Monday, 30 April 2018

Government Ban on Natural Gas Deconstructed By Expert

Open Letter re Oil and Gas Exploration

A guest post from Mark Webster of New Endeavour Resources (N.Z) Ltd.
Republished from Kiwiblog

The recent decision by the New Zealand government to stop issuing Permits for offshore oil & gas exploration is misguided and counter-productive.  It is highly likely that New Zealand has sufficient natural gas to support an LNG industry.  Exporting gas to countries that currently utilise coal would have a real, material impact on global emissions, and be a game changer to the NZ economy, enabling NZ to fund the social, environmental, infrastructure, and regional development programmes that the government has prioritised.  The current strategy will have minimal, and probably negative, impact on emissions, while removing a valuable source of revenue, with no substitute identified.

I am a New Zealander and a petroleum geologist.  I started my career as a graduate in Petrocorp and left 13 years later as Chief Geologist. I have worked in the industry for 34 years, in New Zealand and overseas (in Australia, Canada, Thailand, Philippines, and Malaysia). I established a company (NER) with two experienced Australian colleagues, specifically to look for gas reserves in Taranaki.  We see huge potential here and have been working hard to develop opportunities, attract investors to NZ, and unlock this resource.  I don’t believe anyone would define us as Big Oil; I drive a 2004 Toyota Echo.

Like most people in the NZ oil & gas industry, I also care about clean air, clean water, and a fair society, and am grateful daily that I am lucky enough to live on these lightly populated and isolated islands. I voted Labour in the last election because, like many others, I was concerned at the growing inequity in NZ, the need for communities to have to provide food and clothing for school kids, the woeful salaries we pay teachers, nurses and basically anyone who isn’t in a position to yield financial clout. I don’t like seeing our youngest and brightest burdened by debt when they successfully complete training or education, knowing home ownership is moving out of their reach and they will be responsible for a rapidly increasing aged population requiring care. I liked Labour’s promises to boost the regions, so Auckland doesn’t become the hippo sitting at one end of the rowboat.

My argument is very simple.

Daily Devotional

Paul’s Salvation Was for You

But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:16)

John Piper

Paul's conversion was for your sake.

I want you to take this very personally. God had you in view when he chose Paul and saved him by sovereign grace.  If you believe on Jesus for eternal life — or if you may yet believe on him for eternal life — Paul’s conversion is for your sake. It is to make Christ’s incredible patience vivid for you.

Paul’s pre-conversion life was a long, long trial to Jesus. “Why do you persecute me?” Jesus asked. “Your life of unbelief and rebellion is a persecution of me!” Paul had been set apart for God since before he was born. So all his life was one long abuse of God, and one long rejection and mockery of Jesus who loved him.

That is why Paul says his conversion is a brilliant demonstration of Jesus’ patience. And that is what he offers you today.

It was for our sake that Jesus did it the way he did it. To “display his perfect patience” to us. Lest we lose heart. Lest we think he could not really save us. Lest we think he is prone to anger. Lest we think we have gone too far away. Lest we think our dearest one cannot be converted— suddenly, unexpectedly, by the sovereign, overflowing grace of Jesus.

Attacks Upon Civil Society

We're in the Wellington High Court on Monday

Hi JohnT

We just wanted to let you know that our day in court to challenge the Charities Board's decision to deregister us is on this Monday (30th). Our lawyers will be arguing against the government body's decision that Family First serves no 'public benefit', that our views are "controversial in contemporary NZ society", and that they "do not consider that the Trust continues to qualify for registration as it has an independent purpose to promote and protect the traditional family and this is not charitable.”

Below is some background to the issue when we first declared our intention to fight this decision again (previously in 2015) and also a superb article from one of our board members, Bruce Logan.

Thank you for your support and encouragement as we tackle this very important case. As stated in our media release at the time of the Charities Board decision (see below), Family First will be fighting this decision all the way, not because we have to have charitable status to exist, but because of the threat it places on other charities and their freedom to speak and advocate on behalf of their supporters in a civil society

We will keep you up to date with the progress of our day in court.

Bob McCoskrie
National Director


Family First to file appeal of Charities Board decision
Media Release 18 May 2017
Family First NZ has instructed its lawyer to file an immediate Notice of Appeal against the Charities Board after receiving notification of the Board’s intention today to deregister Family First NZ.

Family First has previously been told; “(W)e do not consider that the Trust continues to qualify for registration as it has an independent purpose to promote and protect the traditional family and this is not charitable.”

But Justice Collins in an earlier decision in the Wellington High Court in 2015 recognised the strength of Family First’s argument that its advocacy for the concept “…of the traditional family is analogous to organisations that have advocated for the ‘mental and moral improvement’ of society.…”

The board was told by Justice Collins that “...Members of the Charities Board may personally disagree with the views of Family First, but at the same time recognise there is a legitimate analogy between its role and those organisations that have been recognised as charities.”

“This is a highly politicised decision by the Board. Once again, supporters of Family First will have to dig deep to legally defend the existence of an organisation that benefits them. And taxpayers will have to underwrite the Charities Board’s legal expenses in their repeated attempts to muzzle us. It seems to us that they are simply hoping they will get a different judge in the same court,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“This latest development will have a chilling effect for many charitable groups – both registered, deregistered and wanting to be registered – who advocate for causes, beliefs, and on behalf of their supporters, and often have to engage in advocacy at a political level, not always through choice but through necessity.”

“Family First gained approval as a charity, has also passed two ‘audits’ – one as recently as 2010 – and has made no change to the nature of our operations over the eleven years of its existence. It appears that only the opinion of the government organisation overseeing charities has changed,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Family First will be fighting this decision all the way, not because we have to have charitable status to exist, but because of the threat it places on other charities and their freedom to speak and advocate on behalf of their supporters in a civil society."

