Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Democracy: The false god

Here is a challenging critique to all who hold up our modern version of Democracy here in the United States of America. Notice, this isn't about a Representative (and biblical) Republic. This is specifically about the democratic rule of the majority.

"People who profess to be believers in democracy also have their own brand of authoritarianism. They claim that the democracy is the true way of life and the true form of civil government because it rests on the true foundation, the people. The ancient faith in democracy is summed up in the Latin phrase, vox populi, vox Dei, the voice of the people is the voice of God. The people are thus the god of democracy. No law, no constitution, no religious faith can be permitted to stand in the way of the will of the people. The will of the people incarnates itself in a governing elite who express this general will infallibly. There is a direct connection between the democratic thinking of Rousseau and Karl Marx' dictatorship of the proletariat." (R.J. Rushdoony, Law & Liberty, p. 40)

Think about this...and do so carefully. How often do we hear, in our day, appeals of those who rule over us to "the will of the people," even if not couched in those exact terms? Just yesterday in the 3rd party debates on CSPAN, Rocky Anderson said that if he could have one amendment to the Constitution, it would be for equal rights for everyone, regardless of sexual preference or identity. His point was to legalize homosexual marriage. How did he support this position? He did so by appealing, first, to the (supposed) will of the masses (he believes that most people support this, which is false, but that's a separate matter). Second, he then went on to say that even if the masses didn't support this, he would basically want to impose it upon us anyway, and eventually, the tide would turn, and the people would be behind him.

His faith is in democracy -- the rule of the will of the people -- first, and then in those in power (so long as they agree with him, anyway), if the people haven't been convinced yet, not in God's Law, which brings us to the important issue of God's Law in today's society.

Unfortunately, far too many Christians are so ignorant when it comes to the proper understanding and application of God's Law today, that they too fall into this same Satanic trap. Why do I call it a Satanic trap? Because God's Law is the only just and perfect Law. For a Christian to say anything other than that is antithetical to the very faith they profess. Of course, we live in a day and time when we have abominations such as Open Theology (basically, that God "learns" over time), and antinomianism, which lead professing Christians to such foolishness.

Look at what Paul has to say about the Law in 1 Timothy 1:8-11:

"[8] Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, [9] understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, [10] the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, [11] in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted."

Now, pair that with Romans 13:1-4:

"[1] Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. [2] Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. [3] For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, [4] for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer."

Notice that last verse. God's minister of justice, the "governing authorities," avenges God's wrath on wrongdoers. Who are wrongdoers? -- those who break God's Law. Man's laws do not provoke God's wrath! I'll state that again: Man's laws do not provoke God's wrath. For man's law is only true law when it lines up with God's Law. Otherwise, man's law is always either too harsh or too lenient. In neither case is God's wrath provoked, because both cases are unjust. Only those laws that line up with God's perfect Law incur His wrath.

So in the end, an appeal to the will of the people, as in the false god of democracy, is an appeal to autonomous law, which sets itself against the Law of God. Man becomes the god. As Rushdoony says on more than one occasion, "To find the god in any system, locate the source of law in that system." (Law & Liberty, p. 41)

In our current culture, the source of our law is no longer God. Some view the source as the judicial system, some view it as the legislative branch, some view it as the Executive branch (especially Obama and his administration), some view it as nature, and some view it as the will of the people (i.e, the mass of man). In any case, the source of the law is naturalistic and/or humanistic. Neither of these can be agreeable to a serious Christian. The fact that so many have bought into this lie is a sad testament to the lack of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom within Christianity at large today.

Since the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, this leads me to think that there are far too many Christians who don't actually fear the Lord. Of course, this shouldn't surprise us, since such teachings are far from many pulpits in our day. What a sad testimony this is for those who have been called to lead flocks; what a sad testimony it is for the lack of discernment those in the flocks have, as well!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Abomination of Halloween within Christendom

I've read a number of conversations lately about Halloween. I've certainly seen all kinds of people excited about what they're planning to do and wear. As of today, I've seen a number of photos of people in their costumes, as well. On this Lord's Day, as I consider these things, a few thoughts have come to mind.

Today, in particular, I am amazed at how Christians use their "Christian liberty" to act just like the world -- a world from which we are called to separate ourselves, in terms of how we think, behave, work, govern, and worship. Halloween is the current pertinent example of this misuse of Christian liberty, but at least two other examples come to mind: Christmas and Easter.

At Christmas, many who profess Christ raise their children under the lie that there is this real man who is apparently eternal, who has supernatural powers, and who knows the hearts of all so as to judge rightly what gifts they should receive. This lie is perpetuated from the time they are first able to understand it all the way through the time when, usually, it comes crashing down in a humiliating manner as they are made fun of by their peers for still believing it. One of the first major "truths" that each of those children were told by their parents was, in fact, a lie. What an ingenious way to raise children.

Moreover, we teach greed right from the outset of their lives. Yes, there are those rare few who don't do this, but the general premise of Christmas is, "It is all about the spirit of giving...but yes, we'll get you what you want too." Tell me, which of your children would be perfectly happy on Christmas day if they woke up, went to give gifts to the needy (things like shoes, clothes, food, etc...things of necessity, not of leisure), and came home to absolutely not a single present of their own? Though there are a few rare jewels out there who have instilled such character, for the overwhelming majority of us, our children would be quite distraught. Furthermore, when asked about it in school, they would be mocked by their peers.

