Unfold the Evangel before your eyes!

Are you lost?
Are you worn out?
Are you overwhelmed?
Are you rational?

Only rational, non-dogmatic persons can understand and accept this message. Give yourself a try. Nothing will be like before, I promise!

domingo, dezembro 28, 2008

Newsweek's Gay Marriage Propaganda Piece

Written by Sue Bohlin

The Dec. 15 (2008) issue of Newsweek features a breathtakingly biased essay called "The Religious Case for Gay Marriage." The author, Lisa Miller, has a high view of homosexuality and a low view of scripture—and an even lower view of those of us who dare trust in God's word. (Managing Editor Jon Meacham supports Ms. Miller's piece in his column: he says the "conservative resort to biblical authority is the worst kind of fundamentalism.")

Both Ms. Miller's logic and her understanding of scripture and theology are riddled with problems. Let's look at a few.

The biblical illustrations of marriage are so undesirable that no sensible person would want theirs to look like it. Abraham slept with his servant because his wife was infertile. Jacob fathered children by four mothers. Polygamy abounded in the patriarchs and the kings. Jesus and Paul were unmarried, Paul regarding "marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lusts."

People have been making this mistake for years, taking the narrative sections of scripture and inferring that this is what God says to do since "it's in the Bible." As my friend Dan Lacich put it, it is the mistake of taking the “descriptive” and making it “prescriptive.” That would be like charging the editorial board of the Dallas Morning News with being pro-murder and pro-steroid abuse because it published news stories about those issues.

It's true that the Biblical account includes a stunning array of ways to mess up God's simple and beautiful plan for marriage. If we keep reading, it also includes the heartbreaking consequences of violating that plan. And, in the Song of Solomon, it also includes a lavish treatment of romantic love between a husband and a wife that illustrates how good it can be.

"[T]he Bible is a living document, powerful for more than 2000 years because its truths speak to us even as we change through history. In that light, Scripture gives us no good reason why gays and lesbians should not be (civilly and religiously) married—and a number of excellent reasons why they should."

It's clear Ms. Miller agrees with Bible scholar Alan Segal that "the Bible was written by men and not handed down in its leather bindings by God." (I've never come across a single individual who actually believed a physical book was plopped in anyone's lap from heaven, but we keep hearing this argument.) Robert Gagnon, professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, points out that while scripture has a human element, it is not merely the compilation of human ideas. The ideas behind the words written down by men come from the mind of the same God who created men and women, and who invented sex and marriage. Ms. Miller is wrong about gay marriage because she disregards the truth of God's word in favor of human philosophies, about which we are warned not to be taken captive (Col. 2:8).

"Most of us no longer heed Leviticus on haircuts or blood sacrifices. Why would we still accept its stance on homosexuality?"

Ms. Miller mentions the two proscriptions against homosexual behavior in Leviticus 18 and 20 as "throwaway lines in a peculiar text given over to codes for living in the ancient Jewish world." This is a common argument for dismissing the Bible's stance on same-sex behavior, but it's not that simple. Both chapters forbid child sacrifice, adultery, incest, bestiality, and homosexuality. Why wrench the one verse on homosexuality out of each chapter's context to throw away and keep all the surrounding prohibitions? We never hear this argument used to normalize having sex with one's child or one's father or one's dog. Nor should we. Ever.

Sexual issues are moral issues. They are not in the same category as laws for haircuts or blood sacrifices. We know this because sexual laws don't change over time, as did civil and ceremonial laws. Moral commands are rooted in the character of God, specifically His purity and holiness. His character does not change over time, and neither do His commands about how we are to express our sexuality.

"While the Bible and Jesus say many important things about love and family, neither explicitly defines marriage as between one man and one woman."

If we're looking for an in-your-face 21st-century kind of Bible verse that says "Marriage is only between one man and one woman," we won't find it. What we do find is an equally in-your-face first-century teaching about marriage from the lips of the Lord Jesus Himself. In Matthew 19:4-5, He puts back to back two important verses from the foundational creation account of Genesis 1 and 2: "Male and female He created them (1:27) and said, 'For this reason a man shall. . . be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh' (2:24)." (Also found in Mark 10:6-8.) This was the creation. This was the original intent. All variations on this are corruptions of God's intent.

Jesus never mentioned homosexuality. . .

He didn't have to, for the same reason we have no record of Him denouncing nuclear war. It was unthinkable in the Jewish culture to which He spoke. If you look in the historical records of the time, references to homosexuality just aren't there. Not that it didn't ever occur in private, but that it was off the "radar screen," so to speak. There were also no advocates for same-sex relationships in the Jewish culture. (But there were in the Gentile culture to which Paul was called as an apostle, which explains why he addresses homosexual behavior and calls it sin.)

Dr. Gagnon writes about Jesus,

"Telling his audience in first-century Palestine that men should stop having sex with other males would have been met with perplexity since the point was too well known, too foundational, and too strongly accepted to merit mention. I myself have never been in a church where the pastor explained why believers shouldn’t be in a sexual relationship with their parent, child, or sibling or shouldn’t enter a polyamorous relationship. I have never thought that the reason for this is that the minister was open to incest or polyamory of an adult-committed sort."

. . .But he roundly condemns divorce.

Again, Dr. Gagnon insightfully points out:

"Jesus takes time to condemn divorce/remarriage not because it is a more serious violation of God’s sexual norms than homosexual practice—or than incest or bestiality, two other sexual offenses that Jesus also never explicitly mentions—but because it, along with lust of the heart, was a remaining loophole in the law of Moses that needed to be closed. The law already clearly closed off any option for engaging in homosexual practice, incest, bestiality, and adultery, whatever the excuse."

The Newsweek article closes with a quote from Ms. Miller's priest friend James Martin. "In his heart he believes that if Jesus were alive today, he would reach out especially to the gays and lesbians among us, for 'Jesus does not want people to be lonely and sad.'" I couldn't agree more. I can easily picture the Lord walking into gay bars with a warm smile on His face and open arms, ready to look straight past the shame that holds so many same sex attracted people in its grip, and offer them the embrace of grace instead. But He wouldn't be officiating at any gay weddings. He would lovingly exhort them, one by one, as He did the woman caught in adultery: "Go and sin no more." It's true He doesn't want people to be lonely and sad. His intention is for the community of His body to provide the sense of legitimate belonging and significance that people are seeking in gay marriage. As is often the case, the joy He offers is so much more than our too-little dreams and hopes. But it's freely available.

I am grateful for the insights of two excellent commentaries on this issue:

Dan Lacich's blog, Provocative Christian Living, http://provocativechristian.wordpress.com/2008/12/12/newsweek-magazine-and-the-case-for-gay-marriage/,
Dr. Robert Gagnon's article "More than 'Mutual Joy': Lisa Miller of Newsweek against Scripture and Jesus," http://www.robgagnon.net/NewsweekMillerHomosexResp.htm

This commentary was originally published on Tapestry, the Bible.org Women's blog, and is used by permission.

About the Author

Sue Bohlin is an associate speaker with Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 30 years. She serves as a Mentor Mom and speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers), and on the board and as a small group leader of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Bible.org Women leadership team and is a regular contributor to TheTapestryBlog.com. She is also a professional calligrapher and the webmistress for Probe Ministries; but most importantly, she is the wife of Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons.

What is Probe?

Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.

Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:

Probe Ministries
1900 Firman Drive, Suite 100
Richardson, TX 75081
(972) 480-0240 FAX (972) 644-9664


Copyright information

The History of Christmas Part I

By Chuck Missler
from the December 16, 2008 eNews issue
http://www.khouse.org (visit our website for a FREE subscription)


Christ.mas n.
-A Christian feast commemorating the birth of Jesus.
-An annual church festival (December 25) and in some States a legal holiday, in memory of the birth of Christ, often celebrated by a particular church service, and also by special gifts, greetings, and hospitality. [www.Dictionary.com]

The celebration of Christmas has caused some controversy in recent years, for a variety of reasons. Many have been concerned that Christ is too often left out of Christmas; replaced by trimmings and presents and fudge. Others have battled over whether we should allow manger scenes on public property or allow the school choir to sing Christmas carols that actually contain a message about Jesus Christ. On the other hand, a growing number of Christians have been arguing that we should not celebrate Christmas at all because there is no command to do so in the Bible and because the celebration has pagan roots.

What stand should we take? How should we approach Christmas in the light of history and in the light of the Bible? This week we'll look at the history of the winter solstice and other pagan celebrations, and continue next week with the Jewish and Christian roots of this beloved holiday.

The Pagan History:
Many pagan religions through the millennia have worshipped the sun as the source of light and warmth and life. As darkness deepened in the winter and the shortest day of the year approached, many pagans of yesteryear feared that the light might die altogether. Once the winter solstice hit, however, and the hours of sunlight began to increase once again, there would be great celebrations over the return of the sun and the accompanying hope for a future spring. In the northern hemisphere, these celebrations would occur toward the end of December.

Tammuz, the son of Nimrod and his queen, Semiramis, was identified with the Babylonian Sun God and worshipped following the sinter solstice, on about December 22-23. Tammuz was thought to have died during the winter solstice, and was memorialized by burning a log in the fireplace. (The Chaldean word for "infant" is yule. This is the origin of the yule log.) His rebirth was celebrated by replacing the log with a trimmed tree the next morning.

The Roman god Saturn's celebration fell on December 17 and lasted for seven days. Romans would gaily decorate their homes in evergreen boughs and candles, and would give gifts to one another. It was a time of visiting with family and friends, and of often-rowdy merry-making.

December 25 was also considered to be the birth date of the Iranian mystery god Mithra, the god of light and contracts. A once-minor god of the Persian pantheon, Roman soldiers adopted Mithra as the manly man's hero, a divinity of fidelity, manliness, and bravery. Women were excluded from the caves where men worshipped Mithra through secret rituals.

While quite different in person and mission, there are a few similarities between the legends of Mithra and the story of Christ. Mithra was said to have been born in a cave, with shepherds attending, (although there were no men on earth at the time (?)). Other legends have him being born from a rock by a river under a tree. According to Persian mythology, Mithra was born of a virgin given the title 'Mother of God'. Mithra was a moral god, upholding the sanctity of the contract even when the contract was made with one who was sure to break it. Initiates into Mithraism would be 'baptized' with the trickle of the sacrificial bull's blood that would flow into a pit. This blood was said to cleanse the initiates from any impurities.

Tertullian (AD 160-220), the early Church writer, noticed that the pagan religion utilized baptism as well as bread and wine consecrated by priests. He considered Mithraism to have been inspired by the devil, who wanted to mock Christians and lead others to hell.

Mithra came to be identified with the sun-god Helios and became known as 'The Great God Helios-Mithras.' Several Roman emperors formally announced their alliance with the sun, including Commodus who was initiated in public. Emperor Aurelian (AD 270 to 275) blended a number of pagan solstice celebrations of such god-men/saviors as Apollo, Attis, Baal, Dionysus, Helios, Hercules, Horus, Mithra, Osiris, Perseus, and Theseus into a single festival called the 'Birthday of the Unconquered Sun,' celebrated on December 25th.

Continued next week, the Hebrew and Christian roots of Christmas...

Related Links:

The Origins of Our Christmas Traditions - Koinonia House

The History of Christmas Part II

By Chuck Missler
from the December 23, 2008 eNews issue
http://www.khouse.org (visit our website for a FREE subscription)


Last week we looked at the pagan holidays that were celebrated at the end of December. Because of these pagan roots, many Christians believe we should avoid Christmas as ultimately a pagan holiday. Yet, does the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ itself have anything to do with pagans? Or is it truly a Christian holiday that is simply celebrated at the wrong time of year?

The Hebrew Roots:
Jesus birth was foretold centuries prior in the Hebrew Scriptures. In the fullness of time, God sent His Son to redeem mankind. He sent Jesus as a little baby to become God With Us.

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting . -Micah 5:2

And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth . -Isaiah 49:6

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel . -Isaiah 7:14

...When at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this . -Isaiah 9:1-2,6-7

The Christian Roots:

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. - Luke 1:30-35

About 1950 years ago, the well-educated and faithful physician Luke wrote to one Theophilus, detailing the life of Jesus Christ. Luke explained that he had done research on the subject so that Theophilus could know with certainty that the things he had been told about Jesus were true (Luke 1:4). Luke must have spoken with Mary herself, for he tells of things that only she would know.

'But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart,' - Luke 2:19.

Luke tells Theophilus of the birth of Jesus; how he was born in Bethlehem during a time when the entire Roman world was being taxed. Shepherds out in the field were surprised by a host of angels that filled the sky, singing, 'Glory to God in the highest!' and as they were told, went down to find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Those shepherds then told everybody they could find about the incredible things they had seen.

The child grew up and went on to have a short, three-year ministry that ended in his death on a Roman Cross. Yet, the man that was born in Bethlehem rose again from the dead, as witnessed by over 500 men (1 Cor 15:6). And he is still changing the hearts and lives of people living today.

The early Christians are not known to have celebrated Christ's birth, and the actual date of his nativity has been lost in history. The first recorded mention of the December 25 date is in the Calendar of Philocalus (AD 354), which assumed Jesus' birth date to be Friday, December 25, in AD 1. Pope Julius I officially proclaimed December 25 to be the anniversary of Christ's birth in AD 440. Giving December 25th Christian significance has been understood to have been an effort to help the pagan world embrace Christianity and trade in their worship of pagan gods for the One True God. Originally called the Feast of the Nativity, the custom spread to Egypt by AD 432 and to England by the end of the 6th century. By the end of the 8th century, the celebration of Christmas had spread all the way to the Scandinavian countries.

Christmas is celebrated on January 6 in the Orthodox Church, on what is also called Epiphany or Three Kings Day, the day that celebrates the arrival of the wise men who gave the Christ child their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Christmas did largely win out over the pagan holidays, but was still celebrated with rowdy festivities and practical jokes - more like Mardi Gras than anything resembling the character of Christ. Puritans in England outlawed Christmas for years, and the holiday was not popular in early America. In fact, Christmas wasn't declared a federal holiday in the United States until June 26, 1870.

The holiday then underwent a conversion. Christmas was 'reinvented' into the more moderate holiday we know today. Washington Irving and Charles Dickens both wrote tales that presented Christmas as a holiday of caring for the poor and bringing families together. As the angels sang above the shepherds that first night, Christmas was about 'peace on earth, good will toward men.'