Richard Davis--Missionary, Part II

Only Two Hundred Years Ago

Maori culture and civilization was a mixed bag.  The culture of cannibalism, utu (or revenge), and slavery benighted the Maori people.  However, missionaries who stayed the course, also observed positive aspects of Maori culture.

The missionaries wanted, above all, to expose the Maori tribes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Gradually, as men and women repented of their sins and believed in the Son of God, examples of remarkable Christian faith began to emerge. 

But the scene documented by Davis below graphically underscores how the light, when it eventually began to shine, came as it were, through a debilitating darkness.  Amidst this darkness, the coming of the Gospel was like the light of Eärendil's star--a light which would shine when all other lights had gone out.
The Waitangi natives have returned from the Thames, where they had been to fight, and have killed the greater part of some poor people coming to Taiamai, under the protection of a chief who was absent when they met them.  They then transferred their fight to the place of the late Christian Rangi, to punish the misdemeanour of a young man.  They broke his arms, and beat him cruelly.  Then they butchered a poor slave girl in the most barbarous manner before the young man.  They first cut off one arm, and then the other.  They next cut deep gashes down her body, saying "I will have this part," "I will have that part to eat."  The merciless barbarians then cut off her legs while she was alive, and finally roasted and ate her.  They told the young man they had done this as a punishment for his crime.  My soul is filled with horror and dismay.  O Lord, in mercy interpose in behalf of these poor wretched heathen!  [John Coleman, ed., A Memoir of the Reverend Richard Davis (London: James Nisbet and Co., 1865), p.78.]
These events occurred early in 1826.  Davis had been living and working with his wife and family in the Bay of Islands for about eighteen months. 

Thank God those days have passed. 

Saturday, 28 April 2018

London Risks Summer of Carnage

Leading Surgeon Says Violence in London ‘Like South Africa’

Virginia Hale
Breitbart London


London’s crime wave will develop into “carnage” come summer, a leading trauma surgeon has predicted.  He warns that  ultra-violence in the capital is “the new normal”.  Dr Martin Griffiths, a consultant surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust, said soaring knife and gun crime has resulted in London “looking more like South Africa, or inner-city U.S.” with regards to the rate of attacks.

Daily Meditation

Christ Our Sanctification

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  Romans 8:37

Charles H. Spurgeon

We go to Christ for forgiveness, and then too often look to the law for power to fight our sins. Paul thus rebukes us, "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?"  Take your sins to Christ's cross, for the old man can only be crucified there: we are crucified with him. The only weapon to fight sin with is the spear which pierced the side of Jesus.

To give an illustration--you want to overcome an angry temper; how do you go to work? It is very possible you have never tried the right way of going to Jesus with it. How did I get salvation? I came to Jesus just as I was, and I trusted him to save me. I must kill my angry temper in the same way. It is the only way in which I can ever kill it. I must go to the cross with it, and say to Jesus, "Lord, I trust thee to deliver me from it." This is the only way to give it a death-blow.

Are you covetous? Do you feel the world entangle you? You may struggle against this evil so long as you please, but if it be your besetting sin, you will never be delivered from it in any way but by the blood of Jesus. Take it to Christ. Tell him, "Lord, I have trusted thee, and thy name is Jesus, for thou dost save thy people from their sins: Lord, this is one of my sins; save me from it!" Ordinances are nothing without Christ as a means of mortification. Your prayers, and your repentances, and your tears--the whole of them put together--are worth nothing apart from him.

"None but Jesus can do helpless sinners good;" or helpless saints either. You must be conquerors through him who hath loved you, if conquerors at all. Our laurels must grow among his olives in Gethsemane.

Unintended Consequences

Church Growth in China Expected

President Xi Jinping Views Christian Churches as ‘Severe National Security Threat’

Thomas Williams

Chinese President Xi Jinping harbors a “particular animosity” toward Christians and sees underground churches as a “severe national security threat,” according to the founder of China Aid, a U.S.-based watchdog group.  China Aid founder and president Bob Fu told a conference on religious persecution last week that the number of persecuted Christians has “dramatically increased” under the reign of President Xi Jinping who has “animosity against Christianity in particular.”

“The number of people we documented who are persecuted among just Christians alone last year reached 223,000 compared to these 48,000 in 2016,” Mr. Fu said.  Whereas underground churches that operate outside state control are seen as a particular threat, growing attendance even at official churches has provoked hostility from the Xi government.

Mr. Fu said the communist-controlled state is forcing churches to install facial recognition systems to identify those attending services. Every church building was “forced to put a sign banning children, students, civil servants, military personnel, and communist party members from entering,” he said.

The China Aid founder said, however, that “persecution will only help accelerate the growth” of the Christian faithful, as it has in the past.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Hillary's Conspiracies

‘They Were Never Going to Let Me Be President'

Hillary Clinton's Version of Deep-State: It's Those White Republican Men Who Control Their Wives

Jack Crowe
National Review Online

Hillary Clinton reacted to news of her electoral defeat with a resigned acceptance, claiming she knew victory was out of reach all along.  “I knew it. I knew this would happen to me,” Clinton reportedly said, according to excerpts from a new book published by The Daily Beast. “They were never going to let me be president.”

Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, and One Intact Glass Ceiling, by New York Times reporter and author Amy Chozick, also captures Clinton’s remorse after describing a subset of Trump supporters as a “basket of deplorables.”

“I really messed up,” Clinton told aides after uttering the now-infamous phrase during an October 2016 campaign speech in New York, according to Chozick’s book.

Chozick, who spent a decade reporting on the Clintons, claims the description of Trump supporters represented a familiar refrain for Clinton.  “Hillary always broke down Trump supporters into three baskets,” Chozick wrote. “The Deplorables always got a laugh, over living-room chats in the Hamptons, at dinner parties under the stars on Martha’s Vineyard, over passed hors d’oeuvres in Beverly Hills, and during sunset cocktails in Silicon Valley.”

The book goes on to describe the Clintons’ conspiracy theories about the election.

