• 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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Is Islam A Totalitarian Ideology?

islamicjihadbomberdemo424_0Atlas Shrugs reports:

During a thoughtful, revealing interview with the Boston Globe’s Jeff Jacoby (published March 8, 2009), Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders clearly unnerved the mainstream conservative journalist with this frank characterization of Islam:

I have nothing against the people. I don’t hate Muslims. But Islam is a totalitarian ideology. It rules every aspect of life – economics, family law, whatever. It has religious symbols, it has a God, it has a book – but it’s not a religion. It can be compared with totalitarian ideologies like Communism or fascism. There is no country where Islam is dominant where you have a real democracy, a real separation between church and state. Islam is totally contrary to our values. . . .

All religions are exclusive, but Islam is quite notably so, and immediately it developed into a state which seemed to be all of a piece with the religion. The Koran is its spiritual and secular book of law. Its statutes embrace all areas of life…and remain set and rigid; the very narrow Arab mind imposes this nature on many nationalities and thus remolds them for all time (a profound, extensive spiritual bondage!) This is the power of Islam in itself. At the same time, the form of the world empire as well as of the states gradually detaching themselves from it cannot be anything but a despotic monarchy. The very reason and excuse for existence, the holy war, and the possible world conquest, do not brook any other form.

The strongest proof of real, extremely despotic power in Islam is the fact that it has been able to invalidate, in such large measure, the entire history (customs, religion, previous way of looking at things, earlier imagination) of the peoples converted to it. . . .

Read the entire article. . . .

A Reformation Moment

John Calvin

John Calvin

Quoting Loraine Boettner:

The Reformation was essentially a revival of Augustinianism and through it evangelical Christianity again came into its own. It is to be remembered that Luther, the first leader in the Reformation, was an Augustinian monk and that it was from this rigorous theology that he formulated his great principle of justification by faith alone. Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and all the other outstanding reformers of that period were thorough-going predestinarians. In his work, ‘The Bondage of the Will,’ Luther stated the doctrine as emphatically and in a form quite as extreme as can be found among any of the reformed theologians. . . .

To a great extent Calvin built upon the foundation which Luther laid. His clearer insight into the basic principles of the Reformation enabled him to work them out more fully and to apply them more broadly. And it may be further pointed out that Luther stressed salvation by faith and that his fundamental principle was more or less subjective and anthropological, while Calvin stressed the principle of the sovereignty of God, and developed a principle which was more objective and theological. Lutheranism was more the religion of a man who after a long and painful search had found salvation and who was content simply to bask in the sunshine of God’s presence, while Calvinism, not content to stop there, pressed on to ask how and why God had saved man.

Elementary Thoughts: Remembering – Part 2

principalEach day we are confronted with the reality of change. The newspapers report it in headlines. Television producers bring us special documentary reports. We are offered a view of our world which was impossible only a few decades ago. Our emotions and thoughts are connected to others, who may be thousands of miles away, through a media technology that can bring an assassination, a guerrilla war, or the birth of a prince into our living rooms.

We are living in a culture where the news of change has become the expected. We plan for it. We study it. We try to predict it. We even desire it for it’s own sake. We are a society that becomes bored very easily by the routines life demands of us.

The public schools in our country offer professional educators a unique vantage point from which to observe the results of the many changes in attitudes, lifestyles, and values upon the children of the families they serve. As an elementary school administrator, I was often shocked and mystified by the changes I have seen take place as more traditional attitudes toward children and families are displaced in preference of whatever seems to be more convenient for the moment. This self-centered view of life, which has overshadowed all the other views of how one ought to live, is now the dominant rule governing family life in our country. Family relationships are more often seen as “something to meet my needs” rather than as “a sacred responsibility I must choose to fulfill.” The belief that mom and dad are sometimes called on to put their own personal needs and goals aside for the long-term good of the family has grown out of date.

During the 1950’s, sixty to seventy percent of all American households were “Dick and Jane households.” A “Dick and Jane household” is one in which the biological father and mother are both present along with two or more children. Dad works and mom stays home with the kids. This family was pretty much the cultural stereotype during the 1950’s and was reflected in such television sitcoms of the period as “Ossie and Harriet,” “Leave It To Beaver,” and “Father Knows Best.” It is always interesting to hear from children that the reruns of some of these shows are still popular among today’s youth.

For young couples dreaming about their future lives together, this lifestyle was the expected norm a few decades ago. Yet, the pattern of the future changed and became something very different. By the 1980’s, fewer than five percent of the families in our country lived in “Dick and Jane households.” The norm for the American family had been drastically changed. The dream was becoming a nightmare. According to Bureau of Labor statistics, the rate of families breaking up in the United States is greater than in any other industrialized country.

