Jun 30, 2011

Science Has Disprovoed the Bible (2)

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Making God’s Good News Make Sense
By T. M. Moore


Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious."
--Acts 17:22

In responding to the claim that science has disproved the Bible and Christianity, we don’t want to make the mistake of suiting up for war with science. That would be to fall into the trap of unbelieving reason and to forfeit the power of reason to help our friend consider whether or not his claim is really true.

In fact, there is no conflict between science, rightly understood, and Christianity, rightly understood. Christians applaud and give thanks to God for the abundant, wonderful work which has come forth from the scientific community, especially over the past 200 years or so. We see in this the evidence of the image of God at work, even among those who do not know or acknowledge Him, to extend the steadfast love of God to men through the effective working of the scientific process.

Christians are all in favor of good science, and we encourage the members of the scientific community to continue their efforts to benefit humankind through their patient, diligent, creative, and fruitful labors.

No, we will not fall into the “religion vs. science” trap. We salute the good work of the scientific community and pray that they will continue to bring forth many benefits to the world.

However, we are concerned about the tendency of certain members of the scientific community to reach beyond their grasp and demand of their discipline more than it can deliver. By its very nature, as we have seen, science can say nothing definitive about the existence of realities other than material ones. For those who embrace science and evolution as the defining template for all of life, the spiritual realm – what or whether it is – is strictly out of bounds. Their methods cannot offer any conclusive determination concerning the reality of unseen, spiritual beings, places, or powers.

It is, therefore, bad science – and even worse theology – for scientists to conclude that God either does not exist or is irrelevant to human life. They simply are not equipped, using the methods of their discipline, to reach such a conclusion. In order to do so, they must rely on the methods of faith, and not the methods of science. And, as we shall continue to point out, their use of these methods is not only inconsistent, but borders on being dishonest.

In this part of our response we will take a twofold approach to demonstrating the inability of the scientific worldview to speak definitively about spiritual matters.

Science a form of faith
As many have pointed out – both Christians and non-Christians – the scientific endeavor necessarily involves elements of faith. A wide variety of beliefs forms the starting-point for the work of scientists. Certain things cannot be proven by the methods of science; rather, they must be assumed, taken by faith, and presupposed as true, without the benefit of any experimental justification.





Such foundational convictions are not incidental to the work of science, but foundational. They include, for example:
· The idea that everything that exists is the product of time, chance, and matter only;
· That human beings, like all other creatures in the cosmos, are ultimately beings of no lasting significance;
· That no such thing as unchanging or absolute truth exists;
· That one is able to draw conclusions about all creatures or functions in a class or universe on the basis of the observation of a sample of such creatures or functions only;
· That everything that exists is merely matter in one form or another;
· And that the universe is directed or superintended by mere chance.

It might be useful, in demonstrating the faith character of such ideas, to cast them into the form of a creed, such as the Apostles’ Creed. Such a creed might look something like this:
The Modernists’ Creed
I believe in Matter, the Indestructible Source,
Fount and Substance of the great Cosmos,
And in Chance, its sole correlative, our Governor,
which was conceived by nothing,
appeared from nothing,
was misunderstood and denied by frightened men,
was cast aside, dropped, and buried,
and descended into Ignorance.
Yet in the Enlightened Time it rose again
and ascended to prominence and rule once more,
being indivisibly bound to Matter the Indestructible Source.
In Time, Chance will judge and destroy all life and hope.
I believe in Holy Order,
the academy of science,
the brotherhood of man,
the impossibility of sin,
the destruction of the body,
and the coming age of cold and dark. Whatever.

As Dennis Overbye explained, writing in the April 26, 1993 issue of Time magazine, “Science is nothing if not a spiritual undertaking. The idea that nature forms some sort of coherent whole, a universe ruled by laws accessible to us, is a faith. The creation and end of the universe are theological notions, not astronomical ones” (“Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Band?”). Bryan Appleyard is more succinct: “…science is our faith, and our age’s unique signature” (Understanding the Present, p. xiv).

Science is thus, we want to point out, a form of religion, and the reliability of religions other than the Christian faith is an objection we have previously addressed. Therefore to claim that science has disproved the Bible and Christianity is to assert that science, as a form of religion, provides a truer and more reliable framework of faith for making sense of our lives.

But is this really true?

Science as religion
The problem with the religion of science is that it’s not content to function on its own beliefs. Instead, it continually borrows beliefs from the Christian worldview in order to prop up its unworkable framework. For example:

Science accords a prominent place for chance, yet it believes in an orderly universe.

Science says life is meaningless and without significance, yet it acts as though human beings have a very important purpose and role to play in the cosmos.

Life is a matter of struggle and survival, but science exists, at least in part, to enable people to work together for better life for all.

Science says there are not final truths, yet that statement itself is a final truth, and raises the question of whether there might not be more final truths yet to be discovered.

Science says we can only know what we can prove by scientific methods, but science cannot even prove that statement by its own methods.

The religion of science professes one set of convictions, but it bases its work and achieves its success only because it operates on the basis of another, contrary set of convictions. Those convictions are borrowed from the Christian worldview, which formed the foundation and framework for the development of the scientific endeavor, and which continues to provide – though unacknowledged – the operating power for the scientific enterprise.

It should not be too difficult to demonstrate to the one who claims that science has disproved the Bible and Christianity that, as a matter of fact, exactly the opposite is true. Because the scientific endeavor cannot go forward without employing assumptions and beliefs which derive from the Christian worldview, the scientific endeavor in fact, powerfully demonstrates the truth of Christianity and the Bible.

For reflection or discussion
1. Have you ever thought of science as a body of beliefs? Do you think most people think of science this way? Why or why not?
2. In what ways does the “faith component” of science demonstrate the Biblical teaching about the image of God in human beings?
3. Why do you think it’s so easy for scientists to profess one set of beliefs and then to operate on the basis of precisely contrary beliefs? How does the Christian worldview account for this?
4. Why do we insist that, when someone claims that science disproves the Bible and Christianity, he is guilty both of bad science and worse theology?
5. Below, outline the response we want to make to someone who might say that science has disproved the Bible and Christianity.

 
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Jun 29, 2011

"Science Has Disproved the Bible" (1)

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Making God’s Good News Make Sense
By T. M. Moore

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.”
--Acts 17:24, 25


These days, as “everybody knows,” science seems to have the last word on whatever intends to be taken seriously, whatever aspires to wear the mantle of “true knowledge.”

The impressive record of scientific achievement, the learned and articulate representatives of the scientific community, the mystery of science (as most people perceive it), and the status of universitiesin America have all combined to establish the scientific worldview as the benchmark for knowledge and success in contemporary life.

Increasingly, the curriculum of our public schools bends the knee to science; advertisers appeal to experts, reports, and statistics to support claims for their products; and any assertion that does not have the stamp of science upon it tends to be regarded as little more than opinion, belief, or just entertainment.


So we should not be surprised when our friend, with whom we are engaged in an ongoing conversation about matters of faith, offers the opinion expressed in the title of this section. For many people today, especially many who do not believe the Gospel, science has closed the book on the question of religion, if not also the question of God.

