WELCOME to our August visit. Find a cool spot, grab a glass of iced tea and browse awhile.
Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, a senior fellow at the left-wing Center for American Progress and a board member for Faith in Public Life (a progressive, religious organization), believes that Christianity—and right-leaning political beliefs—are responsible for the tragic Oslo rampage.
In a Washington Post opinion piece entitled, “When Christianity Becomes Lethal,” Thistlethwaite lectures readers about the perils of “extreme Christianity” and the failure of believers to see the connections between their beliefs and associated violence.
It would probably be worth noting that Thistlethwaite is the former president of Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS) and a preacher ordained through the United Church of Christ (UCC). The infamous Rev. Jeremiah Wright has also taught at CTS and is, of course, ordained by UCC as well. You can read a piece in which Thistlethwaite defends Rev. Wright’s preaching style here, but providing even more of a backdrop to frame her views beyond this probably isn’t needed.
I wonder if he had been a Muslim if she would have been so quick to condemn his religion.
Obama says he would like to be a dictator
President Obama gave a speech on immigration last week to La Raza, a Hispanic group, and admitted that the idea of making his own laws and “doing things on my own is very tempting” when it came to dealing with Congress. The crowd began cheering and clapping, chanting “Yes, we can!” And while he added the caveat that our democracy doesn’t work like that, it was obvious that he was speaking from his heart. Shades of Venezuela and Hugo Chavez! The whole scenario was said to remind listeners of the Star Wars scene where Natalie Portman’s character (?) says, “This is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause.”
Make A Move
There is a music video making the rounds called “Make A Move.” The singers and musicians are called the Royal Tailor Band, a “Pentecostal” group. I use the term rather loosely.
This is where most of us knew those young musicians who are plugged into the rock/dance/MTV scene were going. I understand the band has signed a lucrative agreement with Sony to produce more stuff like “Make A Move.” The group has even produced a video to teach young people how to “make the moves” and dance steps that they do on the video. The leader feels that moving into this realm with this type of choreography and music will “change the world.”
Pastors, you may be surprised to know what your young people are being taught by such bands. That type of choreographed music has never led anyone into a deeper spirituality and walk with God. If it is allowed on our church platforms and in our youth meetings, it will quickly reproduce itself. Pastors and youth leaders must stand up now or watch your youth slip into carnality that is being labeled as spirituality.
“Oh, we have to have something like this to compete with MTV.” NEVER! We are not in competition with MTV! They may be in competition with us, but we are not with them. We ought never do what we do to look as good (or as bad) as someone else. This “spiritual consumerism” has infected the church and is gnawing at our vitals. We need a collective confrontation of this evil or it will take down thousands of our youth. One or two voices will not withstand it. This is a challenge from Hell and must be met with all the forces of Heaven. Where is the certain sound from leadership?
We just had a young man return from summer camp with a changed life and changed direction. When he got home, he went to his room and cleaned out over a thousand dollars worth of CDs. They were a weight and an encumbrance to his walk with God. He “made a move” to kick some things like this out of his life. Now that was a smart move!
Let’s stand TOGETHER against the encroachment of this type of non-Apostolic carnality that is knocking on the door of the Apostolic movement. Let’s make a move to keep this kind of stuff out of our meetings!
If you want to see what I am talking about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rbsHB00G8g
Center of the Bible
It’s strange how this works out.
What is the shortest chapter in the Bible? – Psalms 117
What is the longest chapter in the Bible? – Psalms 119
What chapter is the center chapter of the Bible? – Psalms 118
There is 594 chapters before Psalms 118 and 594 after Psalms 118.
Add these totals up and you get 1188.
So now what is the center verse in the Bible? Psalm 118:8!
So what does this verse say? It says something significant about
God’s perfect will
in and for our lives here and now.
Next time someone says to you that they would like to find
God’s perfect will for their
life, and want to be in the center of His will, just send
them to the center of His word:
The book of Psalms 118:8
“Its better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”
When things get tough always remember: “Faith doesn’t get you around trouble, it gets you through it.”
Source: D. Myers – Huntsville , TX
“Should” or “shall” in John 3:16?
A phone call this month made me realize that another review of John 3:16 might be in order. The caller was perturbed that certain preachers were heard misquoting that verse. They were quoting it with “shall not” rather than “should not.” Now if one is quoting from the KJV, they were indeed misquoting it. He pointed out that the words were “should not perish” (KJV), meaning—in his estimation—that if one believes, he “ought not” to perish but go on to full salvation via the new birth, etc. “Shall,” he said, “was absolute. Should is suggestive.” (NIV/NASB have “shall”; NLT has “will.”)
This was obviously an effort to make it fit his broader doctrinal position, which may be sound in itself and not in need of such subtle wordplay. This underscores the problem with trying to build a doctrine, or support one, based on the English wording alone. We should remember that Jesus did not speak in English, nor was the Bible originally written in medieval Elizabethan vernacular.
The word “should or shall” is understood as built into the phrase, “me apolētai”—should not perish—and is not a stand alone word in the original. The Bible’s Greek term ἀπόληται [apolētai] simply means “perish or destroy.” So the translators understood that Jesus was saying that one’s active faith in Christ was what will keep him from suffering eternal damnation (Ephesians 2:8). Reading more than that into the wording is eisegetical and unnecessary.
So what is left for the churches when Hell is removed, when the cross and the blood of Christ is repugnant to the masses? When the mention of sin is not politically correct, and therefore redemption is moot? When faith in Christ and His Word are no longer necessary for salvation or even legitimate subjects for Christian pulpits, all they have left is works—good deeds, feed the hungry, provide for the poor, campaign for social justice, and the like.
Dispensing with the gospel of grace, of sin and redemption, or life change through the new birth strips the church of its place in society and makes is nothing more than part of the government’s nanny state.
That is not the kind of church where I found God as a teenager, nor is it the kind of church that Jesus is building today. Redemption is not found in social justice efforts, Rick Warren and the Emergents notwithstanding. We must never be reduced to that level. Individuals can help the hurting when they are encountered and the need is felt, and certain focused evangelistic efforts may spill over into physical assistance, but social service is not a substitute for the gospel. Jesus came to “seek and save that which is lost.”
We will never fulfill the Great Commission through social reform and charitable causes. It is commendable that a group of Christians will lend a hand in general tragedies like hurricanes and “acts of God,” as weather damage is called. The Jews in Israel and the church in the NT times helped fellow believers, but they didn’t make a concerted effort to relieve all the sin-caused pain and problems of society through social services. The Warrenesque “social gospel” is a distraction provided by the liberal bleeding hearts who have abandoned the real gospel of Christ and have nothing left but to engage in some popular area of social reform.
Interfaith social justice and new strains of so-called spirituality are all the rage in America today, emphasizing the fact that we are rapidly becoming a post-Christian nation. Isaiah noticed something like this in Israel and complained that “You have abandoned your people, the house of Jacob” (Isaiah 2:6 NIV). Why? “They are full of superstitions [influences -NASB] from the East; they practice divination like the Philistines and clasp hands with pagans.” Is there a better picture of America, and some branches of our own Christian faith? Have we forgotten how jealous God is? Do we think He will forever bless us regardless of how far we drift from Him and His Word?
For more on this topic, plus the new spirituality, emergent church, and related subjects, let me suggest that you visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0JEODSz2lk
“Socialism is a philosophy of failure,
the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy,
its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”
— Winston Churchill
Islam and the future of the world
The world is becoming a hostage to Islam. In the UK, some wussies want the school textbooks to remove the record of the Holocaust because it offends the Muslims who believe it never happened.
In a braver time, below is what some notables had to say about Islam:
“I am afraid that God has sent these men to lay waste the world.”