In the whirlwind of rapid technological growth and shifting moral values, our society has adopted change as the means to achieving happiness. If we grow bored with or tired of our cars, our homes, or our stereos, we simply trade them in for the new toy we find more exciting. Unfortunately, our families too, are being viewed more and more as this kind of expendable commodity. When the modern adult finds family life more frustrating than he feels it should be, he responds by trading it in. There are any number of excuses: “My needs as a person are not being met in this relationship; I deserve a chance to find personal fulfillment and achieve my goals as an individual; The children would be better off without us together fighting all the time; He or she is not the same person I married; He or she doesn’t understand my needs; I’ve fallen in love with someone else; or I know God doesn’t want me to be unhappy.” Divorce laws in our country are the most permissible in the world. Is it any wonder that we take the lead among industrialized nations with the percentage of fathers absent from their homes? It necessarily follows then that American children are experiencing life quite differently from their counterparts of forty to fifty years ago whose parents were willing to make sacrifices to keep their commitments to spouse and children. (Continues tomorrow)

April 15th

reagan-at-durenberger-rallyQuoting President Ronald Reagan:

“[April 15] is the last day for filing income tax returns — a day that reminds us that taxpayers pay too much of their earnings to the Federal Government. … While April 15 serves as a reminder, the people of the United States truly do not need to be reminded. They are victims of inflation, which pushes them into higher tax brackets. They are robbed daily of a better standard of living. They are discouraged from work and investment. … The choice before us is clear. I strongly feel that the great majority of Americans believe that nothing would better encourage economic growth than leaving more money in the hands of the people who earn it. It’s time to stop stripping bare the productive citizens of America and funneling their hard-earned income into the Federal bureaucracy.”


I Have Some Concerns

John MacArthur

John MacArthur

From: The Desk of John F. MacArthur, Jr.

I have some concerns, OK? Can I just share them with you? Do you want to know what’s in my heart, what bubbles up inside of me? Now, I preach two times a week, every week, at Grace Church, I have for twenty years, I have preached about 1500 sermons. So I go from subject to subject to subject pretty fast. But some things just never seem to be able to release their grip on me. Do you have things like that? They are the passions of your life. And I want you to know what they are.

The first thing that I want you to understand is that I am deeply concerned, that the Church of Jesus Christ, really begin to live by This Book [Bible]. My preaching is not an exercise in oratory. My preaching is not an exercise in clever homiletics. It is not even duty, it is a passion. It says in Psalm 138:2 that, “God has exalted His Word above His Name.” Can you imagine that? This is a sacred trust. And I am deeply concerned that the Church plays “fast and loose” with the Word of God. That men don’t accurately teach and preach it; and don’t study it with commitment; that churches don’t apply it and live it out. . . .

I listened to a talk show on the radio one day, and a lady called up and said, “I want to know how to tell a good church, what I look for in a church.” And the host of the program said, “What you look for in a church is fellowship, sharing and caring.” And I said, “That’s the wrong answer.” You can find that in a lot of places. You can find that in a bar; find that in a Service Club, the Moose Lodge, or the Royal Order of the Goats, or whatever else you want to join. Fellowship, sharing, and caring? Hey, there is only one question to ask about a church, “How do they handle “The Book?” I have fear about that. Will you open your Bible with me to Psalm 19? And I just want to touch lightly on this. Some of you have heard the series I did on the “Sufficiency of Scripture.” But I just want to touch this lightly. Psalm 19:7, “The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. The commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever. The ordinances are true and righteous altogether.” Those three verse provide for us the greatest comprehensive statement on the sufficiency of Scripture, anywhere in the Bible. Six titles for Scriptures; It is the Law of the Lord; the Testimony of the Lord; the Statutes of the Lord; the Commandment of the Lord; the Fear of the Lord; and the Ordinances of the Lord. It is all those things. It has six characteristics; it is sure; it is right; it is clear or pure; it is eternal, enduring forever; it is clean; and it is true. Did you get that? The Bible is perfect, sure, right, clear, clean, and true. And what does it do? Converts the soul; makes wise the simple; rejoices the heart; enlighten the eyes; endures forever; and produces comprehensive righteousness. What else could you ask for?

And yet I look at the Church today, and I see the Church giving into entertainment. Why? I read an interview by a well known Christian Rock Singer, who said, “The reason that she sings the way she does, is to reach the lost. She feels that she has to be “sexy” in a godly way!” What is that? What do you mean by that? Do we believe that we have to hide the Gospel? Are we creating synthetic seed to replace the good seed? Do we have to be clever, and manipulative, and creative? We can’t just preach the truth? Listen, I believe that we have to go back to the Word of God. I am concerned deeply that the medium is becoming the message in the Church, and that there is no message anymore.

There is a new book out, fascinating book, comparing modern well known preachers, with the great preachers of the American Awakening, George Whitfield and Jonathan Edwards. The difference is shocking. When Whitfield and Edwards preached, they preached theology, it was profound, it was deep, and it was Biblical. And the message was the issue. And the man was measured on the basis of how he squared with the Word of God.

Today the medium of communication has substituted for the message. And nobody seems to care what the message was. All they care about is did we enjoy him. Frightening! I believe there is a famine of the Word of God. I don’t think people are going to deny the Word of God, they just ignore it. Or they don’t think it is sufficient. They think it is the Bible plus something; Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy, or whatever.

But I believe that it [Bible] is sufficient and I am deeply distressed that I see in the Church, a pervasive mentality that we have to manipulate people to believe. We have to entertain people to get them in. And yet Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation.” Is it not? “To those who believe, Jew first, and also the Gentiles.”

I am greatly concerned, that the Church doesn’t believe that it [Bible] is perfect and able to transform the whole person. I am convinced that the Church doesn’t believe that it [Bible] is sure, trustworthy, and able to make a simple person eminently wise. I am not sure that the Church believes that. I am not sure the Church believes that it [Bible] lays down the right path and brings joy to the heart. I am not sure that the Church believes that if you really want to see things clearly, you need to see them through the pages of the Scriptures. I hear so many preachers who are doing everything but teaching the Word of God with depth. That’s a passion for me. I believe the Word of God is sufficient for every Spiritual need.

Read more here. . . .

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