The Season is still a mixture of traditions pulled from a multitude of sources. While many of them have little to do with Jesus, most are morally neutral activities. However, even while Santa Claus ho ho ho's down Main St. on a fire truck, and Hershey makes a killing on aluminum-wrapped chocolate bells, the reality of Christ's birth does break through. Nativity scenes in downtown squares and in front of churches bring to mind the great gift of God - the King of kings lying in a manger, attended by shepherds. Christmas carols that cry 'The Lord is come' and 'Come let us adore him' are sung from door to door, reminding us all of what God has done.

It is a time of year when people can speak more freely of Jesus the Savior, and when even the faithless are willing to go to a Christmas Eve church service. It is truly a precious slot of time God has given us during which to spread the Good News of His Son. Glory to God in the highest!

May your celebration of the birth of Christ honor Him who gave Himself to us as the ultimate sacrifice of love. May everything we do reflect the love and compassion of our Savior, and bring glory to His name.

Related Links:

The Origins of Our Christmas Traditions - Koinonia House

domingo, dezembro 07, 2008

Atheists take aim at Christmas


It's beginning to look a lot like -- a war over Christmas.

Alongside a Nativity scene at the Legislative Building in Olympia, Washington, a sign put up by an atheist organization celebrates the winter solstice. But it's the rest of the sign that has some residents and Christian organizations calling atheists Scrooges for attacking the celebration of Jesus Christ's birth.

"Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds," the sign says in part.

Dan Barker, a former evangelical preacher who now heads up the atheist and agnostic Freedom From Religion Foundation, said it was important for atheists to see their viewpoints validated alongside everyone else's.

Read the complete story (Some news sites require registration)

Originally published at the The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life website.

quarta-feira, dezembro 03, 2008

Choosing Abortion

By Rusty Wright


When I met her at a media convention, she seemed so vibrant and alive, full of zest and eager to interact, an attractive woman with a bright smile and sparkling eyes. I would not have guessed the emotional anguish and physical torment that lay in her past. Gut wrenching stuff.

As Luana Stoltenberg told me her story, I learned she’s been haunted by some choices she made earlier in life. Like many women, she had found herself with an unwanted pregnancy and confronting difficult decisions.

It’s a dilemma millions of women around the globe face each year. If you’re in this situation, how will you support a baby? Will the father be responsible and help? What will your parents say? How might a child affect your career? Your social life? Your marriage plans? Ending the pregnancy might eliminate these complexities, or make them more manageable.

Three Choices

Luana faced that decision three times, the first at age seventeen. Each time she made the same choice, to terminate her pregnancy. She says she remembers the experiences vividly.

I lay on the cold table with no anesthetic for the pain,” she recalls, “staring at the ceiling, wishing I were someplace else. It seemed to last forever, and the pain was unbearable. No amount of anesthetic could dull the pain in my heart and mind.”

The types of abortions I had were the vacuum aspirator method. I could hear—by the increased labor of the suction machine—when a part or limb of my baby was being extracted. Each time I tried to look at the jar with my [baby’s] remains they would push me back down. To this day I still hear that haunting suction sound.”

When it was finished I was sent to a waiting room with the other girls. I was given a cup of juice and told I could leave in 20 minutes if I felt alright. I told them I felt fine, when in fact I had never felt worse. I just wanted out of there. On the drive home I was in extreme pain and bleeding profusely. I called them for help, but was told it wasn’t their problem, to call my doctor.”

My life was a mess”

Luana says that later, the reality that she would never see or hold those three children weighed heavily. Anger and depression set in. Alcohol abuse and drugs led to three suicide attempts. “My life was a mess,” she admits, “and it was because of the choices I had made.”

After some years, she made a different choice that turned her life around: She discovered a forgiving God and placed her faith in Him. She married and sought to start a family, but learned the abortions had rendered her infertile. “The suction from the vacuum aspirator destroyed my tubes and ovaries.” She says the suction damage led her to have a hysterectomy.

Her belief system and its certainty of forgiveness have helped her through her nightmare. She points to a statement by an early follower of Jesus that encapsulates her life: “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

Today Luana has dedicated herself to helping people understand the implications of decisions like those she faced. She has a passion for offering hope to those for whom life seems hopeless.

Abortion, of course, is extremely controversial. Amid the heated political, legal, medical, social, and philosophical debates, real human experience can lend valuable perspective. How do you react to her story?

Rusty Wright is an author and lecturer who has spoken on six continents. He holds Bachelor of Science (psychology) and Master of Theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively.

Copyright © Rusty Wright 2008

domingo, novembro 30, 2008

Students Lie, Cheat, Steal, but Say They're Good

Nationwide survey finds high levels of cheating, stealing by high school students


The Associated Press


In the past year, 30 percent of U.S. high school students have stolen from a store and 64 percent have cheated on a test, according to a new, large-scale survey suggesting that Americans are too apathetic about ethical standards.

Educators reacting to the findings questioned any suggestion that today's young people are less honest than previous generations, but several agreed that intensified pressures are prompting many students to cut corners.

"The competition is greater, the pressures on kids have increased dramatically," said Mel Riddle of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. "They have opportunities their predecessors didn't have (to cheat). The temptation is greater."

The Josephson Institute, a Los Angeles-based ethics institute, surveyed 29,760 students at 100 randomly selected high schools nationwide, both public and private. All students in the selected schools were given the survey in class; their anonymity was assured.

Michael Josephson, the institute's founder and president, said he was most dismayed by the findings about theft. The survey found that 35 percent of boys and 26 percent of girls — 30 percent overall — acknowledged stealing from a store within the past year. One-fifth said they stole something from a friend; 23 percent said they stole something from a parent or other relative.

"What is the social cost of that — not to mention the implication for the next generation of mortgage brokers?" Josephson remarked in an interview. "In a society drenched with cynicism, young people can look at it and say 'Why shouldn't we? Everyone else does it.'"

Other findings from the survey:

—Cheating in school is rampant and getting worse. Sixty-four percent of students cheated on a test in the past year and 38 percent did so two or more times, up from 60 percent and 35 percent in a 2006 survey.

—Thirty-six percent said they used the Internet to plagiarize an assignment, up from 33 percent in 2004.

—Forty-two percent said they sometimes lie to save money — 49 percent of the boys and 36 percent of the girls.

Despite such responses, 93 percent of the students said they were satisfied with their personal ethics and character, and 77 percent affirmed that "when it comes to doing what is right, I am better than most people I know."

Nijmie Dzurinko, executive director of the Philadelphia Student Union, said the findings were not at all reflective of the inner-city students she works with as an advocate for better curriculum and school funding.

"A lot of people like to blame society's problems on young people, without recognizing that young people aren't making the decisions about what's happening in society," said Dzurinko, 32. "They're very easy to scapegoat."

Peter Anderson, principal of Andover High School in Andover, Mass., said he and his colleagues had detected very little cheating on tests or Internet-based plagiarism. He has, however, noticed an uptick in students sharing homework in unauthorized ways.

"This generation is leading incredibly busy lives — involved in athletics, clubs, so many with part-time jobs, and — for seniors — an incredibly demanding and anxiety-producing college search," he offered as an explanation.

Riddle, who for four decades was a high school teacher and principal in northern Virginia, agreed that more pressure could lead to more cheating, yet spoke in defense of today's students.

"I would take these students over other generations," he said. "I found them to be more responsive, more rewarding to work with, more appreciative of support that adults give them.

"We have to create situations where it's easy for kids to do the right things," he added. "We need to create classrooms where learning takes on more importance than having the right answer."

On Long Island, an alliance of school superintendents and college presidents recently embarked on a campaign to draw attention to academic integrity problems and to crack down on plagiarism and cheating.

