‘Deplorables’ get things done

This observation is worth reading in its entirety:

How many flood victims in South Texas have been rescued by the Antifa navy?

Just asking, because on TV this week I’ve been watching the “Cajun Navy” pull one Dunkirk after another all around the Gulf Coast.

And those good old boys look like they just came off the set of “Duck Dynasty.” They could be wearing MAGA hats. Hell, I’ll bet one or two of them may have even been falsely accused of committing a fake hate crime or two since the election by some unhinged Social Justice Warrior.

They are, to coin a phrase, deplorables.

Hell, a Chick-fil-A franchise in Houston sent out a power boat to rescue a couple of elderly customers. And the old folks didn’t even ask if Chick-fil-A’s CEO is still opposed to gay marriage.

Is Michael Moore hosting an All-U-Can-Eat buffet for first responders in Harris County? If he were, surely MSNBC would be covering it, live.

Where are Elizabeth Warren, Whoopi Goldberg, Steven Colbert, etc. etc.?

Seriously, doesn’t it look like almost all of the heavy lifting in the wake of Harvey is being done by people who belong to what the Southern Poverty Law Center would describe as “hate groups?”

Speaking of which, when does the [Southern Poverty Law Center’s] food drive begin? (((Maybe once they’re done transfering all their donations to offshore accounts — Jemison)))  Are the non-workers of the Socialist Workers Party and the Spartacist League loading any southbound 18-wheelers with relief supplies this weekend?

Maybe everyone in “the Resistance” is worn out from wearing pink hats and black masks and tipping over statues and sucker punching passers-by with bicycle locks in Berkeley and grabbing an old lady’s flag on the Boston Common and burning it — all those wonderful manifestations of how Love Trumps Hate, as they say.

As the Instapundit frequently says, “read the whole thing.”  There are two groups of people in this land: those who build it up and those who tear it down.  The former group is running out of patience with the latter’s yapping and worse, while contributing nothing to society.  If Antifa hates it so badly here, then get the hell out (I hear the socialist paradise of Venezuela has plenty of openings for violent anarchists right about now).  If it’s all just a pose, then you’re welcome to roll up your sleeves and do something more productive than chanting asinine slogans and showing your historical, political and economic ignorance loudly and violently.

It’s getting on the nerves of us busy ‘deplorables’ who believe in helping our neighbors, not ostracizing them over differences of opinion.

Advertisements

Starting a slide?

My family has attended Southern Baptist churches our entire marriage (25 years next month), and I’ve frequently taught adult Bible study on Sunday mornings.

It now appears I will frequently have to point out how the translation favored in the study literature is no longer faithful to a literal translation of the ancient text.

The (Christian Standard Bible) now translates the term anthropos, a Greek word for “man,” in a gender-neutral form 151 times, rendering it “human,” “people,” and “ones.” The previous edition ((Holman Christian Standard Bible)) had done this on occasion; the new revision adds almost 100 more instances. “Men of Israel” becomes “fellow Israelites;” when discussing Jesus’s incarnation the “likeness of men” becomes “likeness of humanity.” The CSB translates the term adelphoi, a Greek word for “brother” in a gender-neutral form 106 times, often adding “sister.” “Brotherly love” is translated “love as brothers and sisters.”

The gender-neutralizing pattern is also present in its translation of the Old Testament…

The SBC is America’s largest Protestant denomination and one of its most conservative. If its leaders and members are tolerating a softer, more inclusive approach to gender, it might be a bellwether of things to come in the culture war over gender.

When the SBC was more about discipleship than it was about being “seeker friendly” (in other words, before Rick Warren), it took the time to teach scripture in the context of its era in history.  Yes, the past was largely male-dominated in terms of language; get over it.  That very fact showcases how Christianity, far from subjugating women, actually improved their status within Christian fellowship and eventually within society as a whole.

That will no longer be so apparent with the “new” translation.  I didn’t like it when SBC literature switched to the Holman Christian Standard version; now they’ve tipped their full hand with the revised in-house CSV.  Modifying scripture to conform to modern sensibilities is not a good sign.  We are told to call on God as “Father,” not as “Parent.”  I’m sure the CSV hasn’t changed that yet, but if it’s changing anything at all it’s only a matter of time.

A church either worships the God who created us in His image, or worships a god made in our image.  When a denomination starts to resemble the world in small ways, it’s usually not long before they start to resemble it in large ways.  The SBC already split once over this kind of thing.  Now it appears that the conservative side is no longer conserving as much.  .

