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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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  • Recommended Reading

Monkeying Around With Health Care

From the pen of Jim O’Neill:

Let me give one well known example of left-wing obfuscation, misdirection, and lies. The so called Scopes “monkey” trial took place during the decades when the left wing was passionately promoting eugenics. Eugenics includes race purification, and euthanasia.

In the movie “Inherit the Wind,” which is about the Scopes trial, Hollywood would have us believe that the defense attorney (played by Spencer Tracy) gallantly shone the light of reason on the backward, backwoods idiocy spouted by the (right-wing) prosecution. Well, not surprisingly, this is all left-wing hogwash.

At the heart of the trial was a high-school textbook, that promoted the eugenics so dear to the leftist Progressives. The book was “A Civic Biology: Presented in Problems” by George William Hunter. The right to use this textbook in public schools is what the left-wing fought for.

Let me share some excerpts from this textbook with you:

“At the present time there exist upon the earth five races or varieties of man [with] the highest type of all, the Caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America.”

“If the stock of domesticated animals can be improved [by natural selection], it is not unfair to ask if…future generations of men and women on the earth might not be improved by applying to them the laws of selection.”

“When people marry there are certain things that the individual as well as the race should demand. The most important of these is freedom from…epilepsy, and feeble-mindedness [which] are handicaps which it is not only unfair, but criminal to hand down to posterity”

“If such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off to prevent them from spreading. Humanity will not allow this [silly, stupid, soft-hearted humanity], but we do have the remedy…[of] preventing…the possibility of perpetuating such a low and degenerate race.”

Can you picture Spencer Tracy, “gallantly” declaring such things to a speechless jury? Neither could Hollywood, so we ended up with a movie version of the Scopes trial that has little to do with the truth. Typical left-wing, butt-covering nonsense—short on truth, and long on propaganda.

That’s an example of the type of eugenics promoted by the left-wing Progressive Party.

Connect the dots, people. The Left has historically promoted eugenics—and that includes euthanasia. Check out any valid history, and you’ll see that eugenics and the left-wing go hand in glove. Don’t believe their lies.

Never forget that the “health” care bill was introduced with every intention of sneaking it by a clueless American electorate—just as they’d done with the “Cap and Trade” bill.

Continue reading. . . .

Human Understanding

John Calvin

Quoting John Calvin:

“A simple external manifestation of the Word ought to be amply sufficient to produce faith, did not our blindness and perverseness prevent. But such is the proneness of our mind to vanity, that it can never adhere to the truth of God, and such its dullness, that it is always blind even in his light. Hence without the illumination of the Spirit the Word has no effect; and hence also it is obvious that faith is something higher than human understanding.” (Institutes III.II)

The Secret Of America’s Success

Quoting President Ronald Reagan:

“The intellectual establishment [is] so busy demanding more power for government, more bureaucracy, regulation, spending and — oh, yes — more and more taxes, they forgot all about the secret of America’s success — opportunity for people, for all the people. … Will we heed the pessimists’ agenda of higher taxes, more bureaucracy, and a bigger welfare state leading us right back to runaway inflation and economic decay, or will we [take the] road toward a true opportunity society of economic growth, more jobs, lower tax rates, and rising take-home pay?”

Allah’s Cause

Tough day for this devout young Muslim, who intended on killing 288 airline passengers in the name of Allah, but wound up grilling his own genitals instead. (At least the virgins were spared disappointment).

“He who fights that Islam should be superior fights in Allah’s cause”(Muhammad, prophet of Islam)

Islamic terrorists have carried out more than 14,606 deadly terror attacks since 9/11.

2009.12.30 (Pattani, Thailand) – Two volunteers guarding teachers are taken down in a Mujahideen bombing.

2009.12.30 (Khost, Afghanistan) – Eight American civilians are murdered by a Shahid suicide bomber at a gymnasium.

2009.12.29 (Lahore, Pakistan) – A man slits his daughter’s throat, and stabs her lover to death, over a suspected illicit affair.

2009.12.29 (Tal Massoud, Iraq) – Four people are shot to death and one beheaded by suspected al-Qaeda elements.

2009.12.29 (Baghdad, Iraq) – Two woman are among four Iraqis murdered in two Jihad attacks.

2009.12.29 (Heart, Afghanistan) – A terrorist in an Afghan army uniform opens fire on three unsuspecting NATO soldiers, killing one.

Read more. . . .

What Is Your View Of Scripture?

John MacArthur

From the pen of John MacArthur:

Wisdom with regard to spiritual life, time and eternity is all found in the Word of God. The Bible is the source, and the only source of divine wisdom. And it is a tragic thing to realize that the Bible is under assault from so many, many angles. There are the rationalists with their anti-miracle humanistic atheism who want to deny the existence of God. And if they tolerate God, God is nothing more than Einstein’s God who is some kind of impersonal, non-personal force. There are the existentialists who have an anti-reality mentality who say that you basic can create your own reality, you can concoct your own reality, you can form your own reality, and I’m glad for you, whatever your reality is. And then you have the onslaught of not only rationalism and existentialism but egoism which is an anti- authority mentality that says nobody is going to tell me what to believe, nobody is going to tell me what’s right and wrong, nobody is going to tell me how to behave, I’m going to determine that for myself. Then you have the relationalistic mind set that basically says what is most important is ego fulfillment, personal fulfillment, solving my personal problems, self-esteem, feeling good about myself. That too is anti-truth, that too is anti-standard, anti-absolute.

Then you have the ritualistic approach which is an anti- knowledge form of religion where religion is not a matter of truth or theology or doctrine, but simply a matter of ritual and routine. Then you have theological liberalism which is anti- Bible, anti-inspiration. Then you have mysticism which is anti- intellectual which just says you sort of feel God and you sort of know He’s there and feel somehow the movements of God and you feel the truth.

All of those things contribute in our culture to an anti- authority mentality which contributes to an anti-Bible mentality. The Scripture is depreciated by rationalism, existentialism, egoism, relationalism, ritualism, liberalism, mysticism, probably a few other isms as well. These are the things that are being elevated today. The human glory is on the main forefront, letting man be everything he thinks he wants to be to fulfill himself. That is dominating. There is no authority outside man. Government itself is having a hard time exercising authority because it has given to people so much personal freedom. This approach to religion…the approach to religion that comes in this environment is an existential kind of mystical approach where you’re allowed to believe whatever feels good for you, whatever you think God is doing is, no doubt, what He is really doing, whatever you think He’s saying is surely what He’s really saying. All of these things attack the singular, clear authority of the Word of God.

Now you say…why are you bringing this up on a series about studying the Bible? Because I’ve learned one thing through the years, and it’s been reiterated to me again and again and again. The diligence with which you approach the study of Scripture which is so critical to the blessing of your life, so critical to your joy, so critical to your usefulness, so critical to the glory of God, the diligence with which you approach this critical study of Scripture is directly correlated to your view of Scripture…directly. If you have a weak view of Scripture, I promise you will have a weak interest in it.

Read more. . . .

The Value Of An Oath

Thomas Sowell

In the words of economist Thomas Sowell:

“Adam Smith [once] said, ‘Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent.’ That lesson seems to have been forgotten in America … where so many people seem to have been far more concerned about whether we have been nice enough to the mass-murdering terrorists in our custody than those critics have ever been about the innocent people beheaded or blown up by the terrorists themselves. … Those who are pushing for legal action against CIA agents may talk about ‘upholding the law’ but they are doing no such thing. Neither the Constitution of the United States nor the Geneva Convention gives rights to terrorists who operate outside the law. … So many ‘rights’ have been conjured up out of thin air that many people seem unaware that rights and obligations derive from explicit laws, not from politically correct pieties. If you don’t meet the terms of the Geneva Convention, then the Geneva Convention doesn’t protect you. If you are not an American citizen, then the rights guaranteed to American citizens do not apply to you. That should be especially obvious if you are part of an international network bent on killing Americans. But bending over backward to be nice to our enemies is one of the many self-indulgences of those who engage in moral preening. But getting other people killed so that you can feel puffed up about yourself is profoundly immoral. So is betraying the country you took an oath to protect.”

Read more. . . .

Christianity And Reason

B. B. Warfield

Quoting B. B. Warfield:

It is the distinction of Christianity that it has come into the world clothed with the mission to reason its way to its dominion. Other religions may appeal to the sword, or seek some other way to propagate themselves. Christianity makes its appeal to right reason, and stands out among all religions, therefore, as distinctively “the Apologetic religion.” It is solely by reasoning that it has come thus far on its way to its kingship. And it is solely by reasoning that it will put all its enemies under its feet.

Unauthorized Use Of Power

Thomas Jefferson

Quoting Thomas Jefferson:

“On every unauthoritative exercise of power by the legislature must the people rise in rebellion or their silence be construed into a surrender of that power to them? If so, how many rebellions should we have had already?”

Does God Change His Mind?

From the desk of R.C. Sproul:

Does God Change His Mind? If God is immutable, if He does not change at all, does that mean He never changes His mind either? This is a very thorny problem. The Bible appears to say at times that God changed His mind. Consider, for example, the following episode that took place in the time of Moses:

Then Moses pleaded with the LORD his God, and said: “LORD, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.” So the LORD relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people. (Exod. 32:11-14)

God “relented”? Other translations render the words here, “changed His mind.” This narrative seems to make it absolutely clear that God does, in fact, change His mind from time to time. Maybe His being doesn’t change, but does His mind cast a shadow every once in awhile? The problem becomes more vexing when we read elsewhere in Scripture:

“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Behold, I have received a command to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it. (Num. 23:19-20)

This same concept is repeated elsewhere: “And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He is not a man, that He should relent” (1 Sam. 15:29).

Is this a contradiction in Scripture? How are we to understand this?

We could throw up our hands and agree with the Bible’s critics who insist that this is a blatant error or contradiction. A more judicious approach would be to grapple with the problem of what is called phenomenological language. (The illusion or appearance of something, “the way we see it” from our perspective. As they appear to us, not necessarily as they really are. The aim of the writer is to make a theological statement, a truth about God and man and his world, he’s not using modern scientific precision and technical terminology.

Scripture frequently describes events in terms of how they appear to the observer. The Bible does not “teach” that the sun revolves around the earth, but it does speak about sunrises and sunsets. (Even modern scientists do this when they are using ordinary language. Listen to what the meteorologist on your local TV station says about the sun’s “rising” and “setting.”)

The most obvious use of phenomenological language in the Bible is its use of human terms to describe God. The Bible speaks of His coming and of His going, of His becoming angry, of His turning from wrath. He is described as having arms, hands, a face, and feet. Yet this multitude of references to God via human imagery is qualified by sober biblical warnings and reminders that God is not a man. . . .

The biblical narratives in which God appears to repent, or change His mind, are almost always narratives that deal with His threats of judgment and punishment. These threats are then followed by the repentance of the people or by the intercessory petitions of their leaders. God is not talked into “changing His mind.” Out of His gracious heart He only does what He has promised to do all along – not punish sinners who repent and turn from their evil ways. He chooses not to do what He has every right to do.

The point of these narratives is to encourage us to pray. We are to make intercession. The promised threats of divine punishment are given with the condition attached that if we repent, we ~vi1l escape those punishments. Sometimes that condition is spelled out explicitly, while at other times it is merely implied. When we repent, then God removes the threat of punishment. The question is, Who is ultimately repenting here? God never repents in the sense that He turns away from sin or from error.

God is not a man. He does not ultimately or literally have arms or legs. He does not repent as men repent. He listens to our prayers but is never corrected by them. He changes not- neither in the perfection of His being nor in the perfection of His thoughts. (From “One Holy Passion”)

Defending The Constitution

Signing The Constitution

In the words of Mark Alexander:

At the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin was asked if the delegates had formed a republic or a monarchy. “A republic,” he responded, “if you can keep it.”

To that end, as a warning for future generations to beware of “cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men,” Washington wrote, “A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position.”

John Adams cautioned, “A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”

Today, our Constitution is the oldest rule-of-law charter governing a sovereign republic. It authorizes a republican form of limited government with the express aim of defending individual rights, which are the gift of God.

Unfortunately, and at great peril to our liberty, our Constitution has for years suffered at the hands of “cunning, ambitious and unprincipled” politicians and judges who recognize only vestiges of its original intent for governance. Consequently, constitutional Rule of Law has been undermined by those who have deserted their sacred oaths to “support and defend” the same.

Our legacy of liberty, bequeathed to us by generations of American Patriots, is at risk. If we are to extend liberty to the next generation, we must renew our commitment to this animating contest of freedom as ordained by God, and as set forth by our nation’s Founders in the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.

While the words “conservative” and “liberal” are ubiquitously used to describe party alliances, these words more essentially describe whether one advocates for the Rule of Law, or the rule of men; for the conservation of our Constitution as the Founders intended, or its liberal interpretation by “progressive” legislators and judicial activists.