Then comes Easter. We should have our focus on the glorious blessing we have received from our Creator God by the resurrection of His Son, through which we have obtained eternal life. Instead, we teach our children from the time they can take their first steps, that the day is about this giant-sized rabbit who also has mysterious supernatural powers and brings more toys and candy to children all over the world. We search for eggs, because when you read John 3:16 it says, ....oh wait, there's nothing in Scripture that says *anything at all* about the "Easter bunny", eggs, candy, or anything of the like.

And once again, we parents teach our children over and over not to lie as they grow up, only to eventually have our feet put to the flames when they find out how hypocritical we are, since we have lied countless times to them about this as well. How many stories did we tell them about the Easter bunny, what he does for children around the world, how he gets from place to place, how he knows what you want, and on and on.

Now we're in October, though, and so many who profess Christ as their Savior go around bragging about how much time and effort they're going to put into their costumes, how they're going to carve the scariest looking pumpkin, and oftentimes even harp about how they'll have to call off work the next day (if it falls in the work week), because they plan to drink until they can't stand up anymore.

Scour Facebook for a little while and you'll find it replete with "don't judge me" comments. Certainly we are not to act as though we are judge over one's eternal salvation; we are also not to judge others' conduct when we ourselves are guilty of that same sin. Let's look at this last one, in particular, briefly:

"[3] Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? [4] Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? [5] You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye" (Matthew 7:3-5a)

Jesus Christ is very clear here that we must not be hypocritical. However, look at what He says in verses 1-2 and 5b (the end of verse 5):

"[1] Judge not, that you be not judged. [2] For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you." (vv. 1,2)
"...and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." (v. 5b)

So we are to not to judge in a way that we do not want to be judged (verse 1). If we do judge someone, then we must realize that we will be judged in that same exact way (verse 2). If we have followed verses 3-5a, then we will not be hypocritical when we DO judge correctly, as instructed in verse 5b.

Of course, those who are ignorant and haven't actually read these verses, but simply know verse 1 because of its familiarity, and those who have actually read this passage, but haven't spent the time thinking it through and and meditating upon it -- both of these -- would rather just take away the first verse as a means of justifying their unrighteous behavior. They cannot stand the thought of others correcting them in a loving way. "Who are you to correct me!" they exclaim. Who are those who correct you? Those are your Christian brothers and sisters who God has already corrected; and He has done so either directly through His Word by the Spirit or through brothers and sisters of theirs who corrected them in a right manner.

Why do I say all of that? I say it because those of you who are my brothers and sisters who walk in the ways of the world that I outlined above need correction. The Word of God has plenty of passages that speak against each and every evil I have addressed above -- whether lying, endorsing greed and selfishness, perverting the message of the Cross by trivializing it with a focus on candy and mythical creatures (re: typical celebrations of Christmas and Easter), or the outright celebration of death, evil, the occult, debauchery, and even demons and Satan himself (re: typical Halloween celebrations and parties).

Believe me, I'm not so naive as to think that many will (or would, if they didn't have "better things to do") mock me for "taking things too seriously." "Lighten up!" they hearken. Jesus addresses those in the church of Laodicea who have such self-sufficient and laissez-faire attitudes about His Lordship when He states:

"[15] I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! [16] So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:15-16)

Those people were not taking their faith seriously. They were rich. They prospered. So what need had they for the truths of Scripture? In their minds, they were self-sufficient, and for that, Christ said He would cast them out of their claimed position of having eternal life (they didn't really have what they thought they did, because He would expel them from Himself, proving otherwise). They were much like most of us in this country who don't know what real struggle is. We are comfortable enough to take the faith to which we are called with a grain of salt.

We who claim the name of Christ *must* repent of such evil. Yes, it can be difficult. There were many things I did while I was growing up that were difficult for me to turn away from and turn to God instead. There are still many on which I continue to work. I can fully accept the Christian who responds by saying, "Man, these are some hard things to deal with. I never really thought about this. This is going to be difficult for me to do. Can you help me with this and hold me accountable to it, knowing that I'm going to slip up from time to time?"

What I cannot accept from a Christian brother or sister is the "Don't judge me!" nonsense. If someone stole your car, would you ask the judge to not judge them for this? How about if somebody abducted your child for a day, but then returned him/her the next day? Would you just let that slide? What if someone murdered your spouse? Should that person just keep living like nothing ever happened?

The outright foolishness of the "don't judge me" syndrome is appalling and flies in the face of God's Holiness, the holiness to which He calls us (1 Peter 1:16, Leviticus 11:45). God is the God of the ends AND the means. He corrects and rebukes those whom He loves (cf. Hebrews 12:3-17). Oftentimes He uses His own children to correct those children of His who are living contrary to His decrees.

Please, heed His Word and stop dishonoring Him in these ways that show a love and acceptance of the world instead of a love and submission to Christ Jesus, the Word of God.

"[15] Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16] For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. [17] And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:15-17)
"4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." (James 4:4)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Oh ye of little faith!

About a week ago, I read a post on Facebook by one of my friends in which he shared a quote from an article that he had recently read. The article discussed the upcoming election and our responsibility as Christians to ensure that Barack Obama does not get reelected. The writer insisted that we must vote for Mitt Romney.

Here is the quote:

"On the converse, I seriously doubt that God would bless America if we re-elect a Muslim leader whose religion promotes the complete destruction and annihilation of Christians worldwide. If you don’t believe it, just look at how much of His blessing He has pulled away from America during the reign of Obama. The more our nation embraces Obama’s heathen ways, especially the endorsement of same-sex marriage and the further removal of all things Christian, the more God has turned His blessings into judgments.

If conservative Christians do not vote for Mitt Romney, it greatly increases the chances of Obama’s re-election and the further removal of God’s blessings. More Obama means more of God’s judgment and I’m not sure how much more judgment America can stand before we can stand no longer and fall into ruin."

Here is my friend's brief response, with which I agree:

"So, electing a polytheistic cult member will bring God's blessing? Is this the reasoning we have come to in the Church? God help us! Grant us repentance!"

However, after thinking more about this and recollecting all of the comments, posts, and articles I have read over the past several months that touch on this topic, I decided to frantically type on my tiny Droid keyboard the following additional thoughts. At some point I hope to have the time to revisit this and improve upon it, but I wanted to make sure I didn't lose these thoughts in the labyrinth of Facebook as they continue to shift ever so far down my timeline.

So I am posting these thoughts here with the hope that they will be helpful to others who have been deceived by this unbiblical line of thinking. And don't be so naive to think that only the simple minded fall for this illogical thinking. There are a number of great Christian men for whom I have the utmost respect who have fallen prey to it. My most sincere prayer is that Christ Jesus will bless His beautiful bride on earth in some way by this article, that she be made holy and blameless and be adorned with every precious jewel, ornament, and fine linen so as to make her more ready for that glorious day to which all blood bought Christians look forward.

Here is my response:

Whoever wrote this is missing a key point. The fact that we have Obama and Romney set forth as the candidates by the two main parties is a form of judgment on its own! Moreover, it could very well be seen as a test of our faith and trust in Christ Jesus. Do we actually cast our vote for one of these men despite their abject ungodliness, hence placing our stamp of approval -- our endorsement -- upon the practice of electing non-God-fearing men as our leaders? Or, instead, will we be faithful and cast our vote for a God-fearing man who may very well be unlikely to win, but who understands his responsibility to rule in accordance with God's Word?

The latter is the only choice for a serious Christian who properly understands and trusts in God's Sovereignty. The former only shows that the one who casts the vote for the ungodly distrusts Christ to one degree or another, and instead puts his hope in the idea that Satan will be merciful to us through one of the candidates that rule in accordance with ungodly principles; those very principles that Satan -- the father of lies -- has taught to us over the millennia, and to which we all too often succumb when we think in accordance with our fallen mind instead of the mind renewed by Christ. The conundrum in which so many Christians currently find themselves should cause us all to give pause and bring to mind Colossians 2:8:

"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ."

This "lesser of two evils" philosophy is nowhere taught by Christ -- it is absolutely not a philosophy that is "according to Christ."

Now certainly, all things that come to pass are ordained by God. Every ungodly king of Israel was there because God ordained him to be there for whatever reason that pleased Him. So voting for a God-fearing third-party candidate doesn't mean he will win. All it means is that one's conscience is blameless in the matter, one's faithfulness and obedience to God's Word is established, and one's trust in Christ as the only true Sovereign King is evidenced.

Many professing Christians complain about how pro-homosexual Obama is; they point out how pro-abortion he is. If you actually spend a little time and look carefully at Romney's record -- not his rhetoric -- you'll find no real difference. Steve Deace wrote an excellent article about this. Alan Keyes also wrote an excellent article that puts things into their proper perspective. These candidates are BOTH a form of judgment upon our nation, and when it becomes clear to us that our Creator is giving us TWO abjectly ungodly men as the two candidates most likely to be elected -- due to both the system under which we vote (i.e., the two-party system), and, frankly, the lack of wisdom with the Church -- we should all be TREMBLING in fear at the destruction that awaits us lest we repent and turn from our wickedness!

It seems that the Church has forgotten that it is where judgment begins. Instead of educating their flocks to the destruction that comes when evil men (i.e., ungodly men, for those who are tempted to use the ridiculous "all men are evil" pseudo-argument) are selected to rule over a people, they all too often bend the knee to the State in fear of some form of State-sanctioned retribution -- such as removing their church's idolized non-profit status.

At this point, I could not be more thankful that I'm no longer deceived by the false theology of Dispensationalism. Although judgment is here -- though certainly not in its fullness yet -- I have hope and assurance that the Church will rise from the impending ashes that are about to befall it; and when it does, it will be stronger, more mature, and more Godly. Of course, there's always the possibility that we are actually in the times after the end of the millennium when Satan has been loosed for a short while, too...though I'm not convinced of that. In either case, though, judgment is here, right now. How we respond to it as Christians is a testimony to all of those around us of our faithfulness and of the degree to which we trust Jesus Christ. Endorsing a non-God-fearing candidate by placing our vote for him shows them that we are weak in our faith and don't trust Him fully to reign over us rightly. What a pathetic testimony to the world the Church in America is about to put forth, come November!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Do you fear Jesus Christ?

TO ALL PROFESSING CHRISTIANS, I ask: Does Jesus Christ evoke ANY fear in you whatsoever, or do you focus ONLY on His attribute of love?

Below are a few things Jesus Christ said to the 7 churches toward the middle to end of the AD60s. These are His WARNINGS OF JUDGMENT to those churches. These are what they would reap if they did not stop following false doctrine. These warnings to the 7 churches are the equivalent to the warnings given to Israel throughout the Old Testament. Israel ignored them and suffered their final judgment in AD70, which was the darkest hour in ALL of Israel's history!

All one has to do is read the ancient accounts of the events of that time by Josephus and others to get a vivid picture of how horrible it really was. The Roman army killed about 2,000,000 Jews in the siege of Jerusalem; at its height, over 500 Jews PER DAY were being crucified on crosses set up all around the city (in plain view of all of those inside the city); when the Roman army discovered that some of the Jews leaving the city were smuggling their gold out by swallowing it, the soldiers began to kill the Jews and cut open their bowels to take out the gold therein; the Jewish Zealots were a horrible group, plundering and murdering their own people; the Roman army reported that they witnessed women who were boiling and eating THEIR OWN CHILDREN -- yes, you read that correctly. Josephus said there were so many dead people within the city that you couldn't see the ground. The water in the sea of Galilee was red, due to all of the blood spilled in it.

All of this was predicted by Christ Himself in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 (the Olivet Discourse) and by Him again, through John, in Revelation. Christ came and judged Israel for their rank idolatry and apostasy as they had completely turned away from their Covenant God, YHWH, and His Messiah, Jesus Christ. Instead, they followed the interpretations of the Old Testament that were first transmitted orally by Jewish Rabbis, and eventually written down in the Talmud -- Rabbinical Judaism. This is a false religion, and it is what Jesus Christ refers to as a "synagogue of Satan" (Rev. 3:9). In John 8:43-44, Christ says the following to the scribes and Pharisees:

"[43] Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. [44] You are of your father the devil."

Indeed, they were a synagogue of Satan. They taught and followed the doctrines of men, not those of God, as Christ says:

[6] And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; [7] in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. [8] You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.

These were religious men -- VERY religious men. But they followed false doctrine; a false religion.

So...why fear Jesus Christ? Isn't He just the God of Love? Yes, Jesus is loving, but this is not his most central characteristic or attribute -- that would be Holiness. In this Holiness that characterizes Him, He is perfectly Loving. However, this in NO way diminishes His perfect Justice. We see this perfect Justice displayed in His judgment against Israel in AD70. We also see it in His WARNINGS TO THE CHURCHES in Revelation 2 and 3. Here are some relevant texts from those chapters:

1:17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, [18] and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. [If He holds the keys of Death and Hades...might we think that he'll never open those up to the wicked? ...or is this an empty threat...He just loves everybody? NOTE: the "Fear not" here has NOTHING to do with us not needing to fear God. This has to do with John fearing that He would be killed by God (Christ) -- this is the exact same response to being in God's presence as we see from the prophets in the Old Testament.]
2:5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. [Repent, church...or you will be judged...just like Israel is about to be judged (as described in following chapters).]
2:11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’ [by implication, the one who does NOT conquer, but is not faithful unto death (see verse 10), WILL be hurt by the second death]
2:16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. [More repentance called for...more judgment promised to those who don't.]
2:21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. [Here's the fluffy little harmless loving Jesus...wait...he said he'll "strike her CHILDREN dead" as judgment for their idolatry and false doctrine. Notice that if He does have to strike down this church, it will be a lesson to the other churches that the same could happen to them!]
3:3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. [This Jesus Who loves everybody will "come against" those who don't repent? Yes.]
3:15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. [More loving, fluffy Jesus Who is apparently powerless to actually DO anything...oh wait...I don't think being spit out of His mouth is a good thing here.]

Do NOT misunderstand me -- Jesus Christ loves those who follow Him and keep His Commandments (and no...this comment isn't pointing to legalism. Read James. Our works don't save us; they are EVIDENCE of our faith. Therefore, if you see no fruit in your life, you had better be very, very concerned). However, to think Christ is ONLY love is an ENORMOUS LIE propagated by the father of all lies. It's a lie. Period. It is also a lie that His Love trumps His Judgment. His Judgment is blatantly clear in the passages above. It is also clear in His response to the idolatry and apostasy of Israel and His judgment of them in AD70.

This country has, by and large, lost its fear of God. Somehow we've fallen prey to the liberal foolishness that the God of the Old Testament was a vengeful, wrathful God, but now that Jesus has come, He is ONLY love. Malachi 3:6 states:

"For I the Lord do not change"

This Triune God, YHWH, of Whom Jesus Christ is one of His three Persons, does not change! Just as He showed loving kindness to His people of old who were faithful to Him, He also shows loving kindness to the Church today (really, those people of old are part of this same Church -- there is no distinction; it is all part of the same Promise). However, we must (apparently) be reminded that He is also a Jealous God:

"[5] You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me." (Exodus 20:5)
"for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." (Exodus 34:14)
"for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God— lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth." (Deuteronomy 6:15)

...and this Jealous God does not tolerate evil and wickedness. He does not tolerate idolatry, apostasy, or false doctrine (i.e., lies regarding the Truth of His Word).

May Jesus Christ open the eyes of so many who have been blinded to this great truth that is so incredibly clearly taught in His Word (just read Proverbs!). May He bring this nation into repentance quickly! May He have mercy on the children of God who He predestined "for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will." Have mercy on us Father! In Christ's Holy Name. Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Disunity in Christ's Church and Persecution in Our Time

This post is in response to an article entitled, "How do you implement Socialism with Christians in your way?"

I've been thinking a lot lately about the abysmal disunity in the Christian Church – particularly due to reading so many calls to unity in the Church in Philippians. I am convinced that this disunity is one of the most devastating devices that Satan has implemented as an attempt to neuter Christ's Church on earth. Thankfully, as someone who takes God's Word on its promises to grow His Church throughout the ages, I see this only as a temporary setback. That being the case, though, it doesn't mean that we should sit around and do nothing about the current situation. Every true Christian believer should be utterly filled with shame at the current state in which our forefathers and WE have put the Church of Christ. It is a disgrace and an abomination to the blessings that God has bestowed upon His children.

The following article speaks of the many ways that Christians are persecuted within the United States of America. “Persecuted?” you ask. Yes, persecuted. The Christian faith is under assault at nearly every corner. No, we aren't being thrown into jails on Sunday as we go to worship; no our Bibles aren't being confiscated and burned; no we aren't being slaughtered as the Jews were in WWII. However, our heritage is systematically being attacked, and those doing this are trying to rewrite history in a way that denies the heritage even existed in the first place. Our rights, which are deemed as "inalienable" in the Constitution, are being stripped from us. In place of those religious rights, new "rights" are asserted and supersede those "inalienable" rights that are defined by our Constitution, though these new “rights” are nowhere defined or set aside in the Constitution.

So why the point about the divisions that exist within Christ's Church Universal? Why call one's attention to the various different Protestant denominations? As a Protestant, I am appalled at the state that we have permitted ourselves to fraction the Church of Christ. It directly contradicts God's Word, and all of us should be weeping in prayer daily -- several times per day, really -- pleading to our Heavenly Father to have mercy on us and to bring us into the unity of the faith. It is pathetic. It is shameful. It is uncalled for.

It is immoral; indeed, immoral and evil.

As a very quick (hopefully) aside, realize that I IN NO WAY advocate for some lowest-common-denominator version of Christianity; a form of Christianity that stands for so little that it essentially stands for nothing at all. Here are a few questions to every Protestant brother and sister out there. Is it possible that your theology is not 100% correct? Are you willing to spend the hours and hours and hours it would take to reconcile your beliefs with the Church as a whole, so the Body of Christ can attain unity? Really...are you prepared to do that? Are you prepared to drop your moniker of "Presbyterian," of "Baptist," of "Methodist," of "Full Gospel," of "Pentecostal," of "non-denominational" or whatever flavor of the week with which you adorn yourself, in favor of "I belong to the one and only Church that Christ Jesus put into the hands of the Apostles the He Himself selected (and no, I won't get into the abhorrent aberration of so-called modern day "apostles")? Are you an Arminian? A Calvinist? A Campbellite? Are you of Apollos or Paul? Sound like a familiar problem that Paul himself (and hence God) rejected even in the early Church? I, by no means, want to suggest that we should ignore those who have come before us. When those allegiances overshadow our commitment to unity, though, which is a direct command from God's Word, maybe some wisdom should be exercised to avoid such quarrels.

Now back to the main point. The disunity of the Christian Church weakens the Church. The Church is the Body of Christ. When one part of that Body strives against another, the whole Body suffers. Right now, Protestantism is at war with itself. While we are at war with ourselves, how can we expect to have the knowledge, the energy, the focus, and the necessary unity to defeat the evils that plague our society (such as those in this article)? Now, I would be the first to admit that there are some incredibly heretical churches out there. Humanism and liberalism has infected the Church like a rabid cancer (some of these “Christian churches” are clearly synagogues of Satan). Discernment and wisdom would have to be paramount when striving to unify the Church, but that doesn't mean it cannot be done. We can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us.

Seriously, brothers and sisters...would you fight a UFC Champion with one eye swollen shut, a broken arm in a sling, hands with broken fingers, a hyper-extended knee, a strained back, and a twisted ankle, all while sitting in a wheel chair, hooked up to oxygen, constrained by a colostomy bag, and hungry because you can't eat due to your teeth rotting? With far too many different denominations fighting against each other, that's the picture of the Protestant Church trying to fight the spiritual battle that Satan has waged against us through secularism, humanism, and liberalism.

Maybe Protestants can learn something from the Orthodox Church. Where is the authority of the Church in Protestantism? Where is it? And please don’t waste your breath (or your fingers) trying to convince me that we have some core set of beliefs upon which we agree, and that’s all that matters. OK, Mr. Sola Scriptura, support that argument with Scripture alone. Good luck. Instead of striving for unity, if I disagree with my denomination -- or my church, if not part of a larger organization – I just go to another church that I like better (at least for now)...or I go start another denomination that meets my own desires. It's truly pathetic. Church discipline goes as far as the doors to the church to which one belongs. Get to the point of excommunication for an unrepentant member, and he'll just go down the street to another church. It'll be uncomfortable for a little while, but he'll get over it, all the while continuing in his unrepentant sinful state.

This makes a mockery out of God's Word, and it dishonors His Holy Name! So let's just keep on going, rationalizing our divisions, making more excuses as to why it's OK for us to ignore God's call to unity.

Why is the Church being persecuted? Maybe God is enacting a little temporal judgment to wake us up from our state of being lukewarm – wallowing in our state of unrepentant disunity. Maybe the world sees our hypocrisy and laughs at our calls to repentance because many times we ignore those calls to repentance in our own lives. Our disunity is certainly a clear sign of our own hypocrisy, that’s for sure. Maybe if the Church were actually in a position to exact righteous discipline upon unrepentant members due to it being a unified Church, maybe then the world would take notice. Imagine that! Imagine if Christians actually cleaned up their own house before telling the lost to clean up their own!

Do I expect us to attain perfection? No, I don't -- not this side of heaven. That, though, is neither a license for mediocrity, nor is it a license for laziness in striving to be perfect and holy...especially when Scripture clearly calls us to be perfect, as our Father is perfect. (Matt. 5:48) (And yes, I realize that this perfection before God ultimately only comes through the imputed righteousness of Christ, not of my own works.)

I urge any brother or sister in Christ who reads this to add to your prayer list to pray for the unity of Christ’s Church, the Bride of Christ, who will be presented to Him without spot or blemish when Christ hands over His Kingdom to God our Father on the Last Day. May our Father in heaven hear our pleas, grant us repentance, and draw us together as we once were in the early Church. Have mercy on us Father! Heal Your Church to glorify Your magnificent Name! In Christ Jesus. Amen.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Ron Paul's Statement of Faith

I'm sure that being in politics is an incredibly difficult line of work. In many, many ways I support the ideas that Ron Paul has set forth. However, after reading his statement of faith, I wish he would pick up the book "Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths" by Gary DeMar and consider the wisdom Gary puts forth on so-called "private faith."

