Tag Archives: Christianity

The One and Only Way to Stop Mass Murders at School

All this past week most of the mainstream press has been pushing the idea that what is needed to stop today’s school shootings and other mass murders is to inaugurate effective, total gun control—which is to say, to confiscate all firearms from the American public. The idea is “no guns equals no murders.” President Trump, however, has called for arming teachers at schools, and to more tightly control the vetting process for buying guns. He would eliminate some types of firearms that facilitate a mass murder spree, and do a better job with handling the mentally ill. Will any of this work to really change the situation on the ground? Frankly, at this stage of the game, I have my doubts, because all those suggestions don’t get at the heart of the problem..

After all, as far as gun control goes, if would-be murderers can’t use guns they’ll use trucks — or knives, screwdrivers, hammers, poisons, and any other means that a bloody-minded individual can devise. When you think back on history, humanity has often resorted to some of the most basic, brutal tools in order to murder others. The root of the problem is not the fact that there is a stone, a baseball bat, or a gun in every American home. The root of the problem is the spirit of murder and lawlessness that is now stalking America. The problem of mass murder is a people problem, not a tool problem.

When I was a youth in the 1950s and 1960s, guns were readily available to practically anyone who wanted one. My Mom (a divorced woman) kept a holstered, loaded handgun hanging on her bedpost, which she took with her when out horseback riding by herself in the boonies—it was for shooting snakes or other varmits. Don’t you know that we boys never would have dreamed to touch much less play with Mom’s gun. It never would have entered our minds because we knew better—and we also knew how to use guns ourselves. Of course, my brother and I also never would have dreamed about telling any of our teachers to F— off or to ignore an instruction in class. We showed our teachers and school administrators respect and, our parents expected nothing less of us—or else!

Mom only had to use that pistol once when a would-be thief was trying to steal my motorcycle parked in the carport. The fella saw that Mom had spotted him and he took off to hide behind some bushes in our large backyard. Mom, who was a crack shot—Annie Oakley had taught her grandma to shoot and she in turn had taught Mom—put a few rounds into the ground at the base of those bushes where the guy was lurking. Immediately he leaped over the 6 ft. tall back fence in a single bound and took off like a bat out of hell down the alley. Mom didn’t want to hurt anyone, but she did want to communicate that she wasn’t fooling around. The thief never returned. I wonder why? Low-lifes figure out pretty quickly who to respect and who not to.

For $20.00 in the 1950s and 60s you could buy on demand without a background check a “Saturday night special” and a box of shells at the corner hardware. But I can’t remember any dreadful mass shootings at schools during that time period that even remotely approached today’s problem in Florida. It just didn’t happen. The problem is that the American people have changed—and not for the better. Why? What’s the root of the problem?

In a letter to the editor of my local paper last Saturday, a fellow wrote:  “While its consequence might manifest on the roads [or in schools], discourtesy is a much deeper problem in our civilization that has worsened during my lifetime. Whereas people detest each other as much today as at any other point in history, today’s citizens no longer feel a duty to be courteous to each other for the sake of the community.

“I blame the decline of our civilization’s traditional moral-reinforcing institutions. People might or might not like churches, but it’s hard to deny the role churches played in our society as sources of civil order, and as touchstones of right conduct.

“It is also hard not to correlate declining church attendance with rising aggression and apathy across the whole spectrum of our civilization… We need a politically independent moral industry today, more than ever” (D.S. Victoria, Times Colonist, Feb. 24, 2018.)

 

So dear reader please take to heart this warning from the Apostle Paul that we ourselves should not be caught up in the same spirit of violence and disregard for human life that is sweeping our society:

“Know this also, that in the last days perilous times shall come; for men will be lovers of self, loves of money, braggarts, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, implacable, slanderers, without self control, savage, despisers of those who are good, betrayers, reckless, egotistical, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having an outward appearance of godliness, but denying the power of true godliness [that transforms from the inside out an authentic believer’s life]. But as for you, turn away from all these” (2 Timothy 3:1-5, The Holy Bible in its Original Order trans.)

As a society, we must return to teaching Judeo-Christian morality and ethics in our homes, in our schools, and in our churches and synagogues—day in and day out. America was built on and positively refined by Biblical values for close to 190 years. By abandoning these founding values and breaking faith with the God of our ancestors we risk destroying everything that once made America a shining city set on a hill—a good example to a world wallowing all too often in darkness and despair.

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Who is Undermining Our Western Civilization?

Recently Conrad Black wrote a “must read” opinion piece—which is fascinating for both its language and its conclusions.

Black argues that increasingly aggressive atheist banshees, who seized control over most of the Western world’s government, academic, and media institutions, are close to dangerously undermining the roots of the West’s Judeo-Christian civilization. The implications of this worldview shift that has taken place among our leaders will have profound implications for everyone.

Up until now, the Judeo-Christian tradition has had a remarkable influence on the course of our history —promoting the role of conscience, free will, freedom of religion, the practice of justice, mercy, and forgiveness, along with intellectual curiosity and personal initiative.  The conceptual roots from which our 21st Century understanding of rights, freedoms, and political constitutions emerged from the teachings of the Judeo-Christians Scriptures about love, covenant, justice, and equality in law.

Surprising, Black noted, even the most militant of atheists feel obliged to swaddle themselves in commendable precepts that are generally rip-offs of the Golden Rule about loving your neighbour as yourself—which is found in both Old and New Covenant scriptures!

It is ironic that while the unbelieving, hyperactive philistines vociferously denounce the Judeo-Christian values, they nonetheless seem perfectly content to enjoy the benefits of Judeo-Christian civilization even while hypocritically denying its basic tenets.

Black warns that the Judeo-Christian influence on Western society is fast weakening. He wonders if the moral relativism substituted for biblical morality—which has resulted in a massive erosion of social cohesion and backbone among those buying the so-called “progressive,” politically correct ideology— could rally sufficient moral confidence to confront what Conrad Black calls “sociopathic Islam.”

If Black sounds harsh, well, would you, a liberal Westerner who despises our Judeo-Christian heritage, like to migrate on a raft (or even just get on a plane) to  a Muslim majority country like Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia (which is 100% church and synagogue free), Iran, Iraq, Syria, or Libya because they’re such great places to live? Or even better yet, how about decamping to North Korea, which is an atheist’s paradise and totally free from any religious values, whether Judeo-Christian or even Muslim? I understand the North Koreans love to imprison “superstitious and subversive” Korean-Christian ministers who obviously threaten the state by providing a little material assistance to their starving neighbours. How despicable those with Judeo-Christian values! I jest!

Conrad Black, “I put this as simply as possible: Many atheists are excellent, but atheism itself is hurting the West,” Apr. 7, 2017; http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/conrad-black-i-put-this-as-simply-as-possible-many-atheists-are-excellent-but-atheism-itself-is-hurting-the-west

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Was St. Patrick a “good” Catholic?

green beer

Was St. Patrick a good Catholic? Most would say that you might as well say is the Pope Catholic! But often truth is indeed stranger than fiction, or even green beer.

Many of the tales and lore associated with St. Patrick come from Tirechán’s LIfe of Patrick, which was written about 700 A.D., or roughly 250 years after Patrick’s death. Unfortunately Tirechán’s book is not only completely revisionistic but also primarily fictitious. Tirechán’s work mostly reflects the priorities of an 8th century Catholic hierarchy who were at that point desperately trying to claim Patrick’s missionary legacy as their own in their campaign to pressure the remainder of the stubbornly independent Celtic Christian congregations in Ireland who were refusing to “enter into unity with Rome,”

Far from being a part of the Roman hierarchy, Patrick of Ireland ran a self-funded independent ministry. He never answered to Rome’s direction. Patrick was a part of the 5th to 7th century Celtic Christian movement in the British Isles, which followed a decentralized form of church organization. Deliberately maintaining isolation for over 150 years from the Catholic form of Christianity on the continent, the Celtic Christians of Britain and Ireland steadfastly refused to obey the Roman church’s hierarchy either administratively or doctrinally, according to York University professors Michael W. Herren and Shirley Ann Brown in their book Christ in Celtic Christianity.

It’s noteworthy that Patrick’s own grandfather, a married Christian priest, and his father, a married Christian deacon, did not buy into the Catholic Church’s Augustinian theology about original sin and infant baptism. Patrick’s family did not baptise him as a baby, according to Patrick’s own testimony. Rather Patrick’s family followed the theology of Pelagius, Augustine of Hippo’s theological nemesis. Pelagius taught that Adam’s sin at the Garden of Eden did not result in human nature becoming utterly depraved and, consequently, sexual intercouse did not transmit Augustine’s fictitious “original sin.” (This was the origin of the “sex is evil” idea in Catholicism.) Consequently,  baptism, according to Pelagian theology, was only for those with mature minds who could fully appreciate the level of commitment required from one who repents of a sinful lifestyle.

Leslie Hardinge in his book The Celtic Church in Britain notes that unlike the strongly anti-Semitic leprechanattitudes held by the Roman church, the Celtic Christian churches strongly valued their faith’s Hebrew roots. Accordingly, the Celtic Christians held their Pascale (Passover) ceremony of taking the Lord’s Last Supper with the bread and the wine on “the 14th moon” (Nisan 14 on the Hebrew calendar) rather than following the Roman churches calculations based on the pagan Roman Julian calendar. The Celtic Christians continued to “remember the Sabbath to keep it holy” on the 7th day of the week, which the Roman Christians did not.

Hardinge also writes, “Wherever Patrick established a church he was believed to have left a copy of the books of the Law and the Books of the Gospel. The Leber ex Lege Moisi is the only work surviving from Celtic sources which answers to the description “books of the Law.” Each of the four extant manuscripts of this work has an Irish provenance. The earliest has been dated about 800, and had apparently been copied from an earlier manuscript. It commences with the Decalogue and contains selections from the Books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, which are filled with citations from the Old Latin.” (Hardinge, pp 49-50).

Such a practice clearly reveals that Patrick had a strong “Scripturalist” approach to his religious understanding. The Scriptures were his authority. According to Profs. Herren & Brown to be a Scripturalist was typical of the Celtic Christian movement but radically atypical of those who supported the bishops of Rome and their hierarchy.

patrick peopleIt would appear from the evidence that Patrick of Ireland would not have been considered by his early Medieval contemporaries to be a “good” Catholic. Even the foremost Catholic church historian of the British Isles of the early Medieval era, Bede, knew nothing about a “St. Patrick.” In this case, the truth is indeed stranger than fiction or even green beer. Cheers!

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The Fun Slippery Slide Down the Slope of Moral Relativism

death cartoonWow, it’s amazing what happens in just one weekly news cycle! Should we cry or laugh?

A full two-thirds of Canada’s doctors are opposed to participating the Supreme Court’s newly discovered “right to die” by doctor-assisted suicide. In fact only 29 percent of doctors surveyed said they  would even consider providing such a “new procedure.”

Nevertheless, the leaders of the Canadian Medical Association are all gung-ho about turning their physicians into “Dr. Deaths.” Never mind that most doctors have trouble squaring this with their Hippocratic oath to “either help or do no harm.” But for CMA leaders it’s to infinity and beyond in embracing this new right to death conferred by the Supremes. Whoopie, we’re all gonna die! However, the CMA worries that there may not be enough time to properly train the docs in new, approved liquidation procedures before the law comes into effect on February 6th. Ah yes, I can see the CMA’s continuing education promo right now: Learn to Kill the CMA-way. Lunch provided.

One wag suggests the CMA could lower their learning curve by contacting the Canadian Veterinary Medicine Association. After all, they already know how to shoot horses and euthanized dogs and cats by the dozen. Perhaps, all that the CMA leaders really need to show the docs is how to securely tie a plastic bag over a checking-out patient’s head and in just a couple of minutes the deed is done except, of course, for billing the taxpayers for the “procedure.” No mess, no fuss. On to the next patient. What an easy way to pay for your Mercedes.
But perhaps there are some doctors still willing to consider what the Creator advises? This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live(Deuteronomy 30:19)

Ah yes, and then there are the news stories about the adultery-promotingashley hacked website AshleyMadison.com–“Life is short. Have an affair”– and its Canadian parent company, Avid Life Media. Who was it that said all publicity is good publicity? Anywise, after more than 30 million email addresses and some credit card data were released–manna for digital peeping toms–Avid Life Media, has offered $500,000 to anyone with information revealing the hackers’ identity.

To police investigators, the nature of Ashley Madison’s infidelity-facilitating website is “of no interest”–due to the moral relativism prevailing in government officialdom these days. They’re only interested in catching those nasty, immoral hackers as well as advising the clients of Ashley Madison–caught with their privacy pants down as it were–to ignore the come-ons from a number of opportunistic internet businesses. It seems these clever entrepreneurs are offering to scrub the out-eds’ names from off the infamous cheaters list–just a little fee-to-play sin-tax, of course! But, according to the police, nobody is going to be able to cleanse their name  from any internet-posted dirt from that Dark Net database. In fact the police warn the embarrassed adultery-site customers that they risk exposing their computers to possible moral hazard from the digital version of genital warts should they hook up with such dubious digital entrepreneurs.

hiding the privatesSo, although Ashley Madison, Inc. promised “airtight privacy” to the credulous, a more reliable reference source about the privacy prospects of conducting an adulterous affair would warn “…for nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, or kept secret that will not become known” (cf. Matthew 10:26). Why should Ashley Madison’s customers really be surprised that their sins would find them out? (cf. Numbers 32:23)

Finally, Trinity Western University (TWU) is asking British Columbia’s Supreme law societyCourt to overturn the Law Society of British Columbia’s decision to refuse to certify TWU students who would graduate from the university’s proposed new law school. This professional society for B.C. lawyers takes issue with TWU’s community standards covenant–an honour code which specifies that all faculty and students agree to only engage in sexual relations with a traditionally defined marital spouse. Honour codes are, of course, so passé for a post-modern society that is outraged at the very thought that anyone or any institution would have the brazen nerve to want to uphold and promote the biblical morality that sustained Western civilization for the last 3,500 years.

