Contend Earnestly: October 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Reformation Day Study Materials

On this Reformation day, I thought I would provide everyone with some stuff to read and listen to, to help understand the Reformation that started today, 491 years ago. Below are things you can read and listen to now, so you don't have to wait for a book to come in through the mail. Although if you want a book, you can go to Contend Earnestly Books and look under the Reformation and Five Solas tags for some good reads.

For Your Reading Pleasure:

Five Solas of the Reformation (my series on the Solas)

Luther's 95 Theses (started the Reformation)

Luther's 97 Theses (better of the two if you ask me, more theological. Luther put these forth a month before the 95 Thesis and Luther was pissed that this one didn't get more 'hype')

For your listening pleasure:

Martin Luther's Here I Stand (you can download at iTunes for $4.95; below is my review)

This is a pretty cool little audio book. Max McLean is the narrator and this is the least that he does. He presents the material in a very well done manner. He does more than just recite, he gives the impression that it is how Luther would have presented the speech if he were here today recounting this pivotal time.

Track Listing:
1. Introduction
2. The Road to Reformation
3. Luther’s Prayer
4. Here I Stand
5. Eck’s Response to Luther
6. Luther’s Final Response
7. Conclusion
8. Sources and closing comments

The CD starts off by giving some background to what is taking place, in not only the Roman Catholic church, but also in Luther's life. The leading up to the speech takes about 11 minutes, which not only covers the aforementioned material but also the prayer that Luther recited the night before he was to stand and defend his new found understanding of Scripture. Then the time comes to recite the speech that Martin Luther brought forth at the Diet of Worms as he began what we now see as one of the most pivotal times in all of church history.

McLean presents the entirety of not only the speech but even the questioning of Johann Eck, which is when Luther's famous words that ring so true to rebut the questioning being presented was brought forth:

My conscience is captive to the Word of God, I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither honest nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.

I would highly recommend this audio book. The speech itself is very emotional to read, but to listen to it with such passion from Mr. McLean is something that I will enjoy for a long time. Link to buy (or you can buy at iTunes)

Read More......

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Best Books of far

So far in 2008 I have read 25 books (2.5 books per month), with two more to be finished within the next day or two. I am not sure if this is a lot, not enough, or whatever. I thought I would give my personal list of the best books that I have read so far this year and then also some books I am looking forward to reading in the next few months. If you want to see all my book reviews, you can check out Contend Earnestly Books.

Best Theological Books of the Year:

1. The Reason for God, Timothy Keller

2. Jesus: Made in America, Stephen J. Nichols

3. God is the Gospel, John Piper

4. Vintage Jesus, Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears

5. Why We're Not Emergent, Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck

6. A Tale of Two Sons, John MacArthur

7. Simple Church, Thom Rainer & Eric Geiger

8. The Law and Its Fulfillment, Thomas R. Schreiner

9. Death by Suburb, David Goetz

10. Game Day for the Glory of God
, Stephen Altrogge

Best Secular Books I Read This Year:

1. Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy (book review coming soon)

2. The Road,
Cormac McCarthy (book review coming soon)

Books I Will Be Reading in the Next Quarter:

1. Apologetics to the Glory of God, John M. Frame

2. The God Who is There, Francis Schaeffer

3. Escape from Reason, Francis Schaeffer

4. He is There and He is Not Silent, Francis Schaeffer

5. Death by Love, Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears

6. Christ and Culture,
D.A. Carson

7. No Country for Old Men, Cormac McCarthy

8. Something by David James Duncan

If you would like to check out the different authors' blogs and sites they are listed below:

Timothy Keller

Stephen J. Nichols

John Piper

Mark Dricsoll

Gerry Breshears

Kevin DeYoung

Ted Kluck

John MacArthur

Thom Rainer

Eric Geiger

Thomas Schreiner

David Goetz

Stephen Altrogge

Cormac McCarthy

John M. Frame

Francis Schaeffer

D.A. Carson

David James Duncan

Read More......

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Pink Bunny, a Fat White Guy, a Headless Horseman and Jesus

With Halloween opening up the upcoming holiday season in U.S. and with all the Christians finding ways to attach tracts to candy like a drug dealer stuffing crack in the M & M's, I thought I would throw my two cents in with how a Christian should look at the major holidays in the United States.

It was funny because I was talking to a family in our church who adopted two 7 year old twins from Africa and they were trying to describe Halloween to them. They really didn't get it until they heard "free candy." That was all they needed to know to understand that this is probably the second best holiday behind Christmas. Where it's not candy only, but tons of presents that beat a "fun size" (good marketing) package of Skittles.

This got me thinking though on how utterly weird our holidays are in the United States. It also got me thinking about how we should all be ready to talk to our children about the holidays and what they mean. There are many critics and thoughts on the holiday season so I am going to try and balance these out and take a look at them as a whole.

Are the Holidays Biblical?

No. None of them are. What?! you might say. But when you take a look at the Bible, there is absolutely no precedence for any of the holidays that we celebrate. The closest one would be Easter, but even with Easter there are some issues. The purpose of holidays really comes down, in the simplest form, as a time of remembrance, celebration or just plain tradition. The reason I say that Easter is the closest to being biblical is because the only thing that we are told to remember is Jesus, through the death of Christ. You will see this is actually not found to happen through a holiday, or once a year, but through communion and done often.

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me."In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26

So, when we talk about holidays being biblical or not, we have really missed the boat. Because none of them are biblical or outright mandated in any way through the Scriptures. I would actually argue that if you only celebrate the holidays and are "stale" throughout the rest of the year that you probably are not Christian at all, but you sure love those holidays.

Is It Wrong to Celebrate Holidays?

No. I am not a Jehovah's Witness. It is pretty funny to think about our holidays though. We have one, where a huge pink bunny hides crap around your yard and then sneaks into your child's room and leaves a basket that includes a large chocolate depiction of the bunny so you can eat him. If that is not strange, I am not sure what is. Oh wait...we also have this fat guy. Think of this. Every year you take your kid to sit on this fat guy's lap, take a picture and then give him permission to break into your house, eat your cookies and drink your milk and then leave presents. Usually, if a big fat white guy breaks into my house I shoot him, but in this case we welcome it. The one that is coming up on Friday is no less strange. We dress our kids up like strange heroes, tell them to knock on a strangers door, say "trick or treat" (hopefully they get treat, because if they get trick, I will have to call the police) and expect that person to hand our kids candy. Seriously, what is with all this non sense? It is really hilarious when you think of it.

People like to say that these things are wrong, especially Halloween, because of their root reasons that they started. The problem with this is that Christmas in general has some very pagan roots and the term Easter comes from a pagan goddess. So, to pick and choose gets very dangerous overall. With all this said, I believe it is fine to celebrate these holidays as Christians, and like most things, it all depends on the focus.

How Should We Celebrate These Holidays?

