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  • 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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Culture Is An Expression Of Values

George Grant

George Grant

Quoting George Grant:

Inevitably, cultures are an expression of the values of a people. The values are drawn out of traditions and habits and language of a people. A culture is a legacy of faith. You can’t get around that at all. Cultures that attempt to get around that are just cultures in transition from one faith to another. Culture is a manifestation of faith. G.K. Chesterton said, “A culture is the accumulation of ritual, traditions symbols and habits. Those things which grow out of a people’s perception of what matters most. In other words, a culture is a legacy of faith.”

Because culture is drawn out of the word cult, as T.S. Eliot says, the manifestations that we have in society, the way we relate to each other, the way we do business, the way we transact our regular rituals in community, are necessarily drawn from cult or from faith.

Religion is an inescapable concept. Everyone worships someone or something. When people start talking about some humanistic values, or putting man at the center of all things, they have turned the worship of God into a worship of self. As a result, they have propounded this notion that we are all gods and sovereign over our sphere of influence. History demonstrates that when man thinks he is in control, those are the times when society is the most out of control. Today, we have more consistently applied the religion of humanism than in any time in history and look at what it has wrought! What a societal mess it has made! Humanism is an utter and complete failure, precisely because man’s actions are so arbitrary and ultimately so cruel. Humanism is a failure because we have made a god out of a creature rather than the Creator.

Guilt

“Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.”  (Hebrews 13:13)

“Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood.”  (Revelation 1:5b)

There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.

(William Cowper, 1731-1800, English poet and hymn writer)

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Washington’s auto intervention has proven

The Eco-Friendly Pelosi-Mobile

The Eco-Friendly Pelosi-Mobile

predictably disastrous. It seems Beltway-bailed-out GM and Chrysler are not experiencing a bounce after all, with now-bankrupt Chrysler falling to eighth place in U.S. car sales and both GM and Chrysler losing significant market shares to Ford, which, incidentally, once again ranks second in domestic car sales — sans government help.

Welcome To Sharia In America

Solzhenitsyn

Alexander Solzhenitsyn was born in 1918 at the beginning of the October Revolution that brought Communism to Russia, establishing the Soviet Union. His father died in a hunting accident six months before he was born and his mother worked as a typist.

Aleksandr Solzenitsyn

Aleksandr Solzenitsyn

He was a gifted student, especially in mathematics but his first love was writing. He was an avowed Communist and readily enlisted in the Russian army after Hitler invaded his country in June, 1940. Solzhenitsyn became a tank commander and was on the front lines in February, 1945 as the Soviet Army bore down on Hitler’s Berlin. However Solzhenitsyn was arrested at that time and put in a series of gulags. What was his crime? He had been writing secretly to a few friends, denouncing the policies of Josef Stalin. The writings were confiscated and Solzhenitsyn was sentenced to eight years in prison, eventually ending up in a gulag in Siberia. He was suffering from cancer while there and a Jewish physician named Boris Kornfeld, who had recently become a follower of Jesus, was witnessing to Solzhenitsyn one night, telling him that neither Communism nor any other ideology made sense, that Jesus had changed his life.

The next morning Solzhenitsyn heard that someone during the night had crushed Kornfeld’s skull with a mallet. Later Solzhenitsyn too became a follower of Jesus. He was released from prison in 1953 and became a mathematics teacher in a high school, but he continued to write secretly. Eventually he published A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Remarkably Nikita Kruschev allowed the publication of this book, buying Solzhenitsyn’s claim that it was anti-Stalin, not anti-Communism. Eventually Solzhenitsyn was able to publish his greatest work The Gulag Archipelago that won him a Nobel Prize in 1970. He was deported from the Soviet Union in 1976, taking up residence in Vermont to finish his monumental writing projects. He was allowed back into the new Russia in 1994 and died just a few years ago. His 1978 commencement speech at Harvard University rocked the western world where he claimed that the west had lost her soul, that her departure from the Christian faith and embrace of materialism had weakened her beyond repair. . . .

Solzhenitsyn came to understand that creatio ex nihilo, not naturalism, explains the origin of all things. Bad ideas, like naturalism, kill. He came to see that Communism was built upon atheism which could not be substantiated by the evidence of creation. And he came to see that western materialism was also built on the notion that man is supreme over God. Because he gained a Christian view of creation and God’s dealings in the world, he was able to gain perspective on his suffering. He came to say, later in life, that his eight years in the gulag made him who he was, that he would not exchange those years for anything.

Destroyed From Within

In Falls Church, Virginia, just 8 miles from the White House, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali was sentenced to life in prison for his role in an Al-Qaeda conspiracy to kill President Bush. Ali was valedictorian of the Islamic Saudi Academy in nearby Alexandria, Virginia. The Islamic Saudi Academy has been regularly criticized for exposing students to radical textbooks. As the convicted terrorist left the courtroom, he was cheered by a large crowd of supporters.

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, seven Muslim men were charged with being part of a jihadist cell that planned a series of attacks abroad. Several of them are Muslim converts, including Daniel Patrick Boyd, who traveled to Israel in 2007 hoping to pull off attacks there. Boyd lived in a lakeside home in a rural area near Raleigh, where he and his family ran a dry-wall business while learning to wage war for Allah at night. (Source: American Values)

Are our politically correct leaders justified in saying that these terrorists “just happen” to be Muslims?

Court Bans Guns

patriot-logoThe National Rifle Association sued the City of Chicago, Illinois and Village of Oak Park, Illinois so citizens could protect themselves with handguns.

We lost. Gun ban won. The word came down June 2, 2009.

These two municipalities ban the possession of most handguns. But you are probably thinking we won in Washington, DC with the Heller case didn’t we? Didn’t that clear the right to own a handgun to protect yourself?

No. Here is why:

The courts felt that Washington, DC and the Heller case dealt with law enacted under the authority of the national government, while Chicago and Oak Park are subordinate bodies of state.

In short, courts are deciding the Constitution of the United States and the 2nd Amendment doesn’t apply to the entirety of the United States of America.

James Hudson Taylor On A Consistent Life

James Hudson Taylor

James Hudson Taylor

“We are not only to renounce evil, but to manifest the truth. We tell people the world is vain; let our lives manifest that it is so. We tell them that our home is above and that all these things are transitory. Does our dwelling look like it? O to live consistent lives!”

(James Hudson Taylor, 1832-1905, English missionary and founder of the China Inland Mission)

Culture of Corruption

Jefferson On Deficit Spending

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

Quoting Thomas Jefferson:

“The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”

Worship Music Should Teach The Bible

man-reading-bibleFrom: The Pen of Dr. Alan D. Ingalls

The lyrics of music selections for congregational worship have evidenced a regrettable lack of discernment in recent days. Consider the song we’ve used recently which suggests “Come, just as you are, to worship.” Certainly we can come to God boldly (Heb. 4:16). But we are never told that we can come carelessly, thoughtlessly, flippantly or casually. The very same NT writer says, “having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus…let us draw near with a true heart” (10:19-22; emphasis added). This writer goes on to remind his readers of the certainty of judgment for those who continue to sin willfully (10:26-31) and later urges his readers, “let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire [=Deut. 4:24]” (12:28-29). The OT lays down humility and purity (achieved through obedience and atonement) as absolute requirements for worship

(Psalms 15 and 24). The expression “come as you are” in English usually connotes a casual disregard for one’s state or appearance, an openness to sloppiness. The song “Just As I Am” certainly cannot be cited in support of the lyrics at issue. The song “Just As I Am” clearly suggests coming to God for forgiveness in humble acknowledgment of personal inadequacy (i.e., sinfulness) on the basis of Christ’s atonement. The same song which suggests that we “come as we are” later suggests that though every knee will someday bow to

Jesus’ authority, there is a “greater treasure for those who choose You now” [emphasis added]. “Greater” is a comparative adjective implying there will be a reward for those who will someday be forced to bow the knee before Christ, but a greater reward for those who choose Him now. There will be no reward for those who reject Jesus in this life. There is no second chance at the Judgment Seat.

This theology seems to support a universalistic view of the atonement which is at odds with Scripture. Or perhaps the writer merely means that the sooner we choose Him in this life the greater our reward. While accepting Christ sooner rather than later provides greater opportunity for service (and hence reward), it does not assure greater reward, for our reward will be based on our service, not on our opportunities. Whether this is simply sloppy song-writing or determined heresy, I do not know the writer’s heart, but the lyrics are at best ambiguous.