It is well past time that we each ask of ourselves: “Which do I advocate?”

The role of, and limitations upon, our central government were and remain defined by the supreme law of the United States, our Constitution, as adopted, and aptly defended in The Federalist Papers.

Those of us who endorse the most basic tenets of our Republic, “That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” are called to honor that heritage and set about the formidable task of restoring individual liberty and constitutional limits upon the branches of our national government.

Read more. . . .

John Owen On Temptation

Quoting John Owen:

“Temptation is like a knife, that may either cut the meat or the throat of a man; it may be his food or his poison, his exercise or his destruction”

Fascism And Utopia

Thomas Sowell

Quoting economist Thomas Sowell:

“‘Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.’ We have heard that many times. What is also the price of freedom is the toleration of imperfections. If everything that is wrong with the world becomes a reason to turn more power over to some political savior, then freedom is going to erode away…. If you think government should ‘do something’ about anything that ticks you off, or anything you want and don’t have, then you have made your choice between Utopia and freedom.”

ED And End Times

In the words of Joel McDurmon:

End-times Dysfunction, also known as Eschatology Dysfunction, or ED’s Syndrome (named for Ed Smith, Captain of the Titanic), affect tens of millions of Christians worldwide. Afflicted by the mental and psychological effects of years of indoctrination by premillennial and dispensational views on Bible prophecy, these victims suffer from a profound worldview impotence, believing that Christians are supposed to live overcome, marginalized, and defeated lives. They then rationalize their apathy and begin arguing things like “the world is evil and Jesus will rapture us out of it in my lifetime,” “the antichrist is coming,” “Christians should not get involved in worldly things like business, finance, politics, or economics.” This compounds their apathy and leaves them averse to making any impact upon a society. . . .

They then succumb to paranoia, like the fear surrounding the Mayan calendar and the year (and upcoming movie) 2012. Is this the date it will al really implode? I think I’ll just roll over, hide under the covers, and go to sleep. . . .

The condition is only worsened by lack of theological nutrition. A high-carbohydrate diet consisting of dramatized end-times fiction and fanciful “prophecy” charts left behind from the sawdust trail and big-tent revival manias leaves Christians vulnerable to theologies built on emotions and fears rather than sound Biblical exposition.

Read more. . . .

Such Is Life!

From the writings of Charles H. Spurgeon:

Such is LIFE. A bubble, brilliant with rainbow hues, delighting the eye of youth for a moment and then gone for ever, leaving not a trace behind. Man wilt thou risk thine all upon that bubble? Be wise and seek substantial good, and since this can ne’er be found beneath the skies, cry to the God of Heaven for his gracious aid.

Such is LIFE. A gourd, like that of Jonah, which cometh up in a night and dieth in a night. Wilt thou make its leaves thine only shelter? Then what wilt thou do when the gourd is withered and the hot sun of divine wrath scorches thee? O that thou wouldst fly to Jesus who is the shadow of a great rock in a weary land!

Such is LIFE. A meteor blazing its moment and then lost in darkness! If thou be sane thou wilt desire another and more lasting light than this can give thee! The Sun of Righteousness Shines on for ever.

Such is LIFE. Like the swift ship which skims the deep and soon disappears beneath the horizon’s line! Shall thy happiness be as fleeting as this? Dost thou not long for a more enduring joy?

Such is LIFE. As the eagle which hasteth to its prey, so passeth away thine earthly existence! Whither art thou flying? Immortal Spirit, to what country art thou bound? Thou canst not pause, but thou mayest think, and it may be the Lord may turn thee heavenwards!

Such is LIFE. An arrow speeding from a bow, a hart bounding over the plain. Speed is found in its highest degree in our life; none can outrun it. O friend, art thou ready for the grave and the judgment? for in a few days thou must know more of them than now.

Such is LIFE. A flower which bloometh for a little season and then withereth away. Ye young, ye gay, ye proud, are ye so silly as to dream that your earthly life will last for ever? Think of your latter end, and seek that friend, who will be with you in life and in death, even Jesus, the sinner’s Saviour. (Sword and Trowel Tract 8)

A Poor Sermon

Quoting George Whitefield:

It is a poor sermon that gives no offense; that neither makes the hearer displeased with himself nor with the preacher.

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