It is all about the focus and attitude of the parents involved. I personally think all these holidays are great times to talk to others about Jesus or to just have some great fellowship with others. As far as Halloween I don't know anyone who can't wait to skin a goat for Satan on this holiday, so I am not too worried about it's paganism or Satanism. If I was worried about Halloween, I should also be worried about Christmas and Easter for the above mentioned reasons.

In my house for Christmas we have fun with Santa and stuff, but we have told our kid that Santa isn't real but is just for fun and we focus more on Christ and His birth. We use the time to show the focus of giving as God gave us his Son. Is there anything wrong with the fat guy in the red suit? There could be if he is the focus, but there is nothing inherently wrong with having fun with it. And please...slow down with getting mad about people saying "Happy Holidays." The holidays in the U.S. has long left out Christ, so people saying "Happy Holidays" is just showing what happened many years ago with Christ and Christmas. It isn't a big deal. Chill out. And by the way, it isn't wrong to call it X-Mas. The "X" is "Chi" the first letter of Christos (Χριστóς), Greek for "anointed"and is in reference to the Ichthus.

As far as Easter we do the same thing. Christians like to use the term "Resurrection Sunday" which is fine. Seems more like a protest against non-Christians than just an actual statement most of the time I hear it. With my family we simply talk to our sons about how we don't celebrate Easter once a year, but all the time. We talk to them about the significance of this time, but we make sure that they understand thinking about Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection should be a daily experience. As far as the big bunny, we still do Easter egg hunts and give him a basket. Why? Because it is fun, that's why. Why do you eat a Turkey on Thanksgiving? Because it is good to eat, that's why.

Halloween is no different than other holidays. Personally I have abstained from buying a goat and sacrificing it to Lucifer because that seems a little over the top. But, we do go around and collect free candy from our neighbors. Why? Because it's fun. That's why. Unless you are teaching your children about paganism and the worship of demons, Halloween is harmless. Take the time to meet your neighbors and have fun with it. Don't be the shut ins who yell from inside your dark house, "If you celebrate Halloween you are going go to hell and celebrate it forever with your master!" Usually those people need a straight jacket and a good egging from the neighbor kids. Why? Because that is funny. That's why.

We all know that every holiday that comes around in the U.S. is really for consumerism. That's really it. It is our job, like most times, to bring the focus in on Christ and his glory. We should always be doing this. We should always be looking for ways to show our children and our culture the greatness of God. Our holidays in the U.S. is just another way to be with our communities and show them who Christ is. So, make sure you seek Christ and his ways for these times and ask him to show you the balance that is correct for your household. Personally, I don't think that abstention is the answer to these holidays, just a correct world view.

Have a great Halloween and know that if your house is dark and your not handing out candy, I am going to supply the neighbor kids with eggs. :)

Read More......

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Politics, Jesus and the USA

I am confused. I usually am, but hide it well. This is probably going to be my last post on politics for a little while as it gets kind of tiring to defend myself to everyone. Here is the reason. I am not going to vote...again...but I do have some thoughts on politics and Jesus as a whole. I want to just see if I can get people to think about why they are voting for who they are voting for. I also want to try and learn through this process from others who are far more mature than I am on this issue. I think in the end it might help give a glimpse into each side so that more fruitful conversations can happen. I could be wrong though, time will tell.

What Does Voting for the "Lesser of Two Evils Mean?"

From many conservatives this is the quote I get when they tell me why they are voting for who they are voting for. But, which evils are you talking about?
Killing Babies vs Killing Innocent Civilians

Now, I am against abortion in all forms. But, we also have a government right now that is involved in a "war" where we don't need to be. So, being that I believe this is the case, we are then killing innocent people for no purpose. People will say, "well innocent people aren't being killed. They aren't innocent if they are shooting at our troops." Let me ask you. If you had troops coming in and taking over your towns from another country and they were entering your house, would you try and protect your family? I think so, or hope so. I am not blaming the troops here, but just saying that my reaction would be a lot like those who are nervously reacting to the U.S. troops in their towns and villages. I "believe" in war. But, I believe in war when it is necessary. I don't believe this "war" is a necessary one at this point. Please don't see this as not supporting the troops or coming down on them, but I blame the President and those in charge of making these decisions. So, what is the difference with killing innocent babies and innocent civilians? Isn't a life a life?

This is why McCain scares me. He seems to be ready to go to war for any reason and stay in Iraq for however long it takes to "win the war in Iraq." The other part of this equation that many conservatives don't bring up is the fact that McCain BELIEVES IN ABORTION! So, the abortion issue is a dead one for this election. Killing babies is killing babies, no matter the process that takes place. So, which one is the lesser of the two evils here? Obama or McCain? I honestly can't decide. I don't know. They both scare me here.

Greed vs Socialism

This is another tough one. One presidential candidate is part of the new Republican party that seems to give extreme tax breaks to the wealthy that go further than mere trickle down economics. The other seems to believe in a quasi socialism government that takes money from the rich and spreads it around to the poor. Although I do believe in trickle down economics, I believe that the Republican party is using this as an excuse to give more tax breaks to the uber rich than need be. This starts to support the sin of greed and is a very deep evil that Jesus speaks against more than he speaks on heaven and hell combined.

Quasi socialism on the other hand is actually directly against the Bible as well. God's nation had a welfare system set up where the poor had to work for their "money" and did not receive it by mere hand outs (unless you were a leper at the city gate, but even many still just passed by in disgust). What we find in the Bible is a welfare system set up where the rich weren't allowed to glean the corners of their fields but left it for the poor to come and glean. Notice though who is doing the gleaning. It wasn't the workers of the rich or the rich themselves, but it was the poor who came and gleaned for themselves (we see this play out in the book of Ruth). All through the Proverbs we see that if you don't work, you will be poor. That the fool is lazy, the fool doesn't work, etc. Even Paul tells us that he who does not provide for his household is worse than an unbeliever. Socialism and the current welfare system fly in the face of the clear teachings in Scripture. Are there exceptions to the rule? Of course. We have those that are disabled, have degenerate diseases, etc. But we are talking about the poor as a whole here. I would encourage you to look at this video for some helpful thoughts on this issue.

So, which of these two are the lesser of the two evils? Greed or Socialism? I can't decide. They are both evil.

The next two deal with issues that I believe have more to do with a Theocracy than a democracy. Meaning, if we were a nation truly under the rule of God alone, these next two would be bigger issues, but the facts will show that we are not a Christian nation.

