Friday, 30 September 2016

Daily Devotional

Our Good Is His Glory

“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)

John Piper

One common objection to Christian Hedonism is that it puts the interests of man above the glory of God — that it puts my happiness above God’s honor. But Christian Hedonism most emphatically does not do this.

To be sure, we Christian Hedonists endeavor to pursue our interest and our happiness with all our might. We endorse the resolution of the young Jonathan Edwards: “Resolved: To endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness in the other world as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.”

But we have learned from the Bible (and from Edwards!) that God’s interest is to magnify the fullness of his glory by spilling over in mercy to us.  Therefore, the pursuit of our interest and our happiness is never above God’s, but always in God’s. The most precious truth in the Bible is that God’s greatest interest is to glorify the wealth of his grace by making sinners happy in him — in him!

When we humble ourselves like little children and put on no airs of self-sufficiency, but run happily into the joy of our Father’s embrace, the glory of his grace is magnified and the longing of our soul is satisfied. Our interest and his glory are one.

Therefore, Christian Hedonists do not put their happiness above God’s glory when they pursue happiness in him.

Corruption on a Grand Scale

Birds of a Feather

We published a couple of pieces recently upon the systemic, habitual corruption of the Clintons.  Their habitual sin is known as simony.  The dictionary definition of simony is:
c.1200, "the sin of buying or selling sacred things," from Old French simonie"selling of church offices" (12c.), from Late Latin simonia, from Simon Magus, the Samaritan magician who was rebuked by Peter when he tried to buy the power of conferring the Holy Spirit (Acts viii:18-20). Related: Simoniac; simoniacal.  []
It is clearly an ancient term. But the evil remains alive and well and very modern. Some things never change. The Clintons' version of simony is to sell their office and its influence for pecuniary advantage.  Therefore, they enter into Simoniac bargains accepting money in exchange for special favours.

However, because it's the Clintons--who are donkey deep into the Establishment--few people turn a hair.  The Republic's corruption is a broad river and very deep.  The Clintons will extol their charitable work via the "Clinton Foundation" and will tell all and sundry how many people they have wondrously helped, whilst they siphon off the "charitable" donations to maintain the extravagant lifestyle to which they have become very accustomed and to which they genuinely believe they are entitled.

But what about Donald Trump, Hillary's rival?

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Celebrating the Prison Ministry of Crossroads Bible Institute

A Prisoner For Every Church

Chris Hoke

I was telling a room full of retired volunteers about mystical experiences that my friend Neaners had when he was in solitary confinement in a maximum-security prison. I told how he and I—a Mexican gang member and a dorky white church guy of about the same age—had exchanged weekly handwritten letters for nearly seven years, and how it had changed both of us.

It turned me into a jail chaplain, and gang pastor.

In that isolation cell my friend Neaners had his own visions of becoming a pastor and ministering to other gang members and lost youth in our hometown when he got out. He wrote raw, tender descriptions of a mysterious love that would sometimes wash through his veins. It led him to nights of sweet and unstoppable tears as he lay alone in the bathroom-sized cell, where he existed 23 hours a day with no natural light.

I told the small audience how dozens of my friends and family members began exchanging letters with Neaners, and how those letters changed him, ignited his faith, and prepared him for life on the outside. And of how the exchange affected my friends and family. They confessed things to Neaners that he says he’ll take to the grave.

Standing in front of this gathering, I suggested that prayerful, personal letters sent to inmates like Neaners can be a subversive act, moving deep inside the human disposal system that is the prison system.

Daily Devotional

A Growing Awareness of Evil Is Good

C. S. Lewis

Remember that, as I said, the right direction leads not only to peace but to knowledge. When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse he understands his own badness less and less. A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right. This is common sense, really. You understand sleep when you are awake, not while you are sleeping. You can see mistakes in arithmetic when your mind is working properly: while you are making them you cannot see them. You can understand the nature of drunkenness when you are sober, not when you are drunk. Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either.

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.

Selling Out Our Souls

Confused Mess of Pottage

The modern scientific academy appears to be populated by the self-deluded.  On the one hand, particularly when it comes to the human species, there are a series of propositions about human beings which represent professional hypotheses and claims.  Then, on the other hand, there are truths which the scientists actually believe.  All too often the two never meet.

Take, for example, that doyen of evolutionism, Richard Dawkins.  Professor Dawkins "discovered" a previously unknown human gene--which, he titled the Selfish Gene.  It was such a neat idea, it took the world by a hurricane.
When it was first published, Richard Dawkins's The Selfish Gene took the intellectual world by storm.  Conversion experiences among young men were widely reported.  They still are.  The idea that we are all "lumbering robots" designed by natural selection to advance the interests of our genes has become one of those things widely believed because widely believed.  [David Berlinski, The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions (New York: Basic Books, 2009),  p.176.]
OK.  So what's the big deal?  Who could be opposed to such a great idea?  Well, it seems that everyone who espouses the idea is also opposed to it.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

With Only One of Them Drooling

Douglas Wilson

The other day I was—what is the past participle of tweet?—I was twooting about the election, and commented on two possibly inconsistent emotions that were jostling beneath my sternum. You see, I want Hillary to lose in a fireball one hundred yards across, and I want Trump to lose in a fireball fifty yards across.

Both would be bad presidents. But questions immediately arise. How bad? For whom? Where? Why? Someone is going to say that the choice is simple—Hillary would be terrible for Christians, and there is a possibility that Trump wouldn’t be. He certainly promises not to be. But when you have a bad president, you have to reckon with the possibility that treachery is one of the bad possibilities.

Now going into this further would just rehearse my views on #NeverNeither. I don’t agree with those Christians who are going to vote for Trump because they simply cannot handle the idea of Hillary, but I do understand the dilemma. I share the reaction to Hillary. Rod Martin commented on my Facebook thread that there is a difference between Darius and Antiochus Epiphanes. I take the point, although maybe not the spread.

But that is not where I am going this morning. Both parties have nominated terrible candidates, and one of them is going to lose.

Daily Devotional

Jesus’s Pursuit of Joy

[Look] to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

John Piper

Does the example of Jesus contradict the principle of Christian Hedonism? Namely, that love is the way of joy and that one should choose it for that very reason, lest one be found begrudging obedience to the Almighty or chafing under the privilege of being a channel of grace or belittling the promised reward.

Hebrews 12:2 seems to say fairly clearly that Jesus did not contradict this principle.

The greatest labor of love that ever happened was possible because Jesus pursued the greatest imaginable joy, namely, the joy of being exalted to God’s right hand in the assembly of a redeemed people: “For the joy that was set before him [he] endured the cross!”

In saying this, the writer means to give Jesus as another example, along with the saints of Hebrews 11, of those who are so eager for and confident in the joy God offers that they reject the “fleeting pleasures of sin” (11:25) and choose ill-treatment in order to be aligned with God’s will.

It is not unbiblical, therefore, to say that what sustained Christ in the dark hours of Gethsemane was the hope of joy beyond the cross. This does not diminish the reality and greatness of his love for us, because the joy in which he hoped was the joy of leading many sons to glory (Hebrews 2:10).

His joy is in our redemption, which redounds to God’s glory. To abandon the cross and thus to abandon us and the Father’s will was a prospect so horrible in Christ’s mind that he repulsed it and embraced death.

A Rare Sight

New Zealand Warns the United States

We were amused to read of the NZ Prime Minister's interaction with the elitist US Council of Foreign Relations in New York.  To get the opportunity to confront the reigning US-centric mindset of his audience was too good to waste.