“After the election, Bill would spread a more absurd Times conspiracy: The publisher had struck a deal with Trump that we’d destroy Hillary on her emails to help him get elected, if he kept driving traffic and boosting the company’s stock price,” Chozick writes.

Since her defeat, Clinton has found no shortage of external events and actors to blame, from Misogyny to Russian interference to former FBI director James Comey’s public reopening of the investigation into her email server to the control white Republican men supposedly exercise over their wives and professional subordinates.

Daily Meditation

Seek Your City’s Good

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, “Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens, and eat their produce . . . And seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare. (Jeremiah 29:5–7)

John Piper

If that was true for God’s exiles in Babylon, it would seem to be even more true for Christian exiles in this very “Babylonian” world. What, then, shall we do?

We should do the ordinary things that need to be done: build houses; live in them; plant gardens. This does not contaminate you if you do it all for the real King and not just for eye service as men-pleasers.

Seek the welfare of the place where God has sent you. Think of yourself as sent there by God. Because you are.

Pray to the Lord on behalf of your city. Ask for great and good things to happen for the city. Evidently God is not indifferent to its welfare. One reason he is not is this: In the welfare of the city his people find welfare.

This does not mean we give up our exile orientation. In fact we will do most good for this world by keeping a steadfast freedom from its beguiling attractions. We will serve our city best by getting our values from the “city which is to come” (Hebrews 13:14). We will do our city most good by calling as many of its citizens as we can to be citizens of the “Jerusalem above” (Galatians 4:26).

Let’s live so that the natives will want to meet our King.

Naive Leftist Politicians

Crime and Punishment

The new leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition is Simon Bridges.  He has been moving around New Zealand introducing himself to the country.  As part of "the tour" he visited his old secondary school, Rutherford College.

Here are some excerpts from his speech.

Because I will be asking for your vote in 2020, I believe you have the right to know who I am. You should know what drives me and what I stand for.  I grew up a Westie – one with a blended background.  My mum is Pakeha and Dad is Māori.  We lived near enough to here that I walked to school. As a family, we weren’t well off, but we never went without.  I am the youngest of six children. . . .  
Growing up, my parents instilled in me a strong sense of right and wrong.  Dad was a Baptist minister at the church around the corner from here, so as well as being a supportive family we were taught the value of serving the community.  . . .

But even those who have tough childhoods do not need to be defined or limited by that. All of us have the ability to better ourselves, and improve our lot in life.  That belief is part of what drew me to the National Party.  I am ambitious for New Zealanders.  I back New Zealanders to succeed on their own two feet.  I back enterprise, and I think that people who take a risk and do well, and those who work hard, and who contribute to their communities, should be celebrated.  I also have a fundamental belief in personal responsibility. You can take pride in doing well, but you should take responsibility if you do harm.

As I said, I studied law. First, in Auckland, then at Oxford University, in England. . . .  My career in the law led me to become a Crown prosecutor.  I was responsible for making the case to a judge or jury in court that someone was guilty and should go to jail.  Over time, I was in charge of hundreds of trials, sometimes dealing with the worst things one person can do to another.

Assaults, rapes and murders.  It was a role of huge contrasts. Many days I was depressed by the dark side of human behaviour.  But other times I was inspired by the resilience of victims, and sometimes by previous offenders who were gradually putting their lives back together.  One particular case will be with me forever.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Will Doctors Be Charged With Murder? We Hope So.

 ‘Appalling’ Euthanasia of Dementia Patient

Dutch Probe

Breitbart London

In a rare series of moves, Dutch authorities are investigating whether doctors may have committed crimes in five euthanasia cases, including the deaths of two women with advanced Alzheimer’s disease.  In one of the Alzheimer’s cases, which prosecutors began probing in September, a physician drugged the patient’s coffee without her knowledge and then had the woman physically restrained while delivering the fatal injection. The ongoing criminal investigation is the first since the Netherlands made it legal for doctors to kill patients at their request in 2002.

Dutch prosecutors announced they were examining four other cases last month, including the death of another Alzheimer’s patient who “lacked the capacity to express her own will,” according to a statement from the prosecutor’s office. A spokesperson said that specific criminal charges, if any, would be determined only after the investigations are finished. Several legal experts said that if doctors were found to have killed patients without their explicit request, they could potentially be charged with murder.

The investigations highlight the difficulties doctors face in handling euthanasia requests for those who later develop dementia. Mental decline can eventually make patients unable to understand the significance of their earlier demand to be killed, and as their brain changes, so can their personality and desires.

“If you made a living will when you were competent and asked for euthanasia, do we attach more weight to a decision you made when you were competent, or to your present situation where you’re no longer yourself and are no longer asking to die?” said Johan Legemaate, a professor of health law at the University of Amsterdam.

The Netherlands is one of five countries that allow doctors to kill patients at their request, and one of two, along with Belgium, that grant the procedure for people with mental illness. For those with late-stage dementia, euthanasia is still possible if the person made a written demand specifying the conditions under which they want to be killed and if other criteria are met, namely if the doctor agrees the patient is suffering unbearably with no prospect of improvement.

Whether Dutch authorities prosecute the doctors in the two Alzheimer’s cases being investigated will likely set a course for how the increasing numbers of people with dementia who seek euthanasia will be handled.

Daily Meditation

Covenant Renewal

And because of all this we make a sure covenant.  Nehemiah 9:38

Charles H. Spurgeon

There are many occasions in our experience when we may very rightly, and with benefit, renew our covenant with God. After recovery from sickness when, like Hezekiah, we have had a new term of years added to our life, we may fitly do it. After any deliverance from trouble, when our joys bud forth anew, let us again visit the foot of the cross, and renew our consecration.

Especially, let us do this after any sin which has grieved the Holy Spirit, or brought dishonour upon the cause of God; let us then look to that blood which can make us whiter than snow, and again offer ourselves unto the Lord.