Consequently, the very self-righteous Law Society of B.C. sputters it’s indignation in their rebuttal to the TWU lawsuit that this privately funded institution in daring to set such outrageously high biblical standards of morality are being discriminatory, and run contrary to the equality rights of LGXYZ people, and are seriously undermining “the integrity and the foundation of the administration of justice.”

no christians allowedOh really? I wonder if the the Law Society of B.C. could have changed the LORD’s mind–”Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Deuteronomy 16:20)–about Sodom and Gomorrah with such a politically correct, post-modern argument? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Religious freedom or post-modern nonsense? More to follow, I’m sure.

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Is all “Love” Equal?

stop judicial tyrannyToday, in a 5 to 4 split decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the so-called “equal protection” amendment should be interpreted to mean that marriage cannot be restricted to only heterosexual couples since homosexual couples must also have equal rights to access marriage licenses. This  same amendment, which was enacted during the U.S. Civil War period some 150 years ago,  also was used by the court in 1973 to create via judicial reasoning a right to abortion. An explicit reading of the 14th amendment says absolutely nothing about either abortion or homosexual marriage. In fact the original drafters of the 14th Amendment could never have imagined in their wildest dreams that their work would later be interpreted in such a curious fashion.

Writing a dissenting opinion, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia argued that the court’s equalityruling majority of the justices are themselves “unrepresentative” of the American people. Further, Scalia asserts that what they are doing is a “threat to democracy”:

“Four of the nine are natives of New York City. Eight of them grew up in east- and west-coast States. Only one hails from the vast expanse in-between. Not a single evangelical Christian (a group that comprises about one quarter of Americans), or even a Protestant of any denomination… Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine  [unrepresentative] lawyers on the Supreme Court.

“This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.” 

Cited from: http://www.mediaite.com/online/scalia-dissent-scotus-gay-marriage-ruling-represents-threat-to-democracy/

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, including Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, harshly criticized the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling as a “tragic error” and noted how the court’s majority used the same flawed legal reasoning 42 years previously to create an abortion right–but that “neither decision is rooted in the truth”:

bishops“Jesus Christ with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As Catholic bishops, we follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth…. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.”

Cited from: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jun/26/bishops-blast-supreme-courts-same-sex-marriage-rul/

But President Obama insists that “love is love.” And as such whatever someone wants to call “love” is good and equal to whatever someone else also wants to call love.

The Apostle John insisted that it was the duty of a Christian to love. He wrote the Church:

Beloved, we should love one another because love is from God; and everyone who loves has been begotten by God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God because God is love (1 John 4:7-8, all Coulter trans.)

So would the Apostle approve of President Obama’s statement that “love is love,” that all love is equal? Again, it is written:

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For if he does not love his brother whom he has seen, how is he able to love God Whom he has not seen? (1 John 4:20)

So, how can a Christian–who professes that he loves God–not agree with the secular policy that extends equal rights to homosexuals and thus, also allows homosexuals to marry in the Church? Does standing against homosexual marriage within the Church constitute  hating one’s brother?

Well, since a Christian should not rely on secular, human reasoning, as the U.S. Supreme Court does, to determine right from wrong, but rather the Word of God, which is the actual truth throughout the Universe for all time (cf. John 17:17), how would the Scriptures answer the above question?

Well, the Apostle John does not leave the clarification of the Christian duty to “love” both God and neighbour to human whim, reason, or passion. The Scriptures are far more explicit than the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

And by this standard we know that we know Him [Jesus Christ]: if we keep His commandments. The one who say, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him. On the other hand, if anyone is keeping His Word, truly in this one the love of God is being perfected. By this means we know that we are in Him. Anyone who claims to dwell in Him is obligating himself also to walk even as He Himself walked [discipleship]….

By this standard we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God: that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome (1 John 2:3-6 & 5:2-3 Coulter trans.).

As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops correctly observed: “Jesus Christ with great love,God made them taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman.”

It is obligatory for any Christian who would see the glory of God to stand with Jesus Christ on this issue about whether there can be homosexual marriage within the Church of God. But it is not our obligation to judge those who are outside the Church. They can rely on the short-sighted wisdom of the Supremes if they so choose. But there will be consequences in the World Tomorrow and a price that we all may have to pay due to today’s decision. Today, indeed, may well be a turning point in the history of the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

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Flashing Signs of Danger!

warning signs generalAnyone traveling on the roads needs to be constantly alert to signs of danger. For the last few months the morning commute to work in Victoria, B.C. has been an increasing hassle due to the on-going construction on one of the main traffic arteries leading into the downtown core. A bicyclist who usually took this route to commute to work downtown observed on one particular morning a few weeks ago that all traffic was being squeezed into just one lane by a small group of flaggers who had placed numerous warning signs, barriers, and orange plastic cones to block off the inside fast lane. But, while most people feel obliged to take notice of the warning signs and make the appropriate inconvenient travel correction, a commuting cyclist, a 30s-something woman, decided to ignore the warning signs.

She deftly zig-zagged through the cones and barriers on her bike and proceeded down the warning allegatorvacated inside traffic lane that had been closed off. Not seeing any overt evidence of construction machines at work, the biker picked up speed, zooming past the bumper-to-bumper line of cars slowly inching along. The safety flaggers’ franticly waved their arms and shouted to the cyclist to get back in line. “Stupid control freaks,” she may have smugly thought. As the cyclist pedalled along, perhaps she was planning to crow a bit in the office today about how her commuting style was not only “greener-than-thou” but also faster—until, suddenly, like a speeding pool ball dropping into a pocket, both woman and bike disappeared in the blink of an eye into the yawning maw of a steep, deep, rectangular hole whose opening, however, was only about the size of a house’s front door. In this case ignoring all the warning signs meant instantaneous death.

warning challengesRight now there are serious warning signs flashing on the world scene.

  1. America’s President and his Secretary of State have agreed to a “framework” protocol that will allow Shi’ite Muslim Iran, the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, to retain its nuclear infrastructure allowing it to develop nuclear weapons—at a more convenient point down the road. Right now, Iran wants economic sanctions relief so it can more effectively support its allies in Syria and Iraq in their civil wars. In an unmistakable sign of his displeasure with the American President over this decision, Saudi Arabia’s new leader, King Salman, refused to personally attend the recent six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) hosted by Obama at Camp David. This was a very public snub.
  2. In another big snub to America’s superpower status, Washington’s closest European allies, despite American pressure and unprecedented public complaints by Washington, have rushed to sign up as founding members in China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Development Bank (AIIB). The implications of China’s rising power and America’s declining power are clear. According to former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summer,

     “I can think of no event since Bretton Woods comparable to the combination of China’s effort to establish a major new institution and the failure of the US to persuade dozens of its traditional allies, starting with Britain, to stay out of it.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11519001/How-China-grew-desperate-to-conceal-its-power-from-the-world.html

  3. The IMF’s just released World Economic Outlook describes a prostrate planet drowning in debt. There has been a persistent reduction in the global growth rate since the Great Recession of 2008-09 with no relief in sight. This is unprecedented and very much a wild card in the game of high stakes poker, that is the global financial system.

    “Total public and private debt levels have reached a record 275 per cent of GDP in rich countries, and 175 per cent in emerging markets. Both are up 30 points since the Lehman crisis.” http://business.financialpost.com/news/economy/welcome-to-the-new-mediocre-of-global-growth#__federated=1

  4. The developed world’s poster child for a country drowning in debt is Greece. For months warning bad thinkingnow, Greece has continued to stagger along like a zombie, even after some fresh flesh of debt relief from the IMF or the European Central Bank. Even Mario Draghi, the ECB’s president, is warning of unexpected, unanticipated consequences if Greece finally defaults on its debt.
  5. Meanwhile, barbaric Islamic State terrorists continue to behead Christians. Yet the Western world still doesn’t take all that seriously the IS spokesmen’s repeated declarations of a worldwide religious war against Christians, Jews, non-conforming Muslim sects and anyone else who isn’t their clone. http://www.jpost.com/Christian-News/After-second-incident-of-ISIS-murdering-Christians-in-Libya-foreign-minister-appalled-398665.

    According to General Alexander, the former chief of the National Security Agency (NSA–Edward Snowden’s nemesis), the West is losing the worldwide fight against jihadist terrorism. He said that the U.S. and its allies had failed to check the advance of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or its expanding network of franchises across the Middle East. The West is increasingly at risk of a strategic defeat in the region. “It is getting worse. Twenty-five countries are now unstable, just look at Yemen,” he said. http://business.financialpost.com/news/energy/hackers-could-cripple-the-west-with-a-hi-tech-blitz-on-energy-sector-infrastructure-u-s-general-says?__lsa=2d0c-cb5e#__federated=1 accessed 4/27/15

  1. As a direct consequence of the current widespread instability, there is a virtual flood of
    desperate people from Syria and throughout North and Sub-Sahara Africa, all desperately trying to get into Europe in search of a better life. In 2014 a total of 170,000 entered Italy alone. Recently, the number of unwanted immigrants has swelled to 11,000 in just one week.

    “We’re swamped,” Sandro Gozi, the Italian minister for European affairs, told French daily Le Monde. “There’s not even enough space in Sicily’s cemeteries to bury the dead.” Where are the Italians going to put them? Who wants them? There’s just not enough work. http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/20/africa/italy-migrant-boat-capsizes/index.html

  2. On the other end of Africa, in South Africa, one of the more prosperous African nations, there is an ongoing wave of what is called “xenophobic attacks” against the 10 percent of the population who are migrants from neighbouring African states, like Zimbabwe, and  Asia who seeking a better life for themselves. But poor South Africans see them as unwanted competition for the scarce jobs available in a country where the unemployment rate is 24 percent. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32377743
  3. And finally, the Pew Research Center confirmed that over the past seven years, from 2007 to 2014, the number of Americans who identify themselves as Christian has dramatically fallen nearly 8 percentage points from 78% to just 71% of the population. Fifty-six million Americans don’t observe or practice any religion. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32710444 accessed May 14, 2015.

What do all these signs mean? As a society, collectively we are like the eco-warrior bicyclist in Victoria, ignoring all the warning signs as we make good time pedalling rapidly toward our doom. There’s no doubt that these are serious, even dangerous times. So what should you and I do? Jesus said this to his disciples:

“Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming warning run like hellhorrors and stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:36 (New Living Translation)

Pray to God? That’s the last thing this secular society wants to do. The Canadian Supreme Court recently decided to prohibit municipal officials from praying to the Bible’s God for help before starting on the public’s business.

Many people in the Western world have indeed turned their backs on the wisdom and knowledge that is offered to humanity by God. They have reinterpreted freedom of religion in the 21st Century to now mean freedom FROM religion. After all, they think that in a prosperous, secure society with good health care and abundant food and lots of entertainment, who needs to really seek the Bible’s God?

But, the warning signs are flashing out that there’s danger up ahead. Our future personal safety and security depends upon paying attention to those spiritual flaggers trying to get our attention and get back in line according to the Creator’s established House Rules for Humanity that are spelled out in the Scriptures. As a civilization we are ignoring the warnings to our peril.

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The Foolish Mistake of the West

charlie hebdoIn the aftermath of the recent Islamic jihadis attacks in France, many Western liberals still don’t get it. They don’t get the implication or meaning of what’s behind the on-going, widespread conflicts between Islamic jihadis and anyone who doesn’t buy into their fundamentalist version of Sunni Islam–which, by the way, is widely taught and vigorously sponsored  throughout the world, especially by Saudi Arabia.

Yet, I hear practically endless pontificating by liberal media about how Islam is a peaceful religion that is all about brotherly love, just like the other major religions. If that is true, how is it that broad swaths of the globe–Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, northern Nigeria, northern Mali, and now northern Cameroon–have become for all practical purposes no-go areas for non-Muslims, especially Westerners. All these areas just mentioned are descending or have already descended into an early medieval barbarism that Mohammad himself would recognize. Islam indisputably plays a major role in the rising level of violence throughout the world. Beheadings? Kidnapping women and girls for sex slave auctions? Massacring children at school? Murder?  Rape? Pillage? Dispossession and exile?

In the Western nations, WHO is responsible for the overwhelming majority of terrorist attacks? charlie hebdo3WHO are the Western world’s security forces watching out for? Is it the the orthodox Jews, the Amish, the Catholic Sisters of Mercy or socially conservative Christians? WHO’s shooting cartoonists these days?

Yesterday, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke of the international Islamic jihadist movement,

“They have declared war and are already executing it on a massive scale on a whole range of countries with which they are in contact, and they have declared war on any country, like ourselves, that values freedom, openness, and tolerance. We may not like this and wish it would go away, but it is not going to go away.”

Nevertheless,  many in the West’s media continue to whistle in their own mental darkness as they try to re-assure us all that Islam as it exists is not somehow incompatible with modernity. But it cannot be denied that Islam is indeed the essential malevolent womb that has birthed the international jihadist movement. Without Islam there would be no jihadis shooting up Charlie Hebdo’s offices in Paris.

