Thursday, 31 December 2015

Growth of the Kingdom of God in Africa

Christianity Explodes in Africa

Implodes in Europe

Dr Thomas D. Williams
Breitbart London

Christianity is experiencing an unprecedented boom on the African continent and now accounts for more than half of Africa’s total population, while Christian affiliation and practice continue to ebb in Europe, signaling a major demographic shift in global Christianity.

An article in the Christmas issue of the Economist lays out the sobering statistics of European Christianity, while holding up the remarkable growth of the Christian faith among Africans.

Christianity is experiencing more rapid growth in Africa than anywhere else on the planet, including Asia and Latin America. In 1910 less than 10% of Africans identified as Christians, whereas today 55% of the population is Christian.

Daily Devotional

That You May Believe

John Piper

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30–31)

I feel so strongly that among those of us who have grown up in church and who can recite the great doctrines of our faith in our sleep and who yawn through the Apostles Creed — that among us something must be done to help us once more feel the awe, the fear, the astonishment, the wonder of the Son of God, begotten by the Father from all eternity, reflecting all the glory of God, being the very image of his person, through whom all things were created, upholding the universe by the word of his power.

You can read every fairy tale that was ever written, every mystery thriller, every ghost story, and you will never find anything so shocking, so strange, so weird and spellbinding as the story of the incarnation of the Son of God.

Between Delusion and Reality . . .

Falls The Shadow

These days one can mount a reasonable argument that the nation-state is eroding, and may well disappear for the foreseeable future.

Islamic theology does not recognise the nation state, but thinks instead of a world-wide theocratic caliphate to which all men will be subject.  This world-view is aptly demonstrated by the evolution of the name of the latest caliphate:  ISIS ("the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria"), then ISIL ("the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) and the now preferred moniker--IS ("Islamic State")--thereby underscoring its universal global claims, not a state with territorial or national boundaries.

The same end goal is seen in the ideology operating within the corridors and confabulations of the UN. National identities are downgraded in favour of One United Nation ruling the entire world. Globalism.  It is a core component of UN ideology that nation states ought to be overtaken by global government, funded by taxes levied upon all human beings and all human activity on the planet.  Only a universal government will be effective in combating alleged global problems, such as a warming climate, disease, poverty, etc. etc. we are increasingly told.  The doctrine of internationalist statism espouses the belief that all human problems can ultimately be solved by global government.

This secular globalist ideology constantly undermines national governments in favour of international uber-government.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow


Douglas Wilson

Andrew Walker here describes the efforts of the new homo-jihadis to outlaw religious liberty on Christian colleges. I use the verb “outlaw,” but Walker makes it plain that this ultimate goal is not the immediate move. The current plan is simply to expose those colleges that have taken a legal exemption from the sexual pandemonium so that they may be subjected to the full weight of public . . . what’s the word I want here? . . . obloquy, that’s it.

And World magazine reports that a Catholic school in Massachusetts will not be permitted to beg off from hiring homosexuals in the future. A judge has handed down some learned argle bargle, and a private religious school now has to have an official from the government tell them what the boundaries of their conscience may be. Now — full disclosure here — I have been reported on enough by World to make me a little tentative, but this story seems legit.

Walker’s report makes plain what has been evident to insightful observers for some time now.

Daily Devotional

On truth

C. S. Lewis

“I suppose there are two views about everything,” said Mark.

“Eh? Two views? There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there’s never more than one.”

From That Hideous Strength
Compiled in Words to Live By

That Hideous Strength. Copyright © 1945 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All right reserved under international and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. 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.

The Star Chamber Makes a Comeback

An Important Test Case

The outlawing of "hate speech" will inevitably result in state persecution of people who dare to utter proscribed speech.  This is not a drawing of  some long, long bow.  It is upon us.  The dragon is stirring.

James McConnell is not a well known name.  But he is a Christian martyr--in the broad sense of giving public witness and testimony to the truth.  He is now on the verge of being imprisoned for conscience sake.  In Northern Ireland.  In the UK.  This from Liam Deacon, writing in Breitbart News.
 James McConnell — the Northern Irish Pastor charged with making “grossly offensive” remarks about Islam — has had his request for the “ridiculous” trial to be dropped rejected, and will be sentenced next month.  The prosecution told the Belfast Magistrates Court that the comments were not “a slip of the tongue”, and accused the Pastor of “intend[ing] to use those words”.

The Pastors said the charges were “ridiculous” and argued that he “was attacking the theology of Islam… not attacking any individual Muslim”.  According to the BBC, he said he “didn’t realise that good Muslim people would be hurt”. Adding: “I didn’t go into the church to provoke anyone. I went into church to present the truth”.
The days of James I and the Star Chamber seem like a bad dream, part of an ignorant, less enlightened past.  Church ministers hauled before the state and punished for preaching the Bible.  Actually, if a minister today in the UK faithfully proclaims the teachings of Scripture, he risks the modern equivalent of Tudor and Stuart wrath.
Mr. McConnell stands accused of a “hate crime” for “sending a malicious communication” after broadcasting a sermon on the Internet last year in which he described Islam as “heathen” and “satanic”. The charge carries a possible sentence of six months in jail.
The accused is standing fast.  He could have "got off" if he accepted an "informal caution" from the Police.
Asked why he refused an informal caution that would have averted a criminal trial, the Pastor said he didn’t because he wanted to stand up for his freedom of speech.  “If I took it, that would be an insult to the one I love … that was me gagged for the rest of my life”, he said.  He has previously said that he is prepared to go to jail and argued that to accept the caution would be to acknowledge he did something wrong, which he contests.

James McConnell

Even ideological opponents are standing up for Pastor McConnell.
In a statement, the executive director of the National Secular Society, Keith Porteous Wood, said the case was an important benchmark that could harm free speech and inter-faith relations across the country:

“This is a chilling prosecution and regardless of the verdict next year the trial is a sad indictment of free speech in the UK. What Pastor McConnell said was no doubt very offensive to a great number of people, but that is immaterial.  “Religious believers of different faiths must have the right to hold strong opinions about the beliefs and doctrines of others, to give forthright sermons, and to debate each-other openly; just as the non-religious must have the right to reject all religion and express their criticism and satire of religious ideas.

“While we reject what McConnell has said, it is clear that he was not inciting violence. The threshold for restricting freedom of speech should be set very high, and this case does not approach that boundary. We see this as an important test case.”

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Letter From America (About Incremental Oppression)

Christian Colleges Must Repent of Their Christianity

Activist group wants to encourage intimidation of schools that follow religious teaching.

By Andrew T. Walker
National Review Online

On Friday, the nation’s largest gay-rights organization, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), released a chilling report that investigates a “disturbing trend” of religious colleges’ taking legal measures to exercise their religious liberty, using waivers available to them under Title IX. A summary of the report can be found here.

Titled “Hidden Discrimination: Title IX Religious Exemptions Putting LGBT Students at Risk,” the report looks at 56 colleges that have sought such exemptions. According to the report, “Since 2013, 33 have received exemptions from protections that relate to gender identity, and 23 have received exemptions relating to sexual orientation.”

In the eyes of HRC, the constitutional rights of a religious school to remain faithful to its doctrinal views on sexuality and sexual complementarity should be subjugated to the expressive and sexual identity of prospective students. In their view, moral condemnation of homosexuality or transgender identity is tantamount to discrimination, and therefore, Christian schools should not be treated so tolerantly under federal law.

With the wind at its back, however, HRC is capitalizing on legal and cultural shifts in believing it can single out and intimidate those Christian schools, which, SURPRISE . . . believe and act according to the Christian tradition.