Another song with a seemingly universalistic message is “Shout to the North” by Martin Smith. The song suggests that “Jesus is Savior to all.” Jesus’ work on the cross provides the potential of salvation FOR all (i.e., unlimited atonement), but not all regard Him as Savior. When I say that someone “has been a father to me,” I mean that he has functioned in that role and I recognize it. Jesus is, indeed, “Lord of heaven and earth” whether we recognize Him to be or not, but He is not Savior to all. This particular song has numerous other problems which make it impossible to sing in any congregation which treasures biblical truth.

Sometimes a song may simply have an incomplete message. We have sung a song drawn directly from Acts 4:12, “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” The problem is that the song nowhere contains the name that the context of Acts states so clearly: “Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead” (4:10). Will an unbeliever in the service learn from this song? Not unless it is clearly coupled with either other music or an explanation which completes the message. The same could be said of other songs which merely say, “Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, Hallelujah, Praise the Lord” and variations thereof. Or songs whose lyrics are drawn solely from the Psalms—I have never yet seen Jesus explicitly named in the Psalms, not even in the Messianic prophecies given there. These songs may make an appropriate call to worship or a response to revelation, but fail the content test on their own, that is, the church cannot live on a steady diet of such songs alone. Such songs often talk about worship (“Let us worship…”) but on their own they are not worship but only a call to worship. Like oatmeal, such choruses are warm and mushy—and they have their place—but they do not constitute a balanced diet.

Other songs are not coherent, mixing ideas—or merely patching together titles or names of God—in a random and meaningless way. Such songs fail the content test. Yet other songs have a serious “I” problem or a “little piggy” problem (“we, we, we, all the way home”). Certainly there is a place in our music for proclaiming our wretchedness (“I once was lost, but now am found”) or weakness (“We are weak, but He is strong”) or our desire to serve the Lord (“I’ll go where You want Me to go, dear Lord”), but some songs are so filled with “I will” statements that they become reckless and boastful. Such songs are of dubious worth. Though I have chosen some of the newer, more popular songs for these examples, I do not mean to suggest that we simply need to sing only old songs which contain a version of the King’s English that is no longer comprehensible. Some of our old hymns need to be updated or explained! Our people probably need to be reminded occasionally what an “Ebenezer” is. The heretical universalism of Henry van Dyke’s “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” is widely known (and this hymn is #1 in the hymnal currently in use in the church I attend!). And there are also some incredibly good “new” songs coming out—Twila Paris’s “Lamb of God” and Stuart Townsend’s “How Great the Father’s Love for Us” both bring me to tears almost every time I sing them (And if our worship leaders knew this, they would undoubtedly ban them forever. Since almost half of the psalms are laments, why should worship music be aimed solely at expressing happiness? Do we harm the hurting by denying we feel pain? Do we harm ourselves by leaving no place for crying out to the Lord in pain and confusion and even doubt?).

There is no denying that there will be some disagreement on some specifics. “The little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes” is almost certainly inaccurate if it means that Jesus never cried as a baby, though the writer may merely be picturing a moment when all was still and silent. “Emptied Himself of all but love,” in an otherwise exquisite hymn, must be taken as poetic exaggeration at best, for the Son of God did not become less than God in becoming the Son of Man. Nevertheless, some songs contain such gross inaccuracies or serious doctrinal errors that they are irredeemable and we must reject them as unbiblical. Some, indeed, may suggest that I’ve misunderstood the songs that I’ve used as examples above. Yet if the lyrics of some songs are so ambiguous or open to misunderstanding, why should we be singing them when we can sing songs that clearly and forth-rightly teach God’s truth? If the purpose of music in worship is didactic, let’s choose songs that “didact”!

Are You Holding An Illegal Bible Study?

Apparently, San Diego County Department of Planning and Land Use personnel never got the memo that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the free exercise of religion and the right of the people peaceably to assemble. On April 10, in Red China fashion, a county official no_godsvgdappeared at the home of the Rev. David Jones and his wife Mary, taking pictures outside the home and questioning Mary on whether the couple held meetings there during which they sang, prayed or said “amen” or “praise the Lord.” Upon answering yes, Mrs. Jones was warned that the gatherings were illegal, and on April 14, the Joneses received a citation telling them to “cease/stop religious assembly on parcel or obtain a major use permit,” a process that could cost tens of thousands of dollars.

On May 26, the Western Center for Law & Policy submitted a demand letter on behalf of the Joneses to San Diego County, outlining the county’s violation of the couple’s constitutional rights. Following the letter and a public and media outcry, the county rescinded the citation. Additionally, County Chief Administrative Officer Walter Ekard issued a formal apology to the Joneses and promised “training will be updated and conducted for all code enforcement officers.” We recommend the first course be First Amendment 101.