Roberta Gerold, superintendent of the Middle Country School District and a leader of the campaign, said parents and school officials need to be more diligent — for example, emphasizing to students the distinctions between original and borrowed work.

"You can reinforce the character trait of integrity," she said. "We overload kids these days, and they look for ways to survive. ... It's a flaw in our system that whatever we are doing as educators allows this to continue."

Josephson contended that most Americans are too blase about ethical shortcomings among young people and in society at large.

"Adults are not taking this very seriously," he said. "The schools are not doing even the most moderate thing. ... They don't want to know. There's a pervasive apathy."

Josephson also addressed the argument that today's youth are no less honest than their predecessors.

"In the end, the question is not whether things are worse, but whether they are bad enough to mobilize concern and concerted action," he said.

"What we need to learn from these survey results is that our moral infrastructure is unsound and in serious need of repair. This is not a time to lament and whine but to take thoughtful, positive actions."


On the Net:

Institute: http://josephsoninstitute.org/

quarta-feira, novembro 26, 2008


Chuck Missler
from the k-House eNews Of November 25, 2008


The days of complaining about the socialization of homeschooled students should be over. Not only can home schooled students get involved in a wide variety of activities, from cheerleading to ice hockey, but there is even a National Homeschool Tournament for homeschool soccer teams. A national tournament! Earlier this month the Greenville Upstate Homeschool Co-op Hurricanes came in second behind Summit Soccer Academy of Detroit.

Homeschooling has made a lot of headway over the past few decades.

Not long ago in America , the general public looked on homeschooling with distrust. These days, parents' rights to teach their own children have become so widely respected that a multitude of counties across the United States (not all, but many) offer flexible support to homeschool families. Students might attend chemistry or physics classes at the high school and do the rest of their coursework at home. Only a handful of states have high regulation requirements for homsechoolers, and coops have cropped up in areas where homeschooling is popular.

The same cannot be said of Germany. While the Berlin Wall came down 19 years ago this month, some old ideas about the state-management of children yet linger. German families who choose to homeschool do so at their own risk. Rosemary and Juergen Dudek were sentenced to 90 days in prison this July because they homeschooled their children. Other families have faced huge fines or have had their children taken from them.

The Gorbers:
German parents Johannes and Cornelia Gorber finally won back full custody of their children earlier this month after welfare workers showed up in vans and took the children away to orphanages in January. It was a traumatic 10 months for the family as they fought to be together again.

According to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), Mrs. Gorber appealed to the judge, saying:

"Look at the children. If the so-called isolation and relationships 'only in the family' is so bad, can you please explain to me, how, after 10 years of homeschooling, they have turned out so well? They are academically on par at their schools. Their teachers are all satisfied with them, and some are even pleased with their work, wishing they had more students like them. Our children have no problems with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or other addictions which we see with so many children these days. So what do you want to control our kids for?"

The judge required that the children all remain in public schools from now on and said the Gorber's 3-year-old needed to be enrolled in a playgroup, but did not require caseworkers to remain involved. The parents are just glad to have their children back.

The Romeikes
Another German family recently decided to leave their home in Bissingen, Germany and flee to the United States in order to protect their children from German authorities. The HSLDA has filed for political asylum for Uwe and Hannelore Romeike and their six children, who are now residing in Tennessee.

"We love living in Tennessee. It is so beautiful, and the freedom we have to homeschool our children is wonderful," said Mrs. Romeike "We don't have to worry about looking over our shoulder anymore, wondering when the youth welfare officials will come or how much money we have to pay in fines."

The Romeikes still have to wait to see if their application for asylum is approved. The Justice Dept. reports that only four of 20 applications from Germany were granted last year.

God never gave human governments the responsibility of the raising children. That job remains squarely on the shoulders of parents. Parents need to hold tight to their rights and not give them up just because somebody out there thinks the village can do a better job. A government that penalizes parents for teaching their own kids is a government that denies its citizens basic human rights.

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. - Psalm 127:3-5

Related Links:
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Homeschool Hurricanes Finish 2nd in Nationals - The Greenville News
The Myth of Socialization - Koinonia House

terça-feira, novembro 11, 2008

Barack to Reality

Slate Magazine
fighting words

Obama's victory didn't magically eliminate America's problems and enemies.

By Christopher Hitchens

Yes, yes, yes. I, too, took pleasure in standing in line and in exchanging pleasantries and greetings with the amazingly courteous staff at my polling station and the many citizens of my delightfully diverse Washington neighborhood. I, too, am still wearing my lapel sticker, with the jaunty words "I Voted." And I found it pretty easy to cast a vote that told the Republican Party, for which I recommended a vote last time, not to try any of this shit again. No more McCarthy tactics; no more stumblebum quitting of the campaign trail and attempting to pull out of the first presidential debate in order to wind up voting to save Lehman Bros.; no more driveling Christian fundamentalism; no more insinuation that only those silly enough to endorse them are "real Americans." No more sneers at San Francisco as if it weren't a real American city. McCain and his preposterous running mate will just have to believe in an afterlife in which they can live down the shame of what they attempted this year.

But I might possibly have voted for them all the same, clothes pin clamped over my nose in the voting booth, if only because of the crucial struggle for a free Iraq and an autonomous Kurdistan. And, in such a case, I would have been very annoyed at the suggestion that my vote was a racist one. "Historic," yelled the very headline across the top of my morning newspaper. (Just the news, please, if you would be so kind.) Would the letters have been so big for the first female vice president? And isn't it already historic that millions of white Christians voted, win or lose, for a man with one Kenyan parent, that parent having been raised as a Muslim?

So let us not over-egg the pudding. And if you think our own press and media are too uncritically adoring, just spend a second or two exposing yourself to the overseas version. On election night, I spent a little time on British and then on Australian television. For expressing a few mild doubts about the new president-elect, I was forcibly reminded in one case that the first 14 (I think it was) presidents of the United States could have owned Barack Obama, and was informed in the second case that just 40 years ago, he would not have been allowed to vote in the election, let alone win it.

Well, as it happens, our new president has no slave ancestry, and neither branch of his parentage could have been owned by anybody, or at least not by anybody American. (Muslim-run slavery, though, is an old story in Africa as well as a horribly contemporary one.) And there were not a few elected black American representatives 40 years ago, even if mainly in Northern states. The objection I make is therefore twofold. First, the election of Obama is the effect not the cause of the changes. (One of my questioners appeared to think that our president-elect had been responsible for the decision in Brown v. Board of Education.) Second, a Republican victory would have had absolutely no effect on the legal or political standing of black Americans, which is a matter of our law and our Constitution and cannot be undone by any ephemeral vote or plebiscite.

The recognition of these obvious points should also alert us to a related danger, which is the cousinhood of euphoria and hysteria. Those who think that they have just voted to legalize Utopia (and I hardly exaggerate when I say this; have you been reading the moist and trusting comments of our commentariat?) are preparing for a disillusionment that I very much doubt they will blame on themselves. The national Treasury is an echoing, empty vault; our Russian and Iranian enemies are acting even more wolfishly even as they sense a repudiation of Bush-Cheney; the lines of jobless and evicted are going to lengthen, and I don't think a diet of hope is going to cover it. Nor even a diet of audacity, though can you picture anything less audacious than the gray, safety-first figures who have so far been chosen by Obama to be on his team?

There is an element of the "wannabe" about all this—something that suggests that, if the clock were to be rolled back, every living white person would now automatically stand with John Brown at Harper's Ferry and with John Lewis at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. All the evidence we have is to the contrary: Abraham Lincoln ringingly denounced John Brown, and John F. Kennedy (he of the last young and pretty family to occupy the Executive Mansion) was embarrassed and annoyed by the March on Washington. In other words, there is something pain-free and self-congratulatory about the Obama surge. This has happened before, of course, with the high-sounding talk about the "New Frontier," the "Great Society," and "Morning in America." It's just that this time it's more than usually not affordable. There are many causes of the subprime and derivative horror show that has destroyed our trust in the idea of credit, but one way of defining it would be to say that everybody was promised everything, and almost everybody fell for the populist bait.

More worrying still, there are vicious enemies and rogue states in increasing positions of influence throughout the world (one of the episodes that most condemned the Republican campaign was its attempt to slander Sen. Joe Biden for his candid attempt to point this out), yet many Obama voters appear to believe that the mere charm and aspect of their new president will act as an emollient influence on these unwelcome facts and these hostile forces. I can't make myself perform this act of faith, and I won't put up with any innuendo about my inability to do so.

Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and the Roger S. Mertz media fellow at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, Calif.

Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2204240/

quinta-feira, novembro 06, 2008

Freedom now stands alone

Melanie Phillips
The Spectator

Wednesday, 5th November 2008

So the answer to my question turned out to be yes, America really was going to do this. A historic moment indeed. The hyperbole for once is not exaggerated: this is a watershed election which changes the fate of the world. The fear however is that the world now becomes very much less safe for all of us as a result. Those of us who have looked on appalled during this most frightening of presidential elections – at the suspension of reason and its replacement by thuggery -- can only hope that the way this man governs will be very different from the profile provided by his influences, associations and record to date. It’s a faint hope – the enemies of America, freedom and the west will certainly be rejoicing today.

America has voted for change, apparently. Change from what, precisely? From Bush? But in the second term, Bush stopped being Bush. His foreign policy lurched from paralysis to appeasement (redeemed only by the strategic genius of Gen Petraeus – and what price Petraeus now?) As Frank Gaffney wrote in the Washington Times yesterday, Bush’s Treasury is about to open the way for sharia law to be imposed upon America’s banking system. And it was a Democrat-controlled Congress that helped provoke the sub-prime lending crisis that triggered the current financial meltdown.

What this election tells us is that America voted for change because America is in the process of changing – not just demographically by becoming less white and more diverse, but as the result of a culture war in which western civilisation is losing out to a far-left agenda which has become mainstream, teaching American children to despise the founding values of their country and hijacking discourse by the minority power-grab of victim-culture.

The reaction of conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic to this undoubted change – not just in the US but in Britain too – shows the intellectual disarray caused by these profound developments. They say politicians must stop trying to hold the cultural line and go instead with the flow of change. In Britain, the Tory party has adopted this strategy. Now there are Republicans saying the same thing.

But John McCain is a Republican who does not fit the old template, who does subscribe to some of this ‘change’ agenda on a number of issues. As a result, he was incapable of attacking Obama on the most important grounds of all: that he stood for values inimical to America’s founding principles. When he did venture into this territory, it was half-cocked and far too late, appearing merely like the desperate throw of a loser. The reason he couldn’t do it earlier was that he had no coherent platform of his own. So why vote for a muddled and erratic quasi-'progressive' when the real thing is a rock star? It cannot be said too emphatically -- the Republicans lost this election. Obama ran a superbly disciplined campaign and he was an impressive candidate, particularly in his calm and stately demeanour throughout. The Republicans screwed up in government, they selected a hopelessly frail and erratic candidate, he ran a shambolic campaign. They deserved to lose.

So now we are promised a change in America’s fundamental values. And they really will be changed. Obama has said in terms that he thinks the US constitution is flawed. America’s belief in itself as defending individual liberty, truth and justice on behalf of the free world will now be expiated instead as its original sin. Those who have for the past eight years worked to bring down the America that defends and protects life and liberty are today ecstatic. They have stormed the very citadel on Pennsylvania Avenue itself.

Millions of Americans remain lion-hearted, decent, rational and sturdy. They find themselves today abandoned, horrified, deeply apprehensive for the future of their country and the free world. No longer the land of the free and the home of the brave; they must now look elsewhere.

quarta-feira, outubro 29, 2008

Pray for the United States


Dear friends in Brazil,

This request is not based on fear, but as a “Battle Cry” for reinforcements.

I have a huge favor to ask. As the time for America’s election nears, I see more clearly that this election is much more than who will be our next president. It is very evident that this is a huge Spiritual battle and our freedoms and way of life are at stake. Many Christians have been praying for revival across this country and have been watching the signs of God’s judgment for years.

Please pray with us:

1. For His mercy
2. For revival like we have never experienced before
3. For His choice for the leader of America be elected
4. That regardless of the outcome of the election, He will be glorified and many will come to know Him as Lord & Savior

As you may know, Obama is BAD news! He promises to overturn every law that protects innocent lives from abortion. And bring about gay marriages. Even more serious is the fact that this president will likely appoint at least two Supreme Court Justices. If liberal judges are appointed, it is very possible that it may be 30 or 40 years before it will be possible to reverse any of the changes in our laws. There is also evidence of voter registration fraud which will undermine free election. We may not know the outcome of the election until much later after November 4 – like when President Bush was elected – or worse. We are also facing the real possibility of a serious recession or even depression.

If I didn’t know God is in full control, it could be frightening. He asks us to pray and I am asking you to please join us.

Please feel free to share these requests with others as you feel prompted.

Thank you.
Love your sister in Christ,


sábado, outubro 11, 2008

What is in Obama's mind?

July 29, 2008

Barack Obama's Stealth Socialism

Election '08: Before friendly audiences, Barack Obama speaks passionately about something called "economic justice." He uses the term obliquely, though, speaking in code — socialist code.

IBD Series: The Audacity Of Socialism

During his NAACP speech earlier this month, Sen. Obama repeated the term at least four times. "I've been working my entire adult life to help build an America where economic justice is being served," he said at the group's 99th annual convention in Cincinnati.

And as president, "we'll ensure that economic justice is served," he asserted. "That's what this election is about." Obama never spelled out the meaning of the term, but he didn't have to. His audience knew what he meant, judging from its thumping approval.

It's the rest of the public that remains in the dark, which is why we're launching this special educational series.

"Economic justice" simply means punishing the successful and redistributing their wealth by government fiat. It's a euphemism for socialism.

In the past, such rhetoric was just that — rhetoric. But Obama's positioning himself with alarming stealth to put that rhetoric into action on a scale not seen since the birth of the welfare state.

In his latest memoir he shares that he'd like to "recast" the welfare net that FDR and LBJ cast while rolling back what he derisively calls the "winner-take-all" market economy that Ronald Reagan reignited (with record gains in living standards for all).

Obama also talks about "restoring fairness to the economy," code for soaking the "rich" — a segment of society he fails to understand that includes mom-and-pop businesses filing individual tax returns.

It's clear from a close reading of his two books that he's a firm believer in class envy. He assumes the economy is a fixed pie, whereby the successful only get rich at the expense of the poor.

Following this discredited Marxist model, he believes government must step in and redistribute pieces of the pie. That requires massive transfers of wealth through government taxing and spending, a return to the entitlement days of old.

Of course, Obama is too smart to try to smuggle such hoary collectivist garbage through the front door. He's disguising the wealth transfers as "investments" — "to make America more competitive," he says, or "that give us a fighting chance," whatever that means.

Among his proposed "investments":

• "Universal," "guaranteed" health care.

• "Free" college tuition.

• "Universal national service" (a la Havana).

• "Universal 401(k)s" (in which the government would match contributions made by "low- and moderate-income families").

• "Free" job training (even for criminals).

• "Wage insurance" (to supplement dislocated union workers' old income levels).

• "Free" child care and "universal" preschool.

• More subsidized public housing.

• A fatter earned income tax credit for "working poor."

• And even a Global Poverty Act that amounts to a Marshall Plan for the Third World, first and foremost Africa.

His new New Deal also guarantees a "living wage," with a $10 minimum wage indexed to inflation; and "fair trade" and "fair labor practices," with breaks for "patriot employers" who cow-tow to unions, and sticks for "nonpatriot" companies that don't.

That's just for starters — first-term stuff.

Obama doesn't stop with socialized health care. He wants to socialize your entire human resources department — from payrolls to pensions. His social-microengineering even extends to mandating all employers provide seven paid sick days per year to salary and hourly workers alike.

You can see why Obama was ranked, hands-down, the most liberal member of the Senate by the National Journal. Some, including colleague and presidential challenger John McCain, think he's the most liberal member in Congress.

But could he really be "more left," as McCain recently remarked, than self-described socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (for whom Obama has openly campaigned, even making a special trip to Vermont to rally voters)?

Obama's voting record, going back to his days in the Illinois statehouse, says yes. His career path — and those who guided it — leads to the same unsettling conclusion.

The seeds of his far-left ideology were planted in his formative years as a teenager in Hawaii — and they were far more radical than any biography or profile in the media has portrayed.

A careful reading of Obama's first memoir, "Dreams From My Father," reveals that his childhood mentor up to age 18 — a man he cryptically refers to as "Frank" — was none other than the late communist Frank Marshall Davis, who fled Chicago after the FBI and Congress opened investigations into his "subversive," "un-American activities."

As Obama was preparing to head off to college, he sat at Davis' feet in his Waikiki bungalow for nightly bull sessions. Davis plied his impressionable guest with liberal doses of whiskey and advice, including: Never trust the white establishment.

"They'll train you so good," he said, "you'll start believing what they tell you about equal opportunity and the American way and all that sh**."

After college, where he palled around with Marxist professors and took in socialist conferences "for inspiration," Obama followed in Davis' footsteps, becoming a "community organizer" in Chicago.

His boss there was Gerald Kellman, whose identity Obama also tries to hide in his book. Turns out Kellman's a disciple of the late Saul "The Red" Alinsky, a hard-boiled Chicago socialist who wrote the "Rules for Radicals" and agitated for social revolution in America.

The Chicago-based Woods Fund provided Kellman with his original $25,000 to hire Obama. In turn, Obama would later serve on the Woods board with terrorist Bill Ayers of the Weather Underground. Ayers was one of Obama's early political supporters.

After three years agitating with marginal success for more welfare programs in South Side Chicago, Obama decided he would need to study law to "bring about real change" — on a large scale.

While at Harvard Law School, he still found time to hone his organizing skills. For example, he spent eight days in Los Angeles taking a national training course taught by Alinsky's Industrial Areas Foundation. With his newly minted law degree, he returned to Chicago to reapply — as well as teach — Alinsky's "agitation" tactics.

(A video-streamed bio on Obama's Web site includes a photo of him teaching in a University of Chicago classroom. If you freeze the frame and look closely at the blackboard Obama is writing on, you can make out the words "Power Analysis" and "Relationships Built on Self Interest" — terms right out of Alinsky's rule book.)

Amid all this, Obama reunited with his late father's communist tribe in Kenya, the Luo, during trips to Africa.

As a Nairobi bureaucrat, Barack Hussein Obama Sr., a Harvard-educated economist, grew to challenge the ruling pro-Western government for not being socialist enough. In an eight-page scholarly paper published in 1965, he argued for eliminating private farming and nationalizing businesses "owned by Asians and Europeans."

His ideas for communist-style expropriation didn't stop there. He also proposed massive taxes on the rich to "redistribute our economic gains to the benefit of all."

"Theoretically, there is nothing that can stop the government from taxing 100% of income so long as the people get benefits from the government commensurate with their income which is taxed," Obama Sr. wrote. "I do not see why the government cannot tax those who have more and syphon some of these revenues into savings which can be utilized in investment for future development."

Taxes and "investment" . . . the fruit truly does not fall far from the vine.

(Voters might also be interested to know that Obama, the supposed straight shooter, does not once mention his father's communist leanings in an entire book dedicated to his memory.)

In Kenya's recent civil unrest, Obama privately phoned the leader of the opposition Luo tribe, Raila Odinga, to voice his support. Odinga is so committed to communism he named his oldest son after Fidel Castro.

With his African identity sewn up, Obama returned to Chicago and fell under the spell of an Afrocentric pastor. It was a natural attraction. The Rev. Jeremiah Wright preaches a Marxist version of Christianity called "black liberation theology" and has supported the communists in Cuba, Nicaragua and elsewhere.

Obama joined Wright's militant church, pledging allegiance to a system of "black values" that demonizes white "middle classness" and other mainstream pursuits.

(Obama in his first book, published in 1995, calls such values "sensible." There's no mention of them in his new book.)

With the large church behind him, Obama decided to run for political office, where he could organize for "change" more effectively. "As an elected official," he said, "I could bring church and community leaders together easier than I could as a community organizer or lawyer."

He could also exercise real, top-down power, the kind that grass-roots activists lack. Alinsky would be proud.

Throughout his career, Obama has worked closely with a network of stone-cold socialists and full-blown communists striving for "economic justice."

He's been traveling in an orbit of collectivism that runs from Nairobi to Honolulu, and on through Chicago to Washington.

Yet a recent AP poll found that only 6% of Americans would describe Obama as "liberal," let alone socialist.

Public opinion polls usually reflect media opinion, and the media by and large have portrayed Obama as a moderate "outsider" (the No. 1 term survey respondents associate him with) who will bring a "breath of fresh air" to Washington.

The few who have drilled down on his radical roots have tended to downplay or pooh-pooh them. Even skeptics have failed to connect the dots for fear of being called the dreaded "r" word.

But too much is at stake in this election to continue mincing words.

Both a historic banking crisis and 1970s-style stagflation loom over the economy. Democrats, who already control Congress, now threaten to filibuster-proof the Senate in what could be a watershed election for them — at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

A perfect storm of statism is forming, and our economic freedoms are at serious risk.

Those who care less about looking politically correct than preserving the free-market individualism that's made this country great have to start calling things by their proper name to avert long-term disaster.

terça-feira, maio 27, 2008

O comediante pasmo

João Cláudio Moreno, artista de múltiplos talentos, especialmente comediante, e vereador da cidade de Teresina-PI, contou em entrevista recente a seguinte história.

Ele estava no Rio de Janeiro, jantando com sua filha em um restaurante. Ao entrar ele percebeu na parede dois cartazes informando aos clientes de uma lei municipal e outra federal proibindo o fumo naquele recinto. Os fumantes tinham a opção de ficar em mesas do lado de fora. Por causa disso ele havia entrado. Padecendo de um problema que o havia deixado quase completamente afônico, ele, que depende de sua voz para viver, tentava preservar sua saúde a todo custo.

Lá pelas tantas uma mulher em uma mesa próxima abre a bolsa, retira e acende um cigarro. Ao perceber isso, João Cláudio discretamente chama o garçom e pede a ele que, do modo mais gentil possível, peça à senhora para não fumar ali, e que uma pessoa tinha problemas de saúde e que não poderia respirar a fumaça. Ele disse que gastou um bom tempo instruindo o garçom para ser o mais delicado e discreto possível. Porém o homem não agiu assim.

Passando pela mesa da senhora, o garçom foi direto chamar o gerente. Este inquiriu o comediante, chamando a atenção sobre ele, inclusive da fumante. João Cláudio repetiu a explicação e o pedido que havia feito ao garçom.

O gerente saiu da sua mesa, dirigiu-se à mulher e disse, "Olha, não é por mim, que eu nem me incomodo, mas aquele senhor ali está pedindo para a senhora apagar o cigarro".

A mulher olhou para ele irritada e começou a falar impropérios. Levantou-se a contragosto e saiu do restaurante, indo sentar-se em uma das mesas do lado de fora, onde continuou a fumar. No entanto, teve o cuidado de abrir uma janela próxima e jogar as baforadas de fumaça para dentro. Ao terminar o cigarro, voltou para sua antiga mesa. Ao passar por João Cláudio, disse, "Eu precisava fazer isso ou eu não me sentiria feliz!"

O comediante concluiu, pasmo, que o mundo e as pessoas estão cada vez menos preocupados com o bem-estar dos outros e cada vez mais carentes de solidariedade humana. Ele é vereador eleito pelo PC do B.

Veja mais sobre ética aqui

sábado, maio 17, 2008


Chuck Missler
K-House eNews
For The Week Of May 13, 2008

"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."

Matthew 10:32-33

The minister at Toronto's West Hill United Church, Rev. Gretta Vosper, does not teach her congregation to recite the Apostle's Creed. She does not believe that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit or born of a virgin. She does not believe that Jesus rose again from the dead or ascended into heaven... or most of the basic tenets of Biblical Christianity. In fact, when her congregation sings famous hymns, the references to Christ and God are removed. Yet, Ms. Vosper calls herself a "Christian" and runs a church in one of Canada's largest Protestant denominations.

Ms. Vosper believes that all that stuff about resurrection and miracles and the forgiveness of sins is something the Christian Church has to get past in order to make it in the 21st Century world. To her, the essence of Christianity is about loving your neighbor. She therefore follows some of the teachings of Christ - according to her preferred interpretation of those teachings. The rest of his message, about dying for our sins, rising again on the third day, and being one with the Father, those must be things she just ignores.

On the other hand, famous evangelical theologian J.I. Packer has recently cut his ties with the Anglican Church of Canada because a significant portion of its liberal leadership has become heretical. He is not alone in his concern. A number of more conservative Anglican parishes have protested the gradual acceptance of homosexuality within many Anglican dioceses. These parishes have split off in increasing numbers, aligning themselves with their Anglican brothers and sisters in other countries. The divisions are not just caused by sex issues. A chasm has steadily grown between those who hold conservative, Bible-based beliefs and those who affirm more liberal, man-centered views.

Packer still believes the Bible is the absolute authority on divine truth. "I'm simply being an old-fashioned mainstream Anglican," Packer said. He hasn't changed, and the Bible hasn't changed, but the Anglican leadership in Canada certainly has.

Since the days of the apostles themselves, Christianity has been full of division. Paul rebuked the Corinthians for being divided among themselves, for some saying, "I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ (1 Cor 1:12)." He encouraged them to be "perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment (1 Cor 1:10)."

Yet, Jesus himself warned that he did not come to earth to bring peace, and that he would divide even families. Christianity is not really its own religion, after all. Christianity is merely Mature Judaism. Jesus split Judaism into two camps – those who followed Christ in the New Covenant, and those who clung to the Old Covenant.

Psalm 133 describes how desirable unity is. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard..." We are to seek unity, to exhort each other in humility and love (and not rudeness or high-and-mightiness). Our love for one another is something that is supposed to demonstrate to the world that we are Christ's (John 13:35). Church leaders are to know the Word of God, so that they may "be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers (Titus 1:9)." Yet, when the choice comes down to unity or truth, truth must always win. Unity can never be more important than following Christ himself.

"He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me (Matthew 10:37-38)."

Rev. Gretta Vosper is wrong about the future of Christianity. Biblical Christianity that is full of the Spirit of God will never become outdated. It might be scorned by the intellectuals who consider themselves wise, and it might be rejected by those who seek the praise of man over the praise of God. But, the Spirit of God is always at work in the hearts of men, giving life to human spirits by the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead.

"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2Cor. 4:6)."

Jesus never promised us unity in this world. He did, however, say that he was the way, the truth, and the life. If we keep our eyes on him, we'll be walking in unity with all others who are doing the same.

Related Links:
• Pastor Promotes a Christianity without Christ - The Globe and Mail
• Famed Theologian Quits Anglican Church of Canada - The Christian Post
• Strategic Perspectives Conference II - DVD - Special Offer!

quinta-feira, maio 08, 2008


By Joel C. Rosenberg
(Washington, D.C., May 8, 2008) -- Israel turns 60 today on the Jewish calendar. The Joshua Fund team salutes the brave men and women whom God brought back to the Holy Land to fulfill the prophecies of Ezekiel 36 & 37 -- to rebuild the ancient ruins, make the deserts bloom, create an "exceedingly great army" and forge a homeland to protect and defend the Jewish people from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

We also salute all those Jews, Christians and other "righteous Gentiles" in the U.S. and around the world who have shown unconditional love and unwavering support to Israel in the face of tremendous opposition. Last month The Joshua Fund gathered 2,000 Christian and Jewish leaders at the international convention center in Jerusalem for the inaugural "Epicenter Conference." We celebrated Israel's birthday, examined the threats facing her at present from radical Islam, and discussed ways Christians could bless Israel at this critical hour.

Out of that conference came "60 Ways To Bless Israel At 60." We hope you will be moved to pursue some of these ways in the days and weeks ahead.

1. Help provide brand new backpacks and school supplies for needy Israeli school children. The Joshua Fund has committed $100,000 to this project, working with Jewish and Christian allies in Israel. The backpacks need to be purchased soon and in bulk to get the best prices. They will be distributed in September, when the new school year begins. Would you consider signing up to make a monthly donation to The Joshua Fund of $25, $40 or $60? All donations are tax deductible. For more information on how to make contributions by mail -- or by secure on-line credit card transactions -- please see below.

2. Stock one bomb shelter in northern Israel with food, water, a first aid kit, other emergency supplies and a secure storage locker. There are currently some 5,500 bomb shelters that need to be urgently stocked with supplies before the next war. The Joshua Fund is currently raising funds to stock 100 as soon as possible. Cost per bomb shelter: $5,500.

3. Provide one ton of food to care for needy families in northern Israel who were hit by 4,000 rockets and missiles during the 2006 war with Hezbollah. These families are still recovering from that war. Many live on less than $500 a month. And food prices are rising in Israel, as they are around the globe. Every month, therefore, The Joshua Fund pays for about 10 tons of food to be purchased by one of our allies in Israel, distributed to the needy in the north, as well as stockpiled for the next war. Cost: $2,500 per ton.

4. Help purchase desperately needed medical equipment such as respirators, ventilators, operating room lamps, mobile x-ray machines and the like for under-funded regional hospitals in Israel. At the request of hospital administrators, The Joshua Fund has adopted the Barzilai Medical Center in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon to help them raise funds for such equipment. Barzilai is the only hospital and trauma center serving the 500,000 Israelis living near the Gaza border and facing a nearly constant barrage of rockets, missiles and mortars. They are doing heroic work, but they do need our help. Cost: Some of this equipment is very costly, averaging between $20,000 to $80,000 each. A donation of $5,000 would help significantly towards meeting these vital needs.

5. Help provide food baskets to needy families in Jerusalem on Jewish holidays. Working with our local allies, The Joshua Fund recently helped finance the distribution of 680 food baskets to needy Israeli families for Passover.

6. Provide food, blankets, wheelchairs and other assistance to Holocaust victims in Israel, many of whom tragically live at or below the poverty level, even within the Jewish State.

7. Help care for the homeless in Israel.

8. Help finance soup kitchens in Israel.

9. Help care for Sudanese refugees in Israel.

10. Help provide blankets and heaters for the elderly in Israel during the cold winter months, since many do not have -- or cannot afford -- central heating.
Help finance the purchase of vans for Israeli organizations that distribute humanitarian aid so they can get supplies to the people that need them most in a more efficient manner. The Joshua Fund is involved in all these areas of relief work -- caring for Holocaust victims, the homeless, refugees, and others -- and we would be honored to get you involved in funding critically important projects such as these.

11. Track daily news coverage of Israel in English through The Jerusalem Post.

12. Track daily news coverage of Israel in English through Ynetnews.com.

13. Track daily news coverage of Israel in English through Haaretz, one of the leading papers in Jerusalem.

14. Track the latest statements and interviews by radical Islamic fanatics -- translated into English -- at the website of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

15. Become a faithful prayer partner for Israel and her neighbors. The Joshua Fund is looking for 100,000 partners to sign up for free "Flash Traffic" email alerts that include analysis and commentary on events and trends in Israel and the epicenter, Joshua Fund project updates, and prayer requests. More than 52,000 people from all over the world have joined already. You can join the team by clicking below.

16. Take your family on a tour of Israel.

17. Join us on a future Joshua Fund "Prayer & Vision Trip" to Israel.

18. Take Hebrew classes for the summer at your local Jewish Community Center.

19. Make friends with a local Rabbi, find ways to bless the synagogue he runs, and discuss ways to bless Israel together.

20. Learn more about the Israeli economy and business opportunities through the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce.

For 40 more suggestions, please visit my weblog.

quarta-feira, maio 07, 2008

Global Food Crisis Hits Home

Written by Rusty Wright

Happy with your grocery bills these days? Do those gasoline pump meters seem to whir like Vegas slot machines, except you never hit the jackpot?

The two issues are not unrelated and they’re affecting pocketbooks and bellies at home and around the globe. Some Westerners might react with detached shock to stories of food riots in places like Haiti, India, and Cameroon. But when your local Costco and Sam’s Club start limiting rice purchases (as recently reported), reality creeps in.

Americans seem worried. A USA TODAY/Gallup poll found 73 percent of US consumers concerned about food inflation; almost half said it caused their households hardship. Eighty percent expressed concern about energy prices.{1}

Food price increases that may cause inconvenience or hardship in affluent nations can be devastating for families in the developing world. Recent food riots in Haiti cost the prime minister his job. The New York Times reports that spiraling prices are “turning Haitian staples like beans, corn and rice into closely guarded treasures.” Some Haitians eat mud patties containing oil and sugar to silence their grumbling stomachs.{2}

“Silent Tsunami”

Economist and special United Nations advisor Jeffrey Sachs says of the global food problem, “It’s the worst crisis of its kind in more than 30 years. … There are a number of governments on the ropes, and I think there’s more political fallout to come.” {3}

The UN World Food Program says skyrocketing food prices could create a “silent tsunami” turning 100 million people toward hunger and poverty. Executive director Josette Sheeran called “for large-scale, high-level action by the global community.” {4} British Prime minister Gordon Brown asserts, "Tackling hunger is a moral challenge to each of us and it is also a threat to the political and economic stability of nations." {5}

World Vision, one of the world’s largest relief and development agencies, announced serious cutbacks, saying they are able to feed 1.5 million fewer people than last year. The well-respected Christian humanitarian organization appealed for international donors, citing swelling food prices and increased food need. Rising fuel costs boost fertilizer and food transportation costs. Corn diverted to make biofuels cannot become lunch,{6} though some feel biofuel is a misplaced whipping boy.{7}

Your Strategies

Of course folks in the developed world, not threatened with devastating hunger, can employ multiple strategies to stretch their resources. Careful shopping and research is one. (“Holy Coupon Clipping, Batman! Just look how much we can save if we time our grocery shopping to the sales rather than our impulses!”) Diet adjustment, portion control, and budgetary belt-tightening are others.

And while you’re trying to be sure your outgo doesn’t exceed your income – lest your upkeep become your downfall—may I suggest another wise move? If possible, share some of what you have with the desperately needy. World Vision founder Bob Pierce had as his life theme, "Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God." An ancient Jewish proverb says, “If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord—and he will repay you!”{8}

Many fine organizations can use your donations to effectively fight poverty and hunger. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof says, “Nobody gets more bang for the buck than missionary schools and clinics, and Christian aid groups like World Vision and Samaritan's Purse save lives at bargain-basement prices.” {9} I would add World Relief and the Salvation Army to the list. Your local house of worship may be a good place to start.

As another of those ancient Jewish proverbs says, “Blessed are those who help the poor.” {10}


1. Sue Kirchhoff, “Poll: Food costs a major worry for consumers,” USA Today, April 22, 2008; at www.usatoday.com/money/economy/2008-04-22-food-costs-rise-poll_N.htm, accessed April 25, 2008.
2. Marc Lacey, “Across Globe, Empty Bellies Bring Rising Anger, The New York Times, April 18, 2008; at tinyurl.com/6hhcsx, accessed April 25, 2008.
3. Ibid.
4. “World Food Crisis a 'Silent Tsunami,'” Agence France-Presse, The New York Times, April 23, 2008; at tinyurl.com/59asm6, accessed April 25, 2008.
5. CTV.ca News Staff, “World Vision needs urgent help as millions starve,” April 23, 2008; at tinyurl.com/5y4wy5.
6. “Aid group to cut food ration to millions,” CNN.com, April 22, 2008; at www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/04/22/food.program.cutback, accessed April 25, 2008. Editor's Note: "Page not found" error at this address while processing article. Try typing title of article into CNN.com search engine.
7. “Bad policy, not biofuel, drive food prices: Merkel,” Reuters, April 17, 2008; at www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSL1721113520080417. accessed April 25, 2008.
8. Proverbs 19:17 NLT.
9. Nicholas D. Kristof, “Bush, a Friend of Africa,” The New York Times, July 5, 2005; at http://tinyurl.com/y8wwoj; accessed April 25, 2008.
10. Proverbs 14:21 NLT.

© 2008 Rusty Wright

About the Author

Rusty Wright, associate speaker and writer with Probe Ministries, is an international lecturer, award-winning author, and journalist who has spoken on six continents. He holds Bachelor of Science (psychology) and Master of Theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively. He can be reached at RustyWright@aol.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

What is Probe?

Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.

Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:

Probe Ministries
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(972) 480-0240 FAX (972) 644-9664

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