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Showing posts from December, 2005

God's Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit – three words that send the Christian world into an apoplectic confusion. Ask five Christians a question about the Holy Spirit and you are likely to get up to five different answers. Why would this be given that the Holy Spirit is a very relevant figure throughout the Bible and particularly so in the New Testament?

The reason for the schism is varied, but generally comes down to a) a lack of serious study of the Bible by the average Christian b) a general avoidance of teaching by Church leaders on the realities of the Holy Spirit c) an over-emphasis of the surreal manifestation of the Holy Spirit as taught in the Bible (particularly by the Charismatic Christian movement) or d) all of the above.

All of this has combined to create much confusion and outright dissension among Christian groups with the result being an unfortunate lack of power displayed by the modern church in the face of a relentless spiritual battle with the secular non-believing world. Power is the key wo…

2006 America: A Country Divided…

As we prepare to end the current year and look forward to 2006, there will be the usual retrospective of the year just finished on a number of different fronts: movies, music, fashion, culture, and politics. At first glance nothing out of the ordinary; we do this each year. However at closer inspection, one has to wonder is there a year soon coming when any retrospective on the year in the US will be done primarily by foreign countries looking back on the smoldering ruins of a once thriving empire?

In the Bible, Luke 11:17 says “Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: "Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.”(NIV) On the verge of 2006, America is a house divided against itself. In politics, the two primary political groups square off daily in mortal combat. Against the backdrop of terrorists who’s stated goal is to destroy this country and our way of life – and who has already demonstrated the skill to do so, influential…

The DaVinci Deception

With the wide commercial success of the Dan Brown book and the upcoming theatrical release of the Ron Howard movie, the DaVinci Code is sure to remain a relevant topic of spiritual conversation among Christians and non-believers alike. As a Christian, my main position on the book’s content is simply this: it takes a decidedly non-biblical view of biblical events, and perverts it in the name of supposedly true history. Some of the book’s details are so lurid as it relates to Jesus Christ (who the Bible presents as God in human form), that any credibility given to it especially by Christians is patently blasphemous.

God’s authorship of the Bible is clearly conveyed in 2 Timothy 3:16 - All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (KJV) Here God is saying to us that everything written in the Bible is inspired by Him (not by the singular efforts of the human authors.) The DaVinci Code attempts to…

Atheists for Christmas

It appears that the "War on Christmas" controversy that has captured the attention of many in the US is not limited to our shores and may in fact be even more pronounced in England. An article by Simon Heffer published in the Daily Telegraph newspaper in London indicates that over there, political correctness is such that up until recently not even Church leaders were willing to stand up and demand that Christ not be taken out of Christmas.

There is an irony in this article however given that it's author is a self-professed non-believer in God or that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (thus the reason for the season). This however has not stopped him from acknowledging quite forcefully, the merits of Christianity's influence on the greater society, and the perversion which fuels those people who are aligned against it. People he adds who are far fewer in numbers and power than their rhetoric would suggest.

The author's reason for non-belief is quite common; he writes:…

Intelligent Design - A Loser

"Intelligent Design" (ID) - a rather peculiar term that somehow fits with the contemporary times in which we live. It is a term that has risen to the forefront of the current American culture wars, as proponents push for it to be taught in school science classes while their opponents vehemently resist. But what is Intelligent Design anyway? Well simply put, it is a modern day way of saying God is the creator of life, and is to be presented as an alternative ‘theory’ to the theory of evolution. But since the word God is such a 'hot button' word in today's society, some of the presumably smarter of us who happen to believe in creationism decided that perhaps we can 'sneak' God into the schools by calling Him something else.

Well, predictably, their 'smart' counterparts in the secular movement weren’t buying the argument. As far as they were concerned, God or however you choose to refer to Him has no place being taught as science next to their revered…

The Tsunami Signs

This month marks the one year anniversary of the horrific Tsunami that devastated the Indian Ocean countries on December 26th, 2004, and since that time, scientists have undertaken many steps to try and understand the immense geological forces that combined to unleash the destructive waves that killed almost 300,000 people.

In 2005, a scientific team was brought together to study the ocean floor off the coast of Indonesia with a hope of learning how the gigantic waves were spawned after an undersea earthquake measuring 9.2 on the Richter Scale. Upon visiting the devastated islands in the region, the team reported being overcome by the still remaining scenes of destruction and trying to imagine the horror that faced the poor souls who experienced the coming waves that morning. During a documentary of their visit that is being broadcast on the Discovery Channel, one scientist remarked with incredible feeling that “the people died because they didn’t know the signs!” They didn’t know not …

Another Iran Hostage Crisis?

Conventional wisdom says that those who ignore history are bound to repeat it, and in the midst of the virulent debate about the Iraq war, the crusade against Christmas (which is really a crusade against Christ) as well as the other garden variety chaos in our modern world, a very interesting, and not very hidden development is ongoing that may very well eventually dwarf all these other issues of the day.

The script is very familiar: a maniacal nation leader is hell-bent (literally) on mass murder against people who he and a few million others deem unworthy of living (the people of Israel) and publicly states his ethnic cleansing intentions on what seems like a weekly basis. While our new leading character Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad comes out with a new verbal assault on Israel with alarming frequency, the passive United Nations (UN) wring their hands and continue to attempt to “negotiate” with him so that he may see the error of his ways, and dissuade him from continuing to…

Religious Battlelines

I was watching a recent program on TV where the issue of the cultural effort to reduce the term Christmas and replace it with the term “holiday” was the primary topic. The focus of the moderator was on the public position or lack thereof of the Roman Catholic Church in the debate. The moderator who himself was a Catholic had two Roman Catholic priests on as guests to get their perspective on the silence of the Catholic church on this issue.

It was an interesting exchange as I thought the interviews revealed far more about the apparent position of the Catholic Church than just their views on whether Christmas was indeed being subverted by influential secularists, atheists and corporations. First of all, both priests agreed that the Catholic church have indeed been silent on the issue, with the consensus for this being that they had not been given any guidance from the Vatican on how or whether to address the issue. However, just as revealing was the priests’ assertion that the Protestan…

The Real Death Penalty

The state of California executed convicted killer Stanley ‘Tookie’ Williams shortly after midnight on Tuesday December 13th, 2005. The notoriety of his case has once again fanned the flames of discord between supporters for and against the death penalty. In the run up to Mr. Williams’ execution all of his supporters cited time and again his changed life as evidenced by his authorship of children’s books advocating the perils of the gang lifestyle which ultimately led to his death.

In the religious community there is also another debate around this topic: that being whether or not God ‘approves’ of a legal ruling of death by any governing authority. The passions being what they are on this subject, you will likely hear from both sides that there is absolute proof in the Bible as to either position. Death penalty Christians may point to Old Testament scriptures such as Leviticus 24:17 which reads: “If anyone takes the life of a human being, he must be put to death.” Those opposing the de…

The Discovery Channel's Wisdom

So I’m watching the Discovery Channel recently and a program titled “Noah’s Ark – The True Story” comes on. The title of course caught my attention, as I like to watch anything on TV that appears to have a Christian component. The title right away suggested that I was in for a humanistic expose of something that must have been “untrue” in it’s original form – that being the story of Noah’s Ark in the Bible Book of Genesis Chapters 6 through 8.

Sure enough I was not ‘disappointed’. This program co-produced by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) and the Discovery Channel took the approach that the Noah’s Ark story as told in the Bible could not have been accurate, because it violated the laws of Physics, Anthropology, Meteorology and so on. Their interesting take however was not to dismiss the story outright as a fraud, but to suggest more ‘plausible’ explanations for the details within the story.

One example: In the Bible God said to Noah “So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make…

God’s Separation of Church & State

There has been much talk in the culture recently regarding the desire on the part of certain elements of society to use the issue of a separation of church and state to essentially force all references to Christianity out of the public arena. Some examples include judicial attempts to remove Christian symbols and images from courthouses, state flags, public parks or other federally controlled land etc. Forty years ago the push began in earnest with the removal of prayer from school grounds. The official position by sponsors of this type of activity such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other secularists is that these symbols impose an ‘undue burden’ on the members of society who do not share a belief in the Christian religion. The fact that over 70% of the population views themselves as Christian and so are in favor of these symbols is irrelevant as far as passing the ‘undue burden’ test. Apparently it would not be an undue burden to them to have these images removed.

I…

Religious Spokespersons

You’ve seen the cycle many times: a major event takes place either in the US or somewhere in the world (Sept. 11, the Asian Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, Earthquakes) and the media anxious to get a ‘religious’ take on the events rushes to the usual religious headliners to get God’s view on the matter at hand. To be certain, many times the media gives no real credibility to God’s perspective, but the need for such an angle fits their storytelling template. Many times though not always, the religious spokesperson provides feedback and analysis of the event by emphasizing: “what I think” or “what I believe” or “my faith teaches me” and then invariably, a skeptical media and audience is then allowed reasonably to take the position of “why is your opinion any better than mine?” or “you people are just a bunch of hypocrites” (I know I used to use that one a lot). This oftentimes has the effect of rendering the words of the spokesman to be of no more value than anyone else.

The most effective r…

Funerals for the Unsaved or Unbelievers

I am not a leader of a church, but I oftentimes wonder how does one lead a funeral service for someone who dies without knowing Jesus Christ as Lord? Admittedly I have not been to many funerals in my lifetime, though they are appearing to come more frequently lately, but the fact is that funerals are held daily throughout the world and as such this is a pertinent question to someone just about every day.

I’ve been to the funeral where the person lived a fairly routine life, taking care of their families and other responsibilities as best they could, paying taxes and doing the average things that we as human beings do on a consistent basis. They however had no visible relationship with God through His son Jesus Christ. When this person dies, the surviving family members are oftentimes left scrambling trying to find a person and a place to officiate the funeral services – generally because the deceased did not have a regular church that they attended. Funeral homes sometimes serve this f…

Jesus Fish Symbols

Many modern Christians have taken to using the 'Jesus Fish' car emblem to identify themselves as Christians to their fellow motorists. There are some who debate that the fish symbol pre-dates Christ and may have it's roots in paganism. Whatever the case, most modern Christians relate to the fact that early century believers in Christ utilized this symbol to identify themselves to other believers during a time of intense Christian persecution during the Roman Empire.

What is our responsibilities as motorists if we choose to use this very public representation of allegiance to Christ? One of the most obvious is to drive with more respect and care than the average motorist. When people see your 'Jesus Fish' adorned car, do they see at times running of red lights, speeding, examples of road rage etc.? If you can answer yes to any of these, what must others think of Christians or Jesus as a result? Probably that they are no different than anyone else. That they have no …

The Coming Rise of Stem Cell Research

The government sponsorship of embryonic stem cell research has already become a divisive issue in modern culture and I predict it will become even more so in the next few years. On many issues, there is a clear dividing line that separates those who’s decision making are guided primarily by absolute moral ethics verses those who adjust their philosophy based on the transitory popular or emotional sentiment. I suspect however when it comes to the issue of federal funding and thus advocacy for more stem cell research, this dividing line will begin to disappear. The prospect of uncovering cures for killer illnesses that has impacted millions of lives will be too emotional a burden for most people regardless of their ideology. Most people will relate first and foremost to the wrenching impact of losing a loved one or preventing the loss of a future loved one, if stem cell research can produce the breakthroughs that the scientists suggest. But at what cost and to whom?
Scientists speculate…

Christianity Under Attack?

This Christmas season there has been a lot of talk about the attempts on the part of secularists to systematically remove all signs of God out of the public arena. The extent of this phenomenon may be debatable, but taken to the extreme it could amount to a form of persecution of the faith of those who believe in God. As we consider our opinions on this issue however, a word of caution. In modern western cultures, how far are Christians really willing to go to stand up for what they believe? Consider the following as an object lesson of true persecution:

“…Nine years ago in South Pyongan province, a unit of the
North Korean army was assigned the job of widening a highway connecting
Pyongyang to the nearest seaport. Demolition of a house standing in the way
revealed, hidden between two bricks, a Bible and a list of 25 names: a Christian
pastor, two assistant pastors, two elders and 20 parishioners. The 25 were all
detained and, later that month, brought to the road construction site, where
sp…

HIV Pandemic Surging

December 1, 2005 marks the 18th "World AIDS Day" and this global pandemic continues to increase at varying rates throughout the world . Millions have died, millions more have the virus that causes the disease (many without even knowing it), and millions of dollars continue to be spent on drug treatments. However as you read the vast majority of the material on this epedimic particularly in the media, virtually absent from any prevention discussion is the most sure-fire way of avoiding transmission - abstinence. Educating people about refraining from having sex with multiple partners is the best way to avoid getting this killer disease. Media accounts will not state the obvious: the number one reason for the continued spread of AIDS is the rampant acceptability of casual sex throughout the current world culture.

Simply put: AIDS will not stop growing because a morally bankrupt world culture refuses to change its ways. I write this not in condemnation, but in the hope of exposi…