Daily Devotional

Bitter Sorrow, But Not Despairing

"The night also is thine."
Psalm 74:16

Charles H. Spurgeon

Yes, Lord, thou dost not abdicate thy throne when the sun goeth down, nor dost thou leave the world all through these long wintry nights to be the prey of evil; thine eyes watch us as the stars, and thine arms surround us as the zodiac belts the sky. The dews of kindly sleep and all the influences of the moon are in thy hand, and the alarms and solemnities of night are equally with thee. This is very sweet to me when watching through the midnight hours, or tossing to and fro in anguish. There are precious fruits put forth by the moon as well as by the sun: may my Lord make me to be a favoured partaker in them.

The night of affliction is as much under the arrangement and control of the Lord of Love as the bright summer days when all is bliss. Jesus is in the tempest. His love wraps the night about itself as a mantle, but to the eye of faith the sable robe is scarce a disguise. From the first watch of the night even unto the break of day the eternal Watcher observes his saints, and overrules the shades and dews of midnight for his people's highest good. We believe in no rival deities of good and evil contending for the mastery, but we hear the voice of Jehovah saying, "I create light and I create darkness; I, the Lord, do all these things."

Gloomy seasons of religious indifference and social sin are not exempted from the divine purpose. When the altars of truth are defiled, and the ways of God forsaken, the Lord's servants weep with bitter sorrow, but they may not despair, for the darkest eras are governed by the Lord, and shall come to their end at his bidding. What may seem defeat to us may be victory to him.

"Though enwrapt in gloomy night,
We perceive no ray of light;
Since the Lord himself is here,
'Tis not meet that we should fear."

Indulgences Have Their Place

Where's John Tetzel When You Need Him?

How such stories are newsworthy in a secular newspaper is a bit beyond our collective pay grades.  A newspaper (with a website) repeated the story of a tenured teacher at Wheaton College--a private evangelical liberal arts school in the US.  But, there we are.  We venture to say that most New Zealanders have never heard of Wheaton, and if they have they probably think it is an additive used in a bakery.

We bypass ruminating on why Stuff might think this newsworthy in NZ.  But we understand why it may be considered important amongst Christians.  What is going on?
A professor at Wheaton College, an evangelical Christian school in the west of Chicago, has been suspended after making a post on Facebook saying that Christians and Muslims "worship the same God".   In her post, Dr Larycia Hawkins, who is a Christian and an associate professor of political science, included a photo of herself wearing a headscarf.
Let's follow Hawkins's train of thought:
I don't love my Muslim neighbor because s/he is American. I love my Muslim neighbor because s/he deserves love by virtue of her/his human dignity.
No problem so far.  Did not Christ's apostle instruct us thus: "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.  So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." [Galatians 6: 9-10].  Moreover, the great summary of the Law includes the universal command that we are "to love our neighbour as ourselves".  That command presupposes the universal oneness of the human race in some vital ways.

The same law demands universal love for males, females, children, unborn children, elderly, all races, murderers, racists, sexually perverted, and so forth.  We would seek to do good to all, extending the love and generosity of the Saviour of the world, along with judicious appeals to repent of sin and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ as the true God-provided indulgence for sin.

But, we move along.  The good professor went on to say,

Monday, 28 December 2015

Stones That Talk

Where Christ Drove Demons into Sea

Archaeological Evidence Uncovered

Dr Thomas D. Williams

Israeli Antiquities Authority

Evidence has been uncovered corroborating the site of one of Jesus’ most powerful and dramatic miracles: the casting out of demons into a herd of swine in the land of the Gadarenes (or Gerasenes).

Israeli archaeologists have unearthed a 1,500-year-old marble slab with Hebrew inscriptions near Kursi, the spot traditionally associated with the miracle of Christ’s banishment of demons into a herd of swine.  Archeologists believe the slab to be a commemoration tablet dating from around 500 AD. The inscription in Hebrew begins with the words “Remembered for good.”

The biblical description of the miracle is one of the most evocative in the entire Gospel. Recounted by Matthew, Mark, and Luke with different nuances, the Gospels depict Jesus in one of His most direct confrontations with Satan.

Daily Devotional

The Greatest Salvation Imaginable

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah . . . ” (Jeremiah 31:31)

John Piper

God is just and holy and separated from sinners like us. This is our main problem at Christmas and every other season. How shall we get right with a just and holy God?

Nevertheless, God is merciful and has promised in Jeremiah 31 (five hundred years before Christ) that someday he would do something new. He would replace shadows with the Reality of the Messiah. And he would powerfully move into our lives and write his will on our hearts so that we are not constrained from outside but are willing from inside to love him and trust him and follow him.

That would be the greatest salvation imaginable — if God should offer us the greatest Reality in the universe to enjoy and then move in us to see to it that we could enjoy it with the greatest freedom and joy possible. That would be a Christmas gift worth singing about.

That is, in fact, what he promised. But there was a huge obstacle. Our sin. Our separation from God because of our unrighteousness.  How shall a holy and just God treat us sinners with so much kindness as to give us the greatest Reality in the universe (his Son) to enjoy with the greatest joy possible?

The answer is that God put our sins on his Son, and judged them there, so that he could put them out of his mind, and deal with us mercifully and remain just and holy at the same time.

Not an Atheist nor a Secularist

No Offence Intended

Hasn't anyone told the Queen that one must be very careful about identifying as a Christian and speaking out about the Christian faith.  Hasn't anyone pointed out to her that words such she used in her 2015 Christian message can be offensive--in fact, we are on very safe ground asserting that there were plenty of people in the UK who were deeply offended at what she said.  

What a refreshing relief that a public figure can speak so forthrightly and Christianly.  This, from The Guardian.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Integrating Into the Void

It's a Trans Trans World

Homosexual (I-Was-Born-This-Way) propagators must be feeling more and more vulnerable.  The Trans Brigade" is going to overwhelm them.  The argument from nature is going to be traduced by an argument from volitional behaviourism.  Amidst it all, the West's secular death culture stands astride with a bemused look on its face, whimpering "That's not what we meant at all."  Tough bikkies.  Some folk are more serious about your secularist antinomian world than you are.

‘Trans Supremacy’: Students Hold First Ever Transgender Conference

Want Men Playing Womens’ Sports

by Liam Deacon
Breitbart London

The National Union of Students (NUS) held it’s first ever transgender conference yesterday, where they used ‘jazz hands’ instead of clapping, voted to ‘no-platform’ Germaine Greer and said they would campaign for “self definition [to] be the only criteria for the partition in gendered sports”.

Daily Devotional

The Frosty Sunrise

On worry

C. S. Lewis

A great many people (not you) do now seem to think that the mere state of being worried is in itself meritorious. I don’t think it is. We must, if it so happens, give our lives for others: but even while we’re doing it, I think we’re meant to enjoy Our Lord and, in Him, our friends, our food, our sleep, our jokes, and the birds’ song and the frosty sunrise.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume II
Compiled in Words to Live By

The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume II: Family Letters 1905-1931. Copyright © 2004 by 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.

Scepticism Over Poverty Measures

Poverty is A Wax Nose

Every few months we in New Zealand are confronted with the "reality" of poverty in New Zealand.  The latest is a report from the Child Commissioner on the rates of child poverty--that is, children living in poverty.   It's got to the stage where few people take such confrontations seriously any more.  
We are pretty confident that actual poverty exists in New Zealand.  We are very confident that child poverty most certainly exists.  Here is a case in point:
An Auckland mother who kept her toddlers in a cockroach-infested house has pleaded guilty to failing to keep a safe and hygienic living environment for her children.  The woman appeared for sentence on Monday though she was granted a discharge without conviction after a judge found a criminal record would prevent her from seeing her children again.

