Saturday, 30 June 2018

Extremist Hinduism


Radical Leader Demands Christians be Forcibly Expelled from India

Persecution/International Christian Concern

ICC Note: A radical Hindu leader recently called for Christians to leave India or be forcibly expelled from the country. Om Swami Maharaj also falsely claimed  Christians were promoters of terrorism. This hate speech is just part of the increased persecution Christians have experienced in India in recent years. Often, speech like this escalated into outright violence.

06/27/2018 India (MNN) – “Leave, and leave now.” That’s the message one prominent Hindu leader is sending to Christians throughout India.

According to Open Doors USA, Hindu leader Om Swami Maharaj recently accused Christians of promoting terrorism in a video. If believers don’t leave by choice, he adds, they will be forcibly expelled from the country.

“The terrorism charge is a stretch,” says Open Doors’ David Curry, “…essentially, what they’re saying is it’s ‘un-Hindu’ behavior…‘un-Hindu’ and ‘un-Indian’ behavior is anti-state, it’s against the better needs of the state, so therefore it’s terrorism.”

Curry says the accusation is significant because “there are 65 million Christians in the country of India. They’re an important part of the community; they do a lot of charitable work, they add a lot to the fabric of life.”

The charge is certainly troubling, but it’s to be expected. Persecution against Christians has been rising steadily in India since 2014. On Open Doors’ World Watch List, the nation rose from #25 to #11 in three short years.

Daily Meditation

A Hiding Place for the Helpless

How abundant is your goodness, which you have . . . worked for those who take refuge in you. (Psalm 31:19)

John Piper

The experience of future grace often hangs on whether we will take refuge in God, or whether we doubt his care and run for cover to other shelters.

For those who take refuge in God, the promises of future grace are many and rich.

  • None of those who take refuge in him will be condemned. (Psalm 34:22)
  • He is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. (2 Samuel 22:31)
  • Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Psalm 2:12)
  • The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. (Nahum 1:7)

We do not earn or merit anything by taking refuge in God. Hiding in something makes no contribution to the hiding place. All it does is show that we regard ourselves as helpless and the hiding place as a place of rescue.

The condition we must meet to have this grace is not a meritorious one; it is the condition of desperation and acknowledged weakness and need.

Destitution does not demand or deserve; it pleads for mercy and looks for grace.

Society's Christian Hangovers

What's Wrong With Cheating?

An interesting article has appeared in the NZ Herald.  If Alice were here, she might call it "curiouser and curiouser".  The essence of the matter is as follows:
More than $2.1 million will be forfeited to the police following a long-running legal battle with an alleged cheating service for university assignments.  In the first case of its kind, a settlement judgment released to the Herald this afternoon comes five years after the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and the police first started an investigation into Assignment4U. 

No charges were ever laid, but the police took a civil case under the Criminal Proceeds Recovery Act, which has a lower evidential threshold of on the balance of probabilities.  The police case was Steven Li and Fan Yang, linked to companies running   Assignment4U, were providing "cheating services" for students to fraudulently submit purchased assignments as their own work.  [NZ Herald]
We are not sure of the ethnicity of the people involved in the systemic cheating enterprise, but their names suggest a Chinese origin.  We have seen cases over the years where students from various countries, but mainly Asian, have engaged in corrupt practices in an attempt to get passing grades in university or college.  Put more directly, they cheated.  Now an enterprising "firm" has made substantial profits from turning the latent demand into a business. 

A question of great moment is begged.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Myanmar's Unsavoury Export

From the Golden Triangle to New Zealand, With "Love"

Methamphetamine made by armed rebels and gangs in Myanmar jungles coming to New Zealand

Kurt Bayer
NZ Herald

Narco-guerrillas and ruthless foreign gangs in the lawless, remote jungles of Myanmar are cranking out high-purity crystal methamphetamine at unprecedented levels, which top drug experts say is appearing on New Zealand streets.

Safely nestled in mountainous, dense forests, with the Myanmar authorities and army turning a blind eye, and often aided by state-backed militias, high-tech meth laboratories and factories employing world-class chemists are fuelling a US$40 billion regional drug economy.

Record billion-dollar busts in Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand in recent months – with tonnes bound for wider distribution by organised crime supply networks – has the United Nations ramping up political pressure on troubled Myanmar, also called Burma, and other governments of the so-called Golden Triangle region, to help crack down on the rampant drug trade.

"What we see inside Myanmar right now is massive amounts of really-high-purity crystal meth being produced, and this supply push or oversupply is being connected to high demand across the region, including in places like Australia and New Zealand, which have some of the highest crystal meth prices per kilo in the world," says Jeremy Douglas, Southeast Asia and the Pacific regional representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The last three years have seen a "massive surge" in crystal meth production in northern Myanmar, especially from outside gangs moving into the territory controlled by ethnic armed groups, says Douglas, the veteran Bangkok-based UN head of office.  The mass-produced methamphetamine, widely known as P in New Zealand, is typically produced using pseudoephedrine and ephedrine – everyday cough and cold remedy ingredients. Huge quantities of the precursor chemicals are smuggled into Myanmar, mostly from China and Northeast India, the Herald has been told.

Once synthesised into crystal meth, the finished product is trafficked across the country's porous borders before being shifted through established Southeast Asian organised crime networks.

Daily Meditation

Exercising Your Power of Choice

Ligonier Ministries

Does man have a free will? This question is one of the most frequently asked questions of theology. At times, it is not voiced as a question but as an objection to the whole idea of a sovereign God. 

At the heart of the problem is the definition of free will. What are we saying when we assert that man has a free will? Stated briefly, free will simply means that man has the ability to choose what he wants. Such ability requires the presence of a mind, a will, and a desire. If these faculties are present and functioning in a man, that man has a free will.

Free will does not mean that man can choose to do anything he pleases and necessarily succeed. We may choose to fly without the aid of mechanical devices. We can fall through the air by ourselves, but we cannot fly through it. We lack the necessary natural equipment (in this case, wings) to fly. This does not mean, however, that we are not free. It does mean that our “freedom” is limited by our natural physical limitations. My will may be outvoted by the will of a majority or by some higher power. Such conflicting power does not eliminate my freedom but may surely impose limits on it.

One of the most important limits on my freedom is myself. If we examine the workings of the will closely we run into a point of irony that is often overlooked in discussions about free will. The point is this: Not only may I choose what I want, I must choose what I want if my choice is really to be free. Choice is made according to desire. Without desire there could be no free choice—certainly no moral choice.

Coram Deo

God gave you a free will to choose. You choose according to your desires. Will your present desires lead to wise choices for the future?

Passages for Further Study
Deuteronomy 30:19
Joshua 24:15
Psalm 25:12

A Recovery of Church Discipline

Seminal Moments

The Anglican Church has been effectively split for a long time.  There are major "parties" within the church, of which the predominant ones are the High Church Anglicans, the Modernists, and finally the Evangelicals.  

The Evangelical wing has a vibrant (but minority) presence in the United Kingdom.  The same is true of New Zealand and Australia--although through the ministries of the Sydney Anglicans the presence and influence of the evangelical wing of the Anglican Church in Australasia is growing.

We are not all that familiar with the High Church Anglicans, but they appear bound up with traditionalist Roman Catholicism.  The Modernists, however, we know well, largely because they have their own representative voices in New Zealand.  Modernism can be described as largely secularist with icings of religious practice dotted in disarray over the cake.

World wide Anglicanism, however, is another beast entirely.  It is largely dominated by the doctrines and practices of true, hard core, Bible believing Christianity.  Recently, this international, global group held a conference in Jerusalem.  They sent a clear message back to the Anglican hierarchy in England.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

The Fangs and Claws of An Unjust Law That Breaches the Bill of Rights

Marriage Celebrants Will Be Sacked

Politicians Misled the Public

Louisa Wall Particularly Complicit

Family First
Media Release 22 June 2018

Family First NZ says that marriage celebrants will be sacked if they refuse to marry a same-sex couple, despite the fact that it goes against their personal convictions, despite the fact that they may have been registered well before the same-sex marriage law was even passed, and despite assurances from politicians that this would not happen.

The Celebrants Association of NZ has told celebrants in their latest newsletter that “Independent Marriage Celebrants who refuse to marry couples because they are the same gender, will lose their registration.”

“This means that the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages is now targeting existing celebrants and not just new applicants for their beliefs.

Daily Meditation

Rediscovering the Law

Ligonier Ministries

Israel’s reformation came via a rediscovery of the law, which created a brief awakening to the bankruptcy of a corrupt nation. As a young man, King Josiah began the process of reformation with a spiritual purge, a cleansing of pagan elements from the religious life of the nation.