Gregory Palamus of Thessalonica, 1354:
“For these impious people, hated by God and infamous, boast of having got the better of the Romans by their love of God…they live by the bow, the sword and debauchery, finding pleasure in taking slaves, devoting themselves to murder, pillage, spoil…and not only do they commit these crimes, but even — what an aberration — they believe that God approves of them. This is what I think of them, now that I know precisely about their way of life.”
William Eaton, US Consul to Tunis, wrote in 1799:
“Considered as a nation, they are deplorably wretched, because they have no property in the soil to inspire an ambition to cultivate it. They are abject slaves to the despotism of their government, and they are humiliated by tyranny, the worst of all tyrannies, the despotism of priestcraft. They live in more solemn fear of the frowns of a bigot who has been dead and rotten above a thousand years, than of the living despot whose frown would cost them their lives…The ignorance, superstitious tradition and civil and religious tyranny, which depress the human mind here, exclude improvement of every kind…”
Alexis de Tocqueville:
“I studied the Kuran a great deal … I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammed. As far as I can see, it is the principal cause of the decadence so visible today in the Muslim world, and, though less absurd than the polytheism of old, its social and political tendencies are in my opinion infinitely more to be feared, and I therefore regard it as a form of decadence rather than a form of progress in relation to paganism itself.”
“Ever since the religion of Islam appeared in the world, the espousers of it…have been as wolves and tigers to all other nations, rending and tearing all that fell into their merciless paws, and grinding them with their iron teeth; that numberless cities are raised from the foundation, and only their name remaining; that many countries, which were once as the garden of God, are now a desolate wilderness; and that so many once numerous and powerful nations are vanished from the earth! Such was, and is at this day, the rage, the fury, the revenge, of these destroyers of human kind.”
John Quincy Adams wrote:
“In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of Hagar [i.e., Muhammad], the Egyptian, combining the powers of transcendent genius, with the preternatural energy of a fanatic, and the fraudulent spirit of an impostor, proclaimed himself as a messenger from Heaven, and spread desolation and delusion over an extensive portion of the earth. Adopting from the sublime conception of the Mosaic law, the doctrine of one omnipotent God; he connected indissolubly with it, the audacious falsehood, that he was himself his prophet and apostle. Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he humbled it to the dust by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion. He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain, by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. THE ESSENCE OF HIS DOCTRINE WAS VIOLENCE AND LUST: TO EXALT THE BRUTAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL PART OF HUMAN NATURE (Adams’s capital letters)… Between these two religions, thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. The war is yet flagrant… While the merciless and dissolute dogmas of the false prophet shall furnish motives to human action, there can never be peace upon earth, and goodwill towards men.”
John Quincy Adams wrote in 1829:
“The precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God. The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute; the victorious may be appeased by a false and delusive promise of peace; and the faithful follower of the prophet, may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective. The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force.”
Winston Churchill, wrote in 1899:
“The religion of Islam above all others was founded upon the sword … Moreover it provides incentives to slaughter, and in three continents has produced fighting breeds of men—filled with a wild and merciless fanaticism.”
Theodore Roosevelt wrote:
“The Greeks who triumphed at Marathon and Salamis did a work without which the world would have been deprived of the social value of Plato and Aristotle, of Aeschylus, Herodotus, and Thucydides. The civilization of Europe, America, and Australia exists today at all only because of the victories of civilized man over the enemies of civilization, because the victories stretching through the centuries from the days of Miltiades and Themistocles to those of Charles Martel in the eighth century and those of John Sobieski in the seventeenth century. During the thousand years that included the careers of the Frankish soldier and the Polish king, the Christians of Asia and Africa proved unable to wage successful war with the Moslem conquerors; and in consequence Christianity practically vanished from the two continents; and today nobody can find in them any ‘social values’ whatever, in the sense in which we use the words, so far as the sphere of Mohammedan influence. There are such ‘social values’ today in Europe, America, and Australia only because during those thousand years the Christians of Europe possessed the warlike power to do what the Christians of Asia and Africa had failed to do—that is, to beat back the Moslem invader.”