The North Shore woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of her children, earlier pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to discharge a legal duty, namely keeping a safe and hygienic living environment for her children. . . . Police arrived to find dozens of dirty nappies on the floor, hundreds of cockroaches, rancid dishes, only one working light, and little food- some which had been left to rot and was covered in maggots.  By way of explanation, the mother had told police that she knew the house was a mess but that she was too busy to clean it because she spent nights at a local hospital, where Judge Philippa Cunningham said "ironically" she worked as a cleaner.
What we are deeply sceptical about, however, is relative measures of poverty.

Friday, 25 December 2015

How Far Can She Go?

Meet Europe’s New Rockstar Of The Right

Marion Maréchal-Le Pen

Elected France’s youngest ever member of parliament at just 22 years old, Marion MarĂ©chal-Le Pen is unapologetic about her strong Catholic faith and defence of traditional values.  Granddaughter of French conservative nationalist party the Front National (FN) founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marion is building a strong reputation in her own right as a capable legislator and potential future leader of the party. Although the position is presently held by Marion’s aunt, the party is rapidly moving away from it’s previous image of anti-Semitism associated with founder Jean-Marie.

French Far-Right National Front Marion Marechal Le Pen's Meeting For France Regional Elections At Le Pontet

While French Jewish groups have publicly acknowledged the party has renounced anti-Semitism and its present leadership has never held such views, it is widely considered that the younger Marion holds broader appeal — especially to Christians.

Daily Devotional

The Witness of the Holy Spirit to All Believers

"Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love."
Jeremiah 31:3

Charles H. Spurgeon

Sometimes the Lord Jesus tells his Church his love thoughts. "He does not think it enough behind her back to tell it, but in her very presence he says, Thou art all fair, my love.' It is true, this is not his ordinary method; he is a wise lover, and knows when to keep back the intimation of love and when to let it out; but there are times when he will make no secret of it; times when he will put it beyond all dispute in the souls of his people" (R. Erskine's Sermons).

The Holy Spirit is often pleased, in a most gracious manner, to witness with our spirits of the love of Jesus. He takes of the things of Christ and reveals them unto us. No voice is heard from the clouds, and no vision is seen in the night, but we have a testimony more sure than either of these. If an angel should fly from heaven and inform the saint personally of the Saviour's love to him, the evidence would not be one whit more satisfactory than that which is borne in the heart by the Holy Ghost.

Ask those of the Lord's people who have lived the nearest to the gates of heaven, and they will tell you that they have had seasons when the love of Christ towards them has been a fact so clear and sure, that they could no more doubt it than they could question their own existence. Yes, beloved believer, you and I have had times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and then our faith has mounted to the topmost heights of assurance.

Echoes From Paris

Unscientific Nonsense

Now that the Paris confabulation is over and rapidly disappearing in the rear-vision mirror we thought it may be useful to recapitulate some of the fatal flaws in global warmism.  The reasons listed below are in no particular order, but they provide a useful summary of why we at this blog mock the whole enterprise of anthropogenic global warming and its alleged threats.

Global warming of the man-caused variety has become a political cause masquerading as science.  For this, scientists the world over are responsible.  That is not to say that all scientists support the hoax.  We are sure that the vast majority of them have not given it much thought.  They ought to have.  Provocateurs are undermining the credibility of science itself.  Things are being said, done, and claimed to be science which are not scientific in any sense of the word.

Science is a limited heuristic enterprise.  It can focus only upon the empirical.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Above Us Only Sky

Douglas Wilson

Suppose with me for a moment. Suppose that about fifteen nano-seconds after the Big Bang all the trillion-plex trillions of atoms all joined hands together, forming their molecules, and then they all ran pell mell down the corridors of the space/time continuum, making history as they went. Some scientists think they all yelled whee! but I myself suspect it was something more like arghh! The question is hard to determine because apart from a few staff writers at National Geographic, nobody was there really.

What is not hard to determine is what this would entail, if true. It would entail John Lennon being a certified moonbeam. Go over his famous Imagine with a thoughtful eye and ear, and the only thing that makes any sense whatever would be the chord changes. But if, as he avers, the only thing above us is sky, then the chord changes making sense . . . doesn’t make sense.

Without transcendent reality, we don’t just lose transcendent reality. We lose everything down here as well.

Daily Devotional

Christmas Is for Freedom

John Piper

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. (Hebrews 2:14–15)
Jesus became man because what was needed was the death of a man who was more than man. The incarnation was God’s locking himself into death row.

Christ did not risk death. He embraced it. That is precisely why he came: not to be served but to serve and give his life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).  No wonder Satan tried to turn Jesus from the cross! The cross was Satan’s destruction. How did Jesus destroy him?

The “power of death” is the ability to make death fearful. The “power of death” is the power that holds men in bondage through fear of death. It is the power to keep men in sin so that death comes as a horrid thing.  But Jesus stripped Satan of this power. He disarmed him. He molded a breastplate of righteousness for us that makes us immune to the devil’s condemnation.

By his death, Jesus wiped away all our sins. And a person without sin puts Satan out of business. His treason is aborted. His cosmic treachery is foiled. “His rage we can endure, for, lo, his doom is sure.” The cross has run him through. And he will gasp his last before long.

Christmas is for freedom. Freedom from the fear of death.

Jesus took our nature in Bethlehem, to die our death in Jerusalem, that we might be fearless in our city. Yes, fearless. Because if the biggest threat to my joy is gone, then why should I fret over the little ones? How can you say (really!), “Well, I’m not afraid to die but I’m afraid to lose my job”? No. No. Think!

If death (I said, death!—no pulse, cold, gone!)—if death is no longer a fear, we’re free, really free. Free to take any risk under the sun for Christ and for love. No more bondage to anxiety.

If the Son has set you free, you shall be free, indeed!

Not A Class Act

Messianic Pretenders

These days false messiahs abound.  In the Christian tradition, a messiah was someone anointed by God and called to holy office.  Priests, prophets and kings were all messiahs in their respective days of public duty.  All of these served and foreshadowed the one Messiah, the Christ, Who would come forth as the saviour of the world--both the world of the Jews and the world of the Gentiles.

As paganism has advanced in the post-Christian West, more and more petty messiahs have come forth.  They claim to be saviours of the world.  Apostatizing from Christ, the true Messiah, the West has looked for (false) messiahs everywhere.  Public figures increasingly have adopted the mien of the Chosen, the One, the Great Leader who will save the world.

No doubt the Beatles were just being stupidly flippant (and narcissistically arrogant) when they asserted that they were more significant and popular than the One true Messiah, Jesus Christ.  But it would seem they reflected accurately the coming temper of our age.  They have been followed by an endless stream of pretenders--equally vain, equally foolish, equally doomed to derision and failure.

President Obama has adopted the mien of a messiah--deliberately so, we believe.  Now he faces, even whilst limping toward the end of his time in office, a presidency characterised by serial failures and incompetencies.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Evil Unmasked

PHOTOS: The Dungeons Islamic State Uses for Yazidi Sex Slaves

Mary Chastain

Officials investigating areas previously controlled by the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) have found underground dungeons the terrorist group uses to keep its sex slaves, most of the Yazidi minority religious sect. The whereabouts of the women forced into these dungeons are unknown.

The covers to the dungeons are the only giveaway they exist. The women lived in the tiny holes–cramped and in complete darkness. Those in the prisons kept diaries on the walls.

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No one knows exactly how long ISIS kept the women in the cells or where they fled.

The Yazidi women who do escape tell their stories to the world.  “They took young girls, seven, nine and 10 years old,” explained Aveen, 23, to NBC News in early December. ISIS held her for almost a year before she escaped.

Daily Devotional

Perverting God-Given Pleasures

Screwtape twists the gift of pleasure:

C. S. Lewis

Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden. Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable. An ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula. It is more certain; and it’s better style. To get the man’s soul and give him nothing in return—that is what really gladdens Our Father’s heart. And the troughs are the time for beginning the process.