Divorce or Gay Marriage

I am going to really hammer something here. I don't agree with either of these. Sure, the Bible gives us two ways that a believer can divorce, and only two. One, an unfaithful spouse and the other is a non-believer who wishes to leave the believing spouse. That is it. And these are last resorts. I have told my wife that if she cheats on me, I will not divorce her. That is my decision and she has told me the same. But, my point here is that gay marriage is not what is going to kill the sanctity of marriage, but "Christians" that get divorced (unbiblically) are. Christians who say "I do" and become one flesh and then decide to divorce are killing the understanding of what it means to have a Christian marriage under the authority of God. Statistics tell us that Christians have MORE chance to get divorced than unbelievers. So, you tell me who is killing the sanctity of marriage? We should expect the unbeliever to not follow the way of the Scriptures. We should expect them to want and desire to rebel against the word of God. We should expect them to want to marry the same sex, have adulterous relationships, have more than one partner, to live with one another before marriage, etc. But, when we, as Christians, are doing the same, we need to figure out what is going on with the sanctity of marriage within the church before we try and regulate the non-Christian. Plank in eye vs speck in another's comes to mind. I truly believe that the divorce rate among Christians is far more insulting to God's institution of marriage than non-Christian gay marriage.

If we were a Christian nation, we should ban all unbiblical divorces. But, we are not a Christian nation, therefore it becomes harder to regulate. I just think we really need to figure out what is going on in our own house before we yell at our neighbors.

Freedom of Religion

If we were a Christian nation, the most abhorrent thing you could do is give way to freedom of religion. This might surprise some, but it is true. When did God ever say it was okay to allow idolatry among his people? This actually is the worst thing that the nation of Israel could do. If we were a Christian nation, then we should abolish the thought of freedom of religion. Every time someone chooses some other god (demon) than Jehovah God, that is idolatry. This is, by far, the worst crime happening in America. Never would God approve of worshiping idols in his own nation, by his own people. This is one of the reasons that I do not believe that America is a Christian nation, nor was it ever a Christian nation. It might have been built on some Christian ideals, but "close" doesn't count when speaking of our God.

Freedom of choice, when it comes to religion, is the main reason why I wonder why we allow non-Christians to choose their idols, but not choose how they live the rest of their lives? This confuses me. If we were a Christian nation, my views would completely change. But we aren't.

Pagan nations in the Bible had unbridled sex to their gods (USA does this through many facets), sacrificed their babies to their gods (USA does this through abortion), allowed polytheism (USA does this), praised the gods for their wealth (USA does this through greed and consumerism).

So, you be the judge. Is the USA a pagan nation or a Christian nation?

How do you choose between the least of the two evils? You are going to choose between two candidates where they feed greed, socialism, killing of innocent babies and civilians, devout liars, freedom of religion, unbiblical divorce, gay marriage and the list goes on. This is an honest question. I am just curious on the reasons that people vote with this thought process. It is not a loaded question, but one that I am trying to find answers to.

This is the reason that I have decided to not vote. Neither candidate is even close to my personal convictions on the issues. McCain is no closer than Obama.

Read More......

Monday, October 27, 2008

New Christianity?

Have you noticed this happening? I am in my early 30's and what I have found with a lot of people that I went to college with and also those that are young in the church is this new "thinking Christian" in the 21st century. What it seems people have gotten tired of are those "Christians" who when asked a tough questions by others just grin like Bob Ross and softly say, "Just have faith" and then go about licking their glue stick.

It seems as though the Christian has gotten tired of being ran over by the atheist and the postmodern who pose great questions of the Christian faith. They ask tough questions, that I might add, are completely valid. The problem with what I found throughout the 90's is that most, when asked tough questions just stated, "the righteous shall live by faith" and then they moved on. What they forgot is when Peter states,

"but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;
1 Peter 3:15

Instead of a defense, most Christians pointed to their WWJD bracelet and "My Boss is a Jewish Carpenter" bumper sticker and called it a "defense." This is lame. This was lame and always will be lame. The term defense that is found in 1 Peter 3:15 is actually court room language of providing evidence to show that the truth in you is actually true. It is evidence that would convince a jury that you are right. Instead, what we have found is the "Jesus freak" with a painted smile that should be put in a straight jacket and laughed out of the court room.

What is interesting is the turn of events that is happening within the Christian community. It seems as though Christians are tired of getting ran over by thoughtful and insightful atheists and other religious leaders. When they stopped grinning and licking their glue stick they found that the person asking the question was still standing there trying to understand why you chose Jesus over Ghandi. Now, the Christian isn't laughing, but are now posing the same questions, looking for answers. Yes, there are still those plastic Christians who don't know jack about those around them that are begging to be answered. But, what I have found is that more and more Christians are having personal revivals of understanding within the Christian faith. They are seeing that the Christian faith isn't another stupid religion, but one that has evidence, one that involves thinking, logic and deep historical roots that is found little among other religions or atheistic thought.

It seems we are on the edge of a New Christian. I say "new" with a little smirk because it isn't new, but it is vintage. It is old school. It is what Christianity was always supposed to be about. Christianity wasn't supposed to be t-shirt theology, but deep rooted understanding about life and culture and eternal answers to what is happening around us, all for our Creator's glory.

So, what is now happening with this "new" Christian? They are finding that the best books are not the new ones, like "The Shack" with some lame depiction of God as a black woman, but they are finding that the best books to read about the Christian faith come from the early church fathers, the reformers and the puritans. Those who had to defend the faith in the most vital times in history. Those whose heads always had a bounty. Those who had to show others why the Christian faith was worth dying for. Those who saw the communities around them falling into paganism and wanted revival of Christian thought. Those who saw families losing a child every year to a new plague, or a new disease. Those who had to give answers at funerals of why there was a plague and it seemed like God was not there.

I believe the reason that we went to sleep for so long in this country was because of its wealth and protection. We do not find our children dying of malaria. We do not find our churches being ransacked to kill the pastor and those in attendance. We do not have fear when we read our Bibles in public. When these things don't happen the people get comfortable. When we get comfortable we become complacent. When we become complacent, we buy t-shirts and bracelets that have a better testimony than we do. And when this happens when we are asked questions, instead of saying, "I don't know" we grin and provide a life verse that speaks about inner change and faith that no one sees besides on our cars. Aliens must think at times that our cars are the ones that are saved and not us.

Why now though? Why are we starting to see the change in Christian thought to more of a vintage thought? I would presume it is actually because of the world wide media being seen so closely. Via the world wide web, the global economy, etc. everything in the world is at our finger tips. We have now had some fear with 9/11 and the massive attacks around the world. More questions are starting to be posed to us, and instead of grinning and bearing it, we actually want answers ourselves. We want more than a bracelet, we want a faith worth dying for.

We are tired of looking like idiots to others. In this United States, Christianity is not the only religion, but we are finding that instead of India only having Buddhists and Hindus, that our neighbors are Buddhists and Hindus. That instead of the Middle East having all the Muslims that next to our churches are Mosques. When this happens, you cannot shrug it off as that is just "them" because it is now "us" in the United States. When a Christian says something that is not true about another religion, the person within that religion is right there to correct their face.

Because of this, the "New Christians" are begging for answers. And guess what? They are easily finding it. Christianity is not built as a religion of straw, but a religion with the most secure foundation found: THE Creator of all things. The only omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God. With this, the "New Christian" wants to represent HIM well, instead of being a feeble example.