I’ll continue with my English Standard Version and my wife’s parallel Bible — and now I’ll be watching my own denomination and its teachings very closely.  This may easily be a turn down a disastrous road.  If that becomes the case, my family will find an off-ramp to a fellowship that is “rightly handling the word of truth.”

A treasure trove

Truth remains relevant, no matter how much time elapses.

The John Richard Allison Library in Vancouver—which hosts the joint collections of Regent College and Carey Theological College—has now made available their entire rare Puritan collection to be read online for free. What a gift of modern technology to help us recover these gifts from the church of the past.

There are currently 80 Puritan authors in their collection, many of whose works were digitized from J. I. Packer’s private library.

Now I know what I’ll probably be doing with part of my summer break.  Hope all of you get a chance to mine these riches yourselves.  For everyone’s convenience, I’ve added a link to this collection on the sidebar, under the “Reading Room” heading.  It’s referenced as “Puritan Books Online.”

The collectivist mindset on display

A Senator from Wisconsin needs some remedial education on the Constitution:

Baldwin said she thinks that business owners, like those that own a bakery, should not be allowed to turn down serving homosexuals gay wedding cakes because of religious beliefs because businesses like that are not considered institutions of faith.

“Certainly the first amendment says that in institutions of faith that there is absolute power to, you know, to observe deeply held religious beliefs. I don’t think it extends far beyond that. We’ve seen the set of arguments play out in issues such as access to contraception. Should it be the individual pharmacist whose religious beliefs guides whether a prescription is filled, or in this context, they’re talking about expanding this far beyond our churches and synagogues to businesses and individuals across this country. I think there are clear limits that have been set in other contexts and we ought to abide by those in this new context across America.”

Here is the relevant part of the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

Note that “institutions of faith” is not a qualifying aspect of this clause.  The First Amendment, as with most of the rest of the Bill of Rights, deals with freedoms that are inherent to every individual.  They are not rights that accrue only to a collective, whether a congregation, union, or other human organization.  The freedoms enumerated by the Constitution represent statements of our sovereignty as human beings to exercise “inalienable rights” that are bestowed by our Creator — NOT by government.  Furthermore, the Declaration of Independence asserts that when government becomes destructive towards these rights, it has forfeited its legitimacy, and the people have the right to “alter or abolish it.”  Collectivists cannot abide this worldview, however.  It stands in the way of their drive to homogenize humanity to the lowest common denominator.  They do not want us to have the backbone or the precedent to say “I refuse to comply with this.”

As I said last week, this has never been about ‘tolerance.’  It is about compelling submission to an authority that has set itself against God and scripture.  That is why there can be no “live and let live;” that is not enough for these activists.  Speaking only for myself, the very root cause of my unease about the SCOTUS decision had little to do with gays actually pretending to get “married.”  No, it was the fact I knew this would immediately be followed by attacks on religious freedom to dissent.  Much of the world has become comfortable with compartmentalizing their life into boxes: work, school, family, church (if they attend).  That is what Senator Baldwin reflects in her comments: the idea that one is free only to choose how to worship within a group, but that this does not carry over into allowing one’s beliefs to affect the workplace. The collectivists of Western society no longer understand, much less tolerate (I use that word deliberately) the idea of a faith that encompasses every area of one’s life.

Besides, it’s disingenuous even for the Senator to mumble some bland assurance about the prerogatives of religious ‘institutions.’  At least one gay couple is already suing the Church of England to force it to conduct a same-sex ceremony.  Yes, that’s in another country — but the judiciary in the United States over the past 20+ years has shown increasing (and unConstitutional, I might add) interest in and deference to foreign jurisprudence.  Closer to home, voices are already saying that in the wake of Friday’s ruling it’s time to get rid of churches’ tax-exempt status.  The opening salvos in the next phase of the propaganda war are being fired.

Christian-owned businesses in the U.S. have been sued for not providing services to gay weddings.  In most, if not all cases, the plaintiffs cannot claim there were no alternatives.  This means the real motivation for the suit is to force, via legal gunpoint, participation in a celebration of something scripture calls an “abomination.”  I predict it will not be long before a suit is brought against a U.S. church and/or clergy for refusing to perform a same-sex ceremony.   We must all decide whether it is right to obey man rather than God.  As each of us count the possible costs of standing for what we believe, it is useful to remember the words of Martin Luther:

I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.

The Master and His servants

As we contemplate the events of Good Friday, and celebrate the Resurrection, we should recall the Master’s words:

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.  It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.”

In addition to this caution, though, we are given encouragement:

“So have no fear of them (emphasis added), for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul (emphasis added). Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Christians in America have been so comfortable for so long we’ve forgotten it is not the state of things we should expect in a world under the sway of our Enemy.  While giving thanks to the Father for the blessings we have been allowed during the time our civilization was largely aligned with the Faith, we should also realize that this time was an exception, and appears to be coming to a close.  Many of our brothers and sisters around the world have never enjoyed the freedoms and latitude we’ve known — and their faith is stronger because of it.  We need not fear the rise of hostility to Biblical Christianity at home.  Rome, the French Revolution, Naziism, communism in Russia and China — none of these succeeded in stamping out the message of the Gospel.  With the exception of China (which is itself not immune to the Spirit’s movement) those regimes are in the dustbin of history, but God’s Word will never pass away.

Neither today’s acolytes of aggressive atheism nor the latest surge of violent Islam should expect to succeed any better!  How frustrating it must be to the Enemy to realize that no matter how many of Christ’s followers he kills or materially ruins, that the Word of God endures forever!  We should not only take comfort in that — it should remind us that we are not here on this earth to wring our hands nervously, play defense or make this world our home.  We aren’t supposed to be waiting around to be attacked because we might have let it slip that we take the Bible as authoritative Truth.  No, with the power of the Spirit we are supposed to attack the gates of hell itself, in order that as many who will receive Him may have eternal life!

To quote C.S. Lewis yet again:

“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”

 

The Master died for us, was raised by the Father, and has gone to prepare a better place for us.  What are we doing to spread His invitation?  What cost are we willing to pay, that others may know Him?  Are we, like Him, prepared to be crushed if that will advance the glory of God and the salvation of others? Do we realize that even if He allows that, we can be assured that one day He will say to us, as He did to His Son, “Arise, my love!”

He is Risen!

 

When government finds churches useful

Short answer: only when it furthers their agenda of expanding power:

In an effort to sign up as many consumers as possible for insurance under the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare), the Obama administration has gone to extraordinary lengths to partner with churches and other faith-based groups, even publishing sample church bulletin inserts, flyers, and scripts for announcements, as well as “talking points.” These materials are part of the “Second Sunday & Faith Weekend of Action Toolkit,” which is available on the website of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Apparently a number of “faith-based” leaders have gotten aboard with this initiative (5,500 if HHS’s figures can be believed).  If there are that many congregations worried about health care, why hasn’t a charitable Christian alternative to Obamacare taken off?  Rather than spend the effort and time to promote the Usurper’s agenda, why not create a solution of our own?

It’s enough to make me realize that when it comes time to take the “mark of the Beast,” whatever that turns out to be, there’ll be plenty of congregations open to help, complete with the national flag up front, and probably playing the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” in the background…

 

 

State-sponsored religion

Somehow, I suspect the usual suspects who screech “separation of church and state” about the Christian faith affecting public policy will have no problem with the State using taxation to influence the content of sermons:

The news was as welcome to the group of Prince George’s County pastors as a plague of locusts: Maryland’s controversial “stormwater remediation fee” applied to all property owners, including houses of worship. Depending on the acreage, churches faced a tax of hundreds, even thousands of dollars.

The Rev. Nathaniel B. Thomas of Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church and his colleagues figured there had to be a better way. “We challenged the fee,” Thomas said. “Once Uncle Sam finds a way to take your money, he doesn’t stop.”

After months of negotiation with county environmental director Adam Ortiz, the pastors emerged with a rebate deal that will significantly cut the fees if churches adopt programs and equipment that will curb runoff, lessen pollution and help bolster the environment.

Thomas and other pastors also have agreed to start “green” ministries to maintain the improvements at their churches, and to preach environmentally focused sermons to educate their congregations.

Most taxation today is as much about control as it is revenue.  It is one of the largest blunt instruments used for social engineering.  When the State can threaten you financially unless you do what it wants, YOU ARE NOT FREE!  In the private world, this would be called extortion.

Let me be clear: I believe we DO have a responsibility to be good stewards of God’s creation, that this is entirely compatible with a Biblical worldview, and worthy of discussion in a Biblically consistent manner if the pastor is led by the Spirit to do so.  I do NOT believe, however, the State should be able in any way to affect what is preached from a pulpit, so long as clergy are not advocating violence towards others (I’m looking at you, Islamists…).  Such attempts at State influence of religious matters is EXACTLY the thing the Founders were out to prevent by guaranteeing freedom of religion.

If this is permitted to continue, it won’t stop at creating “environmentally friendly sermons,” either.  The State often forces its nose into the tent via financial incentives.  Once there, it won’t be long before the Church has to change its tune on OTHER issues as well.  At that point it won’t be a question of taxes.  It’ll be whether or not the Church takes the proverbial 30 pieces of silver.