Let’s do a reality check. If we could have a magic wand and could make Mohammad and his teachings instantly vanish from the minds and hearts of all who practice that religion, would the world also instantly become a better, more peaceful place? Yes or no? Well, the answer charlie hebdo2would be maybe or maybe not. It would depend on what would fill the void.  However, if the actual teachings of Jesus Christ as found in the Scriptures were substituted for those of the medieval Arabian warlord, Mohammad, the answer would certainly be yes–the world would be a more peaceful place! The comparison between how Jesus actually lived and how Mohammad lived is truly dramatic.

The secular Western ruling elite is still willfully blind to the fact that they have created a “conflict of civilizations” problem, which they are completely ill-equipped to resolve. To beat a religious counterfeit that produces bad results one must deploy spiritual truth that produces good results. But when it comes to spiritual things, these secularists can’t distinguish black from white. They don’t understand why reading the Koran produces such different results in comparison to reading and following the Judeo-Christian Bible. They thought all religions were the same.  Consequently, they will never be able to live in peace even within their own borders. Why? Well they imported into the Western nations millions of people  whose belief system is proving to be completely incompatible with their own. They acted foolishly! The prophet Isaiah wrote of these willfully blind leaders:

“‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’

Make the heart of this people dull,
    and their ears heavy,
    and blind their eyes;

 lest they see with their eyes,
    and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts,
    and turn and be healed.”

Then I said, “How long, O Lord?”
And he said:
“Until cities lie waste
    without inhabitant….” (Isaiah 6:9-1, English Standard Version)

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Are prayers for personal help still answered in the 21st Century?

Does God still answer prayers in the 21st Century? Well, there’s one family in Victoria, British Columbia in Canada that thinks so. But obviously, a lot of people these days don’t think so.

In fact the majority of people in the Western world these days suspect that if God isn’t dead like so many lefty intellectuals stridently proclaim, then He must not be too interested in the average person’s day-to-day problems. We know that most of our human leaders don’t really care to listen to us or to help us out in our problems. But is it right to impugn God with having the same crappy, disinterested attitude of the human “gods” who run our nations?

Anywise, consider some quotes from this front page news story that was run in the April 18, 2014 Times-Colonist:

“After a Victoria mother’s wedding ring was stolen from her home Sunday night as she, her husband and two young children slept, she prayed for the hopeless soul responsible—and that police would find the ring.”

“I’m a Christian,” said Sarah Primus, 29. “We have prayed from the beginning for the man—he’s obviously in a very desperate state—and for [Jesus] to lead police to where my ring was.”

“Primus said her joy comes from within—and not from material things—so when she discovered that her house had been robbed she never got angry but instead prayed.”

In a few days police informed Primus of the good news that her wedding band had been sold at a pawn shop but that they had recovered it. She was elated. But then the police gave her the bad news that the ring’s diamond had been removed. Sarah Primus admitted that she was momentarily discouraged and sad.

“Then I said, ‘Jesus, you helped them find my ring and you can help them find my diamond diamondtoo,’” Primus later recounted laughing. “That’s [the potential reality of] divine intervention.”

Well, it turned out that a little bit of good, old-fashioned police work turned up a prime suspect who just happened to be living across the street. After obtaining a search warrant, the police visited the suspect, Peter McKay, and discovered the missing diamond on his person.

McKay was placed in custody and charged with breaking and entering, possession of stolen property, and possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking. As it turned out for the drug dealer stealing a neighbour’s ring was a bad, bad mistake.

Does an omnipotent, eternal God, the Creator of the Universe, still make house calls on planet Earth to those who have faith? And will He help them with even small requests that seem insignificant in the cosmic scheme of things? The oligarchic, liberal elites who run the United States and much of the Western world would laugh at such an “old-fashioned, simplistic” idea.

But, it’s obvious Sarah Primus and her husband had their their faith reconfirmed in Jesus—the Bible’s God who plays a key role in serving humanity’s best interests in both New and Old Covenants. How about you? Do you believe that the Bible’s God would hear your prayers?

John 9:31 (ESV) We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.

Psalm 145:19 (ESV) The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them. 20 The Lord preserves all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.

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Will the “right” man be elected as the new Pope?

So Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Ratzinger, is resigning at the end of this month due to old age. Papal spokesmen assure us, repeatedly, that the still living and kicking but soon-to-be former Pope will not participate in the cardinals conclave in March to select his successor at this second-oldest, on-going “Christian franchise,” the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). Ah yes, we hear from the authorized sources the strict observance of the explicit “letter of the law”—the RCC’s canon law—in public.

But how should we weigh the “spirit of the law” aspects of such a statement? After all, such pre-emptive assurance of Pope Benedict’s non-interest in handpicking his successor is being conveniently offered to us by the employees of the same man who long-ran that secretive multi-national church corporation’s Holy Office of the Inquisition (better known more recently as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) before becoming Pope!

Should we trust a church hierarchy that still officially denies that it systemically covered up and “managed” for hundreds and hundreds of years the fall-out arising from its numerous priestly pedophiles? Granted, however, that we must acknowledge that the RCC will now apologize publicly for their priests’ licentious behaviour and pay compensation to victims. But still, should we trust them?

Actually, I admire Pope Benedict for this pro-active initiative to assure an orderly succession to the top job at the RCC. By resigning now while his mind is still sharp he can make a strong effort to influence the outcome of the cardinals’ vote.  And it goes almost without saying that the “right” man to become the new Pope will be the one who will continue Pope Benedict’s conservative policies. Actually those policies are really just a continuation of those of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

Conservative Catholics are probably relieved by Pope Benedict’s succession gambit. They, like their last two popes, are wary of the moral relativism that is dominating the Western world at this point in time. They don’t believe that all is just a matter of personal preference and opinion. They believe that Truth with a capital “T” really does exist.

Since they also believe that the Pope has the authority to define doctrine in their church, and to make definitive statements concerning truth and falsehood; it is essential, from their point of view, that the “right” man be elected as the next Pope.

I don’t fault them for their logic. After all, if a new Pope was elected who had a secret agenda to institute “reforms” allowing gay marriage, ordination of women, abortion, euthanasia, and easy divorce—well, all would be lost for those supporting conservative values in the RCC. And that’s the flaw in the Catholic tradition of Christianity.

Catholics believe that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ—that he rules as a substitute for Christ and has final authority. In essence, the RCC makes a man and that man’s opinions the arbiter of what is Truth or falsehood.

The gospel of Jesus Christ, however, teaches something else:

Sanctify them [that is to say: purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth. John 17:17 Amplified Bible

When Satan tried to tempt Jesus Christ to enact something, to follow a policy that would, in essence, make an accommodation to a personal preference or desire, Jesus rebutted the Adversary, making this statement on the real source of authority:

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, “People do not live by bread alone [by any material or human means alone], but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 New Living Translation

The part of the Judeo-Christian scriptures that Jesus was quoting to Satan on this issue of the real authority to decide questions of Truth or falsehood is found in Deuteronomy 8:3. Godly authority to decide questions of church policy and all other questions of what is right or wrong is by Sola Scripture, which in Latin means by Scripture Alone. It is the Judeo-Christian Scriptures alone that reveal the Truth. It is never a question of merely any man’s or woman’s personal opinion or preference, whether that person is elected a Pope or not!

All Catholics, all Protestants all secular people, and all believers in other religions are eventually going to learn the answer to this question about where ultimate, legitimate authority rests. Most will learn the hard way at some time in the future. You can learn this right now and act on it to become consecrated to God as His own son or daughter—a higher spiritual office than any earthly Pope— if you will allow the Word of God to direct you into living in and by His Truth.

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Punishing the message and the messenger

The news media in Canada over the last few days has been covering the story of the five-day suspension from a Nova Scotia high school of a 19-year-old senior, William Swinimer. His offense was wearing a T-shirt bearing the slogan “Life is wasted without Jesus.”

According to the superintendent of the South Shore Regional School Board, Nancy Pynch-Worthylake, Swinimer was kicked out of school because the message on his T-shirt offended the beliefs and/or feelings of some other students. The superintendent, however, refused to give any specifics about the complaints that the school authorities had received.

So what was so offensive about William Swinimer’s mild, profanity-free positive affirmation of the Christian faith?

What has happened to our Canadian right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion? Well, this effort by the school authorities to deprive William Swinimer of his freedom to quietly express his faith in a public arena is just one more indication that Canada is well on the way to transforming itself into an aggressive, secular state that insists on uniform compliance with political correctness. Militant secularists progressively attempt to sideline, minimize, label, ridicule, and then suppress the expression of Christian ideas, morality, and ethics in the media and all other arenas of public life.

Why do the secularists do this? Well, it’s obvious. The spiritual worldview taught by the Bible and faith and the secular worldview of materialism and unbelief are diametrically opposed to each other.

When Tory MP Stephen Woodworth introduced his Motion 312 in Ottawa—asking for a parliamentary committee to be formed to review scientific evidence about when human life actually begins so that our 400-year-old definition in the criminal code might be updated—all hell broke loose. The secularists called Woodworth’s motion “an insulting and offensive attack on women’s rights.” They’ve labeled him a “misogynist” and an “ultra-conservative.”

The secularists and pro-abortion people, of course, don’t want a public investigation, or—horrors—a debate on what the scientific evidence on the subject might reveal about when a human being actually becomes a human being. They want to suppress any such parliamentary investigation at all costs. They shudder at the idea that a review of the evidence and a discussion about the morals and ethics of when it’s okay to kill a human fetus might make them look hard-hearted and selfish. Of course, Christianity’s long-held position is that a “good” society promotes loving one’s neighbour—even the most powerless, weak, and vulnerable neighbour of them all.

So, when an audacious teen-ager wears to public school a T-shirt saying, “Life is wasted without Jesus,” uneasy consciences convict the secularists who are indeed upset at the profound implications of that slogan. So, they must suppress the message and punish the one standing in for the Messenger.

The Message that points to Christ on the Cross seems like sheer silliness to those hellbent on destruction, but for those on the way of salvation it makes perfect sense. This is the way God works, and most powerfully as it turns out. It’s written, I’ll turn conventional wisdom on its head, I’ll expose so-called experts as crackpots.
So where can you find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age? Hasn’t God exposed it all as pretentious nonsense? Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb—preaching, of all things!—to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation (1 Corinthians 1:18-21 The Message paraphrase).

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Eco-terrorist or hero? Did Wiebo Ludwig make the right choice?


How should you save the Earth?

On Earth Day this past Sunday, I decided to do something good for the environment—-and for my family and myself. I took up a large big box retailer’s offer to trade in my rusting, ancient of days, gasoline-powered, emissions-spewing lawn mower for a discount off the price of an environmentally friendly classic 20” push reel mower. So it was “no” to creating weekly a small amount of greenhouse gases and “yes” to another anti-obesity habit, i.e. physical exercise.

Of course, in my neighbour’s eyes, this will just be another confirming proof of my eccentricity. They are certain I’m strange—but harmless. After all, I NEVER spray the lawn with toxic herbicides to get rid of those cheerful, well-established dandelions. And I actually go out and regularly commune with my dandelions in order to pick the leaves to steam up for dinner. I’m sure my neighbours have concluded that I’m fraternizing with the weed enemy. But besides doing a little to save the Earth by this small gesture, it also saves me from paying for a bunch of spinach at the supermarket.

My neighbours just don’t understand what they are missing out on. Being Earth friendly can even help you improve your teenagers work habits. Why my almost 15-year-old was so enthused by the novelty of my new push mower that he even volunteered to cut the grass all by himself. And after the job was finished, he began openly musing about starting up his own entreprenurial business selling a “green” lawn cutting service using my new mower. Ah, what unexpected dividends could arise as a green technology transforms a video game-playing, couch potato into a go-get-her Canadian eco-warrior with biceps.

Yet is such a non-violent, stand-up-for-the-Earth choice (apologies to the occasional slugs and bugs that get cut up) in how one exercises appropriate environmental stewardship a better one than that made by the confrontational, Canadian eco-warrior Wiebo Ludwig, who died this year on April 9? Some people call Ludwig an “eco-terrorist.”

Which is the better, more effective path in the long run: A peaceful approach? Or, a more confrontation, violent approach?

Ludwig honestly earned his “eco-terrorist” reputation by blowing up sour gas wells in northwest Alberta in the late 1990s. He was making a statement to the oil and gas industry and the regulatory governmental agencies that they couldn’t ignore. Of course, they didn’t. So Wiebo eventually ended up in jail. He paid a high personal price to open up the conversation about the steep price that is being paid by aquifers, rural families, and their livestock in order to make possible the wealth and power of Western Canada’s oil and gas companies. Oil and gas development is not a completely win-win proposition for all.

But was Wiebo Ludwig right in the way he confronted the dark side to the oil and gas development of northern B.C. and Alberta?

Wiebo sincerely believed that the sour gas wells were causing his daughter’s miscarriages, as well as, the ill-health and even death of some of the livestock on his farm located near Hythe, Alberta. But because industry and government seemingly turned a deaf ear to Wiebo Ludwigs’s environmental complaints and even denied that there really was a problem to be resolved or mitigated, the man chose to act violently in response to his frustration. The legacy of Wiebo Ludwig is full of controversy and, in some quarters, opprobrium. Did he make the right choice?

Wiebo Ludwig was a complicated man. He had good qualities and bad ones, such as his capacity for anger. The Scriptures warn us about the danger of being an angry person:

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil (Ephesians 4:26-27 New Living Translation).