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.

The Sobering Joy of Advent

No End To the Increase of His Government

As we commence the celebration of Advent we acknowledge our rejoicing will take place amidst sound and fury, amidst tumult and the clashing of armies on darkling plains, and amidst injustice, oppression, death, and sickness unto death in the earth.

In this season, we always read the following prophetic declaration of the coming of our Lord:

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and for evermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
[Isaiah 9:6-7]

We Christians believe that the coming of Christ, born in Bethlehem, born of the virgin Mary, was the beginning of the end of sin and evil, along with all its consequences.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Margaret Sanger Would Be Excited

Islamic State Issues Fatwa Against Children with Down Syndrome 

Murders 38 Disabled Infants

Thomas Williams

The Islamic State has reportedly issued a fatwa ordering the elimination of children with Down syndrome and other congenital disabilities, reminiscent of Hitler’s infamous “Aktion T4” program, which administered forced “euthanasia” on an estimated 300,000 disabled persons.

According to the Iraqi activist blog Mosul Eye, sharia judges have ruled that ISIS followers are authorized to kill infants with Down Syndrome or congenital deformities. Already since the religious decree (fatwa) was issued, militants have killed at least 38 children between one week and three months old by lethal injection or suffocation.

Daily Devotional

Broken Hearted

"Rend your heart, and not your garments."
Joel 2:13

Charles H. Spurgeon

Garment-rending and other outward signs of religious emotion, are easily manifested and are frequently hypocritical; but to feel true repentance is far more difficult, and consequently far less common. Men will attend to the most multiplied and minute ceremonial regulations--for such things are pleasing to the flesh--but true religion is too humbling, too heart-searching, too thorough for the tastes of the carnal men; they prefer something more ostentatious, flimsy, and worldly. Outward observances are temporarily comfortable; eye and ear are pleased; self-conceit is fed, and self-righteousness is puffed up: but they are ultimately delusive, for in the article of death, and at the day of judgment, the soul needs something more substantial than ceremonies and rituals to lean upon. Apart from vital godliness all religion is utterly vain; offered without a sincere heart, every form of worship is a solemn sham and an impudent mockery of the majesty of heaven.

Heart-rending is divinely wrought and solemnly felt. It is a secret grief which is personally experienced, not in mere form, but as a deep, soul-moving work of the Holy Spirit upon the inmost heart of each believer. It is not a matter to be merely talked of and believed in, but keenly and sensitively felt in every living child of the living God. It is powerfully humiliating, and completely sin-purging; but then it is sweetly preparative for those gracious consolations which proud unhumbled spirits are unable to receive; and it is distinctly discriminating, for it belongs to the elect of God, and to them alone.

The text commands us to rend our hearts, but they are naturally hard as marble: how, then, can this be done? We must take them to Calvary: a dying Saviour's voice rent the rocks once, and it is as powerful now. O blessed Spirit, let us hear the death-cries of Jesus, and our hearts shall be rent even as men rend their vestures in the day of lamentation.

Very Strange, But Sadly True

Petty Politician

Self-identified feminists can be so mindless it's embarrassing.  Green Party leader, Metiria Turei has caused pretty much the whole nation to cringe, we suspect, when she attempted to smear the Prime Minister with a charge of sexism.

Key had been interacting with the head of the NZ Intelligence ("SIS") service at a parliamentary committee hearing, when the subject of jihadi brides came up.  Apparently, several NZ women have been tracked by the SIS as leaving NZ and have ended up in Syria.

If Turei were remotely concerned for the welfare of women we would have expected her to take to the hustings to decry the oppression of women in Islam in general, and under the tender mercies of ISIS, in particular.  Not so.  Instead, feminazi that she appears to be, scolded the Prime Minister for his sexism!
And Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei has also hit out at Prime Minister John Key's comments on so-called "jihadi brides" - saying they are particularly insulting to Muslim women and show he thinks "the only good use of a women going overseas is as a wife".
How do one's moral and ideological compasses become so bent and twisted?

Monday, 21 December 2015

Letter From the UK (About Statist Brainwashing)

British Secularist Values Regime Will Suppress Christianity

Consistent, faithful Muslims attempted to take over some state schools in Birmingham.  It was an infiltration plot, dubbed Trojan Horse, whereby school boards would be populated by faithful Muslims, who would then employ consistent Muslim teachers.  The curriculum and pedagogical methods (for example, classroom separation of boys and girls) would be adjusted to conform to true Islamic beliefs, teachings, and values.

The plot was exposed and the Trojan Horse was duly dragged outside the city walls whence it came.

The secularist, pagan British government decided that it had to police its schools more aggressively.  It had to clamp down, not on Islamic beliefs, but on "extremism".  How was "extremism" to be defined? you ask.  Anything taught in schools which did not conform to "British values".  And what, one asks, are British values?  Atheistic secularism, of course--similar to what is officially adhered to in Communist China.  

The upshot is that consistent, faithful Christian schools (and churches) are lumped in with consistent faithful Muslims--all alike are under the cosh because they teach values inconsistent with atheistic secularism.

Government Inspectors Could Monitor Sunday Schools And Choirs To Enforce ‘British Values’

Nick Hallett
Breitbart London

Government inspectors could monitor Sunday schools, church youth groups and even choirs to ensure they are teaching so-called “British values”, in a move Christians have dubbed “profoundly insulting”.

Daily Devotional

Making It Real for His People

Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. (Hebrews 8:6)

John Piper

Christ is the Mediator of a new covenant, according to Hebrews 8:6. What does that mean? It means that his blood — the blood of the covenant (Luke 22:20; Hebrews 13:20) — purchased the fulfillment of God’s promises for us.  It means that God brings about our inner transformation by the Spirit of Christ.  And it means that God works all his transformation in us through faith in all that God is for us in Christ.

The new covenant is purchased by the blood of Christ, effected by the Spirit of Christ, and appropriated by faith in Christ.  The best place to see Christ working as the Mediator of the new covenant is in Hebrews 13:20–21:
Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant [this is the purchase of the new covenant], even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
The words “working in us that which is pleasing in his sight” describe what happens when God writes the law on our hearts in the new covenant. And the words “through Jesus Christ” describe Jesus as the Mediator of this glorious work of sovereign grace.

So the meaning of Christmas is not only that God replaces shadows with Reality, but also that he takes the reality and makes it real to his people. He writes it on our hearts. He does not lay his Christmas gift of salvation and transformation down for you to pick up in your own strength. He picks it up and puts in your heart and in your mind, and seals to you that you are a child of God.

It's All Relative, Said the Rabbit

The Madding Crowd

In his book, A Hobbit Journey, author Matthew Dickerson reflects upon why aspects of the writings of J R R Tolkien jar so gratingly upon the ear of the modern Westerner.  The world view of the Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion reflects a cosmos with moral absolutes and true moral guilt.  It portrays evil as a personal hatred and malice towards others.  Increasingly in the West, this simply "does not compute". 

Such notions of true moral good and evil are being washed out of the modern mind.  Or the attempt is being made to wash them out.  Firstly, take materialism--the dominant worldview in the West, along with its kissing cousins of atheism, secularism, and progressivism.  In all these variants, there is no such thing as absolute, objective good or evil, right or wrong.  So-called evils are merely the result of particular or societal programming.  Morality and immorality is akin to--in fact, can be identified with--programming the machine.  We are what we are because of the alignment of electrons and quarks.  "We are what we are because we're not what we used to  be."

Anthropologist Ruth Benedict, writing in 1934, described this Brave New World: 

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Counter Punching


 One can't help but admire Carly Fiorina's ability to spot the hidden agenda of  Progressive media operatives, and not just call them out, but skewer them, with about the right mix of incredulity and disdain for the intellectual dishonesty and brazen hypocrisy on display.