A few years later, Hilkiah found the book of the law of the Lord given by Moses. A scribe brought the book to King Josiah and read it to him. The result was dramatic: “Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, that he tore his clothes” (2 Kings 22:11).

Josiah was awakened to the greatness of the wrath of God. He realized that God had been pouring out that wrath on the nation of Israel. He further understood that this divine judgment on the nation was a direct result of sin.

The most apparent immediate change in the national reform of Israel was seen in the restoration of true worship, a worship purged of idolatry and rooted in a sound understanding of the character of God and of His law.

We need a new discovery of the law of God and the Word of God in our land. Yes, it needs to be rediscovered in the public square—but even more importantly it must be rediscovered in the house of God.

Coram Deo

Renew your personal commitment to the Word of God. Start today!

Passages for Further Study
2 Chronicles 35:3
2 Chronicles 34:3
Psalm 119:92

Only Fools and Horses . . .

The Emperor's Clothes Have Been Missing For a Generation

We have often thought that the great Global Warming scam represents a divine judgement upon the world in general, but particularly upon the West.  When a culture or nation turns its back upon the Living God, things don't just continue to drift along in a civilized fashion.  Rather, the Bible warns us that God gives us up to our lies and self-deceit. 
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonouring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. [Romans 1:24-25]
It is now thirty years ago that the great pseudo-threat of Global Warming was launched upon the world.  That represents a generation.  And where did it all begin?  In the United States, and, in particular, in the Congress.

It is therefore fitting that this inauspicious day be remembered and marked--for its rebellion, its deceit, its vanity and its vainglory.  James Delingpole tells us the story, the naked truth about the scam.
June 23 is the 30th anniversary of the great global warming scare.  The scare began in Washington, DC, on this day in 1988 when testimony by a then little-known scientist called James Hansen before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources caught headlines across the world.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Supreme Court to the Rescue

Leviathan Checked

Jack Phillips' Masterpiece Cakeshop Sees 3 Times More Customers Since Supreme Court Victory

Stoyan Zaimov
Christian Post 

Jack Phillips told The Christian Post on Thursday that his bakery, Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, has seen three times more customers since his Supreme Court victory.

"We have had so many people coming by to support us as the case has gone on, and there has been an outpouring of love and support since the decision came down. The state's targeting of my beliefs cost me 40 percent of my business and forced me from 10 employees down to four. But we're so happy to be busy doing what we do best at our shop," the Christian baker told CP in an email.

"We're also eager to start designing custom wedding cakes again," Phillips added.  "A cake is a canvas, and I'm really looking forward to creating beautiful art that celebrates such a special day."  Close to 400 supporters lined up at Masterpiece Cakeshop to celebrate his Supreme Court victory earlier this month, according to Alliance Defending Freedom, whose lawyers defended him. Cookies were offered to the LGBT activists who came out to protest.

As for the response from the community, he said that even though one can never get used to death threats, for the most part people have been supportive and understanding of his position.

The Leftist Underbelly of the EU

Hungarian PM: ‘The Spirit of Marx, Lenin, and the Re-Education Camps’ Lives on in the EU

Jack Montgomery
Breitbart London

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has warned that the EU’s hostile reaction to the success of anti-establishment parties shows that “the spirit of Marx, Lenin, and the re-education camps” lives on in Brussels.

Speaking at the unveiling of a monument commemorating victims of the Soviet occupation of Hungary, the Fidesz leader told listeners it was vital to remember “the continent-sized prison world of the Gulag: the lowest circles of Hell, where the rate of mortality sometimes reached 80 per cent – due to frost, hunger, ten, twelve or fourteen hours of hard physical labour every day, overcrowding, the lack of medical care and the brutality of guards”.

EU Chief Jean-Claude Juncker Defies Protests to Deliver Heartfelt Defence of Karl Marx 

He took aim at those in Western Europe who “extolled Communism even after millions had perished under the heel of red dictatorships”, and lamented the fact that “to this day, the European Left continues to see Communism and its crimes in a peculiar, blurred light”.

He added: “In the minds of a number of European politicians, the statues of Communist leaders are still standing,” — a thinly veiled rebuke to EU President Jean-Claude Juncker for his decision to praise Karl Marx at the unveiling of a statue honouring his memory, donated by the Chinese Communist Party.