Wiebo also had a degree in Christian theology and was ordained as a minister for the Dutch Reformed Church. Consequently, he knew the Apostle Paul’s list of obligatory character requirements for the ministry:

An elder is a manager of God’s household, so he must live a blameless life. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker, violent, or dishonest with money. Rather, he must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must love what is good. He must live wisely [sound-minded] and be just. He must live a devout and disciplined life [self-controlled]. He must have a strong belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with wholesome teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong (Titus 1:7-9 New Living Translation).

The “sound-mindedness” that the Apostle Paul was requiring meant having an spiritual inner outlook that correctly balanced outward behaviour. While “self-controlled” meant that a minister must master himself from within. But the concluding point in this passage by Paul is that the servant of the Creator must use his talents and the situations that arise in life in the most productive means possible so as to change or persuade those who oppose “wholesome teaching.” One can’t accomplish this change with threats or force.

Wilber Wilberforce struggled within the British parliament for over 30 years in order to extinguish human chattel slavery. By peaceful means he changed a great deal of the social policy of the 19th Century’s superpower, the British Empire. And Wilberforce did it with amazing grace, though for decades he faced seemingly insurmountable roadblocks and reversals.

The Apostle Paul in writing to Timothy, amplified the qualifications of a servant of God, including the importance of a good reputation with non-Church members:

Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap (1 Timothy 3:7 NLT).

Wiebo Ludwig failed in this regard—however accurate his environmental complaint.

In the 21st Century there will be an increasing amount of environmental pollution that will negatively impact areas as small as a single neighbourhood, or as large as an entire geographical region—remember the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico due to BP’s massive oil spill. Environmental disasters will continue to occur because far too many corporate CEOs in their pursuit of profits and bonuses do not practice the golden rule — loving one’s neighbour as oneself So there will always be plenty of work for environmental organizations who protest such abuse of the Earth.

However, for those who would make a profession of Christianity, we must live and act according to the Scriptures when dealing with those who are polluting the environment. Our methodology as individuals should set the right example. With peaceful, persistent persuasion, we must make the changes needed to preserve God’s Creation, this rare blue and green planet that sustains our existence in the midst of the blackness of inhospitable space.
The Christian profession precludes the possibility of any form of political or environmental confrontation that employs some form of violence that might injure others — that is not the Christian way. A good end can never justify a violent means. No matter how egregious the environmental sin, it remains the Creator’s sole personal prerogative—NOT ours—to punish or to exact retribution upon those who are unwittingly or knowingly destroying the Earth (see Revelation 11:18).

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Canada’s great new business opportunity: prostitution!

By a weird twist of irony, Canada’s 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms is now being interpreted by the Ontario Court of Appeal some 30 years after its immaculate conception by Pierre Trudeau as enshrining the inalienable human right of a certain sort of business people, who carry whips and dress in black leather, to run right proper bordellos that provide good security for their sex slaves—sorry, I mean “sex workers.”
As Raymond de Souza, a columnist at the National Post, wrote concerning this court decision:

In the euphemisms employed by the plaintiffs, prostitutes are “sex workers,” as if they were selling real estate or peddling cosmetics. A more accurate term is “sex slaves” — women forced to turn tricks by their drug dealers, the violent gang culture of the streets, or even abusive boyfriends.
http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/03/26/father-raymond-j-de-souza-if-prostitution-is-a-tragedy-why-make-it-easier/

Yes, of course, the court just knew how we, Canadians, have been chaffing at our previously appalling lack of legal rights to conveniently run our own little whorehouses on the prairie, as it were, in our neighbourhood strip malls! Why heck, don’t bother any more with those stuffy sex-ed classes at Billy and Meghan’s elementary school. It would be much easier to have the teachers plan a field trip to their local House of the Rising Sun for an educational show-and-tell that the kids will never forget.

I’m just so impressed with these judges’ seductive powers of legal reasoning. And, what a clever blow below the belt performed on all those moralistic Canadians who just can’t seem to get it through their heads that being a prostitute in a whorehouse is just as good a career choice as, well, being a judge in a court house. Anywise, it’s getting too hard these days to tell the judges and the whores apart anymore. After all, they both seem to be professionally working in a sort of well-paid position.

But prostitution is not like other professions. Most women cannot be said to “choose” a line of work they have been forced into, and find so disgusting, most of them need drugs to numb their misery (assuming they weren’t addicts beforehand). Those championing the rights of “sex workers” base their arguments on theory, and the word of a small minority of confident, articulate, happy or heart-of-gold hookers who know how to manipulate credulous elites. They would get a very different story from Tania Fiolleau, as I did in a recent telephone interview. Tania got into prostitution when an acrimonious custody battle over her two sons left her penniless and desperate. She eventually ran several brothels, serving as madam to 500 prostitutes. On the outside she seemed to have it all: good looks, money and power, but inside “I was the walking dead,” and “a shell of a woman.”

Tania pours scorn on the liberal image of the prostitute as a working gal like any other. Of the hundreds of girls that worked for her, she says, “not a single one ever said that she did not regret it.” She says many of her former workers are homeless or hopelessly drug addicted; some have been murdered or committed suicide.
http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/08/03/barbara-kay-prostitution-is-an-affliction-not-a-profession/

Of course, don’t blame the judges for upsetting the nation’s sexual apple cart. The judges could only work with what parliament handed them. Our politicians have refused, so far, to make the actual act of a human being prostituting herself or himself illegal. Why? Well, maybe some of our politicians would feel a little hypocritical about debating the legality of prostituting oneself.

So, our elected representatives have only passed the type of laws that regulate the business aspects of prostitution, such as running a bawdy house or living off the proceeds of prostitution, and word of mouth advertising (“communicating”). But the act of human prostitution itself has long been legal in Canada. We haven’t seemed to care if people prostitute themselves as long as they haven’t been able to run a regular business that easily and legally profits from sexual fiddle-faddle.

But now, with this judgment by the Ontario appeal court, all this changes. Now, the judges proclaim, Canada is open to fully exploit exciting business opportunities in prostitution. I wonder how long it will be before some big corporations get into the sex business, opening franchises throughout Canada. It’s probably an easy fit for the hospitality business. Talk about room service! Why Canadian prostitution pros could easily recruit a steady stream of new cheap whores from among the pool of secondary school girls, who are over the legal age to give consent for sexual intercourse (maybe 16 rather than 18 since prostitution is now a legal business), by offering to pay twice as much as competing employers like fast food joints and retail. What a great new Canadian business model. Perhaps, I need to pitch my idea to the Dragon’s Den producers!

Now, you might ask, how does this new profitable business model fit in with other Canadian cultural stakeholders like the Churches, Synagogues, or Mosques? The answer lies in the fact that Canada is officially multi-cultural. It’s been generations since we’ve thought of ourselves as a Christian nation. So if all religions are the same, why shouldn’t Canadians adopt the old Canaanite Fertility religion to go along with our new progressive take on prostitution? If we do this, then the whorehouses could do double duty and serve as house of worship as well as a business.

Prostitution was a big business in the ancient Grecian and Roman empires. But mostly the whores back then were enslaved women or boys. So the trick for the modern prostitution business model will be to get young women and men to voluntarily debase themselves for the least amount of money possible. Who knows? Maybe social media could be a useful tool?

Can you tell I’m angry!? I’m so disgusted with our making black white and white black. It is abhorrent to call prostitution a “career choice” or a “charter right.”

The Bible’s God has something to say to parents when advising their daughters about a career choice:


“Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute, lest the land fall into prostitution and the land become full of depravity (Leviticus 19:29 English Standard Version).

To our nation’s parliamentarians and judges the ancient prophet calls out a warning:

Woe to those who call evil good 
and good evil,
who put darkness for light 
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet 
and sweet for bitter!…. for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts,
and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people, and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them,
and the mountains quaked;
and their corpses were as refuse 
in the midst of the streets.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still. (Isaiah 5:20, 24-25 ESV)

And Isaiah adds:

Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees,
and the writers who keep writing oppression… What will you do on the day of punishment,
in the ruin that will come from afar?
 To whom will you flee for help,
and where will you leave your wealth? Nothing remains but to crouch among the prisoners 
or fall among the slain.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still (Isaiah 10:1, 3-4 ESV).

Has the Bible’s LORD God changed His mind about what nourishes the human spirit and what crushes it? Do you think God has changed his mind even a little bit about prostitution? Or the personal consequences incurred by those who promote and profit from what He hates? As the Apostle Paul once wrote:

Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9 The Message).

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Who was the original Christmas grinch?

I challenge you to search the Bible from one end to the other to find a reference to the Christmas celebration or any mention of the early Apostolic church celebrating Christ’s birth on December 25. I’m not talking about the gospel accounts describing the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem during the Fall [late September early October]—as the gospel accounts themselves and known historical facts reveal. I’m talking about scriptural proof that would establish that the early Church of Peter and Paul taught the observance of Christmas in late December or at any other time of the year. In fact it was nearly 300 years after the death of Jesus of Nazareth and his apostles before the Roman Catholic Church invented Christmas. During the period of Oliver Cromwell’s Puritan Commonweath in both England and the New England colonies, about 1640-1660, the celebration of Christmas was forbidden:

During this brief period, the English Parliament banned the celebration of Christmas entirely, considering it ‘a popish festival with no biblical justification’, and a time of wasteful and immoral behavior.
See http://www.olivercromwell.org/faqs4.htm

The bottom line is that the celebration of Christmas is merely a human tradition having no divine sanction. Its origins rest with the Roman Catholic Church in the mid-300s A.D. Would Jesus himself condemn the Christmas celebration? Consider this comment that he made regarding man-made religious traditions developed, supposedly, for the purpose of honouring God:

These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God (Matthew 15:8-10 New Living Translation).

How ironic. What the Bible does teach about true spiritual holy days and practices in the Law of God, for example in Leviticus 23, people mostly ignore and fail to reflect upon. While what the Scriptures do not teach—or even teach against—that, people do. And, they do such things while justifying themselves by saying they’re honouring God and Jesus. We should rather consider carefully what the Scriptures are actually telling us:

And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they [Mary and Joseph] brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel [and now throughout the entire world], and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:22-25 English Standard Version).

Of course, for many people any excuse such as Christmas is a good excuse to go shopping and to have a party. But the fact remains that Jesus and his apostles were the original Christmas grinches! They didn’t keep it. Rather they kept the Holydays found in Leviticus 23. Christmas is nothing but bait and switch humbuggery. The sooner this world learns to discern between true biblical reality and the popular alluring counterfeits such as Christmas masquerading as a Christian festival, the sooner we will experience a global blossoming of genuine peace on this earth. As Jesus taught:

Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo but to complete and fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until the sky and earth pass away and perish, not one smallest letter nor one little hook [identifying certain Hebrew letters] will pass from the Law until all things [it foreshadows] are accomplished. Whoever then breaks or does away with or relaxes one of the least [important] of these commandments and teaches men so shall be called least [important] in the kingdom of heaven, but he who practices them and teaches others to do so shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness (your uprightness and your right standing with God) is more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:17-20 Amplified Bible).

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A Lesson from Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse: dishonouring parents brings a curse

What remains to be said about the tragic death of the famed jazz-soul singer Amy Winehouse? Well, in the secular press you’ll find lots of comments that go something like this: A short sad life, such a waste of talent. Too bad. All true, but not very illuminating or helpful for others.

The Economist news magazine made a deeper analysis in its obituary of Winehouse with this observation:

“Perhaps above all, her life was a lesson in the dangers of early, overwhelming fame—and an admonition to a popular culture that, like a primitive religion, revels in the destruction of its gods” (“A losing game,” Aug. 4, 2011).

Not bad! But still there is a more profound lesson that may be drawn from Winehouse’s recent induction into Club 27’s list of notable dead young musicians that includes: Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Brian Jones among at least 43 others.

While I don’t believe in magic, I do believe that there is such a thing as a curse. The Bible warns:

“For people who hate discipline and only get more stubborn, there’ll come a day when life tumbles in and they break, but by then it’ll be too late to help them” (Proverbs 29:1 Message version).

Amy Winehouse’s parents, Janis and Mitch Winehouse, a few years ago publicly lamented how their daughter’s remarkable, explosive career as a singer/songwriter [her 2006 album Back to Black won a record 5 Grammys] pushed them to the fringes of her new, highly successful but also highly stressful life.

From Mitch and Janis Winehouse’s perspective, their beloved little girl was transformed seemingly overnight into a popular culture music “god,” who was now surrounded by an entourage of “cool” drug-abusing music scene types and tabloid media hacks who fed off her like sharks at feeding time. Their “little angel Amy” became bad girl Winehouse who could be counted on for a good time by music scene low lifes and a stream of outrageous headlines for the tabloid rags. For years Winehouse’s lifestyle of binge drinking, occasional violence, and poly-drug abuse amply fed these various parasites while simultaneously driving her parents to despair.

The Winehouse family tried repeatedly to intervene in their daughter’s life because they knew she needed rescuing from her own self-destructive behaviour. But their efforts availed little because Amy refused to fully cooperate with her parents and change her lifestyle. After all, overcoming addiction and other destructive behaviours requires a meaningful commitment on the part of the one with the problem. In spiritual language this is called repentance.

For those willing to hear—making the Fifth of the Ten Commandments part of your lifestyle offers protection from the personal unhappiness that comes from practicing the primitive, self-destructive religion lived by so many of today’s ”entertainment false gods.” In contrast to depression, unhappiness, violence, and addiction, the Fifth Commandment offers the blessing of strong families and peaceful, happy lives. Such a good blessing is explicitly promised by that commandment:

Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 5:16 (NKJV)

Of course, this vitally important principle of living was not just taught by the Old Covenant. The Apostle Paul made sure it was thoroughly ingrained in the ethos of the nascent Christian church:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord [as His representatives, His co-Creators in your existence], for this is just and right.
Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother—this is the first commandment [or “the preeminent commandment”] with a promise—
That all may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth. Ephesians 6:1-3 Amplified version.

It should be noted that the Fifth Commandment was not just directed to young children who are still living at home with their parents. Jesus Christ made the specific point in the Gospel of Mark chapter 7 verses 10-11 that it continued to be the duty of adult children!

God’s law, His Moral Logic of the Universe always works—doesn’t matter whether you believe there is a God or not —it works for both believer and non-believer. This was a core teaching of the Apostle Paul:

When the Gentiles [non-Jews] sin, they will be destroyed, even though they never had God’s written law. And the Jews [Amy Winehouse was Jewish], who do have God’s law, will be judged by that law when they fail to obey it. For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight. Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right. And this is the message I proclaim—that the day is coming when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge everyone’s secret life (Romans 2:12-16 NLT

Amy Winehouse very publicly failed to obey the Fifth Commandment. Consequently, she also failed to receive the commandment’s promise of long life, well-being, and a happy family of her own. Instead she got the curse of an early, untimely death. This is the totally un-PC lesson you’ll never read about in the secular press. But it is the truth.

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WHY CIRCUMCISION?


By Jean Jantzen and Jeff Patton

Circumcise a boy baby in San Francisco and you could face a year in jail under a proposed San Francisco bylaw that will be put to voters in November (“San Francisco Could Ban Circumcision,” Tristin Hopper, National Post, May 20, 2011). The article also stated that infant circumcision has been in rapid decline in the United States in recent years. In 2006, 56% of American newborns were circumcised. Just three years later in 2009 that number was only 32.5%. In Canada about 31% of newborns are circumcised each year according to a 2007 survey.

As a grandmother of twenty-seven grandchildren, sixteen of them boys, the question of whether to circumcise or not was hotly debated at our family gatherings. I heard both sides of the argument. If God created little boys with a foreskin why should we mess with nature? On the other hand, Jesus was circumcised so why shouldn’t we follow His example? Which perspective is right? Those family discussions challenged me to look into the circumcision question.

Circumcision is the surgical removal (cutting off) of the fold of skin that normally covers the glans (head) of the penis. This double layer of skin, sometimes called the prepuce, is more commonly known as the foreskin.

The first mention of circumcision is found in Genesis 17: 11-13 in which God told his friend Abraham: “Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant between me and you.”

Ever since then, periodically, a cutting edge contention has swept various communities, both religious and secular. In the first century A.D. there was a hot debate about circumcision among the religious leaders of the new Christian Church that threatened to split the Church. In Acts 15 the question about whether adult non-Jewish (uncircumcised) adult men needed their penis foreskins’ to be circumcised in order to be spiritually saved was discussed and finally resolved at a major church council.

This famous Jerusalem council decided that while certain parts of the Levitical law were indeed required to be kept by the non-Jewish converts—for instance, abstaining from food sacrificed to idols or eating animals that had been killed by strangulation, not eating any food products made with animal blood, and not practicing sexual immorality [see Leviticus chapters 17 & 18]—the circumcision of adult males was ruled as not being required of the new Gentile converts.

It should be pointed out, however, that this ruling did not change or even discuss the status quo concerning the infant circumcision being practiced by the believing Jewish Christian community, who comprised the majority of church members at that point in time. The Jewish community, both then and now, circumcise a boy baby on the eighth day after birth as the price of admission to the Old Covenant Hebrew community. Even today, any non-Jewish adult male who wants to ethnically become part of the Jewish community under the Old Covenant must still be circumcised. The Jerusalem council, however, decided Gentile converts did not have to become ethnic Jews first in order to become part of the new Messianic/Christian community. These new members could retain their Greek, Roman, or other Gentile ethnic identity and yet still become a Christian. In taking this position the new Christian community insured that it would be seen, eventually, as something more than being merely one among many of the different sects of Judaism. Christianity would become a universal belief system rather than an ethnic identity caught up in this world’s interminable ethnic/nationalistic struggles that have forever dogged humanity.

But this didn’t mean the question of circumcision disappeared from the Church’s concerns. In fact, the issue of circumcision for the new New Covenant Christian community became, if possible, even more important. Why? Because to become a true Christian rather than just a “Christian” in name only, a nominal Christian, there must take place a genuine spiritual circumcision of the heart (repentance and conversion) by an adult convert, whether male or female. Unless this true, spiritual form of circumcision occurred there would be no salvation under the terms of the New Covenant! The Apostle Paul summed this point up by saying the necessary rite of circumcision was no longer external but internal, being a matter of the heart (I Corinthians 7:17-18).

Even though I knew that physical circumcision was no longer a necessary ritual for adult Christians, I continued to believe there must be some health benefits if God commanded his chosen people, the Hebrews, to be circumcised. However, I never stopped long enough to find out if the Biblically specified method of circumcision was the same as the one performed in our hospitals today.

The technique of circumcision initially was only to remove the “preputial tissue” that extends beyond the tip of the glans penis (1700BC-140AD). The mohel (person designated to perform ritual) grasped the foreskin with the fingers, “which pulled the skin of the shaft upwards. The shield was then slid into place, and the tissue above the slit quickly sliced off. This preserved most of the sensitive inner mucous membrane lining of the prepuce.” For two thousand years in this fashion the Abrahamic covenant was fulfilled, males appeared intact and much of their sexual sensitivity was preserved. (George C. Denniston, MD M.P.H. “Modern” Circumcision: The Escalation of a Ritual http://weber.u.washington.edu/~gcd/CIRCUMCISION/v1n1.html).

The Biblical method was quicker than the Gomco Clamp or the Plastibell methods; it took less than one second and the pain only lasting for an instant. Whereas, the modern methods can last up to twenty minutes and the baby may suffer excruciating pain. The two modern methods, which were put into use some sixty years ago, remove much more foreskin than God intended and is a much more radical than the original Biblical circumcision. Why did modern techniques depart so radically from the much more conservative Biblical approach? Most Jewish males are unaware of the “tragic escalation” in technique that had nothing to do with the Covenant. The rabbis agreed to remove even more foreskin to prevent the Jews from trying to pass as Gentiles. (George C. Denniston, MD M.P.H).

According to the19th-century medical point of view, Jews were purported to be morally and physically superior to non-Jews. The reason given—circumcision (cf. Dr. Peter Remondino, History of Circumcision from the Earliest Times to the Present).

A Jewish physician, Dr. Henry Levien of New York wanted to medicalize circumcision, and to remove it from “religiously trained mohels and to put it in the hands of trained surgeons. During the 1890s, medical journals frequently reported the many infant deaths that occurred at the hands of mohels. This movement parallels the removal of midwifery into the hands of the medical profession. Protestant Christians wanted to have what they imagined to be—the moral and physical advantage—in order to “validate scientifically the wisdom of the Bible” (The Right to Our Own Bodies: The History of Male Circumcision in the U.S. by Frederick Hodges and Jerry W. Warner).

But for us in North America who do not believe in this practice, it is interesting to discover—why circumcision? At the turn of the century, circumcision had become a panacea. Amputation of the foreskin was “scientifically proven” to cure and prevent diseases ranging from insanity to epilepsy, malnutrition, hip-joint disease, paralysis, eczema, tuberculosis, headache, hysteria, alcoholism, criminality, and heart disease” (Hodges and Warner). The genitals were thought of as dirty. And, since cleanliness is close to godliness, “increasingly they [the Victorians] identified personal cleanliness with good morals, sound health, and upright character. From this premise it followed that circumcision should be considered preventive medicine and practiced universally as a matter of public health” (David L. Gollaher).

“Why are Jewish women comparatively free of cervical cancer? Medical researchers now agree that this spectacular freedom results from the practice of circumcision in Jewish men—which God ordered Abraham to institute four thousand years ago. A number of recent studies have borne out the fact that freedom from cancer of the womb is not due to factors such as race or food or environment, but wholly to circumcision.” (None of These Diseases S.I.McMillen MD.)

As parents, we only want to do what we feel is best for our child—right? But, unless we research each of these issues for ourselves, how can we make an informed decision? What you decide about circumcision will affect your child for the rest of his life, both physically and psychologically. So you want to be sure you are making the right decision.

First, let’s examine the part we want to have removed and what its function is?

The foreskin is one of the most erotically sensitive parts of the penis. It represents 50% to 80% of the skin system of the penis, depending on the length of the penile shaft. It is a unique and highly complex organ. The average foreskin has over three feet of veins, arteries, and capillaries, 240 feet of nerve fibers, and over 1,000 nerve endings. If unfolded, the adult foreskin would measure 20 to 30 square inches. The foreskin plays a large role in sexual function. The foreskin has glands that produce a natural moisturizer and lubricant called smegma. Smegma serves the same purpose as tears do in the eye: it keeps everything moist, clean, and lubricated (by Frederick Hodges and Jerry W. Warner).

At birth, the foreskin is tightly attached to the glans or head of the penis. It is like the skin attached to our hand. In order to circumcise or remove the foreskin it must be separated from the glans by force. There are many articles attesting to the fact that this is an excruciatingly painful procedure. According to George C. Denniston, MD, M.P.H. “At birth, the separation of the foreskin from the glans has just begun. The newborn’s penis is, of course, not yet fully developed. Not only does circumcision interfere with its development, but it requires that the surgeon tear the skin from the sensitive glans to permit removal. As a result, scarring occurs, the surface of the glans thickens, and the urinary opening often gets smaller” (Unnecessary Circumcision).

If left naturally, the infant’s intact foreskin will protect the penis from urine and feces and will gradually separate itself from the glans. It cannot be drawn back and trying to do so will injure and cause unnecessary scarring. By the age of four or five, and sometimes much later, the foreskin will be able to be retracted in order to expose and cleanse the head of the penis.

If you decide to circumcise your baby shortly after birth, or later on, you should know what methods are used and how much of the foreskin will be removed. Have you asked your doctor what he knows about circumcision? We know that on the eighth day, Vitamin K is at its highest level. Vitamin K helps the blood to clot. If baby boys are circumcised on this day it prevents excessive bleeding that may occur if they are circumcised right after birth, which the doctor’s usually do for their convenience. “Four thousand years ago, when God initiated circumcision with Abraham, He said, “And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised. “Abraham did not pick the eighth day after many centuries of trial and error experiments….it was a day picked by the Creator of vitamin K.” (None of These Diseases S.I.McMillen MD.)

When the doctor does this procedure he will use either of the following two methods. “The Gomco clamp is a metal cone which fits over the glans and lies between it and the prepuce. The distal foreskin is then removed. The Plastibell consists of a plastic cone which fits over the glans. The foreskin is stretched over this and a ligature is applied at the base. The distal foreskin is excised. The base of the Plastibell is left in situ; the rest of the cone is removed. This base falls off in a few days” (The Problem of Infant Routine Circumcision). If our doctors are not trained properly, or have little knowledge of the function of the foreskin, how do they know how much foreskin is too much or too little? Ask questions. Be informed. Tell the physician how much skin to remove.

We need to be present during the procedure and tell him (in fact, demand) our preferences. Remember when the father was not allowed to be with the mother during the birthing process. In the twenty-first century it would be unthinkable to not give comfort and support to a woman in labor. How much more should we support and comfort our newly-born child during the circumcision process? If we cannot gather the courage to be with our son during this procedure, maybe it would be better to not have the circumcision done.

Dr Pollock, Canada’s most experienced circumcision provider, has safely completed over 30,000 infant circumcisions over the last two decades taking less than 30 seconds to perform while virtually bloodless and painless. He says circumcision reduces risk of urinary tract infection, penile cancer, sexually transmitted diseases and a 60% reduced risk for HIV. (pollockclinics.com) Another doctor responded this way in the National Post to the circumcision controversy : “I am a retired physician and father of two boys. I agree with Dr. Neil Pollock that the need for circumcision is not in question, and it is best done shortly after birth. Just as the mother produces endorphins during labour that helped her tolerate the pain of childbirth, her newborn son also has circulating endorphins ameliorating the pain produced by a not-so-gentle arrival process.”(Don’t Wait to Cut Dr. Warren Hindle, National Post, April 9,2011)

To conclude, the spiritual significance of circumcision is what is even more important for us as Christians today. God’s word thunders out over the millennia:

12 “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good? 14 Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the LORD your God, also the earth with all that is in it. 15 The LORD delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day. 16 Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer. Deuteronomy 10:12-16 NKJV

It is interesting to note that from the LORD’s point of view being “stiff-necked” is synonymous with uncircumcision (Acts 7:51). He said, “Circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live,” Deuteronomy 30:6 (ESV).

The bottomline with physical circumcision is this: our bodies are temporary and physical life is short. Physical circumcision is not essential for salvation for those living under the New Covenant. However, physical circumcision does provide some potent and scientifically demonstrable health benefits as does applying the spiritual understanding that comes from practicing the rest of the “principles for living” found in God’s commandments, statutes, and judgments, such as refraining from eating blood or sexual immorality.

