— that it is, in fact, an occupation for the individual’s hour of leisure—is at once paradoxical, dangerous, and natural. It is paradoxical because this exaltation of the individual in the religious field springs up in an age when collectivism is ruthlessly defeating the individual in every other field. . . . . There is a crowd of busybodies, self-appointed masters of ceremonies, whose life is devoted to destroying solitude wherever solitude still exists. They call it “taking the young people out of themselves,” or “waking them up,” or “overcoming their apathy.”

If an Augustine, a Vaughan, a Traherne, or a Wordsworth should be born in the modern world, the leaders of a youth organization would soon cure him. If a really good home, such as the home of Alcinous and Arete in the Odyssey or the Rostovs in War and Peace or any of Charlotte M. Yonge’s families, existed today, it would be denounced as bourgeois and every engine of destruction would be levelled against it. And even where the planners fail and someone is left physically by himself, the wireless has seen to it that he will be—in a sense not intended by Scipio— never less alone than when alone.

We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and privacy, and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.
From The Weight of Glory
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis