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Wednesday
Apr162014

The Best News Ever in a World Filled with Bad News

"He is not here; he has risen!"Much of the world will be celebrating Easter this week. Unfortunately, in the West, secular humanism has relegated the Christian Easter to mere “Easter bunnies” and “Easter eggs.”

That degeneration can be closely linked to Western society’s replacement of “thinking” with “feeling.” We have replaced the thermostat with the thermometer. We have given up on rigorous intellectual debate of facts and irrefutable truth and replaced it with “that’s fine if that’s how you feel about it.”

Perhaps the trend is no clearer than when the media—and consequently, the man on the street—expresses an opinion on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In the past, people either accepted or rejected Christ’s resurrection as a fact of history. But in today’s post-modern culture—where most of the “thinking” takes place between the nose and the chin—people are apt to say, “Jesus rose from the dead? So what?”

That attitude perpetuates apathy about the most important event in human history, which in turn causes people to miss out on the greatest news they could ever personally experience—news that brought about Western civilization itself.

For the thinking person, Christ’s resurrection is the best news ever because the evidence for it is overwhelming:

 

  1. It was recorded by four independent accounts, which accurately reported many small details, such as the number of angels at the tomb, the number of women who went to the tomb, the time of their arrival, and the overall sequence of events. All the accounts are easily harmonized.
  2. The removal of the tombstone and the presence of the grave cloth proved that Jesus’ body was no longer in the tomb. In the culture of that day, and with such a dense population, it would have been impossible to hide a body if it were stolen. The authorities could have easily produced it.
  3. After Jesus’ resurrection, He appeared to not just a few women in the garden, but to a wide variety of people, including a group of 500. Surely 500 people could not have suffered a hallucination at the same time.
  4. The resurrection changed things in dramatic ways, such as the change in the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. But the greatest evidence of all might be how it changed the disciples and instilled in them a willingness to die a martyr’s death. Surely they would not have been willing to die a decade or two later for a lie or hallucination.

 

As English educator and historian Thomas Arnold once said: “I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort . . . than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.”

In fact, some of the best books on the resurrection were written by lawyers (Frank Morison, Gilbert West, J.N.D. Anderson, among others)—some of whom had originally set out to disprove the resurrection.

Sir Edward Clark, another English jurist, once wrote: “As a lawyer I have made a prolonged study of the evidences of the first Easter day. To me the evidence is conclusive and over and over again in the high court, I secured the verdict on evidence not nearly as compelling…”

That’s why the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest news of all—it is indeed great news, not just a great story. It is the ultimate truth, not just an opportunity to eat chocolate bunnies.

And because it is true, every human on the face of the earth must respond to it one way or another. Our individual eternal future, and the future of civilization, depends on it.

Friday
Apr042014

Obama/Kerry: Foreign Policy Bullies?

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry (photo credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster)While many pundits lament the fact that the Obama/Kerry foreign policy is timid, confused, and easily intimidated by strongmen like Vladimir Putin, I submit that it is best compared to a mediocre schoolyard bully. 

A mediocre bully is the weak kid who attempts to project strength by picking on those weaker than him. He spews all sorts of threats (i.e., sets “red lines”), but he immediately backs down when a bigger bully shows up.

Why? The mediocre bully knows he’s no match for the stronger one, so he avoids going “mano a mano” with him.

A perfect example of that is when the U.S. State Department’s Marie Harf recently reacted to the decision by an independent Egyptian court to sentence 529 criminals and terrorists to death. Ms. Harf described the decision as “unconscionable” and threatened that the sentence would impact future American aid.

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for the State Department to forget what those terrorists did:

 

  • They killed Christians in cold blood.
  • They pillaged and burned hundreds of homes, churches, and Christian schools.
  • They kidnapped and otherwise terrorized people from Minya, one of the larger provinces of Egypt.

And as the Muslim Brotherhood rained down its persecution on Christians, all that one heard from the White House and the State Department was a deafening silence.

Those criminals got their day in court—a privilege the victims never enjoyed. Then, when the case appeared to be open-and-shut, the defendants’ lawyers decided to boycott the proceedings—a move designed to solicit protests from the U.S. government once the sentence was handed down.

With such strong Islamist-friendly elements within the Obama Administration, it was hardly surprising when the schoolyard bully in the form of the State Department announced that the verdict and sentence “represents a flagrant disregard for basic standards of justice.”

Really? What did we do when Zacarias Moussaoui was indicted as a co-conspirator in the September 11th attack and then refused the aid of a lawyer? The trial went on. No one questioned the court’s verdict and sentence.

To be sure, no country offers the leniency and patience of the American justice system. But our system would not waver in the slightest if lawyers boycotted its proceedings. It is deaf to such ingenuous protests, and we should be equally deaf to the berating comments of a mediocre bully that has been hoodwinked by the trickery of the guilty.

As a lover of the real America, the Obama/Kerry foreign policy breaks my heart. It is unrepresentative of the American heartland. But ultimately God’s judgment will fall on all bullies—the strong and the mediocre—and maybe sooner than we think. Being mediocre at mistreatment hardly makes one innocent.

Until then, however, we must pray for the persecuted innocents who suffered under the Muslim Brotherhood, and those who continue to suffer throughout the Middle East today. 

 

Friday
Mar072014

Making Sense of an Apparently Senseless Foreign Policy

A segment of the American public must be yelling expletives whenever the results of our apparently incoherent foreign policy show up on their TV screens. Many can only react to our dealings with Syria, Iran, Libya, Israel, and now Russia with bewilderment and anger.

The news outlets that are balanced keep replaying the words of Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney, four years apart, predicting Russia’s intentions toward Ukraine. Watching those statements leaves us baffled as to why the mainstream media lampooned them when they accurately and perceptively anticipated Russia’s deviant move.

But let me explain what’s going on. It does make sense if you understand the perspective:

Obama/Clinton/Kerry, et al, represent a segment of society with a worldview that churns the stomach of anyone with a Judeo-Christian worldview. Their worldview was known in the 20th century as “secular humanism.” Now it is called “progressive ideology,” but the only thing progressive about it is its name.

During the 1930s and 40s, that worldview began to invade the church. In 1943, the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, alerted Christendom to the danger, warning that it would result in some churches retaining “Christian values without Christian faith.”

How prophetic was that?

The heart of secular humanism presents an opinion on “man” that directly contradicts the Bible. The Bible clearly shows that after the fall of man in Eden, man became capable of great evil. History offers a long, long list of people that have demonstrated that fact (see: Hitler, Stalin, etc.).

The secular humanists developed an opposite view, however, that man is innately good—and education and enlightenment can even make man very good. In fact, the motto of the American Humanist Association is “Good without a God.” Go figure.

We can now understand why, when President Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as the “evil empire,” the three major American TV networks went apoplectic. His statement directly contradicted their creed. No wonder the State Department tried to have that statement removed from Reagan’s speech (Reagan insisted that it remain).

A recent example of this is MSNBC's Joy Reid, who as a guest on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, was unwilling to brand either Putin or Assad as evil. 

Now that much of our society has moved far away from the biblical worldview of good and evil, it is shocked when it sees evil penetrating the headlines. Evil doesn’t jive with the humanist mish-mash that has been taught for generations.

Obama/Clinton/Kerry, et al, are products of this “Good without a God” ideology. Now, with them in charge of our foreign policy, the most powerful nation is in danger. Under their stewardship, soon we will be a powerful nation no longer.

To them, since there is no evil, all nations and national leaders are good. And America is no better than anyone else. Therefore, America should not have such power, and instead, should lead from behind (if at all). They are bringing the greatest experiment in all of humanity down into the dirty mire that engulfed other great nations in the past.

Those who believe in an all-powerful God who rules the universe can still take comfort. They must keep insisting that there is good and evil, for surely Judgment Day will come and prove them right. 

Friday
Feb282014

The Fallacy of Being Economically but Not Morally Conservative

Regular readers of my column know that I usually don’t use the words “conservative” and “liberal.” Why is that?

Because those words in today’s lingo—like the words “love” and “democracy”—can mean almost anything you want. Unlike past times when precision in meanings was important, we have now produced a generation that no longer understands the historic or political meaning of those words.

Within the population of the confused, however, my greatest disappointment is held for those who describe themselves as economically conservative, but socially liberal. But do they even know what that means?

On the economics side, this is what I think they mean:

  • They believe in capitalism and the free market economy.     
  • They believe in hard work and accomplishing (financially, at least) the American dream.      
  • They believe in smaller government and private enterprise.      
  • They believe in fewer taxes and more opportunities for creating jobs.      

On the social, or moral, side, I think it normally boils down to two issues:

  • They believe in abortion-on-demand.      
  • They believe that homosexual marriage should be equal to heterosexual marriage.      

However, there’s a major problem in trying to fit those two sides together. In God’s economy, total acceptance of Judeo-Christian morals has usually accompanied true blessings and economic prosperity.

As American history has shown, when people are committed to God and His moral laws, they become fully blessed. Likewise, a review of God’s history with the Israelites reveals this principle: Obedience to God’s moral absolutes brings about economic prosperity, but ignoring them brings economic disaster. The two are intertwined.

Scripture shows us a glaringly obvious trend—when God’s people dismissed His moral absolutes, the scourge of violence by the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians was their fate.

Sometimes the judgment wasn’t immediate. God is patient and long-suffering, and He would sometimes wait a long time for them to turn away from their foolishness. But eventually the judgment would come.

Make no mistake about it, God is consistent. He will not bless a nation that sheds the blood of innocents and shakes its fist at His purpose for the gift of human sexuality.

Of course, such a tight correlation may prompt one question: How can countries like China and Japan prosper without even a thought of God?

The answer is the same as to why God judged His people more strictly than the pagan empires of the time—His people should have known better. To be in covenant with God and then disregard that covenant carries a far greater judgment than not knowing God at all.

For America, the $100 trillion unfunded liability and the soon to be $20 trillion debt is only the beginning of the judgment we have brought upon ourselves. We have bought the fallacy that we can be economically-oriented without regard to God’s moral laws, and we will have to pay the price.

We should have known better.