Journalist Tracey Watkins, writing in Stuff, provided a (rough) blow-by-blow.  First up was a chap who wanted to put John Key in his place.
John Key's audience at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York was a small but well-heeled one. So a shocked gasp went around the room when one of its armchair generals rose from his seat to ask whether New Zealand was good for much more in the US than a few lamb chops.  His gripe was New Zealand's anti-nuclear legislation and not pulling our weight which, as Key pointed out, is ancient history, given our decade-plus involvement in Afghanistan and now Iraq.
Now, one supposes that Key's interlocutor was wading waist deep in the miasmic slough of "USA!, USA! USA!" cheerleader chants.  If he were better informed, however, he may have pursued the Prime Minister on this point.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The Madness of Unbelief

Transgenderism and Ugly Doctors

Walt Heyer
The Federalist

Socially indoctrinating young children toward accepting transgenderism is rampant today in public schools. In Washington state, public schools will begin teaching gender expression to kindergarteners in fall 2017, under newly approved health education learning standards. The gay advocacy network GLSEN received a grant from the federal Centers for Disease Control in 2011 for $1.425 million over five years to promote the LGBT agenda in public schools at taxpayers’ expense.

By infiltrating the curriculum in our nation’s public schools, LGBT activists can groom the next generation of participants. Young people are questioning their gender identity at an alarming rate that seems to be increasing, and are encouraged by educators and medical professionals to experiment with gender transition. Unfortunately, experimentation can cause even more confusion.

Feelings Change, Bodies Don’t

The problem with taking the steps to transition physically—cross-gender hormones and surgeries—is that physical changes are likely permanent, but the feelings driving the desire may change, especially for young people. I recently received an email from a man now in his thirties that demonstrates this reality:
I transitioned to female beginning in my late teens and changed my name in my early 20s, over ten years ago. But it wasn’t right for me; I feel only discontent now in the female role. I was told that my transgender feelings were permanent, immutable, physically deep-seated in my brain and could NEVER change, and that the only way I would ever find peace was to become female. The problem is, I don’t have those feelings anymore.

When I began seeing a psychologist a few years ago to help overcome some childhood trauma issues, my depression and anxiety began to wane but so did my transgender feelings. So two years ago I began contemplating going back to my birth gender, and it feels right to do so. I have no doubts—I want to be male!
Feelings can change. For this man, feelings that were overwhelming in his teens changed after he went to counseling to deal with childhood trauma.  My story is similar.

Daily Devotional

Life Hangs on the Word of God 

John Piper

He said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.” (Deuteronomy 32:46–47)

The Word of God is not a trifle; it is a matter of life and death. If you treat the Scriptures as a trifle or as empty words, you forfeit life.

Even our physical life depends on God’s Word, because by his Word we were created (Psalm 33:6; Hebrews 11:3) and “He upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3).

Our spiritual life begins by the Word of God: “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth” (James 1:18). “You have been born again . . . through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).

Not only do we begin to live by God’s Word, but we also go on living by God’s Word: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3).

Our physical life is created and upheld by the Word of God, and our spiritual life is quickened and sustained by the Word of God. How many stories could be gathered to bear witness to the life-giving power of the Word of God!

Indeed, the Bible is “no empty word for you” — it is your life! The foundation of all joy is life. Nothing is more fundamental than sheer existence — our creation and our preservation.

All this is owing to the Word of God’s power. By that same power, he has spoken in Scripture for the creation and sustenance of our spiritual life. Therefore, the Bible is no empty word, but is your very life — the kindling of your joy!

Will the US Go Backwards?

United States and TPPA

We at this blog are Free Traders.  Our position on this issue is grounded in private property rights, which in turn are grounded in the divine command not to steal.  If a government prevents a Mom and Pop business from selling to customers in Timbucktoo should they wish to do so it is indirectly stealing from the couple.  (Of course there are legitimate exceptions--but those turn around matters which are the legitimate concern of the State, namely national defence from armed attack.  But in Mom and Pop's case, this is would not be at issue.)

There is also a fundamental economic rationality to Free Trade.  New Zealand once had a state subsidised automotive industry.  It had to be subsidised, because there was no way in the galaxy New Zealand could make cars as efficiently and cheaply as the United States, then subsequently, Japan.  So eventually we retreated to a subsidised vehicle assembly industry.  Eventually, the whole thing was scrapped, despite apoplectic unions.

Once vehicles in New Zealand were uber-expensive and few and far between.  Our roads were populated by ancient, ailing, vastly overpriced Morris Minors and Hillmans.  As soon as all the protection and anti-free trade barriers on vehicles were removed, the wealth of New Zealanders took a huge step upwards.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Christophobia In Full Throat

No Effective ‘Counter Narrative’ to Islam

Matt Walsh
The Blaze

A string of Islamic terrorist attacks in three different states over the weekend has given the media, Democrats and other leftists another chance to embarrass themselves. They’ve taken full advantage of the opportunity.

As you’ve heard by now, a Somali Muslim went on a stabbing spree in St. Cloud, Minnesota, shortly after bombs were detonated in neighborhoods in New York City and New Jersey. The terrorist in Minnesota, Dahir Adan, was shot dead by a good guy with a gun, and the terrorist responsible for the bombings, Ahmed Rahami, was captured by police Monday morning.

A few points about the reaction to these events:

1. The Godless Liberal West Does Not Have an Effective ‘Counter Narrative.’

Today, the White House proclaimed that we’re fighting a war of “narratives” with ISIS, and the key to defeating them is to craft a compelling “counter narrative.” One might suggest that the key to stopping ISIS is to kill them, not debate them, but I suppose that kind of language is distasteful. Instead, we must talk about narratives as if Islam and the West are locked in a global essay contest.

Daily Devotional

Reason, Of Itself, Has No Certainty

"Who of God is made unto us wisdom."  1 Corinthians 1:30

Charles H. Spurgeon

Man's intellect seeks after rest, and by nature seeks it apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. Men of education are apt, even when converted, to look upon the simplicities of the cross of Christ with an eye too little reverent and loving. They are snared in the old net in which the Grecians were taken, and have a hankering to mix philosophy with revelation.

The temptation with a man of refined thought and high education is to depart from the simple truth of Christ crucified, and to invent, as the term is, a more intellectual doctrine. This led the early Christian churches into Gnosticism, and bewitched them with all sorts of heresies. This is the root of Neology, and the other fine things which in days gone by were so fashionable in Germany, and are now so ensnaring to certain classes of divines.

Whoever you are, good reader, and whatever your education may be, if you be the Lord's, be assured you will find no rest in philosophizing divinity. You may receive this dogma of one great thinker, or that dream of another profound reasoner, but what the chaff is to the wheat, that will these be to the pure word of God. All that reason, when best guided, can find out is but the A B C of truth, and even that lacks certainty, while in Christ Jesus there is treasured up all the fulness of wisdom and knowledge.

All attempts on the part of Christians to be content with systems such as Unitarian and Broad-church thinkers would approve of, must fail; true heirs of heaven must come back to the grandly simple reality which makes the ploughboy's eye flash with joy, and gladens the pious pauper's heart--"Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners." Jesus satisfies the most elevated intellect when he is believingly received, but apart from him the mind of the regenerate discovers no rest. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." "A good understanding have all they that do his commandments."

Serving the Paymaster

The Swedish Church As Ministry for State Propaganda

The church in Sweden is funded by the State.  It comes as no surprise then, that as the years have passed, the church has morphed into a motley collection of false prophets, dancing dervishes to please Herod.  Never bite the hand that feeds, says the pragmatic realist.  