Remember what the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 3:29, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” If you are parents expecting a child and you value your heritage as the physical or spiritual descendants of Abraham then you will want to follow Abraham’s example. God said of Abraham,

“I will cause your descendants to become as numerous as the stars of the sky, and I will give them all these lands. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed. 5 I will do this because Abraham listened to me and obeyed all my requirements, commands, decrees, and instructions.” Deuteronomy 26:4-5

The decision is up to you!

http://www.blumenthalclinic.com.au/content_common/pg-circumcision-procedure-sydney.seo

Circumcision Information
• 
As a specialist Obstetrician, Dr Blumenthal gives you expert advice on this operation.
• Eliminates the risk of phimosis, which affects 1 in 10 older boys and men. This condition refers to a tight foreskin that cannot be pulled back fully, so making cleaning under it, and passing urine, difficult.
• Reduces by 3-fold the risk of inflammation and infection of the skin of the penis. One in 10 uncircumcised men gets inflammation of the head of the penis and foreskin.
• Over 10-fold decrease in risk of urinary tract infection. Whereas risk of this is only 1 in 500 for a circumcised boy, 1 in 50 uncircumcised male infants will get a urinary tract infection.
• Over 20-fold decrease in risk of invasive penile cancer.
• One in 600 uncircumcised men gets penile cancer, which usually requires penile amputation or disfiguring surgery.
• Uncircumcised men have 1½ – 2 times the risk of prostate cancer, which affects 1 in 6 men.
• Reduces by approximately 3 to 7 fold the risk of getting HIV (AIDS), during sex with an infected person.
• Circumcision also affords substantial protection against thrush as well as sexually transmitted infections such as papilloma (wart) virus and syphilis.
• Circumcision reduces by up to 5 times the risk of the man’s female partner being infected by Chlamydia or getting cervical cancer (which is caused by human papillomavirus). The load of infectious bacteria and viruses that accumulate under the foreskin is delivered into the female genital tract during sex.
• If not circumcised soon after birth, up to 10% will later require one anyway for medical reasons.
• Credible research shows that most women prefer the appearance of the circumcised penis. They also prefer it for sexual activity. Hygiene is one reason; increased contact of the penis with the vaginal wall, and stimulation, are others.Eliminates the risk of phimosis, which affects 1 in 10 older boys and men. This condition refers to a tight foreskin that cannot be pulled back fully, so making cleaning under it, and passing urine, difficult.
• In general, sexual function and sensation are the same or better in circumcised men. The problem of overly tender sensitivity of the head of the penis experienced by most uncircumcised men is virtually eliminated.In general, sexual function and sensation are the same or better in circumcised men.

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When compromise becomes the language of the Devil

When my youngest son wants to do something I’m not too excited about, we’ll talk together and come up with a compromise solution in which each of us gives a little so that the household can continue on in harmony.

Compromise is a normal part of the give and take of any family or human relationship. We adapt our personal preferences and opinions for the greater good of getting along with another. That’s normal.

But when it comes to the moral logic of the Universe and the demonstrable truth of the Judeo-Christian scriptures about what is right and what is wrong, it has always been required of Christians in every epoch of history to draw a line in the sand over something with which they cannot compromise.  To accept the sinful cultural practices of their time or civilization would have been anathema.

For first century A.D. Christians it was not offering a pinch of incense on the Roman altar of state in order to acknowledge that Caesar was supreme: a small act of Roman paganism that clearly violated the Bible’s first commandment:

Then God gave the people all these instructions: “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. You must not have any other god but me” (Exodus 20:1-3 NLT).

Many thousands of Christians were hideously murdered by the barbaric Roman state for refusing to compromise with the “most noble Caesar, the civilized world’s benefactor” and just offer that little act of worship.

For post-modern Christians living in the 21st Century, there is now a tremendous pressure to conform to what may be labelled “politically correct paganism,” which like all the pagan ideologies of the past, essentially worships and exalts human ideas of right and wrong above the divine ones taught by the Hebrew and Greek scriptures.

In the latest edition of a sorry series of similar events, a biblical-values sensitive, conservative Anglican congregation was forced out of its long-held church property—St. Albans Anglican Church on King George Street—at which they had been meeting since before Canadian Confederation in 1867 by the “politically correct” Anglican Diocese of Ottawa. The issue was same sex marriage.

The pastor of this forced-to-leave congregation, George Sinclair, said:

The move was “an issue of conscience, and for us, conscience trumps building …
A church that just has the building, but does not have the dreams and visions that come from God, is on its way to dying … If you end up thinking you’re smarter and nicer and wiser than the master [Jesus Christ], in what way are you still his disciple? … The Bible is very clear on certain things, as to what is right or wrong.”
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/Anglican+Church+followers+find+home/5008958/story.html#ixzz1QcGf00LT

These conservative Anglicans came to understand that when it comes to sin—compromise is indeed the language of the devil.

Sin? What is sin? Why can’t one compromise with sin?

The Apostle John gave a succinct defintion of just what sin is:

“Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4 NRSV).

The law that the apostle was referring to is God’s law as contained in the Hebrew and Greek bibles—not Canada’s federal and provincial law, not even the rules and policies of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa.

God’s law divides behaviour and thought patterns into those that are permitted, generally called “righteousness” and those that are forbidden, which is “sin.”

Spiritually speaking, there are serious consequences for those who deliberately chose to live sin-full lifestyles. As the Apostle Paul wrote:


For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23 NLT).

The reason no one can compromise with sin and get away with it in the long run is because…well, without God we’re just dead meat. The Bible does NOT say you have an immortal soul! The scriptures clearly teach that eternal life is only for those who belong to Christ and who are resurrected from among the dead (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:23).

The whole purpose of Jesus first coming and His sacrifice was to rescue His people from the consequences of sin. We cannot cuddle up to or give ourselves permission to do what the Scriptures say is wrong and not pay the price! Again, listen to this warning from the Apostle John:

Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. 8 But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:7-8 NLT).

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Canuck Fans Run Riot for their Obsession!


Whenever Islamic fanatics’ religious sensitivities are sufficiently stirred up–say by an unflattering event like the publication of an editorial cartoon that mocks their star player from Mecca and so hurts their self-esteem –then those fans riot in the streets. They love to make the world hear their violent expressions of support for their hometown teams of radical ayatollahs and mullahs. So, in consideration of last night’s riot in downtown Vancouver following the Bruins-Canucks game, is there really much of a difference between those humourless jihadis and our wickedly narcissistic Canucks’ hockey “fan-atics”?

After all, both like to occasionally go out for an exciting evening of burning cars, looting, and mixing it up with the regime’s police in the name of their obsesssions!

You know, evidently, some Canuck fans can be very deceptive. On the surface they seem like such a calm, agreeable people. Probably they think of themselves as progressive, peaceful, good people. But when it comes to hockey, they’re incendiary fan-atics. They are sports pagans with more than a few loose screws. And last night they showed the world what their belief system was all about: it’s all about me being as despicable and violent as I want and I don’t mind if the whole world knows.

Why, those sports pagans were so proud of their riotous worship last evening that they took all sorts of photos and videos of themselves with their mobile phones in order to proselyte their friends on YouTube and Facebook about their new doctrine (“Thou shalt not be hesitant to act like a flaming jerk to thy neighbour or thy neighbour’s property”).

Indeed, for many of these 20s-something young people in downtown Vancouver last night, this was their first real opportunity to prove to us their level of zeal as new converts to sports paganism by hopping up and down on burning cars. After watching a number of videos posted on the Internet, I do wonder just how many bystanders were also caught up in this pagan worship by cheering on the fan-atics as they performed their violent rituals celebrating the power of spiritual darkness.

Seriously, Canada’s generalized hockey obsession does occasionally bring out the worst in some people. Consider the hockey riots of 2010, 2008, 2006, 1994, 1993, 1986, and even 1955. This is a recurring problem that has a lot to do with the fact that many of these fan-atics lack a solid ethical and moral foundation based on the Judeo-Christian scriptures. If they did, they would have known that it is written:

“You must not follow a crowd in wrongdoing” (Exodus 23:2 Holmen Christian Standard Version).

There will be much hand-wringing by various public officials about this Vancouver riot for some time. But I promise you that nothing will be done to really get at the heart of the problem—which is spiritual. You cannot turn your back on the God of the Bible and push His teachings out of the public square and expect anything but bad results. We are now beginning to reap the bad that we as a society have sown. Take warning because times are going to get worse. For your own safety, do not hang around with these sports fan-atics.

In the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that (2 Timothy 3:1-3) New Living Translation)!

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Harold Camping and other Apocalyptic Imposters

As amazing as this lovely sunny Victoria Day weekend may seem, the American radio evangelist, Harold Camping and his followers, who are mostly evangelical Protestants, are adamantly expecting and vociferously announcing to the world that there will be a massive earthquake rolling around the planet through its various time zones on May 21st at about 6 p.m. The earthquake, according to these people, who strongly proclaim themselves to be Bible-believing Christians, will signal their Rapture to heaven as Christ’s true believers, and the beginning of Judgment Day upon the ungodly who are left behind. Or, so they think.

Camping, using a ton of money given to him by his “sheep,” has paid for more than 2,000 billboards, many full-page advertisements in major newspapers, and countless radio programs in order to broadcast and publicize this latest incarnation of an End of the World prediction addiction.

To the liberal media, people like Harold Camping are indeed made in heaven! Mostly secular and cynical, the press has long had a morbid fascination for people like Harold Camping They’re great for the “news” business! Besides, from their perspective, such weirdo prophecy bugs can serve as useful straw-men in the ideological political struggle between left and right over the role of Biblical morality in our society. After all, according to press’ logic, if someone like Harold Camping, who proclaims himself to be such a strong believer in the Bible, actually reveals himself to be a complete moron, then anyone else who believes what the Bible teaches must also be one. Thanks Harold for making their job so easy!

Harold Camping is ignorant of what the Bible teaches. He has loudly and widely misrepresented Scriptural teachings bringing disrepute onto the name of God, Jesus Christ, and the Church. Shame, shame, shame on him! Camping should have bothered to take the time to read Matthew 25:1-13:

1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

These are trying times for all believers. People like Harold Camping—who are spouting pride, deception and doctrinal lies—are just making life difficult for both you and for me by bringing Christianity into disrepute. Listen to what the Apostle Paul wrote to his coworker Timothy about these times:

1 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
6 They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the confidence of vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by various desires. 7 (Such women are forever following new teachings, but they are never able to understand the truth.) 8 These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres [unbelievers] opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith. 9 But they won’t get away with this for long. Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are, just as with Jannes and Jambres. 10 But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. 11 You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. 12 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived (2 Timothy 3 New Living Translation).

Don’t allow yourself to be deceived by imposters like Harold Camping. Jesus actually warned His disciples about this!

As he [Jesus] sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray (Matthew 24:3-5 English Standard Version).

Most of today’s deceivers are not going about saying that they are the returning Messiah. Rather, they are saying they are Christians, and all that one needs to do is say, “I believe Jesus is the Christ.” This common verbal profession is camouflage or subterfuge. The real test to determine who is a faithful servant of Jesus Christ is not revealed by words but by actions.

The Apostle John explained this validity test in his first general circular letter to the Churches:

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked (1 John 2:3-6 ESV).

You will be able to eliminate 99.9% of the so-called “Christians” with apocalyptic prediction addiction syndrome if you ask yourself: do they remember to keep holy the 7th day of the week, the Sabbath. Secularly this day is called Saturday and the commandment to keep it holy is stated in the 4th of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:8 and Deuteronomy 5:12. As the New Covenant’s book of Hebrews points out:

There remains, therefore, Sabbath-keeping [Greek: sabbatismos] for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9 Coulter Translation).

When Christ returns as prophecy foretells, He will give “rest” and bring peace to a war torn world, but meanwhile, followers of Christ will be honouring Him weekly by keeping His Sabbath rest. God only grants spiritual discernment and knowledge of future events to those who are willing to obey HIm. So, I dare say, neither the cynical secular press, nor the religious false prophets like Harold Camping— all of whom refuse to obey God’s commandments—are going to be able to clearly understand Scriptural prophecy before the actual Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

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Picture this… the Second Coming of Osama Bin Laden

In a CBS News interview yesterday, U.S. President Barak Obama rejected releasing grisly death pictures of the al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden, saying,

“We don’t trot this stuff out as trophies… The fact of the matter is, this was somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received, and I think Americans and people around the world are glad that he is gone. But we don’t need to spike the football” (referring to the iconic athletic enthusiasm exhibited by American footballers when they score touchdown points).

Yes, Bin Laden was indeed worthy of the death penalty as he led the terrorist organization responsible for the massacre of many thousands of innocent people. As the Judeo-Christian scriptures explicitly teach in the Law:

However, if someone deliberately kills another person, then the slayer must be dragged even from my altar and be put to death (Exodus 21:13 New Living Translation).

A few bullets to the head administered by a Navy SEAL, however, is just the beginning of the justice process for Osama Bin Laden.

In this, President Barak Obama, a self-professing Christian, seems to be ignorant. While acknowledging in the CBS interview that some people will indeed deny the certainty of Bin Laden’s execution without the release of convincing pictures, Obama asserted:

There is no doubt that Osama Bin Laden is dead. Certainly there is no doubt among al-Qaida members that he is dead…There are going to be some folks who deny it. The fact of the matter is, you will not see Bin Laden walking on the Earth again (Sheldon Alberts, Postmedia News, May 5, 2011).

Well, the real fact of the matter is, and this will be news to President Obama and perhaps many readers, Osama Bin Laden will yet again walk on the Earth! Yes, you read that correctly. There will be a “Second Coming” of this killer. And I’m not just talking metaphorically as when some other murderous Muslim fanatic commits similar crimes under the inspiration of Osama Bin Laden’s example.

How can I make such an assertion? Well, the fact of the matter is, as explained in multiple places in the Holy Scriptures, such a “Second Coming” is precisely what is going to happen to Osama Bin Laden. Notice this biblical prophecy foretelling what shall take place in the End Time:

“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people [He is one of God’s archangels]. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:1-2 English Standard Version).