Although we haven't seen this happen thoroughly yet, it seems like it is happening right in front of our eyes and I am excited to see it work itself out. I am thankful for men like Gresham Machen, Francis Schaeffer, Ravi Zacharias, Tim Keller and David Wells. These men have helped and are helping our "New Christians" find help in time of need. These men have shown and are showing the Christian that the Christian faith is a faith with evidence, not a blind faith like so many claim.

I would encourage everyone who is a Christian to make sure that you are ready to give a defense to those who question. Don't be afraid to say "I don't know" or "I struggle with that too." Be honest with people because they see through your crappy answers. Go find the answers though. Go search and try and show the person posing the question that you aren't trying to win a debate, but are trying to show them the deep impact these questions and answers have on their soul.

May we all understand that the atheist or the questioner of Christianity desires these answers and is not merely asking to stump you. We know this because God tells us that he has set eternity in every man's heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

How about we put away our t-shirts and really lame bracelets and actually pick up a book that will depict our glorious God and then share that with those who desire to know the hope that lies within us. Because your boss is not a Jewish Carpenter, but he is the Lord of Glory.

Read More......

Friday, October 24, 2008

10 Steps to Become a Legalist: Step 9

Step 9 is here, which means that we are almost done making you all good legalists that are ready to carry the flag of “you” and burn the flag of “them.” Burn baby burn.

Step 9 is almost a continuation of step 8. This step is going to make sure that, as the other steps, you take one of the two extremes and condemn the other side to make sure that they understand your maturity and their infancy in Christ. The two that are put forth are either some sort of abstention and while the other is completely open to almost all forms of movies (besides pornographic ones).

The first way to become a legalist in this area is to simply condemn all things Hollywood. It is the den of Satan and is used to just build up wealth so that the liberal can add more money in their pockets to denounce the Christian. Talk about the research that is done to show that the movie industry is the reason for all violence and sex. That the reason your child doesn’t listen to you and runs around the house like a squirrel on an energy drink is because of the movies that he has accidentally seen at a friends house where the parents don’t love their kids.

It is because of this that you should never watch any movie ever. Well unless Kirk Cameron is in it, then it is okay. Or wait, unless it is about Jesus being crucified, then it is okay. Or wait, if it is put out by a church then it is okay. But all other movies are because Satan hasn’t been bound and is found to be actually the “Director and Screen Writer” of Hollywood.

Some others in this arena, instead of almost complete abstention, will just come out and say, “you shouldn’t watch anything R rated.” This is a great thing. It is easy. It is straight forward. This is easy to become a legalist in this form. You could make a t-shirt that instead of the R standing for Restricted, it could say “Resurrected” or something like that. What this does is find another way to cheapen Jesus, way to go. But, hey, you could probably make some money this way, so who cares, right? Instead of watching R rated movies you will need to find other forms of movies that you deem as good ones. Again, Kirk Cameron is good person to start with. And keep the R rated restriction unless it is about the bloody death of Jesus. So, there will have to be some exceptions to the rule. But hey, what is a good legalist without their own exceptions?

The main thing in this form of legalism is to make sure that others know that your view is right. This is key to being a good legalist. Don’t keep it to yourself. Make sure you say things like, “I can’t believe you can watch that!” or “We had to walk out of that movie.” Or “that movie was obviously not God honoring.” Whatever you do just make sure you use condescending speech to make the person you are talking to realize that you are the standard and they are the "Christian" who needs some more maturity in their life.

On the other hand, instead of abstention, you could be a legalist by not abstaining from any movie. They are all okay. Call the other people who have decided to abstain within their own families legalists and prudes. Who cares what you watch, you can separate what you watch and then what you do in your life, right? It is just a movie. Most movies are just portraying real life, so what is the big deal? I can control what I think about and how I see the world, the movies don’t have any affect on me. Make sure this is your outlook on movies and really laugh at those who only watch Disney or has the term “High School” and “Musical” in their titles. Laugh at the Christian movie industry and talk down to those people who like them like an atheist being evangelized by a teen ager.

Whatever you do, don’t put restrictions on your movie watching because how will you be able to talk to people about Jesus unless you know why “There Will Be Blood”? How can you be hip and talk to those outside the faith unless they see you enjoy watching the latest from M. Night? Won’t they just think you make charts of the tribulation while memorizing all the verses on hell? You don’t want to be “that guy” do you? So, the only way to make sure that your house doesn’t look like a museum of Christian artifacts of Christian culture gone bad, you must make sure you watch any and all movies with liberality. Besides, do I really have to put in my favorite movies on Facebook, “The Passion” “Facing the Giants” “Left Behind” and “Fireproof”?

Alright, alright, before we have a riot on our hands, let me try and weigh through these issues here.

I think there has to be a good middle ground here with these two types that I run into a lot. First, remember, that if you choose to only allow certain movies in your household, that is fine, your house, not mine. I am talking about those who try and make the rest of us sound like we are Rosemary’s Baby if we decide that watching movies that don’t star Kirk Cameron. I honestly think that most of the arguments on this side are a little shallow in their thinking overall.

If we decide to abstain from Hollywood because of where the money goes, then don’t we have to start doing the same thing with everything we decide to consume? Don’t we need to know where the owners of Costco, Target, McDonald’s, etc. spend their money as well? I think by boycotting Hollywood we actually show our hate for the world and not the love of them. This doesn’t mean that we watch everything that they produce, or we become their advocates, but to boycott or get overly aggressive in our behavior sounds a bit ridiculous.

My other issues with people who try and get others to not watch R rated movies is the Bible itself. If we try and abstain from all sorts of violence and sexual tensions then what will happen when we come to books like Song of Solomon, Ezekiel, Judges, Jeremiah, etc.? Again, if you and your family decide against R rated movies, go for it, just don't try and convince me biblically how this is right and why I am a devil lover.

The other side of the coin are those who have no filter for the movies that they watch. We have to be careful that we don’t completely let our guards down to watch filth that can cause us to sin. For guys, this is lust of the eyes with the sex that is so apparent in the movies. For women it could be the underlining feminist themes that run through many movies showing men to be weak and downright evil. We have to be careful to not just watch anything for the sake of entertainment.

I would say that God did create the movie industry, like he did all the arts, to display his glory. Like paintings, books, sculptures, etc. the movie industry shows off the glory of our God. Most movies don’t even realize that they are depicting many themes found in the Bible. That by displaying creation with music played behind it they are showing off our great God and the wonderful work that he allows us as humans to produce.

May we find a good medium in film and enjoy the art that is God honoring and pray a prayer of thankfulness for all the talent that is displayed every weekend for a mere price of your first born to enter the theater.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Not Everyone is Like You...Deal With It

Why is it that we know theologically certain subjects, but in our lives we look like that we have never even read the passage that deals with our practical ignorance? We do this as we worry about things too much even though we believe in God's sovereignty. We do this when we know people will sin against us, yet get angry when they do. We know that we should forgive people when they sin against us, but we usually like to make them run through the gauntlett of shame and "anger stares" first. This list could go on and on, but recently I have been really sinning in this area pretty badly and I just look at myself and see what an idiot I truly am. Now, God tells me I am an idiot, so I should know this, and I shouldn't be surprised, but I am. I am like a little kid that plays with the jack in the box and jumps everytime that ugly clown comes out of his terribly annoying music box.