Sweden has evolved to where it believes multiculturalism is the highest of all humanist values.  It is the secular kingdom of god.  Yes, yes, yes chant the false prophets.  The following report was written by Nima Gholam Ali Pour for the Gatestone Institute:
After a French priest, Jacques Hamel, was murdered by ISIS sympathizers in Rouen, France, on July 26, 2016, an initiative started in Sweden where Swedish Christians took "selfies" with a cross to show solidarity with persecuted Christians. The initiative, called "Mitt kors"("My cross"), was started by three priests from the Church of Sweden.

The Church of Sweden, however, criticized it. Gunnar Sjöberg, Head of Communications for the Church of Sweden, wrote on his Facebook page:  "I really do not know about that. This thing about Christians suddenly wearing a cross as a sign for or against something. It is actually nothing new, but the call seems seditious and un-Christian in the conflicts that already exist."

So now, according to a senior official in the Church of Sweden, the call to wear a cross to show solidarity with persecuted Christians is "un-Christian".

Saturday, 24 September 2016

A Real-Life Monty Python Script

Venezuela Showcases the Glory of Egalitarianism

The ideal of egalitarianism is that everyone is equal.  But, of course, some are more equal than others.  Venezuela is now in the maw of this horror.  Let all those who rail against inequality beware.  You may end up getting what you wished for.

Unfortunately, the "masses" in Venezuela were ardent supporters of strong man, Hugo Chavez's version of egalitarianism.  It would solve all their problems.  Roiling with covetousness and greed they supported Chavismo, the leadership and revolution incarnate in the person of Hugo Chavez. Chanting jubilantly in the streets, they shouted, We will win!  And so they did.  But now, not so much.

In a starving Venezuela, buying too much food can get one arrested

The Washington PostVia Stuff

The hunt for food started at 4am, when Alexis Camascaro woke up to get in line outside the supermarket. By the time the Venezuelan man arrived, there were already 100 people ahead of him.  
Camascaro never made it inside. Truckloads of Venezuelan troops arrived in the darkness, arresting him and nearly 30 others seemingly pulled from the queue at random, according to his lawyer. Camascaro, 50, was charged with violating laws against interfering "directly or indirectly" with the production, transportation or sale of food.

He has been in jail for three months, awaiting a hearing.  "I went to see the prosecutors and explained that he was just buying some food for his family. He's not a bachaquero," said Lucía Mata, Camascaro's attorney, using the Venezuelan term for someone who buys scarce, price-capped or government-subsidised goods to resell on the black market.

Camascaro was snared in a new crackdown on Venezuelan shoppers, part of President Nicolás Maduro's attempt to assert greater control over food distribution and consumption.

Daily Devotional

How to Prepare For Death

To Mary Willis Shelburne

C.S. Lewis

17 June 1963

Pain is terrible, but surely you need not have fear as well? Can you not see death as the friend and deliverer? It means stripping off that body which is tormenting you: like taking off a hair- shirt or getting out of a dungeon. What is there to be afraid of? You have long attempted (and none of us does more) a Christian life. Your sins are confessed and absolved. Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave it with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.

Remember, though we struggle against things because we are afraid of them, it is often the other way round—we get afraid be- cause we struggle. Are you struggling, resisting? Don’t you think Our Lord says to you ‘Peace, child, peace. Relax. Let go. Underneath are the everlasting arms. Let go, I will catch you. Do you trust me so little?’

Of course, this may not be the end. Then make it a good rehearsal.

Yours (and like you a tired traveller near the journey’s end)


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.

Ten Percent Reduction Not A Bad Start

Statutes Repeal Bill

The following Media Release has been put out by the NZ Government:

Regulatory Reform Minister Steven Joyce and Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister for Regulatory Reform, David Seymour have today introduced a bill which will get rid of 124 redundant laws from New Zealand’s legislation.

The Statutes Repeal Bill will remove 124 pieces of legislation, and parts of eight other Acts.

“Originally we had 120 laws slated for removal. That number has now increased to 124. Overall, through this bill the number of public Acts on the New Zealand law books will reduce by more than 10 per cent,” Mr Joyce says.

“An Exposure Draft was released for an eight week public consultation period, during that time 16 submissions were received proposing that various pieces of legislation were added or removed from the Bill.”

The four additional Acts found suitable for repeal include Finance Act 1991, New Zealand Stock Exchange Restructuring Act 2002, Statutes Amendment Act 1943, and Statutes Amendment Act 1944.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Yea, Though She Fall Into the Van

Douglas Wilson

The latest thing to take the Internet by storm, and the presidential campaign by storm, and the imagination of meme-makers everywhere by storm, is the video shot of Hillary Clinton collapsing into her vehicle. It was a moment filled with . . . moment, you might say.

Now of course our public discourse immediately began chundering all sorts of things in response to this, and so we are not lacking commentary on it. But I do want to say just a couple of things about all this that might be helpful to Christians.

Moments like this separate those who hate what Hillary Clinton stands for, and who want to oppose her as an evil woman, and those who are simply filled with spite and malice (for whatever reason). Those in this latter group may have begun their anti-Hillary careers innocently enough, but they are ending them filled with bile.

Daily Devotional

Ammunition Against Anxiety

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

John Piper

When I am anxious about my ministry being useless and empty, I fight unbelief with the promise of Isaiah 55:11. “So shall my word be which goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”

When I am anxious about being too weak to do my work, I battle unbelief with the promise of Christ, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

When I am anxious about decisions I have to make about the future, I battle unbelief with the promise, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8).

When I am anxious about facing opponents, I battle unbelief with the promise, “If God is for us, who is against us!” (Romans 8:31).

When I am anxious about the welfare of those I love, I battle unbelief with the promise that if I, being evil, know how to give good things to my children, how much more will the “Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11).

And I fight to maintain my spiritual equilibrium with the reminder that everyone who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for Christ’s sake “shall receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life” (Mark 10:29–30).

When I am anxious about being sick, I battle unbelief with the promise, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19).

And I take the promise with trembling: “Tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:3–5).

Perspectives on Mary Magdalene

Lies, Damned Lies, and Post-Modern Academics

It's been some years since we heard about Jesus' wife.  The academic world was all agog in 2012 when Dr Karen L King, a professor at Harvard, announced to the world that she had possession of a scrap of an ancient text which implied most clearly that Jesus was married--to Mary Magdalene.  

Withing a few short weeks of this cacophonous announcement, serious New Testament scholars were debunking the claim.  But that did not put the Unbelieving academic world--let alone their tame, fawning media--in any doubt.
 At a splashy roll-out a stone’s throw from the Vatican in 2012, King presented a paper to more than 300 scholars from 27 countries, where she announced the discovery of an ancient scrap of papyrus in which Jesus refers to his “wife,” whom King said is probably Mary Magdalene.  “All of the evidence points to it being ancient,” King later said. “As historians, the question then becomes, what does it mean?” [Thomas D. Williams, Breitbart News]
"All the evidence" said the headline-seeking scholar indicated that the text was authentic.  In this venerable, most ancient artifact, Jesus is quoted as saying “My wife… she is able to be my disciple.”  That's it then.  Proof positive.  The heavyweight, high-brow organs weighed in.
The Harvard Theological Review published an entire journal edition on the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” and the Smithsonian Channel produced a major documentary on the topic. National Geographic confidently announced, “No Forgery Evidence Seen in ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ Papyrus” in its issue from April 11, 2014.
No evidence of forgery, huh?   Not a skerrick.  Hold that thought.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Precious Petals and Snowflakes

Can These Folk Have Any Self-Awareness?

The Worst Article Written By Anyone Ever

James Delingpole
Breitbart London

Meet Yasmin Abdel-Magied: racing car engineer; hijab-wearing Sudanese-Australian activist; special snowflake – and author of what is without question the worst article ever written by anyone in the history of the universe.