“We know that there is no such thing as a communist regime with a human face: the true face of communism is the Gulag,” said Orbán.

Speaking on contemporary politics, Prime Minister Orbán noted that “from time to time the spirit of Marx, Lenin and the re-education camps still emerges in Europe”.

“The democratic Italian election did not reflect Brussels’ preference, and in response there were some who said that the markets would teach the Italians how to vote,” referring to remarks by Angela Merkel’s representative to Juncker’s European Commission, Hans Oettinger, when it looked as though the Italian people would be forced to vote again in the recent elections.

He also noted continued efforts to prevent his own government from fulfilling its election promises to clamp down on illegal immigration and its facilitation by so-called ‘civil society’ NGOs.

Hungary’s Orban Praises Italy’s Salvini: NGO Crews Are ‘White-Collar People-Smugglers’ 

“Next year will be the one-hundredth anniversary of the 133 days of the Red Terror, which broke out in the devastated shell of a Hungary bled dry in the First World War and dismembered by wanton soldiers of fortune,” he concluded.

“What does this teach us? The Soviet Republic of 1919 teaches us that a treacherous and irresponsible government can lead even to the loss of one’s country. And then after the Second World War we learnt that Hungary’s most precious asset is its sovereignty.

“We paid the price for our weakness, for the loss of our independence, with the abduction, deportation and displacement of hundreds of thousands of people.

“We must not yield an inch of Hungary’s sovereignty; because we know full well that if we give them an inch, they will take a mile.”

Daily Meditation

I Can Be Content in All Things

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

John Piper

God’s provision of day-by-day future grace enables Paul to be filled or to be hungry, to prosper or suffer, to have abundance or go wanting.

“I can do all things” really means “all things,” not just easy things. “All things” means, “Through Christ I can hunger and suffer and be in want.” This puts the stunning promise of verse 19 in its proper light: “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

What does “every need of yours” mean in view of Philippians 4:19? It means “all that you need for God-glorifying contentment.” Paul’s love for the Philippians flowed from his contentment in God, and his contentment flowed from his faith in the future grace of God’s infallible provision.

It’s obvious then that covetousness is exactly the opposite of faith. It’s the loss of contentment in Christ so that we start to crave other things to satisfy the longings of our hearts. And there’s no mistaking that the battle against covetousness is a battle against unbelief and a battle for faith in future grace.

Whenever we sense the slightest rise of covetousness in our hearts, we must turn on it and fight it with all our might using the weapons of faith.

A Promise Not Realized

The Rise and Fall of Maori in New Zealand

In the late 1840's, within a decade of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, Maori tribes up and down the country were actively involved in rural based industries and farming.  It was an economic "miracle".

We return to Harold Miller's account:
In 1847 the Lieutenant-Governor reported that the Maoris near Wellington were doing wonders in agriculture; they had "good barns, huts with fire-places, nicely-fenced large gardens, extensive wheatfields beautifully tilled, numerous small paddocks of grass and a variety of comforts".  He received in a chief's house a very good meal, "nicely cooked and arranged, cloth, knives and forks, plates, tea-cups and saucers, milk, bread, etc., etc., as comfortably enjoyed as could have been at many inns".  It was estimated that along a hundred miles of coast there were ten thousand acres of native crops; and steady supplies of wheat and flour and potatoes and pigs were arriving in the European settlement.

In the ten years following 1846, especially when prices rose as a result of the Australian gold-rushes, everybody was busy in the fields.  A few of the more enterprising chiefs erected flour mills; and even the ferocious Rangihaeata who had been responsible for the worst of the bad work done at Wairau in 1843, was reported to be organizing the making of a road through the Manawatu Gorge, in order to open up trade with the East Coast!

During these ten years something like this was happening all over the North Island--in Waikato and Taranaki and the Bay of Plenty and all down the East Coast.  In the early 'fifties a remote valley near the present town of Gisborne was reported to be producing fifty thousand bushels of what and shipping them to Auckland in its own fleet of schooners.  The Maoris were turning into very good seamen and were reported in 1855 to be practically monpolizing the carrying trade along the northern coasts.  [Harold Miller, New Zealand (London: Hutchinson's University Library, 1950),  p.45.]  
The significance and knowledge of Maori enterprise and labour during this period has been largely lost.  It has been lost because of the subsequent descent of Maori into poverty, economic dislocation, and alienation.  There was both an intrinsic and an extrinsic cause resulting in this drastic change for the worse.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Media Distortion and Agitprop

After Days of Propaganda, Now The Truth . . . 