God must laugh at me...a lot. We sit and watch Seinfeld and The Office when we want a laugh, but the angels Tivo Seth and continue to watch me and my foolish reactions when they are having a bad day.

Anyway, the most recent way that I have been providing good material for the angels that do stand up in heaven, is my thoughts on people who are different than me in the church.

I am definitely a weirdo in my church, which I can see clearly. Whether it is my tattoos, the puffing on a cigar or pipe every once and a while, the love of the urban lifestyle (my church is next to horse farms), non-republican (or democrat), the love of secular music, or just the outright "in your face" leadership that I posses. I am just different than most people in my church. My mom teaches at a jail for kids and so we would go into the most dangerous hoods in the Seattle/Tacoma area to visit them after they got out. I am used to hanging with the most dangerous people in the state, and having no issue just chilling with them. I also have many friends who are atheists and liberal, worked and had fun with many people who were inner city and homeless and also homosexual. This has been my life and I love to be in contact and have so many different friends that always challenge me in my beliefs and convictions. Being where I live now, this isn't the case as much now, which really sucks, but I am dealing with it.

Also, my gifts are different than most in the church. I do a lot of teaching and writing in the church and love to talk to people in general about their beliefs in theology and also in Christianity in general. I love to challenge people to question honestly what they believe and why, and to test it against what the Scriptures teach.

What I have found because of this is that I don't understand why everyone isn't like me. Why not? I know, I am that stupid. I feel like "Which One of These Kids is Doin' His Own Thing?" from Sesame Street. Paul tells us that this is going to be true in the church:

For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body.
1 Corinthians 12:14-20

So, Paul tells me this, and yet practically I live like everyone should be just like me. I get mad when people don't think like me, I get mad when people don't want to serve in the places I desire to serve and I think I am more mature because of this. When I do this, when you do this, you will be miserable. You will not see the grace in people, but their flaws. You will disregard any huge plank you might have in your eye and see the speck in your brother's eye.

The body has been given to us, notice by who? The body is given to us specifically by the desire of God! So, if I decide that I am important and the others are just taking up valuable space for all the visitors banging down our doors on Sunday to come in, then I am missing the point of the body. They are probably different from me so we don't look like a bar room fight every week. I couldn't imagine a church filled with morons like me, thinking the way that I do.

I need to work on my practical understanding of the church and its members. I shouldn't disregard theological error or laziness disguised as "waiting on the Lord." But, I should be longsuffering and be willing to bear one another's burdens. I feel bad that my church members have to bear with me, because I don't just have burdens, but I am one. The more I realize this, the more I will see the grace that God has shown for those in my church.

Oh, and you want to know which part of the body I am?

Look to Genesis 49:14 out of the King James. You could just insert my name instead of Issachar :)

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cardboard Testimonies

HT: D and Mike

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Trickle Down Economics and Beer

I thought this was a good explanation of trickle down economics. Of course in the real world it isn't beer but food and living expenses. I understand trickle down economics and I also think that according to the Bible there are some things that we need to fix in our welfare system. But, that would be a perfect nation, which we don't have. Any thoughts on this?

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.

The fifth would pay $1.

The sixth would pay $3.

The seventh would pay $7.

The eighth would pay $12.

The ninth would pay $18.

The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20."Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share'? They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).

The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).

The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).

The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).

The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).

The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings. "I only got a dollar out of the $20,"declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man," but he got $10!" "Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got TEN times more than I!" "That's true!!" shouted the seventh man "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!" "Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!" The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man went to India to drink and didn't show up for his local drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What Does the Cross Symbolize for You?

I was sent an email from one of my past students asking if I would share in a couple of sentences the following: Can you write a few sentences on what the cross symbolizes/represents to you that i can use as a quote for my speech? She is doing a paper, in a public school mind you, on the cross. So, here is my response, what would yours be?

The cross represents both the most tragic and yet most triumphant event in the history of our sinned stained world. I say most tragic because the cross shows how great our sin was that our Creator had only one choice to reconcile us to His side: Sending us His Son, the most high God, to die in the most brutal way, on the cross. The cross shows the depth of our sin, like an earthly judicial punishment shows a glimpse of the depth of a crime committed. I also say the most triumphant because the cross also represents the very event that brought us back into fellowship with our Creator. Without it, we would still be lost, but living in it, we, as Christians, see a triumphal victory where the war has been won and the Commander and Victor calls out to all, “Come you who are weary and find rest for your soul”

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Missions in Mozambique

When going to college everyone has that one person who takes care of the group of friends that are far from home. Although I wasn't far from home, most of my close friends in college certainly were. For us, this person took great care of us and also invited us to her family's house, which was close to college, every Sunday for a family meal and a time of just hanging out. Her mom cooked us a great home cooked meal and her dad, being a pastor, would shepherd us and help us deal with things happening at school or with life in general.

This family has meant much to many people and they minister in ways that they probably will never know until they see their fruit revealed to them in heaven. This person for us was Christina. We all love her dearly and she is a cousin of one of my best friends. After college she ended up meeting a man named Victor from Mozambique. Victor started up an orphanage in Mozambique as he saw the need of his people to not only have a place to call home, but a place to learn a trade so that the people could live a life a part from great poverty. This past summer Christina came home with Victor and I had a chance to meet him and I was greatly impressed. At the time it was 90 degrees in Seattle and we had the AC on high and the misters were on in the backyard as we were all sweating like we just visited a sauna in Death Valley. He smiled at me, with his jeans on, looked at the misters and asked, "Is this to keep you cool in the heat?" All of us dumb white people laughed out loud because we could hear the confusion in his voice as he looked at the misters as some sort of joke in the "dead heat of a summer in Seattle."

What I found in Victor was a young man who loves his country and its people. He continually fights the government to try and keep the kids past their 18th birthday if they are not ready to go out into the world. His desire is to keep kids until they are ready to enter the world on their own, and not before. The government wants the kids to turn 18 and leave, even though Victor and Christina get absolutely zero help from the African government in support for their orphanage.

To listen to Victor tell us the tales of his orphanage it was like listening to a father telling the great falls and triumphs of his sons and daughters gone by. You could hear the excitement in his heart and the deep grievance as well. I would encourage all to please be praying for Victor and Christina, and I am also excited to report that they have a blog to give us a picture of their daily life in Mozambique. Here is a snippet from their blog on who they are:

Victor & Christina Carlos
Nampula, Mozambique, AFRICA

Welcome! We are Victor and Christina Carlos. Victor was born and raised in Nampula and Christina was born in Los Angeles and raised in Seattle. We were married on November 10th, 2007 and today we live in the middle of our orphanage in Nampula, Mozambique. We are having fun with our 54 kids and we thank God for the life he has given us! Now we are going to write about it!