We should not only let our troubles confirm our dedication to God, but our prosperity should do the same. If we ever meet with occasions which deserve to be called "crowning mercies" then, surely, if he hath crowned us, we ought also to crown our God; let us bring forth anew all the jewels of the divine regalia which have been stored in the jewel-closet of our heart, and let our God sit upon the throne of our love, arrayed in royal apparel. If we would learn to profit by our prosperity, we should not need so much adversity. If we would gather from a kiss all the good it might confer upon us, we should not so often smart under the rod. Have we lately received some blessing which we little expected? Has the Lord put our feet in a large room? Can we sing of mercies multiplied? Then this is the day to put our hand upon the horns of the altar, and say, "Bind me here, my God; bind me here with cords, even forever."

Inasmuch as we need the fulfilment of new promises from God, let us offer renewed prayers that our old vows may not be dishonoured. Let us this morning make with him a sure covenant, because of the pains of Jesus which for the last month we have been considering with gratitude.


The Belief of Unbelief

Israel Folau has been swept up in a maelstrom of criticism because he professed a perfectly sane, orthodox, traditional biblical position that unrepentant folk would be condemned to Hell.  Nothing startling there at all.

But then came the tsunami of  invective, anger, and hate.  How dare anyone speak of another human being as liable to Hell!

Some wiseacre expressed that he was profoundly puzzled about folk who profess to believe that Hell does not exist, one the one hand, yet make such a brouhaha over it, on the other.  If they don't believe in Hell, why the umbrage and outrage at Folau's perfectly orthodox, biblically faithful statement?

But it gets even more stupid.  We venture to say that most of these foaming folk use the noun, Hell every day, frequently.  It's "oh, Hell this" and "Hell, that" and "Helluva time" and " Go to Hell, you xxxx" and on and on and on.  And not a hair raised.  They utter imprecations upon people and circumstances wishing them to endure the curses of Hell without giving it a second thought.  Oftentimes their imprecations are said in anger yet ironically they have no sense of  doing anything wrong or evil.  But Israel Folau . . . . !

If ET were still around on the planet, he would doubtless find this a great mystery.

The issue is this: do these people believe Hell exists or not?  What do they profess on the matter?  We expect that that vast majority of people in New Zealand would hasten to tell us that Hell does not exist.  It is a figment of imagination.  Why, then, they still refer to Hell as a term of imprecation remains a great inconsistency.

But, in another, more profound sense, they are unconsciously testifying to a deeper belief structure--one which they prefer to keep hidden from others and above all from themselves.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

What Happens When "Love Wins"

Christians Should Be Able To Express a Scriptural View

Brendan McNeill
NZ Herald

The controversy over Israel Folau's tweet concerning God's plan for homosexuals has tested the limits of "diversity and inclusion". For many it was a bridge too far. Free speech had become hate speech.

The openly homosexual chief executive of Qantas, Alan Joyce, was deeply offended by Folau's tweet, and threatened to withdraw the airline's sponsorship of Rugby Australia should the offence be repeated. However, Joyce's sensitivities did not prevent him from consummating a commercial relationship between Qantas and Emirates, an airline owned by an Islamic country that imprisons homosexuals.

This inconsistency highlights the problems encountered by corporations when they choose to take a public advocacy role in sexual politics. In recent years, western governments and major corporations have embraced LGBT sexual expression as a human rights issue, and have shaped their public stance accordingly. Yet there remain 2.2 billion Christians in the world, and 1.6 billion Muslims whose holy texts condemn homosexual practice, and it would appear they are not about to revise them any time soon.

That's half the world's population right there.

Daily Meditation

Mercy for Today

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

John Piper

God’s mercies are new every morning because each day only has enough mercy in it for that day.

This is why we tend to despair when we think that we may have to bear tomorrow’s load on today’s resources. God wants us to know: We won’t. Today’s mercies are for today’s troubles. Tomorrow’s mercies are for tomorrow’s troubles.

Sometimes we wonder if we will have the mercy to stand in terrible testing. Yes, we will. Peter says, “If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (1 Peter 4:14). When the reviling comes the Spirit of glory comes. It happened for Stephen as he was being stoned. It will happen for you. When the Spirit and the glory are needed they will come.

The manna in the wilderness was given one day at a time. There was no storing up. That is the way we must depend on God’s mercy. You do not receive today the strength to bear tomorrow’s burdens. You are given mercies today for today’s troubles.

Tomorrow the mercies will be new. “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9).

Removing Jesus Christ From The Public Square

Chic Atheism

Well, that didn't take long.  Broadcaster, Mike Hoskings has begun to voice the need to suppress the Bible.  It's a dangerous book, apparently.  In this regard, Hoskings is following faithfully in the footsteps of the big atheist dudes--Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and latterly, Xi Jinping--all of whom spent a long time and much energy attempting to defame and suppress the Bible.  Nice company there, Mike.  

Hoskings was opining upon the Australian rugby player, Israel Folau's profession of faith, which includes his belief in I Corinthians 6: 9-10.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practise homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Hoskings rejects those statements.  They are untrue, false, misleading, superstitious--we can roll out pejoratives adjectives all day.   Now, the normal pattern in a Western democracy which is supposed to champion liberty of conscience, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion, is for Hoskings to say, "I disagree with your opinions and views, but I will die defending your right to say them".  One recalls the notorious atheist Voltaire uttering just this sentiment.

But the ostensible atheist Hoskings thinks these Biblical particular statements set a dangerous precedent.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Daily Meditation

Strong Deliverer

The Amen. Revelation 3:14

Charles H. Spurgeon

The word Amen solemnly confirms that which went before; and Jesus is the great Confirmer; immutable, forever is "the Amen" in all his promises. Sinner, I would comfort thee with this reflection. Jesus Christ said, "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." If you come to him, he will say "Amen" in your soul; his promise shall be true to you. He said in the days of his flesh, "The bruised reed I will not break." O thou poor, broken, bruised heart, if thou comest to him, he will say "Amen" to thee, and that shall be true in thy soul as in hundreds of cases in bygone years.