When I first tweeted about this atrocity last week many readers followed my link in disbelief that any article – even one written by a hijab-wearing Sudanese-Australian special snowflake activist, published in the “Komment Macht Frei” section of the Guardian – could really be quite as bad as I claimed.  But then they read it. Some even got as far as the bit where Yasmin writes…
The stench of privilege hung heavy in the air, and I was reminded of my “place” in the world.
…and finally they realised that I had not lied. Many subsequently retired to their studies with a bottle of whisky and a pistol, having recognised that a world where someone like Abdel-Magied gets taken seriously enough to have her views published in a national newspaper (and get featured on a TED talk, with over 1.6 million views) is no longer a world worth inhabiting.

Daily Devotional

Divine Exclamations of Joy
"I will rejoice over them to do them good."  Jeremiah 32:41

Charles H. Spurgeon

How heart-cheering to the believer is the delight which God has in his saints! We cannot see any reason in ourselves why the Lord should take pleasure in us; we cannot take delight in ourselves, for we often have to groan, being burdened; conscious of our sinfulness, and deploring our unfaithfulness; and we fear that God's people cannot take much delight in us, for they must perceive so much of our imperfections and our follies, that they may rather lament our infirmities than admire our graces.

But we love to dwell upon this transcendent truth, this glorious mystery: that as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so does the Lord rejoice over us. We do not read anywhere that God delighteth in the cloud-capped mountains, or the sparkling stars, but we do read that he delighteth in the habitable parts of the earth, and that his delights are with the sons of men.

We do not find it written that even angels give his soul delight; nor doth he say, concerning cherubim and seraphim, "Thou shalt be called Hephzibah, for the Lord delighteth in thee"; but he does say all that to poor fallen creatures like ourselves, debased and depraved by sin, but saved, exalted, and glorified by his grace. In what strong language he expresses his delight in his people!

Who could have conceived of the eternal One as bursting forth into a song? Yet it is written, "He will rejoice over thee with joy, he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing." As he looked upon the world he had made, he said, "It is very good"; but when he beheld those who are the purchase of Jesus' blood, his own chosen ones, it seemed as if the great heart of the Infinite could restrain itself no longer, but overflowed in divine exclamations of joy.

Should not we utter our grateful response to such a marvellous declaration of his love, and sing, "I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation?"

The Genuine Article Versus The Cheap Knock-Off

Will The Real Islamic Believer Please Stand Up

The term "fundamentalism" is most often used pejoratively, referring to thoughtless, narrow-minded bigots.  Thus when discussing secularists, a fundamentalist within that particular broad church, would be one who railed against all religions that were not consistently based on the one true faith of secularism.

The term Islamic fundamentalists refers to those adherents who take the fundamental doctrines, precepts, principles and praxis of that religion seriously.  But the term is like putty.  Within a short time Islamic fundamentalism has also come to mean narrow-minded, bigoted fanatics.  Is this fair?

The House of Islam (Dar al Islam) is any area where Islamic law prevails.  However, many Islamic nations care little for Islamic law.  A classic example would be the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia.  The ruling family of Saud lives in many cases in extreme opulence.  It practises many things forbidden in Islam: wine, women, cigars, and song.  It's leaders are educated in the West and are in many ways thoroughly Westernised.  The House of Saud is anything but fundamentalist.

This is the reason Osama Bin Laden--while interested in tearing down the Great Satan (the United States)--was more preoccupied with throwing out the apostates ruling Saudi Arabia.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Modern Education Epidermal Deep

Never Take Classic Literature From Classrooms

By Gracy Olmstead
The Federalist

Classical literature has always been a part of the high school experience. Novels such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Pride and Prejudice have become quintessential features of our curricula, the subjects of countless book reports and study sessions.

But Shayna Murphy of the Bookbub Blog wants to change that: many books in the classical canon are outdated for today’s students, she argues: “Just because a book is a classic, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the right fit for a modern-day classroom.” She offers a list of 12 contemporary novels that are, according to her, worthy replacements for our antiquated list of historical reads.

Murphy’s statement—that “just because a book is a classic, doesn’t mean it’s … the right fit”—carries a few assumptions about the nature of the modern-day classroom, and what it is meant to achieve. Do we meet students where they are at, and cater learning to their predispositions and proclivities? Or do we seek to stretch our students, urging them to move beyond what’s comfortable?

Daily Devotional

On Freedom (and predestination)

Heaven will solve our problems, but not, I think, by showing us subtle reconciliations between all our apparently contradictory notions. The notions will all be knocked from under our feet. We shall see that there never was any problem.

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

What's Wrong With a Little Incest?

The Hypocrisy of Secularist Human Rights 

Recently a case of extreme degeneracy was reported in the NZ Herald.  It involved incest--a father and daughter having a long term, intermittent sexual relationship.
A father and daughter pleaded guilty to incest when they appeared in the Dunedin District Court this afternoon.  Judge Kevin Phillips convicted them and remanded them on bail, with conditions prohibiting communication between the pair, for sentence in November.

The pair - aged 37 and 23 - have previously been convicted of incest, after the woman gave birth to a child in 2011.  The pair, who have interim name suppression, had troubled upbringings.  The daughter was born after the man entered into a sexual relationship with his foster mother when he was only 13 and she was 30.  He had little to do with his daughter during her upbringing, but a sexual relationship between them started shortly after they were reunited in 2010.  She was 16 at the time.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Aeneas, Anarchy, and America #1

Douglas Wilson


This short series of messages can be considered as what used to be called “artillery sermons.” The custom (and the name) began in England in the first half of the 17th century, where military groups invited ministers to come and preach to them. In our colonial period, ministers used to preach such sermons prior to elections, in order to instruct and exhort their people in the duties of a Christian citizen. This kind of instruction is always most necessary, for politics is always complicated. But it is especially needed in this particular pig’s breakfast of an election cycle.

“And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda. And there he found a certain man named AEneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. And Peter said unto him, AEneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately. And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord” (Acts 9:32–35).


Many miracles are recorded in the book of Acts, and usually the people who are the recipients of the miraculous power are unnamed (Acts 5:12-16; 19:11-12). On the occasions when the recipient is named, they are part of the Christian community, like Tabitha (9:36-41) or Eutychus (20:9-12), or an opponent of the gospel like Elymas (13:6-11), or both, like Ananias and Sapphira (5:1-10). In short, this incident with Aeneas really stands out, particularly because of the use of his name.

Aeneas was the name of the legendary founder of Rome.

Daily Devotional

Two Lamps

"If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."  Galatians 5:25

Charles H. Spurgeon

The two most important things in our holy religion are the life of faith and the walk of faith. He who shall rightly understand these is not far from being a master in experimental theology, for they are vital points to a Christian. You will never find true faith unattended by true godliness; on the other hand, you will never discover a truly holy life which has not for its root a living faith upon the righteousness of Christ.

Woe unto those who seek after the one without the other! There are some who cultivate faith and forget holiness; these may be very high in orthodoxy, but they shall be very deep in condemnation, for they hold the truth in unrighteousness; and there are others who have strained after holiness of life, but have denied the faith, like the Pharisees of old, of whom the Master said, they were "whitewashed sepulchres." We must have faith, for this is the foundation; we must have holiness of life, for this is the superstructure. Of what service is the mere foundation of a building to a man in the day of tempest? Can he hide himself therein? He wants a house to cover him, as well as a foundation for that house. Even so we need the superstructure of spiritual life if we would have comfort in the day of doubt.

But seek not a holy life without faith, for that would be to erect a house which can afford no permanent shelter, because it has no foundation on a rock. Let faith and life be put together, and, like the two abutments of an arch, they will make our piety enduring. Like light and heat streaming from the same sun, they are alike full of blessing. Like the two pillars of the temple, they are for glory and for beauty. They are two streams from the fountain of grace; two lamps lit with holy fire; two olive trees watered by heavenly care. O Lord, give us this day life within, and it will reveal itself without to thy glory.