He doesn’t exist, or, if He does, He’s not really relevant to the things that matter most. Science has proved that the Bible is wrong, Christianity is a merely subjective experience, and we can get along perfectly well without God.

In order to offer a reasonable response to this objection we have to accomplish two things. First, we have to make sure both we and our friend understand the nature and the limits of scientific thinking. What is science? How does it operate? How do we benefit from it? What can science not do for us? And, if science attempts to do more than it is capable of doing, what shall we conclude?

Next, we need to be able to demonstrate that science, like religion, depends beliefs, presuppositions, and theories that can never be proven by the methods of science, but must always be assumed and, therefore, received as a matter of faith.

Moreover, the most important beliefs and presuppositions on which the project of modern science proceeds are not germane to its system. Instead, they must be borrowed from the Christian worldview, and this tends only to validate our beliefs and to undermine those of evolutionary theory, which is the dominant intellectual framework of the scientific endeavor.

Here we’ll deal with the first part of our response to this objection.

The methods of science
Essentially, science is a way of knowing, a method for arriving at settled understandings and conclusions that allow us to act with confidence in certain kinds of ways. It is not necessary for everyone who benefits from the work of the scientific community to understand its procedures and protocols; we gain the benefit science provides through its procedures by acting in confidence on their conclusions, using the products made available by science and technology according to the need or opportunity of the moment.

Science, for example, has shown that by punching certain “keys” on the keyboard of something called a “computer,” a writer can make a record of his thoughts. This record can be stored, retrieved, edited, and published in a variety of ways. I have no idea how that works, but I believe the scientists and dutifully punch these keys, whereupon I find their conclusions to be reliable and useful.

But how do scientists arrive at such conclusions? What is the process whereby science reaches the kind of knowledge that, by and large, the trusting public accepts as true?

The modern scientific enterprise follows a basic and proven procedure. First, a scientist makes certainobservations. He notes that something happens, or something exists, that he does not understand and cannot readily explain. He makes more observations, keeping a record and inviting others to share their observations as well.

Along the way, he begins to formulate questions about his observations which, he hopes, will, as he is able to answer them, lead to a larger conclusion about his observations, allowing him to explain what he sees and, perhaps, to put generate knowledge which can be put to some productive use.

At some point the scientist believes he can hazard a guess about his observations, in order to explain and make sense of what he sees. He formulates a hypothesis, a proposal or suggestion, about what he thinks may account for or explain his observations. It’s important to be as precise as possible here, because everything that follows depends on this.

Next, the scientist will formulate a series of experiments to test his hypothesis. He will perform various operations on the things observed and the data he has recorded. The purpose is to prove or disprove his hypothesis. The procedure continues until the scientist is persuaded that his various experiments either demonstrate the truth of hypothesis or help him to refine his hypothesis until he achieves one he is able to justify by the data gathered from his experiments.

The next step is to publish his findings, whereupon he invites his colleagues to try their hand at reproducing or refuting his results and conclusions. “Knowledge” is arrived at when other scientists are able to confirm and perhaps enlarge on these published findings, demonstrating the “truth” of the hypothesis and its applicability to other areas of knowledge.

From there technicians, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and others look for ways to bring the knowledge thus acquired into the service of the general public, although this is an outcome of the scientific process and not part of the process itself.

Some observations
Now let’s make a couple of observations about this process.

First, for the past 300 years, the members of the scientific community, using this process, have broughtenormous benefit to the world. There must be something about this process which reflects or represents a true and reliable means of arriving at useful knowledge.

The Christian worldview is able to appreciate this procedure and its achievements, especially since many of the details of this protocol were discovered and established by practicing Christians who, operating out of their most fundamental beliefs, engaged the material world in the name of God for the benefit of all humankind.

Second, this process is, by definition, limited to work done with and upon material things. The scientific procedure works with matter, manipulates matter, explains (to some extent) the workings of matter, and reaches conclusions that apply only to observable matter and material processes. We should expect, therefore, that a good scientist would not appeal to this materials-based procedure to insist on conclusions relating to reality, or the possibility of it, beyond the material realm.

In our day, however, many scientists appeal to the scientific process and its findings to reach the conclusion that God does not exist or that, at best, He is irrelevant to human life, except, perhaps, as a psychological support for the fearful or feeble-minded.

Some of the most outspoken opponents of the Christian worldview today offer their views out of the framework of their scientific credentials – men like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Stephen Hawking, Sam Harris, and so forth. Their reputations as scientific thinkers thus carry great weight with the public in a day when science is generally regarded as the final arbiter of all matters of knowledge and truth.

Bad science, worse theology
But for a scientist, who by definition works with material processes and things, to use the findings of his discipline to insist on conclusions about, for example spiritual realities, is simply to require more of his discipline than it is designed or able to provide.

When scientists, therefore, appeal to science in order to dispense with God, spiritual realities, and the Christian faith, they reach beyond the scope of what science can tell them and demand of science more than it is able to deliver. When scientists propound views about matters which are beyond the ken of science, these views must have been arrived at by some other means. It is bad science to use science, or to imply that one is using science, to reach conclusions about matters beyond what science is able to address.

Thus, in a very real sense, to say that science has disproved the Bible and the Christian faith is to grant to the scientific enterprise more authority than it can reasonably presume. Put another way, you may have a great auto mechanic, who knows everything there is to be known about every aspect of your automobile; but would you trust him to take out your daughter’s appendix, if he were of the opinion that doing so would remedy her stomach ache?

Moreover, since, as the Christian knows, arriving at spiritual truth does not necessarily follow the protocols of the scientific community, but another set of procedures altogether – those related to the disciplines of theological study – the scientist who uses his discipline to deny the Bible and the Christian faith is not only employing bad science, he is using even worse theology.

A scientist who attempted to paint The Mona Lisa following the methods of science would probably lead art lovers to conclude that science is not a reliable means of knowing how to paint, and that the way one achieves a masterpiece such as this is by some other set of disciplines, procedures, and protocols.

The same is true for religious faith, the Bible, and the truth of the Christian worldview.

For reflection or discussion
1. What does it seem that Christianity and science are in a kind of hand-to-hand combat today? Is this helpful to the cause of the Gospel?
2. What are some ways that you see the authority of science being looked to as the “last word” on what we can or cannot know?
3. Why do you suppose the discipline of the scientific process works so well? What does this suggest about the nature of the world, the way our minds work, and the nature of knowledge and truth?
4. Why do we say that a scientists – or anyone – who uses science to disprove the Bible and Christianity is doing bad science? Do you agree with this?
5. What are some of the procedures Christians use – the disciplines of theology – to arrive at knowledge of the truth? Are these necessarily at odds with the scientific process.

 
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Jun 28, 2011

Assurance in Salvation

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How tragic it would be if we went through life thinking we were saved and then woke up on Judgment Day to find out we were mistaken!

But the Bible teaches that this will be the case with many people. Christ said, "Many will say unto Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity" (Matt.7:22-23).