I would highly encourage you to please visit their blog and pray for them as they are daily living in true poverty trying to show the hope in Christ and the glory of God.

Here is the link to their blog: Victor & Christina: Our Life and Work in Mozambique

Here is the link to their website: Evanjafrica Ministries

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Monday, October 20, 2008

The Use of Secular Outlets

Historically what I have found in my life is that every time I read, listen or watch secular media, it seems to always be better done than Christian ones. I hate to even make a distinction between the two, but there are definitely things done that have a "faith" distinction and ones that are generally done out of secular convictions as a whole. What is bothersome is that so many Christians believe that those businesses or outlets deemed "Christian" are better morally than those that are not. Even going so far as to get mad at some Christians who are artists or own businesses and refuse to make their core business "Christian."

Here is what I mean. If someone is a music artist and they do not sing about Christian themes, Christians get mad at them and say that they are not "defending the faith." This seems odd to me. What is also odd to me are things like the "Christian Business Directory" where every other page has someone's logo with the Ichthus worked into their logo. Am I only supposed to listen to, read and work with Christians? Or those who say that they are Christians? Seems like if I were to do this I would be keeping my world in a bubble and not reaching out to the world in ways that are quite easy and natural.

Recently a buddy of mine has challenged me to read more secular books. To be honest, it didn't really interest me too much, but I decided to take up the challenge. I read "The Road" from Cormac McCarthy and now am on my second book of his, which I almost done with called, "Blood Meridian." Although there are postmodern themes throughout, the writing is extraordinary. I have gotten used to reading mostly theological books and forgotten the art, again, the art of writing. Cormac is by far the best writer that I have read in a long time, besides Dr. Seuss of course.

This got me thinking, "How many secular outlets should we expose ourselves to?" Some would seemingly say, "none." Which is interesting. Some push movies like Fireproof and Facing the Giants while acting like any other movie in the theatres are of the devil. Further proof was seen by those who refused to watch "R" rated movies until The Passion of the Christ came out and was rated R, the ban was quickly lifted. As a side, I turned off Facing the Giants after 15 minutes, probably the worst movie I had seen in a while. Most will say that the reason that they don't watch secular movies, listen to secular music or read secular books, is not always because of content, but also because of the money going to twisted people who use it for their sinful means. I have seen the same thing with Christians boycotting Target, Ford and Disney because they support certain things that the Christian community would not adhere to.

Here is my question: Do you do research at every other place you shop to make sure that they are spending their money in only ways that you deem appropriate? Seems like a double standard to me. So, the Christian starts to really show how separate they desire to be from the world to call certain outlets as "okay" and others as "sinful." The problem with this complete distinction is that it is seriously impossible unless you become Amish, and the other problem with this would be that we see Paul teaching something differently.

I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.
1 Corinthians 5:9-13

Paul tells us that it is good to associate with immoral people. Why? So you can win them to Jesus. So that you can show them Jesus. How does it sound when you get together with a non-Christian and the conversation starts and you go down the list of all the companies, books, and media outlets that you boycott? You might as well just tell them that you are boycotting the very non-Christian that you are trying to win for Christ. You are really telling them, "I am boycotting YOU!" What is funny is that people do this and then say, "you wanna come to church with me?" I am surprised more Christians don't just get laughed at or punched in the face.

Paul even quotes secular scholars in 1 Cor 15:33; Titus 1:2; and Acts 17:28 to get his points across. This does not mean that Paul agreed with these scholar's world view but he did very much know their teachings and the view put forth by the secular scholars and their writings.

Lastly, looking to what God allows in great works of art in movies, music and literature shows us more of his glory, not less. When looking, listening and reading even secular artists, it shows us the greatness of our God that he allows those who don't know him show forth the talent that God allows within them. As I read someone, who I believe to be an agnostic in McCarthy, I think of how great the glory of my God is who allows such a man write in such a beautiful and descriptive style that snatches my attention.

I believe many Christians are actually losing out on God's glory being shown if they decide to stay away from "secular" art and only look to "Christian" outlets for this art and business. Because if you see God's glory in Thomas Kinkade paintings, you might want to take off your straight jacket and come out of your padded cell. At least secular art gives a realistic view of life instead of quaint, fake cottage with no ills to be found. :::throwing up:::

I am still learning and enjoying what I have found apart from Christian outlets and enjoy to see God's glory shown among people who would have nothing to do with the very person that gave them their talent.

Remember that all things have been created by Him and for Him. May we enjoy the things that are from His hands and for His glory. Of course not those things that are sin, but those things where we can see the light of his glory shining among the nations. May we look at these things, and cry out "thank you Father, may your name be pronounced, even among these people who do not know you."

I just wish that Christians would use more logic in their decision making and less emotional ones. Remember, just because something or someone has an Ichthus in their logo, on their CD cover or on their book flap, doesn't make them good or Christian, it just makes us the sucker of good advertising.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Jesus Camp Documentary...Scary Cult Brainwashing

Here is a link to an article about this camp getting shut down. Take a look

Jesus Camp Shuts Down, But Fischer Says Her 'Indoctrination' Will Continue

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Is Abortion Sin?

I would like to give a quick survey of why I believe abortion is wrong. I know that the post title may sound like I am asking if it is wrong, but it is really there so that those asking the question can find a biblical answer.

People have many questions on the topic of abortion. What I would like to quickly go over in this post is:

Is Abortion Wrong?
When is a Baby, well, a Baby?
Is there ever a time where abortion is okay?

Is Abortion Wrong?

The definition of abortion given by Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary states that an abortion is defined as:
the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus

The term termination and death means that one is taking away the chance of, or the actuality of life from another. This is, in reality, is killing another. To give a biblical reason for why abortion is seen as wrong we find it explicitly in Exodus 21

"If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise."
Exodus 21:22-25

This passage as a whole is dealing with personal injuries and starts off by saying that if you kill a man you shall surely be put to death (Ex 21:1) and put right after the 10 Commandments are given to the people. Basically what Exodus 21 is trying to do is give some practical laws for all to understand so that there is no questioning. It would be like me telling my 5 year old, "You cannot go upstairs" and then following that up with saying, "this means you can't go on the stairs, you can't play on the stairs and don't even go near the stairs." What God is doing is giving some clearer understanding to the people of what it means to "not murder."

God gives a clear understanding that murder extends even to the unborn infant. You will notice that no age restriction is given to the pregnancy but just states that if a fight breaks out and one man hits a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely, and that baby dies, the man shall die. And here is the key point of the entire passage: But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life.

Notice that the man's life that inflicts the injury is no more important than the baby that lies within the mother. He will have to pay with his own life, because he took another's.

So, is abortion wrong? Yes, because it takes another's life. The women today are lucky that we are not living like the Theonomists wish we were living or they would be put to death alongside their unborn child.

When is a Baby, well, a Baby?