Truth

G. Campbell Morgan

G. Campbell Morgan

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

(John 17:17)

“There is one sure and infallible guide to truth, and therefore, one, and only one corrective for error, and that is the Word of God.” (G. Campbell Morgan,1863-1945, English Bible expositor and pastor)

A Government Based Economy

Dr. Gary North

Dr. Gary North

Quoting Gary North:

Imagine a national highway system. On any stretch of highway, the speed may be different. The national speed limit is changed on a regular basis by a national committee. The committee is made up of government appointees and representatives of the auto industry.

The committee decides to change the speed limit by reviewing traffic flows that are reported and analyzed weeks later.

The formula used by the committee does not affect every speed sign by the same percentage. Every speed sign along the roads is digital, allowing moment-by-moment revisions.

The signs’ posted limits can and do change randomly every time the committee changes the national speed limit. They can also change randomly in between meetings, depending on traffic flow and speed, which is fed into local computers that can adjust the posted speed.

The committee assigns to a subcommittee the task of adjusting the national speed limit on a day-by-day basis within a narrow range. This speed limit affects only those stretches of highway that connect the two coasts. It does not predictably affect the side roads and intrastate highways.

The subcommittee assesses what needs to be done by means of data fed back to it from dozens of regions. The subcommittee cannot determine what individual speed signs will say. It aggregates the data by means of a proprietary formula known only to the subcommittee.

The national committee tells drivers to plan all of their trips in terms of the national speed limit.

Every trucking firm must write contracts stretching out for an unspecified number of months, based on the target national speed limit announced by the main committee every two months, which reserves the right to raise or lower the target rate.

Would you invest heavily in trucking firms on this basis?

Making Billions From Global Warming Science Fiction

From: The Desk of The Lid

A new scientific paper says that the only warming that is man made is the heat coming from under Al Gore’s collar. The highly regarded Journal of Geophysical Research presented a peer reviewed study by 3 Australasian researchers which shows that natural forces are the dominant influence on climate. According to this study little or none of the late 20th century global warming and cooling can be attributed to human activity.

The research, by Chris de Freitas, a climate scientist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, John McLean (Melbourne) and Bob Carter (James Cook University), finds that the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a key indicator of global atmospheric temperatures seven months later. As an additional influence, intermittent volcanic activity injects cooling aerosols into the atmosphere and produces significant cooling.

“The surge in global temperatures since 1977 can be attributed to a 1976 climate shift in the Pacific Ocean that made warming El Niño conditions more likely than they were over the previous 30 years and cooling La Niña conditions less likely” says corresponding author de Freitas.

“We have shown that internal global climate-system variability accounts for at least 80% of the observed global climate variation over the past half-century. It may even be more if the period of influence of major volcanoes can be more clearly identified and the corresponding data excluded from the analysis.”

Climate researchers have long been aware that ENSO events influence global temperature, for example causing a high temperature spike in 1998 and a subsequent fall as conditions moved to La Niña. It is also well known that volcanic activity has a cooling influence, and as is well documented by the effects of the 1991 Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption. . . .

Bob Carter, one of four scientists who has recently questioned the justification for the proposed Australian emissions trading scheme, says that this paper has significant consequences for public climate policy.

“The close relationship between ENSO and global temperature, as described in the paper, leaves little room for any warming driven by human carbon dioxide emissions. The available data indicate that future global temperatures will continue to change primarily in response to ENSO cycling, volcanic activity and solar changes.”

“Our paper confirms what many scientists already know: which is that no scientific justification exists for emissions regulation, and that, irrespective of the severity of the cuts proposed, ETS (emission trading scheme) will exert no measurable effect on future climate.”

Of Course, the true believers of the Church of Global Warming Moonbats will not be moved by the study. They say that global warming is a done deal, debate is over. I seem to remember similar discussions 30 years ago, but that was about “the coming Ice Age.”

Global Warming advocates have too much invested in perpetuating the myth. Remember people like Al Gore, the Grand Poobah of Global Warming, stand to make billions of dollars should Cap and Trade be enacted in the US.

Don’t expect to see anything written about this study in the mainstream media. This study simply does not fit the preferred narrative that the world is dangerously warming, and its all the fault of man made CO2 and, of course, bovine flatulence.

Read this entire article. . . .

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