Under the Shadow of the Swords

 Plain Vanilla Islam

We recently caught up with an old Christian friend, born and raised in Pakistan.  He had been engaged in doctoral studies and was researching Islam--its theology, ideology, and praxis.  Of course, in his country this is a live topic.

Christians in Pakistan are a very small minority--often persecuted.  His objective was to demonstrate that such Islamic persecution was contrary to the fundamental tenets of Islam, a perversion of the Islamic faith.  If this argument could be sustained, he thought, it may well help ease some of the tensions between Islamic and Christian communities on the ground.  Thus his research began, but the more he studied Islam and its teachers, the more he began to doubt his starting point.  He came to the point where he realised that violent oppression and persecution of non-Islamic people by Islam was not an aberration of that religion, but essential to it.

It was so from the beginning of that religion.  Thus it has continued to this day.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Willingly Duped

Jesus’s Wife Claims Revealed as ‘Whopping Fraud’

Thomas D. Williams
Breitbart News

The Harvard Professor who confidently proclaimed to the world she possessed evidence that suggested Jesus may have had a wife has now been outed as a second-rate academic who allowed herself to be duped by a con man.

Dr. Karen L. King, professor at Harvard Divinity School, earned her 15 minutes of fame by staking her reputation as a historian of early Christianity on the authenticity of an ancient papyrus stating: “Jesus said to them, My wife… she is able to be my disciple.”

At a splashy roll-out a stone’s throw from the Vatican in 2012, King presented a paper to more than 300 scholars from 27 countries, where she announced the discovery of an ancient scrap of papyrus in which Jesus refers to his “wife,” whom King said is probably Mary Magdalene.  “All of the evidence points to it being ancient,” King later said. “As historians, the question then becomes, what does it mean?”

Daily Devotional

The Only True Freedom

Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31–32)

John Piper

What is true freedom? Are you free?

If you don't have the desire to do a thing, you are not fully free to do it. Oh, you may muster the will power to do what you don't want to do, but nobody calls that full freedom. It's not the way we want to live. There is a constraint and pressure on us that we don't want.

  • And if you have the desire to do something, but no ability to do it, you are not free to do it.
  • And if you have the desire and the ability to do something, but no opportunity to do it, you are not free to do it.
  • And if you have the desire to do something, and the ability to do it, and the opportunity to do it, but it destroys you in the end, you are not fully free — not free indeed.

To be fully free, we must have the desire, the ability, and the opportunity to do what will make us happy forever. No regrets. And only Jesus, the Son of God who died and rose for us, can make that possible.

If the Son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed.

Dumber Than a Sack of Hammers

The Wondrous Works of the Wizard

Prohibitionists believe they have made great strides in New Zealand with the passing of mandatory plain packaging legislation for tobacco products.

When the State is the de facto deity--as increasingly is the case in the secular materialist West--the law in all its forms becomes equivalent to the powers and efficacy of  a god. Passing and administrating laws will bring society to immaculate perfection, where all "sin" is abolished, health is perfected, and mankind will last for eternity upon the earth.  Oh, what a lovely god we have.

Unfortunately the god is a tad ignorant.  Some would say the god is Dumb and Dumber.  In many cases the god's laws, rules, regulations, and administrations end up doing far more harm than good.  The fishhooks lie nestled in a bed of unexpected and unintended consequences.

Australia is beginning to learn that nirvana lies a bit further off than first thought.  It has had tobacco plain packaging legislation in place for a number of years now.  How's it going in the Land of Oz?  Is the Wizard doing his stuff?

Australia is beginning to suffer under the law of unintended consequences, which show every indication of turning out much worse than the cure intended.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Precious Petals Seen Wilting in the UK

UK Universities Are Now Officially Dangerous Places

Bilbo once advised his nephew, Frodo that it was a dangerous thing to take a step outside the front door.  Who knows where you would end up?  The fashion these days on too many university campuses is to make sure all doors, not just the front door, remain firmly shut at all times.

The anti-free speech trend amongst American universities has recently taken the form of students demanding "free spaces" where their beliefs, ideas, and prejudices will not be challenged.  It has been an entertaining development.  "Speech should be free only if it affirms my beliefs and confirms my prejudices"--at least according to lots of students on lots of US campuses.  We note, in passing, that the sensitivities of the precious petals are being earnestly protected by faculties up and down the country.

Thankfully, for the moment, the UK is not going to be subjected to official, governmental support for such idiotic contradictions.  This exchange took place recently in the UK House of Commons:

Daily Devotional

None Can Stay His Hand

"The exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead."  Ephesians 1:19-20

Charles H. Spurgeon

In the resurrection of Christ, as in our salvation, there was put forth nothing short of a divine power. What shall we say of those who think that conversion is wrought by the free will of man, and is due to his own betterness of disposition?

When we shall see the dead rise from the grave by their own power, then may we expect to see ungodly sinners of their own free will turning to Christ. It is not the word preached, nor the word read in itself; all quickening power proceeds from the Holy Ghost. This power was irresistible. All the soldiers and the high priests could not keep the body of Christ in the tomb; Death himself could not hold Jesus in his bonds: even thus irresistible is the power put forth in the believer when he is raised to newness of life.

No sin, no corruption, no devils in hell nor sinners upon earth, can stay the hand of God's grace when it intends to convert a man. If God omnipotently says, "Thou shalt," man shall not say, "I will not." Observe that the power which raised Christ from the dead was glorious. It reflected honour upon God and wrought dismay in the hosts of evil. So there is great glory to God in the conversion of every sinner. It was everlasting power. "Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him." So we, being raised from the dead, go not back to our dead works nor to our old corruptions, but we live unto God. "Because he lives we live also." "For we are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God." "Like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."

Lastly, in the text mark the union of the new life to Jesus. The same power which raised the Head works life in the members. What a blessing to be quickened together with Christ!

Black Lives Don't Matter a Hoot

One Giant Useless Force

You would be excused if you adopted the view that black lives don't matter and started up pop-up virtual following by creating a Twitter hash-tag along the lines of "#black lives-don't-matter-a-hoot".

Why might you be excused?  Well it's become apparent that the hash tag has become useful to, and used by, anyone who has a grievance about anything and has a millisecond, pop-up cause to push.

Tim Blair, blogging in the Australian Daily Telegraph recounts the following:
In the UK, white leftist members of the Black Lives Matter movement blockade an airport runway because of climate change.  It’s a Blair's Law moment for the ages:
Nine Black Lives Matter UK activists have been removed from the runway at London City airport after chaining themselves together in a six-hour protest that caused severe travel disruption …

Friday, 16 September 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

The Huffington Puffington Post

Douglas Wilson

So it is apparently time to have a little bit of fun with The Huffington Post.

I got a call a week or so ago from a HuffPo reporter, who interviewed me about the founding of Logos School, along with the founding of the Association of Classical Christian Schools. The interview was going along merrily, including the fact that Greg Gianforte, who a few years ago served with me on the ACCS board, is now a candidate for governor of the great state of Montana.

Let me interrupt this account to encourage all residents of Montana who read this to reason thusly with themselves: “Anybody who gets this kind of royal treatment from The Huffington Post is someone that I should really want in the governor’s chair. I and all my friends shall plan to vote accordingly.”

Anyway, back to the interview. As it proceeded, the reporter brought up Southern Slavery As It Was, and I saw the hatchet job forming before my eyes, along with the shape of the actual hatchet.

