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).

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Handing the Child Over

Douglas Wilson
Blog & Mablog

Last week I saw a Facebook thread that had been kicked off with a comparison of abortion and infant baptism. Quite a discussion ensued, as you might expect. The initial point being made concerned things parents do that they have no warrant from God to do, and since I am writing here as a paedobaptist it is not surprising that I agreed with the pushback the post generated. There is an important difference between slaughtering your children and dedicating them to God.

At the same time, there is a sense in which I want to commend the instinctive wisdom of the initial observation — a wisdom that is often missing from the saints who practice infant baptism.  The meaning of baptism is death. The initiatory Christian rite is baptism (Matt. 28:18-20), and as Bonhoeffer observed, whenever Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.

Daily Devotional

The Great Exchange

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed. (Romans 1:16–17)

John Piper

We need righteousness to be acceptable to God. But we don’t have it. What we have is sin.

So God has what we need and don’t deserve — righteousness; and we have what God hates and rejects — sin. What is God’s answer to this situation?

His answer is Jesus Christ, the Son of God who died in our place. God lays our sins on Christ and punishes them in him. And in Christ’s obedient death, God fulfils and vindicates his righteousness and imputes (credits) it to us. Our sin on Christ, his righteousness on us.

We can hardly stress too much that Christ is God’s answer. It is all owing to Christ.  You can’t love Christ too much. You can’t think about him too much or thank him too much or depend upon him too much. All our justification, all our righteousness, is in Christ.

This is the gospel — the good news that our sins are laid on Christ and his righteousness is laid on us, and that this great exchange happens for us not by works but by faith alone.  Here is the good news that lifts burdens and gives joy and makes strong.

Hypocrisy at the Top

Ed Miliband's Hate-speech

Here's a bit of a hoot.  Ed Miliband, who may well become Britain's next Prime Minister, has made lots of promises to the Islamic community in the UK.  First of all, he promises to be a big tough guy cracking down on Islamophobia.  It is to be highlighted as a serious hate crime.
A future Labour Government is committed to outlaw the scourge of Islamophobia by changing the law and making it an aggravated crime, according to the Party’s Leader Ed Miliband.  “We are going to make it an aggravated crime. We are going to make sure it is marked on people’s records with the police to make sure they root out Islamophobia as a hate crime,” Miliband told the Editor of The Muslim News, Ahmed J Versi in a wide ranging exclusive interview.

“We are going to change the law on this so we make it absolutely clear of our abhorrence of hate crime and Islamophobia. It will be the first time that the police will record Islamophobic attacks right across the country,” he said.
What is Islamophobia, one may well ask?  Well, the word literally means "Fear of Islam".

Monday, 4 May 2015

A UK Court Recognises the Higher Authority of God

A Servant of God

In the UK the materialist world order has taken a bit of a knock.  A court has ruled that God exists--not just abstractly, but as a power and authority in the world.  He is someone whom the courts must recognise and acknowledge.  Expect a secularist display of raw militancy and febrile anger. Or not.

Daily Devotional

No Ordinary People

C. S. Lewis

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn: We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously—no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner—no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat—the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.

From The Weight of Glory
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis
The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses. Copyright © 1949, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1976, revised 1980 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Sourced from BibleGateway.

Autonomous Rights Over One's Body

Slimy Lusts

The following article has appeared in the NZ media:
Young pregnant teens don't have the mental maturity to understand the implications of an abortion, new research suggests.  Parents should be involved in the abortion decision, rather than giving all girls, no matter what their age, the right to consent, Otago University masters law student Michael Morrison said.  The current "clumsy" legislation that allows teens to chose to have an abortion without their parent's permission is outdated and should be repealed, he said.   "We're relying on an ancient piece of legislation."

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Letter From the UK (About the Madness of Human Rights Laws)

When the Law Becomes an Ass

Human rights laws are a form of administrative law.  They are trying to organise society according to a particular paradigm.  Not only do such laws risk the introduction of tyrannies (e.g. not wearing a cross pendant on a necklace at work), but they also risk absurdities.   Here is an example:

Revealed: the Extremist Preacher Living Freely in West London thanks to the Human Rights Act

By Donna Rachel Edmunds

An extremist preacher with links to Jihadi John and the Muslim Brotherhood is living freely in West London in taxpayer funded accommodation, as the British authorities are unable to deport him thanks to the Human Rights Act.

Hani al-Sibai, 54, a trained lawyer, first came to Britain in 1994 and claimed asylum. During his application process he admitted to his connections to Islamist groups including the Muslim Brotherhood, telling the British authorities that he had been tortured in Egypt thanks to his work acting as a lawyer for those groups the Telegraph has reported.

His application was denied, and in 1998 he was jailed pending deportation. However, thanks to human rights laws which state that it is illegal to deport an asylum seeker to a country in which they may be tortured or murdered, his deportation was blocked. The UK has never been able to secure assurances over al-Sibai’s treatment from the Egyptian authorities, and consequently he remains in the UK.

Daily Devotional

Winds and Tempests

"Thou art my hope in the day of evil."
Jeremiah 17:17

Charles H. Spurgeon

The path of the Christian is not always bright with sunshine; he has his seasons of darkness and of storm. True, it is written in God's Word, "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace;" and it is a great truth, that religion is calculated to give a man happiness below as well as bliss above; but experience tells us that if the course of the just be "As the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day," yet sometimes that light is eclipsed. At certain periods clouds cover the believer's sun, and he walks in darkness and sees no light.

There are many who have rejoiced in the presence of God for a season; they have basked in the sunshine in the earlier stages of their Christian career; they have walked along the "green pastures" by the side of the "still waters," but suddenly they find the glorious sky is clouded; instead of the Land of Goshen they have to tread the sandy desert; in the place of sweet waters, they find troubled streams, bitter to their taste, and they say, "Surely, if I were a child of God, this would not happen." Oh! say not so, thou who art walking in darkness. The best of God's saints must drink the wormwood; the dearest of his children must bear the cross.

No Christian has enjoyed perpetual prosperity; no believer can always keep his harp from the willows. Perhaps the Lord allotted you at first a smooth and unclouded path, because you were weak and timid. He tempered the wind to the shorn lamb, but now that you are stronger in the spiritual life, you must enter upon the riper and rougher experience of God's full-grown children.

We need winds and tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten bough of self-dependence, and to root us more firmly in Christ. The day of evil reveals to us the value of our glorious hope.

Taking Sides

Christophobia And the Modern Democratic Party

In the US, one politician is calling out the Christophobia now regnant in the Democratic Party.  Ted Cruz has spoken of a "liberal fascism" in the Democratic Party, and a "rabid zealotry" in Democratic ranks.  Here's an article reporting on the Senator's allegations:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Saturday said Democrats had gone to extremes in their persecution of Christians.  “Today’s Democratic Party has decided there is no room for Christians in today’s Democratic Party,” he said at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition summit in Waukee, Iowa.  “There is a liberal fascism that is going after Christian believers,” the 2016 GOP presidential candidate continued.  “It is heartbreaking,” Cruz argued. “But it is so extreme, it is waking people up.” 

Cruz said same-sex marriage had produced rabid zealotry in Democratic ranks. This ideology, he argued, was excluding people of faith.“Today’s Democratic Party has become so radicalized for legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states that there is no longer any room for religious liberty,” he said.

The Texas lawmaker said this stance was against America’s traditional values. Religious liberty, Cruz claimed, was one of the nation’s founding principles.  “We were founded by men and women fleeing religious persecution,” Cruz declared.  “We need leaders who will stand unapologetically in defense of the Judeo-Christian values upon which America was built,” he concluded. [The Hill]
Assuming that Cruz is hitting near the mark, it's appropriate to inquire what is going on.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Letter From America (About "Nuts!")

Cultural Conservatives Have Barely Begun to Fight

A response to Rod Dreher’s “Benedict Option”

By David French

Daily Devotional

Seek Your City’s Good

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, “Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens, and eat their produce . . . And seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare. (Jeremiah 29:5–7)

John Piper

If that was true for God’s exiles in Babylon, it would seem to be even more true for Christian exiles in this very “Babylonian” world. What, then, shall we do?

We should do the ordinary things that need to be done: build houses; live in them; plant gardens. This does not contaminate you if you do it all for the real King and not just for eye service as men-pleasers.  Seek the welfare of the place where God has sent you. Think of yourself as sent there by God. Because you are.

Pray to the Lord on behalf of your city. Ask for great and good things to happen for the city. Evidently God is not indifferent to its welfare. One reason he is not is this: In the welfare of the city his people find welfare.

This does not mean we give up our exile orientation. In fact we will do most good for this world by keeping a steadfast freedom from its beguiling attractions. We will serve our city best by getting our values from the “city which is to come” (Hebrews 13:14). We will do our city most good by calling as many of its citizens as we can to be citizens of the “Jerusalem above” (Galatians 4:26).

Let’s live so that the natives will want to meet our King.

Unintended Consequences

Do They Realise?

 The real problem, for those who would overturn the Christian moral order is not whether it might be true that the young could be influenced into homosexual acts, habits and milieux.  The problem is that this possibility could be seen as a danger rather than an opportunity.  Thus the very suggestion that it might be worse if that young man chose a homosexual orientation rather than a heterosexual one is the real offence against the new code of belief. The new order is based upon the idea that there is no moral distinction between homosexual and heterosexual acts, that those who believe that there is are morally faulty, and that the human race can be educated out of its general disapproval of homosexual acts.  Do those who support it, claiming that they do so in the name of tolerance, realise the radicalism of the programme they are supporting?  I suspect not.  [Peter Hitchens, The Broken Compass: How Left and Right Lost Their Meaning (London: Continuum, 2009), p.120f.]     

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

How Blue the Sky Was



By

All right. I suppose I should explain to you all what was up with my near-week-long involuntary hiatus from blogging. There were various factors in play, but the central one was my misguided belief that I was somehow included in all that free speech business that Madison wrote about in the First Amendment. You see, say I were to write a “controversial” post about the homo-jihad, and say this post went nuts on Facebook with people reading it and stuff, suppose something like that.

One of the things that usually happens when I misbehave like this is a series of cyberhack attacks on my server, conducted by the Anarchist Brotherhood in their ongoing fight for the Free Exchange of Ideas. In the aftermath of one such recent post, my blog’s server wound up getting around a million hits a day, designed to crash the server. It did have that intended effect, and took down other web sites with me. My host company had no choice but to suspend my account.

Like I said, there were other factors involved as well. Initially, when I thought it was simply a series of techno-glitches, I was tempted to be exasperated, a temptation which I manfully resisted. But when it turned out that I had not tripped and fallen, but had rather gotten knocked clean out of the saddle, I cheered up considerably. It is quite an honor to be thought a worthy enough opponent that they decide to shiver some of their more expensive lances on you. Unhorsed, and with a split helmet, and flat on my back, I was able to notice how blue the sky was.

Daily Devotional

Covenant Renewal

"And because of all this we make a sure covenant."
Nehemiah 9:38

Charles H. Spurgeon

There are many occasions in our experience when we may very rightly, and with benefit, renew our covenant with God. After recovery from sickness when, like Hezekiah, we have had a new term of years added to our life, we may fitly do it. After any deliverance from trouble, when our joys bud forth anew, let us again visit the foot of the cross, and renew our consecration. Especially, let us do this after any sin which has grieved the Holy Spirit, or brought dishonour upon the cause of God; let us then look to that blood which can make us whiter than snow, and again offer ourselves unto the Lord.

We should not only let our troubles confirm our dedication to God, but our prosperity should do the same. If we ever meet with occasions which deserve to be called "crowning mercies" then, surely, if he hath crowned us, we ought also to crown our God; let us bring forth anew all the jewels of the divine regalia which have been stored in the jewel-closet of our heart, and let our God sit upon the throne of our love, arrayed in royal apparel.

If we would learn to profit by our prosperity, we should not need so much adversity. If we would gather from a kiss all the good it might confer upon us, we should not so often smart under the rod. Have we lately received some blessing which we little expected? Has the Lord put our feet in a large room? Can we sing of mercies multiplied? Then this is the day to put our hand upon the horns of the altar, and say, "Bind me here, my God; bind me here with cords, even forever." Inasmuch as we need the fulfilment of new promises from God, let us offer renewed prayers that our old vows may not be dishonoured.

Let us this morning make with him a sure covenant, because of the pains of Jesus which for the last month we have been considering with gratitude.

The Importance of the Seminary

Tactical Priorities To Extend the Kingdom

In his commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, John Stott writes:
. . . let us copy Paul's strategy.  He was profoundly disturbed by the prevalence of false teaching in the churches.  He refers to it in all his letters.  The Pastorals are full of allusions to deceivers, deviationists, empty talkers, speculators, divisive controversialists and hypocritical liars.  The question is this: how did Paul react to this distressing situation?  What was his strategy in the face of spreading error?

All the church's future pastors and teachers pass through a seminary. It is there that they are either made or marred, either equipped and inspired or ruined.
He refused to give in to it in a feeble spirit of defeat.  he did not remain idle or silent on the ground that everybody has a right to his or her own opinion.  He did not secede from the church in the belief that it was irredeemable.  No, Paul was neither a defeatist, nor a pluralist, nor a secessionist.  So what was his strategy in fighting the good fight of the faith?  It was this: when false teachers increase, we must multiply the number of true teachers. . . .

This is why the key institution in the church is the seminary or theological college.  In every country the church is a reflection of its seminaries.  All the church's future pastors and teachers pass through a seminary.  It is there that they are either made or marred, either equipped and inspired or ruined.  Therefore we should set ourselves to capture the seminaries of the world for evangelical faith, academic excellence, and personal godliness.  There is no better strategy for the reform and renewal of the church.  [John Stott, The Message of I Timothy and Titus: The Life of the Local Church (Nottingham: Intervarsity Press, 1966), p.183f.]

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Fiddled Data

A Scandal of Global Significance

This may be significant.  At last the manipulation and false construction of historical global temperature data is going to come under weighty scrutiny.  Satellite based temperature records are increasingly diverging from land based measurements.  Satellite records show no warming.  Earth based measures do.  How come?  The latter are massaged and manipulated manually.  They are adjusted upwards by sticky fingers--to fit the paradigm of global warming.  Then, when the "data" show record temperatures, the pollies and their media donkeys all bray in unison.  Global warming is a "fact";  the "science" is settled.  Money then flows to the hucksters and the confidence men.

In reality, global warming science is the biggest hoax ever seen.  Tulip mania and the South Sea Bubble were nothing compared to this. 

In the face of this disastrous, mendacious fiasco there is some good news.

Daily Devotional

Five Reasons to Be Fearless
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)

John Piper

The reason God wants us not to be afraid concerning money and things is because that would magnify five great things about him.

First, not being afraid shows that we treasure God as our Shepherd. “Fear not, little flock.” We are his flock and he is our Shepherd. And if he is our Shepherd, then Psalm 23 applies: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want” — that is, I shall not lack anything I really need.

Second, not being afraid shows that we treasure God as our Father. “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom." We are not only his little flock; we are also his children, and he is our Father. He really cares and really knows what you need and will work for you to be sure that you have what you need.

Third, not being afraid shows that we treasure God as King. He can give us the “kingdom” because he is the King. This adds a tremendous element of power to the one who provides for us. “Shepherd” connotes protection and provision. “Father” connotes love and tenderness and authority and provision and guidance. “King” connotes power and sovereignty and wealth.

Fourth, not being afraid shows how free and generous God is. Notice, he gives the kingdom. He doesn’t sell the kingdom or rent the kingdom or lease the kingdom. He is infinitely wealthy and does not need our payments. So God is generous and free with his bounty. And this is what we magnify about him when we are not afraid but trust him with our needs.

Finally, not being afraid shows that we treasure God as happy. It “pleases” him to give you the kingdom. He wants to do this. It makes him glad to do it. Not all of us had fathers like this, who were made happy by giving instead of getting. But that does not matter, because now you can have such a Father, and Shepherd, and King.

So the point of this verse is that we should treasure God as our Shepherd and Father and King who is generous and happy to give us the kingdom of God — to give us heaven, to give us eternal life and joy, and everything we need to get there.

If we treasure God in this way, we will be fearless and God will be worshipped.

Suffocating Do-Gooders

Socialism and Paternalism Are Conjoined Twins

Controlling the media has always been a fixation with Fabian socialists.  Using forcibly extracted citizen's money to fund state media (radio, television) to produce broadcasts celebrating the panoply of causes associated with statist secularism has been a focus of the Left for generations.  If you cannot take control by revolution and force, the next best thing is to win hearts and minds.  However, the Left has always been lazy and in too much of a hurry.  Better to use the levers of state power to push state hegemony and socialist causes. 

This leads to another socialist sacred cow.  In the Leftist worldview, human society is divided along property lines.  The propertied (capitalists) are oppressors and exploiters.  The working classes and the poor are the oppressed wretched of the earth.  One struggles to get any traction educating (propagandising) working class rubes because they don't have sufficient money to fund expensive propaganda outlets like television and radio and newspapers.  Therefore, the strategy has been to exploit the monied classes through a progressive taxation system to fund socialist propaganda through the mass media, via public broadcasting.