However, we do not have to go through life without the assurance of salvation. In 1 John 5:13 the apostle says, "These things have I written unto you...that ye may know that ye have eternal life." How then can we have this assurance? This is the most important question we will ever face in life because our eternal destiny is at stake! 

The Bible teaches that those who remain unsaved will spend eternity in a place of perpetual torment (Matt. 25:46; Rev. 14:9-11). The reason for this is because their sin has not been paid for, and God's perfect justice requires that payment be made for sin (Rom. 6:23). Therefore, it is vital that we know the answer to this question. This is why the Apostle Peter wrote, "Give diligence to make your calling and election sure" (2 Pet. 1:10).

It is true that we must believe in Christ in order to become saved (Acts 16:31), but how can we be sure we have genuinely believed in Him? Certainly we cannot rely upon our feelings since feelings can be misleading. Some might suggest we can be sure by acknowledging the facts of the gospel or saying the sinner's prayer. However, the Bible indicates it is not possible to believe without being regenerated because by nature we are spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1 cf. 1 Cor. 2:14). This is why Christ said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). Therefore, we cannot know we have truly believed until we know we are born again.

But what does it mean to be born again? Is this some kind of emotional experience? No, the Bible teaches that being born again means our life is changed. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we read, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." The Bible also tells us what changes will take place in our life when we are born again.

First, we will not habitually commit sin.
"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin."—1 John 3:9
"How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?"—Romans 6:2

"Religion, in the spring of it, is not an art, an acquired dexterity and skill, but a new nature. And thereupon the consequence is the regenerate person cannot sin. That he cannot commit an act of sin, I suppose no judicious interpreter understands. This would be contrary to 1 John. 1:9, where it is made our duty to confess our sins, and supposed that our privilege thereupon is to have our sins forgiven. He therefore cannot sin, in the sense in which the apostle says, he cannot commit sin. He cannot continue in the course and practice of sin. He cannot so sin as to denominate him a sinner in opposition to a saint or servant of God."—Matthew Henry

Second, we will seek to live a holy life by obeying God's Word.
"Everyone that doeth righteousness is born of Him."—1 John 2:29

"And hereby do we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments."—1 John 2:3

"Where the righteousness of Christ is imputed to an individual, a principle of holiness is imparted to him; the former can only be ascertained by the latter. It is impossible to obtain a Scriptural knowledge that the merits of Christ’s finished work are reckoned to my account, except by proving that the efficacy of the Holy Spirit’s work is evident in my soul."—Arthur W. Pink  

Third, we will love others, regardless of who they are or what they have done.
"Everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."—1 John 4:7-8

"We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren."—1 John 3:14

"All the fruits of the Spirit which we are to lay weight upon as evidential of grace, are summed up in charity, or Christian love; because this is the sum of all grace. And the only way, therefore, in which any can know their good estate, is by discerning the exercises of this divine charity in their hearts; for without charity, let men have what gifts you please, they are nothing."—Jonathan Edwards

Fourth, our affections will not be upon the things of the world.
"If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."—1 John 2:15

"For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit...But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His."—Romans. 8:5, 9

"If our principal treasure be as we profess, in things spiritual and heavenly, and woe unto us if it be not so! on them will our affections, and consequently our desires and thoughts, be principally fixed."—John Owen

These changes are not the cause of our salvation for we are saved by faith (Eph. 2:8-9). But rather, they are the evidence that we truly have been born again. If they have not taken place in our life, then it is vital that we earnestly seek God and implore Him to regenerate us. He promises we will find Him if we seek Him with all our heart (Deut. 4:29), and the way to begin is by reading His Word. The Bible says, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17).

 
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Jun 27, 2011

Is There Life After Birth?

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This short parable certainly puts “life as we know it” in perspective.

Author Unknown


Once upon a time, twin boys were conceived in the womb. Weeks passed, and the twins developed. As their awareness grew, they laughed for joy; "Isn't it great that we were conceived? Isn't it great to be alive?" Together the twins explored their world. When they found their mother's cord that gave them life, they sang for joy, "How great is our mother's love that she shares her own life with us."  As weeks stretched into months the twins noticed how much each was changing, "What does this mean?" asked the one.

"It means that our stay in this world is drawing to an end," said the other one, "but maybe there is life after birth".

"But how can there be?" responded the one. "We will shed our life cord, and how is life possible without it? Besides we have seen evidence that others were here before us and none of them have returned to tell us that there is life after birth. No, this is the end".

And so the one fell into despair saying, "If conception ends in birth, what is the purpose of life in the womb? It's meaningless!  Maybe there is no mother after all".

"But there has to be", protested the other. "How else did we get here? How do we remain alive?"

"Have you ever seen our mother?" said the one. "Maybe she lives only in our minds. Maybe we made her up because the idea made us feel good".

And so the last days in the womb were filled with deep questioning and fear. Finally the moment of birth arrived.  When the twins passed from their world, they opened their eyes and they cried. For what they saw exceeded their fondest dreams!

 
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Jun 25, 2011

Cafeteria Christianity - Spiritual Blending

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I am continually intrigued by the diversity of beliefs within the Christian faith. The other day I heard that there are over 4400 denominations or sects of Christianity.

As one researches some of the specific denominations it becomes obvious that there is “spiritual blending” of Christianity with non-Christian religions. I call this cafeteria Christianity. I don’t believe that every difference is a salvation issue, although many can be as they drift from accurate Biblical teaching. The problem is obvious, we tend to take what we like and leave what we don’t like. This skews or blurs our worldview.

Not only do we see this practice of blending other religious beliefs with Christianity but it is also common to pick and choose which particular elements of Christianity are most palatable to a person's particular opinion of God.

This practice is particularly common among liberal denominations, which cite only those passages which show Christ's forgiveness and mercy, but not His justice, in order to deny the existence of Hell and the necessity of repentance and faith for redemption.

For example,as discussed in an earlier blog entry, Matt. 7:1, "Judge not, that ye be not judged" is now the most quoted Bible verse and is quoted out of context particularly often to support one's mistaken view of Christ's teaching.

Likewise, they selectively ignore passages which refute evolution, condemn abortion, homosexuality, make statements about the role of women that refute modern feminist dogmas, and conflict with other liberal views. Liberal Christians are also fond of citing Scripture selectively in order to rebuke only someone else's sins.

Cafeteria Christianity is not new, but it seems to flourish in prosperous developed societies. As you think this practice thru, I'm confident you will understand that it can easily have eternal consequences. Is your eternal future in jeopardy because spiritual blending has become a way of life rather than being an authentic disciple of Christ?

 
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Jun 24, 2011

Freedom vs. Liberty (Part 2)

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In part one we distinguished the difference that our founders and framers understood between freedom and liberty within a Biblical context as applied to governance. There is little doubt that the majority of America's founders held a Christian worldview. Coming from the European background of oppression they understood that an individuals right to own property was paramount to a free, self governing people. Property ownership assures that individuals have an authentic interest in developing and maintaining an ordered society established upon the foundation of civil liberty.