The issue being debated was the murderous attack by a lone wolf upon the Planned Parenthood abortuary in Colarado Springs, and the successful expose recently conducted upon Planned Parenthood as the world's predominant abortuary company.

Daily Devotional

Renouncing All

"Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her."
Ruth 1:14

Charles H. Spurgeon

Both of them had an affection for Naomi, and therefore set out with her upon her return to the land of Judah. But the hour of test came; Naomi most unselfishly set before each of them the trials which awaited them, and bade them if they cared for ease and comfort to return to their Moabitish friends.

At first both of them declared that they would cast in their lot with the Lord's people; but upon still further consideration Orpah with much grief and a respectful kiss left her mother in law, and her people, and her God, and went back to her idolatrous friends, while Ruth with all her heart gave herself up to the God of her mother in law.

It is one thing to love the ways of the Lord when all is fair, and quite another to cleave to them under all discouragements and difficulties. The kiss of outward profession is very cheap and easy, but the practical cleaving to the Lord, which must show itself in holy decision for truth and holiness, is not so small a matter. How stands the case with us, is our heart fixed upon Jesus, is the sacrifice bound with cords to the horns of the altar? Have we counted the cost, and are we solemnly ready to suffer all worldly loss for the Master's sake? The after gain will be an abundant recompense, for Egypt's treasures are not to be compared with the glory to be revealed.

Orpah is heard of no more; in glorious ease and idolatrous pleasure her life melts into the gloom of death; but Ruth lives in history and in heaven, for grace has placed her in the noble line whence sprung the King of kings. Blessed among women shall those be who for Christ's sake can renounce all; but forgotten and worse than forgotten shall those be who in the hour of temptation do violence to conscience and turn back unto the world. . . . (May we) not be content with the form of devotion, which may be no better than Orpah's kiss, but may the Holy Spirit work in us a cleaving of our whole heart to our Lord Jesus.

The Reason Why Christians are Merry Warriors

Irrepressible Joy

One of our favourite passages in the Lord of the Rings is found when the siege of Gondor is about to begin.  It has always seemed to us that it aptly captures the depth of merriment and joy which flows like an inexhaustible subterranean stream in the Christian's heart and life.

Tolkien's text reads:
Gandalf did not look at Pippin or speak a word to him as they went . . . "Are you angry with me, Gandalf?" [Pippin] said, as their guide went out and closed the door.  "I did the best I could."

"You did indeed!" said Gandalf, laughing suddenly; and he came and stood beside Pippin, putting his arm about the hobbit's shoulders, and gazing out the window.  Pippin glanced in some wonder at the face now close beside his own, for the sound of that laugh had been gay and merry.  Yet in the wizard's face he saw at first only lines of care and sorrow: though as he looked more intently he perceived that under all there was a great joy; a fountain of mirth enough to set a kingdom laughing, were it to gush forth. (Book V, part i.)
Matthew Dickerson comments on this passage:

Friday, 18 December 2015

More Carbon Dioxide, Please

Ill Winds Blowing No Good

Global cooling is upon us.  The latest from Denver, breaks a snowfall record that has stood since December 15, 1897!  Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the Party.  Go forth and burn as much fossil fuel as you can find.  The salvation of the planet needs you.

Monster Snowstorm in Denver Breaks Daily Snowfall Record

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
AP Photo/David ZalubowskiAP Photo/David Zalubowski
15 Dec 2015
Denver, CO239

A massive snowstorm that hit Denver has broken the daily snowfall record, dumping over three inches of snow overnight on the mountain city.

As of 5PM on Tuesday evening, December 15, Denver was beset with 7.7″ of snow, shattering the record of 2.8″ set on December 15, 1897.

This record is both the biggest one-day snowfall this year as well as the most snow seen on any December 15 on record.

Daily Devotional

Life and Death at Christmas

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

John Piper

As I was about to begin this devotional, I received word that Marion Newstrum had just died. Marion and her husband Elmer have been part of Bethlehem longer than most of our members have been alive. She was 87. They had been married 64 years.

When I spoke to Elmer and told him I wanted him to be strong in the Lord and not give up on life, he said, “He has been a true friend.” I pray that all Christians will be able to say at the end of life, “Christ has been a true friend.”

Each Advent I mark the anniversary of my mother’s death. She was cut off in her 56th year in a bus accident in Israel. It was December 16, 1974. Those events are incredibly real to me even today. If I allow myself, I can easily come to tears — for example, thinking that my sons never knew her. We buried her the day after Christmas. What a precious Christmas it was!

Many of you will feel your loss this Christmas more pointedly than before. Don’t block it out. Let it come. Feel it. What is love for, if not to intensify our affections — both in life and death? But, O, do not be bitter. It is tragically self-destructive to be bitter.

Jesus came at Christmas that we might have eternal life. “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Elmer and Marion had discussed where they would spend their final years. Elmer said, “Marion and I agreed that our final home would be with the Lord.”

Do you feel restless for home? I have family coming home for the holidays. It feels good. I think the bottom line reason for why it feels good is that they and I are destined in the depths of our being for an ultimate Homecoming. All other homecomings are foretastes. And foretastes are good.

Unless they become substitutes. O, don’t let all the sweet things of this season become substitutes of the final great, all-satisfying Sweetness. Let every loss and every delight send your hearts a-homing after heaven.

Christmas. What is it but this: I came that they might have life? Marion Newstrum, Ruth Piper, and you and I — that we might have Life, now and forever.   Make your Now the richer and deeper this Christmas by drinking at the fountain of Forever. It is so near.

Gender Warriors

They Are Coming For Your Children

It has long been a tactic of the sexual nihilists to target schools.  If the kids can be indoctrinated into accepting homosexuality and every other imaginable kind of sexual perversion, the next adult generation will carry the day politically.  Rock the cradle-rule the world stuff.

We have come across several instances and examples of this strategy being deployed in New Zealand and Australia--which we will reference in future blogs--but the UK is at the forefront, it would seem.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Social Justice Millennials

Douglas Wilson

As I have been working through the Essays of C.S. Lewis, I have noticed how dedicated to the argument he was. He believed in the reality of fixed and objective truth, and believed it was necessary to assume such a fixed reality in order to get anywhere at all. We have to assume that reality in order to live rightly within it, and we have to assume that reality in order to pretend that it is not there.

Having realized that this was essential, Lewis would then give himself to the rigorous pursuit of a clear understanding of the way the world actually is, so that he might then conform himself to it.

He was certainly a “romantic rationalist,” but this did not mean that he submitted his reason to his feelings, or his feeling to his reason. Rather he was seeking to conform both his feelings and his reason to an objective fixed reality outside him. Men with minds and men with chests were supposed to be the same men, and therefore obligated to live integrated lives in the world God made.

The ancient view that the passions need to be subordinated to reason is actually a category mistake. The passions actually need to be submitted to what God requires of the passions — as revealed in both nature and Scripture.

Daily Devotional

The Known and the Unknown

TO MARY WILLIS SHELBURNE: On Lewis’s own rule for assisting pan- handlers; and on the suffering and eternal destiny of animals.

26 October 1962

I do most thoroughly agree with your father’s principles about alms. It will not bother me in the hour of death to reflect that I have been ‘had for a sucker’ by any number of impostors: but it would be a torment to know that one had refused even one person in need. After all, the parable of the sheep and goats (Matthew 25: 31ff) makes our duty perfectly plain, doesn’t it? Another thing that annoys me is when people say ‘Why did you give that man money? He’ll probably go and drink it.’ My reply is ‘But if I’d kept [it] I should probably have drunk it.’ . . .