Consequently, amongst the Fabian socialists, public broadcasting--funded by the taxpayer--has long been a sacred cow for Leftist causes, the promotion of statism and more government controls, and secularism.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Letter From America (About Rand Paul's "Rules of Engagement" on Abortion)

Why Rand Paul’s Approach to the Media Is Dangerous for Democrats
 
By Michael Barone 

Daily Devotional

On Death and Dying

TO MRS. JOHNSON: On the good the dead do by dying well and by comforting us (in the Holy Spirit) afterward; and on how heaven and earth are better than we can imagine.

C. S. Lewis

7 August 1956

Would you believe it!—I had recently felt anxious as to how you were getting on and in praying for you (as of course I do for all who correspond with me on religious matters) I had added a prayer that I might soon hear some good news of you. And also at once your letter . . . arrived.

All you tell me is good and very good. Your mother-in-law has done good to the whole circle by the way she died. And where she has gone I don’t doubt she will do you more still. For I believe that what was true of Our Lord Himself (‘It is expedient for you that I go, for then the Comforter will come to you’ [John 16:7]) is true in its degree (of course, an infinitesimal degree in comparison, but still true) of all His followers. I think they do something for us by dying and shortly after they have died which they couldn’t do before—and sometimes one can almost feel it happening. (You are right by the way: there is a lot to be said for dying—and being born—at home.)

No, I don’t wish I knew Heaven was like the picture in my Great Divorce, because, if we knew that, we should know it was no better. The good things even of this world are far too good ever to be reached by imagination. Even the common orange, you know: no one could have imagined it before he tasted it. How much less Heaven.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III
Compiled in Yours, Jack
The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume III: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C. S. Lewis. Copyright © 2008 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Unmasking the Enemy

House Left

The modern Left resembles the house that Jack built. In the past fifty years, the Left--once an earnest warrior for Marxist socialism--has morphed into a competing cluster of causes and beliefs.  It is riddled with  contradictions and irrationality.    As time passes, however, it reveals more and more clearly the ideological animus upon which the madhouse is built.

Peter Hitchens became a committed Trotskyite in his youth.  He has travelled Left for a good deal of his adult life.  He has occupied Jack's house from within.  He is a compelling tour guide.

http://payload148.cargocollective.com/1/0/25409/5277821/Another%20House%20That%20Jack%20Built.jpg
Jack's House

The foundations of the House-Left were laid in secular rationalism; its twin foundation stones were rationalism (the mind of man is the ultimate authority) and secular materialism (matter is the only reality).  Upon these foundations the floor of Marxism was laid.  Then building the superstructure began.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Supporting Testimony

Shards of Truth

Christians are "presuppositional" creatures.  They believe in the infinite, eternal, and unchangeable God because not to be believe in Him destroys the very possibility of meaning itself.  Therefore, all of life and existence--the entire cosmos itself--testifies to God.  The fact that these sentences have meaning and can be discussed, cogitated upon, debated, and argued provides proof of God Who has created and sustains all things.

As Karl Popper once expressed it, the cosmology of stochasticity or randomness or evolutionism cannot possibly be true, because were it to be true, it could never be described or meaningfully discussed.  The fact that it can be described, debated, and discussed is a certain proof that it cannot possibly be true. 

When archaeological discoveries are made which are consistent with ancient biblical history, wise Christians do not see these as "proving" the Bible's account.  Rather they provide supporting testimony.  We smile when pieces of evidence emerge which testify to the historical accuracy of the Biblical account.

Here is one such example:

Daily Devotional

Conquerors of All

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us."
Romans 8:37

Charles H. Spurgeon

We go to Christ for forgiveness, and then too often look to the law for power to fight our sins. Paul thus rebukes us, "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" Take your sins to Christ's cross, for the old man can only be crucified there: we are crucified with him. The only weapon to fight sin with is the spear which pierced the side of Jesus.

To give an illustration--you want to overcome an angry temper; how do you go to work? It is very possible you have never tried the right way of going to Jesus with it. How did I get salvation? I came to Jesus just as I was, and I trusted him to save me. I must kill my angry temper in the same way. It is the only way in which I can ever kill it. I must go to the cross with it, and say to Jesus, "Lord, I trust thee to deliver me from it." This is the only way to give it a death-blow. Are you covetous? Do you feel the world entangle you? You may struggle against this evil so long as you please, but if it be your besetting sin, you will never be delivered from it in any way but by the blood of Jesus. Take it to Christ. Tell him, "Lord, I have trusted thee, and thy name is Jesus, for thou dost save thy people from their sins: Lord, this is one of my sins; save me from it!"

Ordinances are nothing without Christ as a means of mortification. Your prayers, and your repentances, and your tears--the whole of them put together--are worth nothing apart from him. "None but Jesus can do helpless sinners good;" or helpless saints either. You must be conquerors through him who hath loved you, if conquerors at all. Our laurels must grow among his olives in Gethsemane.

Europe Frozen by Faux Guilt and Misdirected Pity

Killing Innocents

People smugglers are killers.  Pure and simple.  Europe remains frozen in the headlights as people smugglers kill thousands whilst crossing the Mediterranean Sea.  European nations are "conflicted".  They are so imprisoned in a faux humanitarian ideology that they indirectly cause the deaths of innocent people--men, women, and children.

Australia faced the same crisis.  Under the previous Labour administration, the "boat people" from Indonesia, Vietnam, and other countries were carried relentlessly in rickety boats to Australia, duped and gulled by people smugglers, trading in human desperation.  As soon as Labour was tossed out, the Abbott government stopped the traffickers overnight.  They turned the boats back.  The foul trade has stopped.

By allowing the survivors into Europe as refugees, European authorities are providing every incentive for the smugglers to continue their nefarious trade.  But Tony Abbott has provided a voice of sanity amidst the crisis:

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Christianity No Longer a Religion, But Merely a Culture

The Ottomans Return

Christians Harried Out of the Land; On the Brink of Extinction In Turkey

Mary Chastain
BreitbartNews

The Christian population of Turkey is evaporating rapidly. The nation, a NATO member since 1952, has experienced a reduction in its Christian population from 20% 100 years ago to only 0.2% today. The latest blow in the community occurred at the Hagia Sophia during Easter holy week.

“The historic Istanbul cathedral and museum, Hagia Sophia, witnessed its first Quran recitation under its roof after 85 years Saturday,” reported the Anatolian News Agency of Turkey. “The Religious Affairs Directorate launched the exhibition ‘Love of Prophet,’ as part of commemorations of the birth of Islamic Prophet Muhammad.”

Istanbul was once known as Constantinople, founded by Roman Emperor Constantine in 324. He made it the capital of Rome before it fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1453. They made it their capital until the empire collapsed after World War I. Modern day Turkey officially renamed it Istanbul in 1923.

Daily Devotional

Creditworthiness

"And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good."
Genesis 32:12

Charles H. Spurgeon

When Jacob was on the other side of the brook Jabbok, and Esau was coming with armed men, he earnestly sought God's protection, and as a master reason he pleaded, "And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good." Oh, the force of that plea! He was holding God to his word--"Thou saidst."

The attribute of God's faithfulness is a splendid horn of the altar to lay hold upon; but the promise, which has in it the attribute and something more, is a yet mightier holdfast--"Thou saidst, I will surely do thee good." And has he said, and shall he not do it? "Let God be true, and every man a liar." Shall not he be true? Shall he not keep his word? Shall not every word that cometh out of his lips stand fast and be fulfilled?
Solomon, at the opening of the temple, used this same mighty plea. He pleaded with God to remember the word which he had spoken to his father David, and to bless that place.

When a man gives a promissory note, his honour is engaged; he signs his hand, and he must discharge it when the due time comes, or else he loses credit. It shall never be said that God dishonours his bills. The credit of the Most High never was impeached, and never shall be. He is punctual to the moment: he never is before his time, but he never is behind it. Search God's word through, and compare it with the experience of God's people, and you shall find the two tally from the first to the last.

Many a hoary patriarch has said with Joshua, "Not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass." If you have a divine promise, you need not plead it with an "if," you may urge it with certainty. The Lord meant to fulfil the promise, or he would not have given it. God does not give his words merely to quiet us, and to keep us hopeful for awhile with the intention of putting us off at last; but when he speaks, it is because he means to do as he has said.

A Reckless Prediction

Selling the Nation Down the River

OK.  We are going out on a limb here.  We are going to make a prediction about a political contest.  This is something we generally refrain from--but this one is based on something we have never seen before in recent US political history.

We are beginning to think that Hillary Clinton's attempt to win the Democratic nomination as its candidate for President is going to fail.  To this point Hills has been the front-runner, heir designate, the Appointed One and so on.  So far, there have been no Democratic challengers.  Moreover, Hills's future was made doubly secure the other day when the NZ Prime Minister, John Key endorsed her.  And that, dear friends, is the most coveted political prize on the planet. 