Christian, is not this very comforting to thee also, that there is not a word which has gone out of the Saviour's lips which he has ever retracted? The words of Jesus shall stand when heaven and earth shall pass away. If thou gettest a hold of but half a promise, thou shalt find it true. Beware of him who is called "Clip-promise," who will destroy much of the comfort of God's word.

Jesus is Yea and Amen in all his offices. He was a Priest to pardon and cleanse once, he is Amen as Priest still. He was a King to rule and reign for his people, and to defend them with his mighty arm, he is an Amen King, the same still. He was a Prophet of old, to foretell good things to come, his lips are most sweet, and drop with honey still--he is an Amen Prophet. He is Amen as to the merit of his blood; he is Amen as to his righteousness.

That sacred robe shall remain most fair and glorious when nature shall decay. He is Amen in every single title which he bears; your Husband, never seeking a divorce; your Friend, sticking closer than a brother; your Shepherd, with you in death's dark vale; your Help and your Deliverer; your Castle and your High Tower; the Horn of your strength, your confidence, your joy, your all in all, and your Yea and Amen in all.

A Brickbat For David Farrar

Weirdly Missing the Point

Yesterday we commended David Farrar for publishing a guest post by Jeremy Dawson defending Israel Folau and his comments upon the destiny of unrepentant sinners, including homosexual unrepentant sinners.

Dawson's post made a good argument.  Farrar is to be honoured for giving Dawson the opportunity, for, as is generally the case, Farrar endeavours to be scrupulously fair in  his public positions.  But a Christian he is not.

Sadly, however, Farrar let himself down.  He added an editorial post script to Dawson's piece.  He calls Folau an idiot and criticizes him for "his choice of words".  He slams him for being an "offensive ass".  He writes:
Christian scripture also has pre-marital sex as a sin. Does Folau go around saying everyone who has had pre-marital sex is going to hell? If so, I doubt any of his rugby colleagues will be safe!
This is an uncharacteristically lazy and gross distortion of Folau's position and his statements.

Monday, 23 April 2018

A Bouquet For David Farrar

In Defence of Israel Folau

[Kiwiblog host, David Farrar has published a guest post on his website.  It is written by Jeremy Dawson.]

The ongoing assault on Israel Folau has reached absurd levels. Keep in mind that the comment that triggered this fury occurred on 3 April – 16 days ago. Yet the media continue to pimp for new voices to condemn him.

The question that needs to be asked is why? Why has the media reaction been so extreme in the case of Folau that they keep trying to find new ways to feed the story more than two weeks later? Anthony Mundine, earlier this year, made a comment where he said the only way to solve the problem of homosexuality was capital punishment. That story fizzled within a few days.

One guy says gay people should be killed. Another says it his belief that gay people will go to hell unless they repent their sins and choose God. It isn’t hard to spot which statement should cause the greater offence. It also isn’t hard to see what the difference is between Folau and Mundine – to spell it out, one is Christian, the other is Muslim.

What troubles me in particular about the Folau case is the willingness of commentators to throw around terms such as bigot, homophobe and hate speech. Except Folau is not a bigot, nor a homophobe. And neither is saying sinners go to Hell hate speech. I am not going to defend his choice of words in his initial response to an obvious social media troll. If he changed just two words he would have got his message across in a more positive fashion. It would then have read: “Heaven… If they repent their sins and turn to God.” Because that is the truth – reaching heaven is no different whether you’re gay or straight. It is a choice to give your life to God, and each individual is accountable for themselves.

The article Folau penned to explain himself is far more articulate and deserves to be respected. You can disagree with his biblical interpretation, but it is clear there was no malice, no hate, intended. He wants to speak the truth, as he believes it.

Daily Meditation

Embracing Jesus

This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. (1 John 5:3–4)

John Piper

The eighteenth-century pastor and theologian Jonathan Edwards wrestled with this text and concluded, “Saving faith implies . . . love. . . . Our love to God enables us to overcome the difficulties that attend keeping God’s commands — which shows that love is the main thing in saving faith, the life and power of it, by which it produces great effects.”

I think Edwards is right and that numerous texts in the Bible support what he says.

Another way to say it is that faith in Christ is not just assenting to what God is for us, but also embracing all that he is for us in Christ. “True faith embraces Christ in whatever ways the Scriptures hold him out to poor sinners.” This “embracing” is one kind of love to Christ — that kind that treasures him above all things.

Therefore, there is no contradiction between 1 John 5:3, on the one hand, which says that our love for God enables us to keep his commandments, and verse 4, on the other hand, which says that our faith overcomes the obstacles of the world that keep us from obeying God’s commandments. Love for God and Christ is implicit in faith.

Verse 5 defines the faith that obeys as “the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” This faith is “embracing” the present Jesus Christ as the glorious divine person he is. It is not simply assenting to the truth that Jesus is the Son of God, because the demons assent to that (Matthew 8:29). Believing that Jesus is the Son of God means “embracing” the significance of that truth — that is, being satisfied with Christ as the Son of God and all God is for us in him.

“Son of God” means that Jesus is the greatest person in the universe alongside his Father. Therefore, all he taught is true, and all he promised will stand firm, and all his soul-satisfying greatness will never change.

Believing that he is the Son of God, therefore, includes banking on all this, and being satisfied with it.

Less Hypocrisy And More Consistency, Please

They Doth Protest Too Much

We have been impressed with the way Aussie rugby player, Israel Folau has dealt with the chattering classes over the past week or so.  He is facing heat for daring to profess his faith in Jesus Christ and his submission to the Scriptures.  The chattering classes are going nuts.
"This is not about money or bargaining power or contracts. It's about what I believe in and never compromising that, because my faith is far more important to me than my career and always will be. "After the meeting I went home, turned on the TV and was really disappointed with some of the things that were said in the press conference.
"I felt Raelene (Castle) misrepresented my position and my comments, and did so to appease other people, which is an issue I need to discuss with her and others at Rugby Australia.  "That aside, I hope Raelene (Castle) and Andrew (Hore) [Australian Rugby bosses] appreciate my position, even if it differs with theirs. . . .
Folau, who is off contract at the end of this year, reinforced his belief that homosexuals were destined for hell based on Biblical text.  "I was asked a question by somebody about what God's plan is for gay people," Folau wrote.  "My response to the question is what I believe God's plan is for all sinners, according to my understanding of my Bible teachings, specifically 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10: 
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor the drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
"I do not know the person who asked the question, but that didn't matter. I believed he was looking for guidance and I answered him honestly and from the heart. I know a lot of people will find that difficult to understand, but I believe the Bible is the truth and sometimes the truth can be difficult to hear."   [NZ Herald]
It's a bit precious of all those who are aghast and agog that they don't also stand up to defend the rights of the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, the greedy, the drunkards, the revilers, and the swindlers.  Why single out homosexuals as worthy of their defence?  The reality is that the revilers who are condemning Folau loudly disbelieve the Bible.  Period.  Therefore their anger and resentment is entirely gratuitous--manufactured, if you will.

Since they do not believe in the existence of God Himself, they do not believe in Hell either.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Destructive Ignorance

Oil and Gas Exploration Ban is a Mistake

Jonathan Young MP

 I'm not disappointed – I'm angry!

A kick in the guts, a wrecking ball for the region, killing the golden goose. All these phrases express the emotional response to the Ardern-Peters Government's announcement to end new offshore oil and gas exploration. Without doubt more bad news is still to come as the Green Party and Greenpeace make onshore exploration their next target.

This decision was made with zero consultation with the petroleum industry and there lies the problem.  The Ardern-Peters' government's announcement to end new offshore oil and gas exploration is a wrecking ball for the Taranakli region, writes New Plymouth MP Jonathan Young.

Not only is it incredibly disrespectful to an industry that has supplied billions of dollars of revenue to the Government and the people of New Zealand, but it has meant that the Government has made a decision regarding the industry with little understanding of how it works.

The opportunity for a positive way forward gets lost in the disruption and destruction of business confidence they have created. The Government may think they have attacked the problem, but unfortunately, they have attacked the solution.

As National's Energy and Resources spokesperson I would support a transfer of knowledge, skills and investment into the greening of the petroleum industry rather than ending it.  Apart from 50 per cent of all oil produced being for environmentally benign purposes, we should continue to pursue the goal of utilising hydrocarbons as feedstock for ultra-low or zero emission fuels.

Research is already underway for this, such as methanol, and hydrogen. There is a tremendous amount of research taking place on improving engine and fuel efficiency. The petroleum sector has some of the smartest people in the country when it comes to understanding carbon and molecules. Utilising their knowledge and skills here and collaborating with other industry-based research is the smart thing to do.

The Ardern-Peters Government has made a significant misstep in their approach.

Daily Meditation

The Keys of Heaven Now Held by Our Lord

Behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.  Matthew 27:51

Charles H. Spurgeon

No mean miracle was wrought in the rending of so strong and thick a veil; but it was not intended merely as a display of power--many lessons were herein taught us. The old law of ordinances was put away, and like a worn-out vesture, rent and laid aside. When Jesus died, the sacrifices were all finished, because all fulfilled in him, and therefore the place of their presentation was marked with an evident token of decay.

That rent also revealed all the hidden things of the old dispensation: the mercy-seat could now be seen, and the glory of God gleamed forth above it. By the death of our Lord Jesus we have a clear revelation of God, for he was "not as Moses, who put a veil over his face." Life and immortality are now brought to light, and things which have been hidden since the foundation of the world are manifest in him. The annual ceremony of atonement was thus abolished. The atoning blood which was once every year sprinkled within the veil, was now offered once for all by the great High Priest, and therefore the place of the symbolical rite was broken up. No blood of bullocks or of lambs is needed now, for Jesus has entered within the veil with his own blood. Hence access to God is now permitted, and is the privilege of every believer in Christ Jesus.

There is no small space laid open through which we may peer at the mercy-seat, but the rent reaches from the top to the bottom. We may come with boldness to the throne of the heavenly grace. Shall we err if we say that the opening of the Holy of Holies in this marvellous manner by our Lord's expiring cry was the type of the opening of the gates of paradise to all the saints by virtue of the Passion?

Our bleeding Lord hath the key of heaven; he openeth and no man shutteth; let us enter in with him into the heavenly places, and sit with him there till our common enemies shall be made his footstool.

The Gangster State

The Urki  Eventually Take Control

In 1956 the Soviet Union's tanks rolled into Hungary.  It was the beginning of the end for Western communism (although hard to perceive so early on).  What the invasion, the shootings, and the executions demonstrated for all to see was that Communism in the Soviet Union could continue to stumble onwards only through the power which grows out of the barrel of a gun.  The Eastern European communist states kept the faith because of the gun barrels pressed firmly to their temples.

It was a radical moment of self-realization.  Then came the unseemly spectacle of Khrushchev banging his removed shoe on the bench at the UN General Assembly.  His erratic misdirections and re-directions continued with the missile crisis in Cuba in 1963.  Supreme dictators were putting on a poor show.

Back home, statist socialism was also wearing thin.
. . . Khrushchev's more ambitious reforms failed to produce the promised food surpluses (another reason why his colleagues were to dump him in October 1964)  The cultivation of hitherto "virgin" lands in Kazakhstan and southern Siberia was especially disastrous: half a million tons of topsoil washed away each year from land that was wholly unsuited to forced grain planting, and what harvest there was frequently arrived infested with weeds.  In a tragic-comic blend of centralized planning and local corruption, Communist bosses in Kyrgyzstan urged collective farmers to meet official farm delivery quotas by buying up supplies in local shops.  There were food riots in provincial cities . . . . By January 1964, following the disastrous 1963 harvest, the USSR was reduced to importing grain from the West.  [Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 (London: Vintage Books, 2010), p.423. Emphasis, ours.]
It's at this point that we need to make the point once more that wherever statist socialism has been applied the only growth industries have been rampant corruption and crime.  What Venezuela is going through today is normal for statist socialism wherever it has been applied. 

But, ironically, in some parts of the USSR, food production was prospering splendidly:

Friday, 20 April 2018

"Crazy, Violent City"

London Burning

Liam Deacon
Breitbart London

A young father and a woman were stabbed in London within 30 minutes last night, as the number murdered in the capital this year hits 59. The killings come as News Yorkers living in London said they fear the “crazy” violent crime wave overtaking the city. “It’s like home but without the breakdancing,” one said.

The Metropolitan force launched the first murder probe after Raul Nicolaie, 26, was stabbed at his flat in Colindale, north London. He was rushed to hospital but died from the injuries.  A woman, 34, was arrested at the scene and was taken to a north London police station. She and the dead man were known to each other.

Just half an hour after later, a woman in her 30s was found with fatal knife wounds at a house in Brixton at around 6.30pm on Sunday. She was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.  A man in his 20s was arrested on suspicion of the killing and he remains in custody at a south London police station. It is thought the victim and the man arrested were known to each other.

Daily Meditation

God, Touch Our Hearts

Saul went to his house at Gibeah; and the valiant men whose hearts God had touched went with him. (1 Samuel 10:26)

John Piper

Just think of what is being said in this verse. God touched them. Not a wife. Not a child. Not a parent. Not a counselor. But God.

The One with infinite power in the universe. The One with infinite authority and infinite wisdom and infinite love and infinite goodness and infinite purity and infinite justice. That One touched their heart.  How does the circumference of Jupiter touch the edge of a molecule? Let alone penetrate to its nucleus?

The touch of God is awesome because it is a touch. It is a real connection. That it involves the heart is awesome. That it involves God is awesome. And that it involves an actual touch is awesome.  The valiant men were not just spoken to. They were not just swayed by a divine influence. They were not just seen and known. God, with infinite condescension, touched their heart. God was that close. And they were not consumed.

I love that touch. I want it more and more. For myself and for all of you. I pray that God would touch me anew for his glory. I pray that he would touch us all.  O for the touch of God! If it comes with fire, so be it. If it comes with water so be it. If it comes with wind, let it come, O God. If it comes with thunder and lightning, let us bow before it.

O Lord, come. Come that close. Burn and soak and blow and crash. Or still and small, come. Come all the way. Touch our hearts.

High Handed Arrogance

Self Righteous Storm Troopers

We have a couple of examples this past week of high handed arrogance on the part of the government of New Zealand.  The two matters in question are completely unrelated.  Yet, both betray a culture of gross arrogance.  

The first instance was Jacinda Ardern's "captain's call" to stop any new oil and gas exploration in New Zealand.  This is a decision of monumental stupidity.  It is an ideologically extreme act.  It has been done in response to a Greenpeace petition.  The eco-idiots are running the asylum.

Here is David Farrar's summary of why this decision was taken and the way it was done show bad faith and reckless arrogance.

Why the decision on oil and gas exploration was bad faith

Let’s have a look at how flawed the decision on oil and gas exploration was. First of all, is this something that was party policy?
Labour – did not say they would do it
NZFIRST – actively promoted themselves as champion of oil and gas
Greens – were in favour of a ban

So this was not Labour Party policy before the election. Labour did not campaign on doing this. They kept it a secret as they knew they’d lose vote if they had told people before hand.
How about the coalition negotiations? Was this something they had to agree to in order to form a Government?

No. This was not in the coalition agreement.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Between the Promise and The Reality Falls the Shadow

Educational Doggerel

Are Modern Learning Environments Preparing our Children for the Workforce?

Peter Slaney
Manukau Christian School

In a recent conversation with a colleague I was told that the traditional schools no longer serve the needs of students because they do not prepare students for the 21st century workforce.  The unstated claim was that the student-centred classrooms and modern learning environments that are currently in vogue are doing a much better job of preparing them.  Is this the case? 

A good starting place will be to determine what qualities and skills employers are actually hoping to find in their new graduate employees and then work backwards from there.

Attributes sought by employers according to national Association of Colleges and Employers provides the following breakdown, and this is fairly consistent with what other agencies say.

Ability to work in a team
Communication skills (written)
Problem-solving skills
Communication skills (verbal)
Strong work ethic
Analytical/quantitative skills
Technical skills
Interpersonal skills (relates well to others)
Computer skills
Organizational ability
Friendly/outgoing personality
Strategic planning skills
Entrepreneurial skills/risk-taker

Source: Job Outlook 2016, National Association of Colleges and Employers

Source: Job Outlook 2016, National Association of Colleges and Employers accessed 17th April, 2018.

Note the high rankings of written communication skills and a strong work ethic.

Daily Meditation

Talk to Your Tears

Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:5–6)

John Piper

There is nothing sad about sowing seed. It takes no more work than reaping. The days can be beautiful. There can be great hope of harvest.  Yet the psalm speaks of “sowing in tears.” It says that someone “goes forth weeping, bearing the seed for sowing.” So why are they weeping?

I think the reason is not that sowing is sad, or that sowing is hard. I think the reason has nothing to do with sowing. Sowing is simply the work that has to be done even when there are things in life that make us cry.