I am sorry to hear of the little dog’s death. The animal creation is a strange mystery. We can make some attempt to understand human suffering: but the sufferings of animals from the beginning of the world till now (inflicted not only by us but by one another)—what is one to think? And again, how strange that God brings us into such intimate relations with creatures of whose real purpose and destiny we remain forever ignorant. We know to some degree what angels and men are for. But what is a flea for, or a wild dog?

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.

Finland: Anti-Welfare Welfare

Brave New World

Finland is embarking on a grand experiment.  It is going to scrap all welfare payments and pay every adult a flat amount of 800 euros per month (which roughly equates to around $1,000 per month).  It will be a universal entitlement.  No means testing.  

The objectives are clear and laudable.  All welfare systems and entitlements become exorbitantly complex to administer, requiring large bureaucracies.  The complexity means economic inefficiency and high transaction costs.

Secondly, all means tested benefits--particularly generous ones--erect barriers to work and self-sufficiency.  This is particularly the case with unemployment payments.  There is little incentive to get out and look for work, let alone take a job, when it means a reduction in state unemployment payments.

These failures and weaknesses of the welfare system in Finland are in the sights of the government in its proposal to scrap all means testing and all welfare benefits, and just dole out a flat amount of money to every citizen regardless of their circumstances.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Temptation, Effeminacy, and Christian Leadership

Douglas Wilson

The subject of temptation, same-sex attraction and sin is one that seems to call for ever more follow-ups.

First, let us consider some questions with regard to temptation. If the stirrings of sin are themselves sinful, as I have been arguing, then how did Adam first sin? He was created perfect. As I was telling my theology class yesterday, this is a subject that would provide someone with a fine thesis topic. The short answer is — whatever else it is — a different answer than it is with us.

We are up against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Adam did not have to contend with “the flesh,” but he was up against the devil, and a jury-rigged world. The world was not then fallen, but it could be presented as though it was. John tells us to “love not the world” (1 John 2:15-16), and the things he tells us to reject were all present in the garden — the lust of the flesh (good for food), the lust of the eyes (pleasant to the eyes), and the pride of life (desired to make one wise). So then Eve and Adam had the capacity to choose self over God, and the impetus for this were the external circumstances and an external tempter.

We also know that an external tempter is not absolutely necessary in order to sin because when the devil first sinned (if he was the first), then that was done without outside help. What is necessary, apparently, is a choosing self and an external set of circumstances in which a wrong choice can be made.

But for us, it is neither here nor there. Because we go into every temptation with some part of us already rooting for the other team, sin happens earlier. Compare when Adam reached for the forbidden fruit, and when we reach for it. It is safe to say that we are in a state of sin sooner than he would be. We are halfway there sooner than he would be.

Daily Devotional

Bethlehem’s Supernatural Star

“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:2)

John Piper

Over and over the Bible baffles our curiosity about just how certain things happened. How did this “star” get the magi from the east to Jerusalem?   It does not say that it led them or went before them. It only says they saw a star in the east (verse 2), and came to Jerusalem. And how did that star go before them in the little five-mile walk from Jerusalem to Bethlehem as verse 9 says it did? And how did a star stand “over the place where the Child was”?

The answer is: We do not know. There are numerous efforts to explain it in terms of conjunctions of planets or comets or supernovas or miraculous lights. We just don’t know. And I want to exhort you not to become preoccupied with developing theories that are only tentative in the end and have very little spiritual significance.

I risk a generalization to warn you: People who are exercised and preoccupied with such things as how the star worked and how the Red Sea split and how the manna fell and how Jonah survived the fish and how the moon turns to blood are generally people who have what I call a mentality for the marginal. You do not see in them a deep cherishing of the great central things of the gospel — the holiness of God, the ugliness of sin, the helplessness of man, the death of Christ, justification by faith alone, the sanctifying work of the Spirit, the glory of Christ’s return and the final judgment. They always seem to be taking you down a sidetrack with a new article or book. There is little centered rejoicing.

But what is plain concerning this matter of the star is that it is doing something that it cannot do on its own: it is guiding magi to the Son of God to worship him.  There is only one Person in biblical thinking that can be behind that intentionality in the stars — God himself.

So the lesson is plain: God is guiding foreigners to Christ to worship him. And he is doing it by exerting global — probably even universal — influence and power to get it done.  Luke shows God influencing the entire Roman Empire so that the census comes at the exact time to get a virgin to Bethlehem to fulfill prophecy with her delivery. Matthew shows God influencing the stars in the sky to get foreign magi to Bethlehem so that they can worship him.

This is God’s design. He did it then. He is still doing it now. His aim is that the nations — all the nations (Matthew 24:14) — worship his Son.  This is God’s will for everybody in your office at work, and in your neighborhood and in your home. As John 4:23 says, “Such the Father seeks to worship him.”

At the beginning of Matthew we still have a “come-see” pattern. But at the end the pattern is “go-tell.” The magi came and saw. We are to go and tell.  But what is not different is that the purpose of God is the in gathering of the nations to worship his Son.
The magnifying of Christ in the white-hot worship of all nations is the reason the world exists.

Open War Is Upon Us Whether We Like It Or Not

Emptying The Caverns of Isengard

The prediction business is risky at any time.  Just ask your local weather man. However, we are going to go out on a limb in the case of Ireland.  We are going to predict  that within a few months we will witness Christians being fined, fired, and imprisoned for being faithful to our Lord in Ireland.

Donna Rachel Edmunds explains why:
Ireland has stripped away laws which protected the rights of people to freedom of religion when in conflict with gay rights. The move comes just weeks after the first Irish gay weddings went ahead, following a referendum to allow gay marriage earlier this year.

Following the landslide defeat for opponents of same sex marriage – the referendum was lost by 62 per cent in favour of gay marriage to 38 per cent against – Ireland’s Parliament has been busy with a slate of reforms designed to cement the rights of gay people within Irish law, Pink News has reported.
What the Irish Parliament has done is acknowledge its fealty to a higher law than the law of Jesus Christ.  In fact, the Irish Parliament believes itself higher than the Almighty.  The Irish justice system will now punish anyone and any church which declares--in the Name of Christ--that since homosexuality is a sin, homosexuals cannot serve in office.  For Christians, this is not a startling position: it is one the Church has held since the Apostles, in all places where the Bible is revered.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Taking Refuge In a Teddy Bear God

Is Barack Obama Qualified To Identify True Islam?  

There probably is no magic bullet for ensuring that devout Muslims never take the dangerous ideological turn that Syed Farook and his wife did.

The Federalist

Speaking from the White House on Sunday night, the president gave us sobering news. The West has a problem with radical Islam. The war on terror is real.

Most of us realized this quite some time ago. It’s ironic that this admission, coming from the White House and a Democratic president, really does count as breaking news. Can we finally talk openly about the real dimensions of this problem? Is it time, at least, to stop pretending this is really just about “workplace violence” or the availability of guns?

Is Religion Violent?

As a religious person, I have to relish the ironies of the present discourse. Innumerable times, liberal peers have told me religion is bad because it inspires bloodshed. I dutifully respond that, yes, religious people sometimes play dirty, but godlessness is hardly a prophylactic against wanton violence. (Ah, those peace-loving Bolsheviks!) Then we get into a cozy little argument about whether Hitler was a Christian.

Now we find ourselves in the midst of an actual war of religion. Suddenly, liberals don’t believe in religious violence anymore. Hillary Clinton, echoing the sentiments of liberals across the nation, recently told us we can’t talk about “radical Islam” because that would give the impression that we are “declaring war on a religion.” Some go on to speculate how religion-talk is probably just window dressing for a particular social and political agenda, which we know because there are lots of Muslims out there who aren’t trying to kill anybody. (Phew. That’s some heavy-duty window dressing, no?)

Admitting that Islam has something to do with this is, for a Democrat, a big step.