But now it would not surprise us if Hill's tossed in the towel and withdrew her candidacy.  But, even if she were to limp on she will likely not get the nomination.  And even if she were to get nominated as the Democratic candidate, the probability of her being trounced at the polling booth has risen substantially.  The smart money (versus the sleazy money) knows this.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Islam Increasingly Self-Conscious and True to Itself

ISIS to Western Christians: "You Won't Have Safety ... Until You Embrace Islam"

by Raymond Ibrahim
The Christian Post
April 20, 2015

Originally published under the title, "ISIS Slaughters Ethiopian Christians, Vows to Slaughter Western Christians"
Islamic State terrorists behead Ethiopian Christian migrant laborers in Libya on April 19.

Approximately two months after the Islamic State (IS) published a video depicting its members slaughtering 21 Coptic Christians in Libya, on Sunday, April 19, the Islamic jihadi organization released another video of more Christians in Libya being massacred, this time for not paying jizya—extortion money demanded of the "People of the Book" according to Koran 9:29.

Two scenes appear in the 29-minute-long video published by al-Furqan, the Islamic State's media wing. The first scene consists of a group of Christian Ethiopians dressed all in black, on their knees, with their arms tied behind their backs. Masked IS members stand behind the Ethiopians with rifles aimed at their heads. According to the video, this scene takes place in the city of Fezzan. The Christian captives are called "Worshippers of the cross belonging to the hostile Ethiopian Church."

The second scene shows more Christian Ethiopians dressed in orange uniforms and standing on the shores of Barqa, the same region where 21 Egyptian Christians were earlier decapitated for refusing to convert to Islam.

Other scenes include the narrator referencing the fatwas of medieval jurist Ibn Taymiyya that proclaim all Christians "infidels." Then Abu Malik ibn Ans al-Nashwan, apparently one of the group's leaders, appears saying that "The dealings of the Islamic State with Christians under its authority is according to Allah's Sharia [Islamic law]. Jizya [tribute] is imposed on those who accept, and war on those who resist."

Daily Devotional

A Future for Failures

“Fear not; you have done all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart; and do not turn aside after vain things which cannot profit or save, for they are vain.” (1 Samuel 12:20–21).

John Piper

When the Israelites have been brought to fear and repent of their sin of demanding Samuel to give them a king, then comes the good news: “Fear not; you have done all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart; and do not turn aside after vain things which cannot profit or save, for they are vain” (12:20–21).

This is the gospel — even though you have sinned greatly, and terribly dishonored the Lord, even though you now have a king which it was a sin to get, even though there is no undoing that sin or its painful consequences that are yet to come, nevertheless there is a future and a hope.

Fear not! Fear not!  Then comes the great ground of the gospel in verse 22. “For the Lord will not cast away his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself.”

For more about John Piper's ministry and writing, see DesiringGod.org.

In the Darkest Hours

Bright, Shining Light

Several weeks ago, a horrific story of murder emerged from Kabul.
In life, Farkhunda would have been an unlikely role model for empowering Afghanistan's women.  Every day, she wore the head-to-toe black garment favored by conservative Muslim women. She studied at an Islamic religious school. She believed, her father said, that women should be educated in order to raise their children in a good way, manage their house and make their husbands happy.

In death, however, Farkhunda has become a champion for women's rights and the rule of law. The 27-year-old's brutal murder by a mob last week has galvanized this nation in a way no other recent atrocity has. It has unleashed a society's deep-rooted frustrations with the unchecked violence in everyday life, highlighting the continuing struggle between Afghanistan's ancient customs and modern laws. . . .

She was accused of burning a Quran, a crime punishable by death in Afghanistan, according to Islamic law - a crime authorities later said she did not commit.  Although details are unclear, some witnesses suggested that the attack was sparked by a dispute Farkhunda had with the mosque's imam. Whatever the case, the mob was bent on killing her in the most horrific manner. They dragged her body with a car, then burned it and threw it into the Kabul River.

It took two hours to murder her, the brutality unfolding as hundreds of people and armed policemen watched, doing nothing to save Farkhunda from her assailants. The neighborhood police headquarters was about a five-minute walk from the mosque. Many witnesses shot photos and videos with their smartphones.  [Stuff]
We are told that many Muslims are departing their religion in disgust at such violence.