The first slogan of the period leading up to America's independence was; “Liberty, property and no stamps" – referring to the stamp act. The first declarations, or resolves, of 1774 declared that the colonists were entitled to; “Life, Liberty and Property.” We know that phrase, after Thomas Jefferson re-wrote it to say; “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” But when he said the pursuit of happiness everyone knew that he was referring to the ownership of property. He was referring to that essential element of preserving civil liberty.

Jefferson later said; “The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen, in his person and in his property... In the American States every one, by his property, or by his satisfactory situation, is interested in the support of law and order."1

What Jefferson is saying here is that if you have property then you are interested in law and order. You are interested in the prosperity of the nation. You’re interested in good policies, just and lawful things. Those who own property have a stake in society; they are concerned to maintain liberty. Therefore the order of society is something that is of great interest to them.

They would say, and the cultural understanding was, that Liberty was seen as being dependent upon property not equality. The founders knew that liberty insured inequality. Property was the safeguard of liberty, or, as Stephen Hopkins had said in 1764, "...they who have no property can have no freedom, but are indeed reduced to the most abject slavery... " 2

This is in stark opposition to the doctrine that drove the French Revolution, which seems to be working in to America today. Our founders and framers were wise enough and Biblical enough in their thinking to realize that liberty and equality were absolutely incompatible. They could not coexist.

My concern is that not enough people understand this today. This is the reality, if there is going to be liberty there can not be equality because God has given different gifts to individuals, some may have the same gifts but to varying degrees. People are given different gifts and attributes, inequality is God ordained. We should be thankful for this and recognize the good derived from His design.

The only way to have equality is to destroy liberty. So if we have equality we can not have liberty. If you have liberty you will never have equality.

Again, our founders and framers understood this God ordained truth that there is simply no way that equality could coexist with liberty and they never desired equality in this country. Understand that they were addressing the civil realm as subordinate to the Gospel and grace of God.

The universal equality movement is one of the largest threats to our country. It is one of the instruments being used to destroy our liberties and promote the advancement of socialism.

Universal equality ushers in a welfare mindset which undermines the importance of property ownership and personal responsibility which in turn compromises liberty as understood by the founders and framers of our nation.

End notes:
1) Catherine Drinker Bowen, Miracle at Philadelphia pp. 71, 72
2) The Rights of the Colonies Examined – Stephen Hopkins 1764: http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=2428

Freedom vs. Liberty - Part 1

 
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Jun 23, 2011

Freedom vs. Liberty (Part 1)

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These two words are used interchangeably today. Are we correct to conclude that they mean the same thing? Looking at this from a Christian worldview we must first appeal to Scripture to see if they convey the same meaning.

We find the word freedom used only two times in Scripture. Once in the Old Testament (Lev 19: 20) and once in the New Testament (Acts 22: 28). Both occurrences are used in reference to people who are in bondage or enslaved. The word liberty appears 27 times in Scripture, most frequently in the New Testament.1

Generally speaking, liberty is used in the context which denotes “right,” “authority,” or even “privilege.” In certain contexts it connotes the freedom to exercise one’s right.

While these terms are very close in meaning there is a distinct difference between them. Freedom means to be exempt from the control of another person or arbitrary restriction. On the other hand, liberty carries this same general meaning but it goes further by acknowledging one is under authority. Obviously as Christians we first come under the authority of Christ Jesus and then we are to submit to the righteous authority of family, church and government.

In the context of the founding and framing of America we can understand freedom as exemption from control by some other person or governing body that encroaches upon our inalienable, or God given, rights. These are defined in the First Amendment as religion, speech, press, assembly and petition.

Liberty is the sum of the rights possessed in common by the people of a community, state and country – generally in that order - as they apply to its government, and/or the expectation that a nation's people have exemption from control by a foreign power.

Freedoms are things that people extract from their government; Liberty is less derivative, more formative; a thing granted by the people to the people in common. Freedoms end when they encounter a contrary freedom of another person. Liberty lacks that distinction; liberty works within the confines of authority, liberty is an exorcise of privilege. Ultimately freedom deflects and avoids all authority contradictory to personal sentiment while liberty acknowledges and submits to righteous authority. Freedom often becomes self serving while liberty characterizes humility.

In part 2 we will explore how our founders and framers understood and applied these similar yet distinct principles.

1) Scripture references using King James Version (KJV)  

Freedom vs. Liberty - Part 2

 
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Ryder stops Stericyle from using trucks to service abortion insustry

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MIAMI, Fla. -- The international truck leasing company Ryder System Inc. has informed the Campaign to Stop Stericycle (CSS) of its decision to stop Stericycle Inc. from using its trucks to service abortion facilities.

Stericycle, the nation's leading waste management company, depends entirely upon truck leasing companies like Ryder to provide vehicles for its waste collection routes, which include a reported 586 Planned Parenthood locations and hundreds of other abortion facilities nationwide.

Ryder's Chief Legal Officer and Executive Vice President Bob Fatovic told the campaign on Tuesday that Ryder is "changing [their] business and service relationship with Stericycle" after the company's investigation into Stericycle's collection, transportation and incineration of aborted children. Fatovic stated that in approximately 30 days Ryder's trucks will be fully removed from all of Stericycle's routes that service abortion facilities, and may not be used to service the abortion industry "in any way, shape or form."

Ryder's decision follows the similar course of action by Penske Truck Leasing, who stopped Stericycle last year from using its trucks nationwide to service the abortion industry after being informed by CSS that its vehicles were being used to pick up fetal remains from the "Richmond Medical Center for Women" in Virginia. Penske Truck Leasing President and CEO Brian Hard sent an email to the campaign soon afterward, which vowed, "We have been, and you have my word that we will continue to be, proactive in stopping Stericycle from using our trucks to service abortion clinics."

The week after Penske's trucks were removed from routes across America that included pickup at abortion facilities, a Ryder truck was seen servicing the Richmond facility. CSS immediately contacted Ryder's corporate office to express concern, and has remained in contact with Ryder's legal department for over a year. Now, as a result of the efforts of CSS, Ryder's subsequent investigation and the outcry of the public, Ryder trucks can no longer be used by Stericycle to service abortion facilities. In fact, Stericycle's leased Ryder trucks are already disappearing from their abortion collection routes, including one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

"We applaud Ryder System, Inc. for removing itself from the equation and understanding the serious concerns associated with Stericycle's use of its trucks to collect and transport the bodies of murdered children and the tools used to kill them," Michael Marcavage of CSS stated. "Ryder's decision to distance itself from Stericycle's involvement with the abortion industry is another significant step toward ending Stericycle's facilitation of the abortion holocaust. We hope that the remaining truck leasing companies will follow the lead of Penske and Ryder and stop providing resources to Stericycle to assist abortion facilities carry out their evil deeds," Marcavage added.

Marcavage also notes that there is much more work to be done as the number one supplier to Stericycle is Idealease, which has approximately 400 national affiliate locations and grosses over $150 million dollars a year.

CSS is now encouraging citizens to call Idealease President Dan J. Murphy at (847) 304-6000 and/or email danjmurphy@idealease.com and call upon him to instruct his company to stop supplying the means for Stericycle to service abortion facilities. Since Idealease is also a franchised company, citizens are exhorted to additionally contact their local Idealease office and request that they not lease their vehicles to Stericycle for the use of servicing the abortion industry.

"My son, do not walk in the way with them. Keep your feet from their path, for their feet run to evil and hasten to shed blood." - Proverbs 1:15-16

About Campaign to Stop Stericycle

 
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Jun 21, 2011

Keep Jesus Out of Your Socialism (Part 3)

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Michael Youseff

Previously, I talked about the Sojourners-sponsored ad headlined "What Would Jesus Cut?"The ad, signed by Jim Wallis and more than two dozen leaders of the Religious Left, urged our leaders to ask themselves what Jesus would cut from the federal budget.
Called "the leader of the Religious Left by The New York Times, Rev. Jim Wallis has a long history of denouncing his own country. In Agenda for Biblical People (1976), Jim Wallis refers to America as a "fallen nation." In an article inMission Trends, Wallis approvingly predicted that "more Christians will come to view the world through Marxist eyes" and that "so-called 'young evangelicals' . . . [will] see the impossibility of making capitalism work for justice and peace."
During the 1980s, Wallis defended the U.S.S.R. and blamed the U.S. for Cold War tensions, claiming, "At every turn, U.S. policy-makers have chosen to assume the very worst about their Soviet counterparts." He denounced the U.S. government which was trying to halt the spread of communism in Latin America in the 1980s, and supported Communist factions in Nicaragua and El Salvador.
In a 2006 radio broadcast, an interviewer asked, "Are you then calling for the redistribution of wealth in society?" Wallis replied, "Absolutely, without any hesitation. That's what the gospel is all about." Actually, no, that's what The Communist Manifesto is all about.
The organization Wallis heads, Sojourners, has received grants from the Open Society Institute totaling nearly a third of a million dollars. OSI is the foundation created by far-left atheist billionaire George Soros to fund his socialist, globalist agenda. Wallis first denied, then admitted, that Sojourners took the Soros money, claiming the amounts were "so small that I hadn’t remembered them."
Another signer of the "What Would Jesus Cut?" ad is sociologist Tony Campolo, quoted by John Oliver Mason in The Progressive (August 2005) as saying, "To be a Christian in today's world is to be opposed to America. Why? . . . America says, 'Blessed are the rich.' Jesus said, 'Woe unto you who are rich, blessed are the poor.'"
As an African-born American, I worked my way to this country. I paid for my education and was glad to do so. Unlike many people who were born in America and take its blessings for granted, I know how rare those blessings are in this world.
I don't see America as a "fallen nation." To me, America is a lighthouse of liberty, a shining city on a hill. May God bless my adopted homeland and may He open the eyes of those who deplore and oppose what God has blessed.
What's the best way to lift people out of poverty? America has spent trillions on anti-poverty programs—yet, as Jesus said, we still have the poor among us. These programs don't end poverty. They just incentivize it.
The best way—in fact, the only way—to lift people out of poverty is by creating jobs. How do you do that? With stimulus spending? When Congress passed the $787 billion Stimulus Bill in February 2009, unemployment stood at 8.2 percent. Before the end of the year, unemployment topped 10 percent; today it's at 9.1 percent. Clearly, "stimulus" spending doesn't work.
The only way to create jobs is to set the private sector free by cutting taxes and cutting government red tape. (I don't say that's what Jesus would cut; it's common sense.) The most effective anti-poverty program ever devised is a job, and most jobs in America are created by small businesses. When a businessman puts his capital at risk and hires employees, he's fighting poverty.
Writing in The Huffington Post, Wallis said, "I don't believe, as the Republicans keep saying, that the best way to help everybody is to keep helping the super-rich." Who are these so-called "super-rich"? Many are small business owners, the ones who create jobs, pay taxes, and support charities that fight poverty. Wallis's Marx-inspired policies would stifle opportunity, kill jobs, discourage donations, and increase poverty.
Shallow Marxist thinking supposes that the way to end poverty is through coercive income redistribution—confiscating wealth from the "haves" and handing it to the "have-nots." But true compassion seeks to expand liberty and opportunity—not government.
I don't claim that those on the Religious Left aren't true Christians. But we must be discerning about their message. The "social gospel" is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. The supporters of the "What would Jesus cut?" message are on the wrong side of the biblical mandate. Jesus did not say, "Go and tax your neighbor and transfer his wealth to the poor." He said, "Go and make disciples" (Matthew 28:19).
One reason Christians should not mix the gospel and the government is that true compassion for the poor should always be motivated by the love of Jesus Christ. When the poor receive help, Jesus should get the credit. How is the Great Commission fulfilled, and how is the Gospel proclaimed, by a government check from a Washington bureaucrat?
To use the name of Christ to advance a socialist ideology is to abuse His name. Jesus is Lord and Savior. His Kingdom is not of this world. He left the glories of heaven to be crucified, to rise again, to conquer hell and the grave—not to become a mascot for a worldly political movement.

 
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Jun 20, 2011

Whatever Science Says?

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By T. M. Moore

We are a society accustomed to nodding in agreement at whatever "science" tells us.

"Science" says the cosmos is "billions and billions" of years old and has evolved to its present state by sheer, random processes, with no meaning or purpose.

Yeah, well, guess it must be so.

"Science" tells us that we can know nothing for certain except by scientific means; everything that is not science is not knowledge, but only changeable opinion.

OK. Guess I'll just shut up.

"Science" insists that life may begin in the womb but that doesn't mean the "fetus" is a person. "Science" says there is no God or spiritual realm - at least, not that we have to take into account. "Science" - in one form or another - intends to have the last word on whatever it chooses to address.

Gotcha. Lemme just get out of the way.

The authority of the voice of "science" in our society has far exceeded what it should be. Given the limitations of science - it can only work with material objects and processes, after all - we might think that members of that community would be rather more circumspect about the implications and applications of their findings.

What we typically hear, however, are even more expansive claims affecting everything from the education of our children, the priorities of health care, and the role of religion in the public square, to what car to drive and which anti-depressant we should take.

A refreshing perspective 




So it's refreshing when a respected voice from the secular community speaks up to chasten the hubris of his colleagues in the sciences. Which is precisely what Henry C. Mansfield did upon accepting the Bradley Prize recently.

As reported in City Journal (17 May 2011), Dr. Mansfield, Harvard Professor of Government, took the occasion to bemoan the state of truth - or non-truth, as it happens to be - among America's colleges and universities, and to call the members of the scientific community to a bit more humility.

"To scientists," Dr. Mansfield explained, "the university is divided into science and non-science; the latter is not knowledge and is likely to be mush (in this last they are right)." Only science can tell us what is true; everything else is opinion. Dr. Mansfield continued, "Scientists easily forget that science cannot prove science is good, that their whole project is founded upon what is at best unscientific common sense.

They do not see that the unscientific foundation of science leaves science far short of wisdom, whether practical or theoretical. Science has no idea why human beings resist science at least as strongly as they embrace it. It cannot say why knowledge is better than prejudice."

To fill in those gaps, Dr. Mansfield explained, science needs the assistance of the humanities, including - wait for it - theology: "For some reason, the human is best respected in company with the sacred, humanity with divinity."