The crops won’t wait while we finish our grief or solve all our problems. If we are going to eat next winter, we must get out in the field and sow the seed whether we are crying or not. If you do that, the promise of the psalm is that “you will reap with shouts of joy.” You will “come home with shouts of joy, bringing your sheaves with you.” Not because the tears of sowing produce the joy of reaping, but because the sheer sowing produces the reaping, and you need to remember this even when your tears tempt you to give up sowing.

So here’s the lesson: When there are simple, straightforward jobs to be done, and you are full of sadness, and tears are flowing easily, go ahead and do the jobs with tears. Be realistic. Say to your tears: “Tears, I feel you. You make me want to quit life. But there is a field to be sown (dishes to be washed, car to be fixed, sermon to be written).”

Then say, on the basis of God’s word, “Tears, I know that you will not stay forever. The very fact that I just do my work (tears and all) will in the end bring a harvest of blessing. So go ahead and flow if you must. But I believe (I do not yet see it or feel it fully) — I believe that the simple work of my sowing will bring sheaves of harvest. And your tears will be turned to joy.”

If It's Moving, Shoot It

. . . And When It Stops Moving, Deep-Six It

The present government of New Zealand is hidebound in 19th century ideology.  As such, it has a strong statist commitment to government schools.  It bears deep animus towards anything that is not owned and operated by the State.  

It's antipathy towards charter schools in New Zealand is plainly in sight.  It is shutting them all down.  Those that want to continue are being forced to become government schools. 

An outsider looking at this might well conclude that New Zealand charter schools must have been a complete, messy failure to have the government take such a draconian action.  Sadly, the outsider would be wrong.  There is now no doubt that the reason charter schools are being shut down is because they were hugely successful.  The statist Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins does not like competition.  It does not fit with his reactionary 19th century mindset. 

The previous government had ordered an independent review of the operations of New Zealand's charter schools.  The Martin Jenkins review has now been published.  The new statist regime is trying hard to deep six the report down at the bottom of the garden. Why?  Because the independent report proves that charter schools were adding huge value to their students and student families.  They were taking in students who were on the margin of dropping out of the system all together, facing a life is alienation and failure.  They were succeeding in turning lives around. 

Kiwiblog provides a summary of the Martin Jenkins review's findings:

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

"I Felt Very Free . . . To Deny The Scriptures"

US Christian Colleges at a Crossroads

Faithfulness or Federal Dollars?

John Stonestreet & Roberto Rivera

If you think, like I do, that Christian colleges are hugely important, especially in this culture, you should be concerned.

A recent National Public Radio (NPR) web headline ran “Christian colleges are tangled in their own LGBT policies.” A more accurate headline would have been “Christian colleges struggle to maintain their identity in the face of pressure from without and within.”

The pressure from without is financial. While there are some elite universities living off enormous endowments, most schools, including almost every Christian college, don’t have endowments. They depend on government assistance to students, through things like Pell Grants and guaranteed student loans. Which, of course, come with strings attached.

The string causing the most trouble for Christian colleges these days? Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any “education program . . .  receiving federal financial assistance.”

Daily Meditation

All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head. Psalm 22:7

Charles H. Spurgeon

Mockery was a great ingredient in our Lord's woe. Judas mocked him in the garden; the chief priests and scribes laughed him to scorn; Herod set him at nought; the servants and the soldiers jeered at him, and brutally insulted him; Pilate and his guards ridiculed his royalty; and on the tree all sorts of horrid jests and hideous taunts were hurled at him.

Ridicule is always hard to bear, but when we are in intense pain it is so heartless, so cruel, that it cuts us to the quick. Imagine the Saviour crucified, racked with anguish far beyond all mortal guess, and then picture that motley multitude, all wagging their heads or thrusting out the lip in bitterest contempt of one poor suffering victim! Surely there must have been something more in the crucified One than they could see, or else such a great and mingled crowd would not unanimously have honoured him with such contempt. Was it not evil confessing, in the very moment of its greatest apparent triumph, that after all it could do no more than mock at that victorious goodness which was then reigning on the cross?

O Jesus, "despised and rejected of men," how couldst thou die for men who treated thee so ill? Herein is love amazing, love divine, yea, love beyond degree. We, too, have despised thee in the days of our unregeneracy, and even since our new birth we have set the world on high in our hearts, and yet thou bleedest to heal our wounds, and diest to give us life.

O that we could set thee on a glorious high throne in all men's hearts! We would ring out thy praises over land and sea till men should as universally adore as once they did unanimously reject.

An Ill-Disguised Power Grab

Taking the Log Out of One's Own Eye

The Ministry of Education is engaged in a power grab.  It is seeking to acquire new, additional grounds to de-register private schools.  It is proposing that private schools lose registration unless they maintain "adequate physical and emotional well-being of students" ostensibly to the same standard as government schools.

What could be wrong with that, we hear you ask?  "Heaps", as the dung merchant said.

Here is one submission made to the Ministry on the matter:

Education Consultation
Ministry of Education
PO Box 1666
Wellington 6140

Thank you for seeking views on the proposed change to the registration criteria for private schools. We wish to focus exclusively upon the matter of student “emotional welfare”.

One central question is begged in the proposal to empower the Minister to deny registration for (or to) a private school over inadequate “emotional welfare” lies here: by what standard will the Minister determine that the emotional welfare of students would be, or is, at risk in a particular school? How will the Minister define “emotional welfare” is another way of putting the issue. (For the avoidance of doubt, we are using the title “Minister” to cover whatever officials within the Ministry that will be involved in the registration or deregistration of a private school.)

Will the Minister proceed to determine whether a private school is fit for maintaining the emotional welfare of students after consultation with the respective Board of Trustees, Principal, senior school management team, staff, and parents involved in the school? Or, will the Minister make a determination by consulting only with himself? Or will the Minister have recourse to a panel of expert therapists specialising in the “emotional welfare” of young people? Or will the Minister succumb to a facile following of medical-fads-ju-jour?

The Minister and senior officials at the Ministry will be aware that the history of state intervention in such matters is not exactly covered in glory.