Even the New Covenant’s Apostle Paul asserted that bad men like Bin Laden will come to life again and walk on the Earth:

…there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust (Acts 25:15 ESV).

Why would God bother to bring back the bad guys? Well, God has a plan for every mortal human being including you, and me:

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27 King James Version).

Jesus Christ himself, the Son of God, taught there is indeed coming a time of reckoning for all who have ever lived, including wicked men like Osama Bin Laden and all his al-Qaida crew of cutthroats:

Do not be surprised and wonder at this, for the time is coming when all those who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and they shall come out–those who have practiced doing good [will come out] to the resurrection of [new] life, and those who have done evil will be raised for judgment [raised to meet their sentence] (John 5:28-29 Amplified Version).

The fact of the matter is, the real judgment day is still to come when Bin Laden will stand in the docket to fully answer for his behaviour. I’m looking forward to having a courtroom seat to witness such an event. But in the meantime I’m making it my business to be among those whom God will call righteous rather than unrighteous. How about you?

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What’s your life worth?

This morning on the one-year anniversary of the world’s worst oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, I was listing to a CBC Radio 1 interview with Kenneth Fineberg, who is also known as the “pay czar” for British Petroleum’s US$20 billion compensation fund for those hurt by that environmental disaster. Fineberg, a legal specialist in mediation and alternative dispute resolution, was previously the Special Master of the U.S. government’s September 11th Victim Compensation Fund a decade ago and wrote a book about his experience called “What is Life Worth?: The Unprecedented Effort to Compensate the Victims of 9/11.”

So, how does Mr. Fineberg place a value on a human life? Well, it’s all fairly cut and dried being mostly numbers and statistics: A) Determine how much the person was making at the time of his or her death B) Estimate how many more years could that person reasonably have been expected to continue earning such money. C) Multiply A x B + something for “pain and suffering,” and voilà, you get a sum printed off on a compensation cheque.

Of course, the party or parties who suffered the loss of their loved one can always sue and try to make the case for a higher figure. But you’re going to have to convince the judge and the jury, dollar-wise. For most people, the high legal costs for such a run through the “justice” system makes accepting the pay czar’s formula fixing the life-value of their loved one the only rational choice—even if the final figure seems low and cold.

So, have you ever stopped to figure out what YOUR life is worth? Or, maybe even, what is all human life on this entire planet worth? To most people the logical answer would have to be: “utterly priceless” or “more than the total sum of all the money and things of value in the world.” I mean, how else could you figure such enormous present and potential value?

Actually, someone once working in a capacity like a “pay czar” did put a value on all humanity’s redemptive value in monetary terms. The amount was equal to what it would cost to hire the average, full-time workingman for 120 days. In 2007 U.S. dollars this would be $22,560 in Canada or about $31,680 in the United States or $26,688 in Germany or only $16,992 in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus. That was the value of 30 pieces of silver in A.D. 30.

When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death. 2 And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor. 3 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!”
5 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.
6 But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.” 7 And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. 8 Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.
9 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, 10 and gave them for the potter’s field, as the LORD directed me” (Matthew 27:1-10 New King James Version).

The value of Jesus’ life to his Father was priceless. But for the lawyers and compensation specialists of 2,000 years ago, 30 pieces of silver was enough. So, what is YOUR life worth?

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

So don’t place a low value on your life. You are worth more than any lawyer or accountant could imagine. As the Apostle Peter said,

You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:19-19 NKJV).

If you would like to hear more about your worth to God and the value of human life check out my messages “Preparing for the Passover” and “Spirit of Service” posted on http://cogwebcast.com/

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Looking out for Wisconsin’s and Nanaimo’s best interest

On Friday, April 1, 2011, the Wisconsin state governor Scott Walker signed into law an immensely controversial bill passed by that state’s legislature the previous evening despite death threats, intimidation, and large demonstrations by organized labour supporters. The new law effectively puts this Midwestern state’s public-sector unions on a diet of low-fat cheese at a time when many American states and municipalities are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. The consequences of such defaults on state and municipal financial obligations would be profound.

The Wisconsin Republican governor, arguing that he was elected in order to make the tough decisions needed by the times, successfully pushed this change in the law. Walker consistently said that both the state and its local governments needed it in order for them to balance their budgets. Without it, large numbers of public employees would have to be laid off, and/or taxes would be increased.

The new Wisconsin law effectively reduces the power of some public-sector labour unions. It limits future public employee pay raises to the inflation rate, requires public-sector unions to hold annual certification votes, and no longer allows those unions to collect their union dues directly from their member’s pay cheques. The revised law also requires public employees to make greater contributions to their pension and medical plans.

For decades now, public-sector labour unions have been the fastest growing part of the organized labour movement in North America. These unions have secured for their members high wages and pension benefits that are often far more generous than those accessible to the average joe in the private sector.

When the North American economy was significantly growing in girth by leaps and bounds such generosity to its public employees seemed affordable. But since the economic shock of 2008 and the accompanying severe decline in tax receipts, it has become inevitable that an obese public sector would have to start dieting for the long-term good of their communities.

While the Wisconsin legislators were bravely running the gauntlet of protesting, high-fat demanding, cheese-heads in their quest to skim the state’s milk, I was sitting in a non-descript Nanaimo high school meeting room listening to our local school district’s parent advisory council discuss the cuts that will have to be made in the district’s budget.

In Nanaimo, we don’t even have low-fat dairy creamer for DPAC representatives’ tea or coffee—just that phony white plastic-fat powder. Should we recommend that the school district charge parents for the privilege of allowing their kids to take the school buses? Maybe we should advocate charging teachers for their parking spaces in the school lots? Cuts to programs? Close schools? Two weeks for spring vacation instead of one? Even if we suggested selecting all of the above that still wouldn’t find us the necessary 3 to 4 million dollars in cuts our school district will need to make in 2011-2012 to balance our schools’ budget.

The problem is that of our $120 million annual school budget 93% is wages—most of which is negotiated by the Province of British Columbia with its educational public-sector unions and is untouchable. That leaves roughly 7% or $8.4 million to fund the district’s educational programs and to buy stuff like texts books for all students.

I pointed out at our DPAC meeting that, if our priority goal was really to educate young people, then budget cuts should come from the 93% of the budget going to public-sector employees rather than from the 7% needed to provide students with quality programming. Yet, most likely, the $3-4 million in cuts will come from this remaining 7% of the budget used for our students because this cut will cause the least amount of controversy among the arguing interested groups. But this means a devastating potential reduction of 35 to 47% in our ability, in dollar terms, to create effective and relevant educational programs for our young people!

But I’m sure when the open public meetings start on this problem next week in Nanaimo that we will have as many hard feelings and heated arguments expressed as have the people in Wisconsin.

It would seem that in our contemporary wrangling over public budget shortfalls that we could all use a reminder from the Apostle Paul about how we should approach working out what’s really in the best interest for our communities as a whole:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:3-5 New American Standard Bible).

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Men of Honor - Genral Lee surrenders to Grant

How do we restore our honour?


Men of Honor - Genral Lee surrenders to Grant

Does honour have a role in our society anymore? Or, is it just a relic of the past that had, perhaps, its last great hurrah at Appomattox with Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant along with all those Red Badge of Courage soldiers of the American Civil War?

For many in our modern society the whole concept of honour seems to be antiquated, quaint, or maybe even dangerous. Certainly, some today talk up their own “honour” as ugly window-dressing to excuse their own bad and or even evil behaviour. As poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote of one such hypocrite: “The louder he talked of his honour, the faster we counted our spoons.”

Are we losing our sense of honour? Over 2,100 years ago, an emancipated Syrian slave named Publilius Syrus, who was publically recognized by Julius Caesar for his quick wit and wisdom, asked, “What is left when honour is lost?” The answer, of course, is… not much and not for long.

Think about this. For the last 30-40 years the Western liberal democracies have supported corrupt autocratic despots throughout North Africa and the Middle East despite the fact the all these nations’ governing elites actively were suppressing with force or buying off with bribery their own populations. Western governments sold out their political ideals in favour of realpolitik compromise in order to continue accessing cheap oil.

The European and North American governments were even willing to tolerate Muammar Qaddafi—a serial mass murderer proven to be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of their own citizens not to count the thousands of Libyans who perished at his orders. Our Western governments were willing to hold their noses despite Qaddafi’s stench of death just to continue accessing Libya’s “sweet crude” at cheap prices. Crude indeed! Where was honour? It had vanished in the West.

Six months ago on August 28, 2010, conservative media personality Glenn Beck held his ‘Restoring Honour’ rally on America’s National Mall in Washington, D.C., drawing a crowd of about 100,000. Enormously controversial, perspectives on Beck and his rally diverged sharply according to the typical American left-right political divide.

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly described it as an “appeal for a return to Judeo-Christian values” and called it “a huge victory for Glenn Beck and Americans who believe that his message of honour and dignity is worthwhile.” Conversely, liberal radio host Bill Press, who attended the rally personally, criticized the “Christian religious fervor” of the event, remarking that at one point he expected Beck “to part the Reflecting Pool and walk across it.” Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post described Beck as an “egomaniacal talk-show host who profit(s) handsomely from stoking fear, resentment and anger”, while calling his “absurdly titled” rally “an exercise in self-aggrandizement on a Napoleonic scale.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restoring_Honor_rally”

It is amazing how the subject of honour, or teaching honour, or rebuilding standards of honour should be such a divisive, hot-button issue. Nevertheless it is! And the reason for this controversy over restoring honour is because the old, once agreed upon moral and ethical standards that once underpinned the concept of honour in our civilization have also vanished.

Recently, Brigham Young University, a private Mormon university in Provo, Utah, created quite a stir in the collegiate sports world—or maybe, astonishment is the better word—when it disqualified Brandon Davies from BYU’s highly ranked basketball team just prior to the NCAA championship tournament. Now for the uninitiated sportsphobe, Brandon Davies is not just your average hoopster. He is, or rather was, the BYU b-ball team’s superstar. Some say that it was his talent on the court that had made BYU a NCAA trophy contender. But whatever Brandon Davies basketball ability, it made no difference to the BYU administrators concerned with upholding the honour of their institution. Davies ran afoul of BYU’s Honour Code by having pre-marital sex with his girlfriend and that got him cut from the eligibility list. The BYU Honour Code cuts no special deals for “privileged personalities.” It states rather simply:

Be honest
Live a chaste and virtuous life
Obey the law and all campus policies
Use clean language
Respect others
Abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee, and substance abuse
Participate regularly in church services
Observe the Dress and Grooming Standards
Encourage others in their commitment to comply with the Honor Code
http://saas.byu.edu/catalog/2010-2011ucat/GeneralInfo/HonorCode.php#HCOfficeInvovement

Let’s be frank. With the exemption of Brigham Young’s Mormon idiosyncrasies regarding “alcoholic beverages… tea, coffee,” the rest of the BYU Honor Code is soundly based on the Judeo-Christian scriptures that have been the primary moral foundation for much of the Western world’s sense of personal honour for some 2,000 years. But in the “progressive” 2011 world of university amateur sports, such a code of honourable conduct no longer exists—or, perhaps it is more accurate to say, it is no longer really enforced even if those educational and sports institutions still have it on the books. To them even the mere idea of an honor code is laughable! Why?

Well, winning university sports programs equal big money: tens of millions of dollars from broadcast license fees, ticket sales, swag sales, corporate sponsorship and alumni donations. Winning is the only thing that counts to those institutions of lower learning. The profitable ends are seen as justifying the corrupt means. This is just like Western governments tolerating oppression and the spilled blood of innocents so they can keep the cheap “sweet crude” flowing. They’re immorally equivalent. Joe O’Connor, a reporter with National Post newspaper, observed:

College sports in the United States are awash with scurrilous dealings and out-and-out skullduggery. Schools with long and glorious winning traditions and boosters with money to burn will often resort to, well, just about anything to entice a superstar high school athlete to play for them and, once they are enrolled, do almost anything they can to keep them happy.
Need some new clothes? Done. Spending money? No problem. A car? Take mine. Free gas? Fill ’er up. Having trouble in school? We’ll write the test. Homesick? How about a prostitute? Yes. A prostitute. College athletes, the best of the best, are treated like gods. Naughty gods, while college coaches and athletic administrators are the great corrupters.
http://sports.nationalpost.com/2011/03/05/student-of-morals-byu-star-dropped-for-premarital-sex/

As the acerbic satirist H.L Mencken once wrote, “The difference between a [im]moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has not been caught.” (Prejudices: Fourth Series,’ 1924). Pardon my brackets of scribal emendation.

Today, while many American lefties discount the idea of having a rally to promote the idea of “restoring honour,” it should be noted that honour is the main reason the United States of America survived and prospered to become the most powerful nation in the world after its Civil War of some 150 years ago. How so?

On April 9, 1865, Robert E. Lee, commanding general of the Army of Northern Virginia, was staring defeat in the eye. The southern Confederate States of America were in deep trouble after four years of warfare with the much richer and materially stronger northern United States of America. Surrounded on three sides by his foes, Lee knew that the history books are almost always written by a war’s victors. Typically in a civil war/rebellion situation, the victors get the spoils while the losers get it in the neck—just like in Libya today.

If Robert E. Lee surrendered to the opposing Union general, Ulysses S. Grant, he had no idea what his fate or that of his men would be. Humiliation? Prisoner of war camp? Execution as criminals? Neither Lee nor his men were afraid to die. They had already proven that countless times during the previous four years. But dishonour was something else. What should he do? Lee’s alternative to surrendering his army as a single unit was to allow his army to disband into small units and melt into the forested hills adjacent to his position and to carry on the Confederate struggle by guerrilla warfare.