These are views we have frequently expressed in these pages, so we are greatly encouraged to learn that, even among the secular elite, awareness is growing that you cannot have a good or wise society where science rules and theology is excluded from the public square.

Are we ready?


But are those who read theology and practice the spiritual life prepared to step up and take a responsible role in pointing the rest of society in the direction of virtue and sound wisdom? Would you want your pastor sitting on a panel with Harvard professors arguing the case for goodness and wisdom? Or any Christian you know?

Dr. Mansfield's remarks represent an opening, if ever so slight, for informed Christians to begin engaging secular intellectuals and scientists on a great many subjects of importance to our society.

But if we aren't ready, or we don't consider such engagement an important part of our mission of reconciling all things to God through Christ, then that door will quickly shut, and the authoritative voice of "science" will only get louder.

How might you begin to prepare yourself today to challenge the present, albeit tenuous, hegemony of science over the realm of knowledge?

 
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Jun 19, 2011

New Atheism

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The current surge of secular books has re-ignited the age-old ideology that there is no God or Supreme Being. The popular thought that there is no God has gained momentum, giving rise to what is now branded “New Atheism”.

The question is; what is new about New Atheism?

The word Atheist originates from the word Theist. Theist refers to someone who believes in god or gods. As we’re all aware putting the letter a in front of theist is Latin for “no” (Latin: a- "no" + theist) or no belief in god or gods.

It seems that one thing that is “new” about New Atheism is in how they have redefined the term claiming that Atheism is not a belief. It is quite confusing to comprehend how an ideology of not believing, or to not believe in something, is not itself a belief .

I would like to get some thoughts on this topic from different perspectives in hopes that we can better understand the perspective of New Atheism. There are a number of questions that come to mind on this topic but I believe that beginning with some definitions will help keep the discussion focused and alleviate confusion as the discussion progresses.

 
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Jun 17, 2011

Poll reflects will of the people in 31 state elections

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ADF - FRC
Days prior to the New York Legislature vote to redefine marriage in their state to include same-sex couples, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) unveiled the results of a national survey that show traditional marriage isn't losing ground in the states, it's gaining it.


Public Opinion Strategies (POS), which routinely does polling for Fortune 100 companies, members of Congress, NBC News/Wall Street Journal, and National Public Radio, surveyed more than 1,500 adults in May. And it found that 62% of Americans agreed with the statement, "I believe marriage should be defined only as the union of one man and one woman."

What's more, 53% strongly agreed. Only 35% disagreed.[1] That's a far cry from what the media would have us believe. In recent surveys, the press seems intent on creating the illusion that there's momentum for same-sex "marriage." But unlike other polling, which has to twist questions to elicit a liberal response, ADF's survey was a straightforward, comprehensive look at the attitudes toward marriage today.

FRC's Peter Sprigg put the numbers in perspective. "Advocates of same-sex 'marriage' would have you believe that a majority of Americans are now ready to throw man-woman marriage and mother-father households on the ash heap of history. Don't believe it. Like the voters in 31 out of 31 states that have voted on the issue, this new poll makes clear that a solid majority of Americans still believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.

POS's management said the numbers perfectly mirror what's going on at the ballot box. "More than 63 million Americans in 31 states have voted on constitutional marriage amendments. Forty million of them (63% of total voters) have voted to affirm marriage as a union between a man and woman." Marriage isn't a quaint idea that doesn't hold sway in America today. There's a vibrant movement to protect the family in our culture. And politicians who ignore it do so at their own peril.

Speaking of peril, the decision to redefine marriage is fraught with it. That's why FRC is releasing a brand new documentary, "The Problem with Same-sex Marriage: How It Will Affect You and Your Children." The film shows in heartbreaking details what happens to everyday Americans when marriage is redefined. You'll hear first-hand accounts of how same-sex "marriage" affects your kids, your rights as parents, and your religious liberties. You'll see for yourself the pattern of intolerance and intimidation that the Left uses on anyone who expresses disagreement. And you'll learn how to protect yourself so that you can take a stand for marriage in your community. Click here to see the trailer and order a copy. Homosexual activists are doing everything they can to convince Americans to give up on marriage. As ADF's poll shows, there's no reason to!

Endnote:
1. Marriage Survey Results Summary

 
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Jun 16, 2011

Debate and Switch

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Guest contributor

The second Republican Presidential held Monday June 13th in New Hampshire began revealing some interesting information about the candidates.


For the first time, the field of seven Republicans, which now includes Minnesota Rep.  Michele Bachmann, were put on the spot about everything from the economy to the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

And in this group, there were plenty of surprises.  About an hour into the discussion, CNN's John King launched into a series of questions about marriage, specifically, whether these seven would support a federal amendment protecting it.  "Are you a George W. Bush Republican, meaning a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, or a Dick Cheney who... [thinks] this decision... should be a state's decision?"

Herman Cain was the first to answer.  "State's decision," he said flatly.  Gov. Tim Pawlenty disagreed.  "I support a constitutional amendment to define marriage between a man and woman."  Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) went out on a limb claiming, "the federal government shouldn't be involved" at all. But if it were, he wouldn't support a federal marriage amendment (FMA) anyway.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich told King that his position hinged on the Defense of Marriage Act.  "I think if that fails, at that point, you have no choice except to [pursue a] Constitutional amendment.

That left Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. Rick Santorum, and Rep. Bachmann, all three of whom have never shied away from the marriage debate.  And they didn't stood firm in this debate.  Each one threw their support behind a Constitutional amendment.

To Cain's point that this is a state issue, Sen. Santorum had the best response.  "Three-quarters of the states have to ratify a Federal Marriage Amendment.  So the states will be involved in this process."

Santorum is exactly right.  A federal marriage amendment is hardly in conflict with the states.  It protects the majority that do have amendments (31) – making it the most pro-states' rights position of all.

Later, the candidates weighed in, very gingerly, on the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal.  Again Cain and Paul lined up against social conservatives, saying that although they didn't favor repeal, neither would reinstate the policy.

Pawlenty and Gingrich seemed to lean toward banning open homosexuality in the military, but both responded that they would have to confer with military officials first.

Santorum was the strongest on the issue, stating unequivocally, "The job of the United States military is to protect and defend the people of this country. It is not for social experimentation. It should be repealed."

For his part, Romney shrugged off the question.  "[G]iven the fact that you're insistent," he told King, "the answer is, I believe that 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' should have been kept in place until the conflict is over."  Still, he pushed, "we ought to be talking about... jobs."  As far as two and a half million American soldiers are concerned, this is about jobs.  They're the ones working 24-hour days, sacrificing everything to defend us.  And, as Marine Commandant James Amos told Congress, nothing could impact their performance more than forcing the military to embrace homosexuality.  This is an extremely risky proposition that will not only cost jobs, as some people leave the military, but lives as well.

 
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Jun 15, 2011

Most frequently quoted Bible verse?

