• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Economic Growth Is Not Driven By Government Spending

From: The Desk of Brian M. Riedl

Mountains of academic studies show how gov­ernment expansions reduce economic growth:

1. Public Finance Review reported that “higher total government expenditure, no matter how financed, is associated with a lower growth rate of real per capita gross state product.”

2. The Quarterly Journal of Economics reported that “the ratio of real government consumption expenditure to real GDP had a negative associa­tion with growth and investment,” and “growth is inversely related to the share of government consumption in GDP, but insignificantly related to the share of public investment.”

3. A Journal of Macroeconomics study discovered that “the coefficient of the additive terms of the government-size variable indicates that a 1% increase in government size decreases the rate of economic growth by 0.143%.”

4. Public Choice reported that “a one percent in­crease in government spending as a percent of GDP (from, say, 30 to 31%) would raise the un­employment rate by approximately .36 of one percent (from, say, 8 to 8.36 percent).”

Economic growth is driven by individuals and entrepreneurs operating in free markets, not by Washington spending and regulations. The out­dated idea that transferring spending power from the private sector to Washington will expand the economy has been thoroughly discredited, yet lawmakers continue to return to this strategy. The U.S. economy has soared highest when the federal government was shrinking, and it has stagnated at times of government expansion. This experience has been paralleled in Europe, where government expansions have been followed by economic decline. A strong private sector provides the nation with strong economic growth and benefits for all Americans.

Salvation Is An Individual Matter

Dinesh D'Souza

Dinesh D'Souza

Quoting Dinesh D’Souza:

“The preciousness and equal worth of every human life is a Christian idea. Christians have always believed that God places infinite value on each human life He creates, and that He loves each person equally. In Christianity you are not saved through your family or tribe or city. Salvation is an individual matter. Moreover, God has a “vocation” or calling for every one of us, a divine plan for each of our lives. During the Reformation, Martin Luther stressed the individualism of the Christian journey. Not only are we each judged at the end of our lives as individuals, but throughout our lives we also relate to God as individuals. Even religious truth is something that is not just handed down but is something that is worked out through individual study and prayer. These ideas have had momentous consequences.”

Theodore Roosevelt: The Responsibility Of The Individual

“If an American is to amount to anything he must rely upon himself, and not upon the State; he must take pride in his own work, instead of sitting idle to envy the luck of others. He must face life with resolute courage, win victory if he can, and accept defeat if he must, without seeking to place on his fellow man a responsibility which is not theirs.”

Muslim Lawyer And Preacher Calls Christmas “Evil”

nochristmastree1It seems bad enough that we must endure all the anti-Christian attacks on Christmas from atheists, the ACLU, self-appointed politically correct censors, and others during this holy season. Now we have to listen to the rantings of an anti-Christmas Muslim Lawyer too.

Anjem Choudary, who is chairman of the Society of Muslim Lawyers, has branded Christmas as “evil” in a sermon posted on the internet. He referred to celebrating Christmas as “the pathway to hellfire.” Choudary is Principal Lecturer at the London School of Shariah and a follower of the Islamist militant leader Omar Bakri Mohammed. Murray Wardrop writes:

Choudary . . . ruled out all celebrations, including having a Christmas tree, decorating the house or eating turkey.

In the sermon posted on an Islamic website, he said: “In the world today many Muslims, especially those residing in western countries, are exposed to the evil celebration of Christmas.

“Many take part in the festival celebrations by having Christmas turkey dinners. . . .

“Every Muslim has a responsibility to protect his family from the misguidance of Christmas, because its observance will lead to hellfire. Protect your Paradise from being taken away – protect yourself and your family from Christmas.”

I say, “Lord, protect Christmas from the wickedness of men.”

Read the article by Murray Wardrop. . . .

Iraqi Reporter Throws Shoes At Bush

Muntadar al-Zeidi, an Iraqi television reporter, took off his shoes and threw them at President Bush during a news conference yesterday. The President ducked twice and was not hit. In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of contempt.

“This shoe is for goodbye,” al-Zeidi shouted. “You dog. You killed Iraqis.” He was then wrestled to the floor.

President Bush was in good humor, however. “All I can report is a size 10,” he joked.

Publilius Syrus wrote: “One ungrateful man does an injury to all who stand in need of aid.”  Iraqis have died, but so have many Americans in the process of winning freedom for Iraq.

Read more about the incident here. . . .

Preaching That Honors God

Have you ever read Bunyan, Owen, Whitefield, or Spurgeon? When you read their sermons and about the anointing with which they preached, it makes much of what passes for evangelistic sermons today seem very weak indeed. The half-hearted efforts of most modern expositors are anemic in comparison.

The quality of sermon literature produced by these men and others of the Reformed tradition stands out in power as Christ is preached to call sinners to repentance. It is generally and unfortunately unmatched in today’s churches. They preached a message of free grace with overwhelming power that broke the hardhearted sitting in their pews and continues to break down the defenses of modern skeptics through their pulpit literature.

I believe it was their profound understanding of the nature of grace which made these men so effective. They understood that God does not have to choose to save anyone. He did not have to give His Son to die on a cross. He does not have to invite sinners to repentance. Yet, even though all of His dealings with man are according to God’s free purpose and design, He has chosen to be gracious to us – a rebellious and ungrateful people.

Bunyan, Owen, Whitefield, Edwards, and Spurgeon (and others) knew the importance of preaching grace and the emphasis they laid upon the gospel preaching of God’s long-suffering patience and kindness towards us. They stressed this. They avoided the man-centeredness of the modern Armenian message. Their messages were God-centered and honored the One from whom mercy flows. Much of modern preaching cheapens grace and the Gospel message by denying the sovereignty of God in salvation. Such preaching makes God’s call nothing but pathetic pleading and His omnipotence into powerless desire.

All would do well to study the great Reformed preachers mentioned above. They honored God and the Gospel.

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