Time Forced to Issue Correction: 

‘The Girl Was Not Carried Away Screaming’

Joel Pollack
Breitbart News

Time magazine issued a correction Friday to an article about the iconic photograph of a two-year-old Honduran girl crying as U.S. Border Patrol searched her mother at the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this month.

so called separated family - getty images - john moore

The media claimed that the mother and child were separated after crossing the border illegally, under President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy. However, it emerged on Thursday that the two were never separated at all and are still together.

In addition, the mother had left Honduras without informing her husband. She had also been deported from the U.S. in 2013. And her motives for migrating appeared to be economic, not for reasons that would qualify her for asylum.

A Time article told the story of how Getty Images photographer John Moore had captured the image. The original version of the Time story, however, had claimed that the child had been removed, screaming from her mother:

Daily Meditation

Climbing out of the Mire

Ligonier Ministries

Our souls cannot climb out of the mire of sin because they are dead. Salvation comes not to those who cry out, “Show me the way to heaven,” but to those who cry, “Take me there for I cannot.”

Lest we see the sinner’s prayer as mere technique, we must remember that Christ raises the dead that they might walk. We do not mumble the magic words and then wait to die. Christianity is about spiritual growth as well. It is about work, the hard work of sanctification. Regeneration is monergistic, God’s work alone. Sanctification, the process by which we are made holy, is synergistic, God’s work with us.

God’s part is easy for Him. He needs no shortcuts because He never tires. We, though, must ever fight the temptation to seek the shortcut. No technique will make us holy. No technique of the Devil’s, though, can stop the process of Christ making us into His image. Those whom He calls He sanctifies.

Our sanctification requires the Spirit of God and, because He has so ordered His world, sanctification requires the disciplined and repeated use of the means of grace. Five minutes a day of Bible study smells like technique. Arid, it is sure to fail. We must immerse ourselves in the Word of God. Then, as Jesus promised, we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. Then we will be His disciples (John 8:31–32).

Coram Deo

Remember, God is at work in you. He never tires. Give thanks for the process that is underway.

Passages for Further Study
John 8:31–32
John 8:36
Psalm 40:2

Faux Class Warfare

Archaic and Antediluvian

New Zealand appears to be headed into another period of faux, engineered class warfare.  We mean by this that unions, backed by laws which grant them unjust powers in bargaining (threatening, hectoring, and the unleashing of the strike) are opening up strike threats on every front, where opportunity presents.

Now the majority of these folk appear to have not done a decent day's work in their lives.  They have made their living taking money via union dues off those who have and do.  They live in an arcane world, long gone where times really were tough for casual labourers.  Now, fortunately, we live in days when the rights, liberties, and freedoms of employees are strongly buttressed by industrial law.  The ultimate concern and objective of these latter day union warriors is selfish.  They exist to feather their own nests at the expense of their members and the community at large.

Here is Mike Hosking's take:

Unions, Strikes Achieve Nothing

They Drag NZ Back to 1970s

Looks like we are heading for a winter of discontent.

Nurses, IRD, MBIE, Burger King, Events Cinema, teachers, principals - have I missed anyone yet?

Monday, 25 June 2018

One of the Biggest Shams On Earth

The UN Human Rights Council Is A Sham

The United States Is Right To Leave It

Withdrawing from the council and defunding its activities makes the point that the United States will not be held hostage by the lowest common denominator at the United Nations. 

Matthew Brodsky
The Federalist

No matter the lens applied, it is hard to view the United Nations as a serious body. A look at its specialty councils and commissions reveals an Orwellian world where committee titles mean the opposite and the resolutions they pass exacerbate the problems they’re supposed to address.

Even modest attempts at internal reform have somehow managed to churn out results that make bad situations even worse. Nowhere is this problem more evident than in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR), a world body that gives hypocrisy a bad name.

In blistering critiques delivered by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, the Trump administration announced its withdrawal from what Haley referred to as “a cesspool of political bias.” A year ago she called for dramatic and needed institutional reform, but what she found instead was an innate inability to change. Remaining on the council would effectively make the United States complicit in turning a blind eye to some of the world’s worst ongoing atrocities.