Why? In his statement of faith Ron Paul states, "My faith is a deeply private issue to me, and I don’t speak on it in great detail during my speeches because I want to avoid any appearance of exploiting it for political gain."

Notice that first phrase, "My faith is a deeply private issue to me." Yes, I read what he said after that, and I can certainly empathize with that. The forefathers with whom he strives to walk in stride, however -- based on what I have read, anyway -- did not hesitate to give glory to God, to praise Him, to thank Him, and to humble themselves before Him in the political arena.

Scripture does not instruct us to keep our faith private. In fact it tells us to do the exact opposite of that. We are to be the salt and light of the world. That light is not to be covered under a bushel basket (i.e., keeping it private).

Read Ephesians 5:6-14 --

"[6] Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. [7] Therefore do not be partakers with them; [8] for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light [9] (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), [10] trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. [11] Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; [12] for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. [13] But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. [14] For this reason it says,"

“Awake, sleeper,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.”

Maybe if politicians at every level would start shining the light of Christ on the darkness that has overcome the political arena, that darkness would be overcome and removed from what is now the holy grail of darkness: politics.

Imagine that...maybe God's Word (Who is Christ Jesus) would actually redeem the political arena to the Glory of God, if we who proclaim our allegiance to Him would simply fight the good fight and stop being such cowards!

Like I said, can I empathize with his desire to avoid the exploitation of his faith (or even the appearance thereof) for personal or political gain? Of course. However, I think mature Christians have enough discernment to know the difference between a politician of true and humble faith versus one of fake, superficial, and self-centered pseudo-faith.

None of this is to take away from Ron Paul's other statements, which were strong, bold, and unabashed. I applaud him for such boldness! My point is to echo DeMar's thoughts in his book (mentioned above) that Christian faith was never intended to be "deeply private." That idea is the very antithesis of how Christians should think and live.

It would be wonderful if he would change his stance on this, revise his statement, and show other Christians in the public sphere that it is entirely possible (and eminently biblical) to openly share one's faith while not exploiting it for selfish ungodly gain.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cannot delete folder in Windows 7

I had a very strange problem on my PC lately where I couldn't delete a folder (running Windows 7 Pro, SP 1). No matter what I tried to do, the file would not allow me to delete it. Instead, I kept getting a "Folder not found" error (or something to that effect). I tried to move the folder; I tried to rename it; I rebooted (both hard and soft reboots). None of the proposed solutions I found worked. There was no other program using the folder (it was empty, and even after a complete reboot, before opening any programs, it still wouldn't let me delete it).

Thankfully the Internet is full of information -- some of which is actually useful -- and I found a site that answered the problem. However, it was a bit old, and the information was buried a bit down the page. Here's the original link for reference.

So how did I solve the problem? I had, by God's Providence, literally just installed 7-zip, which is the program that the member of the forum in the above link ("kami205") used to solve the problem. The solution was simple. I opened 7-Zip (a program not developed in any way for this use), browsed to the location of the folder on my PC, renamed the folder, and then deleted it (I actually had to rename it two different times before it would delete).

That's it! It was that easy. Hopefully this helps somebody else out there who is experiencing this annoying problem.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Automatically log out Members and Send to Login Page in Umbraco

One of my customers came to me the other day and requested that a password-protected area of their Web site be set up to automatically log users out of the password-protected area after 15 minutes of idleness. They were concerned that there might be a security risk to their site if users left their workstations while logged in.

We see this type of behavior frequently for several online Web sites that need to defend against such security risks. Probably the type of sites that come to mind first are online banking Web sites.

I was greatly surprised that I couldn't find anything online -- including in the Umbraco forums -- that addressed every detail needed to achieve this. Also, many of the blog and forum posts that I found were related to auto-logouts for the /umbraco/ area of Web sites (i.e., the admin area). Though I may need to implement similar measures for that area as well, this article does not pertain to that. This is strictly dealing with Umbraco Members who are logged in to a particular area of the site that requires a username and password.

OK, now that the preliminary discussion is finished, let's get to the solution, which, really, is very simple. In this example, we're going to use an auto-logout time of 15 minutes.

First, open your Web.config file and find the sessionState element. The sessionState element is in the system.web section. Within the sessionState element, look for the timeout="15" attribute. if it isn't there, you'll need to add it. For example:

<sessionstate timeout="15" />

Next, you'll need to find (or add) the following:

<authentication mode="Forms">
    <forms timeout="15" />

NOTE: your <forms> element may have several more properties in it. I'm just simplifying it for this post.

Next, you need to add a new property to the Umbraco Document Type that the page you want to be automatically logged out. In my case, that Document Type is called Textpage. To do this, log in to the admin area of your site (i.e, the /umbraco/ area). Click on the Settings section. Open the Document Types, and select the one that your Member-secured page uses. Click on the Generic properties tab for that Document Type. Click on the Add New Property option. I named mine SecureRedirect. Set the Type to Textstring. For the Tab option, mine is set to Meta Data, but you may want yours somewhere else. Save the Document Type, and you're set for this part.

Next, while you're still in the Settings Section, open your main Master Page template. Find a good place in the <head> element and insert an Umbraco field item, such as:

<umbraco:Item field="secureRedirect" runat="server"></umbraco:Item>

Save that file.