Biblically there is no chapter and verse to go to outright to say when a baby is truly a baby. I will say that Exodus does not give us a time frame of when a baby would be considered a non-life. Even further we find evidence of the view that God sees children as children well before the human eye or for that matter a computer's eye could see the formation of an actual child. I am not going to get into science, because I suck at science, but I will give you some interesting evidence from Scripture of when God sees his children.

The first is found in Jeremiah 1:5

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations."
Jeremiah 1:5

Notice that God knew Jeremiah before he was even formed in the womb. This would seem to be speaking of a child in the womb before the fetus is made to have bones, ears, fingers, etc. Whatever age that God is speaking of, we know that is before the baby Jeremiah has been even formed in the womb. The term "knew" (yada in Hebrew) here is also a very deep relational word to mean "love." It is a very intimate word used all through the Old Testament. So intimate that it is also used of when a man and woman come together to have sexual relations. We find this in Genesis 4 when Adam knew Eve and Eve conceived and gave birth to a son.

So, with Jeremiah we find that a life is a life before it is even formed, because God doesn't love intimately objects, or mere raw flesh, but he loves the one who has a soul, a spirit, who when left to grow in the stomach of the woman, will come out a child and reveal the glory of God.

Another time we find the same thing said from David.

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
Psalm 139:13-16

They key term used here is that David speaks of his unformed substance. This seems to be pointing to the time before many would call David a human being. This is probably speaking of the time as the sperm and egg come together to create what will later become a formed substance in the womb. Notice that his days on the earth had not yet started, but when they did start they were going to be ordained for him. David's psalm here is a beautiful one to show God's omniscience and omnipresence and he praises God that he knew him and loved him before he even had substance. Again, for God, the baby is a baby long before many of us will notice the affects on the mother.

So, if this is true. That the babies we find in Jeremiah and David were in fact babies before they were formed or had substance. That they were loved and given commission long before their formation, we must ask, "if they were to be aborted before birth, is this murder?" I would give a resounding yes, because as we look to Exodus 21 it is very clear that one life is traded for another. Since the baby is a baby even before it is formed, any abortion is murder in the eyes of God who knows and loves that baby before the mother and father have a chance to.

Is there ever a time where abortion is okay?

Because of my belief in the baby being a life well before it is formed (I would believe that at the time of conception) and that taking that life is murder according to the word of God, then there is never a time that abortion is okay. Never.

Let me hit some of the times I have heard that is supposedly "okay"

1. Rape or Rape by incest

Although my heart goes out deeply for those who have been raped, I believe that the one who should be punished is the one who raped the poor woman and not the baby. By aborting the child, the child is the one taking the brunt of the punishment. The one who raped the girl will only get time in jail and will not die. With these laws established, the one who pays the highest price is not the girl or the man, but the baby. Why should an innocent child take the brunt of the punishment?

Will this be hard to raise a child that came from rape? It could be. But the woman is going to be going through many struggles and deep pain because of the rape and the baby could actually be a huge blessing of promise to the woman, not a curse. I truly believe that the Psalmist got it right when he states:

...children are a gift of the Lord
Psalm 127:3

Sure children of rape are not in the context but they are never kept out of the description either. If children are a gift from the Lord, this means that even those that were born out of wedlock in any circumstance are, in fact, a gift from God. Think of this. Out of one of the most gruesome sins possible, a beautiful child is given. A most beautiful gift. It is like finding a diamond from the dirty piece of coal. (not the mother being the coal, but the act that the baby was conceived)

2. What about aborting a child to save the mother from dying in child birth?

As David states, "you have ordained all my days..." If we believe this then we do not take out a child to save another's life. My wife and I have talked at length about this. She has repeatedly told me that she would be crushed to know that her life was spared by killing her baby. Again, children are a gift from the Lord and God is in complete control of every event around us. My hope is not in this world and to die is far greater because we are with Christ, so I would not kill in order to save another. This would be the hardest decision of my life and I cannot say what is right in every circumstance. The reason I say this is that this is a decision for every family, and it should be talked about in length before any birth.

I would just be very careful here as decisions are made. Understand that God is control and that his will must be done and that truly every child is a blessing from God.

As Christians, we need to understand that abortion is very much wrong. That the baby is a life very early, if not at the time of conception. I like how one of my pastor's put it. He said,

"People like to ask when a baby is truly a baby. I tell them, leave it alone and see what happens"

Just as one doesn't get close to a cliff of a mountain because of the impending danger, neither should we mess around with making excuses for what is murder and what is not. Stay away from that cliff's ledge. I would always lean towards not messing with God's children, it is a very big deal and with it much judgment comes.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

More on Barack Obama and Abortion

I was emailed this post by one of my friends and thought I would share it here. I am going to be done after this for a while with politics. I thought I should put this here for information purposes. It is interesting what this guy has to say about the Born Alive Act and Obama...shows that you can't trust anything or anyone when it comes to politics. I really don't know who to trust with this Act, it seems like it is a he said, she said issue now. Here is the entire article from Albert Mohler, enjoy:

Albert Mohler interviews Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University.

Albert Mohler: Professor, just tell me the argument you are making in your article [Obama’s Abortion Extremism] that Barack Obama represents, and I quote, “the most extreme pro-abortion candidate to ever seek the office of the President of the United States.” There are people who are going to say that’s wrong-headed. Defend the argument you are making there.

Robert P. George: I hope that all of your listeners will go to and have a look at the article because the article lays out, point by point, all the evidence for my claim that Barack Obama is the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the presidency. He is the most extreme pro-abortion member of the legislature of the Congress; he is the most extreme pro-abortion person ever to serve in the Unites States Congress. Shall I take a moment just to lay out some of my reasons for saying that?

Mohler: Absolutely … I need you to make the case.

George: Sure, first Obama does more than simply argue that abortions should be legal. He argues that it should be paid for by taxpayer dollars. He has supported, vigorously, repealing the Hyde Amendment which has protected pro-life citizens—Catholics, Evangelicals persons of every faith and even those with no faith who hold to the sanctity of human life—protected us from having to implicate ourselves by having to pay for them with our tax dollars.

Going beyond that, Obama has opposed efforts to protect unborn children even in ways that do not involve making abortions illegal. For example, he opposed the effort to include the unborn in healthcare coverage under the so called SHIP program for the states, the States Health Insurance Assistance Programs. Going even beyond that, Obama has supported the worst forms of abortions—partial birth abortions—the most gruesome form of abortion. Even beyond that, Obama has taken the truly extreme and radical position that children born alive after an attempted abortion who are separated from their mothers and are still alive should not be protected by legislation that would ensure that they got at least minimal comfort care—basic medical care in the hospitals. That takes us over the line—anyway you look at it—over the line from abortion into infanticide.

Going even beyond that, if I may add one more element on the issue of embryo-destructive research, not only does Obama favor the funding of embryo-destructive research, he is a co-sponsor of a bill that would authorize the creation of human embryos—embryonic human beings, our tiniest brothers and sisters—the creation of those embryos for research in which they are destroyed. That’s how extreme Barack Obama is in the support of abortion and embryo-destructive research.