Criminals and Abusers Police Criminals and Abusers

The Geneva-based body was established in 2006 as the successor organization to the Human Rights Commission. Seeing no reason to grant the new body legitimacy, the Bush administration decided against seeking membership because some of the world’s worst criminal regimes and serial abusers would be included in its rotating membership of 47 states. That changed in 2009 with the “outstretched hand” policy of the Obama administration, which included the decision to join the council and seek its salvation from within.

Daily Meditation

Opening Our Ears to Hear

God said to Isaiah: “Go and tell this people: ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed” (Isa. 6:9–10NIV). 
This type of judgment is articulated by Paul in Romans 1: “Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done” (v. 28, NIV). 
The worst punishment that can befall us is to be given over or abandoned to our sin by God. This anticipates God’s verdict at the final judgment: “Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile” (Rev. 22:11, NIV).
Every time God’s Word is proclaimed it changes all of those within its hearing. No one ever remains unaffected by God’s Word. To those who hear it positively, there is growth in grace. To those who reject it or are indifferent to it, calluses are added to their souls and calcium to their hearts. The eye becomes dimmer and dimmer, the ear heavier and heavier, and the mystery of the kingdom more and more obscure. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Coram Deo

Ask God to open your ears to hear His voice, to clear your spiritual eyes, and to let you understand with your heart.

Passages for Further Study

Early NZ Church History

A Brief Incandescent Flame

In the annals of the Church the story of early missionary work amongst the savage Maori who populated New Zealand before the arrival of Europeans is one of the more riveting.  A few  missionaries had arrived by 1824.  The early years of labour were extremely difficult and dangerous.  But the 1840's witnessed the high tide mark of Maori acceptance of the Gospel of Christ.  They also saw the high water mark of Maori enterprise, save the more recent developments amongst the tribes as a result of recent Treaty settlements.  

Firstly, the high water marks of Christianity.  Harold Miller, Librarian of Victoria University College, describes the state of Christian faith and practice amongst the Maori.

When [Governor] Grey arrived in New Zealand in 1845 the great majority of Maori People had become at least nominal Christians, and many were becoming industrious and efficient farmers.  At this period visitors to remote districts were full of accounts of the remarkable transformation.  Thus in the early 'forties a visitor to the Thames valley reports that in one of the villages there had been a revolution and that a young chief had broken away from the old community and built a new village to be run on Christian lines.  At the gate he had stuck up a notice which ran: "My friends, listen to me, God has said: Thou shalt not commit adultery.  If any of us commit adultery, let him be put out of this pah.  God has said: Thou shalt not steal.  If any of us steal, let him be put out of this pah.  God has said: Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.  If any of us work on the Sabbath Day, let him be put out of this pah. . . . Listen, my friends: because of these things God's anger had come upon us; let us put them away that He may be appeased."
And these were not mere words: they were rigorously enforced.  The penalty for persistent offence was exclusion from the village.  Twenty years later Sir John Gorst was to report in glowing terms of the state of the district: law and order were strictly maintained, the traffic in ardent spirits had been rigorously put down, boarding schools had been established in several places and lands set apart for their support, and a thriving trade in foodstuffs with the town of Auckland had been established.

Everywhere in the 1840's religion was playing a part, sometimes a large part, in the lives of the whole community.  At one populous place in Cook Strait it was reported that nearly the whole of the population rose daily at sunrise for a service and attended a school that followed.  At another place, where the men set out to work before it was light, it was the custom to assemble at sea--sometimes sixty or seventy big canoes--and to sing a hymn and to say prayers before they began their fishing.
On Christmas Day, 1846, we are told that at Wanganui, where the Europeans were holding a race meeting, four thousand Maoris gathered to celebrate the Nativity.  Some of them had travelled a hundred and fifty miles.  In every Christian village a substantial building was set apart from religious purposes; and in some of the more populous centres new buildings were put up that would hold a thousand worshippers.  In one place in Upper Waikato the ridge-pole, nearly a hundred feet in length was dragged through the woods for three miles; and the windows had been carried for seventy miles over some very rough country on the backs of the chiefs. [Harold Miller, New Zealand (London: Hutchinson's University Library, 1950), p. 43f.]
Marsden had arrived at the end of 1814; the Williams brothers (Henry and William) and their families came in 1823.  Richard Davis arrived with his family in 1824.  Within fifteen years the leadership of most (but not all) Maori tribes were either professing Christians, or regarded themselves as strong supporters of the missionaries.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Hagar The Horrible

Childish Hipkins Embarrasses The Left

The principled left wing in NZ is gagging at the rat forced down the throats of the nation by the childish tantrums of the left wing  Leader of the House, Hapless Hipkins. 

Here is a post at No Right Turn, a blog which calls itself "Irredeemably Liberal":

Thursday, June 21, 2018

A childish tantrum

That's the only way to describe events in Parliament last night. Faced with the opposition filibustering two time-sensitive bills, the government moved urgency, then attempted to amend the instruction to the committee to prevent any debate on what was being voted on. The urgency isn't problematic - the bills are time-sensitive, and need to be passed this week if they are to come into force on time on July 1. They could have been completed under urgency with the budget, but the government unusually didn't take that opportunity at the time (something which I was happy to see, but it did set them up for this problem later). But the motion to forbid debate was an affront to our democracy. While it was withdrawn this morning - saner heads having prevailed - the fact that it was moved at all is obscene.

Oppositions exist to oppose. This will be inconvenient to the government, and that's the point. The way governments respond under this pressure illustrates their character. And Labour has exposed itself as authoritarian and intolerant of dissent (who'd have thunk it) - not values I want to see in a government. Chris Hipkins' childish tantrum actively undermined our democracy and the stature of our Parliament. And someone who does that is not fit to be Leader of the House.

Daily Meditation

Grace Is Pardon — and Power!

By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored harder than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God which is with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)

John Piper

Grace is not simply leniency when we have sinned. Grace is the enabling gift of God not to sin. Grace is power, not just pardon.

This is plain, for example, in 1 Corinthians 15:10. Paul describes grace as the enabling power of his work. It is not simply the pardon of his sins, it is the power to press on in obedience.  Therefore the effort we make to obey God is not an effort done in our own strength, but “in the strength which God supplies, that in everything God may get the glory” (1 Peter 4:11). It is the obedience of faith.

Paul confirms this in 2 Thessalonians 1:11–12 by calling our acts of goodness “works of faith” and by saying that the glory this brings to Jesus is “according to the grace of God” because it happens “by [his] power”:

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his call, and may fulfill every good resolve and work of faith by [his] power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The obedience that gives God pleasure is produced by the power of God’s grace through faith. The same dynamic is at work at every stage of the Christian life. The power of God’s grace that saves through faith (Ephesians 2:8) is the same power of God’s grace that sanctifies through faith.

Corruption and Incompetence

Dirty Smells

Incompetence and corruption are two unacceptable nasties which are beginning to show up on a regular basis in NZ politics.  The present government is in disarray as it scores own goals left, right, and centre.  

Kiwiblog has called attention to the most recent imbroglios on the part of the government.  The first is a straight out attempt to slide a clause into a piece of legislation which would have brought pecuniary advantage to just one individual company--which happened to be owned by a mate of cabinet minister, David Parker.
Matthew Hooton sums up well what the Government tried (but failed to do). They tried to have an exemption to their ban on overseas house buyers law for just one company. A company owned by a mate of David Parker, and whose interests were lobbied for by Jacinda Ardern’s former Acting Chief of Staff.

Matthew Hooton
on Wednesday
This scandal is far, far worse than the previous government's dealings with Warner Bros, Sky City or the Saudi sheik because - on the face of it - there doesn't appear to be any argument the public interest was involved.  It seems that an attempt was made to insert a clause into a government bill solely and specifically to favour a property development being led by a friend and business associate of the Economic Development Minister.
One of the lobbyists who successfully secu...
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There are questions about why Labour MPs on a Select Committee agreed to grant a special exemption from the overseas buyers' legislation for a lavish Northland beachfront property development where are valued at up to $4.5 million.

This should be, as Matthew says, a major news story. I hope National pursues this further as the conflicts of interest in this are huge, as well as the hypocrisy.  [Kiwiblog]
One troubling aspect to this deceptive act of corruption is that the Minister in question has form.