Next, click on the Content Section and browse to the page for which you need to set up the auto-logout. Click on the tab where you set up the SecureRedirect Property (i.e., mine is in the Meta Data tab). You'll see the Secure redirect textbox. Insert the following code into that textbox:

<META HTTP-EQUIV="Refresh" CONTENT="920;URL=/login.aspx">

NOTE: the time here is in seconds, not minutes. I set mine to just over 15 minutes (15 minutes is 900 seconds, for those mathematically challenged out there :), to make sure the sessionState and forms timeouts were definitely expired when the page redirects. Also, set the URL to wherever you want the user to be redirected.

Save and Publish your page. Then test to your heart's desire. For ease of testing, I originally set my sessionState and forms timeouts to "1" and my meta refresh time to 70 seconds.

Hopefully I didn't miss anything! If you find this to be useful, or if you see that I did something incorrectly, please let me know.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Matthew 24 (Olivet Discourse) 2- or 3-Question View Critique

The interpretation of the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 (vv.1-35, in particular; see parallel account in Mark 13 and Luke 21) has been intensely debated by Bible expositors for hundreds of years. The passage is referred to as the Olivet Discourse, because Jesus Christ spoke these words on the Mount of Olives, hence the "Olivet" part. A discourse, of course, is simply a teaching, conversation, or communication of some thought or idea. So this is the conversation (discourse) that Christ had with His disciples while they were on the Mount of Olives -- the Olivet Discourse.

This current article is not intended to address the interpretation of this passage in its totality. Instead, this article specifically addresses the erroneous views that verse 3 of this passage contains not one question, which includes qualifiers or descriptors, but instead contains either two or three separate questions.

First, let's see what verse 3 actually says (all quotations taken from the NASB):

As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

For example, some interpreters hold to a 2-question view that asserts that the two questions are (1) when will the temple be destroyed, and (2) what are the signs of your coming (and they say this "coming" references the Second Coming of Christ, or His Consummation Coming). Conversely, other interpreters see three distinct questions and hold to a 3-question view. In this view, these three questions are fairly obvious to determine, (1) when will these things happen (referring to the destruction of the temple that Christ prophesies in verse 2), (2) what will be the sign of Your coming, and (3) when will be the end of the age.

Now that the stage has been set, let's get into why neither multiple-question view is tenable.

Whether one believes verse 3 has two or three questions in it, the interpreter falls into grave problems with the text. The only tenable view is that it is one question with qualifiers.

First, we have verse 6, which ends with, "...but that is not yet the end." This is clearly addressing final qualification of verse 3 that speaks of "the end of the age."

Second, verse 9 begins with the word "Then," which indicates that those things just spoken of that are just the "birth pangs" that lead up to the end precede what Christ is going to say will happen next. Connecting what comes after that "Then" with "the end" spoken of in verses 3 and 6, He then says, "But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved." Then again connecting His following words to "the end" again, verse 14 states, "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come." There is no break in thought anywhere up to this point.

Third, He then makes a transition into a point of application in verse 15, where He begins by saying "Therefore." The verses following this statement, up through verse 28, are practical warnings to his listeners so they know what to do to avoid the coming destruction of Jerusalem. We must make a very careful notation of verse 25 as well, "Behold, I have told you in advance." If Christ was telling them of some distant event that would be completely irrelevant to them (because they would be long dead), then why make such a statement? If the answer is, "Well, He was warning them to warn their progeny," then deal with the very next sentence: "So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them." If the warning was to future generations, then this should have been, "So if they say to your descendants...." There is absolutely no indication in the text that this warning was not directly for them, but for some future generation. Making such an interpretation is blatantly disregarding what the text itself actually states.

Fourth, given the continuity of the text thus far, we now come to verse 27, which states, "For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be." Now they have an enormous problem. Now we have the "coming of the Son of Man," that is, the "Your coming" of verse 3, intertwined or equated to the "the end of the age" in verse 3. This is proof that those two things are not two distinct questions, but are two ways of expressing the same question -- they're qualifiers or descriptors. Note that the most important point, thus far, is that literally nowhere just Christ appear to address independently of these two statements (these two statements being "Your coming" and "the end of the age") the supposed separate question of "when will these things happen." From verse 6 through verse 27 -- this whole section -- we have Christ specifically addressing "the end" and the "coming of the Son of Man."

Fifth, we now come to the infamous verse 29, which begins by stating, "But immediately after the tribulation of those days...." Note that in verse 9 we are told, "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name." Verse 29 is clearly referring to this tribulation that Christ mentioned in verse 9. Context demands such an interpretation. The "immediately after" becomes meaningless if "immediately" takes on a sometime-2,000-years-or-more-in-the-future meaning. Therefore, we now know that verse 29 is in the same context as everything that proceeds it.

Sixth, verse 30 continues the progression of thought by beginning with, "And then...." There is no disconnection; no new thought.

Seventh, verse 33 implores His hearers, stating, "so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door." The thought process is nowhere disconnected up to this point (as is shown above). Instead, this is a continuation of Christ's answer to the single question in verse 3.

Eighth, and finally, the crux of the whole issue comes into play with verse 34, "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place." He is still speaking to His disciples that asked Him the question in verse 3, and He says that "this" generation -- the current one -- will not pass away until "all" these things take place. He didn't say "some," He said "all."

If this passage is addressing two separate questions, the first being "the destruction of the Temple" and the second being "the signs of your coming," then when exactly did Christ even address the first question? Every single statement He makes either refers to "the end" or to the "coming of the Son of Man." Period.

Both the "2-question" and "3-question" views are untenable, because they make arbitrary breaks within the text, they make certain words meaningless, and they fail to grasp the fact that Christ strings together the whole discourse in ways that completely contradict such interpretations. These views can only be reached by inserting one's views into the text (eisegesis) instead of simply extracting from the text what it clearly states (exegesis).