Daily Devotional

How to Repay God

What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I shall lift up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I shall pay my vows to the Lord. (Psalm 116:12–14)

John Piper

What keeps the paying of vows free from the dangers of being treated like a debt payment is that the “payment” is, in reality, not an ordinary payment, but another act of receiving which magnifies the ongoing grace of God. It does not magnify our resourcefulness. We can see this in Psalm 116:12–14.

The psalmist’s answer to his own question, “What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits?” is, in essence, that he will go on receiving from the Lord so that the Lord’s inexhaustible goodness will be magnified.

First, lifting up the cup of salvation signifies taking the Lord’s satisfying salvation in hand and drinking it and expecting more. This is why I say that “paying” back to God in these contexts is not an ordinary payment. It is an act of receiving.

Second, this is also the meaning of the next phrase: “I shall call upon the name of the Lord.” What shall I render to God for graciously answering my call? Answer: I shall call again. I will render to God the praise and the tribute that he is never in need of me, but is always overflowing with benefits when I need him (which I always do).

Then the psalmist says, in the third place, “I will pay my vows to the Lord.” But how will they be paid? They will be paid by holding up the cup of salvation and by calling on the Lord. That is, they will be paid by faith in future grace.

"Ethnic Justice"

It's the Just Way, Not the Maori Way

The wife of murdered Maori man, George Taiaroa has called for a Maori justice system.  This is not novel.  It has been bubbling away for some time.  The contention is that the way the present justice system operates reflects an alien culture; Maori feel uncomfortable and disengaged in such a foreign atmosphere.  Better to have a justice system which reflects Maori culture, the Maori way of doing things.

Some aspects of this "Maori culture" work well in some situations we are told.  But the principles involved are not "Maori" per se, but are Christian common sense.  We believe the entire justice system should adopt them and deploy them appropriately.  Features such as the perpetrator meeting with victims, apologising to them, making appropriate restitution, and the perpetrator's family insisting upon such actions by their relative, and so forth are all sound practices.

However, such opportunities for forgiveness and restitution need to be well-managed (as we understand the present practice generally is).

Thursday, 15 September 2016

The Re-Emergence of Mercantilist Plunder

Trump, the Pirate

Trump’s Plunder Doctrine

Daniel Larison

Bruce Riedel lists many of the negative consequences of Trump’s preferred “take the oil” approach to Iraq, and concludes with this:
Taking the oil is the most dangerous and irresponsible of all of the Republican nominee’s policy proposals. It’s one he has repeated often. If you want permanent war in the Middle East and a titanic clash of cultures between Islam and America, it’s your best bet.
Trump’s “take the oil” rhetoric is notable for being one of the few consistent foreign policy positions he has held over the years. It unites both his support for military interventions in the region (so that we could then take the oil) and his later criticism of how those interventions were conducted (they were failures because we didn’t take the oil). He makes the same complaint about the Libyan and Iraq wars, and if his “take the oil” idea were put into practice it would guarantee open-ended wars in both countries, each of which would probably be more costly to the U.S. than the previous two interventions put together. 

It’s a thoroughly unjust idea, and it would be completely illegal to do, but more than that it is a phenomenally stupid policy to favor. It should be a reminder that there is no aggressive policy too reckless or provocative that Trump wouldn’t support so long as the U.S. can extract payment or resources along the way, and it tells us that acquiring plunder is what he thinks U.S. foreign policy is for.

Daily Devotional

Against the Tyranny Of Feelings

C. S. Lewis

And of course the presence of God is not the same as the sense of the presence of God. The latter may be due to imagination; the former may be attended with no “sensible consolation.” The Father was not really absent from the Son when He said “Why hast thou forsaken me?” You see God Himself, as man, submitted to man’s sense of being abandoned. The real parallel on the natural level is one which seems odd for a bachelor to write to a lady, but too illuminating not to be used. The act which engenders a child ought to be, and usually is attended by pleasure. But it is not the pleasure that produces the child. Where there is pleasure there may be sterility: where there is no pleasure the act may be fertile. And in the spiritual marriage of God and the soul it is the same. It is the actual presence, not the sensation of the presence, of the Holy Ghost which begets Christ in us. The sense of the presence is a super-added gift for which we give thanks when it comes, and that’s all about it.

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

Leviathan Reckoned As Dead

For Love of the Russians

Peter Hitchens, brother of the late atheist, Christopher Hitchens, is a disciple of the Lord Jesus.  By God's grace he has come to tread a diametrically opposite path to the one he once trod.

He has recently written a startling piece in First Things.  It deserves to be read by every thinking person.  Hitchens spent years living in Russia as a western correspondent.  He has an abiding love and sorrow and hope for the Russian people.  No doubt he prays fervently that the Lord would lift up the light of His countenance upon them.  Reading his article makes us want to join with him.

We can confidently state that you will not read the like amongst the Western chattering classes, or Commentariat.  We never have.  For that alone, his piece is worth reading, for its contrarian view.

We provide a few excerpts in the hope that it draws our readers to its pages.  Firstly, the contrarian disclosure:
Yet the experience of living in that sad and handsome place [Moscow] brought me to love Russia and its stoical people, to learn some of what they had suffered and see what they had regained. And so, as all around me rage against the supposed aggression and wickedness of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, I cannot join in.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

God's Workmanship

A Latter-Day Joan of Arc

This story comes in three parts.

The first is a  You Tube piece of Professor Carol Rain describing her origins, her family home, and her upbringing.

The second piece is a You Tube video of an interview Rain describing how modern liberal political ideology only cements the conditions and circumstances of poverty.

The third You Tube video summarises what has has happened to her recently at Vanderbilt University.

First, Carol Rain's family and upbringing--and how she escaped it.

Second, the awakening of Professor Rain to the destructive effects of liberal political ideology.

Carol Rain got her GED, earned an associate degree from Virginia Western Community College, and went on to Roanoke College where she earned her bachelors Magna Cum Laude. She then went to Virginia Tech for her Masters, University of North Carolina for her Ph.D., and finally Yale University Law School.
She became an Assistant Professor at Duke, then Associate Professor at Princeton, and finally a distinguished Professor of Political Science and Law at Vanderbilt University.  I mean, seriously, this is the American dream. This is the story we all want to have. Prof. Swain embodies hope. She should be celebrated and lifted up as an example to all our young people.
But, she doesn’t toe the liberal line, you see. “Burn her at the stake!”  Here are the sort of things Prof. Swain says that have prompted the little brats at Vanderbilt to rebel against her:
My accomplishments didn’t come easy. It was through hard work. It was perseverance. A “can-do” spirit that I attribute to the grace of God. It is so amazing what a little encouragement and direction can do. But the system itself doesn’t encourage people to better themselves. The social welfare programs that we have in America put a band aid on the problem but it does not fix it. The only thing these programs do is create, in the long term, a sense of entitlement that results in the loss of self-worth for the individual. The truth is people feel good about themselves when they can work and provide for themselves and for their families.
What! She said, What? No, no, no, no, no. Remember, Swain is African-American (did I mention that?); how dare she omit the fact that the system is rigged and there is nothing African-Americans can do to succeed as long as “the white man” is in charge?
Doesn’t she know the Democratic Platform? Actually, she knows a bit too much about the Democratic Party, and that has caused her to distance herself from it. The Democrats’ sordid history supporting the slave trade is being exposed now in Dinesh D’Souza’s Hillary’s America, in which Prof. Swain is featured revealing how the Democrats were the party of slavery. It was Republicans who rose in opposition.
Can you imagine a distinguish professor, with a Ph.D. in political science, having the gall to actually talk about history just like that, with no warning or anything? Yes, it’s all true, but it’s about more than that. This is why we need safe spaces.
So to recap, in the warped views of today’s college campuses, Prof. Swain is an exemplary role model, but she doesn’t agree with Black Lives Matter, so she must be silenced. To be celebrated, she should join the chorus of liberal African-American voices calling America as racist as ever, calling each other the “n”-word, women the “b”-word and voting for Democrats, no matter what.
Mario Diaz, Esq. is Legal Counsel at Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization. His book Be Spent: Winning the Fight for Freedom’s Survival is available now at Amazon. Follow him on Twitter @legalblurbblog.