Here is a transcript from Parliament from 21st March, 2016:

Friday, 22 June 2018

High Praise

An Unusual Piece of Work

It's not very often you come across such a paean of praise for an actor, movie, or TV production as appeared recently in The Guardian.  It is even more remarkable since  the production deals with Christian doctrines and themes. 

A Love letter to Sean Bean

 – The Most Heartbreakingly Mesmerising of Actors

It sometimes seems as though Jimmy McGovern named his latest show Broken because his aim is to break his viewers into pieces every week. We are now halfway through this series about Catholic priest Father Michael Kerrigan and the small flock he attempts to bring succour to in the north west of England – and every week has ended with me blubbering incoherently on the sofa.

Now no one does anger and pain and misery quite like McGovern, and with Broken he has plumbed new depths of social despair – but what makes it not just bearable but utterly gripping to watch is his dark, dry humour and the magnificent performance of his leading man, Sean Bean.

Bean’s Father Michael is quiet and conflicted, haunted by his past and battling a sadness that has seeped deep into his soul. He commands the screen, his pain flitting across that gaunt, ravaged face reminding us that some of the best actors say most when speaking least.

Thus we watch transfixed as Father Michael acts almost more as social worker than priest, trying to solve problems that are beyond prayer. We cheer as he attempts to rally his sparse congregation with a controversial attack on the “old men” who run the Catholic church and their “contempt for the bodies of women”, and smile as he goofily sings his sick mother to sleep with a full-throated rendition of Glenn Miller’s Chattanooga Choo Choo.

Throughout it all Bean slowly, carefully builds up a portrait of a man who is both a part of this community and yet somehow apart from it, who gives freely of himself yet sits alone at the local bar, donning his sadness just as he puts on his chasuble for mass. As a study of loneliness it is thoughtful, subtle and ultimately mesmerising: a picture of a man on the verge of breakdown who is holding himself together through sheer faith and a desperate desire to atone.

It is not the most obvious of roles for Bean, now 58, who built a name for himself as a swashbuckler and sword-swinger, famous mostly for his many glorious on-screen deaths. He’s been shot, stabbed, pulled apart by horses, chased off a cliff by cows, thrown off a giant satellite dish, blown up, beheaded and turned into a human pin-cushion by Orc arrows. . . .

It was Game of Thrones that cemented his reputation for dying well. Games of Thrones was also the show that reminded people that behind the menace lurked an actor of great subtlety. His Ned Stark was both weary commander and good man fatally out of his depth; a lesser actor might have struggled to sell the often naive decisions that sealed Ned’s fate, but Bean’s authority and ability to say more with one frustrated look than a thousand speeches is what kept fans rooting for him to the bitter end. . . .

Yet this performance as Father Michael is something else again: interior, considered, filled with emotional heft. In this week’s episode, Michael finally confronted the priest whose actions destroyed his childhood and have hung heavy over his life. In a lesser drama, there would have been something cathartic in that moment. Instead, McGovern and Bean played it low-key and true as Michael pushed for answers only to find that his abuser simply didn’t care. It was a moment made all the more devastating by Bean’s quiet rage and the gut-wrenching brokenness at its core.

There are few actors capable of bringing that weight to a role. Of allowing you to see how a person can be both good but heartbreakingly, perhaps fatally, flawed. Of convincing you that a man so betrayed by the Catholic church as a child might return to that church thanks to a faith deeper than those betrayals and, crucially, of making you believe in every aspect of his character’s life from the good-natured interventions into his parishioners’ lives to those moments when, terribly, he ignores them out of a desire to be off-duty for once, to put down the candle, to be alone.

McGovern has noted that he never considered anyone else for the role: “I always go back to Sean – I just think he’s world class,” he said. “People know he’s good, but I know he’s great.” And, thanks to Broken, we all do now.

Daily Meditation

Accepting Graduated Responsibility

There is an oft-neglected principle taught in the New Testament. I call it the principle of “graduated responsibility.” This principle is taught by Jesus in Luke 12:48: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded” (NIV). 
This saying is part of the parable of the faithful steward. It underscores the terms of the judgment the lord in the parable renders to his servants. The punishment meted out is given in direct proportion to the prior knowledge each servant had:
That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows.” (vv. 47-48, NIV)
Here we see that judgment and punishment are rendered according to knowledge as well as action. The greater the knowledge, the greater the accountability.

Coram Deo

Are you a faithful steward over all that God has entrusted to you?

Passages for Further Study