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At one time John 3: 16 was the most frequently quoted Bible verse:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” But today the most frequently quoted verse is Matthew 7: 1: “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

“Judge not, that ye be not judged,” has become so popular because it is also one of the least understood verses of our day due to the groundswell of postmodern relativism philosophy. At the core of this philosophy are the beliefs; “that may be true for you, but it's not true for me.” And; “live and let live.” These principles are clearly contradictory to Scripture so it is little wonder that those who appeal to Matthew 7: 1 do it in an attempt to silence Christians. This tactic is quite effective because many Christians also have a flawed understanding of this verse.

Paul Copan writes in “True For You, But Not True For Me,
It’s been said that the most frequently quoted Bible verse is no longer John 3:16 but Matthew 7:1: ‘Do not judge, or you too will be judged.’

We cannot glibly quote this, though, without understanding what Jesus meant. When Jesus condemned judging, he wasn’t at all implying we should never make judgments about anyone. After all, a few verses later, Jesus himself calls certain people “pigs” and “dogs” (Matt. 7:6) and “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (7:15)! Any act of church discipline (1 Cor. 5:5) and rebuking false prophets (1 John 4:1) requires judgment.
[1]
Let’s unpack this so that we can better understand this within the context of Scripture so that we are better equipped when confronted with this argument. Remember that we interpret Scripture through Scripture not through our modern day philosophy or circumstances. Indeed, extracting a single verse to support one’s view is known as a “proof-text”. [2]

Jesus said “Do not judge lest you be judged” (Matt. 7:1; Luke 6:37). But He also said, “Judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24; see Deut. 16:18). These are not contradictory statements since the context of Jesus’ words in Matthew 7 tells us what He means by “not judging” and what it means to judge with “righteous judgment.” Jesus was condemning those who judge using two standards of morality, one standard for the judge and another for the accused. The Bible maintains—in both the Old and New Testaments—that the standard of judgment must be equal for both parties (Num. 15:16). “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it shall be measured to you” (Matt. 7:2).

In essence, no one is above the law, not even those who make and enforce it. The Pharisees demonstrated a system based on two standards of justice: “They tie up heavy loads and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger” (Matt. 23:4).

If the “judge not” concept were taken to its logical conclusion, every court room in the country would have to be shut down, every judge laid off, and all attorneys sent packing. This says nothing of the Supreme Court and Congress, two institutions that deal with judgment on a national scale.

Endnotes:
1. Paul Copan, “True For You, But Not For Me”: Deflating the Slogans that Leave Christians Speechless (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany, 1998), 32.

2. Proof-text definition: A proof-text is a verse or short passage from the Bible used by someone as part of his proof for a doctrinal belief he wishes to substantiate to others. However, since verses and passages may rely extensively on the context in which they appear for correct interpretation, pulling these out of their context and having them stand alone in a “proof” can, at times, be very misleading. In addition, a set of such proof-texts can completely ignore other passages which, if added to the mix, might well lead to an entirely different conclusion. Someone who relies strongly only on a list of proof-texts in order to make a doctrinal argument may have a very weak case for his argument. Noting that a religious teacher relies heavily just on proof-texting is viewed in theological circles as a very negative evaluation. (Dewey).

 
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Jun 14, 2011

Keep Jesus Out of Your Socialism (Part 2)

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Dr. Michael Youssef | June 15, 2011


In part one of this series, I made clear, from the words of Jesus and the New Testament, that ministering to the poor and the needy among us is the work of Christian individuals and the church, not the secular government. Jesus said, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. . . ." Today's Religious Left wants to change that to, "He has anointed the federal government to preach good news to the poor."

The Christian gospel is a message of salvation, not a message of income redistribution and raising our neighbor's taxes. Jesus said that the way to serve the poor is by giving generously of our own resources. "But when you give a banquet," He said in Luke 14, "invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

The Religious Left is very generous—with other people's money. In fact, I believe the founder of the Religious Left was none other than Judas Iscariot. When Mary, the sister of Lazarus, anointed Jesus with costly perfume just days before the crucifixion, Judas lectured her and said, "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor?"

Notice that Judas put on a show of caring for the poor—even though the money was Mary's, not his! The motives of Judas, John 12:6 tells us, were corrupt and self-centered—and Jesus responded with a stinging rebuke.

At least one of the Lord's disciples was a "social action Christian" in the Sojourners mold: Simon Zelotes (Simon the Zealot). Just as Sojourners president Jim Wallis was once president of the Michigan State chapter of the militant Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Simon Zelotes was a young political radical who attached himself to Jesus because he thought Jesus would lead a revolt against the Roman Empire.

Simon saw Jesus as a political Messiah who would topple the powerful while lifting up the poor and oppressed. But Jesus was not a political Messiah. He didn't attack the Roman Empire. He did battle with the Evil Empire of Satan himself.

Jesus didn't tell the Roman government what its budget priorities should be. Why? Because His agenda was much larger than the agenda of Simon Zelotes or the Religious Left. His eyes were fixed on eternity. He said, "My kingdom is not of this world."

The Religious Left has missed the meaning of that statement. Yes, there is a place for Christian social action—but that place is in a personal lifestyle of generosity and compassion to the poor. Jesus didn't tell the rich young ruler to become a political activist and affect public policy. He said, "Go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

It's true, there's poverty in America, and some of the poor can't lift themselves out of poverty without help. Some are physically or socially disadvantaged. Some are down on their luck. They need and deserve Christian compassion and the good news of the gospel.

But a huge number of people receiving government assistance are substance abusers, welfare cheats, or chronically lazy. Doesn't the Bible tell us, "If a man will not work, he shall not eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10)? Why must the "makers" of society support the "takers" of society? That's not compassion. That's theft. Wouldn't it be more compassionate to encourage the takers to develop self-respect by becoming productive citizens?

Would Jesus endorse government policies that encourage and enable addiction, indolence, and welfare fraud? Certainly not. The Religious Left should read His parables, especially the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), the Parable of the Vineyards (Matthew 20:1-16), and the Parable of the Tenants (Matthew 21:33-46). In those parables, Jesus blesses hard work, personal responsibility and the freedom to achieve.

Government programs can't separate the truly needy from the welfare cheats—but private Christian charities can. Private charities are far more effective than government at meeting needs, changing lives, eliminating fraud and waste, and dispensing compassion. Our stance as Christians should be pro-compassion, not pro-bureaucracy.

The place for compassionate Christian social action is in the church, and in the lives of individual believers. When the church becomes a political pressure group, telling the government, "Confiscate more wealth from those who earned it and give it to those who have not," then the church has formed an unholy union with the kingdoms of this world.

Income redistribution is not Christianity. It's Marxism—and mixing the two only pollutes the Gospel and betrays the Great Commission.

Stay tuned for Part 3: Is America a "fallen nation"?

 
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Jun 11, 2011

Gay Movement Has a New Poster Child

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Recently CNN ran a three part series covering 38-year-old Kirk Murphy’s suicide in 2003. The thrust of the series is to place the blame of Kirk’s suicide on a government-funded experiment at UCLA to try to cure his effeminate behavior when he was five.

Part one of the series:


I fully recognize that if I presented only my view here, I would immediately be labeled a hateful homophobe among other unmentionable adjectives. For this reason I’m posting an editorial opinion article authored by long time cultural and political blogger Sandra Rose. Sandra Rose herself is gay and eloquently exposes the Kirk Murphy story for exactly what it is; “the media’s new poster child”.

Siblings say UCLA’s anti-’sissy’ therapy caused their brother’s suicide 33 years later
Wednesday, June 8, 2011 | Sandra Rose

The gay media has a new poster child to generate sympathy for their cause and to further their agenda of promoting gay acceptance.

His name Kirk Murphy, and he was a successful accountant until he hanged himself in 2003 at age 38.

Normally when a person commits suicide, it is usually due to depression and despair that has been undiagnosed or untreated for years.

But nowadays when a gay person commits suicide, the media latches on to the story and repackages it to push their gay social acceptance agenda, as if depression had nothing to do with it. Just this week, a former Duke University and Chicago Bulls basketball star leaped from the roof of the NY athletic club and plunged to his death.

His name was Tom Emma, 49, and he was not gay that we know of. So the media handled his death differently. A few paragraphs into an article reporting his death comes the words: “Sources told the Daily News that Emma had been depressed.”

Nowhere in the reports on Kirk Murphy’s suicide do you see the words “depressed”or “depression.” Why? Because it doesn’t fit the gay media agenda.

Even though he died in 2003, Mr. Murphy’s family knew that all they had to do was mention the words “anti-gay” and “suicide” in the same sentence and his story would make headlines all over the country.

Kirk Murphy was an effeminate boy who preferred playing with girls toys and dressing in girls clothing. So, when he was 5, his mother took him to a government-funded program at UCLA to try to cure his effeminate behavior. Dr George Rekers, who founded the program, was an anti-gay activist who was outed by a Miami newspaper last year when he was spotted at the Miami airport with a gay male escort whom he had hired to travel with him.

Mr. Murphy’s siblings blames Dr. Rekers and the UCLA program for their brother’s suicide, even though he took his life 33 years after the therapy.

According to London tabloid the Daily Mail, “Kirk’s family believe the therapy directly contributed to his death, and say he was never the same again after the sessions to get rid of his ‘sissy’ characteristics, which included instructing his father to beat him for feminine traits.”

CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who is himself gay, interviewed Murphy’s sister Maris and brother Mark for his 360 show on CNN last night. Maris, who was nine months old at the time and couldn’t possibly remember anything, told Cooper that the therapy her brother received left him “just totally stricken with the belief that he was broken, that he was different from everybody else.”

Well, he was different from everybody else. He was different in the sense that other boys don’t normally play with girls toys or wear dresses. But don’t let Anderson Cooper tell it.

And therein lies the essence of the gay media agenda: to gain sympathy to change laws that grants gays inalienable rights, such as teaching school children that homosexuality is normal.

The national media has a responsibility to promote the fact that homosexuality is not an illness or a handicap. Homosexuality will not be normal until 2 men can make each other pregnant. We are different and we should embrace our differences.

 
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Jun 9, 2011

Keep Jesus out of your socialism

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Dr. Michael Youssef | June 9, 2011

The headline of the full-page ad asks, "What Would Jesus Cut? -- A budget is a moral document." The text continues, "Our faith tells us that the moral test of a society is how it treats the poor."

The ad was produced by Sojourners, a self-described "evangelical" organization whose slogan is "Faith in Action for Social Justice." The ad was signed by Sojourners president Jim Wallis and more than two dozen Religious Left pastors, theologians, and activists. They urge our legislators to ask themselves, "What would Jesus cut?" from the federal budget.

How would you answer that question? My answer would be, "It's a nonsense question. Your premise is faulty. Your priorities are not His priorities."

Jesus had many opportunities to confront the Roman government about its spending priorities. It was, after all, one of the most brutal regimes in history. If the question "What would Jesus cut?" has any biblical relevance, we should be able to cite instances where Jesus lectured the Roman oppressors the same way the Religious Left lectures America.

Just compare ancient Rome with America today. Rome sent its armies out to conquer; America sends its soldiers out to liberate. Rome demanded tribute from other nations; America sends aid and emergency relief around the world. Rome enslaved nations; America rebuilds nations.

If the federal budget is a "moral document," what does it say about America? It suggests to me that America may be the most moral nation on earth! Name one other country that has spent $15 billion fighting AIDS in Africa. Name one other country that has provided more disaster relief, that has built more schools and water treatment plants, that has supplied more food aid around the world, that has sent more doctors, teachers, and technical advisers to developing nations.

Even America's military budget -- much of which is being spent to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan -- reflects the basic compassion and unselfishness of the American people. Clearly, America hardly deserves any scolding from the Sojourners soapbox.

Did Jesus ever lecture the Roman Empire about its budget priorities? In Matthew 8, when the Roman centurion approached Jesus in Capernaum, our Lord could have said, "How dare you, a Roman warmonger, come to Me asking favors? Change your priorities! Tell your bosses in Rome to stop buying chariots and start funding welfare programs!" But Jesus didn't lecture the centurion. He said, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith!"

In Matthew 22, when the Pharisees asked if it was right to pay taxes to Caesar, the Lord could have thundered against Caesar's misplaced budget priorities. Instead, He said, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

In John 18, Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect, a friend of Caesar. Why didn't He give Pilate an earful about the injustice of Roman rule? If ever there was a time for Jesus to "speak truth to power" and become the "social justice Messiah," that was it!

But Jesus didn't preach the social gospel to Pontius Pilate. Oh, he spoke truth to power, all right. He delivered a profound message to Pontius Pilate -- and to you and me: "My kingdom is not of this world."

Now, I'm not saying that Christians are never called to confront their government. God bless Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Confessing Church for standing against Nazi genocide. But that's not the situation here.

And I'm not saying there isn't a social and compassionate dimension to the Christian gospel. There certainly is! Jesus had great compassion for the poor.

He preached in Nazareth, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor." He sent word to John the Baptist, "The deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor." Jesus presented the obligation to help the poor as an individual responsibility, a Kingdom responsibility -- not the duty of the secular government.

Both the religious and secular Left in America seem to want government to replace the church in ministering to the poor and needy. One of Barack Obama's first proposals as president was a plan to slash tax deductions for charitable donations by high-income taxpayers. President Obama reasoned that a tax deduction "shouldn't be a determining factor as to whether you're giving that hundred dollars to the homeless shelter." Maybe so -- but since private charities do so much good for the poor, why eliminate incentives for charitable giving? Could it be that liberals see private charities as competing with the big government welfare state?

In Romans 13, Paul tells us that we pay our taxes and support the government so that we will have a just, orderly society in which law-abiding citizens are protected from wrongdoers. But the responsibility for mercy and compassion belongs to the church -- not the government.

What would Jesus cut? When He stood before the Roman Empire, He didn't suggest cuts. He received cuts. His flesh was cut by Roman nails and a Roman spear. He was bruised for our transgressions, and with His cuts we are healed. That's the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Stay tuned. In Part 2, we'll see how Jesus dealt with the "radical leftists" among his disciples.

 
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