Daily Devotional

The Quiet Resting Place

"My people shall dwell in quiet resting places."
Isaiah 32:18

Charles H. Spurgeon

Peace and rest belong not to the unregenerate, they are the peculiar possession of the Lord's people, and of them only. The God of Peace gives perfect peace to those whose hearts are stayed upon him. When man was unfallen, his God gave him the flowery bowers of Eden as his quiet resting places; alas! how soon sin blighted the fair abode of innocence.

In the day of universal wrath when the flood swept away a guilty race, the chosen family were quietly secured in the resting-place of the ark, which floated them from the old condemned world into the new earth of the rainbow and the covenant, herein typifying Jesus, the ark of our salvation.

Israel rested safely beneath the blood-besprinkled habitations of Egypt when the destroying angel smote the first-born; and in the wilderness the shadow of the pillar of cloud, and the flowing rock, gave the weary pilgrims sweet repose.

At this hour we rest in the promises of our faithful God, knowing that his words are full of truth and power; we rest in the doctrines of his word, which are consolation itself; we rest in the covenant of his grace, which is a haven of delight. More highly favoured are we than David in Adullam, or Jonah beneath his gourd, for none can invade or destroy our shelter. The person of Jesus is the quiet resting-place of his people, and when we draw near to him in the breaking of the bread, in the hearing of the word, the searching of the Scriptures, prayer, or praise, we find any form of approach to him to be the return of peace to our spirits.

"I hear the words of love, I gaze upon the blood,
I see the mighty sacrifice, and I have peace with God.
'Tis everlasting peace, sure as Jehovah's name,
'Tis stable as his steadfast throne, for evermore the same:
The clouds may go and come, and storms may sweep my sky,
This blood-sealed friendship changes not, the cross is ever nigh."

A Great Leap for Mankind

Paris--How We Love You

OK, so we admit it.  Yes, we have been chortling over the historic, stupendous, inter-galactic marvel that is the Paris climate change "agreement".  We make this confession, begging forgiveness for our irreverent mirth.

In our defence, our merriment arose out of a paean of praise for the "historic achievement" found in The Guardian.  It turns out that the entire debacle is both exposed and damned by the faint praise of one of its most ardent advocates.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

Evolution Makes Atheists out of People

BioLogos leader Karl Giberson admits futility of his compromise 

Jonathan Sarfati

In a recent article, I documented how evolutionary compromise undermines the professed faith of many. Conversely, a consistent biblical (‘young earth’) creation apologetic has preserved or restored the faith of many. One major evidence was physics lecturer Karl Giberson, a former vice-President of the leading theistic evolutionary organization BioLogos, which is happy with the idea that Jesus was mistaken about creation.1 (See the related articles below for our views on BioLogos.) For many years, he has been a vexatious critic of biblical creation, but feigned surprise that so many of his students ended up leaving the church altogether.

A major problem is that evolution undermines a historical Adam, and thus the reason for the Gospel. It also entails that God used death, which He called ‘the last enemy’ (1 Corinthians 15:26), as His means for bringing about a creation He called ‘very good’ (Genesis 1:31; see ‘Just preach the Gospel!’ Or: how not to impress atheists). Many atheists, such as Richard Dawkins and Jacques Monod, wondered why on earth anyone would believe in a God of love who used such a wasteful and cruel process as evolution to ‘create’. Interestingly, Dawkins has little time for such Christians who basically don’t believe what they are supposed to believe—that is, theistic evolutionists like Giberson and the rest of BioLogoscalling them ‘deluded’ and ‘barking mad’.

Has evolution made an atheist out of Giberson?

Strangely enough, organizations like BioLogos  claim that biblical creationists are undermining the faith by affirming the Bible, while they of course are strengthening the faith by abandoning the Bible. But how has this worked out?

Daily Devotional

One of the Initiates

Screwtape shows Wormwood how to transform a minor trespass into a major sin:

C. S. Lewis

Success here depends on confusing him. If you try to make him explicitly and professedly proud of being a Christian, you will probably fail; the Enemy’s warnings are too well known.

If, on the other hand, you let the idea of ‘we Christians’ drop out altogether and merely make him complacent about ‘his set’, you will produce not true spiritual pride but mere social vanity which, by comparison, is a trumpery, puny little sin.

What you want is to keep a sly self-congratulation mixing with all his thoughts and never allow him to raise the question ‘What, precisely, am I congratulating myself about?’ The idea of belonging to an inner ring, of being in a secret, is very sweet to him. Play on that nerve. Teach him, using the influence of this girl when she is silliest, to adopt an air of amusement at the things the unbelievers say.

Some theories which he may meet in modern Christian circles may here prove helpful; theories, I mean, that place the hope of society in some inner ring of ‘clerks’, some trained minority of theocrats. It is no affair of yours whether those theories are true or false; the great thing is to make Christianity a mystery religion in which he feels himself one of the initiates.

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.

No Place For Popularity

Discerning Good and Evil in an Apostate Generation 

In Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Aragorn, son of Arathorn--faithful prophet and king in a world in which the Law of God holds true in every place--thinks and speaks accordingly as he faces the challenge from the men of Rohan: 
"Our friends were attired even as we are," said Aragorn; "and you passed us by under the full light of day."

"I had forgotten that," said Eomer.  "It is hard to be sure of anything among so many marvels.  The world is all grown strange.  Elf and Dwarf in company walk in our daily fields; and folk speak with the Lady of the Wood and yet live; and the Sword comes back to war that was broken in the long ages ere the fathers of our fathers rode into the Mark!  How shall a man judge what to do in such time?"

"As he has ever judged," said Aragorn.  "Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men.  It is a man's part to discern them, a much in the Golden Wood as in his own house." [J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, III/ii.]
In our days, many in the Church are shapeshifters, bending themselves into the demands of the pagan world.  In our day, every man's truth is his own. There are no absolutes because the pagan world has denied the One--the eternal, infinite lawgiver.  All that is left is the creature.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Science Increasingly Tarnished and Diminished

Infatuation, Alchemy and Pseudo-Science

It would appear that "modern science" is so committed to science that it has constructed a new deity to which it is reverently bowing down: the climate.  Like all pretender deities this new god allegedly shapes and controls the lives of us all.  This, we are told, is a scientific position--verified by laboratory experiments and rigorous a posteriori  testing and research.

Bill Nye The Propaganda Guy

The Federalist

You have no doubt come across the type of people who proclaim that they loooooove science. Why, they don’t just love science, they freaking love science. For the most part, they demonstrate this love not by actually making scientific discoveries or using science in their work, but by liking the right posts on Facebook.

At any rate, puffed up by their confidence in their love of science, they tend to think this makes them extra-super-qualified to talk about any and every subject. They propound with the extra authority of someone whose opinions must be based on facts and reality, because he freaking loves science.

Daily Devotional

The Spirit Is Not to be Withstood

"I have much people in this city."
Acts 18:10

Charles H. Spurgeon

This should be a great encouragement to try to do good, since God has among the vilest of the vile, the most reprobate, the most debauched and drunken, an elect people who must be saved. When you take the Word to them, you do so because God has ordained you to be the messenger of life to their souls, and they must receive it, for so the decree of predestination runs. They are as much redeemed by blood as the saints before the eternal throne. They are Christ's property, and yet perhaps they are lovers of the ale-house, and haters of holiness; but if Jesus Christ purchased them he will have them. God is not unfaithful to forget the price which his Son has paid. He will not suffer his substitution to be in any case an ineffectual, dead thing. Tens of thousands of redeemed ones are not regenerated yet, but regenerated they must be; and this is our comfort when we go forth to them with the quickening Word of God.