The Blowback

Daily Devotional

Retrospective Visions

C. S. Lewis

I believe, to be sure, that any man who reaches Heaven will find that what he abandoned (even in plucking out his right eye) has not been lost: that the kernel of what he was really seeking even in his most depraved wishes will be there, beyond expectation, waiting for him in ‘the High Countries’. In that sense it will be true for those who have completed the journey (and for no others) to say that good is every- thing and Heaven everywhere. But we, at this end of the road, must not try to anticipate that retrospective vision. If we do, we are likely to embrace the false and disastrous converse and fancy that everything is good and everywhere is Heaven.

But what, you ask, of earth? Earth, I think, will not be found by anyone to be in the end a very distinct place. I think earth, if chosen instead of Heaven, will turn out to have been, all along, only a region in Hell: and earth, if put second to Heaven, to have been from the beginning a part of Heaven itself.

From The Great Divorce

Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis The Great Divorce. Copyright © 1946, C. S Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed 1973 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 Post Marital World

Light in Dark Places

The nuclear family is finished, dead, and buried--we are told.  Not so fast, says Family First, an organisation devoted to the promotion of family life, resisting the deconstruction of families.  Many of the headlines about the "research" celebrating the end of the nuclear family in Western societies is suspect and oozing with cant, it says.

Consider, for example, a recent release by Family First slamming a particularly biased  piece, masquerading as serious research.  Nevertheless that piece garnered sensational headlines.  The point of those headlines was to announce that the nuclear family was passe.  The "traditional family" was now thoroughly deconstructed, implying that anything or everything which might replace it was to be welcomed as part of the Brave New World.

But the broader point at issue is worth considering.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Seven Theses on the Age of the Earth

Douglas Wilson

I recently came to the conclusion that it was time to set down in one place my reasons for approaching Genesis the way I do. I have noticed that the topic has become a matter of increased debate in classical Christian circles — and because schools cannot honestly stay out of it — it matters a great deal what we teach and why. So here are seven theses on the age of the earth.

1. First, the age of the earth, considered in isolation, is neither here nor there. The issue is always what God said, and not how old something is. If the earth is six thousand years old now, it will eventually be one hundred thousand years old at some point, about ninety-four thousand years from now. Will theologians at that time still be required to hold to a “young earth” view? So the issue is not age, or day, or young, or old, but rather the substance of what God actually said. Whatever He actually revealed should be what we use as the foundation for all our subsequent thought. After we have our foundation, we may incorporate truth from other sources — natural revelation included — but we must take care that we never privilege what we think we know over what God actually told us.

Daily Devotional

7 Reasons Not to Worry

John Piper

“For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” (Matthew 6:25-26)
In Matthew 6 we have the example of anxiety about food and clothing.

Even in America, with its extensive welfare system, anxiety over finances and housing can be intense. But Jesus says in verse 30 that this stems from inadequate faith in our Father’s promise of future grace: “O men of little faith.” And so this paragraph has at least seven promises designed by Jesus to help us fight the good fight against unbelief and be free from anxiety.
PROMISE #1: For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (Matthew 6:25).
Since your body and your life are vastly more complex and difficult to provide than food and clothing are, and yet God has, in fact, created and provided you with both, then surely he will be able and willing to provide you with food and clothing.

Moreover, no matter what happens, God will raise your body some day and preserve your life for his eternal fellowship.
PROMISE #2: Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? (Matthew 6:26).
If God is willing and able to feed such insignificant creatures as birds who cannot do anything to bring their food into being — as you can by farming — then he will certainly provide what you need, because you are worth a lot more than birds.

The School Wars

Never Let the Facts Get in the Way of a Good Story

It's not hard to imagine that the Teacher Unions have been choking over their corn flakes.  The antipathy and hatred of the unions for the nascent charter school sector in New Zealand is well known.  Charter schools just need to raise an eyebrow by a millimeter and the Teacher Unions viscerally react with a 500 decibel haka, threatening to cannibalise them all.  

How devastating it must be, then, for the NZ Herald to dare publish an article by Dr Don Brash celebrating one charter school as a result of his visit.   The sub-editor's headline alone was enough to get the unionists bowels all a-tangle and a-jingle.  It read: "Well-run Partnership School Outclasses Others"--by which is meant the state's union controlled schools.

We need to keep things in perspective, however.  There are slightly more than three charter schools in New Zealand.  They are a most highly regulated, controlled, supervised, and reported upon bevy of institutions which the government treats as if they were radioactive.  Despite this, it seems that educational success becomes them.  Must be the high-grade plutonium.

Monday, 12 September 2016

When True Christian Faith Collides With a Lust for Power

The Choices We Face

Canon Gavin Ashenden

[This piece was written before the Anglican Church met at Canterbury in 2016.  The issues and divisions which the author addresses in this article were once again papered over.  But the establishment of a new, reformed Anglican church remains inevitable.  It is only a matter of time.  Ed.]

In Germany in the 1930’s, the seed of fascism was taking root. It grew ferociously fast. Some parts of the Church saw what was coming and stood against it. They became known as ‘the Confessing Church’. Other parts of the Church cooperated with the secular agenda of the new regime, hoping to buy political credit and claiming it gave them an invaluable influence.

Before long, the fascist state turned on the accommodating part of the Church that had for a while cooperated and compromised, and destroyed it, - as it had always intended.

There were a few brave men and women in the Confessing Church who knew what was coming and made it their business early on to speak as prophetically as they could in the name of the Gospel and the Living God, against the coming evil. They were first ostracized and then arrested.

One of the bravest of them, Dietrich Bonheoffer, was hung in prison by piano wire in April 1945, in a final act of spite as the end of the military struggle with Nazism approached.

The rest, as they say, is history.


What does this have to do with the meeting of 38 Archbishops of the Provinces of the Anglican Communion in Canterbury in the second week of January 2016.

One might begin with two observations: those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it; and old generals are always busy fighting the last war.

Daily Devotional

Espionage Everywhere

"Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies."  Psalms 5:8

Charles H. Spurgeon

Very bitter is the enmity of the world against the people of Christ. Men will forgive a thousand faults in others, but they will magnify the most trivial offence in the followers of Jesus. Instead of vainly regretting this, let us turn it to account, and since so many are watching for our halting, let this be a special motive for walking very carefully before God.

If we live carelessly, the lynx-eyed world will soon see it, and with its hundred tongues, it will spread the story, exaggerated and emblazoned by the zeal of slander. They will shout triumphantly. "Aha! So would we have it! See how these Christians act! They are hypocrites to a man." Thus will much damage be done to the cause of Christ, and much insult offered to his name.

The cross of Christ is in itself an offence to the world; let us take heed that we add no offence of our own. It is "to the Jews a stumblingblock": let us mind that we put no stumblingblocks where there are enough already. "To the Greeks it is foolishness": let us not add our folly to give point to the scorn with which the worldly-wise deride the gospel. How jealous should we be of ourselves! How rigid with our consciences! In the presence of adversaries who will misrepresent our best deeds, and impugn our motives where they cannot censure our actions, how circumspect should we be!