“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.”
“There is in Islam a paradox which is perhaps a permanent menace. The great creed born in the desert creates a kind of ecstasy of the very emptiness of its own land, and even, one may say, out of the emptiness of its own theology. . . . A void is made in the heart of Islam which has to be filled up again and again by a mere repetition of the revolution that founded it. There are no sacraments; the only thing that can happen is a sort of apocalypse, as unique as the end of the world; so the apocalypse can only be repeated and the world end again and again. There are no priests; and yet this equality can only breed a multitude if lawless prophets almost as numerous as priests. The very dogma that there is only one Mahomet produces an endless procession of Mahomets.”
Winston Churchill 14 June 1921:
“The Wahabis [Saudi extremists] profess a life of exceeding austerity, and what they practice themselves they rigorously enforce on others. They hold it as an article of duty, as well as of faith, to kill all who do not share their opinions and to make slaves of their wives and children. Women have been put to death in Wahabi villages for simply appearing in the streets. It is a penal offense to wear a silk garment. Men have been killed for smoking a cigarette, and as for alcohol, the most energetic supporter of the temperance cause in this country falls far behind them. Austere, intolerant, well armed, and bloodthirsty, in their own regions the Wahabis are a distinct factor which must be taken into account, and they have been, and still are, very dangerous to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, and to the whole institution of the pilgrimage, in which our Indian fellow-subjects are so deeply concerned….The Emir Bin Saud has shown himself capable of leading and, within considerable limits, of controlling these formidable sectaries.”
Andre Servier, 1922 wrote:
“Islam was not a torch, as has been claimed, but an extinguisher. Conceived in a barbarous brain for the use of a barbarous people, it was—and it remains—incapable of adapting itself to civilization. Wherever it has dominated, it has broken the impulse towards progress and checked the evolution of society.”
Hilaire Belloc who wrote in 1938:
“Will not perhaps the temporal power of Islam return and with it the menace of an armed Mohammedan world, which will shake off the domination of Europeans—still nominally Christian—and reappear as the prime enemy of our civilization? The future always comes as a surprise, but political wisdom consists in attempting at least some partial judgment of what that surprise may be. And for my part I cannot but believe that a main unexpected thing of the future is the return of Islam.”
“Today, the hatred of the Moslem countries against the West is becoming hatred against Christianity itself. Although the statesmen have not yet taken it into account, there is still grave danger that the temporal power of Islam may return and, with it, the menace that it may shake off a West which has ceased to be Christian, and affirm itself as a great anti-Christian world power.”
Vernon Richards wrote:
“The true Islamic concept of peace goes something like this: “Peace comes through submission to Muhammad and his concept of Allah” (i.e., Islam). As such the Islamic concept of peace, meaning making the whole world Muslim, is actually a mandate for war. It was inevitable and unavoidable that the conflict would eventually reach our borders, and so it has.”
David Selbourne – The Losing Battle with Islam:
“Of course, there are distinguished precedents even for the bleakest and coarsest of these judgments. To Montesquieu in 1748, Islam’s ‘destructive spirit’ spoke ‘only by the sword’; to Schopenhauer in 1819, the Koran was a ‘wretched book’ in which he had ‘not been able to discover one single idea of value’; to De Tocqueville in 1843, Islam was ‘deadly’, ‘to be feared’ and a ‘form of decadence.’”
Lord Tebbit wrote:
“The Muslim religion is so unreformed since it was created that nowhere in the Muslim world has there been any real advance in science, or art or literature, or technology in the last 500 years.”
And how about this quote from Ayatollah Khomeini from 1942:
“Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled and incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of [other] countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world. But those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world…. Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless. Islam says kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill all of you! Does this mean that Muslims should sit back until they are devoured by [the unbelievers]? Islam says kill them [the non-Muslims], put them to the sword and scatter [their armies]. Does this mean sitting back until [non-Muslims] overcome us? Islam says kill in the service of Allah those who may want to kill you! Does this mean that we should surrender to the enemy? Islam says whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for Holy Warriors! There are hundreds of other [Koranic] verses and Hadiths [sayings of the Prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.”