Mohler: I appreciate you making the case there, Professor George. I want to come back to a couple of those points because, let me tell you, I was already convinced of this but I’ve never seen this issue so well documented as you do in your article. When you mentioned, for instance, the Hyde Amendment, you’re talking about the only legal provision that keeps the American taxpayer from actively funding abortion as part of welfare and social services, right?

George: Yes, that’s absolutely right. Let me say a word more about that. That legislation not only protects you and me and all our pro-life brothers and sisters across this country, it saves lives of babies. And you don’t have to take my word for it, you don’t have to take the word of any pro-life person for it. We have the word of the abortion industry who hates the Hyde Amendment and have themselves said that the Hyde Amendment is responsible for dramatically reducing the number of abortions. They’re against that. They think that the amendment is depriving women of their right to an abortion, but they are still telling the truth that there are many, many, many people alive today who would have been exterminated in utero if it weren’t for the Hyde Amendment, and Obama would sweep it away as part of the so called “Freedom of Choice Act”—the radical pro-abortion legislation that would repeal 30 years of our successes in trying to protect unborn children even in the face of the horrible Roe v. Wade decision.

Mohler: The Freedom of Choice Act is where I wanted to go next because Barack Obama has said that the first thing he would like to do as president is to sign that bill. Explain what that would mean.

George: Well, I’ll be happy to remark…. It is unfathomable how Catholic intellectuals and some evangelical intellectuals could regard Barack Obama as an acceptable candidate, and indeed someone who is acceptable from a pro-life point of view when he has said … that the very first thing that he would do is sign The Freedom of Choice Act. This act would create nationally, by legislation, a fundamental right to abortion—which would not only insure that abortion is legal and paid for with public dollars across the country, even if Roe v. Wade were to fall, it would go beyond that even to eliminate basic conscience protections that protect pro-life positions—obstetricians and gynecologists from being forced to refer for abortions or even perform abortions. This is a radical piece of pro-abortion legislation, and the fact that Obama would endorse it simply, in my view, disqualifies him from consideration by any serious Catholic or evangelical or other pro-life voter.

Mohler: We are in an interesting position in the 2008 race. We have a lot of folks saying evangelicals and others need to move beyond what they call “single issue politics.” Number one, I don’t think there is any such thing, but there are no doubt different levels of importance, different levels of urgency when it comes to issues. And I’ll be right up front to say the issue of the dignity and sanctity of human life is number one in my book before you get to other issues that I will concede are also important. When you’re looking at this issue I don’t think we can talk about anything more fundamentally important….

I want to raise the issue of Douglas Kmiec who is also a Catholic constitutional law expert. And he’s making the case that you can really classify Barack Obama in some sense as pro-life. Where’s he coming up with this?

George: I don’t have any idea. The idea—as I said in my article—is delusional. How can we classify someone as pro-life when he represents the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever do have run for office—run for the presidency of the United States?

The argument that Kmiec makes is that he believes that the social and economic policies of Obama, if he were elected would be so enlightened that it would reduce the number of abortions, and so the net result would be a plus for unborn babies. I mean the logic of this thing says, “Vote for the pro-choice”—as they call it, pro-choice candidate—“because it will save babies.” But there’s no reliable or good evidence for that. On the contrary, we know it’s not true. We know simply by repealing the Hyde Amendment you will increase the number of abortions. The abortion industry itself has told us that. If we look at Sweden, which has a social safety net more substantial than ours (the kind of thing that Obama favors) we see that the abortion rate is no lower there than that of the United States. He seems to have a kind of quasi-Marxists theory that poverty causes abortion.

Mohler: It’s not quasi, it’s direct. I mean that is the case he makes in his book, “Can a Catholic Support Him?” And it’s very interesting for evangelicals to look on at this because we are hearing the same kind of arguments. There is a different context in terms of Catholic social teaching that he tries to use here, but you’re hearing from some evangelicals the same kind of argument as you reflected earlier. So, as an evangelical, I want to listen in on your conversation here and want to be a part of it because we are facing some of the same issues.

By the way, in Doug Kmiec’s book, he makes the argument that there could be a pro-life reading of Roe v. Wade. Now I’ve seen a lot of things that I thought George Orwell would snicker at, but I have to tell you that this has kind of taken the cake. I don’t know if you’ve read his book, but he argues that Roe v. Wade offers a woman a choice about abortion where, as he says, if Roe v. Wade were to fall states could mandate a woman to have an abortion. Well, that is a completely ridiculous argument.

George: It is a ridiculous argument. It’s astonishing that a constitutional scholar, one of some skill I must say. I know Professor Kmiec, he served in the Reagan administration. I’ve always found him to be an effective spokesman for conservative legal ideas when he’s appeared on television and so forth. We’ve been friends for many years. But gosh, this one is through the looking glass. The idea that somehow Roe v. Wade is somehow remotely in the domain of a pro-life decision this is simply outrageous.

Mohler: I also don’t understand, just looking at the whole equation here, how someone could make this argument without taking on the data that you so authoritatively sight here. I mean this is easily obtained information about Barack Obama’s support of the Freedom of Choice Act, or FOCA, that is not addressed by Professor Kmiec. How can you make an argument about abortion, about Barack Obama, without dealing with that central fact?

George: I’ll have to admit too that I didn’t have to work very hard to dig up the information about Senator Obama’s record that I presented in the article. It’s right there. It’s not buried under some avalanche of data. It’s there for the entire public to see. We know the truth. We can easily attend to it. We can easily confirm it. Why Professor Kmiec did not I don’t have any idea. I don’t have any answer for it. I’m dumbstruck by it.

Mohler: One other issue I need to ask you real quickly—because this is a matter of controversy that has come up: The issue related to the infanticide and the Illinois senate, the Obama campaign claims that that is just not really true or relevant.

George: They are lying.

Mohler: Well, I know that. I want you to tell us that.

George: Here’s what happened: Obama voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, and he actively opposed it and tried to prevent it from passing from the Illinois legislature. Then, when he was called on it after he had begun his presidential campaign, he claimed that he would like to have voted for it, but the reason he voted against or opposed it was that it did not have a provision [clarifying that it would not restrict abortion] the way the federal Born Alive Act has one….

They got caught lying because it did have the provision in it.

About The Author
In addition to being one of Salem’s nationally syndicated radio talk show hosts, R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville.

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Obama and Live Birth Abortion :::UPDATED:::

Does anyone know Obama's current stance on this issue? I personally am not a Republican or Democrat by any means, but this video really makes me want to cry. I watched it and quickly hugged my two boys.


I don't support abortions or pro-choice in any way, but I like to think we can at least be fair in reporting about those who oppose our views. The video above is very misleading and in some ways, outright lies.

Here is a non-partison article on the thought of Obama supporting live birth abortions or infant genocide.

I would highly recommend reading this:

Obama and 'Infanticide'

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