Nay, more, these ungodly ones are prayed for by Christ before the throne. "Neither pray I for these alone," saith the great Intercessor, "but for them also which shall believe on me through their word." Poor, ignorant souls, they know nothing about prayer for themselves, but Jesus prays for them. Their names are on his breastplate, and ere long they must bow their stubborn knee, breathing the penitential sigh before the throne of grace. "The time of figs is not yet." The predestinated moment has not struck; but, when it comes, they shall obey, for God will have his own; they must, for the Spirit is not to be withstood when he cometh forth with fulness of power--they must become the willing servants of the living God. "My people shall be willing in the day of my power." "He shall justify many." "He shall see of the travail of his soul." "I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong."

NZ Politicians Can Be Ignorant Rubes

Trump is Right On the Issue of Border Control

US presidential aspirant, Donald Trump was roundly condemned by all parties in the NZ Parliament recently.  (At this point, we need to register a disclaimer: we have no liking for Donald Trump as a politician.  He is a showman--someone who performs and blusters--for notoriety's sake.)  Poor man was condemned over his apparently reprehensible comments that Islamic immigration into the US should be stopped "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."
Politicians from across New Zealand's political spectrum have condemned comments from Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump. . . . Trump has called for Muslims to be banned from entering the US, saying many Muslims nursed a hatred towards America.  They should be kept out "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on".

NZ First leader Winston Peters said he didn't worry about Trump's comments as he had no chance of becoming US President, or even the Republican nominee. . . .National Cabinet minister Paula Bennett said Trump's comments were both ridiculous and appalling - and took the opportunity to have a dig at Labour's analysis of Auckland housing data based on Chinese surnames.  "It is almost like defining houses on a surname instead of actually looking into the depth of who a person might be and what they really stand for."
We believe that this represents a classic example of the kettle calling our "Hello, pot".  Our politicians have shown they are likely considerably more myopically ignorant than Donald Trump.

In the first place, soundings of public opinion after Trump's comments, as shown in a Bloomberg survey,  indicated that over sixty five percent of Republican voters agreed with him.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

The Dutch Have Taken Holland

Douglas Wilson

Global GoreI noticed the other day — as who could not? — that our president was gathered with a bunch of world leaders in Paris, in order to deliver a solemn warning to the world. This message, brought to us by our global elites, was that we should let our global elites intervene to save us all. It was kind of convenient because they were all present at the conference already.

I wrote the following in 2007, and have had no reasons since that time to in any way alter or diminish or refine or hedge my skepticism about climate change. But let us not dither with words like skepticism. I am as much of a denier as ever, and I think the whole charade is beyond funny. Let us call me a climate-derider.

Daily Devotional

For God’s Little People

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. (Luke 2:1–5)

John Piper

Have you ever thought what an amazing thing it is that God ordained beforehand that the Messiah be born in Bethlehem (as the prophecy in Micah 5 shows); and that he so ordained things that when the time came, the Messiah’s mother and legal father were living in Nazareth; and that in order to fulfill his word and bring two little people to Bethlehem that first Christmas, God put it in the heart of Caesar Augustus that all the Roman world should be enrolled each in his own town?

Have you ever felt, like me, little and insignificant in a world of seven billion people, where all the news is of big political and economic and social movements and of outstanding people with lots of power and prestige?
If you have, don’t let that make you disheartened or unhappy. For it is implicit in Scripture that all the mammoth political forces and all the giant industrial complexes, without their even knowing it, are being guided by God, not for their own sake but for the sake of God’s little people — the little Mary and the little Joseph who have to be got from Nazareth to Bethlehem. God wields an empire to bless his children.
Do not think, because you experience adversity, that the hand of the Lord is shortened. It is not our prosperity but our holiness that he seeks with all his heart. And to that end, he rules the whole world. As Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.”

He is a big God for little people, and we have great cause to rejoice that, unbeknownst to them, all the kings and presidents and premiers and chancellors of the world follow the sovereign decrees of our Father in heaven, that we, the children, might be conformed to the image of his Son, Jesus Christ.

Proxy Wars

Ignoring the Home Front

We have watched some of the speeches made in the House of Commons calling for British air strikes against ISIL in Syria and Iraq.  A sample--a speech by Labour MP, Hilary Benn--can be found here.

At one point in  his speech, Benn reviewed some of the horrors and murderous villainy committed by the Caliphate.
Now Mr Speaker, no-one in this debate doubts the deadly serious threat we face from Daesh and what they do, although sometimes we find it hard to live with the reality. We know that in June four gay men were thrown off the fifth storey of a building in the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor. We know that in August the 82-year-old guardian of the antiquities of Palmyra, Professor Khaled al-Assad, was beheaded, and his headless body was hung from a traffic light. And we know that in recent weeks there has been the discovery of mass graves in Sinjar, one said to contain the bodies of older Yazidi women murdered by Daesh because they were judged too old to be sold for sex. 
He also referred to the threat of terrorist attacks, inspired and aided by the Caliphate, in the UK.   There is a clear and present danger in that country--and indeed throughout the West, including New Zealand.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

A Different Time, A Different World

Roddie Edmonds, late WWII U.S. veteran, is 1st soldier honored for saving Jews

- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 2, 2015

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Nazi soldiers made their orders very clear: Jewish American prisoners of war were to be separated from their fellow brothers in arms and sent to an uncertain fate.  But Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds would have none of that. As the highest-ranking noncommissioned officer held in the German POW camp, he ordered more than 1,000 Americans captives to step forward with him and brazenly pronounced: “We are all Jews here.”

He would not waver, even with a pistol to his head, and his captors eventually backed down.
Seventy years later, the Knoxville, Tennessee, native is being posthumously recognized with Israel’s highest honor for non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during World War II. He’s the first American serviceman to earn the honor.

“Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds seemed like an ordinary American soldier, but he had an extraordinary sense of responsibility and dedication to his fellow human beings,” said Avner Shalev, chairman of the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum and memorial. “The choices and actions of Master Sgt. Edmonds set an example for his fellow American soldiers as they stood united against the barbaric evil of the Nazis.”

It’s a story that remained untold for decades and one that his son, the Rev. Chris Edmonds, only discovered long after his father’s death in 1985. 

Edmonds was captured with thousands of others in the Battle of the Bulge in late 1944 and spent 100 days in captivity.

Daily Devotional

Nothing That is Good Shall Be Denied

"Ask, and it shall be given you."
Matthew 7:7

Charles H. Spurgeon

We know of a place in England still existing, where a dole of bread is served to every passerby who chooses to ask for it. Whoever the traveller may be, he has but to knock at the door of St. Cross Hospital, and there is the dole of bread for him. Jesus Christ so loveth sinners that he has built a St. Cross Hospital, so that whenever a sinner is hungry, he has but to knock and have his wants supplied.

Nay, he has done better; he has attached to this Hospital of the Cross a bath; and whenever a soul is black and filthy, it has but to go there and be washed. The fountain is always full, always efficacious. No sinner ever went into it and found that it could not wash away his stains. Sins which were scarlet and crimson have all disappeared, and the sinner has been whiter than snow. As if this were not enough, there is attached to this Hospital of the Cross a wardrobe, and a sinner making application simply as a sinner, may be clothed from head to foot; and if he wishes to be a soldier, he may not merely have a garment for ordinary wear, but armour which shall cover him from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. If he asks for a sword, he shall have that given to him, and a shield too. Nothing that is good for him shall be denied him. He shall have spending-money so long as he lives, and he shall have an eternal heritage of glorious treasure when he enters into the joy of his Lord.

If all these things are to be had by merely knocking at mercy's door, O my soul, knock hard this morning, and ask large things of thy generous Lord. Leave not the throne of grace till all thy wants have been spread before the Lord, and until by faith thou hast a comfortable prospect that they shall be all supplied. No bashfulness need retard when Jesus invites. No unbelief should hinder when Jesus promises. No cold-heartedness should restrain when such blessings are to be obtained.