How can our president and other gullible officials speak of Islam as a “religion of peace”? That has never been the case. And how many times should a statesman like Winston Churchhill have to tell us before we get the message?
Saudi Islamic cleric issues fatwa condoning pedophilia and child marriage
It is difficult to imagine defending pedophilia at all, let alone issuing a religious decree officially condoning it through the act of marriage. Yet that is what one Saudi cleric has reportedly done by issuing a fatwa defending Muslim “child marriage” or, pedophilia.
Dr. Salih bin Fawzan, a cleric in Saudi Arabia’s highest religious council, has reportedly issued a fatwa asserting that there is no minimum age for marriage and that girls can be married “even if they are in the cradle.”
According to FrontPage:
Appearing in Saudi papers on July 13, the fatwa complains that “Uninformed interference with Sharia rulings by the press and journalists is on the increase, posing dire consequences to society, including their interference with the question of marriage to small girls who have not reached maturity, and their demand that a minimum age be set for girls to marry.”
Fawzan insists that nowhere does Sharia set an age limit for marrying girls: like countless Muslim scholars before him, he relies on Koran 65:4, which discusses marriage to females who have not yet begun menstruating (i.e., are prepubescent) and the fact that Muhammad, Islam’s role model, married Aisha when she was 6-years-old, “consummating” the marriage—or, in modern parlance, raping her—when she was 9.
FP asserts the only question posed by the cleric is whether the child is literally physically capable of “bearing the weight” of her new husband.
Comments on Creflo Dollar and Eddie Long
Last month we invited comments on the ethical problems besetting Atlanta megachurch pastors Eddie Long and Creflo Dollar regarding transfer of members, not an issue unknown to virtually any church and pastor. Re-read that article here. Below are some of the more interesting comments that were submitted.
“God chose preaching. One cannot sit under a preacher that he does not trust and have faith in, for he will not receive the tool God chose to save his soul.”
“I think the reason why Dollar would say something like that is because when he is busted he is not going to want his people to leave.”
“My comments/reaction to your question(s):
1. What was prior relationship between the two?
2. Is Dollar trying to keep under cover the same or other problems/situations?
3. Does he consider the transferees to be spies, or just simple /honest people who want to be religiously right in a right place, according to their knowledge or perception of truth?
4. There is money (payoffs) to be gained in these situations! Who knows if payoffs were used to silence the Long affair? (I Timothy 6:10) This goes on with legal stuff!”
First, I find Dollar’s quote and admonishment for members of Long’s church, calling them hypocrites and acting as if their own lives were “flawless,” not unlike the words, rebukes and caustic remarks tossed around after the vote in Tampa. If one chose another path, he was accused of disloyalty or hypocrisy. Those who were unhappy, yet stayed, had their convictions questioned.
Second, When does a member have the right to declare “enough is enough” without being burned at the stake? Would it have been permissible for Long’s members to abandon him after the third accusation of inappropriate behavior? What about the fourth or the fifth?
Third, probably some of Long’s members cried, “Stay with the ship! Stop the leaks and keep her seaworthy!” What assurances were given that “seaworthiness” could be maintained, or that repairs would be forthcoming? What would be different in the future? Should someone lose faith in the ship’s survival, at what point would they be considered AWOL (self-righteous with a big H on their chest)?
Last, if members of churches like those in the story are allowed to leave a church without censure, how about those in religious organizations? When are members and ministers free to follow their hearts and conscience without scorn?
Thanks to all those who submitted responses.
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“If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.” – Benjamin Netanyahu
Dr. John A Howard, president of Rockford College said, “I invite you to take a little card and put it on your mirror or display it in some prominent place where it can serve as a daily reminder. I suggest that you inscribe on that card the phrase, ‘Truth is outraged by silence.’”