Category Archives: guest commentary

Resurrection Sunday 2013…

From Vox Day’s blog…

CHRIST IS RISEN

“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” 

Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”–– John 20:19-29

The other day, Moonshadow wrote: “I’m looking forward to your Easter blog post. My circumstances are difficult and I’m in need of some hope. My trust in God has been sorely tested over the years, but it still remains.”

One of the great misconceptions of the various flavors of Churchianity is that Jesus Christ is some sort of icon, a magic token that will Make Your Life Better so long as the proper incantations are uttered. The Prosperity Gospel proclaims that Jesus will give you a bigger house and a nicer car. The Liberation Theology declares that Jesus is a divine socialist who came to redistribute wealth on the basis of everyone’s needs. The Feminist Gospel asserts that Jesus will relieve women of the oppressive burden of household and sexual drudgery. But regardless of his particular flavor, the Churchian is known for neither his love nor his faith, but his tolerance and his conformity.

This is not Christianity.

We are, all of us, infected by the Churchian disease to some extent. We have all listened to women pastors tell us how safe they feel cuddled in Jesus’s strong and protective arms, to televangelists with slicked-back hair promising miracle cures and new jobs, to priests who promise that if we only endorse homosexuality with sufficient enthusiasm, the Church will rise in the estimation of the world and both pews and coffers will be filled again to overflowing.

This is not Christianity.

Christianity is about the Divine becoming Man amidst blood and animal (dung).  Christianity revolves around an innocent man rejected by his people, despised by the elite, declared a criminal by the court, and murdered by the government under the false color of law. Christianity describes a world that is fallen, sinful, and ruled by an evil, sadistic, prideful, immortal liar.

We Christians today are weak. We are soft, fat, and flaccid in our faith. We are the beneficiaries of the greatest explosion of global wealth and one of the longest periods of peace in the history of the world, and we are quite understandably daunted by the sober realization that this Golden Age is rapidly coming to an end. We are lotus eaters, hedonized if not entirely hedonistic, and the soothing whispers of Mammon have enervated our will, our strength, and even our faith. We are the sad and pathetic heirs of the Church Militant, an embarrassment to our predecessors and eminently unworthy of our Lord and Savior.

And yet, we are who we are. We, who worship Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, are the remnants of the victorious Divine Invasion.

On this day many centuries ago, there was little more than twelve frightened and despairing men.  From that small and unprepossessing foundation, the Risen Lord Jesus Christ constructed a Church that brought the Good News to all mankind, that civilized barbarians around the world, that remains the oldest and greatest human institution, and that, despite its corruption and decadence, continues to resist the every-hungry Gates of Hell.

If God could do that with men like Peter, the denier, and Thomas, the doubter who believed only what he could see, what can He not do with those He has blessed because we have not seen and yet have believed?

Jesus never promised us a rose garden on this earth, ruled as it is by the wicked prince who killed him. He promised that we would be hated. He promised that we would be condemned. He promised that we would see our families and our nations divided. He promised that we would be persecuted. He promised wars and the rumors of wars. And yet, somehow, when what he promised comes to pass, we find ourselves troubled and our faith shaken by the very things that should serve to confirm it.

It is not hard to see why so many people of every culture and creed around the world are frightened and losing hope. If you are not concerned, deeply concerned, about the state of the world today, you are either in denial or you are not paying attention. The rule of law is dissolving and the collective illusions upon which our civilization depends are rapidly fading away.  We have lost our trust in our institutions, in our traditions, in our icons, and in our leaders. We have lost our confidence in the certainty of the Worker’s Paradise, in the exceptionalism of America, in the inevitability of the shiny, sexy, secular scientopia, and in the idea of peace on earth through the good will of the globalist bureaucracies.  We have lost our faith in Progress.

We are rapidly coming to understand that there is no hope to be found in Man or the things of Man’s making. But the truth is, the observable historical reality is, there has never been any hope but one. And the foundation of that hope is precisely what we Christians are celebrating today: the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

He is Risen! Christ is Risen!

We Shall Rejoice Together In Him

Looking to him whom they pierced, the whole house of Israel will weep bitterly. And now, dear brethren, it will tend to increase the blessed sorrows which will then sweep over Israel, to think how the Lord has had patience with them, and still has never cast them away. To this day they are as distinct a people as ever they were. They dwell alone; they are not numbered among the people. Persecuted almost beyond conception, poor Israel, for many a century, has been the butt and jest of those – I shame to say it – who called themselves Christians, and yet despised the chosen people of the Lord. Alas! the precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, have been esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter! “How hath the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger, and cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel!” They have for centuries endured a terrible chastening; they have been turned upside down, and wiped as when a man wipeth a dish, but still they stand waiting for a vainly expected King. They would not have their true King, Jesus the Son of David, and they have no other – where is there any king of the Jews? The scepter hath departed from Jacob, and the lawgiver from between his feet, for Shiloh has come, even he who, as he did hang upon the cross, was thrice named, “King of the Jews.”

Jesus is the sole and only King of the Jews, and they are preserved and kept alive notwithstanding a thousand influences which threatened to make them lose their nationality; they shall yet be gathered again, and their restoration shall be the fullness of the Gentiles, and we and they shall rejoice together in him who hath made both one, and broken down the middle wall or partition, so that there is now neither Jew nor Gentile, barbarous Scythian, bond nor free, but we are all one in Christ Jesus.

 From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled “Mourning For Christ,” delivered July 1, 1877.

Philipians 3:7-21

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) 

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. 

From Manny Silva‘s newsletter…

Remain strong in the faith for the sake of others (Romans 15:1)
 

Do not waver in speaking the truth, even if it is hurtful (John 8:31-32)
 

Be willing to lose it all for the sake of the Lord- family, friends, everything (1 Pet. 4:12-19, Philippians 3:8)
 

Do not let any of the “wise men” tell you that you are ignorant (Psalm 119:99)
 

Do not succumb to the lie of “thou shalt never judge” (Mat. 7:1-5, 1 Cor 2:1)
 

Do not fail to correct a brother or sister in error (Rom 15:14)
 

Examine all preacher’s teachings, and reject it if it is not the truth (2 Cor. 11:13-15)
 

Do not join hands with the world, or with those “Christians” who have welcomed the world (2 Cor. 6:14-15)
 

Continue to believe in God’s word- all of it! (Psalm 119:160)
 

Do not be ashamed to say that you believe ALL that God’s word says and teaches (Rom. 1:16)
 

Preach the unvarnished Gospel message- preach the Cross, and Christ crucified. (1 Cor. 1:23)
 

Reject the social gospel, and all other false gospels (Gal 1:6-10)
 

Persevere, and be faithful to the end, and you will receive the crown of life (James 1:12)



NEWTOWN MASSACRE
School carnage: Blame church, not God or guns...by William J. Murray

If an individual is not afraid of the wrath of God, it is impossible to cause him to fear the justice of the state.

The killing of young children at their school will be linked by many pundits to the availability of guns. Still others will blame the violent act on some pathology or childhood trauma. Some may even blame the Hollywood culture with its disregard for humanity, on which human bodies are seen being dissected  nightly on network TV. Virtually no one will call what occurred in Newtown an act of evil.

Probably not a single sermon will be preached in which the perpetrator is predicted to have begun his eternal punishment for his crime after judgment by a just and angry God. A splintered American church driven by a pew-hungry, feel-good message will offer assurances that eternal peace awaits all those who died, including the shooter. The words “hell” and “sin” will very likely not be used in any sermons associated with the massacre.

Yes, there is societal blame: Ridiculous privacy rules that allow the mentally ill to conceal their condition from schools, employers and gun-shop owners is just one. The constant esteem building in public schools teaching even low-functioning kids with anger problems to judge themselves equal to the valedictorian is yet another.

But the greatest villain is a church that has accepted the world’s view that hell does not await evildoers.

With a weak message from a weak church, there is no restraint or lessening of the violence. The shooting at Newtown was immediately followed by a shooting at a Birmingham, Ala., hospital and a Las Vegas hotel. Across the country, there are more than 16,000 murders each year. Of those, two-thirds are committed with guns. One in three murders is a very personal, vile act of evil using a knife, a blunt instrument or bare hands.

And the response of the church to this violence is “God loves you. Have a nice day.”

Adam Lanza had to shoot his way into the locked building. Public schools are not the soft targets many think they are. In more populated areas, there is virtually always an armed “safety officer” on duty because of the threat of student violence. Why?

My mother, atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair, fought to make the public schools the armed camps they are today by removing prayer, the recognition of the authority of God. In 1962 and 1963, I was attending an all-boys public high school in downtown Baltimore, Md. The school was a magnet school before the term even existed and was intended to prepare young men for college, majoring in science and engineering. There were 1,800 teenage boys in the school, and there was not a cop in the building – ever. The doors were unlocked and often the un-air-conditioned rooms had open windows. There were no metal detectors, no picture IDs, and students went in and out the doors on the honor system.

The authority of God was present, even though I am very sure many of those young men, including myself, had some pretty vile thoughts that were not in the least way moral. The presence of the authority of God, vested in the teachers by His recognition every morning, was reinforced by the churches and the families of the students.

That high school has since merged with a girl’s school in another location, for purposes of political correctness. The last time I checked, the old building itself was the headquarters of the Baltimore City Schools Police Force, something that did not exist when Baltimore’s population was nearly double what it is now. Every kid at every school now has a photo ID. All the doors of every school are locked. All doors have metal detectors and drug-sniffing dogs roaming the corridors. I am told that every school in Baltimore has at least one armed “safety officer.”

In the vast majority of America’s public schools, the authority of God has been replaced with the authority of the iron fist of government. Morals? Without the authority of God, there are no morals, and none are taught in the public schools today. The ethics that are taught are situational, perhaps the same situational ethics that led to the logic that caused the tragic shootings in Newtown.

This condition exists in the schools and the society in general because of a failed church that is splintered and weak.

A large advertising sign near my home reads, “A church for those who don’t like church.”

Translation: “No condemnation of sin here – we have coffee latte and great music.”

How about this politically incorrect sermon subject: “An angry God condemns the carnal sin of Adam Lanza, the Newton school shooter who killed 26, and he will rot in eternal torment in hell, as do all those who turn their backs on God and his goodness and continue their wicked and sinful ways.”

No way, no how in America today.

No number of gun-control laws can contain the evil that has been let loose in America. Not even black clad police with masks and automatic weapons can maintain social order in our out-of-control society. The nation needs a religious revival to steer it away from certain moral destruction. That revival will not come from feel-good, coffeehouse sermons that do not call sin what it is.

What are preachers today offering to “save” people from, if sin is never mentioned? What punishment are they being “saved” from, if hell is never mentioned?

The fear of an angry and vengeful God was far more likely to have stopped the shootings in Newtown than the warm voice of a psychologist or the soothing feeling of drugs.

Eternity in hell is a very long time.

One of the greatest revival sermons of all times was that of Jonathon Edwards – “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Can you imagine even this one portion being repeated in a church in America today: “There is no want of power in God to cast wicked men into hell at any moment. Men’s hands cannot be strong when God rises up. The strongest have no power to resist him, nor can any deliver out of his hands. He is not only able to cast wicked men into hell, but he can most easily do it.”

God is not in the business of saving evil nations from themselves, but He is in the business of offering salvation to individuals. A nation is saved from ruin when enough of its people turn from their wicked ways and follow His righteous commands.

The challenge is to the churches of every denomination to preach the true Word of God, the nature of sin and the consequences of perpetrating evil. This alone can turn the society from its violent and destructive path.

~William J. Murray…is the chairman of the Washington, D.C.-based Religious Freedom Coalition and the author of seven books including “My Life Without God,” which chronicles his early life in the home of destructive atheist and Marxist leader Madalyn Murray O’Hair. Having lived the Marxist and the Ayn Rand (atheist) lifestyle, he has a unique perspective on religion and politics.

Enough of questioning…

Noah came into the ark and his wife, and his sons and their wives. Their obedience was unquestioning. We do not find them asking anything at all, about the reason for the command; but they came as they were bidden. They passed through the doorway, and they were all in the ark. Fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and their wives,daughters and their husbands, and all of you, oh that the blessed Spirit would put you now into such a frame of mind that you should at once yield to the divine precept which says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”

Have you not asked questions enough? You have had some of them answered, but every answer has only helped you to invent another dozen questions. Oh, those questions! these quibbles! those debates! those doubts! those cavillings! They are ruining thousands.  

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled “A Family Sermon.” 

And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. 

And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. 

And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord: Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. —(Genisis 19:15-26)


The Soul of Religion


What wretched communities some churches are, where the soul of religion is absent. There is a company of people called a Christian church, and a man called a minister who gives them a pious essay every Sunday morning, and they go in and out, and go home, and there is an end of the whole thing: meanwhile their neighbors are perishing for lack of knowledge, but they care nothing, the heathen are dying without Christ, but they heed it not. So much is given to the cause of God as must be paid out of sheer necessity for the maintenance of outward ordinances, but there is no zeal, no consecration, no fervor of love. May we never come down to this.

O my beloved, I long to see among us yet more and more abundantly the spirit of divine life, energetic life, fervent, self-denying life, life which consumes everything to achieve God’s glory. Beloved, ye have this and may have more of it, but ye may also lose it. Life and power may soon depart; pastor and people may alike sleep in spiritual sloth, and then at such times, the power having gone from the church, its energy is no longer felt among the unconverted. A living church grasps with a hundred hands all that comes near to it; it is a mighty soul-saving institution, which with its far-reaching nets draws thousands from the sea of death. A living church attracts even the Sabbath-breaker, and arouses the infidel. It startles those whom it does not save. When the church is in this state her converts are plenteous; then her teaching and preaching are with power, and truth pushes down its adversaries….

I tremble lest we should go to sleep, and do nothing: I am alarmed lest there should be no conversions, and nobody caring that there should be any, and yet everything seeming to be prosperous. I know that people may be growing more respectable, and appearing to be more pious than ever they were, and yet everything may be going back. God forbid that the dry rot of indifference should seize upon the heart of the church while she yet appears to be sound and strong. Before that occurs may God be pleased to take me home.

From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled “And Why Not?,” delivered November 12, 1876.

Legacy…


…do You have one?

Local ‘Can Man’ —Giant in the Lord

December 2011

Everybody in his neighborhood in Tucson, Arizona, knew him as “The Can Man, Charley.” Every day he had a route of about 6 miles where he walked to collect recyclables. But you didn’t meet Charley for very long without realizing that money from the cans didn’t just go into his pocket, supplementing his retirement income. He was really about something else. And everyone that he met on his route was offered one of those other somethings: a no-nonsense gospel tract. You soon would learn that the sale of the cans kept the tract supply going.

And if you followed him a little while, you found a complex system of ministry in this tiny little man. And it started early. Charley remembers the Holy Spirit prompting him to praise God while playing toy cars with his friends. Later, in World War II, the Lord erected a sudden wall of protection against an enemy attack that should have killed him.

Back home, working in the steel industry, Charley began buying tracts and sharing the gospel. He organized outreaches for his church covering specific neighborhoods with repeated visitations leaving a different tract each time. Over the years, his consistent passion for God’s word deepened his ability to follow up the tracts with strong personal ministry.

Retirement freed him to expand his vision. To him the tracts were just an opening where personal ministry began. His consistency in reaching out to others built confidence in his contact with the Lord and strangers began approaching him with additional questions about their relationship with God and their concern about eternity. With hours of personal Bible study each day, he seldom was at a loss for an appropriate biblical answer to their concerns.

His can collecting not only provided funds for more tracts, he became well known to the businesses on his route. They began saving cans for him and he would leave stacks of tracts on their counters, replenishing them on the next visit.
His wife, Dot, says he would frequently come in from his route with a little bigger smile and more spring in his step, to announce: “One more led to the Lord, today.” Maybe it would be the homeless man who was begging by the supermarket or someone he had met on the street. Occasionally, someone driving by would recognize him and pull over for a chat.

His obituary reports that, after he was saved in 1961, he logged over 285 cover-to-cover trips through his Bible. “Seldom was he at a loss for a scripture to share with anyone who might have a question,” says Dot.

Only the Lord knows how many tracts he actually handed out in his lifetime, but in the last 10 years of his retirement, Chick Publication’s records show well over 125,000 tracts bought, mostly with money from sale of his cans. As friends on his route learned how he financed his ministry, they offered money to help. At first he refused until Dot convinced him that it was not for him, but so that more tracts would reach more people for Christ. At 87, his eyesight and hearing was fading and his gait slowing. One morning in October the Lord welcomed him home from doing what he loved, crossing the street while walking his route. The driver of the SUV saw him too late, but some of his tracts will still be pointing people to the Lord for years, perhaps until Christ returns for us all.