Pilgrims travel as suspected persons through Vanity Fair. Not only are we under surveillance, but there are more spies than we know of. The espionage is everywhere, at home and abroad. If we fall into the enemies' hands we may sooner expect generosity from a wolf, or mercy from a fiend, than anything like patience with our infirmities from men who spice their infidelity towards God with scandals against his people. O Lord, lead us ever, lest our enemies trip us up!

Enforced State Religion

Liberalism's Unsavoury Odours

In New Zealand there has never been a debate of any magnitude over the facticity of evolution.   Government schools assume evolutionism to be both scientific and true truth; those who believe in the biblical doctrine of creation are entitled to their opinions, as long as they don't bring them into the school.

A bunch of smears usually attend this concession to freedom of opinion: the creationists are framed by liberals anti-scientific; they are ignorant; they believe in ancient myths not truth, etc.   In the United States, whilst all these realities play out in slightly different ways, the realities are the same.  But there is a key difference.  The creationists have more grunt, more scholarship, more research, and more flexibility in the school systems in some parts of that country than has ever been the case in New Zealand.

What this debate has shown up, however, is something unintended by the secularists.  It exposes their intolerance.  Whilst formally believing in freedom of speech, or liberty of conscience, or liberties of religious belief, they insist on excluding or shutting down all contrary doctrines when it comes to the origin of the world.  It is evolutionism's way  or the high way: Christian fundamentalists must get on their bikes and get out of town.

Christian parents in the US have reacted in many cases to the imposition of ancient pagan doctrines (which evolutionism represents) via the school system.  The secular liberals slur Christians as ignorant; but Christians view the establishment as deliberately steering their children into a false idolatry, using the power of the State.

Secular liberalism has shown itself profoundly intolerant in this matter (which is contrary to its own self-image).

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Here We Stand: We Can Do No Other

The Lost Purpose for Learning

Rooting Dualism Out of Christian Education

John Stonestreet

Christian Overman, who directs the Seattle-based Worldview Matters and is a commissioned Colson Fellow, believes—and I largely agree—that we’ve lost the culture because we’ve lost our schools—including, in some cases, important distinctives that make Christian schools, well, Christian. “The shaping of nations begins in the minds of children,” Chris says. “Nation-shaping ideas acquired in elementary and secondary schools are not immediately felt on a national level because it takes time for little acorns to grow into giant oaks. But grow they will.”

In a new, thought-provoking e-book, “The Lost Purpose for Learning,” Chris articulates clearly what has gone awry and offers a systemic, intentional, and repeatable solution for Christian school teachers and headmasters, Sunday school workers, and other church personnel who interact with students between the ages of 4 and 18.

As Christian notes, in the years before the federal government took over teaching our children, education was largely a Christian endeavor—not just in the sense that it was run by Christians, but in that it was founded on Christian assumptions about God, life, the world, and humanity. And the primary assumption was that Christ is Lord of all—not just of so-called “religious” subjects, but of everything, including biology, math, even physics.

When the government took over, some Christians, such as A.A. Hodge, warned that the schools would become indoctrination centers for atheism.

Daily Devotional

God-Given Foes and Faith

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ . . . not frightened in anything by your opponents. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake. (Philippians 1:27–29)

John Piper

Paul told the Philippians that living worthy of the gospel of Christ meant fearlessness before enemies. Then he gave the logic of fearlessness.  The logic is this: God has given you two gifts, not just one — faith and suffering. That’s what verse 29 says.

In this context that means: Both your faith in the face of suffering, and your suffering are gifts of God. When Paul says, don’t be frightened by your opponents he had two reasons in his mind why they don’t need to be frightened:

One reason is that the opponents are in the hand of God. Their opposition is a gift from God. He governs it. That’s the first point of verse 29.

And the other reason not to be afraid is that your fearlessness, that is, your faith, is also in the hand of God. It too is a gift. That is the other point of verse 29.  So the logic of fearlessness in the face of adversity is this double truth: Both your adversity and your faith in the face of adversity are gifts of God.

Why is this called “living worthy of the gospel of Christ”? Because the gospel is the good news that Christ’s blood of the covenant infallibly obtained for all his people the sovereign working of God to give us faith and to govern our enemies — always for our eternal good.

Therefore, fear not. Your adversaries can do no more than God grants. And he will grant you the faith you need. These promises are blood bought and sealed. Gospel promises.

Teacher Union Hypocrisy

Children as Political Pawns

If you happen to live in a country where the education system is not controlled by its employees you should count your blessings.  Teacher unions in NZ effectively control the government run education system.  As one would expect in such a system, everything is about teachers, teachers, teachers.  Not that the union militants don't mention children.  They do.  Frequently.  But--and here is the despicable reality--the unionists use school pupils as pawns in their political struggles.  

By definition and hidebound ideology, everything pushed by the unions for teachers' terms and conditions of employment means that pupils will get a better deal.  At least, according to the self-interested union members.  Whatever anyone else tries to achieve in the state education system will, according to the unions, be damaging to pupils.  All this goes to demonstrate that self-interest matters more to teacher unions than the education of pupils.  According to the unions there is not one problem in government schools--not one--that would not be solved by the simple remedy of paying teachers more money and having more of them.

The government school system as been being roiled by teacher strikes this week, as union stooges react to a proposal--a proposal, mind you--that they claim will be damaging to the terms and conditions of teachers, er, pupils.

The Act Party put out a press release on the present actions of this notorious, self-interested cabal:

Friday, 9 September 2016

More on Putin's Cyber Ops

Russian Plans to Distort and Disrupt US Elections

By Dana Priest, Ellen Nakashima and Tom Hamburger
The Washington Post

U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are probing what they see as a broad covert Russian operation in the United States to sow public distrust in the upcoming presidential election and in U.S. political institutions, intelligence and congressional officials said.

The aim is to understand the scope and intent of the Russian campaign, which incorporates cyber-tools to hack systems used in the political process, enhancing Russia’s ability to spread disinformation.  The effort to better understand Russia’s covert influence operations is being coordinated by James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence. “This is something of concern for the DNI,” said Charles Allen, a former longtime CIA officer who has been briefed on some of these issues. “It is being addressed.”

A Russian influence operation in the United States “is something we’re looking very closely at,” said one senior intelligence official who, as others interviewed, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter. Officials are also examining potential disruptions to the election process, and the FBI has alerted state and local officials to potential cyberthreats. . . .

Daily Devotional

Turning the Other Cheek

C. S. Lewis

There are three ways of taking the command to turn the other cheek. One is the Pacifist interpretation; it means what it says and imposes a duty of nonresistance on all men in all circumstances. Another is the minimising interpretation; it does not mean what it says but is merely an orientally hyperbolical way of saying that you should put up with a lot and be placable. Both you and I agree in rejecting this view.

The conflict is therefore between the Pacifist interpretation and a third one which I am now going to propound. I think the text means exactly what it says, but with an understood reservation in favour of those obviously exceptional cases which every hearer would naturally assume to be exceptions without being told. . . . . That is, insofar as the only relevant factors in the case are an injury to me by my neighbour and a desire on my part to retaliate, then I hold that Christianity commands the absolute mortification of that desire. No quarter whatever is given to the voice within us which says, “He’s done it to me, so I’ll do the same to him.”

From The Weight of Glory

Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses. Copyright © 1949, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1976, revised 1980 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. 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.

Will Anyone Bother to Vote?

Oh, What a Lovely Election

The upcoming US election will be interesting when one is able to assess the turnout.  Never in our lifetime have we observed an election in that country where both candidates were so strongly disliked--by their respective parties.

It is shaping up to be a Monty Python election.  It will appear as a moral tribute to democracy.  Those cautious of what democracy may produce will be muttering that the most estimable quality of the democratic system is that it produces precisely those leaders that the people deserve.

Donald Trump is so substantial he risks drowning in a puddle.