The odds were that the South might actually beat the North in a protracted, vicious guerrilla conflict, just like the Spanish and Russians beat Napoleon or like, a century later the North Vietnamese and Chinese beat the Americans in Southeast Asia. In fact, historically, Abraham Lincoln and his Union generals’ greatest fear was that the weaker southern Confederacy would opt for guerrilla warfare in order to even the odds with the strong northern Union. They would bleed them white through low intensity conflict and countless small attacks and ambushes. As University of Maryland historian and Wall Street Journal contributor Jay Winik writes:

Total conquest could be resisted, until, perhaps, attrition and exhaustion would lead the North to sue the South for peace…. [Lee] listened to one of his most trusted advisers in the cool early morning hours of April 9…he was doing some quick calculations in his head about the effect that generations of bushwhacking—guerrilla warfare—would have on the country…. What was honorable? What was proper? What is right? He quickly reasoned that a guerrilla war would make a wasteland of all that he loved. Brother would be set against brother, not just for four years, but for generations. Such a war would surely destroy Virginia [and the South], and just as surely destroy the [northern United States] as well.

As [Lee] had once said, ‘It [is] better to do right, even if we suffer in so doing, than to incur the reproach of our consciences & posterity.” Thus, Robert E. Lee, so revered for his leadership in war, made his most historic contribution to peace. By this one momentous decision, he spared the country the divisive guerrilla warfare that surely would have followed, a vile and poisonous conflict” (April 1865, The month that saved America, HarperCollins, 2001, pp. 164-154.)

So, how do we in the 21st Century re-build a sense of honour amongst our peoples in the West? Perhaps surprisingly to some, Jesus of Nazareth pointed the way during his sermon on the mount when he said:

Trivialize even the smallest item in God’s Law and you will only have trivialized yourself. But take it seriously, show the way for others, and you will find honour in the kingdom. Unless you do far better than the Pharisees in the matters of right living, you won’t know the first thing about entering the kingdom [of eternal life and light] (Matthew 5:19-20 The Message paraphrase).

This is a remarkable teaching by the Son of Man linking moral thought and godly behaviour to honour. The Ten Commandments, in effect, make for a very effective code of honour. It is short in form and fairly easy to commit to memory. However, its profound, succinct principles have stood the test of time in providing the basis for serious reflection on and guidance in most of the dilemmas and questions that come our way in this life. Blow the dust of your Bible and check them out in either Exodus 20 or Deuteronomy 5.

As King David of ancient Israel would sing under the stars,

1 LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle?
Who may dwell in Your holy hill?
2 He who walks uprightly,
And works righteousness,
And speaks the truth in his heart;
3 He who does not backbite with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;
4 In whose eyes a vile person is despised,
But he honors those who fear the LORD;
He who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
5 He who does not put out his money at usury,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved. Psalm 15

Just think what a different world this would be if we actually embraced and lived by such a code of honour.

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Jesus’ perspective on Pakistani-style blasphemy laws

Happy New Roman Tax Year! One of the first major news stories of 2011 is about the January 4th assassination of Salman Taseer, the Governor of the Pakistani Province of Punjab. Governor Taseer was marked for death because he had the audacity to speak out against the injustice that was being perpetrated against Asia Bibi, a member of the small Christian minority living in overwhelmingly Muslim Pakistan.

Bibi’s offense, it seems, was that she had the nerve while working as an agricultural field hand under Pakistan’s blazing sun to dip her drinking cup into a communal water bucket to quench her thirst. According to various news accounts, an argument immediately ensued as Bibi, a Christian, was accused by her Muslim peers of making the water impure. In the course of the arguing among the farm workers, Bibi was accused of blaspheming Islam and insulting its prophet. Thrown into prison for 18 long months while awaiting her trial, Bibi was eventually sentenced to death by a district court judge who based his conviction on hearsay.

Apparently, Governor Salman Taseer was murdered because he raised important questions regarding the place of the Koran’s blasphemy laws within modern Pakistan, offending that nation’s surging Islamic fundamentalist establishment. Human rights groups pointedly argue that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are commonly used by Islamic religious extremists as well as ordinary Pakistanis to settle personal grudges.

Those Koranic blasphemy laws were also cited in the fatwa urging the murder of the author Salman Rushdie and his publishers in 1989 for releasing his critically acclaimed but controversial book called The Satanic Verses that negatively portrayed the prophet Mohammed’s source of inspiration. According to Wikipedia: “Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese language translator of the book, was stabbed to death on 11 July 1991; Ettore Capriolo, the Italian language translator, was seriously injured in a stabbing the same month; William Nygaard, the publisher in Norway, barely survived an attempted assassination in Oslo in October 1993, and Aziz Nesin, the Turkish language translator, was the intended target in the events that led to the Sivas massacre on 2 July 1993 in Sivas, Turkey, which resulted in the deaths of 37 people.”

Some 500 Islamic clerics and scholars praised Governor Taseer’s assassination, while the Islamist Jamat Ahle Sunnat group forbade praying for or expressing regret for the killing of the governor. The group also published a not too subtle threat to any others who might oppose the Koranic blasphemy laws.

Concern about how to deal with blasphemy is common to all three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. But Christianity’s perspective on blasphemy and how to deal with it differs radically from both Islam and Judaism. The reason for this critical difference comes from the personal experience that Christianity’s founder, Jesus of Nazareth, had with this issue:

60 And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, saying, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” 61 But He kept silent and answered nothing. 
Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 
62 Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 
63 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? 64 You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?” 
And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death (Mark 14:60-64 New King James Version).

Jealousy, envy, resentment, fear, and misunderstanding were in the viciously bubbling stew of reasons explaining why Jesus’ opponents brought the charge of blasphemy against him. But will Jesus hold the false accusation of blasphemy against his accusers in the future? The New Covenant Scriptures do answer this question.

31 “So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven—except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come (Matthew 12:31-32 New Living Translation).

So, the above Scripture begs the question, what is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Eugene Petersen in his The Message paraphrase of the Scriptures puts it this way: “If you reject the Son of Man out of some misunderstanding, the Holy Spirit can forgive you, but when you reject the Holy Spirit, you’re sawing off the branch on which you’re sitting, severing by your own perversity all connection with the One who forgives.”

The Holy Spirit is truly the presence of the divine that can be seen flowing in the lives of believers. As Galatians 5:22-23 says:

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

If a human really hates all these characteristics just cited above, all these fruits of God’s Holy Spirit that makes life worth living and good, well, this is really a blasphemy against Life, and there’s no good reason to keep such people around just to make everyone else miserable. But such a judgment can never be entrusted to any mere mortal. It can only come from Jesus Christ whose sole prerogative it is to determine such questions of blasphemy worthy of capital punishment (cf. Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

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Is ignorance bliss?

Do you believe that “ignorance is bliss”—especially when it comes to the world’s most important belief system? On September 28th the Pew Research Center published the results of a survey they conducted in the United States about religious knowledge. Surprisingly, the Pew survey discovered that Atheists, Agnostics, and even Jews could answer correctly more questions about the Bible and Christianity than your average Joe or Jane Christian!

What? Unbelievers and Rejectionists know more about the religion Jesus Christ is credited with establishing than those who claim Him to be their Saviour!!! If I hadn’t looked at the stats with my own eyes I would not have believed it. Out of 12 questions about the Bible and Christianity your average Christian could correctly answer only 6.0 questions. Atheists/Agnostics came in statistically with 6.7 right answers with Jews slightly trailing at 6.3.

Mormons as an identified group came in with the highest scores at 7.9 correctly answered out of 12.  Among the various identifiable Christian groups, White Evangelicals scored highest at 7.3, Mainline Protestants came in at 5.8 while Black Protestants did slightly better at 5.9. White Catholics matched the Black Protestants with 5.9, however Hispanic Catholics lagged the entire Christian group with a score of only 4.2.

Out of curiosity, I took a similar test consisting of 15 questions that Pew has online at http://features.pewforum.org/quiz/us-religious-knowledge/index.php in order to see how hard were these questions. I thought it was easy, scoring correctly 14 out of 15 questions. I missed the question about teachers being allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court to lead a class in prayer in U.S. public schools. When I was in public school during the 1960s in New Hampshire my public school teacher read from the Bible and led us in prayer. Okay, things change.  But even with my blooper I still came in ahead of 99% of everyone else who took the test, including university students with post-graduate training who got only 68% right.

Yeah, I know. I’m a preacher and I better know my stuff. But really, these questions were just so…. Well, so basic. I wonder what kind of results a Pew Reseach Center survey would get if they asked really important questions about what the Bible teaches on issues of spiritual life or death?

I just finished celebrating the annual round of Scripturally sanctioned Holy Days that Jesus and his original disciples personally kept as recorded in the Gospels and the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. Yet most Christians as well as fun-loving Atheists, Agnostics, and not a few assimilated Jews will be celebrating this Fall and Winter the Halloween and Christmas holidays—being ignorant of what the Judeo-Christian scriptures actually teach. Does it matter?  Any excuse for a party, right?

Well, you might check out what Jesus thought about those who play fast and loose with true knowledge, or who think that going along with the crowd is bliss even if it is in ignorance.

Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah [the 8th century B.C.E. prophet] was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ For you ignore God’s law [the knowledge actually found in the Bible] and substitute your own tradition” (Mark 7:6-8 New Living Translation).

I guarantee that whoever prefers to live in ignorance rather than in truth will not find bliss in the World Tomorrow that Jesus talked about throughout the Gospels.

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Is Islam of the Devil?

Terry Jones, leader of a small Protestant church (Dove International Outreach Church in Gainesville, Florida) with about 30 members managed to capture worldwide attention, some would say notoriety, over his plan to burn copies of the Koran, the Islamic holy book on the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington that killed almost 3,000 people.

Mr. Jones asserts that Jesus would have approved of his plan for “Burn a Koran Day”– if he had gone ahead with his symbolic protest. Some people have dismissed Terry Jones’ proposal to burn the Koran as merely an attention-seeking stunt by that preacher to help promote his book entitled “Islam Is of the Devil.”

Nevertheless, this non-event did occupy a significant amount of space in the media both in the West and the Muslim world. As of Sept. 13th, 16 protesters (14 Muslim Indians in Kashmir  plus two Afghanis in Afghanistan) and two Indian policemen have been killed, and scores injured as demonstrators attacked government buildings and burned a Christian school in a protest against the Koran burning that never took place.

One reader of Canada’s National Post newspaper blogged this reaction to a story about the widespread fears of Muslim violence voiced by many Western leaders such as Barak Obama who seem to be more willing to appease Muslim anger through self-censorship rather than defend their own citizens’ free speech rights:

“A Christian’s reaction to someone who burns a Bible: “I forgive you!” A Muslim’s reaction to someone who burns a Koran: “I will kill you!” Now you understand the basic difference between Christianity and Islam.”

Muslims presently account for 22% of the world’s population or 1.5 billion people. By the end of the 21st Century due to their polygamy and greater birth rate, they will account for about 50% of the world’s population.

Unfortunately, Islam and the Koran allow for neither freedom of conscience nor freedom of expression. Just ask yourself, “How many Christian cultural centres/house of worship have been built in or near the historic Ground Zero (Saudi Arabia) of the Islamic politico-religious movement during the last 50 years in order to take care of the spiritual needs of hundreds of thousands of Christian ex-pats working there? The answer is ZERO! And, did you know that any Saudi Arabian Muslim who converts to Christianity is automatically sentenced to death! Should freedom-loving Christians be concerned about such Muslim hypocrisy? Is Islam of the Devil as Pastor Terry Jones maintains?

For secularists this is an impossible question to ask much less answer since their knowledge and experience is limited to mere materialism. Consequently, spiritual understanding is beyond the grasp of most of our Western politicians. However, there is a Middle Easterner who can and did answer this question. His name is Jesus of Nazareth who is popularly called the Christ by Christians.

Surprising, we can simply answer the question of Islam’s moral parentage by answering the question as to Jesus’. Was Jesus the Son of God as well as the Son of Man?

The official Islamic point of view is as quoted:

“And they [Christians] say: ‘The Most Merciful [God] has taken [for Himself] a son.’ Assuredly you [Christians] utter a hideous thing, whereby almost the heavens are torn, and the earth is split asunder and the mountains fall in ruin; that they [Christians] ascribe unto the Most Merciful a son, when it is not suitable for [the Majesty of] the Most Merciful that He should take a son. There is none in the heavens and the earth but comes unto the Most Merciful as a slave,” (Koran 19:88-93).

The official Christian response is given in the gospel of the apostle John who personally worked with Jesus of Nazareth and wrote down his teachings. I will quote this passage substituting the name of one monotheistic people, the Jews, who claim Abraham as their ancestor (through Isaac and Jacob) for another, the Muslims,  (through Ishmael and Esau). See if this helps you answer this question.

John 8:31 (NKJV) Then Jesus said to those Muslims who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”

34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.   

37 “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.”

39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.”

Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. 41 You do the deeds of your father.”

Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.”

42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”   48 Then the Muslims answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?”

49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. 50 And I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks and judges. 51 Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.”

52 Then the Muslims said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.’ 53 Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Who do You make Yourself out to be?”

54 Jesus answered, “If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God. 55 Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, ‘I do not know Him,’ I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”

57 Then the Muslims said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”

58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” [Jesus was saying that pre-existing His human birth that He was the God of the Old Covenant who delivered the ancient Israelites from the oppressive hands of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. See Exodus 3:14.]

59 Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the [mosque], going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

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