Soli Deo Gloria!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Part 4: The Myth of Moral Subjectivsm

Please see parts 1-3 before reading this

[This may be my final response to several posts between another commentator named "Jeff Dixon" on this article.]

You stated in a post above, “No, the creatures do not judge the creator. People judge the concept of a god that other people developed.” I replied by saying that we have FINALLY hit the nerve of the issue. I’m dealing with it here, because we ran out of room above.

I will first state my case. I assert that without the Christian God, Jesus Christ (Who is YHWH), the conditions required to build a foundation upon which to build the intelligibility of human experience are removed. Hence, the very foundation of all logic, reason, meaning, hope, morality, and truth vanishes. All are fully dependent upon the existence of YHWH, who created all of them.

Before I get to the main thrust of the issue, let’s review two important points that have been made. First, you admitted in a previous comment that in order to be consistent with the worldview you profess – namely, atheism – you cannot say, without exception, that you can be certain that it is always absolutely immoral to molest a 5-year-old child [cf. “It is an interesting question. And one I cannot give a definite answer to. On the surface it would seem that there should be no reason to ever moleste [sic] a 5 year old child. But, since I do not have all the knowledge in the universe, it is impossible for me to say that there could not be a reason that currently I am unaware of.”]. Second, in another comment you state, “If in a billion years, people cease to exist, I guess you could say it was meaningless,” in reference to my previous point that atheism reduces life to meaninglessness.

To the first point, which illustrates your worldview’s stance that objective moral values do not exist, it must be realized that this same stance of moral relativity applies to every single instance where a moral judgment may be made. Whether the dilemma at hand is that of child molestation, sexual abuse, physical abuse, war, genocide, corporal punishment, capital punishment, or any other experiential instance of mankind where a moral judgment is given, your worldview has no basis upon which to take an absolute stand. You can state your subjective feelings about such experiences, you can state society’s subjective feelings about them, but neither you nor society can condemn them outright without violating your own worldview. If you do claim that you can make an absolute condemnation, you fall into a conflict with the law of non-contradiction (assuming you do not recant your previously stated position on this topic).

To the second point, you have admitted that your worldview (atheism) cannot account for ultimate meaning. Instead, the only “meaning” that exists is a temporal, finite meaning that will ultimately be meaningless. Hence, your worldview, when taken to its logical conclusion, asserts that all human experience is ultimately meaningless (yes, I know it may – or may not – be temporally and temporarily meaningful to you, in a subjective sense, but it is ultimately meaningless).

Thus far, you have reduced morality to the subjective feelings of society, which are meted out in a manner that is dependent upon the current mores in a particular time period. They are fluid, ever changing, and can be self-contradictory from one time period to another (i.e., our morals today may contradict our morals of 200 years ago, etc.). You have also admitted that there is no ultimate meaning in life; that it is only temporally and subjectively relevant, but in the end it all comes to naught.

Given these things alone, already you have been reduced to absurdity in your thinking, and you are already proving the existence of YHWH without even realizing it. The evidence for this conclusion is that you do not live in a way that is consistent with your worldview. Your worldview, ultimately, leads to abject skepticism, wherein not only are objective morality and ultimate meaning lost, but so too is their kinsman, truth. You cannot determine whether something is or is not objectively (i.e., absolutely) moral, because you assert that morals are subjective. The underlying presupposition here is that you also cannot know whether something is absolutely true or not as well.

How can I make come to such a conclusion? Just as the reason why you cannot know whether something is absolutely moral or not is because “I do not have all the knowledge in the universe,” you also cannot know whether something is absolutely true or not, because you “do not have all the knowledge in the universe.” Something may be true as far as you currently know, but you could learn something different tomorrow to prove that your version of “truth” as you see it today is false. So now in addition to loosing objective reality and ultimate meaning, you also must give up absolute truth.

At this point, whether you like it or not, you have lost the argument – if indeed there has even TRULY been an argument at all (you could always learn that this whole experience has been a hallucination that was induced by a medical procedure, and it was all a figment of your imagination). Without absolute truth, you now have no foundation for the laws of logic upon which you rely to make the very arguments you make. Without absolute truth, you have no foundation upon which to use reason by which you apply those laws of logic. Your worldview, when taken to its logical conclusion, is abjectly absurd, is self-contradictory, and is impossible to live out in a manner that is consistent with it.

You may say, “Aha! But I DO use logic and I DO use reason!” Yes, you do! And this is the proof that far from living in accordance with the atheistic worldview that you profess, you actually live in accordance with the Christian worldview that you deny. What you are doing is akin to a child who hates broccoli and concludes, therefore, “Broccoli doesn’t exist!” Once again, just as you correctly pointed out in an earlier comment that my subjective feeling of astonishment was irrelevant to the issue at hand (which, again, I never asserted it to be relevant – it was just a statement of fact), your hatred of YHWH is irrelevant to the question of whether He exists or not. You cannot simply wish YHWH away, because you don’t like Him.

YHWH either exists or He doesn’t. If He doesn’t, and your worldview is true, then you cannot even logically know that (your worldview precludes all truth, logic, and reasoning). Admittedly, I have not built the specific positive case for my assertion that YHWH exists. If needed, I can do that in another post or series of them. However, atheism’s absurdity is laid bare on the table before us. You can continue to hold to such a foolish, self-contradictory, and illogical worldview if you subjectively like it more than the Christian worldview. I prefer to choose objective morality, logic, reason, meaning, hope, truth, and most of all, Jesus Christ – the foundation of them all – over such meaningless drivel.

Soli Deo Gloria!