ContraCelsum Backup

Dear Reader: Although Google professes to have a policy of free speech, there are now disturbing examples of Google peremptorily shutting down blogs on the Blogger platform espousing views which (presumably) Google wants to censor. Therefore ContraCelsum has set up a mirror blog via WordPress (http://contracelsum.com/). We update the latter weekly. If this site should suddenly go dark, you will find ContraCelsum alive and well at the above address. You may want to bookmark it now (just in case).

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Letter From the UK (About Western Blind Eyes)

Iraqi Christians are raped, murdered and driven from their homes – and the West is silent 

By
The Telegraph
July 21st, 2014 


For the first time in 1,600 years, Mass is not being said in Mosul: an ancient culture has been wiped out in a matter of weeks. It's a war crime that, strangely, no one seems to want to talk about.

Mosul is the second-largest city in Iraq and the place where many Christians believe Jonah was buried. Since the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) rode into town, their faith has been forced underground. Bells have been silenced, the hijab enforced with bullets. Tens of thousands fled after being offered an unattractive choice: convert, pay a religious tax, or be put to the sword. The levy was unaffordable. According to one local news agency, Isis troops entered the house of a poor Christian and, when they didn’t get what they wanted, the soldiers raped the mother and daughter in front of their husband and father. He committed suicide out of grief.

Having driven away the worshippers, the Isis fanatics are now trying to extinguish the physical legacy they left behind. A centuries-old church has been burned to the ground; Jonah’s tomb has been desecrated. Isis wants to create the Islamic equivalent of Year Zero, a brave new world with no evidence of Christianity, women’s rights, democracy or even that most subversive of instincts, human pity.

It might seem like this revolution has nothing to do with us in the West, but that's more than a little naive.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

July 26

A First Book of Daily Readings

by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Sourced from the OPC website

Then are the children free

The trouble with us Christian people is that we do not realize what we are as children of God, we do not see God’s gracious purposes with respect to us.... He contrasted us as children with the grass of the field. The grass is here today in the field, but tomorrow it will be thrown as fuel into the oven to bake bread. But God’s children are destined for glory. All the purposes and the promises of God are meant for us and designed with respect to us, and the one thing we have to do ... is just to realize what God has told us about ourselves as His children. The moment we grasp that, worry becomes impossible. A man then begins to apply the logic which argues: ‘If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life’ (Romans 5:10). That is it. Whatever happens to us, ‘He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?’ The mighty argument continues in Romans 8 ... We may have to face problems and distresses and sorrow, but ‘in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us’. The vital thing is to see ourselves as His children. The argument follows of necessity. If God so clothe the grass how much more shall He clothe you? Your heavenly Father, who sees the birds, feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? We have to realize what we are as God’s children.

Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, ii, pp. 131–2

“Text reproduced from ‘A First Book of Daily Readings’ by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, published by Epworth Press 1970 & 1977 © Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes. Used with permission.”

Louisa Wall Is Appalled

We Are the Borg, And We Have Your Interests at Heart

NZ Member of Parliament, Louisa Wall (Labour) has taken a complaint to the Human Rights Commission.  The case concerns a cartoon by a newspaper which, according to Stuff,
depicted people taking advantage of the Government's breakfast-in-schools programme to spend money on their vices.
But, it's not that Wall lacks a sense of humour.  It's that some of the figures in the cartoon expending money on their vices were Maori and Pacific Island folk.  To Wall, the cartoon amounted to speaking about these racial groups with contempt, which the law forbids.  The Human Rights Commission disagreed.

In response, Wall has animadverted that there is something systemically wrong with either the law or the Human Rights Commission or both.
MP Louisa Wall says it is "appalling" that the Human Rights Commission has not upheld a single complaint under its race relations section despite receiving more than 2000 complaints since 1993.
Two thousand complaints, and not one upheld.  Why?

Friday, 25 July 2014

Letter From the UK (About Wolves)

Britain Needs More Wolves Like it Needs the Black Death 

By James Delingpole
21 Jul 2014
Breitbart London

Eco campaigner George Monbiot has been howling in the Guardian about a wicked government conspiracy to prevent wolves (and other locally extinct wild animals) being reintroduced to mainland Britain.

He is incensed that the government is preparing to pass a bill in which any animal species that "is not ordinarily resident in, or a regular visitor to, Great Britain in a wild state" will be classified as non-native and subject to potential "eradication or control".

Monbiot lists some of the former British natives that fit into this category. They include: the lynx; the wolf, the European beaver; the brown bear; the spotted hyena; the lion; the wolverine; and the blue stag beetle.
What maddens Monbiot is that by declaring all such  species personae non gratae the government is trampling on his latest masterplan - explained in more detail in his latest book Feral - to repopulate Britain's landscape with exotic beasties.

Apparently there is great public appetite for this. Or so he claims:

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

July 25

A First Book of Daily Readings

by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Sourced from the OPC website

Have you anything to declare?

How are we to deal with this problem of ‘feelings’? [My first suggestion] is a very practical one—it is just this. If you are at all depressed at this moment you should make certain that there is no obvious cause for the absence of joyous feelings. For instance, if you are guilty of sin, you are going to be miserable. ‘The way of the transgressor is hard.’ If you break God’s laws and violate His rules you will not be happy. If you think that you can be a Christian and exert your own will and follow your own likes and dislikes, your Christian life is going to be a miserable one. There is no need to argue about it, it follows as the night the day, that if you are harbouring some favourite sin, if you are holding on to something that the Holy Spirit is condemning through your conscience, you will not be happy. And there is only one thing to do, confess it, acknowledge it, repent, go to God at once and confess your sin, open your heart, bare your soul, tell Him all about it, hold nothing back and then believe that because you have done so, He forgives you. ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’

If unconfessed sin is the cause of your unhappiness I should be wasting my time and yours by going on with my fist of other causes. How many are trapped at this point. Let us be perfectly clear about it; let your conscience speak to you; listen to the voice of God as He speaks through the Spirit that is within you, and if He is placing His finger upon something, get rid of it. You cannot hope to solve this problem while you are harbouring some sin.

Spiritual Depression, pp. 113–14

“Text reproduced from ‘A First Book of Daily Readings’ by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, published by Epworth Press 1970 & 1977 © Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes. Used with permission.”

The ContraCelsum S-Files

Bravery Above and Beyond, or Not

The Contra-Celsum S-files record particularly outstanding achievements of human beings--whether glorious or inglorious.  Today we wish to give recognition to the actions of a policeman who went, some would think, above and beyond the call of duty, but others would argue he was simply doing his job exceptionally well. 

The NZ Herald has the account:
West Auckland teen Caleb Heka was in Waikumete Cemetery on Saturday when his dog of six years turned on him.  The brave actions of Henderson police Constable Ben Klinkenberg, the first emergency staff member on the scene, have been credited with saving the young man's life.

It was about 10 minutes before Mr Klinkenberg, 28, turned up.  "Caleb, he was in a pretty bad way," [neighbour] Mrs Ludlow said. "The dog had bitten him in the thigh and his forearm was all torn up, and I think he's obviously gone right through the hand as well."  Mrs Ludlow believed Mr Klinkenberg, who was by himself initially, saved Mr Heka's life.  "My heart sank when he turned up by himself. I thought, 'I should tell him he needs back up'. But [Caleb] had some really bad injuries and someone had to go and help that kid."

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Letter From the UK (About Russia as Rogue-State)

Russia must choose between respecting the law of nations and becoming a rogue state

By  
Last updated: July 19th, 2014
The Telegraph


Lord Palmerston was our last Whig prime minister, and probably the most ebullient patriot ever to occupy 10 Downing Street. When a French Ambassador politely told him, "If I had not been born French, I should wish to have been born British," Palmerston replied, "If I had not been born British, I should wish to have been born British". On another occasion, informed by his French counterpart that the English had no word equivalent to the French word sensibilit√©, he snapped back: "Yes we have – humbug!"

So when, in 1858, the French government demanded restitution from Britain over a failed attempt on the life of Napoleon III by an Italian nationalist named Felice Orsini, who was said to have had support from British radicals, many expected a brusque response from the peppery 76-year-old PM: perhaps the despatch of a gunboat to the Seine to teach Frenchie better manners.

Instead, Palmerston reacted with horror to what had happened. He ordered prosecutions against the British radicals accused of having abetted Orsini, and introduced a Conspiracy to Murder Bill into Parliament. He did these things at a time when the United Kingdom was without question the world's leading power, able to enforce her will on every continent and archipelago.

Note that no one was accusing the British state, either directly or indirectly, of having been implicated in the assassination attempt. The complaint, rather, was that the authorities had not kept a proper eye on potential terrorists living under British jurisdiction. Orsini had learned how to make his bombs, and seemed to have acquired his materials, while exiled in London. The modern equivalent might be – to pluck an example from the air – turning a blind eye to the acquisition of a surface-to-air missile launcher by a paramilitary group supported by your own armed forces.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

July 24

A First Book of Daily Readings

by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Sourced from the OPC website

Fixed on this blissful centre

Every time we take a step in the direction of God [James 4:8] ... God will take a step in our direction.... If we approach Him truly, if we approach Him honestly, we can always be certain that God will meet us. He is the God of salvation. That is a very good reason for drawing near to Him. He has every blessing that we need. There is nothing we can ever stand in need of but God has it.... He is the Giver of ‘every good gift and every perfect gift’. He has put them all in Christ, and He has given us Christ. ‘All things are yours’, says Paul to the Corinthians. Why? Because ‘ye are Christ’s’. It is an inevitable piece of logic.... It is only when I am near to God in Christ that I know my sins are forgiven. I feel His love, I know I am His child and I enjoy the priceless blessings of peace with God and peace within and peace with others. I am aware of His love and I am given a joy that the world can neither give nor take away.

Anyone who has ever tasted of these things must say that there is nothing comparable to being near to God.

Hamas--Mad or Just Islamic?

Thoughtful Secularists Think Hamas is Insane

There has been a plethora of half-truth media reporting on the conflict in Gaza.  Many in the West are so easily gulled and duped.  But more thoughtful media personnel understand that "things are not always what they seem."  William Saletan, writing in Slate puts the conflict into a more realistic context--yet still misses some key truths when it comes to understanding the mind of Hamas.

The Palestinian militants are showing an utter disregard for their own people.


There are lots of things we can debate about the crisis in Gaza. You can argue that Israel has committed war crimes, that a culture of violence has corrupted Palestinian society, or that a ground invasion is a terrible idea. But one thing should be clear to everyone: Hamas is insane. It’s destroying Gaza.



 

I’m not saying this to excuse Israel. Its pathological relationship with Gaza—war, occupation, radicalization, bombardment, blockade—is full of callousness and mistakes. The casualty list from the current air campaign, filled with Palestinian civilians, is grotesque. Israel thinks its need to respond outweighs the cost of killing women and children. But part of the travesty is how little Hamas has done for its own people.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

 The Mind of a Free Man

Douglas Wilson
July 18, 2014

Villainy is not honest. I mean, c’mon.

This means that when rulers are ungodly, we should expect them to be like their father, the devil, who is the father of liars (John 8:44). When they lie, they speak their native language. Bitterness and cursing are under their tongue, but of course never at the press conference.

False teachers do not knock on your door with a brief case full of literature, and say, “Hello, I am here from the devil, and I have come to lead you into eternal torments.” That kind of stuff never makes it into the brochures.
False kings have confidence in the American people. They simper, flatter, and coo. They do what they do “for the children,” meaning of course the ones they haven’t chopped up — but all very constitutionally.

Now this is not just a character assessment. It has ramifications. And the ramifications directly affect, at the end of the day, our compliance. Or, I should say, if we are following the ramifications, our lack of compliance.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

July 23

A First Book of Daily Readings

by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Sourced from the OPC website

Outreaching Love

The next thing [Paul] mentions [in 2 Timothy 1:7] is ‘love’. Now I find this most interesting and fascinating. I wonder how many of you would have put love at this point on our list? Why, do you think, does he put it here? What does he mean by it? ‘God hath not given us the spirit of fear but of power....’ Yes, I understand that I need power. But love—why love? .. . Here is a superb bit of psychology, for what after all, is the main cause of this spirit of fear? The answer is ‘self’—self-love, self-concern, self-protection ... how can I do this, what if I fail? T—they are constantly turning in upon themselves, looking at themselves and concerned about themselves. And it is just here that the spirit of love comes in, for there is only one way to get rid of yourself.... You will never deal with self yourself. That was the fatal fallacy of those poor men who became monks and anchorites. They could get away from the world and from other people, but they could not get away from themselves.

There is only one way to get rid of self, and that is that you should become so absorbed in someone or something else that you have no time to think about yourself.

Greenist Folly

Not Cheap

Not good news at all.  This headline in the Daily Telegraph ought to make every self-respecting greenie shudder in paroxysms of guilt:

Wind turbine fires 'ten times more common than thought', experts warn

Study backed by Imperial College finds wind turbines prone to "catastrophic" fires but the true scale of the problem is unknown

Then came a spectacular image--that is, if you enjoy pyrotechnic displays:

A  £2 million, 100 metre tall wind turbine catches fire in hurricane-force winds at Ardrossan, North Ayrshire, Scotland. The wind turbine was spinning so fast it caught fire. The engine of the giant turbine went up in flames and its blades were blackened by smoke. The turbine was one of 15 set up on hills overlooking the Scottish coast, built to supply green electricity to 20,000 homes.
A £2 million, 100 metre tall wind turbine catches fire in hurricane-force winds at Ardrossan, North Ayrshire, Scotland, in 2011. Photo: STUART MCMAHON

Wind turbines catch fire.  In fact they are prone to do so, according to a study backed by the Imperial College London.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A New Diaspora

Jihadist-held Mosul free of Christians

July 21, 2014
The Daily Telegraph

IRAQ'S second-biggest city has been cleared of Christians, an Iraqi official says, as Mosul's final Christian families, facing an ultimatum from Islamist militants at home, fled to the autonomous region of Kurdistan.

"THE numbers of Christians in Mosul were around 50,000 people," said Bashar Kiki, a local council chief in the northern province of Nineveh, where Mosul is the key city.

"Since (the US-led invasion of) 2003, around 30,000 Christians have left the city. The rest have left the city after recent threats made by terrorist groups," he added. Kiki relocated the council to the town of Qushahwali, some 45km north of Mosul, after it fell to militants from the Islamic State terrorist organisation in June. "Now Mosul is free of Christians for the first time in its history."

Earlier this week, members of the Islamic State ordered Mosul's Christians to either convert to Islam or pay a protection tax or face death. The al-Qaeda splinter group gave Christians until mid-Saturday to make a choice.

A presidential spokesman in Kurdistan on Saturday called on the world to swiftly assist the Kurdistan government in sheltering and protecting the Christians they have taken in. According to Iraq's most senior Christian cleric, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, there were about 1.2 million Christians living in Iraq before the US-led invasion of the country. The figure has dwindled to around 500,000 at present.

The Islamic State has seized large chunks of territory in Iraq's Sunni heartland in the north and west in recent weeks. The chief of the radical Sunni group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, last month declared the establishment of an Islamist caliphate in the territory under its control, which includes parts of Iraq and neighbouring Syria, raising fears for the emergence of a regional militant enclave.

[We are thankful that the Christians have escaped and found refuge in Kurdistan.  May God bless those who have shown them refuge.  Ed.]

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

July 22

A First Book of Daily Readings

by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Sourced from the OPC website

How faith grows

Faith does not work automatically ... you have to apply it. Faith does not grow automatically either; we must learn to talk to our faith and to ourselves.... Do you remember how the Psalmist puts it in Psalm 42? Look at him turning to himself and saying, ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me?’ That is the way to make faith grow. You must talk to yourself about your faith. You must question yourself as to what is the matter with your faith. You must ask your soul why it is cast down, and wake it up! ... Your faith does not grow mechanically, you have to attend to it. To use our Lord’s analogy, you have to dig round and about it, and pay attention to it. Then you will find it will grow.

European Progress

Breathing the Free Air

At this blog, we are all free-traders.  If Johnny Appleseed wants to sell his apples to customers in the Orange Free State, the respective states have no warrant to interfere with the property rights of Johnny nor his customers.  Secondly, free trade has a long history of demonstrating that, whilst economic dislocation might initially occur, in the longer term the population of poorer countries benefit from the opportunity to export to wealthier nations.  Free trade is one of the most effective modes of "foreign aid" ever seen--much more effective than dumping lashings of money upon less developed countries in some top-down, bureaucratic, government driven "we know best" model. Thirdly, free mutual trade is one of the most effective inoculations against the deadly virus of nationalism. 

To this end, we are heartened that finally the European Common Agricultural Policy ("CAP") is having its last rites read.  This from the NZ Herald:

Monday, 21 July 2014

Letter From the UK (About Australia)





17 Jul 2014, 
Breitbart UK

Australia has become the first country in the world to abolish its hated carbon tax - in fulfillment of an electoral "pledge in blood" by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

The tax was introduced by the Labor-Greens coalition in mid-2012, despite earlier promises to the contrary by then Prime Minister Julia Gillard.  Prime Minister Abbott described the tax - estimated to have cost every Australian household $550 per year - as "useless and destructive." It has now been repealed, after much wrangling - and only on the third attempt - by the Australian senate.

As Phillip Hutchings reports at Watts Up With That?, the tax was indeed a total waste of time and money.
Among the reasons it was so misbegotten are:

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

July 21

A First Book of Daily Readings

by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Sourced from the OPC website

Not I ... but Christ in me

‘God hath not given us the spirit of fear.’ What, then, is the spirit He has given us? ... ‘... but of power.’ ... We have a task, we know our own weakness. Yes, but here is a power even for weaklings, and it means power in the most comprehensive sense conceivable. Are you afraid that you will not be able to live the Christian life?

The answer is: ‘Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do.’ The fear and the trembling remain ... but you are enabled to work by the power ‘that worketh in you both to will and to do’... it means also power to endure, power to go on whatever the condition, whatever the circumstances, power to hold on and to hold out... it means that the most timorous person can be given power in all things, even to die. You see it in the apostles, you see it in a man like Peter who was afraid of death, afraid to die. He even denied his Lord because of that fear.... But look at him afterwards.... The spirit of power had entered into him and now he is ready to die. He will face the authorities, he will face anybody....

False Prophets

A Prescient Judge Points the Way

A judge in Downunder has caused discombobulation and outrage at his suggestion that there is nothing principially wrong with incest.  That incest should be advocated from the bench ought not be surprising to Christians.  When secular humanism becomes the regnant religion, anything that can be done will be done--and will likely be endorsed and approved.  The reason is that the ethic of secular humanism runs, "I am the master of my fate; man is the measure of all things; nothing human is foreign or absolutely wrong." 

When this ethic is applied consistently to sexual mores nothing is implicitly forbidden.  Explicit prohibitions are ignorant, primitive, time-bound prejudices and subject to change by the next more-enlightened generation.  We are in the middle of just such a sea change.

The secularists are actively pushing the boundaries.  But The Daily Telegraph in the land of Oz has been so outraged, it has called for a judge to be sacked. Why?  Because the judge has suggested that there is nothing wrong with incest, only sexual and physical mechanics which can easily be controlled.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

When the Bricks Start to Fall

Douglas Wilson
Blog and Mablog
Sunday, July 13, 2014

It is worthy noting that the Lord Jesus describes one of the features of hypocrisy as being manifested in an inability to read the culture.

“Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?” (Luke 12:56).

A hypocrite does not know what is coming down because it does not suit him to know what is coming down. It is always handy to say, when things are comparatively calm, “well, that’s not my interpretation.”

But this simply reveals the narcissism of our age — as though our interpretations were in any way authoritative! Yes, yes, we know your interpretation, but is it correct?

When God shakes down a culture, He does it so that the things that cannot be shaken may remain (Heb. 12:27). This means that when the earthquake starts, and the bricks start to fall out of the building you are in, you have a moral responsibility to know where the shelters are.

True shelters are those congregations of God’s people that are not hypocritical, where the Word is faithfully proclaimed (not just taught), where the sacraments are faithfully administered, where discipline is faithfully practiced. In fact, it would be a good idea to start attending such shelters now.

Call it disaster preparedness.


Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

July 19

A First Book of Daily Readings

by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Sourced from the OPC website

The test of our humility

... these Beatitudes as they proceed become increasingly difficult ... what we are now considering is more searching, more difficult, more humbling and even more humiliating.... The first Beatitude asks us to realize our own weakness and our own inability... it makes us feel we have nothing— But here, I say, is something which is still more searching—’Blessed are the meek.’

Now why is this? Because here we are reaching a point at which we begin to be concerned about other people. Let me put it like this, I can see my own utter nothingness and helplessness face to face with the demands of the gospel and the law of God. I am aware, when I am honest with myself, of the sin and the evil that are within me, and that drag me down. And I am ready to face both these things. But how much more difficult it is to allow other people to say things like that about me! I instinctively resent it. We all of us prefer to condemn ourselves than to allow somebody else to condemn us. I say of myself that I am a sinner, but instinctively I do not like anybody else to say that I am a sinner.... So far, I myself have been looking at myself. Now, other people are looking at me, and I am in a relationship to them, and they are doing certain things to me. How do I react to that? That is the matter which is dealt with at this point. I think you will agree that this is more humbling and more humiliating than everything that has gone before. It is to allow other people to put the searchlight upon me instead of my doing it myself.

Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, i, pp. 64–5

“Text reproduced from ‘A First Book of Daily Readings’ by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, published by Epworth Press 1970 & 1977 © Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes. Used with permission.”

Mockery the Best Medicine Now

The Wonderland of Oz and Other Places

We are all aware of the intellectual disingenuousness with which the global warming crusade has been conducted.  At the hands of UN and media propagandists, "global warming" was morphed into "climate change" so than any variability in climate could be claimed as "evidence" of the earth warming.  Colder temperatures thus became "proof" that global warming was actually occurring.  This has led to the perturbing situation we have at present.  Despite no rise in global temperatures for the past 16 years that very phenomenon is evidence of climate change, aka, global warming. 

In that perverse disingenuous spirit, we now present the latest evidence of global warming to alarm all men everywhere.

Firstly, the the whacky land of Oz, which boasts yellow brick roads, talking tin men, and other curiosities:

Friday, 18 July 2014

A Skirmish Won

Sensing the Wind's Direction

The normal modus of European Community politics is for extremist pressure groups to route their causes through the European Parliament or the European courts, seek affirmative resolutions or judgements, then turn around and demand that all member states comply post haste, or face court action.  These extremist groups tend to avoid the ballot box, where almost without exception they are soundly rejected. 

One of the latest moves has been to seek a judgement in the European Court of Human Rights to the effect that all member states must recognise homosexual marriage as a human right.  Thankfully, in this instance, the Court has soundly rejected the plaintiffs.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

July 18

A First Book of Daily Readings

by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Sourced from the OPC website

Christian—you are no ordinary person!

Timothy at the moment was guilty of the spirit of fear, he was gripped by it; so Paul reprimands him—’God hath not given us the spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind’ (2 Timothy 1:7)... our essential trouble, if we suffer from this particular manifestation of Spiritual Depression, is our failure to realize what God has given us, and is giving us, in giving us the gift of the Holy Ghost.... It is a failure to realize what God has done for us, and what God is still doing in us.... The Apostle has to tell Timothy to stir up the gift of God.

Our fears are due to our failure to stir up—failure to think, failure to take ourselves in hand. You find yourself looking to the future and then you begin to imagine things and you say: T wonder what is going to happen?’ And then your imagination runs away with you. You are gripped by the thing; you do not stop to remind yourself of who you are and what you are, this thing overwhelms you and down you go. Now the first thing you have to do is to take a firm grip of yourself, to pull yourself up, to stir up yourself, to take yourself in hand and to speak to yourself... the big thing that Paul is saying in effect to Timothy is: ‘Timothy, you seem to be thinking about yourself and about life and all you have to do as if you were still an ordinary person. But, Timothy, you are not an ordinary person! You are a Christian, you are born again, the Spirit of God is in you. But you are facing all these things as if you are still what you once were, an ordinary person!’

Spiritual Depression, pp. 99–100

“Text reproduced from ‘A First Book of Daily Readings’ by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, published by Epworth Press 1970 & 1977 © Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes. Used with permission.”

Death Valley

Can These Bones Live?

The roots of our rapid devolution from public and official Christianity in the West to radical secularism are fascinating to trace.  You can take a long bow, a short bow or a medium bow vista.  All are valid to some degree.

The "short bow" view traditionally commences with the sixties as the beginning of a time of rapid change: the Beatles, the pill, no fault divorce, secular feminism, a rapid expansion of a vast government income re-distribution system, the legalisation of killing unborn children on a mass industrial scale, the official promulgation of evolutionism as a religious certainty--to name but a few of the many devolutionary milestones--with the result that the West is now in a place which few foresaw when John Lennon and his mates boasted they were more popular than Jesus Christ.  Today the West is engaged in furious debates over whether homosexuals can legitimately be married, whether incest and pederasty should be classified as human rights, and how many genders there are.  As Theoden of Rohan once said, "How did it come to this?"  No doubt many folk today who were alive in the fifties are likewise shaking their heads in astonishment at the devastation wreaked upon the law and culture and religion which had stood unassailable for centuries. 

The causes of such a rapid and comprehensive devolution are complex to be sure.  But we suggest that one precipitous factor was the most widespread religion of the day.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Letter from the UK (About an Ethiopian Farmer)

Ethiopian Farmer Sues British Government 

- For Sending Aid to Ethiopia

16 Jul 2014, 4:13
Breitbart London

[The history of foreign aid does not make for pretty reading.  Like most government initiatives, the actual outcome is far from the original intent.  Now an Ethopian is suing the British Government because its aid grants to Ethiopia have cemented a one-man dictatorship in that country.  It's to the credit of the UK judiciary that the case is being allowed to proceed. Ed.]

A 33-year-old Ethiopian farmer has become so disillusioned with the way UK overseas aid is propping a “one party state” that he is suing. The man, who has been granted anonymity to protect his family, believes that UK overseas aid helped the Ethiopian government inflict “brutal treatment” on himself and others.

The court papers were filed in Kenya claiming that the UKs £1.3bn donation to Ethiopia is being used to oppress the population. The father of six known as "O" has come in for criticism of his action because his legal fees are being paid by the British Taxpayer despite never having been to the UK.

However "O" insists his action is necessary, and has pledged to give any compensation he wins to charity. The exact reasons for "O" bringing the case is unclear but it is known that he was forced from his home and ended up in a refugee camp after he was tortured for trying to protect his land.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

July 17

A First Book of Daily Readings

by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
sourced from the OPC website

‘Little faith’—and its results

What then is this condition which is described by our Lord as being ‘little faith’? ... We can say ... in general that it is one which is confined to one sphere of life only. It is faith that is confined solely to the question of the salvation of our souls, and it does not go beyond that. It does not extend to the whole of life and to everything in life.

This is a common complaint among us as Christian people. On the question of the salvation of our souls we are perfectly clear.... We have seen ... that the only way of deliverance is in the Lord Jesus Christ.... And we believe on Him, and have that saving faith with regard to the present and to all eternity. That is saving faith, the thing that makes us Christians, and without which we are not Christian at all.

Yes; but Christian people often stop at that, and they seem to think that faith is something that applies only to that question of salvation.

Making Sport For All

Extraordinary Politicians

Politicians are past masters at making sport for the nation.  They tell themselves, of course, that they are performing Very Important Work, which in a few rare cases may be true.  And given that a large swathe of our population believes that the gummint is a minor deity it is no wonder that it swoons and gasps at the ruminations and peccadilloes of our pollies. 

Pollies are somewhere between used car salesmen and a B-grade comics.  They become more interesting as their comedic skills increase.  When they get to the point of being stupidly caught in their own nets, it can become mildly entertaining in a Three-Stooges kind of way.  But when they get us belly-laughing, they come close to earning their salaries.  After all, at that point they are dolling out the best medicine.

We have just recovered from the laughter and bemusement around the office which accompanied one pollie portentously proclaiming that he believed the momentous issue of the day was to accomplish a redivivus of the extinct moa.  The infamous Trevor Mallard has done this sort of thing before.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

On Ransacking the Penumbrae

Douglas Wilson
Blog and Mablog
Friday, July 11 2014

When confronted with the prospect of a devolution into tyranny, most Christians are clear on the nature of such tyranny, and the fact that it is bad, but are unclear on their liberty to oppose and disregard it. No, I should say more — on their duty to oppose and disregard it.

The evangelical baker and the Roman Catholic flower arranger who are hauled off into sensitivity training for refusing to strike an insufficiently celebratory pose over same sex mirage are being abused, no question. But . . . what about Romans 13, and the lions, and the coliseum? Shouldn’t we just take it?

Well, yes and no. If we were in the position of the early Christians, building a new civilization from scratch, we should do exactly what they did. When we are not starting from scratch, we should live up to what we have attained. And one of the things we have attained — because the Spirit has been at work in the world on this particular project for two thousand years now — is the rule of law.

Our current system of administrative rules, regulations, laws, and penalty kicks, is not just a bad system of governance, although it is that. It is — all of it — profoundly unlawful. Most of it has gone well past the point of being unconstitutional, and is now overtly anti-constitutional.

Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional

July 16

A First Book of Daily Readings

by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Sourced from the OPC website

Do your part—and leave it in God’s hands

We are going to consider the case of those who ... are afraid of the future ... a very common condition and it really is most extraordinary to notice the way in which the enemy often produces the self-same fundamental condition in the same people by these apparently diametrically opposed methods. When you have put them right about the past, they immediately begin to talk about the future, with the result that they are always depressed in the present. You have satisfied them about forgiveness of sin, yes, even that particular sin which was so exceptional.... And then they say, ‘Ah, yes, but...’, and they begin to talk about fears concerning the future and what lies ahead.... Now it is right that we should think about the future.... But what we are always warned against in Scripture is about being worried about the future. ‘Take no thought for the morrow’, means ‘Do not be guilty of anxious care about the morrow.’ It does not mean that you do not take any thought at all, otherwise the farmer would not plough and harrow and sow. He is looking to the future, but he does not spend the whole of his time wondering and worrying about the end results of his work. No, he takes reasonable thought and then he leaves it... although it is very right to think about the future, it is very wrong to be controlled by it....

Pots and Kettles

The Irresponsible Amongst Us

Every so often editorial writers get hopelessly confused.  Here is an example:  an editorial in the NZ Herald made this statement of fact:
Domestic violence . . .  is perpetrated overwhelmingly by men against women and children.
Then, a few paragraphs later, the writer states:
Professor David Fergusson, who has studied the lives of 1265 people born in Christchurch in 1977, said his research suggested the rates of domestic violence by men and women are similar and in many instances involved mutual violence between couples. "Women do suffer more in terms of fearfulness and related outcomes," he said, "but what we do find in our study is that violence is usually mutual and there isn't a predominant aggressor."
The writer then adopts the tone of a scold with respect to the Professor and his research: