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Daily devotional

Wednesday October 31 - Contending for the faith

I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. - Jude 3b Scripture reading: Jude 1–7 On this date last year, we celebrated the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. It wasn’t easy for Martin Luther to make his stand for the doctrine of Justification by Faith as taught in Holy Scripture. In fact, he had to hide for his life since both Church and State had sought his death. He was aware that before him others had sought to reform the Church and were martyred in “contending for the faith.” One was Savonarola, a Dominican monk in Florence, the other John Huss, a Czech reformer, who had been greatly influenced by Wycliffe. Both were burned at the stake! The basic reforms were about the doctrines of Salvation and Church offices. The basis for the reformers’ stand was the Supreme and Final Authority of the Bible. The task we face today is more daunting as every article of the Christian faith is under attack. Biblical authority and the Uniqueness and Supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ are being contested by doctrinal pluralism that advocates the equal validity of all religions, universalism that preaches all people will be saved, regardless of their beliefs, and strong attacks on Christian ethical standards that seek to overthrow the Biblical view of marriage. Luther responded to the opposition of Church and State by the spiritual arms of the Bible and his publications made possible through the invention of the printing press. We possess the press and the internet for the defense of the Faith and its spread in many languages, all over the world!  Suggestions for prayer

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all-time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 24).

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Bassam Michael Madany has served as a missionary in Syria, and in 1958 he began a 36-year radio and literature ministry to the Arab world. After retirement Bassam & his wife Shirley began an Internet ministry, Middle East Resources, to provide a “Christian Response to the Global Challenge of Islam.”

Media bias

Proverbs 18:17: the antidote to Fake News

In the era of, not so much fake, but exaggerated, partisan, and selectively reported news, how can we discern the truth of a matter? God shows us the way in Proverbs 18:17, where we are told the first to present his case seems right until a second comes and questions him. What does it look like, to put this verse into action? Let’s take a classic example from the US gun debate. In the early 1990s Emory University medical professor Arthur Kellermann told Americans that owning a gun was associated with a 2.7 times greater risk of being murdered. Kellermann shared that in his study of three metropolitan areas they had found three-quarters of the victims were murdered by someone they knew, and nearly half by gunshot wounds. That raised the question of whether having a gun in the house might increase rather than decrease a person’s chance of being murdered. The New York Times, and other media outlets, spread these findings far and wide. But was the anti-gun case as compelling as it seemed? To find out, we have to continue on and hear from the critics – the first has presented his case and now we need a second to come and question him. Critics noted that Kellermann’s study showed an equal risk increase associated with owning a burglar alarm. National Review’s Dave Kopel pointed out, this study overlooks “the obvious fact that one reason people choose to own guns, or to install burglar alarms, is that they are already at a higher risk of being victimized by crime…. Kellermann’s method would also prove that possession of insulin increases the risk of diabetes.” The National Rifle Association wanted people to understand that a study of homicides couldn’t give a good measure of how effective guns could be for personal protection. "99.8 percent of the protective uses of guns do not involve homicides," explained NRA spokesman Paul H. Blackman, but instead would involve brandishing the weapon to hold off an assault, or perhaps firing the weapon to scare or wound the assailant. The first presenter might have had us thinking guns clearly needed to be banned. But that was only half the story. Even after hearing from the critics we don’t have the full picture – veteran newsman Ted Byfield once noted that to provide every side of a story we’d need more ink than exists in the whole of the world – but by hearing the two sides argue it out we have a much better picture. God tells us in Prov. 18:17 that if we hear only one side – even if it’s our side – then it’s likely we’re going to miss something. So if the truth matters to us we want to give even our opponents a hearing. At least the thoughtful ones (Prov. 14:7).

Family, Movie Reviews

The Wild Brothers: 8-episode DVD series (+ free vlog series)

Reality / Documentary Each episode is 28-30 min / 2015-2016 Rating: 7/10 Everyone in our family enjoyed this DVD series, from our 2-year-old all the way up to mom and dad. At series start, the Wild family lives in the deep jungles of Papua, Indonesia, where dad is a missionary to the Wanu tribe. The four Wild brothers are the sort of boys who collect pets in their pockets, and who love to explore the jungle with a butterfly net in one hand and a slingshot in the other. In their first adventure, titled Welcome to our World, we get introduced to the family, and the boys introduce us to God’s creation. We go hunting with them, we’re introduced to their best friend, a native Indonesian child named Pu, and we get to watch their facial expressions as Pu introduces them to a local delicacy, raw echidna brain. A fun extra is the boys skinning a ten-foot python that even after it has been dead for an hour is still moving! The second in the series, called Jewels of the Jungle, follows the family as they go butterfly and moth-hunting. Our girls wanted to buy butterfly nets of their own after that one. Then in the third, Paradise Lost, the family is on vacation with another missionary couple, the Browns, and their three girls. My own girls love this series even though it is all about boys, but I think they appreciated how the girl-to-boy ratio was upped for this adventure. The two families head from the inland missions to on the coast of a beautiful island. From this home base they head out each day to explore reefs and bays and check out sea turtles, manta rays, and sea snakes and so many gorgeous fish. Some misadventures also occur, some painful, like mom getting stung by a jellyfish, and some hilarious, like the boys contending with a large snake (8-12 feet long) that decided to take up residence in their cabin roof. As they do in each episode, the boys bring a solid Christian perspective to their exploration: when they come across an old bone deposit – a burial grounds where skulls are haphazardly stacked by each other – they take the opportunity to talk about how despite the beauty of this world, it is still fallen, and waiting for restoration. There are five other episodes, and each is just as interesting as the next. The only disappointment is maybe in the way the series concludes. In the last two episodes they are make preparations to sail across the ocean in a giant canoe. It is fascinating, as they carve the boat out with local help, and point out parallels to what Noah had to do. But because this is real life, and because in real life sometimes plans get upended, the finale doesn't end on the triumphant note we might have wished for. Cautions There are no cautions to note. While it isn’t clear what denominational background the family is from, the Christian reflections the boys and their parents share with viewers are thoughtful and solid. In one episode a brief shot of some human skulls is seen, and an encounter with a snake in the extra features of one episode was just a tiny bit scary for my little ones. That said, my girls, at the time 2 though 6, enjoyed this immensely – that little bit of tension didn't scare them away! Conclusion The Wild Brothers are very adventurous boys, the sort who play with bugs, and even eat the odd one now and again...at least when they are properly cooked! And they are very godly boys too, very aware of how God makes Himself evident in the creation all around us. And while they are boys, this was exciting for me girls too – I don't know that they fully appreciate bugs yet, but this did move them in that direction. I'd recommend this as great viewing for families with young kids from 10 and under. Mom and dad will enjoy it too, but there might not be enough action for the teenagers. You can buy the series on DVD or via download at AnswersInGenesis.org and as DVDs at Amazon. The trailer below is for the first episode, Welcome to our World. Addendum: free vlog series The Wild Brothers also now have a free vlog series, called "Highlands to Island" that you can find here. While you should watch the first episode, my daughters and I found the later episodes, from maybe 8 onward (there are 30 so far) more interesting than the first few. The vlog isn't quite the DVD series, but until new DVDs come out, this sure is a nice way to reconnect with this wonderful missionary family. https://assets.answersingenesis.org/vid/prod/etc/trailer/30-9-507_wild-brothers-1-trailer.mp4

Book Reviews, Children’s fiction, Children’s picture books

20 read-aloud suggestions…

I’ve been reading out loud to my girls since they were born, and now that they are older we're still reading, ending each day with a chapter or two of something. That means for years now I've also been on the hunt for that next great book to read, talking to others and searching their bookshelves to find out what their favorites are and what they might recommend. If you're looking for that next book too, or maybe the coronavirus quarantine has you thinking about reading to your kids for the first time, here are some favorites that our family and others have sure loved. Many of these can be checked out electronically from your local library. Otherwise, considering buy the e-book version of one of the chapter books – it's an investment that'll pay off in the hours you and your family can enjoy these stories together. While there are 20 recommendations below, some are of books series, so the total number of books recommended amounts to well over 100, and all of them fantastic! PICTURE BOOKS All of these have big bright pictures on every page, and the first three are rhymed, which makes it a lot easier for a beginning Dad to get off to a good reading-out-loud start; these will make you sound good! A camping spree with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen – it has 2 great sequels The Farm Team by Linda Bailey – about a hockey-playing barnyard Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel  – a favorite of millions for the last 40 years Charlie The Ranch Dog by Ree Drummond – while the 10 sequels can't quite match the enormous charm of this, the original, your kids will love them too Don’t Want to Go by Shirley Hughes – Shirley Hughes has dozens of other wonderful read-aloud picture books The Little Ships by Louise Borden – this is a stirring WWII account suitable for the very young, about the bravery of ordinary folk James Herriot’s Treasury for Children – a big book with 8 sweet stories for animal-loving children Mr. Putter and Tabby series by Cynthia Rylant – an old man and his cat, and his wonderful neighbor and her trouble-making dog - 23 books in all. Piggie and Elephant series by Mo Willems – an Abbot and Costello-like duo of Piggie and Elephant getting into all sorts of antics. 29 books, most of which require from the reader only the ability to do just two different voices BOOKS WITH PICTURES There are pictures in these selections, but not on every page. These are slightly longer, more involves stories which your children will not be able to read on their own until the later part of Grade 1, or the beginning of Grade 2, but they’ll love to hear them a lot earlier than that. Bruno the Bear by W.G. Van de Hulst – one in a series of 20+ classic books that are impossible to find except here Winnie the Pooh & The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne – it’s worth getting the big collected treasury to read and reread again and again The Big Goose and the Little White Duck by Meindert DeJong – a gruff grandpa wants to eat the pet goose! Rikki Tikki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling – the gorgeous Jerry Pinkney adaption is the very best Prince Martin Wins His Sword by Brandon Hale – epic story, in rhyme - this is just so fun to read out loud, and there are 3 sequels! CHAPTER BOOKS Once the kids are hitting kindergarten or Grade 1 mom and dad can read books they might read for themselves only in Grade 5 or 6, or even as adults. That can make reading aloud more fun for parents, as the stories will be of more interest to them now. The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder – this is not the easiest read aloud – the sentences can be quite choppy – but girls everywhere are big fans, and there are 8 sequels The Bell Mountain series by Lee Duigon – only downside to this 11-book Christian fantasy series is that each title leads into the next; it’s one big story with no clear ending in any of the books. But we've read all 11 so far and are eagerly anticipating #12! The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson – A laugh out loud hilarious adventure for older children (maybe Grade 3 and up), with 4 main books, and then a book of short stories too. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien – much more of a children’s tale than Lord of the Rings and shorter too (maybe also best for Grade 3 and up) The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic by Jennifer Trafton - the author is Christian though that doesn't come up directly anywhere; it's just good silly fun Treasures from Grandma's Attic by Arleta Richardson – a clearly Christian grandma talks with her granddaughter, telling stories about way back when she was a little girl. This wouldn't work for boys, but our girls absolutely love it (and there are 3 sequels every bit as good). Innocent Heroes by Sigmund Brouwer – Brouwer has collected true stories about the amazing feats different animals managed while working in the trenches of World War I, and then told them as if they all happened in just one Canadian army unit. This is probably my wife's favorite book on this list, and the girls sure liked it too. There were one or two instances where I had to skip a few descriptive words, just to tone down the tension a tad - war stories are not the usual fare for my girls – but with that slight adaptation, this made for great reading even for their 5-9-year-old age group.

Jon Dykstra, and his siblings, blog on books at www.ReallyGoodReads.com.


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News

Saturday Selections - March 14, 2020

The only question that matters in the abortion debate Greg Koukl shows how to simplify the abortion debate Christian myths and other famous quips (26-minute podcast) In this episode of the Abounding Grace Radio, Pastor Chris Gordon addresses three Christian myths: God helps those who help themselves God will never give you more than you can handle God is a gentleman who would never force Himself on anyone How to make your marriage blossom Ray Comfort, evangelist and closet comedian too, has 7 great tips. Coronavirus may lead to a mass homeschooling experiment? With school years being disrupted all over, will parents find out they don't need the government to teach their kids? Polyamory and the Overton Window How did homosexuality start getting "normalized" in evangelical Christian circles? With Christian leaders muddying what homosexuality entailed, giving them the opportunity, then, to condemn it only in part (the physical act itself), even as they praised what they called other aspects of it. Now we can see this same approach being used with polyamory. Don't be fooled! (Since posting this, it has been noted there has been some back and forth dialogue going on online. The article linked to in the title, by Denny Burke, critiqued this one by Preston Sprinkle and Branson Parler. And now Sprinkle and Parler have responded to Burke and other critics here. And one of the critics they respond to, Douglas Wilson, responds to their response here. Lots to read, but it is well worth the time invested - this is the newest front.) C.S. Lewis on the Coronavirus "Lewis never faced the coronavirus, of course, but in the late 1940s, the world was coming to grips with another threat..." Are women more important for business than family?  Joseph Backholm went to the Women's March to ask, do businesses need to have both men and women on their boards, and "is it equally important for men and women to be represented in the lives of children?" (ie. do kids need a mom and dad). His interviewees thought equal representation was important in only one of those situations. ...

News

Saturday Selections – March 7, 2020

Caterpillars feed on exploding seed pods! (3 minutes) Wait for it....wait for it..... Don't leave kids to their own devices Should we trust kids with online privacy? No, says Breakpoint Ministries' John Stonestreet: "the least loving thing you can do as a parent is to leave your kids to their own devices on the Internet." How J.K. Rowling outsmarted the LGBT mob when it came after her The Harry Potter author simply stood her ground unapologetically... Euthanasia is increasing organ donations. What should we do? "'Medically assisted death' comes down to people at their most vulnerable trying to hold on to a sense of control. Organ donation gives one more illusion of control: the illusion that this apparent altruism will give your life and death a meaning it otherwise would not have. This illusion further masks the inherent dignity each human being has as an image-bearer of God – the God who, in health or sickness, is in control." University: to go or not go? One consideration Is college worth it, financially? There are many things to consider, and here is just one. US college students graduate with an average of $30,000 in debt. This article argues that, if instead of having to pay that off over the next ten years, they could instead be investing in the Stock Market each of those years at just a minimal amount of $3,648 per year, they could end up with almost a million dollars more in their retirement bank account. The lesson? Invest early (Albert Einstein called compound interest the "eighth wonder of the world") and consider only going to college or university if you have goals that require it. What is a worldview? (5 minutes) Everyone has one. But what is it? And why does it matter? ...

News

Saturday Selections – February 29, 2020

Could giraffes fit on the ark? Answers in Genesis has made a 30-second commercial for their Ark Encounter in Kentucky. It's based on all the children's bible storybooks that depict Noah's Ark with giraffes that have to stick their necks out a window. As the Giraffe family discovers, those pictures don't capture the true scale of things. If you've ever thought of visiting the Ark Encounter this might be the year to go – in 2020 kids 10 and under are free. Catholic mass to be offered to Protestants in Calvin's Cathedral today As Adam Ford noted, this is something that should not only get Protestants angry but even Catholics. There are real differences between us about who God is and what He has done for us. Rather than addressing those differences, this pretends that the truth of the matter is inconsequential. So this isn't Catholic theology sneaking into a Protestant church; this is relativism and apathy showing they already run the place. Christian atheists? Though they won't worship God, some prominent atheists still recognize that Christianity is good for the world. Is Transhumanism uncomfortably tempting? Is Transhumanism – the idea that we can use technology to reshape ourselves – the next thing coming? Transhumanism includes things as minimal as a pair of high-tech glasses that access the Internet. It can also be much more radical, involving the replacement of body parts with cybernetics. Artificial limbs designed to help those who have lost their own arms or legs via accident or disease might be grafted onto people who want to substitute their healthy arm for a bionic one. Inconceivable? Not in a world in which men are being told that they can become women, and vice versa. What is the Christian response? Denyse O'Leary provides a partial answer. Reformed sermon site has 1,500+ TheSeed.info has collected 1,679 sermons from pastors in the Canadian and American Reformed Churches and their sister denominations. It can be searched by biblical text (with at least one sermon available for every book of the bible except, somewhat mysteriously, 1 Chronicles) so it's a great study resource and quite the source of reading sermons. All Bob's money.... (3 min) Now that Bernie Sanders is the Democratic presidential front runner, this spoof of the Beatles' "All my loving" is making the rounds again. Sanders has spoken of banning billionaires, not for any specific evil they've done but simply because they have more money than he thinks they should have. This is what breaking the 1oth Commandment looks like at a governmental level – he's peeking over the back fence at what the billionaires have, and he's coveting. But is that the only Commandment that Sanders is breaking? If you have libertarian friends you may have heard one claim that "all taxation is theft." Libertarians believe the government derives its authority from the people, and thus only has the same powers that we as individuals have. And since we can't force people to give us money – that would be stealing – it's still theft even when the government does it. In contrast, Christians know that governments are put in place by God, and derive their authority from Him. They can tax us because, as Roman 13:6-7 shows, God has given them the authority to do so. So, no, not all taxation is theft. But where Christians can go wrong is in believing that since the government is allowed to tax that means taxation is never theft. However, when King Ahab wanted his neighbor Naboth's vineyard (1 Kings 21) he couldn't simply take it, even though he was the king – even though he was the government – because that would have been a violation of the 8th Commandment, Do not Steal. So he found a couple of men to bear false witness against Naboth, accusing him of blasphemy, and then had him stoned to death, and only afterward took his vineyard. Do we imagine, as Douglas Wilson recently asked, that "if Ahab has done what he did to Naboth via a program of land reform, or eminent domain, or zone redistricting Elijah would have nodded to himself saying, 'That's more like it'?" Whether we think Sanders' billionaire ban violates the 8th Commandment or not, it breaks the 10th. God made Abraham wealthy, and Jacob, and Solomon too. While Jesus warned that wealth comes with temptations (Matt. 19:24), being rich is a responsibility that God gives, and is not an injustice the government must correct. ...

News

Dawkins on eugenics: evil uncloaked

Richard Dawkins has been called one of the “Four horsemen of atheism” and is famed, as well, for being one of Charles Darwin’s most ardent defenders. In February he got himself into trouble for this tweet: “It’s one thing to deplore eugenics on ideological, political, moral grounds. It’s quite another to conclude that it wouldn’t work in practice. Of course it would. It works for cows, horses, pigs, dogs & roses. Why on earth wouldn’t it work for humans? Facts ignore ideology." While eugenics – controlled human breeding – has been popular in the past, its best-known proponents were the Nazis, and that’s an association no one wants. That’s why Dawkins’ atheist and evolutionist cohorts didn’t like his endorsement of eugenics’ practical possibilities – it made them all look bad. And they jumped on him. But on what grounds could they attack him? As Dawkins made clear in follow up tweets, he thinks eugenics immoral. “For those determined to miss the point, I deplore the idea of a eugenic policy. I simply said deploring it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work. Just as we breed cows to yield more milk, we could breed humans to run faster or jump higher. But heaven forbid that we should do it.” “A eugenic policy would be bad. I’m combating the illogical step from ‘X would be bad’ to ‘So X is impossible’. It would work in the same sense as it works for cows. Let’s fight it on moral grounds….” But there is a problem with an atheist evolutionist taking a moral stand against eugenics. As Dawkins highlighted in his 1994 book, River out of Eden: A Darwinian view of life, his worldview doesn’t allow for a wrong and right. "The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference." If there really were no good, no evil, and nothing but pitiless indifference, then on what moral basis can we stand against eugenics? One fellow scientist, Dave Curtis, took a different tack, making the case that eugenics wouldn’t practically work, what with human being’s “long generational times and small numbers of offspring.” But this practical objection to eugenics doesn’t make atheist evolutionists look any better. Since when do we object to evil on the basis of how difficult it is to successfully pull off? What would we say of a man who objects to murder on the basis of how hard it is to dispose of the body? While his fellow atheists and evolutionists might not appreciate how Dawkins is sidling up to der Fuhrer, we can be grateful for the illumination he provided. As Discrn.com’s Peter Heck noted: "It's one thing for Christians like myself to offer hypothetical illustrations to the world showing what happens to human ethics apart from God's moral authority. It is another for Richard Dawkins to actually demonstrate them personally."...

News

Saturday Selections - February 22, 2020

Roe vs. Wade trailer Coming soon, a film about the politics, ignorance, and deception behind the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision (this is the court ruling most responsible for abortion in the US). Based on this trailer it looks like it could be as impactful as Gosnell. "I have three minutes to live!" Witnessing to cults Ray Comfort has an interesting response for cultists when they come knocking at his door. "I warmly ask for their names, and then say, ‘Someone stabbed me in the back. I am dying and have only three minutes to live. What do I need to do to enter heaven/paradise/the kingdom of God?’” Is evolutionary tail-telling affecting Bible translation? In Job 40:15-18 the Lord describes a beast with a tail that "sways like a cedar." What sort of creature might that be? Would you believe some translators rendered is as a hippopotamus? Why would they do that? Might a compromise with evolutionary thinking have blinded them to a more likely possibility? The euthanasia slippery slope is real Once killing patients is deemed medicine, then on what basis are we going to withhold this "treatment"? It turns out that once we give up on all life being precious – given as it is by God – then any subsequent lines we draw are arbitrary, and it is a simple matter to erase and redraw them further down the slope...again and again. Biblical history in broken pots "Stop me if this sounds familiar: Archaeologists digging in Israel discover artifacts buried for about three millennia. Upon close examination, their find either confirms the biblical narrative or at least undermines a long-accepted dismissal of a biblical claim. Okay, don’t stop me. After all, it won’t matter if you try, because I never get tired of telling stories like these...." My 3-year-old son is a girl now "Who am I to question my three-year-old?" ...

News

Saturday Selections - February 15, 2020

Newsies learn to clickbait (4 minutes) Who knew that fake news could be so toe-tapping? Canadians waiting longer to receive healthcare Free healthcare comes with a cost, and it isn't just the taxes we pay – when the government is the only provider, then there is no competition to push innovation or efficiencies. It shouldn't surprise us, then, that by the Fraser Institute's estimates, Canadian wait times to receive healthcare have more than doubled since 1993. You can see the infographic at the link above, or the longer Fraser Institute report here. Yes, you can trust the gospels...even when they seem to conflict (10-minute read) Some scholars argue that the gospel writers didn't care about the facts, but were just trying to send a message. Christian philosopher Lydia McGrew explains the message only has meaning if it is factual, and shows a way how alleged discrepancies can be resolved. 5 ways you are probably not a Calvinist Dr. Wes Bredenhof lays out 5 views that John Calvin held that most Reformed folk probably don't... Follow your passion? The Christian vision of work We've been telling young people to "follow your passion," but is that a biblical view of calling? Separating Church and State? (3 minutes) The Devil is all about twisting truth right around so that what is good and right is then used for evil. So it is with the separation of Church and State. As Dr. Michael Wagner explains here, Church and State should be separate. But it is a very different thing to say that the government should be separated from Christian beliefs. Of course, the Devil would like God's truth silenced. And our godless government doesn't want Christians shining their reflected light in the halls of Parliament. That's what they're after when they speak about the separation of Church and State. However, by their own standards, they have no basis on which to shut us up. We don't ask anyone else to abandon their beliefs when they pursue political office, so why should Christians be expected to? Everyone hates double standards (Matt. 7:2). ...

News

Saturday Selections - February 8, 2020

Long story short: Homology (8 minutes) One of the main arguments Darwin used for his theory was homology – that very different animals have some odd similarities, like how a whale, human, and bat have similar "arm" bone structures. Darwin asked, how could these similarities exist other than that we're all related? But it turns out, homology is no proof of evolution! Time to hit pause on gene-editing When it comes to human gene-editing, China is acting more responsible than the West, where "we insist on charging ahead despite our imperfect knowledge with an unbounded confidence in our abilities." Woodpeckers are freaky cool! Football players get concussions at impacts of 80 g, but woodpeckers deal with impacts amounting to 1,200 g. How do they escape brain injuries? This article is not from a Christian perspective, but in laying out how wonderful these critters are, it points us to their amazing Designer. Watch the embedded video to see the impacts in slow motion! (h/t to Crev.info) Your face was designed to show emotion Did you know about half the muscles in your face are there to make facial expressions? A license for your thoughts? "You need to get a government license for many things in Canada; so far, publishing your thoughts is not one of them. But in recent weeks two warning shots have been fired…" The Riot and the Dance: Water (3 minutes) Riot and the Dance: Earth (reviewed here) was one of the most original nature documentaries made, exploring not just the beauty, but also the "riot" of what is going on in this created, marvelous, but also fallen, world. Now there is a sequel coming out, and the trailer looks good! ...

News

Saturday Selections – February 1, 2020

World's largest pro-life march, in 60 seconds This past week hundreds of thousands came to march in Washington D.C. to highlight the need to protect the unborn. May God bless these efforts on their behalf. Roger Scruton on beauty Philosopher Roger Scruton (1944-2020) was a favorite among many Christians, though he was not one himself, disputing the resurrection. But in the same way that Jordan Peterson gets many things right because, even in his unbelief, he takes much of the Bible seriously (and more seriously than many self-professed Christians) so too Scruton has some valuable insights on art that are discussed here. 3 ways boys can benefit by reading "girl books" "Reading about women will not lift the veil and reveal all the mystery that women will always have for the young man. It can, however, help a young man know the difference, to borrow characters from Pride and Prejudice, between an 'Elizabeth' and a 'Lydia.' If it helps in this way, it is worth so much." Sesame Street pushing an agenda Billy Porter, a cross-dressing LGBT activist, will make an appearance on the upcoming 51st season of the children's show. Free Documentary: By what standard? The Southern Baptist Convention is a large American denomination with a Calvinist leaning, it is the home of Albert Mohler and also Beth Moore, and it has been wrestling with the issues of complementarianism, social justice, and also something called "Critical Race Theory." This 2-hour documentary certainly isn't for everyone, but it is eye-opening in showing how troubling worldviews can sneak into the Church via the best of intentions. CNN helps Christian satire site grow... (5 minutes) It's amusing to see how attacks by Snopes.com and CNN have only helped the Christian satire site Babylon Bee grow. It's also instructive to watch how Babylon Bee enters the fray. Christians needn't be fearful – after all, we know God has already won! – so we can contend with a spirit of joy. This is what winsome looks like. ...

News

Is the human population getting colder?

The average normal temperature for a human being is supposed to be 37°C (or 98.6°F) but did you know that figure is based on 150-year-old data? In 1868 Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich popularized that figure based on his study of one million temperature readings taken from 25,000 patients. But now, as The Wall Street Journal’s Jo Craven McGinty reported, a new study of 189,338 individuals, and 677,423 temperatures – taken from the Civil War era until today – suggests that humans’ average temperature has been steadily dropping. According to Dr. Julie Parsonnet and her research partners, the new norm seems to be 36.4°C or 97.5°F – a drop of one degree Fahrenheit. A 2017 study in England, analyzing 250,000 temperature readings, noted a similar, though slightly smaller, drop of approximately 0.75°F. So why might mankind be cooling off? “We as human beings have evolved over time – physiologically changed," Parsonnet told Live Science. Is she attributing it to evolution? Well, yes, though this is the kind of change over time that creationists also think regularly happens. We know, for example, that the many different dog species we have today came from just one, or maybe a few, dog “kinds” on Noah’s Ark. To get Chihuahuas, Saint Bernards, and everything in between involved a lot of change over time, though, like this temperature drop, it never involved one species turning into another. As Parsonnet noted we are taller, and heavier, living longer, and have less infectious diseases than we did 150 years ago, so it really wouldn’t be that surprising if mankind’s average temperature has changed. Evolution, yes, but not the molecules-to-man type that Darwin proposed. This is more like the adaptability inherent in a special creation that has been fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:44)....

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Saturday Selections - January 25, 2020

The Gospel vs. Sorcery in Papua New Guinea (30 minutes) In Papua New Guinea the fear of  "sanguma" – sorcery – is such that it leads people to stone and kill supposed witches. What is the answer to such fear? We know Jesus can defeat demons both supposed and real. But how can the people of Papua New Guinea know unless someone tells them? In this half-hour video, we get to follow along as seven men squeeze themselves into one Land Cruiser and, over the course of one week, take the Gospel to thousands who show up and listen in the marketplaces. As Pastor Ryan Dejonge notes at one point, "We have this window of opportunity in Papua New Guinea. You can't do this in Australia...you can't do this in Canada. You would just get people fighting you – you're not going to get people hearing the Gospel . God has given us a window of opportunity. He's given us this open door. And we've realized this is a real and a useful way to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ....Our moment is now." (The link below might look broken but give it a click because it does work.) If you won the lottery, would you be at work tomorrow? Most people, if they came into a fortune, would quit their job instantly. But what about Christians? Harvard study shows the dangers of early school enrollment The Foundation for Economic Education's most popular article this decade wasn't about economics. Instead it asked: "Are ADHD rates rising because we send children to school at younger ages?" Man to "woman" to "non-binary" and back again James Shupe declared himself a woman, then declared himself non-binary, but has now asked to be legally recognized once again as the man he is. The Darwin Dictionary Seemingly inspired by Ambroise Bierce's Devil's Dictionary, Keaton Halley has crafted his own Darwin's Dictionary to highlight the creative ways evolutionists employ language. Here are a couple of examples: Abiogenesis, n. – Rocks begetting life, in violation of the most basic, observed law of biology. Big bang, n. – The logic-bending theory that everything was produced when nothing at all exploded. Each entry includes a link to a great article explaining the creationist perspective. How does the Women's March define what a woman is? (3 minutes) Joseph Backholm has a history of asking questions the Left can't, or won't, answer. A few years back he hit a college campus asking "Am I a 6-foot-5 Chinese woman?" This time around he went to the 2020 Women's March in Washington D.C. to ask the marchers three things: How would you define what a woman is? Are there any innate differences between men and women today? Do you think anyone can be a woman? They found these tricky questions. Why? Because the modern feminist movement celebrates women as something special, even as it holds that men and women are identical which means there has been a longstanding conflict between the answers feminists give to questions 1 and 2. Question 3 only exasperates the problem: if men can now become women, it makes it all but impossible to celebrate the distinctly feminine. In fact, when there are no differences between men and women, and men can become women, then the term woman is rendered meaningless – a word that can mean anything at all means nothing at all. There's one other reason his interviewees were reluctant to chat. I think, on some level, they were worried about the question that would come next: this white male asking them, "Can I be a woman?" And what could they answer to that? (WARNING: One of the marchers in this video takes God's name in vain.) ...

News

Trump speaks up for the unborn at the March for Life

On January 24, Donald Trump became the first US president to attend the March for Life in Washington, DC. As the New York Times noted: No president has personally attended the march in its 47-year history. Past Republican presidents might have been inclined to attend, but either on the advice of staff or their own instincts saw it as a step too far… Historically, no matter how many hundreds of thousands came, the March for Life was always ignored by the mainstream media. That changed when Trump, after taking office, decided his administration was going to take an active part in it. In 2017 Mike Pence became the first sitting vice-president to address the crowds. Then in 2018 and 2019, Donald Trump spoke to the marchers via live video from the White House. This year he came in person. His actions have forced the media to acknowledge this massive event. In this year's speech, the president made three main points. He highlighted his administration’s pro-life advances: “During my first week in office, I and we issued a landmark pro-life rule to govern the use of Title X taxpayer funding. I notified Congress that I would veto any legislation that weakens pro-life policy or that encourages the destruction of human life. At the United Nations, I made clear that global bureaucrats have no business attacking the sovereignty of nations that protect innocent life. Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House…..We are preserving faith-based adoption and to uphold our founding documents, we have appointed 187 federal judges, who apply the Constitution as written, including two phenomenal supreme court justices – Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.” He also reminded listeners of what the Democrats want to do to the unborn: “When it comes to abortion – and you know this, you’ve seen what’s happened – Democrats have embraced the most radical and extreme positions taken and seen in this country for years and decades, and you can even say, for centuries. Nearly every top Democrat in Congress now supports taxpayer-funded abortion all the way up until the moment of birth. Last year, lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother's womb right up until delivery. Then, we had the case of the Democrat governor in the state of Virginia, the Commonwealth of Virginia. And we love the Commonwealth of Virginia, but what is going on in Virginia? What is going on? The governor stated that he would execute a baby after birth. You remember that. Senate Democrats even blocked legislation that would give medical care to babies who survive attempted abortions.” Thirdly, the president spoke to the humanity of the unborn: “All of us here understand an eternal truth: Every child is a precious and sacred gift from God. Together, we must protect, cherish, and defend the dignity and the sanctity of every human life. When we see the image of a baby in the womb, we glimpse the majesty of God's creation. When we hold a newborn in our arms, we know the endless love that each child brings to a family…. As the Bible tells us, each person is wonderfully made…. We cannot know what our citizens yet unborn will achieve, the dreams they will imagine, the masterpieces they will create, the discoveries they will make. But we know this: every life brings love into this world. Every child brings joy to a family. Every person is worth protecting. And above all, we know that every human soul is divine and every human life, born and unborn, is made in the holy image of Almighty God. Together, we will defend this truth all across our magnificent land.” It was a rousing, encouraging presentation. It is also a speech that many will say was given for political reasons. This is, after all, a president under impeachment, currently being tried in the Senate, and already convicted in the press. So was his appearance at the March for Life simply a move to win back wavering evangelical supporters? Adam Ford doesn’t care one way or the other. In his January 24 newsletter he wrote: “So what? George W. Bush only didn’t go for political reasons. Is that any better?” While we don’t know what may or may not have been going on behind the scenes, what happened on that stage is something we can thank God for. Our Heavenly Father so steered things that one of the most powerful and famous people on the planet used his influence to speak up for the unborn. Amazing! You can watch the full 13-minute speech below. ...

News

Sanctuary cities for the unborn?

In a brilliant twist, small American towns are taking a tactic, popular among the Left, and using it to defend the unborn. In June 2019, Waskom, Texas became one of the first to declare itself a “sanctuary city for the unborn," banning all abortion within city limits. While the town council’s unanimous vote was largely symbolic – there are no abortion clinics within city limits – it was a symbol covered by the media across the US, and even on the other side of the world. This was a small town speaking up as loudly as it could about the plight of the unborn. Since then other towns, mostly in Texas, have followed Waskom’s example, with two more in January voting in similar ordinances. As LifeSiteNews.com’s Calvin Freiburger reported: In addition to the declarations on abortion (which do not exempt abortions due to rape or incest), the measures empower families of post-abortive women the ability to sue abortionists for emotional distress, and the Colorado City version would also prohibit the sale of the contraceptive Plan B, which can also function as an abortifacient. While these laws may not stand up to legal challenges, the attempt is a way to send a message. Some other towns that have considered such legislation have since backed away from fears they would get sued, but towns like Waskom, Naples, Joaquin, Tenaha, Gilmer and now Rusk and Colorado City have decided to take a stand, even if it might come with a cost. The term “sanctuary city” was first popularized in the US in the 1980s, but back then it wasn’t about defending the unborn but, rather, about sheltering illegal immigrants. Since then sanctuary cities have largely been used by the political Left with hundreds of cities pledging to do what they can to obstruct the federal government’s deportations of illegal immigrants. Whatever we might think about the issue of illegal immigration, we can recognize the genius in using this tool of the Left to defend the unborn from them. The Left will push back, but when they do their own sanctuary city initiatives will make it difficult for them to argue that lower levels of government must always listen to the higher levels. Of course, we know that no matter what a state or federal government might say, or a court too, it will always be wrong to murder unborn babies. Let’s pray that many other towns follow Waskom’s lead and create their own opportunities to loudly defend the unborn. You can learn more about this movement at SanctuaryCitiesForTheUnborn.com....

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Saturday Selections - January 18, 2020

Pine tree fire vaults (2 minutes) God has designed these trees to preserve their seeds until after a forest fire passes. BBC: Most scientists can't replicate studies by their peers When so many treat science like it is the one sure source of Truth it's worth noting how science is nowhere near as unerring as it has been made out to be. 10 ways porn culture will target kids in 2020 The folks at Protect Young Minds offer this to prepare, not scare, parents. CNN reporter thinks Babylon Bee satire is too believable A reporter who is quite the fan of the leftward satire site The Onion thinks the Christian satire site Babylon Bee is tricking people with  headlines like: "Democrats Call For Flags To Be Flown At Half-Mast To Grieve Death Of Soleimani." FREE BOOK: 7 Considerations in the age of video games In this 29-page booklet, an old-school media expert encourages parents to teach their kids how to work with wood, or paint, or read, rather than spend their time on video games. Why? Here's one of his reasons: "In his book, Boys Adrift, Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D. gives five factors driving the decline of boys from growing up to fulfill their potential. Can you guess the number one factor? 'Video Games. Studies suggest that some of the most popular video games are disengaging boys from real-world pursuits.'” Islam's 99-1 rule (14 minutes) Apologist David Wood explains how Islam uses the unquestioning 99% of its adherents to pressure and intimidate into silence the 1% who have done the research and have questions. ...

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Saturday Selections – January 11, 2020

If conversion therapy is bad why is "sex reassignment" good? It's been said that our culture wars are really just a battle over the dictionary. "One trick of LGBT activists is changing the meaning of words. We see this in the way they celebrate 'sex reassignment' as 'gender affirmation' but condemned conversion therapy as 'sex reassignment.'" Impeachment: Quid Pro-choice Christianity Today's editor, Mark Galli, sparked controversy last month when he came out in favor of US President Donald Trump being impeached. Is the President guilty? Galli acknowledged the process wasn't fair: "No, Mr. Trump did not have a serious opportunity to offer his side of the story in the House hearings on impeachment. But the facts in this instance are unambiguous..." Two Scripture passages leap to mind – Prov. 18:17 and Matt. 7:1-2 – and the question, is Galli judging here by a standard that he'd want directed his way? Carl Trueman and Peter Jones weigh in. Untangling the theology of Star Wars This 300-word read gives a quick overview of the confusing and empty theology of George Lucas' space trilogy². Evolutionists are playing word games Both evolutionists and creationists believe animals change over time – we all believe in that sort of "evolution." The controversy is over how we got from molecules to man – i.e. how simple early cells gained information over time to eventually produce the incredibly complex creatures that we are. When evolutionists demonstrate wolves can beget Chihuahuas if you break the right genes – when they show change over time that involves a loss of complexity – and then pretend this is evidence for the molecule-to-man sort of evolution, we need to recognize this for the dishonest word game that it is. As evidence of evolution, they are presenting devolution.  And as the author writes, much of the changes we see in animals comes from broken genes, not new genes. "Behe... learned that one of the favorite examples of evolution — the change from the brown bear to the white polar bear — was also an example of breaking genes: 17 genes in this case." US Park to remove all "glaciers will be gone by 2020" signs Turns out things are "much more complex" than they knew... Extreme poverty in a historical context "On every day in the last 25 years there could have been a newspaper headline reading, 'The number of people in extreme poverty fell by 128,000 since yesterday.'” But you haven't seen those headlines, have you? Why not? Because it's harder to foster envy and ingratitude when things are getting objectively better. God has blessed us materially, and we're being tricked into believing that our rise in population is dooming more and more to poverty. Don't be fooled. This article has charts and diagrams, and while not a difficult read, it is a somewhat dry one. But it is one well worth reading, or even skimming if that's all your time permits....

Graphic novels, News

This isn’t your parents' Katy Keene…or Archie Andrews

This February, Katy Keene will be the latest Archie comics character to get a modern updating. While the original Katy was a one-dimensional highly successful fashion model, in the new version she's an aspiring, but as of yet, entirely unsuccessful, fashion designer living in New York. What parents need to know is that this isn't the only updating that's been done. Katy Keene is being spun off of Riverdale, which re-imagined Archie and his gang as murderous, drug-running occultists. In what wasn't even the show's weirdest twist, they put Archie Andrews in a sexual relationship with his teacher Miss Grundy. While details about the new Katy Keene show are still scarce, from the trailer we do know one of her roommates will be a gay broadway dancer who, because he isn't tough enough for the male roles, auditions for a female role. And, as Deadline's Nellie Andreeva reports it, he's also "looking to take his drag career to the next level." (A new comic book Katy is also set to debut, but in that version she’ll live in Riverdale). This is just one of the notable changes Archie's gang has undergone in recent years. It began in the comics back in 2010 with the introduction of Archie's new gay friend Kevin Keller, who was then paired off via a same-sex “marriage” to an Iraq War veteran. Other changes have included: Jughead Jones declaring himself asexual Veronica Lodge starring in a spin-off comic as Vampironica, a blood-sucking killer another spin-off series, Afterlife with Archie, featuring a zombie Jughead trying to kill and devour his friends and family (with some success) yet another spin-off series, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, featuring more occultism and a character by the name of Madam Satan What's tricky about all these changes is that in the comic digests this "new Archie" is often paired with "old Archie" stories. So sometimes the outside of the comic looks just like it always has, but inside a handful of the stories will have this "modern" twist. Parents who grew up reading the old Archie comics might be shocked at this new direction, but before we ask “Why were the former days better than these?” (Eccl 7:10) let’s remember rightly the Archie of old. I came across a few of my old Archie digests and, looking at them with adult eyes, I was struck by something: Archie was never a paragon of virtue. At best “America’s favorite teenager” could be described as an indecisive boy who led girls on (poor Betty!). But would it be a stretch to describe a guy who secretly dates two girls at the same time (sometimes on the same night!) as a player? A frequent storyline involved Betty and Veronica vying for Archie’s leering attention by wearing as little as the Comic Code Authority would allow. This was every timid teenage boy’s dream – two bikini-clad gorgeous girls after a goofball guy. As the comic’s creator, John Goldwater explained, he reversed “the common wisdom. Instead of ‘boy chasing girl,’ I would have girl chasing boy.” While sexual tension and romance were a constant theme, nuptials weren't mentioned – not for more than 60 years. In Archie’s world dating was simply a social activity, completely unrelated to finding a spouse. Archie and his pals had a lot of laughs and adventures too. But the subtext to the series was always dating, dating, and more dating and it always got that wrong, wrong, wrong. Now the new TV shows and comics are getting it wronger still....

News

Saturday Selections - January 4, 2020

A Mighty Fortress is our God (8 minutes) This is a pretty amazing performance of Martin Luther's most famous hymn. Gender identity and the infamous John/Joan case revisited In 1967, a botched circumcision left a baby boy without his penis, and his parents were told to raise him as a girl. John, afterward called Joan, was hailed as proof that it's how we're raised, and not how we're made, that determines our "gender identity." But in this column (from a 1997 issue of Rolling Stone magazine...so, not a Christian perspective) it makes clear that was not at all so. The Netherlands to stop using Holland "nickname" in its tourism materials "The Dutch government has announced it will stop using the moniker Holland in favour of its official name the Netherlands." Free commentary on John 1-12 While I'm not familiar with author Josh Moody, the publisher, The Good Book, is broadly Reformed, publishing John Piper, Albert Mohler, and Sinclair Ferguson. That has me thinking this could be a good one, though I've only just started reading it. They will ask for your email address, but you can easily unsubscribe from their updates. How to approach new medical research (26-minute podcast) How should Christians approach and evaluate new medical research? Dr. Dan Gannon offers insights based on his experiences with the pharmaceutical industry and his biblical understanding of human nature. This is a real eye-opener into how research overall, is done. Anyone interested in how bias impacts medical research, and even the scientific studies we read about in the media, should check this one out. Ark of Noah virtual reality tour (5 minutes) A few years ago Dutch carpenter, Johan Huiber, completed a life-size replica of Noah's Ark. A virtual reality tour of the ark can be viewed below which allows you to move the screen around a full 360 degrees. So don't just hit play - use your mouse or, on a tablet, your finger, to explore up above, down below and all around. ...

News

Saturday Selections - December 28, 2019

John Piper: You are not addicted to pornography (5 minutes) "The fact is 99 percent of those who give way to lust in pornography or fornication or adultery are not decisively controlled by their sexual desire. They are decisively controlled by what they believe..." Building friendships with your young children This article shares eight ways we can foster friendship with our children (and none of them involve being a pushover). The inner workings of your cell are as complicated as a city! (10-minute read) We need DNA to make proteins and proteins to make DNA. So which came first? Ann Gauger gives a fascinating overview of just how brilliantly even our cells have been designed. Conservatives face off: should we ban porn? (10-minute read) Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could ban pornography? Strangely, some conservatives don't think so, worried that if we impose our morality on others, the Left will try to impose theirs on us. Jonathon Van Maren lays out the contrasting conservative positions here, and it is certainly worth reading. But what we don't hear is an explicitly Christian position: that we shouldn't impose our morality, but God's. We get our morality from God, so that might not seem all that different. But consider this: when Christians try to impose God's morals without making mention of God, then we seem to be doing exactly what the Left does. We seem to be imposing our arbitrary standards – merely our own opinions – on everyone else. So we have to stop presenting God's standards as if they are simply our own, or simply a good practical approach – we need to argue for God's standards as God's standards, which is the reason they are applicable to all of His creation. Pornography is, of course, a health issue – flouting God's Law often results in bad health consequences (ex. drunkenness, promiscuity, homosexuality, all lead to health issues). But it is first and foremost a sin issue. If we lead with the health aspect, we're not standing on God's solid foundation, and then we shouldn't be surprised when we find we're on shaky ground. One example: pornography might result in some health issues, but frequent users have been found to be more tolerant of "alternative lifestyles" like homosexuality and transgenderism. So, from a secular perspective, sure, it might have downsides, but this upside too! The key then is that we need to address this issue (and all others) not as conservatives, but as Christians. In this case, that means speaking of why God created sexuality, and how He has made each one of us in His very Image, and how, when we depart from our Maker’s plans for us, it is to our own hurt. That’s a harder conversation to be had than: “Porn use leads to erectile dysfunction!” But it is the conversation that brings honor to God in a way that trying to impose Christian morals via non-Christians conservative reasons doesn’t. And only then are we addressing the heart of the issue: rebellion against God. Does that mean we have to start quoting chapter and verse when the speak to this issue? No. But it does mean that we need to lead with God, our Solid Rock. That might look like this: "God says that sex is something special, saved for marriage, and a private act. That's why social science also shows that sex, in that setting, binds hearts closer together, helps keep families intact, and ensures the children that may result will be born with a mom and dad. Pornography treats sex as cheap, dirty, and a throwaway. And that leads to promiscuity, disease, unexpected pregnancies,  erectile dysfunction, addiction, and so much more. God made us, so He knows what's best for us. And pornography is just so very harmful..." How I was (temporarily) deceived There's a lot of impressive-seeming "scholarship" out there that attacks God's Truth, and as a young man Dr. Wes Bredenhof got stymied by one bit of it – the Documentary Hypothesis. He soon discovered, though, that there are answers to be found for the Bible's many critics...if we'll look for them. How long does it take to read each book of the New Testament? Sometimes it might seem like reading the Bible front to back is an intimidating task. But would we dive in more eagerly if we understood just how little time it takes to dig in deep? For the full chart click on the link above or the picture below. And for a number of different Bible reading plans (from Ligonier Ministries) click here. ...

News

The Top 10 articles of 2019

It's said that the Internet is causing people to have shorter attention spans. If that's true, you can't look to our most popular articles of 2019 for proof, as many are among the longer articles we published. You'll quickly notice there are 11 articles on this "Top 10" list, and we want to assure you that's not a matter of bad math, but interesting statistics. The difference between 10 and 11 is so close, that they are repeatedly swapping spots. So, rather than have to update the list as they swap spots yet again, we're including both, as 10a and 10b. Now, what got thousands of folks reading each of these articles? Maybe it was the diversity. One of the fun things about a magazine that writes about all that God is up to is that we get to tackle all that God is up to! Without further ado, here is our Top 10 countdown for 2019. 10b. Original Sin: Luther's other life-changing doctrine (15 minutes) Harma-Mae Smit contributed an article that takes some effort but amply rewards it. We know Luther for his rediscovery of the Doctrine of Justification - that it is not by our works, but by faith in Jesus that we are justified. But Luther's understanding of our sinfulness was every bit as important. 10a. Countering Tim Keller's case for evolution (15 min) Keller is a much-respected writer because when he gets it right – when he treats God's Word as authoritative – he gets it really right. But when he gets it wrong, as he does in his treatment of the opening chapters of the Genesis, he gets it really and horribly wrong. 9. A sad tale of a wealthy millennial's moral confusion (8 min) E. Calvin Beisner read about a young man who was wealthy and felt guilty about it. Should we feel guilty when we are blessed? Or should we feel gratitude? A series of accompanying questions make this a great one for discussions on socialism, the 10th Commandment, social justice and more. 8. Porn addiction isn't just a guy thing (8 min) This article got no attention when it was first posted a year or two ago. But when it was reposted this year, thousands checked it out. Why? Maybe it's because we now recognize that even as pornography-use remains the sin that Christian men don't own up to, it is that much the harder for Christian women to look for and get help in this battle. 7. Reformed Harmony: a new tool promotes friendship...and sometimes marriage (10 min) Sharon Bratcher tells RP readers about this online forum created specifically for Reformed singles. What a great idea! 6. Public doubt: Josh Harris abandons God, and Hillsong's Marty Sampson struggles (5 min) It was big news when Josh Harris turned his back on God, and was almost as big when a prominent Christian musician went public with his doubts. So what's a Christian to do when they have doubts? 5. Should introverts be expected to act like Extroverts? (5 min) It takes all kinds to make up the Body of Christ. But we are the same Body, and that means that some type of togetherness is a must. 4. #chairchallenge highlights male/female divide (2 min) The chair challenge is a fun craze circulating the Internet which most women can do, and most men can't. It's fun, but it's also significant, living as we do in an age that denies there are two genders and that even if there are, denies they are different. 3. That morning I listened to Kanye West (8 min) In December 2018 Kanye West was featured on a song with XXXTentacion singing vulgar lyrics. Less than a year later he released his album Jesus is King and Rev. Wes Bredenhof had a listen...and liked what he heard. 2. Charles Darwin's grave mistake (12 min) On the 137th anniversary of Darwin's death, Christine Farenhorst shared how the Christian world honored him. 1. Cremation: why and why not? (8 min) In the past cremation has been done as an act of rebellion. But is that what it has to symbolize? Or might this be an area of Christian liberty?...

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Saturday Selections - December 21, 2019

Worldview 101 (4 minutes) Chuck Colson on why worldview matters – it's only by understanding our own Christian worldview that we can compare and contrast God's Truth with the lies that others believe. So to be a light in the world, we need to understand the world as God has really made it – we need to view the world rightly. Psychoanalyst suggests atheists comfort their kids by lying to them Trusting in God is a comfort, so one psychoanalyst has suggested atheist parents teach their children to believe in life after death. But "as C. S. Lewis observes in The Screwtape Letters, the Creator of the universe will not be used as a convenience: 'Men or nations who think they can revive the Faith in order to make a good society might just as well think they can use the stairs of Heaven as a short cut to the nearest .'” The origin story of Handel's Messiah We refer to it as "Handel's Messiah" but he thought of it as Charles Jennens'. 9 out of top 10 of the world's wealthiest are self-made In the past, many of the wealthiest people in the world were "conquerors or political rulers" who gained their wealth by pillaging and taxing. In other words, they gained their wealth by taking it from others. Today's advocates of "wealth redistribution" and those who say "billionaires shouldn't exist" act as if our generation's wealthiest have kept up the pillaging. They treat it as self-evident – no proof needed – that the only way the top 1% could have become so rich is by oppressing the poor. However, 9 out of the top 10 richest people in the world made their money by selling something others wanted. That's significant because whenever any sale is voluntarily made, it only happens because both parties think the trade benefits them – I'll only give up $10 for a book if it is worth more than $10 to me, and likewise, the merchant will take $10 for it only if he values the money is worth more to him than the book. In a very real way, any voluntary exchange makes both parties to it wealthier. And thus an entrepreneur who gains his wealth via many millions of such exchanges has made many millions of others wealthier. That's the very opposite of oppressing. So when you hear someone saying "Down with the 1%" – when the only accusation mentioned is that of being rich – understand that they are attacking people who might have gained their billions by giving others even more. Why sexual morality may be more important than you ever thought (15-minute read) This is a fascinating look at how a 1930s researcher, J.D. Uwin, found that societies that hold to monogamy and sexual restraint – those that hold to a Christian outworking of sex and marriage (though the researcher doesn't draw that connection) – flourish, well those that don't, don't. As the article's author, Kirk Durston, puts it: "...it has been my thinking that God’s moral laws are not simply a bunch of arbitrary rules given to restrict mankind's freedom. Instead, they are like operating instructions designed to spare people from suffering while maximizing human flourishing. Unwin’s and Eberstadt’s research provides strong rational justification for the inference that God’s moral laws pertaining to our sexuality, although they may restrain us from some immediate pleasure, protect us from enormous long-term suffering while maximizing our long term flourishing." Laura Klassen: it's time to get more intense (2 minutes) Laura Klassen, she of the fabulous Magic Birth Canal video, sees a need for pro-lifers to be more explicit about what abortion is: killing, child sacrifice, murder. And she's seeing how the truth, clearly told, is helping many children and their mothers. ...

News

Saturday Selections - December 14, 2019

Hummingbirds are way cooler than you knew... (3 minutes) Did you know their tongues aren't straws so much as skinny unfurling claws? This is freaky cool stuff designed and crafted by our great God! Was Christ actually born on December 25? (10-minute read) You may have heard that Dec. 25 was originally a pagan sun-worshipping festival marking the winter solstice, and then the Church co-opted it to celebrate a very different Son. But Dr. William J. Tighe argues that while it is highly unlikely the 25th is actually when Christ was born, the Christmas celebration came before the pagan one – Christmas was the original, and the co-option was actually a pagan attempt to subvert the Christian celebration, not the other way around. World's first "detransition" conference (3-minute read) Feminists organized a conference of medical and health personal, and women who have used surgery and drugs to attempt to become men. The conference included testimony from some of the women about how cutting off their breasts and taking puberty blockers only led to later regrets. And yet even at this conference some expressed more, and others expressed less, regret – confusion remained because no one was pointing attendees to Christ, where they can find their identity as forgiven, as worshippers, and as male and female made in God's very Image. Smartphones for the kiddies this Christmas? Weighing the pros and cons (5-minute read) The subtitle for this one is: "Reasons to wait." Reports of the apostrophe's death have been greatly exaggerated Few seem to know when it should be "its" versus "it's." And that's why the Apostrophe Protection Society was born. But science says... (2 minutes) If you're older than 40 you'll remember a time when butter was bad and then good for you, red meat was hazardous and then became a key part of paleolithic diets, and, as Dr. Wells shares below, eggs were good and then bad for you, and then not so bad for you. Why does this matter? Because we need to understand that, despite acting like their pronouncements are beyond question, scientific experts get things wrong all the time. So, for example, prior to 2012 we were told that 98.5% of the human genome was junk and that this demonstrated the messy haphazard nature of our evolutionary origins. As Richard Dawkins wrote in his 2009 book The Greatest Show on Earth: The evidence for Evolution:  “it is a remarkable fact that the greater part (95% percent in the case of humans) of the genome might as well be not there for the difference it makes.” Just a few years later the ENCODE project discovered this “junk DNA” was anything but. It was getting transcribed into RNA, and may have a role in regulating protein production. The "experts" were, once again, wrong. So when experts dispute the  Bible, we don't need to be worried – this is the infallible Word of God versus the very fallible word of folks who, time after time, end up with "egg on their face."  ...

News

Saturday Selections - December 7, 2019

FREE E-BOOK: Why sex is the best argument for creation The folks behind the fantastic documentary Is Genesis History have created a short 115-page e-book with ten of their most popular essays, including the title essay. You can download the pdf for free here, the Mobi (Kindle) version here, and the Epub version here. Should we use "preferred pronouns"? (10-minute read) J.D. Greear, a prominent US pastor, recently told listeners that he will use a transgender person's "preferred pronouns" out of a “generosity of spirit” – i.e. Greear will call a guy a she, if that's what the guy asks Greear to do. Now, there is some nuance to be had in this but also a clear line that shouldn't be crossed. The clear line? We should not lie, even if people ask us to, so we cannot refer to men as women. The nuance? If we meet a transgender fellow, our opening line doesn't have to be: "You need to stop wearing dresses." We can start with "Hi" or "How's it going?" And if that fellow asks us to call him Sue, we can even do that, because, while it is an odd name for a guy, we can pick our names, even as we can't pick our gender. This Rod Dreher article is fantastic in that it includes a lot of other's thoughts as well. How I make a sermon (3-minute read) Dr. Bredenhof gives us a peek behind the curtain to see what's involved when he crafts his sermon. No Canadian Anglicans by 2040? And no United Church either? (10-minute read) This article, by a veteran religion reporter, collects a few other articles to explore whether mainline denominations in Canada and the US might be gone by 2040. And while this is far from certain, this isn't simply hype from some journalist trying to get click-thrus – we're hearing this straight from the horses's mouth: "A 'wake-up call.' That’s what Archbishop Linda Nicholls, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, called a new report showing there may be no members left in the mainline Canadian denomination in 20 years." Praying backwards (2-minute read) We'll often conclude our prayers with the words "...but Your will be done." What if we began our prayers that way, putting God's desires first? Your eyes are AMAZING!!! (9 minutes) The funnest bit starts just after the 4-minute mark when Dr. Wells spells out an evolutionary critique of the design of the eye. But what evolutionists present as an example of bad design (and therefore as proof of unguided, undesigned evolution) is actually an example of genius. Or, rather, Genius. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kboUBQnMP8w  ...

News

Saturday Selections – November 30, 2019

Is surrogacy the same as adoption? (4 minutes) This short video offers three ways in which surrogacy is different than adoption: 1. Adoption seeks to mend a family wound. Third-party reproduction creates a family wound. 2. With adoption, the child is the client but with third-party reproduction- the adult is the client. 3. With adoption, adults support the child. With third-party reproduction, the children support the adult. The why behind Christian education Trevin Wax shares 4 reasons to turn to Christian, rather than public, schools. Transgender teen regrets his "Frankenstein" transition Here's the story of one 19-year-old who regrets what doctors and others encouraged him to do to himself. His is a sad story, but an important one to know about so we can share it with confused friends, family, or neighbors. When your child looks at porn Four thoughts on how to help our children when, not if, it happens. How beauty in art points us to God There is a tension in great art. So will there be art in Heaven once the tension between good and evil has been resolved? How Big Government hurts women (6 minutes) God says He made us male and female, we're made in His Image, and it matters (Gen. 1:27, Deut. 22:5, Eph. 5:22-33). So, of course, our God-hating world says no He didn't, no we aren't, and no it doesn't. But their contrarian stance leaves the world scrambling to explain the equality of the sexes (what do we all equally share, if it's not being made in God's Image?), and to explain away the obvious differences that exist between the genders. The most obvious difference is that only women can carry and sustain a child for nine months and for the weeks that follow. Obvious, too, is that a woman who is away from the office caring for her child is not being as productive for her company as the man who continues to put in his 8-10 hours every day. So how does the world address the glaring holes in their worldview? By papering over them with government policies like mandatory maternity leave which requires an employer to keep a woman's position available for her while she is away recuperating and caring for her new little one. It means a woman won't have to quit her job to have a child, and won't have to start from scratch again when she gets back. But such a policy is premised on the idea that a woman at home is a wrong that must be righted, and that women are only doing productive work when they are working outside of the home, so we have to get them back out there. This policy also pretends that a woman who is away from her job for weeks or months is just as valuable to her employer as the man who never left. None of it is true, and as the video demonstrates, reality-denying policies like government-mandated maternity leave make women more expensive, less desirable employees. A better approach? We need to keep preaching, teaching, and living the truth that male and female are equal, not because we are interchangeable, identical, and called to the same roles, but because we are made in God's image. ...

News

Saturday Selections - November 23, 2019

The power of words One of the greatest challenges of marriage is how you speak to your spouse. Science says Adam and Eve are impossible...or does it? Science is often portrayed as entirely unbiased and indisputable. So when scientists say that mankind's genetic diversity couldn't have come from a single original couple – when they say they've disproven Adam and Eve – many, Christians among them, will treat that as the final word. But this ignores the assumptions that underly scientists' conclusions. Science doesn't make pronouncements; some scientists based on their assumptions make pronouncements that other scientists might well dispute. Recently two Intelligent Design (ID) proponents used their own starting assumptions and discovered – voila! –  that the data can be made to fit easily enough with an original starting couple. Their findings still don't fit with a recent creation – they put the date for this common couple as being half a million to two million years ago – but, of course, ID proponents and creationists also operate from different starting assumptions. Christians have to remember and remind the world that there is a huge difference between unchangeable, unassailable truth, and what some scientists conclude based on their data and starting assumptions. The most politically incorrect Bible passage Alan Shelmon nominates 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 and explains why politically incorrect is also powerfully correct. Greg Koukl lays out his "Inside Out" tactic This 10-minute read is well worth your time, as apologist Greg Koukl demonstrates how we can use truths people already know – God's law written on their hearts (Romans 2:15) – to point them to God. When there are no more volunteers In showing how Christians can, in their volunteer roles, be a light to the surrounding community, John Stonestreet is inadvertently making the case for single-income families – after all, it's hard to volunteer when both mom and dad are busy with their day and maybe night jobs. So is this an attack against families who have to have both mom and dad working full time? No, parents need to provide, and if that's what it takes, then that's what it takes. But, the thing is, for many that isn't what it takes and yet we still do it. Why? Part of it might be because the world judges worth by the size of a person's paycheck, or by the status of their career. Thus many women are influenced to then choose to work full time outside the home to prove their worth. Part of it is due to our young men settling, early on, for jobs that might well provide a plush income for a single man, but won't be nearly enough for a family man, which then necessitate double incomes. If we want to be a community of volunteers, part of it will involve being a community in which young men are taught they should start businesses or seek out jobs and careers that will provide for all the financial needs of their family. That often isn't possible. But when it is, it opens up possibilities..like letting our light shine through volunteering. How do transgender activists view sex and gender? (5 minutes) If "man" and "woman" have no set meaning, then how can transgender advocates argue that a man can feel like, and actually be, a woman? ...

News

Did YouTube ban a video because of this one sentence?

A couple of years ago The Daily Signal published a video by Dr. Michelle Cretella on transgenderism. It was titled “I’m a Pediatrician. Here’s What I Did When a Little Boy Patient Said He Was a Girl.” While the video was successfully posted to YouTube, some months ago Daily Signal discovered the video had been removed for violating YouTube policies. In a November 5 article, editor-in-chief Katrina Trinko reported that they discussed the matter with YouTube and learned the tech giant took issue with one specific sentence, labeling it as “hate speech.” In the offending line Dr. Cretella stated: “…if you want to cut off a leg or an arm you’re mentally ill, but if you want to cut off healthy breasts or a penis, you’re transgender…” We’re only hearing from The Daily Signal’s side of the story here, and maybe YouTube has a very different take (I did reach out to YouTube last week but haven’t heard back and don’t know when or whether I should expect to). But if they’re banning videos for factual statements, then all of us using the site need to evaluate how dependent we are on YouTube for keeping us informed. Fortunately, these days there’s more than one way to get a message out – this same video has been viewed on Facebook more than 70 million times....though in July it was briefly dropped by Facebook too....

News

Saturday Selections - November 16, 2019

How do starlings flock in murmurations? (4 minutes) These living clouds are jaw-droppingly astonishing. God is awesome! Rosaria Butterfield on "gay Christianity" (25-minute podcast) This past summer Abounding Grace Radio interviewed Rosaria Butterfield about her life story – from unbelieving homosexual advocate to Reformed Christian writer – but also on the issue of whether one can identify as a "gay Christian." The interview was wonderful but only caused a stir when, this past week, a pastor tweeted out a couple of sentences from it. “Gay Christianity is a different religion. I’m not standing in the same forest with Greg Johnson and Wes Hill and Nate Collins looking at different angles of the trees, I’m in a different forest altogether.” This quote was Rosaria calling out a number of Christians who, on the one hand, say that homosexual sex is sin, but who, on the other hand, are promoting the idea that one can be a "gay Christian." This is a somewhat subtle error, but the problem is more obvious when we try the same approach with other temptations. Should someone identify as an "angry Christian" or "adulterous Christian"? Clearly not – a Christian shouldn't identify with their anger or wandering eye. This podcast is an important one, spelling out a current controversy happening even in conservative Churches over how we should fight homosexual temptation. Keith Getty: The modern worship movement is "utterly dangerous" “Over 75 percent of what are called the great hymns of the faith talk about eternity, Heaven, Hell, and the fact that we have peace with God. Yet, less than 5 percent of modern worship songs talk about eternity.” Biblical Edom unearthed Secular archeologists treat the Bible as just another ancient book. But the Bible isn't just another ancient book – this is real history – leaving archeologists repeatedly surprised when findings verify aspects of the biblical account. How to make your Gillette Mach 3 (or any other expensive) razor last 6 months Gary North shows how some olive oil and an old pair of jeans can save you a lot of money in replacement razor blades. A helpful tip for family Bible reading (2 minutes) Dr. Calvin Beisner speaks of why he would read passages of the Bible with his family even when he didn't feel fully capable of explaining them to his children: it was because he was convinced that God uses His Word. Parents will fall short (which isn't to say we shouldn't study) but we can trust God will act through His Word. ...

Humor, News

Tearing down tyranny, one joke a time...

November 9 marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which, for 28 years, divided socialist East Germany from the free West. To mark the anniversary some old East German jokes gained new life. What sort of jokes? Jokes that mocked the State for its incompetence and vindictive pettiness. Jokes that could get an East German arrested back then if the police found out he'd shared them. But if jokes could land you in jail, why did people risk telling them? Because every punchline was an act of resistance. A government that couldn't take a joke was a government that had overstepped its bounds and this became a small way of pushing back. So to mark the anniversary here are a few of the more popular jests from 30 years ago. Why do Stasi (East German secret police) officers make such good taxi drivers? – You get in the car and they already know your name and where you live. The five rules of socialism: Don’t think. If you think, don’t speak. If you think and speak, don’t write. If you think, speak and write, don’t sign it. If you think, speak, write and sign it, don’t be surprised. What would happen if the desert became a socialist country? Sand would become scarce. Three East German political prisoners were sharing the same cell and got to talking about what they were in for. The first explained, “My watch always ran ahead, and I would always arrive at work early, so they said I must be spying.” The second fellow shared, “My watch always ran slow, so I was always late for work, so they said I was guilty of sabotage.” Then the third fellow said, “I was always exactly on time for work so they said my watch much be from the West.” Asking, how could it happen here? We mark this anniversary as a tribute to those brave and wise souls who fought tyranny in the past. But we also mark it so we can learn from the past to hopefully avoid the same sort of mistakes going forward. When we see the trouble Big Brother brought the East Germans, we'll be motivated to pre-empt the same sort of government over-reach here... before it gets to the point where we're arrested for telling jokes. With that in mind, here are a few jokes worth telling while we still can. Three Americans businessmen were sharing the same cell and got to talking about what they were in for. The first explained, “I charged more for my goods than anyone else. So they convicted me of price gouging.” The second fellow shared, “I charged less than anyone else for my product, so they convicted me of anti-competitive dumping.” Then the third fellow said, “I charged the same for my product as everyone else, so they convicted me of price-fixing.” Here's a switch worth making: let's treat convicted murderers like we've treated the unborn and let them be executed, and treat the unborn like we've treated convicted murderers and give them life. A cheap Albertan fellow heard that women drivers get better insurance rates so he phoned up his insurance company and asked, "If I identify as a safer driver, can I get this cheaper rate too?" "I'm sorry sir," the insurance rep replied, "You can't simply identify as a safer driver and expect us to take that seriously." "Okay," he said, "but what if I identify as a woman - can I get the better rate then?" To which the insurance rep replied, "Of course ma'am. What do you think we are – a bunch of transphobic bigots?" What should a Christian think of mocking humor? Some Christians argue that humor, and particularly biting humor, has no place in Christian dialogue. Passages will be cited such as 1 Peter 3:15 and Proverbs 15:1: "...give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect..." "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." But this "absolutely no mocking" understanding overlooks that God Himself mocks foolishness, with one of the funnier examples occurring in Isaiah 44:14b-17: "He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, 'Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!' And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, 'Deliver me, for you are my god!'” During His time on Earth, Christ had a biting way with words as evidenced repeatedly in Matt. 23 in thrusts like these: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean" (vs. 27). "Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!" (vs. 24). Ah, you might say, it's one thing for God to do something and quite another for us to do the same. There is truth to that, but let's also remember that we are called to be imitators of God (Eph. 5:1, 1 Cor. 11:1, 1 Peter 2:21). And let's remember, too, how others in the Bible have used humor or in other ways shown approval for mockery. For example, Luke evidenced a dry wit in Acts 17:21, poking fun at the Athenians: "Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new." Solomon wasn't pulling any punches when he compared beautiful women without discretion as being "Like a gold ring in a pig's snout" (Prov. 11:22).  David in Ps. 52:6-7 spoke of how the "righteous will...laugh at" the foolish fellow who "trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others." More texts could be cited, but this last one is a must – in 2 Cor 10:5 we are told to "tear down arguments, and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God." It takes wisdom to know when to tear down arguments and when to answer more gently, but one general (and certainly not absolute) rule is that the broader the audience, the more pointed we can be. And vice versa. So if one of our coworkers is bald, bearded, and loves wearing his summer dress even into the depths of fall, we won't want to start a conversation by making fun of his fashion sense. But when politicians and judges and celebrities start insisting that men should be allowed to compete as women, that is an idea that must be mocked – to treat it as anything less than insane is to give it too much credit (Prov 26:4). So as we mark the Berlin Wall's demise some 30 years ago, we can remember that humor has been used as a weapon for a lot longer than that, by both God and man. To learn more about the godly use of pointed humor, a great small book on the subject is Douglas Wilson's "A Serrated Edge."...

News

Saturday Selections - November 9, 2019

Humans don't earn their value In this video, Amy Hall makes the vital point that our value is not earned. But she pulls up just short of the finish line when, at the end of the video, she bases our worth on us all being human. But that begs a question: why is being human more valuable than being an animal? The world has no answer to that question: why would we treat one creature any more special than any other? But God tells us we have a special value that comes from being made in His Image (Gen. 1:26, Gen 9:6, James 3:9). This is not only an argument for the unborn's worth but the only basis for equality. Humans come in different shapes, sizes, colors and have vastly different abilities and interests, so in what sense are any of us "equal"? Only this: we are all made in God's Image. Even as Christian and non-Christian alike believe in equality – God's law seems to have written that on our hearts (Rom 2:15) – it is only the Christian who has an explanation for it. Hall would have done better to clearly base her argument on God's Word. As would we. How evangelicals ended slavery all over the world...and in Canada While God allows slavery in the Bible, He forbids the dehumanizing slavery as we have known it in North America and around the world. Just consider these passages: “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.” - Ex. 21:16 “You shall not give up to his master a slave who has escaped from his master to you. He shall dwell with you, in your midst, in the place that he shall choose within one of your towns, wherever it suits him. You shall not wrong him.” - Deut. 23:15-16 "...but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant..." - Ex. 20:10b That bears very little resemblance to the way the slave trade was run in the Western world. And no wonder then that Christians – those who read God's Word and took it seriously – lead the fight against that form of slavery based, as it was, on a denial that blacks were also made in the very Image of God. Phillip E. Johnson (1940-2019), the man who put Darwin on trial "In many ways, Phillip Johnson was a Luther-like reformer....Johnson, who passed away peacefully in his home over the weekend, is widely considered the godfather of the modern Intelligent Design movement. His 1991 book Darwin on Trial revealed how Darwinian evolution was plagued by worldview-level problems: most importantly, its reliance on philosophical naturalism." Prominent abortion photographed with placard reading “Even on my worst days, I’m killing it” Do abortionists know that what they are doing is murder? Very often, the answer is yes. The power of touch Cuddling on the couch, sitting close together at church, holding hands on a walk – all of them are wonderful ways to connect with your better half. And yet many couples shy away from this regular physical contact, in part because one spouse might hope this physical contact leads to another sort, and maybe the other fears it will lead to the other sort. But what if physical touching was just that and nothing more? Here are 25 suggestions for increasing the physical contact in your marriage in ways that will bind you together even if they don't lead to anything more. Dusty Marshall on the American Holocaust There's a lot of Christians artists using rap to make powerful statements. American Holocaust is a call out to be both those killing babies and those sitting on the sidelines to change their ways. ...

News

Saturday Selections - November 2, 2019

Male and females are different (6 minutes) The Bible tells us that God created us male and female (Gen. 1:27) and gave us different roles (Eph 5:24-33, Genesis 2:18, Titus 2:3-5) so the world, of course, says the opposite: men and women are actually identical. But that's hard to believe for anyone with eyes....including John Stossel. How the creator of the ‘Magical Birth Canal’ viral video is saving unborn babies Laura Klassen punctures pro-choice arguments with biting wit and a bright pink wig. In this article and accompanying podcast, we get a chance to meet one of the unborn's most creative defenders. This Cartoon Shows How the Minimum Wage Works If hamburger was $4/pound and sirloin $8/pound, what would happen to hamburger and sirloin sales if the government mandated a "minimum beef price" of $8/pound? Would anyone buy the now $8/pound hamburger? Or would we all instead get the $8 sirloin? What does this have to do with minimum wage laws? Click on the link to find out. The Reformation's African roots Long before Luther, reforming forces were already at work. Mom, is Kanye a Christian? Kanye West has come up with a gospel album, and our kids might have questions. This article contains some explicit language, as it shares Kanye West's lyrics from previous albums, but it also contains some great advice for how to deal with the title question. If we want to get our kids thinking we should consider answering their question with some of our own. Real men fail well...by learning from failure The only way you can avoid failing is by never trying. So real men are going to fail. But when we understand that Jesus covers our failures with his sacrifice, and when we understand that God calls on us to develop our talents, and wants us to be both bold and courageous, then we won't be so fearful as to run from the possibility of failure. ...

Music, News

That morning I listened to Kanye West

I’ve never been a Kanye West fan. About a year ago, I was flipping through the radio channels while driving. I came across a station playing one of his songs. It was one of the most vile, misogynistic songs I’ve ever heard. As we were eating our dinner, I told our kids about what I’d heard earlier in the day. Knowing Kanye better than I did, they weren’t surprised. But they sure were surprised to hear their dad listening to Kanye West last Saturday morning. I was rather surprised too. His new album had just dropped and the title led me to listen. Jesus is King blew me off my feet. How could it happen that the same man responsible for that horrible song could produce an entire album in praise of the Saviour? Who is/was Kanye West? Kanye West is an American recording artist who’s mostly worked in the hip-hop/rap genre. He’s been hugely popular and is one of the most successful musicians of all time. Jesus is King is his ninth studio album. The previous eight each went platinum. Moreover, he’s been awarded 21 Grammy awards since the beginning of his recording career in 2003. As far as his personal life goes, West was raised middle-class by his mother, an English professor. He briefly attended university but decided to chase a music career instead. He was involved in several romantic relationships over the years. He married reality-TV star Kim Kardashian in 2014 and they have four children together. His first album College Dropout included the song “Jesus Walks.” This song already indicated some spiritual inclinations. The song speaks of spiritual struggles but also features the profanity found in so many of his songs. Over the years, he’s claimed to believe in God, and in 2014 he even claimed to be a Christian. However, in the meantime, he continued making music putting those claims in question. For example, his 2013 album Yeezus included a blasphemous song entitled “I Am a God.” In short, while there have been spiritual themes in some of his past work, much of what Kanye West has produced up till now has been profane, wicked, and even sacrilegious. He’s represented the dregs of what hip-hop has to offer. What happened? Early in 2019, West began a new musical endeavor known as Sunday Service. Every Sunday, he and a number of others would get together to perform gospel music. While it began as an event for family and friends, eventually it turned into something bigger and Sunday Service began touring around American cities. That was the first sign something seemed to be changing with West. Through the end of 2018, it was well-known that West was working on a new album entitled Yandhi. It wasn’t going to be a gospel album – in fact, it wasn’t going to have any notable spiritual emphasis. However, in August 2019, West’s wife Kim Kardashian announced that the direction of the new album had changed and it would now be entitled Jesus is King. Around the same time, West began attending Placerita Bible Church in Newhall, California. This church is a non-denominational congregation. Besides what it says about baptism and eschatology, their doctrinal statement is mostly sound. The pastor, Adam Tyson, is a graduate of The Master’s Seminary, an institution founded by John MacArthur. Like MacArthur, Tyson’s doctrine of salvation is biblical/Calvinistic. According to Tyson (in an interview with Apologia Studios), West began attending the church and then asked to meet with him for instruction. West gave a sound Christian testimony and indicated a good understanding of the basics of salvation through the gospel. What he really wanted from Pastor Adam Tyson was instruction about how to begin living as a Christian. Tyson has been instrumental in guiding Kanye West’s spiritual journey. In the last while, Adam Tyson was invited to preach at several Sunday Service events. I watched a video of him preaching at a Sunday Service in Detroit. Using Isaiah 6:1-5 as his text, he gave a faithful and unambiguous presentation of the gospel to at least several hundred people. Kanye West provided a platform so the gospel could be preached. Tyson was also involved in the final production of the Jesus is King album. West told Tyson that he was finished with rap and hip-hop and didn’t want to do it anymore. But Tyson encouraged him to use his gifts in this genre to advance the cause of the gospel. Moreover, he helped him ensure the final product would be free of any serious theological errors. Jesus is King Having listened to the album a number of times now, let me make a few comments. Musically speaking, not everything here is going to be to everyone’s taste. In other words, there are hip-hop and rap elements. Yet it has a different feel to his previous work. I first listened to the album through Spotify, but since I don’t have the premium account, the stream would periodically circle back to his previous work. The difference was noticeable, not only in comparison with his previously foul lyrics, but also with the music. Even though I can’t put my finger on it, something has changed in the sound of the music. One of my Facebook friends noted she’s never listed to Kanye West and never will. I urged her to just listen to the first track on the album. “Every Hour” features lively African-American gospel choir singing – no hip-hop or rap at all. The last song of the album “Jesus is Lord” also breaks the stereotype. This short track features West singing of Christ’s Lordship accompanied by tuba, trombone, trumpet, saxophone, French horn, and euphonium. The lyrics are mostly sound. Check out these rhymes from “Closed on Sunday”: When you got daughters, always keep em’ safe Watch out for vipers, don’t let them indoctrinate … Raise our sons, train them in the faith Through temptations, make sure they’re wide awake Follow Jesus, listen and obey No more livin’ for culture, we nobody’s slave Stand up for my home Even if I take this walk alone I bow down to the King upon the throne My life is His, I’m no longer my own. The last bit echoes the biblical teaching of Lord’s Day 1, doesn’t it? Nevertheless, there’s some immaturity and imprecision in various tracks. Assuming he’s become a Christian, he’s just a young Christian and so we can’t expect the accuracy or theological profundity of Shai Linne and Timothy Brindle. Moreover, while the album is mostly clean in terms of language, there is one use of the word “damn.” It occurs in “God is”: I know Christ is the fountain that filled my cup I know God is alive, yeah He has opened up my vision Giving me a revelation This ain't 'bout a damn religion Jesus brought a revolution Could that be a legitimate use of the word? I’d like to be charitable. After all, there is religion that is damned – the religion of self-salvation and works righteousness. What shall we say about these things? For many people, their first inclination is to be skeptical. Me too. After all, how many “Christian” celebrities have we seen over the years? How many proved to be genuine followers of Christ for the long haul? The Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:1-9) reminds us that there are those who hear the Word, show some promise, but are either seed sown on rocky soil or the seed choked by thorns. Kanye West anticipates this response on the album. In “Hands On” he predicts that many Christians aren’t going to believe he’s the real deal. Despite that, he asks listeners to pray for him. Even as we have might have concerns, that’s a request we can enthusiastically embrace. One of the big questions people are asking is: what happens to all the old music West produced? He was asked this directly in an interview with BigBoyTV. His reply was that no one goes to an Apple iStore to ask for an iPhone 4 – Apple doesn’t offer the inferior product. He says his old stuff is behind him and he won’t be performing it anymore. From now on he claims he’ll only be performing gospel music to the glory of God. True, for the moment, his old music is still available for sale -- though, to be fair, when it comes to music sales there are more players involved than just the artist. There are indeed still inconsistencies and troubling things about Kanye West. Just in the last month, he boasted in an interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music's Beats 1 that he’s “unquestionably, undoubtedly, the greatest human artist of all time.” While he’s attended Adam Tyson’s church in California, he lives in Wyoming and isn’t currently known to be a member of any church. He’s a public figure and, unlike many other fledgling disciples, his life is on display for everyone to dissect and analyze. There’s a lot of pressure on him and one can only hope that influences like Adam Tyson will prevail. Why should we care? Simply because God can do amazing things, even with the vulgar and profane. Let’s watch and see what happens. Whatever the case may be, we shouldn’t look up to Kanye West as a Christian leader – he’s untested. Finally, if nothing else comes from this, even if West proves to be a false disciple, at least the truth about Jesus Christ was broadcast by him and others for a time: Jesus is King! So, “whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice” (Phil. 1:18). Dr. Bredenhof blogs at yinkahdinay.wordpress.com. Kanye West picture is from Shutterstock.com....

News

Saturday Selections - Oct 26, 2019

The Mischevious Protestant's guide to Catholic Rome (10-minute read /6-minute video) Did you know there are two statues of Martin Luther (at least) in Rome? In both cases, Luther is getting stepped on, and in one a little cherub angel is tearing out the pages of his Bible translation. Tim Challies shares more on these statues as well as info on a couple of other spots that Protestants will find interesting in Rome. 10 things you should know about Christian hospitality Rosario Butterfield, author of The Gospel Comes With a House Key, with 10 insights on welcoming others into our homes. Sorry, banning plastic bags won't save the planet Bjorn Lomborg, the "skeptical environmentalist," highlights how banning plastics is more for show than for good. When abstinence is wrong "I want to offer some tips for husbands and wives on how to promote physical intimacy in marriage..." Readers should note that even as the article's biblical principles are authoritative – what God says, we should do – the specific outworking of those principles may look very different for different couples. Heroic animals in the Great War With Remembrance Day approaching, here's a 6-page comic commemorating Sergent Bill, a goat who served as mascot to a Canadian regiment during World War I Abortion: it comes down to just one issue (2 minutes) We can greatly simplify this debate by getting it down to the one question: what is the unborn? Greg Koukl shows us how. ...

News

Saturday Selections – October 19, 2019

Beauty, Darwin, and design (8 min) "Charles Darwin once wrote that the sight of a male peacock’s tail made him physically ill." Why did its beauty make Evolution's father ill? "Because he knew that the gratuitous beauty so prevalent throughout the living world points unmistakably to intelligent design, foresight, and plan." Be sure to check this stunning video out! How to overcome our digital addiction This secular piece doesn't mention the need for repentance or prayer. But it is quite the eye-opener, and for a Christian committed to change, the strategies offered could be helpful. Free Tim Keller commentary on Judges This freebie is being passed along sight unseen and with this notable caution: Keller doesn't hold to a six-day creation, so you wouldn't want to turn to him for a commentary on Genesis. But he also tends to treat the rest of the Bible with the respect it deserves so this could be fantastic. You do have to give your email address to access the free e-book, but they won't spam you. Strategies for fighting depression well A good read for those who suffer with depression, as well as for all who want to be a help for them. How to homeschool...for those of us who will never homeschool Not all Christians are homeschoolers, but all Christian homes should be schools. Here's how to create teaching opportunities with your kids. How the government made us fat Note a problem in the world and someone's sure to ask: "What's the government going to do about it?" What this overlooks is that the government is neither all-knowing nor all-powerful, and when we expect it to solve all the world's problems, we are setting it up as a false god. And false gods always disappoint. Also, the government "solves" things on a grand scale - millions are impacted. So when they get it wrong, millions are hurt.  This is another example of how the government did damage when it tried to do something we should never have looked to it to do. ...

News, Pro-life - Abortion

Jagmeet Singh, abortion, and illogic

The topic of abortion came up at the Canadian federal leaders’ debate (October 7, 2019), and logic took a beating. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh stated the following: “A man has no place in a discussion around a woman’s right to choose. Let’s be very clear on that.” Apparently, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and Green leader Elizabeth May agreed with Singh, whereas Conservative leader Andrew Scheer didn't. Because of the poor format of the debate—and poor moderation—I didn't get clear on what the other leaders thought. So let’s (at least) be very clear on Mr. Singh's claim. There are two logical problems — serious logical problems. Problem 1 - the Ad Hominem Fallacy Mr. Singh commits the ad hominem fallacy, the mistake in reasoning which occurs when an arguer is attacked instead of his/her arguments. Some instances of the ad hominem fallacy are easy to spot. Consider the following: “Einstein is Jewish, therefore his theory of relativity should be rejected.” “Your doctor is a woman, therefore don’t believe what she says about prostate cancer.” Clearly, in the above arguments, the premise (i.e., the bit before “therefore”) is not relevant to the conclusion (the bit after “therefore”). But some instances of the ad hominem fallacy are not so easy to spot. Consider (again) Mr. Singh's claim: “A man has no place in a discussion around a woman’s right to choose .” Significantly, Singh is dismissing as illegitimate all arguments that men might present on the topic of abortion merely because the arguer is a man. That is, Singh is dismissing a view because of a characteristic of the arguer (i.e., his sex) rather than via a careful examination of the arguer’s argument (i.e., its merits or lack thereof). But this is to attack the messenger instead of the message, which is a logical sin — the ad hominem fallacy. Problem 2 - Self-Refuting Mr. Singh’s claim is also self-refuting. A self-refuting claim includes itself in its field of reference but fails to satisfy its own criteria of truthfulness or rational acceptability. Here is an example: “There are no truths.” Hmmm. If it's true, then it's not true. It self-refutes. Another example (spoken by me): “I cannot speak a word of English.” Get the picture? Back to our NDP leader. According to Mr. Singh, “A man has no place in a discussion around a woman’s right to choose .” Let's think: a MAN is saying that a MAN’s voice doesn’t count on an issue, i.e., the issue HE is talking about. Well, if this is true, then Mr. Singh—a man—has no place in this discussion, and so his claim should be dismissed. I like Mr. Singh and I intend no disrespect to him. Nevertheless, I think his claim is deeply problematic from the perspective of logic—and I hope that my pointing this out will help elevate the quality of reasoning in the public discussion about abortion. I hope, too, that pro-life MPs will get elected. Hendrik van der Breggen, PhD, is a retired philosophy professor (Providence University College) who lives in Steinbach, Manitoba. This article first appeared on his blog and is reprinted here with permission. Picture credit: Art Babych / Shutterstock.com...

News

Christians now forced to stand on the Bible, not the dictionary

“Ain’t” is in the dictionary, and something else you might not expect is now too. In September, the US’s oldest dictionary publisher, Merriam-Webster, announced they were adding in a “nonbinary” definition for the word “they.” According to the new entry, “they” can be “used to refer to a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary.” In other words, if a guy who thinks he isn’t a guy wants us to call him “they,” he’s now got the dictionary backing him. But lest this depress, there is a shiny silver lining to this story. With the addition of this definition, God has taken away one of the worst arguments Christians might otherwise be tempted to use: an appeal to the dictionary. But that was never an authority we should have stood on. We don’t know we’re male and female because the dictionary says so, but rather because God says so (Gen. 1:27, Mark 10:6). Our stand isn’t based on the authority of the dictionary but on the authority of God’s Word! And now that’s all we’ve got. We can thank God, then, for giving us all that we need, and thank Him also for taking away a red herring that might otherwise tempt or distract us from standing on His Truth....

News

Saturday Selections – Oct. 12, 2019

Why not give in to peer pressure? After all, everybody's doing it. (2.5 min) This is an old commercial on the power of peer pressure. There is such a thing as positive peer pressure – an example is God's call to encourage one another (1 Thess 4:18, 5:11). But we should recognize how liable we are to just go with the flow...even when it turns us right around in the wrong direction (Rom 12:2, Prov. 13:20). Envy is the root of many modern evils Envy, along with covetousness, are still generally condemned, even as specific instances are embraced. Society rails against income inequality (rather than poverty) and speaks of the 1% as being self-evidently wicked. Bernie Sanders went so far as to tweet that "billionaires should not exist" while proposing to tax, not simply their income, but their overall net worth. Democratic rival Elizabeth Warren is planning on doing the same. Misguided Christians, impacted by the rhetoric, and not familiar enough with the Tenth Commandment, and the rest of God's Word, are swayed into thinking that covetousness and envy can somehow be portrayed as noble. But as Lawerence Reed shows, it ain't so. 6 year old asks mom for a shirt that says "I will be your friend" If one of your children has come home from school sad because no one played with them during recess, then you know just how precious it would be to have a boy like this in their classroom. Even better: if our child had aspirations to be like this boy and help others! More dinosaur soft tissue found There is an old joke told of a man who thought he was dead. His doctor tried everything to convince him otherwise, finally resorting to a medical textbook on the circulatory system. After they studied it together the doctor asked the man, "Would you agree dead men don't bleed?" “ I do,” the man replied. The doctor then took out a needle and poked the man's thumb. Out came a drop of blood. The doctor pointed to the blood and said, "See, you were wrong" to which the man replied, "I was wrong – dead men do bleed!" When dinosaur soft tissue was first discovered, secular scientists discounted it, because everyone knows soft tissue can't survive 60 million years. Creationists agreed, but noted that it might survive a few thousand. But as evidence of dinosaur soft tissue keeps increasing, secular scientists have changed their tune. They now say dinosaur soft tissues can survive 60 million years. Yes, and dead men do bleed. 50 years of failed climate predictions It's understandable why a 16-year-old like Greta Thunburg would be very worried about the climate. She's taking her teachers at their word and they're telling her the world is coming to an end. But for those who are maybe 50 and up, what we know that she doesn't, is that sometimes people speak with a lot more certainty than is warranted. As this article demonstrates, folks have been predicting climate apocalypse for quite some time now, and they've gotten it wrong for just as long. More significantly, some of those making the doom and gloom predictions now, are the very same folks who have gotten it wrong before. Real men offer forgiveness to all, but only give it to the repentant As young men turn to Jordan Peterson for advice, David Murray is trying to offer them better – because it is biblically-grounded – direction via his Christian Man Academy. ...

News

Saturday Selections - Oct. 5, 2019

Man embraces woman who killed his brother, urges her to give life to Christ The brother of Botham Jean – a man killed by his neighbor in what she's says was a tragic mistake — extended forgiveness to his brother’s killer. And to add to the wonder, the judge then went on to give the killer a bible. Research into happiness echoes what the Bible has always said  Randy Alcorn shares how research into happiness has discovered 8 factors that are also found in God's Word. BC pays for euthanasia but not full homecare This is what happens "when euthanasia is legal and the money runs out" – the BC government recently forced a man to choose between being institutionalized or being killed. He chose death. Why isn't there online voting in Canada's federal election? How do you make an electronic vote both anonymous and verifiable? How can our ballot be secret, and yet still leave a trail to preclude fraud and errors? To say this is a tough problem understates it. Might the security and anonymity that is easy to do with paper be simply impossible to do online? The title link is to an in-depth look, while a briefer case for paper is made here. 40 lessons we tried to teach our children You only have them for a little while - what do you want to teach your children? Snopes.com fact-checks Christian satire site Babylon Bee's jokes (5 min) Snopes.com is the go-to fact-checker for many online, so it's important Christians understand they too have their biases and glaring blind spots. ...

News

University rejects Christian group for not wanting to be LGBT group

Duke University’s student government has rejected a Christian student group’s request for official status. They turned down Young Life because, while the group allows homosexuals to their events, it doesn’t allow homosexuals to hold leadership positions. And that, the student government contends, amounts to discrimination. Other Duke student groups are organized around race, religion, and sexual beliefs, but these groups have so structured their constitutions as to say they will allow anyone in. So, for example, the Muslim Student Association’s constitution promises: “all undergraduate and graduate students at Duke University are eligible for membership” and “any member of the Duke Muslim Student Association can become an officer.” Near identical wording can be found in the constitutions of the Black Student Alliance and the Native American Student Alliance. These constitutions allow for curious possibilities. If, say, enough Christians were so inclined, they could take over the Muslim Student Association. A bunch of white, or Asian, or Latino students could do the same to the Black Student Alliance. But, interestingly, this same trick probably couldn’t be pulled on the campus LGBT group, Blue Devils United, whose constitution allows for the removal of students “found in violation of our mission” to promote “intersectionality.” Christians need not apply here. That’s why if Young Life were to sue, it seems likely they would win. In February a federal judge found in favor of a University of Iowa student group, Business Leaders in Christ, which had been stripped of its registered status. They also wouldn’t allow a homosexual student to hold a leadership position. The judge noted that other campus groups were allowed to limit their membership, basing it on race, religion, or view of homosexuality. It was clear then that the University of Iowa was unfairly penalizing Business Leaders for limiting their leadership to Christians....

News

Saturday Selections – Sept. 28, 2019

South of Royal: You remain faithful While their indie-synth-pop stylings might not be to everyone's tastes, South of Royal's lyrical, biblical depth is impressive. The link above is to the website for their first album, Deliverance and Doubt, where you can find lead singer Daniel Clay explaining the thinking behind the album. And you can listen to the album on Youtube here. What would life look like if there were no smartphones? Photographer Eric Pickersgill has taken everyday settings and pulled the smartphones out of them, showing us just how little we're looking at each other. Gather the kidlings around, flip through these 100+ pictures together, and discuss. Half beluga, half narwhal? What's a belwhal? It turns out that beluga whales and narwhals (the ones with the long unicorn-type horn) can interbreed. And that's surprising to evolutionists, who believe the two species have been evolving independently of one another for more than a million years. I have forgotten how to read "For a long time, I convinced myself that a childhood spent immersed in old-fashioned books would insulate me somehow from our new media climate – that I could keep on reading and writing in the old way because my mind was formed in pre-internet days. But the mind is plastic – and I have changed. I'm not the reader I was." Study: gullible folks can't tell truth from Babylon Bee satire The Christian satire site Babylon Bee has gotten into a tiff as of late with the liberal fact-checking organization Snopes.com, which was accusing them of passing on fake news. But that some people believe these obviously fake stories wouldn't seem an indictment on the Babylon Bee, but rather on the public education system. Environmental "solutions" and the tradeoffs we don't hear about Economist Thomas Sowell once noted, "There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs.” He spoke of this as being a conservative understanding, but in acknowledging the imperfectibility of our world, and the limitations of man, it is also a Christian position. On the other, liberal, side are those who speak of solutions and who either entirely, or largely, neglect to mention any downsides. So even as we hear increasingly heated rhetoric about how our planet is coming to a tipping point, or there is a climate crisis only a dozen years out, what we don't hear much about are the costs, both environmental, and economic, for the "solutions" they propose. This video details some, and the article in the link above details others. The reasons Christians should care is that if a solution is had by afflicting the poor, then that is not a solution we should pursue. And the more such an oblivious-to-the-poor solution is presented as something that must be done, then the more we have reason to doubt the legitimacy of the "crisis" that necessitates such an ungodly solution. ...

News

Dutch doctor acquitted in euthanasia case

The threshold for euthanasia in the Netherlands is already low. And a Dutch court just lowered it even further. On 10 September, a panel of three judges found a doctor “not guilty” of breaking the law in the way she administered a lethal injection to one of her patients. The trial represented the first time a doctor was prosecuted since the Netherlands legalized euthanasia in 2002. The case centered on the question of whether a patient who is mentally incompetent can receive a lethal injection. Under Dutch law, a person can write a legal declaration requesting euthanasia should they develop advanced dementia in the future. If a doctor determines a patient with such a legal declaration has “unbearable suffering,” they can proceed to euthanize them – even though the patient is unable to orally confirm that they still wish to die. The patient at the center of the case was a woman with Alzheimer’s. Her condition had become so advanced that she no longer recognized her own face in the mirror. When she was still mentally competent, she had written up a legal declaration. She had also had several conversations with her GP about euthanasia over a period of several years. However, she kept saying she was not yet ready to die. Once her condition became advanced, she had to be removed to a care home. The doctor who ultimately gave her the lethal injection worked in the care home. The woman’s husband raised the issue of euthanasia with the doctor when the woman was admitted. The doctor then spent seven weeks consulting with second opinions to determine if the woman met the criteria of “unbearable suffering” before ending her life on 22 April 2016. The doctor began by secretly administering a sedative to the woman via her coffee to put her to sleep. However, the woman awakened when the lethal drugs were added to her IV and began to struggle. She was restrained by her husband and daughter so the doctor could finish. The Dutch committee that oversees euthanasia found the doctor “negligent” in the way she handled the case. The Netherlands’ Board of Medical Examiners also issued her a reprimand. However, the court acquitted her of breaking Dutch euthanasia law and thus set an important precedent. Legal declarations can be used to administer euthanasia to patients who are not able to give consent and are perhaps totally unaware of what is being done to them. Euthanasia for patients with advanced dementia is still extremely rare in the Netherlands. There were only 15 reported instances of this since legalization in 2002 (out of a total of 62,000). However, the numbers are likely to increase in the years that come. One poll found that over 10% of Dutch adults have a legal declaration requesting euthanasia in the event of advanced dementia. Given the amount of media coverage the recent trial and verdict attracted, more people may decide to write them. Up to now, the status of these legal declarations had been ambiguous. Even some euthanasia supporters are opposed to them because it is not possible to determine if the patient still wishes to end their life. Last year, ethicist Berna van Baarsen resigned from her position on the Dutch committee that oversees the practice of euthanasia because she does not believe advanced dementia patients should be eligible. “That’s my boundary, based on ten years of reflection and reading dossiers,” she said. However, on 10 September, the Dutch court sent a clear message that legal declarations can be used as a substitute for oral consent to put a mentally incompetent person to death. A study showed that 92% of the Dutch population accepts euthanasia. However, many are uncomfortable with the way the threshold for eligibility continues to be lowered. Perhaps the verdict will lead more people to stop and ask, “Where does this end?”...

News

Saturday Selections - Sept. 21, 2019

Real men know when to cover an offense (4 minutes) When we're sinned against, we have two options: to lovingly confront the sinner, or, to loving "cover" or overlook the offense. In this video, David Murray looks at when to overlook an offense, including how we can tell whether our "overlooking" is not about love, but laziness or being too uncaring to confront a loved one who really needs to be confronted. (For a transcript of the video, see the link above.) British government fights genital mutilation among Muslims, encourages it among others The British government is setting up support centers for victims of female genital mutilation, a practice done in some Muslim-majority countries that can involve cutting off a woman's clitoris. But even as the government is, in this limited way, discouraging one form of genital mutilation, it is encouraging it in another: funding irreversible "transgender" surgeries that involve cutting off men or women's genitals in an attempt to make them what they can never be: the other gender. They are lying to us In 2002 Jonathan Wells published Icons of Evolution in which he asked why evolutionists continued to use certain arguments and evidences even after they'd been discredited. He showed how decades afterward "proofs" like the Miller–Urey experiment would still be taught in school textbooks, though the experts themselves knew better. In this short article by philosopher J. Budziszewski, he gives an answer: they know better, but they know they can fool folks who don't know better. And they've come up with ethical justifications for fooling them. Seeing through a university prof's attack A university professor can confound a student by asking them one question after another. But that you don't know every answer to every challenge to God's truth doesn't make that truth any less true. The Cobra Effect – Big government brings with it a lot of unintended consequences (10-minute read) An Indian government intended to curtail cobra infestations, but their bounty on cobra tails incentivized citizens to start raising cobras to collect on the bounty, leaving the region with even more cobras than before. This scenario – a good-intentioned government incentivizing harm – is so oft-occurring it's been given a name: "the cobra effect." This article explores historic examples of this effect, and makes the point (as does Proverbs 27:14) that good intentions are not enough. It argues that, since unintended consequences are so hard to anticipate, governments should approach the creating of legislation with great humility and restraint – meaning well doesn't mean you will do well, so don't make a law unless it is vitally necessary. Hard as it is to believe, hummingbirds actually get cooler in slow motion Hummingbirds must be why super slow motion film was invented. At full speed they are jaw-droppingly amazing – watching these little zipsters is prayer-inducing. And then seeing them in slow motion offers a whole other appreciation of what God has packed into these littlest of the beasties. Wow! Just wow! ...

News

Public doubt: Josh Harris abandons God, and Hillsong’s Marty Sampson struggles

In July, Josh Harris, the author of the 1990s Christian bestseller, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, declared he was kissing his wife and his God goodbye. He made the announcements on Instagram where, shortly thereafter, the former pastor shared a picture of himself as a participant in this year’s Vancouver Pride Parade. In mid August another public figure used Instagram to announce a crisis of faith. One of Hillsong  Church’s worship leaders, Marty Sampson, told his followers: “I’m genuinely losing my faith… and it doesn’t bother me…. I am so happy now, so at peace with the world.“ He then laid out some of the questions that had been troubling him: “How many preachers fall? Many. No one talks about it. How many miracles happen. Not many. No one talks about it. Why is the Bible full of contradictions? No one talks about it. How can God be love yet send four billion people to a place, all ‘coz they don’t believe? No one talks about it. Christians can be the most judgmental people on the planet – they can also be some of the most beautiful and loving people. But it’s not for me.” The post has since been deleted, and Sampson has since clarified that he hasn’t renounced God, but that his faith is on “incredibly shaky ground.” This public apostasy of Josh Harris, and the equally public struggle of Marty Sampson were met by all sorts of reactions. Among the constructive ones, was a Facebook post by John Cooper, the leader singer of the Christian rock band Skillet who, while never mentioning either by name, was clearly writing about both Harris and Sampson. He began by questioning why Harris continues to act as a public figure: “I am stunned that the seemingly most important thing for these leaders who have lost their faith is to make such a bold new stance. Basically saying, ‘I’ve been living and preaching boldly something for 20 years and led generations of people with my teachings and now I no longer believe it…therefore I’m going to boldly and loudly tell people it was all wrong while I boldly and loudly lead people in to my next truth.’ I’m perplexed why they aren’t embarrassed? Humbled? Ashamed, fearful, confused? Why be so eager to continue leading people when you clearly don’t know where you are headed?” Then he addressed Sampson, not mentioning him by name, but responding to a question in Sampson’s post: “…there is a common thread running through these leaders/influencers that basically says that ‘no one else is talking about the REAL stuff.’ This is just flatly false. I just read today in a renown worship leader’s statement, ‘How could a God of love send people to hell? No one talks about it.’ As if he is the first person to ask this? Brother, you are not that unique. The church has wrestled with this for 1500 years. Literally. Everybody talks about it. Children talk about it in Sunday school. There’s like a billion books written on the topic. Just because you don’t get the answer you want doesn’t mean that we are unwilling to wrestle with it. We wrestle with scripture until we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.” Breakpoint Ministries’ John Stonestreet saw Sampson’s struggle as revealing “a failure on the part of the church to take the difficult but essential task of faith formation seriously enough.” In his August 10 column, he noted that the faith Sampson felt himself falling away from was an emotion-driven, uncritical and uneducated faith that discouraged questions because it couldn’t stand up to them.  But this is not Christianity. This is not the faith of David, or Habakkuk, or Solomon, who all came to God in despair, asking questions in doubt. God is not scared of our questions…though as we see with Job, He doesn’t always give us the exact answer we were asking for. But He invites inquiry – honest questions, not simply scoffing (Prov. 3:34) – because He wants us to love Him with not only our heart, but also our mind (Matt. 22:37). So, as Stonestreet notes, it isn’t wrong to admit to doubt. But that a worship leader feels that no one is talking about these things reveals a congregation that isn’t interacting with the Psalms, or preaching on Habakkuk, and Job, and Ecclesiastes. As Stonestreet puts it, his church failed him. In 1 Cor. 10: 1-12, Paul tells us to take it as a warning when we see the problems others face. So, in our Reformed churches, how are we dealing with these types of questions? How do we address the doubts that are common to many a Christian? Are our churches a place where honest inquiries are welcomed? Or, if Robert Sampson were in our midst, would he feel that here too, “no one talks about it”?...

News

News or fake news: third of Brits have dinner in silence?   

In September, at least five of the United Kingdom’s online newspapers shared the results of a study claiming one-third of Brits eat their dinners in complete silence (we linked to just the one paper because the others are sleazy). They reported the study was commissioned by Old El Paso, the Tex Mex food producer, and involved 2,500 British parents.  Other  findings include: 4 in 10 parents don’t eat at the same time as their children most days only 20% of families eat dinner together every day of the week 44% of respondents admit to staring at their phones well eating Apparently more and more families don’t have the energy or intimacy to know how to interact with one another. That’s sad, if true. But this has a whiff of fake news about it. How so? The original study is untraceable – we’re told it was commissioned by Old El Paso, but we aren’t told what polling organization did it. No further information can be found on the company website or social media pages. Also, while the news articles have a few different titles, most were authored by just one reporter, Rob Knight (a few others were unattributed, and some were shorter abridgments). So even as it seemed this story was coming from lots of different sources, it actually amounted to just one. What we’re left with is one reporter telling us about a study that can’t be traced, which was published by a company that hasn’t publicized it on their website or social media. None of that means its fake. It does give us reason for healthy skepticism. For Christians, how many Brits talk during dinner isn’t as important as that we know how to handle such news stories. We’re all news outlets now, what with our social media accounts, so the question we have to ask is, are we going to be reliable or unreliable reporters? This is a big deal. After all, we worship a God-man who died and came back to life, which is already a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks (1 Cor. 1:23). We don’t want to blow our credibility where it hardly matters by passing along trivia that doesn’t turn out to be true. Instead we want to be careful in the small things, so that we will be seen as trustworthy when we talk about what, or rather Who, really matters....

News

New study: Universe may be younger (or older) than scientists previously thought

The Associated Press headline read, "Study finds universe might be 2 billion years younger." While that wasn’t a complete come-to-creationism capitulation – even running with the new estimate would leave secular science more than 11 billion years off the biblical timescale – it seemed an encouraging development. Hey, they’re moving in the right direction! But it turns out the headline, while technically accurate, should have had the “might” underlined, italicized and bolded since there was quite the margin of error. Yes, Inh Jee and his team from the Max Plank Institute in Germany think the universe might be 11.4 billion years, which is down 2 billion from the conventionally held 13.7.  But her margin of error is so large that the upper range of her team’s estimate would actually make the universe even older. Shucks. What’s still noteworthy, though, is simply that the age of the universe is still being debated. Did you know that was happening? Secular science is represented in the press and classrooms as having it all figured out. But this is another instance in which they’ve been left looking for their erasers, readying themselves for another correction to their ever-changing textbooks. In contrast Christians can be grateful for, and confident in, the unchanging source of truth God has given us in his Word....

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Saturday Selections - Sept 14, 2019

The lie of realism (10 minutes) "The reason I write fantasy novels is because I am a realist." - Nate Wilson explaining how God's Creation is magical, and anything that depicts it as otherwise simply isn't realistic. The talk below is the 10-minute version, but you can click above for a 53-minute version. Teens Who Hold Off On Dating Have Better Social Skills, Less Depressed One study is just one study, but this is an interesting result. Why might non-dating teens have less depression and better social and leadership skills? We can only speculate (that article doesn't get into it), but can do so as Reformed folks might. So we can note, as Calvin did, that the human heart is an idol-factory, and we may be able to recall how, in those teen years, we or others made having a boyfriend or girlfriend an idol of sorts. When our prom date becomes our god, we're sure to be let down. And it's no wonder, then, that we might not be as happy as teens who aren't worshipping false gods. The curse of a godly wife "I have seen him far too often. He is the man who rarely takes the lead in his home. He is the man who almost never calls the family together for devotions. He is the man who feels dumb when asking his wife if he can pray for her, or when asking if she would like to sit and read the Bible with him. He is the one who seems almost afraid of being godly. "Why is he like this? In many cases it is because his wife is godlier—godlier than he is. She may have been a Christian for longer. She may have a deeper knowledge of the Bible. She may have read more books and listened to more sermons. She may be the one who loves to study the Bible and whose heart goes pitter-pat when she adds a new term to her theological lexicon. And when he compares himself to her, he feels inadequate." 4 Catastrophic Climate Predictions that Never Came True One way to spot a bad prophet is if what he speaks doesn't come true (Deut 18:22). Therein lies a general principle that can be drawn to predictors of all sorts – if what they predict doesn't come true, then we have good reason to doubt their next prediction. This article looks at the track record of Catastrophic Climate Predictions, and how doomsday warnings of the past have led to millions of deaths via abortions. Why blue collar work is glorious Gage Arnold speaks to how garbage men can be more vital than politicians, and looks at Lean manufacturing through a Christian lens. Life in 6 words: the Gospel (5 minutes) Rap artist Propaganda uses a six-letter acrostic to present the Gospel truth. ...

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Saturday Selections - Sept 7, 2019

Is college worth it? (5 min) If you want to be a nurse or architect, college is vital. But if you don't know why you're going – if you're not going in with a plan – then this fellow below argues that it isn't a good investment of your time or money. The dollar figures are US, but on both sides of the border, the investment of time is always considerable. If the link above and the video below are about why not to go (or why to wait) here's a link to help make it possible. There should be something to help everyone here: 68 ways to save money in college Facebook experimenting with removing "Like" counts? The social media giant shared that it has been experimenting with removing Like counts on Instagram posts and is considering it for Facebook too. Gun violence: Prov. 18:17 and the other sides to the story... Mass shootings south of the border fill the news, and each time one happens there are calls to ban guns. Most of those proposed bans are directed at military-looking rifles, but as the Daily Wire's Ryan Saavedra noted this past week, the number of homocides by rifle is comparatively low. What he shares below are the average number of deaths per day in US caused by: Abortion: 2,408 Heart disease: 1,773 Cancer: 1,641 Medical error: 685 Accidents: 401 Stroke: 401 Alzheimer's: 332 Diabetes: 228 Flu: 150 Suicide: 128 Opioids: 115 Drunk driving: 28 Underage drinking: 11 Teen texting-and-driving: 8 All Rifles: 1 This additional information is in keeping with Prov. 18:17, where we learn that to discern the Truth it helps to hear the two sides questioning each other. So, still in keeping with this verse, it's worth noting that Saavedra didn't share the overall number of gun-related deaths per day – those that involve not just rifles, but handguns and other guns as well – which gives us a considerably higher number: 30 per day. That's comparable to drunk-driving (though far less than abortion) so if gun bans could lower those numbers, shouldn't we try? Well, to go all Prov.18:17 again, another important side of this discussion is to consider how effective previous gun control legislation has been (can the gov't even do what it is attempting to do?), and how often do people use guns to defend themselves (how many lives are saved by guns)? When trying to track down those numbers Prov. 18:17 needs to be our guide once again because the different sides of this debate provide very different numbers that have to be questioned to get any sort of understanding of them. Female soccer player says she could definitely play in the NFL. No, she could not. Just because your three-year-old knows it doesn't mean adults don't need to hear the Truth stated clearly. Matt Walsh helps out here by explaining women cannot play football at the NFL level for the it-should-have-been-obvious reason that men and women are different. Faithfulness is not theologically complicated (10 minute read) Confused Christians don't know what to think about abortion, marriage, gender, homosexuality, and Jesus' exclusive claims because they aren't looking to Scripture. But, as Greg Koukl shares here, in His Word God is very clear on all these issues. Is sex assigned at birth? – what would you say? (4 min) The Colson Center is a conservative Judeo-Christian think tank (with some Reformed influences to it) that's probably best known for their daily audio Breakpoint commentaries on 1,200 radio stations across North America. Now they're expanding into video, with short "PragerU" type videos tackling controversial issues under the theme: "What would you say?". So far they have three videos, with this one tackling the topic of gender fluidity. As good as this video is, it would best be characterized as a secular presentation because God is never mentioned, which is a strange omission for a professedly Christian think tank. So watch the video, but when you share it be sure to add what they missed: that even when the activists, celebrities, politicians, and scientists are confused, we can turn to God's Word for the unchanging Truth. And when it comes to gender, the Truth is God made us male and female (Gen. 1:27). ...

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After politicians decline, "stones" start defending the unborn

Politically, the last two weeks have not been auspicious for the unborn. South of the border we saw Democratic presidential candidates compete for how callous they could be: Beto O’Rourke endorsed abortion right up to a child’s birthday, while Bernie Sanders sold killing the unborn as a way to fight global warming. Then in Canada, the two party leaders that pro-lifers are watching closest did their best to disappoint. The Conservative Party’s Andrew Scheer repeatedly promised his party wouldn’t bring forward legislation on divisive social issues, while the People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier stated that “up to 24, 25, 26 weeks…the fetus is not a child.” If this news has you despairing, then dig a bit deeper into your newspaper while considering Luke 19:40. In this verse Jesus, in response to the Pharisees trying to shut his disciples up, says, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” Over the last two weeks we’ve had something very much like that happen. Even as princes have disappointed (Ps. 146:3) we’ve had the unlikeliest of defenders crying out for the unborn. The first “stone” was Planned Parenthood (PP) itself. The abortion giant’s Sept. 1 Instagram post made the profound point that:  “The size of your body doesn’t define your worth!” PP wasn’t able to connect the dots, but the Twitterverse did, highlighting that this is exactly what pro-lifers say about the unborn. As that renowned philosopher Dr. Seuss once put it, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” There was also a second stone crying out.  On Aug. 26, Dave Chappelle’s new Netflix comedy special was released. In it the foul-mouthed Chappelle yanked his audience back and forth, first telling them, “I’m not for abortion” before assuring them, “I’m not for it, but I’m not against it either.” To calm them down further, he trotted out the standard pro-choice rhetoric that if you don’t have a uterus, you shouldn’t have an opinion. “Seriously! This is theirs; the right to choose is unequivocal right. Not only do I believe they have the right to choose, I believe that they shouldn’t have to consult anybody, except for a physician, about how they exercise that right. Gentlemen, that is fair. “ Then, once he had his pro-choice audience reassured, he took another sharp turn: “And ladies, to be fair to us, I also believe that if you decide to have the baby, a man should not have to pay. That’s fair. If you can kill this ********, I can at least abandon him. It’s my money, my choice.” If murder is a right, why can’t abandonment be too? Chappelle’s logic is sound, but it takes us to a place even abortion defenders don’t want to go. That’s when Chappelle concludes with a parting shot: “And if I’m wrong, then perhaps we’re wrong.” From the ready laughter it's clear his audience doesn’t understand what Chappelle has just hit them with. He’s telling them that if they know abandonment isn’t right, then they should understand murder isn’t either. The audience doesn’t get it yet, but they will. As for us, if we’re too anxious to speak God’s Truth publicly, and are mumbling out a half-hearted whisper now and again only because we feel we really have to, what we need to realize is, we don’t have to – God’s got the opposition doing it, so He really doesn’t need us. We don’t have to. But we do get to. If these “stones” can cause a ruckus speaking just a part of God’s Truth, imagine how He might use us, if God’s people were willing to open our mouths and cry out....

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Saturday Selections – August 31, 2019

Real men are courageous Driving your car fast might get you an adrenaline rush, but it doesn't make you brave. Real courage involves doing the thing you fear because you know it is important, and right, and someone has got to do it so it might as well be you. David Murray lays out God's call for men to be courageous. Environmentalists have gotten it wrong again and again This article shares some of the predictions made over the last 50 years, compared to how things turned out. I will note the article title speaks of "Greenies" getting it wrong every time and it would be nice if the rhetoric was tamped down just a bit. They'd have to be truly remarkable to be wrong a perfect 100% of the time. Why human rights and chimpanzee rights can't co-exist There is a push for animal rights that will turn human rights on their head. It comes down to this: the world, both Christian and gentile alike, view the topic of rights and equality through a largely Christian perspective. We believe all men are created equal and that only makes sense if there is some sense in which we are all the same. Christians know that we are all made in God's image. And the world has no alternative explanation to offer so they make due by avoiding the topic altogether: "We are all equal and let's just not talk about why, okay!" It is from God too, that our rights come - for example, we have the right to life, because He forbids murder. But those pushing for chimpanzee rights want to grant rights on a gradient: they aren't arguing for chimpanzees to have all the same rights as humans, but, because they are an awful lot like us, they think they should get some of our rights. Some? Based on them sharing some of our abilities? If we fail to recognize the difference between Image-bearers and animals, and start handing out rights based on abilities, where will that take us? We actually don't have to look very far to see. While individuals already born are treated in a generally equitable fashion  – no matter how able they are or are not – the same is not true for the unborn. Their murders are justified on the very basis of them not having abilities that you and I have. They don't have a heartbeat yet? They can be killed. They can't breathe on their own yet? Let's kill them. But what of the boy dependent 0n dialysis? If we're granting rights based on abilities, how is this disabled boy going to fare? Thus the push for animal rights is, on the one hand, incompatible with human rights, and, on the other, simply a continuation of the same lie behind abortion and euthanasia too - that the value of our lives lies in how able we are. The counter to that? Only God's own Truth: that we are precious because we are Image-bearers of the One True God. IVF and its millions of frozen embryos IVF is an issue the Church should be talking about, but isn't. The result? Christians, unaware of the implications, and at the encouragement of their doctors, may well create children they then freeze... How to stop praying the same old things "It doesn’t take long before rote prayers fragment your attention span and freeze your heart." Jordan Peterson: the deepfake artists must be stopped It is now possible to copy someone's image and voice so flawlessly that when it comes to digital video, we really can't trust our eyes and ears. The video below is of Obama making a speech he never made, and the article linked just above is Jordan Peterson detailing his experience with his own digital copies. He warns this technology has the potential to be enormously disruptive. ...

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Saturday Selections - August 24, 2019

The Joel Osteen sermon that changed Oprah's life (13 minutes) While we prefer to focus on what's good and right and true (Philippians 4:8), Joel Osteen's sermon here is of-a-kind with the "Christian" theology that's everywhere available: on blogs, podcasts, and yes, YouTube sermons too. That makes Tim Challies' takedown of Osteen's sermon instructive for us in our everyday reading, listening, and viewing. Canadian gov't is subsidizing the mainstream media to the tune of $600 million over 5 years Ted Byfield warns that he who pays the piper calls the tune. Should Christians be capitalists? (10 min. read) "In 2019, the absolute poor numbered 750 million, which is a lot but, proportionally, is less than 10 percent of the world’s population. 200 years ago, you couldn’t find close to 10 percent who weren’t living in absolute poverty." FREE E-BOOK: Titus for you This is a recommendation sight unseen but the company it comes from has published some great books. Titus for You is available for free until the end of the month. You do have to give them your email address but if you don't like getting emails from them it's easy to unsubscribe. Parents: pleasant words are healing words Christian parents know better than to insult their children, but just because we aren't saying really nasty things doesn't mean we're saying good things. "Do it because I said so" is adequate, from a justice perspective – children should listen to their parents simply because we are their parents – but is it a patient way of saying things? Quit social media (14 min) This would be a fantastic video for parents and teens to watch together and discuss. We might not make the same decision as this TED talk presenter, but he gives us lots to think about. ...

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Saturday Selections - August 17, 2019

What to expect when your kids head off to college  "Hundreds of years of bad philosophy are about to immerse your child." World magazine's Andrée Seu Peterson warns parents that they better get ready to answer the challenges their child is going to come home with. Time to kiss New Calvinism goodbye While New Calvinism got a lot right, what it got wrong has been destroying it - its view of the church has been too ad hoc, taking more inspiration from the business world than it has from the Bible. The problem with "Just do something!" Another shooting in the US has people calling on the government to "do something." But this call assumes the government is both able, and competent to address what's wrong. And what's clear from the many debates going on right now is most people don't even understand what is wrong. Why I fell out of love with Marie Kondo's minimalism "Popular minimalist blogs give helpful tips for 'converting' one’s maximalist partner. To set an example, I downsized my own clothing in the hopes that he would willingly give up some of his ratty t-shirts, and I constantly donated books I never planned on reading. 'See!' I would shriek, while maniacally stacking old casserole dishes in a cardboard box because they didn’t 'spark joy.' 'See how happy this is making me?'” FREE BOOK: A modernized edition of John Owen's On the Mortification of Sin It's a favorite of John Piper, Tim Keller, and J.I. Packer. But John Owen's 1656 classic On the Mortification of Sin is also really old, and Owens was never known as a concise writer. So there was a pressing need for a modernized version. A few years back Aaron Renn did the work, and now, for the the next two weeks (until Labor Day) he's offering his updated version for free. You can download a helpful pdf outline here, and get the free Kindle (Mobi) version here, or the free EPUB version here. Why everybody is suddenly allergic to everything these days One possibility this secular video/article doesn't get into is whether the apparent increase in allergies is caused by accumulated mutations. As Dr. John Sanford has noted, each new generation has approximately 100 more mutations than the previous one. This is a point that a secular article wouldn't raise, because this precarious mutation rate doesn't fit with evolution's long ages. This rate would indicate that Man was fitter in the very recent past (a few thousand years) and is heading for demise in just a few thousand more. ...

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Saturday Selections - August 10, 2019

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Jane Goodall have a plan to save the planet Once again key figures in the environmental movement are treating children as a curse that needs to be avoided, rather than as the blessing that God says they are. Modesty at the pool (18-minute podcast) What women should wear at the beach and the pool is a hot topic in Christian circles, and one that can easily tip into either a pharisaical legalism, or an uncaring lawlessness. Martha Peace and Heath Lambert tried to guide us down the center path in this podcast episode. How fathers influence their daughters' romantic relationships One big influence: when a girl sees her father is committed to her mother, that influences what she looks for in a potential spouse. Disability and the body of Christ Joni Eareckson Tada speaks to the valuable place the disabled hold in the body of the Church. Today I hate foster care There are big problems with the foster care system. But that's not a reason to abandon it or the children in it. "We can't just opt out." The secret to family togetherness? (3 min) It's not radical; it just seems that way. ...

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Saturday Selections - August 3, 2019

A very unique way to share the Gospel (5 min) Here's an inventive way that one church is reaching into its community. Josh Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, renounces God David French weighs in on Harris's Instagram announcement, and on the purity culture that Harris fostered. Reformation Wall in Geneva vandalized Europe's Christian heritage is being vandalized, including statutes of Calvin, Farel, Bèze and Knox that were recently covered in a rainbow of paint colors. The United Nations is still pushing the overpopulation myth "World Population Day ....instituted by the United Nations in 1989 to bring attention to high population growth. ts original purpose is now largely irrelevant – though you might not think so from some media reports." How Alberta became the gambling capital of Canada Is the Alberta government addicted to gambling? It's now getting more revenue from gambling than it gets from Natural Gas royalties. X-Men flub Evolution – mutations don't build anything new (8 min) In this Intelligent Design presentation, we see how Evolution's key instrument for change – mutation – doesn't do what they say it does. ...

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Saturday Selections - July 27, 2019

Seal bearing name that appears in the Bible was discovered (3 min) It's tiny, but it's big – this recent archeological find is a seal is from the same time period as its namesake and includes a title that would likely match as well. How Matthew Vines turned "you will know them by their fruits" into a justification for homosexuality  When Matthew Vines' book God and the Gay Christian came out in 2014, it didn't seem all that significant – the arguments weren't too different from any liberal Christian text: we need to radically revise what the Church has always agreed on, in this case, homosexuality. But the book has had a big impact in evangelical circles – in circles where folks say they take the Bible as authoritative – convincing many to completely flip their position. So it's worth looking at one of the key arguments in the book, where Vines appeals to what Jesus said in Matt. 7:15-20 about trees bearing bad and good fruit. How kids change dad Science is discovering that after a man has children, his body and brain changes in very different ways than his wife's, which underscores how God really did make us male and female (Gen. 1:27). So, "as Ryan Anderson is fond of saying, there is no such thing as 'parenting.' There’s only mothering and fathering." Defy culture: invite them to your wedding Have you thought about how many of your non-Christian friends, neighbors, co-workers and relatives you can invite to your wedding? Weddings are an opportunity to glorify God and evangelize by reflecting the coming marriage feast. Why it's important to read to our kids Reading with your children regularly sets up an opportunity for cuddling and, equally important, conversations. Chemist's challenge: “Show Me the Chemistry” of the origins of life. “It’s Not There.” (50 min) How did life first come to be? The impression is often given that Darwin answered this question, but he hardly touched it, only offering that it must have happened somehow in "some warm little pond" that had all the right compounds readily available. But there is no evidence for the spontaneous generation that Darwin's theory needs to start things off. As James Tours shows in this, brilliant, often hilarious, and frequently complicated (don't fret if you don't get it all) lecture, what Darwin thought could happen by chance can't even be planned by the most brilliant scientists, with the most fantastic equipment. This hour-long lecture isn't for everyone, but if this is an area of interest, or if you know an arrogant evolutionist or two, then this will be a treat and an encouragement. Presenter James Tours follows the typical Intelligent Design approach of keeping God out of the conversation, and instead adopts the secularist's own worldview ("Science is god") to blow it up ("but your god can't explain the origin of life"). The problem with this approach is that it doesn't take us past the point where we kill their god. Our purpose on Earth isn't to rob false god's of their glory, but rather to give glory to the one true God...and we can't do that if we won't say His Name. That said, James Tour is very clear where he is coming from, and points listeners to God in an indirect way. ...

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Saturday Selections - July 20, 2019

The programmer? (6 min) Our DNA is more remarkable than any man-made computer program. So who programmed it? When your kids complain, "That's not fair!" Two children plus one toy equals trouble. Or is it an opportunity? Arguments Creationists shouldn't use While it's important we hold to the biblical truth of a six-day creation tightly, we can hold to individual creationist hypotheses loosely. Why I wish we hadn't lived together before getting married A 34-year-old reflects on what she might have told the 18-year-old version of herself. The gift of accepting help There's a word for thinking we can do it all ourselves, better than anyone else: pride. 1984 is happening in China (11 min) The BBC reports on how the Chinese government is interning a million of its citizens, mostly Muslim, for thought crimes. That's why some are calling China "freedom's greatest threat." ...

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Saturday Selections - July 13, 2019

Fined $8.2 million for pro-life work, this pastor wouldn't pay Randy Alcorn's name is well known in Christian circles for the many books he's written. Less known is how he worked at a minimum wage for 20 years so he wouldn't have to pay an $8.2 million judgement to an abortion clinic. This is an amazing story of faithfulness! Free e-book: Transgender In this short 80-page book, Vaughan Roberts lays out the biblical understanding of gender and body and shows how to talk lovingly to transgender folk. To get the free e-book you do have to give your email address, and you do have to act quickly because it will only be free for a short while. Parents: 8 tips for a snark-free summer Our kids don't always talk to us the way they should. Here are some practical tips to help them and you. Hell interrupted The eternal punishment of hell is a difficult doctrine for many to accept. But as Greg Koukl and Tim Barnett make clear in this 5-minute read, it is what Scripture teaches. Can China's demographic nightmare be undone? China's four-decade-long one-child policy taught citizens that children were a burden, rather than the blessing God says they are. The country is now facing a demographic nightmare, with siblingless couples the sole working support for their two sets of parents and four sets of grandparents. Not having children has been the real burden – if their parents and grandparents would have had more children then there would have been brothers and sisters and cousins to share the work. And while the government now allows families to have two children, they're finding they can't undo the "children are a curse" outlook they spend 40 years creating. Evolution can't explain the origin of life (7 min) If life originated without design or intent, but by chance, why can't the world's most brilliant minds – with their computers and chemicals and machines helping them and with the blueprints provided by already living cells – make life from scratch? This is a fascinating video, though the Intelligent Design perspective underlying it doesn't explicitly give God His due. ...

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Saturday Selections - July 6, 2019

Parents: don't squelch your kids' interest in Creation (1 min) Global warming hopelessness In response to climate-change cataclysmic predictions, some wonder: "Why save for the future if there is no future?" Why Board games are booming in a digital age "...more and more people using screens at work....When we finish, do we really want to stare at a screen some more?" Liligers, Ligers, and tigons, oh my! Some have misrepresented the Bible as teaching a "fixity of species" – i.e. that all species stay the same. But instead the Bible speaks of "kinds" and those kinds can involve a lot of changes, like all cats descending from just one cat kind...even as they all still stay cats. Sex and statistics Statistics can be twisted this way and that, so what's commonly being reported in the media can turn out to be the complete opposite of the truth. In this example, you may have heard recently that conservative Protestants have miserable sex lives, and are indulging in porn at a similar rate to the world. The truth is very different. The Fine-Tuning of the Universe (8 min) Our planet, solar system, and the universe are improbably fine-tuned for us to thrive. How could everything happen to be just so? The secular world offers up the multiverse theory. They say that while it is too improbable to believe our universe could be this fine-tuned if we had just the one chance at it, the odds could be improved if there were actually billions upon billions of other universes out there – then this would just happen to be the one where everything lined up right. But what evidence is there for the multiverse theory? Just as much as there is for leprechauns. Or unicorns. Or fairies. Yet, this is what secular "science" offers us. ...

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Saturday Selections - June 29, 2019

John MacArthur: Calvinism vs. Arminianism (6 min) How can God be sovereign over everything and we still be responsible for our sin? John MacArthur gives the classic Calvinist answer with his own unique style. What are some of the best evidences against the Big Bang and Old Earth theories? Dr. Jonathan Sarfati gives a short answer to this question, but with links to a dozen other articles that provide the longer version. How could heaven not have sex? "...lifelong commitment to a spouse in marriage is...one of the greatest joys to be had in this world. Why would it not endure into the next?" Vaccines, sunscreens & the “sneaky lie” moms need to stop believing We do have to care for our children's physical wellness, but there's something far more important, and we also need to get our priorities straight. Sorry, banning plastic bags won't save our planet While the author of this article isn't Christian, hearing his critique of one-use plastic bans lines up with Proverbs 18:17, where we're told that to know the truth, we really have to hear from both sides. So we hear a lot about the benefits of plastic bag bans, but what would a critic say? Here are two questions critics might ask: Will it fix what it's supposed to fix? In this case, will it have a significant impact on the plastics in the ocean? Will it cause other problems? Or, in other words, what are the tradeoffs? Do we have to rule out God to do good science? (4 min) This is an absolutely fantastic take-down of methodological naturalism - the idea that if we turn to God as an explanation for anything then we aren't doing science. But what would happen if we, before our investigation even began, ruled out the possibility that there might be a Designer? Imagine if we could only appeal to natural sources to explain the origins of the car? What sort of explanation would we come up for it, if, before our investigation even began, we ruled out the possibility that there might have been a designer? Obviously whatever explanation we came up with would be a very wrong one. So when scientists rule out the Supernatural, before they've even begun their investigation into our own origins, then they are showing themselves unwilling to go where the evidence takes them - they are ideologically blinding themselves so that they can't find certain answers. ...

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Saturday Selections - June 22, 2019

Preparing parents for the sex talk This 11-minute video from a conservative Christian group has some great thoughts for parents to consider, including quotes like this: Your kids will talk to you about the things you talk to them about. Your kids won't talk to you about things you won't talk to them about. And: To put it simply: children and adolescents do not need one 100-minute (awkward and painful) sexual health conversation. They need 100 one-minute conversations. They need sexual and relational education delivered in many, many sound bits, weekly, across their entire childhood and teen years. Controlled vs. controlling: the difference parents need to understand Our children need limits and rules for their safety, health, and spiritual well-being. But they also need to be able to experiment, grow, take responsibility, fail and recover, and learn how to learn on their own. So how can parents create a controlled environment, without crafting a micromanaged one? Why we need English class: reality isn't whatever we want it to be If students want to know why they have to study English, there is no better illustration than this article. The battle over the dictionary – how we use words, and how we define them – is a matter of life or death. Some try to use words to reshape reality, and while our words don't have that power (Ps. 33:9), we can use them to deny reality. We can call men "women" and vice versa, and babies "fetuses," and blessings "privileges," covetousness "justice," and more. However, as John Stonestreet notes, when we deny reality the victims pile up. The economics of climate change: what universities won't teach college students We don't often hear about the economic harm climate agreements may cause. And we rarely hear about how little impact these agreements – even according to their advocates – are expected to have compared to doing nothing. Pride parades: pros and cons A Manitoba Christian philosophy professor, writing in his local town paper, crafted this careful and courageous take on Pride Parades. You are more than your brain (7 min) When atheists deny the supernatural, that leaves them with only the natural – only the material – to explain everything around them. Thus the only logical conclusion for them to draw is that all we are – our personality, consciousness, preferences, opinions, etc. – is what we find in the three pounds of material that make up our brain. But as this creative video highlights, the evidence shows that materialism doesn't measure up. ...

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Saturday Selections - June 15, 2019

Bigger than big! (5 minutes) God has crafted our universe on the grandest of grand scales! Pinterest permanently bans investigative pro-life group Live Action and American Life League have both been kicked off of Pinterest. Unplanned is coming to Canada The biographical film Unplanned, about abortion clinic director turned pro-life advocate Abby Johnson, couldn't find a distributor in Canada. But now it may start hitting some Canadian cities starting in July. Boycotts, both theirs and ours This past week 180 companies took out a New York Times ad endorsing abortion. Here are some helpful thoughts on how, whether, and why Christians should get involved in boycotts. Dying to donate The idea of killing volunteers to get their organs is gaining popularity. This "death by organ donation" is the logical extension of euthanasia and if it happens Christians are going to have to ensure any organs they receive don't come from "Medical Assistance in Dying." David Powilson (1949-2019) (10-minute read / 6-minute video) David Powilson was a convert in his mid-twenties, and a pivotal figure in the biblical counseling movement. He passed away this past week, and this wonderful biographical article presents a chance to know him better. ...

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Saturday Selections – June 8, 2019

Dude Perfect's does more than bottle flips If you and your family don't already know about Dude Perfect, these guys provide some good clean and free fun with their creative videos. FREE COMMENTARY ON JAMES We haven’t read this commentary, but others in this commentary series have been well worth recommending. The ebook of Sam Allberry's James For You is free all June (but you do have to give them your email address). The theological legacy of Rachel Held Evans The popular blogger made it easier for people to express their doubts. But she didn't help them find answers. How to talk to your children about climate change This article highlights two important points we need to pass on to our children: wishing doesn't make it so, and the government does not have God-like expertise. Young people calling on the government to fix things need to understand that even the US's best-known proponent for government-directed environmental intervention, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, doesn't know what sort of change is needed, or possible, or at what costs. Eve was just like Adam, except completely different This is a fun short piece on the meaning of the Hebrew word kenegdo, translated as "suitable" in Genesis 2:18–21, but which more literally means "like" and "opposite." So, when this passage speaks of Eve as a "suitable" partner for Adam, we can understand it as saying she's a "similar" but "opposite" partner for him. And isn't that a great description of what spouses are in a good marriage: like-minded, yet completely different? Rent control is a feel-good policy that does bad (5 min) Christians will sometimes support rent control – the government legislating whether and how much rents can increase – thinking that it is a compassionate way to provide affordable housing for poor people. But rent control means that the government wrests control of these rental properties from their owners and decides for them what they are worth. If that's not what we'd like the government to do with our own property (our house, our car, our business, etc.), then, as Jesus instructs in Luke 6:31, we shouldn't ask the government to do that to others. And what this video shows is that "compassion" like this actually hurts the poor. That brings to mind another lesser known passage: "...but the mercy of the wicked is cruel" (Proverbs 12:10b) – politicians may continue to back it, even understanding the harm it does, because it makes them seem compassionate. ...

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Saturday Selections - June 1, 2019

Six ways not to read the Bible (4 min) Dr. Dane Ortlund shares 6 ways that we do, but shouldn't, read the Bible. When GMO children have children In crafting genetically modified children, are we thinking of the lasting repercussions of this human experimentation? What makes people have babies? The link between cultural values and fertility rates (10 min read) Women need to average 2.1 babies each to maintain a stable population, one to replace her, one to replace her husband, and that .1 to address the sad reality that not all children survive to adulthood. But in the US last year the average total fertility rate dropped to just 1.728 babies per woman. Why so low? Some were blaming the economy in years past, but it has improved now. The doom and gloom message of the environmentalists, that portray children as a curse on the planet rather than as the blessing God says they are (Ps. 127:3-5, Prov. 17:6, Ps. 113:9, etc.), might be part of it. This article provides additional reasons. The foundation of the abortion debate "There is no way to guarantee, as some pro-life people seem to want us to do, a world safe for the unborn child that is also a world of total sexual and economic autonomy. In any world in which autonomy is the highest ideal, the child — that incarnate sign of our dependence and existential poverty — must go." A parent's guide to failure (9-page e-booklet) We've all learned some lessons from failure, so are we as parents hurting our children when we shelter them from failure? Monopoly is not a realistic game (3 min) It might be one of the most popular games in the world, but Monopoly perpetuates a faulty understanding of economics: the fixed pie fallacy. This fallacy says there is only so much wealth to go around (a fixed pie)  so the rich can only increase their wealth at other people's expense. But as this video explains, it's not true – the pie can grow! ...

News

New York Times takes dads to task about housework

When will men stop shirking their share of the housework? That was the question a recent New York Times article asked, and the answer it gave was, if it happens it will be some time between 75 years from now and never. According to the author, Dr. Darcy Lockman: The amount of child care men performed rose throughout the 1980s and ’90s, but then began to level off without ever reaching parity. Mothers still shoulder 65 percent of child-care work. The rest of the article explored why this inequity still exists, even among “progressive couples…who thought had made a prenatal commitment to equal parenting.” Interestingly, the article puts the blame on innate male and female differences: men are supposedly more comfortable than women with “getting away with something.” So why do men do less than women? Dr. Lockman thinks at least part of it is because they don’t feel guilty about shirking while women do. FEE.org’s Jon Miltimore points out another possibility: maybe men do less child care and work inside the home because they are busying putting in more hours outside the home. According to the Pew Research Center, women do more inside the home – 32 hours, compared to men’s 18 – but dads average more hours of work overall. When child care, housework, and paid work is all added up, dads spend 61 hours each week working, while moms average 57. It turns out that moms and dads don’t split any of the work exactly 50/50. The same Pew data showed that dads in 1965 used to spend just 2.5 hours a week caring for their kids. By 2016 that had increased to 8 hours, and we can be thankful for the change. Nothing in marriage and parenting is ever going to be 50/50 because God made men and women with different roles, interests, abilities and weaknesses too. Then He told us to pair up so we could compliment – not duplicate – one another. Christians can echo the French with a rousing “Vive la différence!” but we should never forget that our kids need not only their mom but their dad too....

News

Saturday Selections - May 25, 2019

Ordinary amazingness (2 min) It's a dandelion. And here, too, the Creator has crafted his magic, putting it on display for all who have eyes to see. Save money: stop changing your oil We're called to be good stewards of what God gives us, and that applies to how often we change the oil in our cars too. For years now, we've had it drummed into our heads that good, stewardly, car owners change their oil every 5,000 kilometers (or 3,000 miles). But, as Philip Reed shares, for some cars that just isn't true anymore. How did all the pollsters get the Australian election massively wrong? Michael Cook argues they did it to themselves when they shifted from being simply opinion takers to trying to be, in subtle ways, opinion makers. Free e-book: R.C. Sproul's Everyone's a Theologian For a limited time (I don't know how long) you can download Sproul's fantastic, accessible, and really enjoyable book on systematic theology, Everyone's a Theologian. You do have to give your info, but for this book, and with this organization, that seems a very good and safe trade. Abortion, evil, and the sovereignty of God (10 min read) That God is sovereign can be a great comfort, but reconciling His sovereignty with the wickedness of rape – why does He let this happen? – is hard. This is a deeper read, but worth the effort. Hungary wants at least 4, China considers 3, while India ponders a 2-child limit For 35 years China used forced abortions, sterilizations, and infanticide under its infamous one-child policy. But that's brought them to the entirely predictable demographic crisis of one child having to care for two parents and four grandparents with no help from siblings or cousins...because they don't exist. In 2015, finally recognizing this looming crisis, China changes to a two-child policy. Might they now be considering a three-child policy? It seems even the godless Chinese government is being forced to recognize at least one biblical truth: that children are not a curse, but a blessing. (Meanwhile, India is pushing for just 2 to restrict the size of Muslim families. And in Hungary, the government wants women to have at least four, and if they do, they don't have to pay income tax for life.) 7 reasons (43 min) Ray Comfort shows that there is a large muddled middle that is pro-choice mostly because they've never heard someone speak clearly and compelling for the unborn. And Comfort shows the power of analogies to make clear, at least for those who have ears to hear, why the 7 most common reasons for abortion don't justify it at all. ...

News

Saturday Selections - May 18, 2019

Caterpillars feeding on an explosive treat (3 min) BBC Earth is all about getting viewers closer and deeper into Nature than we've ever been before. And in this clip what we find is freaky coolness. While the BBC never gives God his due, by giving us in-depth looks at His creativity they can't help but prompt praise for the One who made it all. Tardigrades too tough for evolution? Here's a fascinating anti-evolution argument: Natural Selection has no reason to over-engineer. So why can the Tardigrade survive being frozen at -267ºC? And why can it revive after being hit with 250 times the radiation needed to kill a Man? Israel Folau thrown to the lions Australia's top rugby player has been fired for an Instagram post that noted, unless they repent, drunks, adulterers, liars, thieves, atheists, idolaters, fornicators, and homosexuals will go to hell. But he's not backing down. 5 charts that show the world is improving for mothers We can sometimes get tricked by all the doom and gloom in our daily news  into thinking the world has never been worse. To provide a little balance - and show how much we have to thank God for – here are five charts that show how some things are better than ever. The religious language of climate change John Stonestreet notes that the way the world talks about climate change is religious, with transformative language, its own list of sins, and its own damnation too. Keynes vs. Hayek: round 2 Rap and Economics? Can it get any better? ...

News

Hostility to Unplanned helps get its message out

Unplanned tells the true story of how Abby Johnson, a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic director, changed her mind and now fights for the unborn. Her story hit cinema screens in late March and had already made $18 million, or three times what the film cost to make. But that success has been hard won. Shows abortion isn't just another surgery First, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) announced they were giving Unplanned a restricted or “R rating” which meant the trailer could only run before other R-rated films and anyone under 17 would need to be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian to see it. That put a big dent into its potential audience. The rating was a controversial one because the film received no cautions for profanity, nudity, or sex. While the MPAA’s listed caution is for “disturbing/bloody images,” the only such scenes involve abortion. The film’s writers/directors Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman shared with MovieGuide.org how “ironically, the MPAA seems to be indirectly endorsing the pro-life position: namely that abortion is an act of violence.” The Washington Post’s Mark Thiessen echoed that thought: “They would not give it an ‘R’ if it depicted a tonsillectomy.” Can't see, but can do? Solomon and Konzelman went on to detail how the R rating was doubly ironic. “…many teenage women in this country who can legally obtain an actual abortion without parental permission will be prohibited from going to see our film containing simulated images of abortion, without obtaining parental permission.” A different sort of roadblock was used in Canada, where both major movie chains, Cineplex Odeon and Landmark, are refusing to show it. However, there is demand for the film, as was evident in mid-May when the film had a successful private showing in Edmonton for a crowd of almost 3,000. Turning evil to good A third irony? Even as the movie industry seems intent on preventing people from seeing Unplanned, their efforts are aiding in its publicity. Articles have appeared in The New York Times, Glamour, Hollywood Reporter, and Fortune (not to mention countless conservative and Christian sites) and they touch on more than just the controversial rating – many of them raise, and attempt to rebut, what the film says happens behind Planned Parenthood clinic doors. Hollywood may have stopped some people from seeing this film but God is using their efforts to get many more talking and learning about what abortion does to the unborn....

News

F.R.E.E.D. – an acronym to help us defend and use our religious freedom

If you're pro-life, you know the value of a good acronym. For years S.L.E.D. has helped us remember there are just four differences between the unborn and us, and none of them would justify killing the unborn. Size – They are smaller but so what? Smaller adults aren't seen as less human. Level of development – The unborn are less developed than adults, true, but so are prepubescent children. Why would that make either of them less human? Environment – The unborn are in a different environment but since when does where we are determine who we are? Degree of dependency - They are highly dependent, but so are people who need dialysis and that doesn’t make them any less human. For years John Stonestreet has wished there was a similarly useful acronym to help Christians remember what to say when it comes to defending our religious freedom. In his May 16 Breakpoint column, he shared how his colleague Shane Morris has done just that with the acronym F.R.E.E. with each letter representing one point in a compelling argument for religious freedom. Forcing – Many in the world still recognize that “forcing people to go against their beliefs for no good reason is a bad thing.” Reason – “Is there a good reason to force a religious person to go against his or her belief in the case you’re discussing? And are there less burdensome alternatives to squashing this freedom, like using a bakery down the street or an adoption agency across town?” Examples – Offer examples that make your point. “Should a Muslim t-shirt designer be forced to create shirts mocking the prophet Muhammad? Should an Orthodox Jewish club at a university be forced to admit Christians as officers?” Equality – Complete the argument by asking, why shouldn’t Christians get the same freedoms we’d give to the Muslim t-shirt maker or the Orthodox Jewish club? It’s a helpful tool, made even better with one addition. Underpinning these four points is the idea that we should do to others as we would want done to us. That’s from the Bible (Matt. 7:12) and that worth noting because, as much as defending our freedom of religion is important, it’s even more important to actually use it. So let’s give God the glory with a fifth point that we can call “D, as in Divine.” That’ll be a reminder for us to show how the core of our argument rests on a solid biblical principle. And in explaining that this is not our insight, but God’s, we can point our listeners to Him. Let's never forget to use our liberty to tell people how they too can be freed....

News

Saturday Selections - May 11, 2019

The world is rated R (50 minutes) It is a parental impulse to shelter our children. But is our end goal to give our children comfortable lives? Or do we want children who can take a hit, who'll talk smack with giants (1 Sam 17:45-47), who'll demolish inflated opinions (2 Cor. 10:5), and who'll just generally be itching to get out there and glorify God no matter how many bruises will result? How to say "This is cr-p" in different cultures If you can overlook the crudity in the article's title, it offers an insight useful to "plain-spoken" Dutchmen who are surprised when folks from other cultures find us brusque or rude. Rachel Held Evans (1981-2019) This article has been pulled, so an additional item has been added below. How the government might take your children This is not a clickbait headline. "Imagine if tomorrow, a judge in the most liberal state in the country announced children no longer belong to their parents... From henceforth, says the decree, kids belong to the state. Outraged parents would take to the streets! Angry and refusing to capitulate. "Well, that’s not how it goes. Instead, parental rights are taken a little at a time." McDonald's and the minimum wage Unskilled workers used to always be able to find a job at the fast food giant. But after the US government mandated increased benefits and salaries for McD's workers, the restaurant chain has had to get more out of each employee to pay for those increases. That's meant turning to automation. And that's meant a dramatic drop in the number of McDonald's employees. Christian: If evolution is true, life is meaningless Evolutionist: How dare you sir! Eric Metaxas recently said, "If you actually believe we evolved out of the primordial soup and through happenstance got here, by accident, then our lives literally have no meaning.” In response, a prominent evolutionist said that was a "crock" and that he had hundreds of people giving him responses explaining the meaning and purpose they find in their lives. But a look at those responses makes Metaxas's point. A wonderful example of getting the unborn heard! When New York State passed a law increasing access to late-term abortions the question for pro-lifers was, how can we protest as loudly as possible? Focus on the Family responded by broadcasting a live ultrasound in the world's busiest intersection, Times Square. They called the event "Alive from New York." https://twitter.com/FocusFamily/status/1124798996818612225...

News

Saturday Selections – May 4, 2019

The 16 most amazing nests built by birds The amazing tailorbird crafts camouflage for its nest by using grass or spider silk as thread, and then it actually sews leaves together. But that's not the only crafty bird God has made – here's 15 more with the unique nests they build or borrow. In 2018 at least 1.12% of deaths in Canada were due to euthanasia "According to the latest figures, about 3,000 Canadians were euthanized in 2018." 6 biological evidences for a young earth Here are 6 very fun, very quick, evidences that point to a young age for the earth. Sabbath rest: not just for grown-ups (10-minute read) Our kids need to understand that we aren't saved by our output. 18 spectacularly wrong predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day 2019's Earth Day has come and gone, and in the lead-up to it we heard dire predictions like this one from congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez: "...The world is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change..." This 12 year figure is being batted about so it's important that we: Mark their words. They are prophesying, and the way to tell a false prophet from a real one is whether their words come true. Remember – as the linked article does – all the false prophesies of the past. FREE FILM: The Fool – the true "banana man" story (65 minutes) This is the true story of how evangelist Ray Comfort was mocked and ridiculed by atheists the world over for a silly joke he made that fell flat. But even as Ray was brought low, God was using Ray's humiliation: these same atheists started inviting Ray onto their shows, podcasts, and stages sand they let him say anything he wanted. So he used these forums to share the Gospel with hundreds and even thousands of atheists at a time. Some atheists even took Ray's books and read through them on their YouTube channels, all in attempt to mock him. But the end result was they themselves read out a Gospel presentation to their listeners. As Ray asks, "Who but God could take atheists and not only have them listen to the Gospel, but have them proclaim it?" ...

News

SI’s swimsuit edition: from barely-there to burkinis

The annual Sports Illustrated (SI) swimsuit edition is best known for the next-to-nothing that models wear. So why would this year’s issue feature a model who’s covered up from head to ankles? It doesn’t seem to fit the swimsuit issue’s long history. Most of the year SI is a magazine that could be found without controversy on the coffee table of a sports-minded pastor. But in a bid to boost sales it has been featuring an annual swimsuit issue since 1964. Each year again editors try to figure out how they can display as much skin as possible, while still giving its mostly male readership some means of denying that what they have in their hands is mere smut. That’s why the models almost always wear something, though it’s the sort of something that leaves nothing to the imagination – body paint, fishnets, strategically placed hands, floss. Again, why has an annual issue devoted to ogling decided to include a model wearing a swimsuit that has more material than everyone else’s combined? Halima Aden is Muslim, and the swimsuit she wears is a  “burkini” – an ankle-to-wrist wetsuit combined with a head-covering hijab, its name a combination of “bikini” and “burqa.”  As SI shared and hundreds of mainstream media outlets passed along, this was a “historic first” – the very first time SI has featured a burkini-wearing model in its pages. The magazine has touted other “historic firsts” in the past: the first African American to be featured on the cover, the first plus-size (ie. regular-size) model, and the first amputee. But while they might have been innovations, a barely clad black, or disabled, or regular-sized woman remains a barely-clad woman, and all fit with the issue’s objectifying theme. A covered up woman doesn’t. So what’s going on this year? SI editor MJ Day offered an explanation of sorts, saying that her and model Halima Aden: “both believe the ideal of beauty is so vast and subjective….Whether you feel your most beautiful and confident in a burkini or a bikini, YOU ARE WORTHY.” But what if you aren’t wild about either sort of swimsuit? SI has embraced these two choices, but their issue won’t show any others. If this was really about diversity then SI would get inspired by and follow through on Babylon Bee’s satiric headline: “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Features First-Ever Baptist Model In Floor-Length Denim Skirt” It’s clear then that this was more publicity stunt than anything else. From a Christian perspective what’s interesting is how both Aden’s burkinis and everyone else’s buck-nakedness share something in common. They might be polar opposites but both are rejections of God’s Truth. The one type of rebellion is obvious: you only have to get three chapters into the Bible to know God doesn’t want fallen woman and man displaying all He gave us for any and all to see. God’s design for sexuality involves modesty. SI’s swimsuit issue does not. The problem with the burkini is that in addition to modesty and charity, God also calls us to self-control (Prov. 25:28, Titus 2:6). The burkini – and the burqa it is based on – cover up women in a way that no man is required to dress because this style of dress presumes women have self-control and men really don’t. Thus women have to cover up to save us males from acting on our animalistic instincts. Sadly this man-as-a-Cro-Magnon view is echoed in some Christian circles when lustful thoughts are excused as the unavoidable offshoot of fashion that trends towards tighter and curvier. But make no mistake men, we are called to control ourselves and there is no putting off that responsibility on others. From a worldly perspective, the latest SI swimsuit issue doesn’t make sense. It’s an incoherent muddle, celebrating both brazen and repressed sexuality. But the incomprehensible becomes understandable when we view it through a Christian lens. When we know there is a God-given Truth, and there is an Adversary trying frantically to undermine it, then it’s no surprise when we see him, in desperation, launching attacks from two opposite directions at once. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw2W3qfhEfJ/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet...

News

Donald Trump, the pro-life rabble-rouser?

In April the president of the United States made headlines for a movie he didn’t watch, and didn’t comment on. So what was all the fuss about? He let an “anti-abortion” film be shown in his home. In the days leading up to the April 12 screening, mainstream media on both sides of the Atlantic let their readership know that Gosnell, was going to be shown at the White House. Gosnell is the true-life story of Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortionist who in 2013 was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder for babies he killed after they were born. At the time both the prosecutor and the mainstream media emphasized that the case wasn’t about abortion, but about the murder of born babies. But what makes the film a powerful pro-life argument is the defense offered by Gosnell’s attorney: he argued that what Gosnell did to these babies after birth was not significantly different from what other abortionists were, with the law’s blessing, doing to babies before birth. It wasn’t enough to get his client off, but the argument is sound, and for any of the undecided in the viewing audience his reasoning could be convicting. President Trump didn’t watch the film, but in the lead-up to the screening he received a lot of criticism. So why did he let Gosnell be shown in the White House? The cynic might say this was a mostly-pain-free way to appease his Christian base – it excited them, and even though it got widespread negative coverage in the mainstream media, that negative coverage was over quite quickly. But there is another plausible explanation: maybe the former pro-choice Democrat has taken a genuine pro-life turn. If so, then this screening was the president making the deliberate choice to take some heat so an important film could get some much-needed publicity. To bolster that case, consider two other examples of presidential pro-life agitation from earlier this year. In January he once again spoke, via video, to the tens of thousands attending the Washington DC March for Life. Then in February, in his State of the Union address, he responded pointedly to a just-passed New York abortion bill. He told the millions watching: There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our Nation saw in recent days.  Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments from birth.  These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world.  And then, we had the case of the Governor of Virginia where he stated he would execute a baby after birth. To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb. Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life.  And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth:  all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God. This last line is remarkable – it gets at the very core of where our value comes from, and why our worth doesn’t differ, no matter our size, location, or level of development. Our worth doesn’t come from what we can do, but from in Whose Image we are made. Though this is the issue in the abortion debate, it’s almost never heard. We’re all very aware of this president’s faults, so it is not his body of work we are praising here. And we don’t even need to be convinced Trump is sincerely pro-life to see how his provocative, courageous, and sometimes downright insightful advocacy for the unborn is an example well worth imitating. He is loud. May we be so too. Check out our review of Gosnell here. ...

News

Saturday Selections - April 27, 2019

Real men exercise David Murray's Christian Man Academy offers men, young and old, straightforward advice on what it means to be a godly man. And in this edition he shares why "Real Men Excercise." What does coal have to do with the Flood? "What Kurt was talking about...was unimaginably big: a log mat the size of a continent." Your middle schooler lied Don't just stop your children's bad behavior - make Christ's resurrection personal for them. Why some Christians refuse vaccines on moral grounds This Christianity Today shares the moral objections some Christians have with some vaccines – specifically those that were propagated using tissue from aborted babies – and offers answers to many of those objections. 5 ways the Bible and Economics connect In the Capitalism vs. Socialism debate, the Bible has something to say... 3 simple steps to making your point Greg Koukl gives an overview of 3 simple strategies to use in discussions and debates with unbelievers. This is a 5-minute overview of what he covers at length is his super-user-friendly apologetics book Tactics. ...

News

Saturday Selections - April 20, 2019

Preferred pronouns or jail? This is American but has ready application for most other Western nations. Raising motivated kids (20 minutes) In this first installment of a video parenting series, Brett Harris (father of the Do Hard Things authors) speaks to the problem of unmotivated kids. This is good stuff. And three follow-up videos will be available over the course of the next week. Digital addiction got you down? The key is to replace, not simply restrict In Ephesians 4, Paul tells the thief not just to stop stealing, but to start working so he'll have something to share with others (Eph. 4:27). It isn't enough to stop doing bad; he needs to start doing good. While this New York Times article is secular, its approach to beating digital addiction is along the same lines. Don't simply stop looking at your phone; don't try to beat something with nothing (Matt. 12:43-45); find something that makes God-honoring use of the time He has given you. As Notre Dame burned, what exactly were we mourning? It was a building, not a person. That's what our heads tell us. But our emotions might be saying something else. Why? Mike Rowe on the college admissions scandal: "We're obsessed with credentialing," not education God wants us to be life-long learners. And as Mike Rowe notes, university is one way of furthering our education. 1,000 Ph.D. scientists who doubt Darwin "Evolution is supposed to be as certain gravity, yet nobody goes around saying, 'Gravity is a fact, fact, FACT!' and nobody says 'Gravity is as certain as Evolution.' Against this backdrop, Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture noted last week that the Scientific Dissent from Darwinism has topped 1,000+ names...." ...

News

Saturday Selections – April 13, 2019

Is it a sin to be angry with God? (2 min) R.C. Sproul gives a clear answer to this question. The 8 deadly sins of political conservatism Whatever party we might vote for, most RP readers probably identify themselves as politically conservative. That makes this article an important read for us all. The trans-child as an experimental guinea pig (15 min read) "So what if the boy wants to wear a dress; what's the big deal?" If you've been asked this question or one like it, this National Review article is an answer. God tells us we are made male and female (Gen. 1:26-28) and those who "in compassion" say otherwise are only showing God right when He says the "mercy of the wicked is cruel (Prov. 12:10b). In Canada living as God wants keeps 99% out of poverty In Venezuela and many other parts of the world, poverty can happen to people no matter what they might do, and even in the stable West many things are still beyond our control. But the Fraser Institute has found that in Canada poverty is largely a result of "bad choices" rather than "bad luck." The poverty rate here is less than 1 percent for people who do 3 things: graduate high school work full time have children only in a committed relationship Of three, two are obviously biblical: working full-time (Col. 3:23, Prov. 12:11, Prov. 13:4) and having kids inside marriage. Graduating high school is the wish of most parents so there are some Fifth Commandment implications there too. So while the world hates God's law we can see here how His restrictions evidence His love. Our Father knows what's best for us and for our good He's warned us what to avoid. Parents, you can control your temper Our kids can be exasperating, and while we don't want to lose our temper, sometimes it just seems to happen. It can't be helped...right? Jay Younts says, not so fast! Preacher, apologist, and ordinary joe plead for the unborn (3 min each) In Phoenix, preacher Jeff Durban, apologist James White, and ordinary joe, Zachary Conover showed what being a public witness for God and for the unborn looks like. ...

News, Science - Creation/Evolution

Why haven't we heard from ET?

Some 70 years ago physicist Enrico Fermi looked up at the stars and wondered where everyone was at. With billions of galaxies, each with billions of stars, it seemed inconceivable to him that ours would be the only planet to evolve life. So where was everyone? Fermi's Paradox His query is now called Fermi's Paradox, and on March 18 a group of about 60 scientists met in Paris to share their latest theories as to why we haven't heard from any of our galactic neighbors. Live Science's Mindy Weisberger shared some of their creative ideas: The "zoo hypothesis" - Earth is like a galactic animal reserve where aliens are leaving us alone to be observed in our natural habitat. We've been quarantined - aliens know about us, but don't like us. Aliens are trapped by their superplanets' intense gravity and they can't come out to meet us. Aliens have come and gone, dying off before we had a chance to connect with them. Three days after the Paris conference Cosmos dug deeper into Fermi's Paradox with an even more vexing question: where are all the "von Newmann probes"? Von Newmann probe What's a von Newmann probe, you ask? Well, back in the 1960s, mathematician John von Newmann argued that a sufficiently advanced civilization would be able to build a space probe that could mine raw materials on other planets and use those to make replicas of itself. These replicas would, in turn, build other copies. And as the process repeated, the number and spread of these self-replicating "von Newmann probes" would expand exponentially until, as Cosmos' Lauren Fuge put it, "in a relatively short space of time – perhaps as little as 10 million years – the galaxy would be teeming with these exploratory machines." But there are no hordes, teeming or otherwise. So, again, where is everyone? The Cosmos article offered, as a possible explanation, astrophysicist Duncan Forgan's "predator-prey hypothesis," soon to be published in an upcoming issue of the International Journal of Astrobiology. Forgan argues that "self-replication could result in encoding errors” and that maybe some of these coding errors could lead to some of these probes taking a predatory turn. If they did, then perhaps the reason we don't see these teeming hordes is because the predatory probes are hunting down and destroying the other probes. Hmmm.... While these various hypotheses make for incredibly creative speculation, they all share one thing in common: there are no facts to back them up. In fact, the only "evidence" for any of these theories is that aliens haven't contacted us. So why did scientists bother meeting to swap what amounts to untestable, unverifiable, just-so stories? Why did Live Science and other media outlets bother covering the Paris event? And why did Cosmos think Forgan's theory worth sharing?  They covered them because these stories – to the undiscerning – seem to offer an explanation to Fermi's Paradox and the problem it presents to evolutionary theory. But they're just stories. And what does it say about the theory if its defenders are willing to hype stories that the public will mistake for scientific, factual, or evidence-based? If luck can do it, why not the best and brightest? Here's a different sort of hypothesis to consider: what if ET just isn't out there? What if life, instead of being easy to come by, only happens via miraculous means? And God only did so here on Earth? It's worth noting that there is nothing in the Bible that speaks against the possibility of life being on other planets. It would be hard to reconcile intelligent life with the Bible – here on Earth all Mankind fell through Adam, and Jesus became Man to save us, so how could intelligent aliens have any part of that? But there wouldn’t seem a biblical problem with microscopic or even animal life existing elsewhere in the universe. But while the Bible allows for life on other planets, evolution would seem to demand it – if life can just happen, then someone else should be out there. It's only when life is miraculous that it becomes understandable that it might be rare. Now here's a question for our evolutionary friends: if we suppose that dumb, unplanned, undirected luck can create life, why can't the world's most brilliant minds, using available blueprints (from living creatures), and working with quadrillions-of-calculations-per-second supercomputers, in laboratories staffed with every device and chemical they could possibly want, manage to make even a single living cell? If living things can come about by chance, why hasn't anyone created them on purpose? Looking at evolutionists' still-lifeless labs we can't help but ask again: where is everyone? ***** In 2013 cartoonist Zach Weinersmith crafted a cartoon and gave the talk below on his "Infantapaulting Hypothesis" in which he theorized that the reasons babies are so aerodynamic is because they used to be catapulted into neighboring villages, to increase their chances of finding a mate among a more genetically diverse population. He was satirizing the tendency among evolutionists to indulge in "just-so stories" - to indulge in creative hypotheses that might fit the available evidence but which are not testable. If a fellow who still believes in Darwin's theory can be this brilliant, insightful, and hilarious in exposing evolutionary flaws, can creationists take this further and be even funnier?    ...

News

Saturday Selections - April 6, 2019

5 ways dads can encourage our daughters This isn't all that long but it's worth reading through slowly and considering how to put these into practice with your daughters. RC Sproul on "Are there contradictions in the Bible?" This is a short, succinct, and entertaining answer from a very special teacher. Teaching our kids not to be bystanders to bullying "Bystanders don’t need to do what their name implies: stand by. They can stand up and do something.... One kid can make a huge difference. Really. Just one." Free commentary on Ephesians We haven't read this commentary, but others in this commentary series have been well worth recommending. The ebook of Richard Coekin's Ephesians For You is free all April but you do have to give them your email address. May same-sex attracted Christians have exclusive relationships? Sam Alberry is writing to Christians struggling with homosexual temptation but his reminder is a good one for all: friendship can be intimate, but it isn't exclusive. Are we starting to see through environmental tokenism? The difference between biblical stewardship and secular environmentalism comes down to the type of worship offered. God despises virtue-signaling and blasts pharisaical worship (Luke 18:9-14) so He expects us to use our talents to do real good. But environmentalism's false gods – whether that's trees, the ocean, the planet, or the public – can't tell the difference between doing good and merely looking good. That's why the world's environmentalism often amounts to tokenism. Two examples: the recycling programs that have been rampant in cities across North America for decades, and the recent straw bans that have been put in place by Seattle and other cities. ...

News

Male rapper “breaks” women’s weightlifting record

For a world increasingly confused about gender, February was an illuminating month with not one, but two well-publicized examples of how it is God, and not our feelings, that makes us male and female (Gen. 1:27). In the first instance two boys identifying as girls placed first and second in the girls’ 55-meter dash at Connecticut’s state indoor championship. One competitor dared protest, telling the Associated Press: “We all know the outcome of the race before it even starts; it’s demoralizing.” While the two boys are the best “girls” in their state, they aren’t even in the top five nationally. So the ridiculousness of having boys – albeit not especially speedy boys – running against girls was lost on some. But two weeks later British rapper Zuby offered up his own helpful bit of clarity when he decided to break the British women’s weightlifting records. First up was the deadlift record. Though only a self-described “recreational lifter” Zuby bested the British women’s record by a “wide margin.” Then he tackled the squat record, and finally bested the women’s bench press record too. Afterward, he posted short videos of his efforts to Twitter, assuring viewers it was all okay because he was “identifying as a woman at the time.” When someone pointed out his women’s records weren’t official because Zuby hadn’t demonstrated his level of male testosterone was “below 10 nanomoles per litre” (as apparently international competition standards require men to do when they want to compete as women) Zuby had the perfect PC response: “Stop questioning my lived experience.” Or, in other words, what was this detractor doing, bringing in objective measurable standards when the world has already concluded feelings trump reality. If being a woman is simply a state of mind, if a person’s genitalia and genetics don’t matter, then why should “nanomoles”? Or as Zuby put it, “Stop being a bigot.” The best supportive tweet? A Steve Green shared he was setting some records of his own: “I broke the Olympic men’s record because my 2 kg dumbbell identifies as a 400 kg weight.”...

News

Career over kids: South Korean women aren’t having babies

A new report has South Korea population beginning to decline in just ten years’ time. Statistics Korea reported in late February that the country’s fertility rate dropped to 0.98, or less than one child per woman. To put this in context, women need to be having at least 2 children each to keep the population stable: one to replace her, and one to replace her husband (the exact figure is even a bit higher – more like 2.1 – to account for infant mortality). This less-than-1 rate means that South Korea’s population is headed for a precipitous drop. Statistics Korea numbers released a month later bore that out. This year, for the first time, the country expects more people to die than be born, with an estimate of 309,000 births, and 314,000 deaths. Immigrants will keep the population stable for a few more years, but starting in 2029 the country’s population is expected to take a sharp (and irrevocable?) downward turn. The country’s coming decline seems to be caused by both women and men devaluing marriage and motherhood. The government has tried to encourage couples to have more children by extending maternity leave and expanding State daycare. But these measures don’t get at the fundamental issue – is being a mother honorable? When a culture values women only for the career they have outside the home, then women aren’t going to want to do anything to impede their progress in that career. Maternity leave – especially longer maternity leave – can’t help but slow a woman’s career progress (it’s hard to get noticed by the bosses when you aren’t there). And while easier access to daycare will mean it's possible to juggle having kids and a career, if career comes first, why even bother with the juggling? As a Church we need to show the world a different way, making it clear we understand children are the blessing (Prov. 17:6, Ps. 113:9, 127:3-5), and the priority (Gen. 1:28, Prov. 22:6) that God says they are. Whether that’s mom sacrificing career opportunities, or dad doing the same by picking a job near a good Church and Christian school, or the two of them giving up nights with the gang, or the pair of them forgoing “me time,” we know parenting is our priority…and our privilege....

News

Bad news for PP is good news for unborn babies!

If something makes Planned Parenthood sad, then it’s likely there’s something for the unborn and their advocates to celebrate. That was certainly true when the abortion giant issued their press release “New Data on abortion bans show alarming spike” at the end of March. The report gave reason for pro-lifers to thank God for what progress is being made. So what’s the good new? In the first four months of 2019 we’ve seen: “250 bills restricting abortion have been filed in…state legislatures” 41 states have seen some abortion-restricting bill proposed “Seven states have proposed total bans on abortion” “Six states are down to one abortion provider” While most pro-life bills aren't successful, this is the path William Wilberforce took to end slavery in Britain. He proposed unsuccessful bills and kept on proposing them again and again until finally one of his bills wasn’t unsuccessful after all. In the same way, these 250 bills in 2019 are keeping the plight of the unborn in the public eye. We can hope and pray that God will bless these efforts to change hearts and provide these little ones the protection they need. You can download John Piper's short 77-page biography of William Wilberforce here for free....

News

Saturday Selections - Mar. 30, 2019

Marijuana increases the risk of psychosis Marijuana is often presented as a near harmless indulgence. But a recent study finds that daily use increases the risk of psychosis 3 to 5 times. A modest proposal for prosecutors who lie There's no reason to think this columnist is a Christian, and yet the idea he suggests – to convict lying prosecutors of whatever crime they were charging the defendant with – is a biblical one (Deut. 19:16-21). So why didn't this come from us? When Christians have the confidence that God's Word applies to all of life – even the public square out there – then it will be us sharing ideas like this. The only life dream that makes a girl blush “'I know it’s silly,' one girl said. 'I know. But…' she hesitated, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. 'I really just want to be married. To raise some kids. To take care of a home.' She’s almost embarrassed by the time she’s finished saying the sentiment.” Have you talked to your kids about sex? "For the record, I have talked to my 6- and 4-year-old daughters about sex.... The Internet could gruesomely inform your naïve child. Or you, as their parents, could tell them what they need to know … at the times they need to know it … in ways that they should hear it." Why teens are lonelier than ever Our teens might be more "connected" than ever, but studies find teens feel lonelier than any previous generation since these studies were started in the mid-1970s. Texting is replacing face-to-face interactions...but it isn't replacing the need for it. Michael Wagner on Canada's Christian roots (4 min) Regular RP contributor Michael Wagner shares how the queen's face on our coins testifies to Canada's Christian heritage. There was a time, not so long ago, when we formally recognized that God's law reigns supreme over and above Man's law. ...

News

Saturday Selections - March 23, 2019

#1 reason & #2 reason you shouldn't worry about global warming In reason #1, Del Tackett and Dr. Larry Vardiman discuss how, when you understand the earth is only thousands of years old, it was designed, and it only tipped into an Ice Age after the cataclysmic Flood, then that will have you looking at global warming catastrophism differently than if you believe the planet is millions of years old, was created by chance, and has gone through repeatedly cycles of catastrophic weather in the past. Reason #2 relates to how history shows us that whenever doomsday predictions run up against the Bible, they'll eventually be shown to be wrong. That happened with overpopulation fears, which presented children as a curse, rather than the blessing God says they are (Prov. 17:6, Ps. 113.9, Ps. 127:3-5). Of course, that some global warming proponents now also think of children as being a curse isn't absolute proof they are wrong about the danger of global warming. But we can be confident that solutions that require fewer children are absolutely wrong. Environmentalist pushes for less solar and wind and more nuclear (17 min) While this presenter may or may not be a Christian, his approach to reducing greenhouse emissions aligns with Christianity better than zero population initiatives (which conflict with Prov. 17:6, Ps. 113.9, Ps. 127:3-5) or carbon taxes that hurt the poor (which conflict with Prov. 14:31, Is. 1:17, etc.). I was America’s first ‘nonbinary’ person. It was all a sham. (10 min. read) A man who tried to become a woman shares how he "should have been stopped, but out-of-control transgender activism had made too scared to say no." Best bit of premarital advice we got and love to give... This isn't profound, but it is wise. Is your child enslaved by a complaining spirit? Moody teens most often start as complaining kids. How can we help them in their early years? Sex matters - everyone knows men and women are different (4 min) Philosophy professor and Christian apologist Sean McDowell on how it takes a lot of effort to keep denying the obvious. ...

News

Saturday Selections - March 16, 2019

Turning pro-choicers into pro-lifers in seconds? (2 min) Ray Comfort has another 30-minute pro-life film, coming out on May 9. It will be freely available on Youtube then, though you can download it now for $20 here to help fund it. Check out the trailer below! Beyond bias: 3 strikes on the New York Times It used to be that, as much as we knew the mainstream media spun the facts, we counted on them not to manufacture them. However, as this short article from Marvin Olasky reveals, now even the venerable Gray Lady, the New York Times, has gotten ridiculously unreliable. Parents: peace is not the absence of conflict While it isn't always possible to be free of conflict, we can show our children how peace can still be had. Has bioluminescence evolved 40-50 times? Bioluminescence is the light that comes from living things, and it can be found in creatures as diverse as spiders, fish, fireflies, squid, and even mushrooms. This is a problem for evolution, where common traits are often presented as evidence of common descent – creatures who share a trait are thought to have descended from a common ancestor, maybe millions of years ago, who first had that trait. But no one thinks mushrooms and squids had a common glowing ancestor. So does that mean bioluminescence evolved many times over? That would be remarkable! Meanwhile, creationists see common traits as indicators of a common Designer who knows what works, and thus uses these traits repeatedly. Is Social Justice just? In this book review, Denny Burk shares how social justice practitioners have: "...left behind a liberal ideal of justice for the illiberal ideal of retributive and distributive justice. Retributive justice involves punitive social action against historically privileged groups while distributive justice requires redistribution of goods and capital to historically oppressed groups." In contrast to this group-focused social justice, Christian justice involves treating people not as groups, but individually, without partiality for rich or poor, black or white, man or woman, etc (Lev. 19:15, Deut. 1:16-17, Gal. 3:28). Real men rise early (4 min) David Murray offers men practical advice in his Christian Man Academy, this time focussing on the benefits of a set morning routine. ...

News

Saturday Selections - Mar. 2, 2019

The Kara Tippets documentary is coming soon When an regular Christian mom was diagnosised with terminal cancer, she decided to share what she was learning about God's trustworthiness, and His love, and His goodness, even in the midst of her questions, and doubts, and slow decline. We're all going to die, and this woman gave us an example of what it means to do even that to God's glory. Gay tennis icon criticized for saying men competing as women isn't fair Martina Navratilova is one of the greatest tennis players ever, and a lesbian activist. And when she criticized letting men compete as women she was kicked off an LGBT athletics group. In related news, this past week a British rapper identified as a woman just long enough to beat British women's weight lifting records. GOOD NEWS: Large protestant denomination reaffirms marriage is male/female The devil would like us to think he runs this world. But we should never forget our God is King and He's so powerful He can even make a mainstream denomination reject same-sex marriage. This past week the 12 million-member United Methodist Church stood strong on marriage, and while that might lead to division, they have rejected sinful compromise. "Why do I act like I don’t love my wife?" You love her...but you don't always sound that way when you talk with her. So what's wrong with you? The risks of IVF ...but there is an alternative. Are beneficial mutations support for evolution? (30 minutes) Most mutations are harmful, but occasionally genetic mutations can be beneficial, even activating new functions in living things. So do these kinds of changes support evolution? No...but, as this video podcast explores, they do fit well with biblical creation. ...

News

Saturday Selections – Feb. 23, 2019

Doing Jordan Peterson one better   Jordan Peterson has inspired many a young man struggling with aimlessness. But Peterson isn't Christian, so his answers can only go so far. While Peterson can't answer life's biggest questions, God can, so David Murray has created the Christian Man Academy, to share God's thoughts on what it means to be a man. Learn more at the link above, and below you can get a sampling of what's offered, this one tackling the subject of "Real men repent." Practical thoughts on raising selfless children Are we raising our children to be good future husbands and wives? Or are we raising them to think that their recreational schedules should dictate parents' schedules and that while others need to sacrifice for them they don't need to sacrifice for others? (Prov. 22:6)? What does Paul mean when he says ‘let a woman learn quietly?’ (10-minute read) Some thoughts on 1 Timothy 2:8–14 and women teaching in the Church. The Empty Planet – under not overpopulation the real concern Two points worth noting about overpopulation fears: They were always unbiblical. God describes children as a blessing, not the curse that overpopulationists have treated them as. But Christians were largely swayed by the "experts" and their fearmongering, and started having smaller families too, and didn't speak out as loudly as we could have. But, now, as this article shows, it's becoming evident to everyone that "population bombs" were mere hysteria. We blew it by not loudly and aggressively fighting the overpopulation hype and it meant millions died, as this hype was used to push abortion worldwide.  Now, when scientific experts are telling us that carbon is deadly, will we learn from our previous mistake? Every new child comes with its very own carbon footprint, so there is pressure once again to minimize the population. You don't need a philosophy of education to home-school If there are no good Christian schools nearby, don't worry - you can homeschool. Sure, it might seem intimidating, what with all the different curriculum choices out there. "Choices are great, but when they become too overwhelming, we need to be reminded of simplicity....All you really need to homeschool is a Bible, a library card, and a math book.” The Moses Controversy trailer This trailer almost makes it look like an attack on the Bible, but these guys are on the right side. Could be very interesting... ...

News

Saturday Selections - Feb. 16, 2019

The Top 10 Scientific Problems with Biological and Chemical Evolution (20-minute read) This is a long but fascinating introduction to the enormous problems with evolutionary theory. This is an Intelligent Design (ID) perspective that creationists will appreciate too. 7 questions to ask your daughter's boyfriend Dad, is the fellow dating your daughter ready and willing to answer questions like: How did God save you? What does following Christ look like now? Do you struggle with pornography? What do you like about her? 3 ways not to love your children Parents, love is not self-seeking, easily angered, and keeps no record of wrongs. Assisted suicide turned homicide? Dutch results scare even liberals In the US 2.5% of deaths are "induced" – that means the person died at his or someone else’s hand, not of by illness or accident. In the Netherlands it has reached 25%...and even liberals are wondering if it has gone too far. Cancer and God's sovereignty "My view of God’s sovereignty went from theoretical to critical with one phone call....Everything changed when I received a cancer diagnosis on the day before my thirty-fourth birthday. Are our kids ready to respond to these pro-abortion arguments? Normally any video shared in Saturday Selections would be generally positive, or even explicitly Christian. This video is the opposite. It is from the co-founder of a "Shout Your Abortion" campaign that is trying to normalize abortion. We're sharing it because it is this sort of "nodding, smiling, everyday evil" that we parents need to teach our children how to refute. Stand to Reason shows how, first with the linked article above, and then with this pro-life crash course here. So get yourself prepared by checking out the links, then grab your teens and work through this video together. This is the battle we're in – we need to make sure our children are prepared for the fight. ...

News

Saturday Selections - Feb. 9, 2019

Unplanned trailer This one looks interesting: Unplanned is the true story how Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson ended up defending the unborn. It'll be in theaters March 29. The 7 pitfalls of Christian schools "If things start to wobble in a Christian school, where might the wobble start?" This is your brain not on Facebook (10-minute read) Researchers paid folks to stay of Facebook for a month. And like bad-tasting medicine, while participants didn't like it, it did them good. Why Christian movies are so terrible What would a good Christian movie even look like? And would it get ridiculed too? A 2,000-year history of the abortion wars (15-minute read) Ours is not the first generation to battle abortion. And we can learn a lot from history. Folds in the rock Were these sandstone deposits formed under dry millions of years long conditions, or wet, quick conditions during the Flood. ...

News

Saturday Selections – Feb. 2, 2019

New government regulations shut down church program feeding the homeless Everyone understands that because government laws impact thousands and even millions, the government won't be able to anticipate all the consequences their laws will have...like shutting down a mission that fed homeless people. But why don't we see those unforeseen consequences – those unanticipated harms – as a reason for the government not to make many laws? Homeschooling parents in Germany lose right to educate their children Parental rights aren't just fragile in Germany (and Alberta and BC, etc.). Many attacks are government-led, but this past month a social media campaign was begun to #ExposeChristianSchools, asking people to share their horrible experiences in Christian schools. However, as WORLD magazine's Laura Edghill shares, Christians took the opportunity to "expose" the wonderful and caring education they received. Reformed seminary president is now NFL coach Many are happy that a sincere, Reformed, and very public, Christian is now the coach of the Indianapolis Colts. But this former Reformed seminary president is also very publicly working on Sunday, and what message does that send? When your child is disobedient... When a child sins, parents often deal with just the immediate act. But sin is a process and parents need to deal with how our child got there in the first place. Here's how to tell if scientists are exaggerating If they can't explain simpler things, then we have no reason to believe scientists when they say they've got something far more complicated all figured out. What is money? (1 hour) If you've ever wondered what money is, and how it gets its value, this 1-hour documentary will be intriguing. It is funded by Steve Forbes, a gold-standard proponent, and while it allows opponents to be heard, that bias does come out. You can watch the trailer below, and the whole documentary here. ...

News

The leading cause of death in the world

The leading cause of death in 2018 was not heart disease or stroke or AIDS or cancer or traffic accidents. In a Dec. 31starticle, Brietbart.com’s Thomas D. Williams, reported that: There were more deaths from abortion in 2018 than all deaths from cancer, malaria, HIV/AIDS, smoking, alcohol, and traffic accidents combined. Williams, using numbers from the World Health Organization (WHO) and from Worldometers, reported that while 8 million people died from cancer, and 5 million from smoking, 41.9 million died from abortions. The fact-checking, and left-leaning website Snopes.com questioned Williams’ abortion numbers, but not in the way you might have expected. They noted his figure was probably much too low – in the most recent data they could find WHO reported an average of 56 million abortions annually. While there are government initiatives to reduce deaths by traffic accidents, and there are celebrity-led campaigns to fight AIDS and cancer, there is nothing comparable for abortion. In fact, instead of trying to lower the number of deaths via abortion, the world is now encouraging the celebration of those deaths. And yet when we look at WHO's 2016 list of the top ten causes of death, abortion kills more than all ten combined. So if fighting abortion deaths isn't a priority in the world it must be among Christians. Reformed blogger Samuel Sey made a similar point about Canada. In his November 9 post on his blog SlowToWrite.com he noted: 370, 000 Canadians die a year – 100,000 of them die from abortion....Every year, 100,000 babies in Canada are ripped apart, limb-by-limb, from their mother’s womb. Abortion is the most grotesque and widespread human rights violation of our time. Its the leading cause of death in Canada and America. And that won’t change unless Christians like you and me become the leading cause for its abolition....

Economics, News

The $33/hr minimum wage?

As of January 1, the minimum wage in New York City was boosted to $15 an hour, a more than doubling of the $7.25 minimum wage of just six years ago. Three days later The New York Times published a piece with the provocative title: The $15 Minimum Wage Is Here. Why We Need $33 an Hour. Author Ginia Bellafante didn’t exactly demand $33 as a new minimum wage or at least didn’t set a timetable to reach that number. She did argue that the new $15 minimum wouldn’t do much to meet New York City workers’ needs and “the war” for an adequate living wage had to continue. Bellafante cited a report by New York’s largest food bank, City Harvest, which calculated that a “single parent with two school-age children…would need to make nearly $69,427 a year” which works out “an hourly wage of just under $33.” But is need a good basis for a minimum wage? If a single mom needs $33, a married couple with two kids could get by with just half that. So maybe $15 is a good number after all? But then what of that single mom? And what if, instead of just two kids, she had four? Then she would need a lot more than just $33, so should we be looking at a $50 minimum wage, or even higher? If you see a problem with that idea, you’re recognizing something that many minimum wage proponents do not – that the basis for wages isn’t employees’ needs. Consider our own buying habits. We don’t buy a car from Ford because Ford needs the money – that’s not a consideration. When we head to Safeway and find out that a dozen bagels are on sale for $5 we might buy them. But not at $10 a dozen – they aren’t worth that to us. So whether we buy them or not depends on what value they return to us for the money we have to hand over. It’s no different when employers buy labor. They aren’t buying our labor out of a charitable impulse – they are looking to get good value for their money. And like us, if something is overpriced, they aren’t going to buy. That’s why a minimum wage of $50 would be disastrous. Many of us aren’t worth $100,000 a year to an employer so if $50 were the minimum wage, we would be out of work. We would be unemployed because our labor was overpriced by government mandate. While $15 is a lot lower than $50, not everyone is worth that either. Unskilled workers might not be able to produce $10 or even $5 an hour of value, or at least not until their employer trains them. If the law says they have to be paid $15/hr that makes them unemployable. It may not even be the unskilled worker who pays the price. Take as example a business that employed high school students at minimum wage, and also employed a single mom who made a bit more. When the owner needed help running the business he began training the single mom to become a manager, and increased her salary to go along with the new responsibilities. Then the minimum wage went up and the owner had to increase the pay of all his high school students. That money had to come from somewhere and the end result was that the owner had to let his manager-in-training go, because he had to use her wages to pay the students. This government-mandated increase, legislated as a means of helping the poor, didn’t help her. High schoolers who had already been happy with their wage got more, but a single mom lost a good job. The government might have meant well, but they didn’t do well. There is a Christian case to make against the minimum wage and any number of verses could be cited. Prov. 14:31 tells us to be kind to the poor, and while that is the professed intent of the minimum wage, that is not its effect on the least skilled. Just as relevant is Prov. 27:14 which tells us that mere good intentions are not enough – we actually have to be kind. In the online discussions of this article Luke 6:31 was raised: "Do to others as you would have them do to you," as in employers should pay their employees what they would think fair, were their positions reversed. True enough, but this verse is applicable the other direction too. Don't want your job banned? Then don't ban other people's jobs. There are any number of reasons why someone might be happy to work for wages below a government-mandated minimum. Someone might want to work for free as an intern instead of spending thousands learning the same skills in university. Low-skilled or no-skilled workers might want to get a foot in the door so they can work their way up to higher paying positions. Some low-paying jobs have fringe benefits, like a parking lot attendant I knew who could do his university homework during his shift. Mentally handicapped people who can't do as much as others might still enjoy work. Elderly folks who can't move as quickly as they once did might appreciate a job that doesn't demand a high output. And students might prioritize flexible hours over big bucks. Do these sound like positions that need to be banned? Should it be the government's job to make working for less than $15 a crime? God warns against arrogance (Daniel 4:30) but when a government makes minimum wage laws it is making decisions for millions and presuming it can price the value of people's labor better than they can themselves, and better than individual employers can. Our governments are trying to manage our economy in a hands-on way that requires them to be near all-knowing and have miraculous powers. But they are not God, and they can not make everyone worth $15/hr. by government decree. In humility, our governments need to recognize that their powers and knowledge are limited, and they are simply not up to that task of running an economy. Is it any wonder, then, that God never asks them to? This article has been expanded by a couple of paragraphs to answer some of the questions the original version prompted. ...

News

Saturday Selections – Jan. 26, 2019

For C.S. Lewis geeks only A new introduction to The Screwtape Letters has been found, and it turns out this manuscript didn't first fall into Lewis's hands, but rather a far-travelling professor friend of his. The media botched the Covington Catholic story In one of the more outrageous bits of media bungling, a group of Catholic kids at the US March for Life were condemned as racists and bullies by a media mob that wasn't interested in hearing their side of the story. And as WORLD magazine's Megan Basham noted, Christians were just as quick to jump to judgment. Who owns a woman's body? It's not who you think. Abortion advocates will chant "My body! My choice!" and pro-lifers will counter "The unborn are not your body." But even pro-lifers have it only half right. "It's not fair!" Jay Younts explains that every child's (and many a parent's) desire to get what's coming to them "is to live like a fool, to live as if there were no God..." Dutch pastors face possible criminal investigation for signing Nashville Statement Dutch pastors are facing a public backlash after hundreds took a public stance for God's views on sex. Psalm 23 from the Corner Room ...

Apologetics 101, News

Abortionist: “God performs way more abortions than I do…”

In a Dec. 29 tweet abortionist Leah Torres went viral by claiming: “God performs way more abortions than I do…” While pro-lifers were quick to respond, most failed to offer an effective reply. When we debate the world there can be a temptation to assume anything they say must not be true. That's what happened here, with many a Christian afraid to concede there was something to Torres’ claim, at least as far as it went. And because this uncomfortable truth was avoided, the rebuttals missed their target. The newsgroup LifeNews.com tweeted this reply: “But you believe in evolution. So it’s evolution’s fault, not God’s.” Maybe Torres does believe in unguided evolution, but the largely Catholic LifeNews presumably doesn’t. So why not offer a Catholic or Christian response, instead of this evasion? Faithwire.com thought another reply, a tweet by ToniMZ81, was worth sharing, but it also sidestepped the real issue. She wrote: “…most miscarriages are because of an issue with the pregnancy/ non viability & most abortions are viable pregnancies.” What this forgets is Who controls viability. There is a difference between an abortion and a miscarriage, but this tweet didn’t get to the heart of it. The difference is not that Torres takes life and God does not. The difference is that God is the Author of life and Torres is not. As the Source of life He has a right to take what He has given. Torres does not. This point was made by a few pro-lifers. Greg Schultz tweeted: There’s a difference… You Are Not God Taken to its logical end, Torres' argument justifies every sort of murder at any age because, after all, God has killed more people of that age, than any of us have. To highlight the incredible wickedness of this logic, Anthony Abides, in the most memorable tweet of them all, put Torres' self-justification in Hitler's mouth: “God killed more Jews than I do.”...

News

26 richest people own as much as the world's poorest 3.75 billion

The 26 richest people on the planet hold as much wealth as the poorest 50% of the world’s population. So says the Oxfam Inequality Report 2019 released this January. That quite the statistic – it’s a disparity that will surprise and stun many. But why is Oxfam sharing it? To foster covetousness. Of course, that’s not how they present their case. They speak of fairness. They think it obviously unfair that the 26 people at the top have as much as the 3.75 billion on the bottom. But what the report doesn’t detail is how these 26 got their wealth. No accusations of theft are made. We know God hates for the powerful to oppress the poor (Prov. 22:16, 22-23) but Oxfam doesn’t even try to make the case that this is how the rich gained their money. The report details the dire circumstances the poor face around the world, but no linkage is made between their poverty and wickedness done by the rich. Still, isn’t it obviously wrong that so few have so much, when so many have so little? To answer that question properly, we need to view things biblically. In Scripture we find God repeatedly calling on us to help the poor (Prov. 28:27, 31:9, etc.). And at the very same time in the 10thCommandment – Do not covet – He makes it clear He doesn’t want us concerned with what the rich have. Poverty is a problem to be tackled, but the God who made Solomon wealthier than any before him nowhere speaks of “fixing” wealth inequality. How can the God who wants us to help the poor also tell us not to concern ourselves with the wealth of the rich? Aren’t the two related? No. That’s the lesson the Oxfam needs to learn. Abraham prospered, but his increased wealth didn’t come at the expense of anyone else (Genesis 14:23). Similarly, a successful businessman doesn't become rich by taking from the poor. Unless he steals, the only way he can become wealthy is by making others wealthier too. He can only sell us his $10 widget if we think he’s delivering more than $10 worth of value. After all, if we don’t think it's worth more than the asking price, why would we trade our money for it? If we do make that exchange, not only is the widget-maker wealthier (he’s up $10!) we're wealthier too because we now own a widget that’s worth much more than $10 to us! The Oxfam Report laments the wealth of the super-rich. They see it as representing good that could be, but isn't being, done – they see it as good withheld. What they don't understand is that this wealth represents enormous good already done – every dollar representing more than a dollar’s worth of wealth given to their customers. (And we haven't even touched on how these 26 people’s wealth is tied up in companies that bring further benefits by employing millions.) There will always be a temptation to look over our back fence at what our rich neighbor has. But when God calls on us to help the poor, He's calling on us to help the poor....

News

Saturday Selections - January 19

Defending the unborn can be as simple as asking the other side to explain themselves   Marie Kondo and her "life-changing magic"  Marie Kondo and her book, The life-changing magic of tidying up, has taken over the Internet and inspired many to throw out and simplify. But like every other secular "life-changing formula" it is so very incomplete. “Unborn Child” – remembering a musical plea for life John Stonestreet tells the story of the pro-life song below, that came out just one year after Roe vs. Wade. UNBORN CHILDOh little baby, you'll never cry, nor will you hear a sweet lullabye. Oh unborn child, if you only knew just what your momma was plannin' to do. You're still a-clingin' to the tree of life, but soon you'll be cut off before you get ripe. Oh unborn child, beginning to grow inside your momma, but you'll never know. Oh tiny bud, that grows in the womb, only to be crushed before you can bloom. Mama stop! Turn around, go back, think it over. Now stop, turn around, go back, think it over. Stop, turn around, go back think it over. Oh no momma, just let it be. You'll never regret it, just wait and see. Think of all the great ones who gave everything That we might have life here, so please bear the pain. Mama stop! Turn around, go back, think it over. Now stop, turn around, go back, think it over. Stop, turn around, go back think it over. The new taboo: More people regret sex change and want to "detransition" The National Post carried a story that few other media outlets are willing to cover... Going Dutch: Netherlands imports Nashville Statement controversy The US evangelical document on LGBT issues has divided the Dutch Bible Belt. "Seek Social Justice" - a free six-session course available This course features Albert Mohler, Marvin Olasky, Chuck Colson, and you can access it at the link above (and you can watch the trailer below).   ...

News

Who do you want to know better?

In a holiday ad (for Spanish speakers) the furniture giant IKEA gathered several families, seating each clan around a large table where a holiday feast was prepared with all the trimmings. Then a quiz started: if a person answered the question correctly they could stay and keep eating, but if they got something wrong they had to leave. Initially, everyone found the quiz easy, correctly answering questions like: What animal filters can you find on Instagram stories? Can you demonstrate the “swish swish” (or “floss”) dance? What is the latest Instagram feature? Can you finish a lyric from this current song? What does this text message abbreviation mean? How did this celebrity couple meet? But when the questions became more personal the answers stopped coming: How did your parents meet? What exactly is your dad’s job? What degrees does your grandma have? What’s your son’s favorite group? What’s your wife’s dream? What has your mother been studying recently? Some family members tried to guess the right answer, but one after another, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, grandparents too, had to get up and leave. Finally, there was one solitary figure remaining, a lonely grandpa. A teen daughter summed up the embarrassment everyone felt: “What I’ve discovered is that I don’t know as much about my family as I do about some celebrities.” There was a happy ending. Everyone was invited back to the table, but this time smartphones were placed in a box in the middle of the table and the lid was firmly affixed....

News

Saturday Selections – Jan. 12, 2019

Parents, should we pay our children to do their chores and homework? This isn't a specifically Christian article, but it makes a point worth considering. Teach your teen how to read their Bible Our kids need to be given some basic tools to be able to read and understand the Bible. Here's some practical and helpful tips on how to equip them. Are you helping your children to despise themselves? If we let our children get away with disobedience we are teaching them to hate wisdom... and also hate themselves. When we smile... We've all experienced the power of a smile to change the mood of a room - a chipper, cheerful dad home from work can lift up the whole house, and a happy mom, ready to tickle her pre-schooler, can change that little one's trajectory for the entire day. As this article details, smiles also seem to benefit the smiler too. The sheer scale of God's creation Voyager 2 just left our Solar System and it will take another 40,000 years to reach the next nearest star... The Corner Room's rendition of Psalm 119:33-40 Wow. ...

News

Saturday Selections – Jan. 5, 2019

Is our galaxy in the center of many others? This is a tentative finding that the Institute for Creation Research urges Christians to hold onto loosely, but the data suggests that the Earth, or at least our galaxy, is in a very special, central spot amongst many other galaxies. What we read in the Bible wouldn't lay out that it would have to be so, but considering the central role of Man in all of creation, it also wouldn't be surprising to us if our galaxy was centrally located. But it sure would be unexpected for evolutionists who think everything happened without planning and intention. Skip New Year's resolutions in 2019 – make a rule of life New Year's resolutions are often a very surface-oriented attempted fix to a more foundational issue - how are we going to intentionally live our lives to God's glory? Abortion was the leading cause of death in 2018 LifeNews.com is reporting that of the approximately 100 million deaths in the world last year, 40 million were due to abortion. In comparison, the next leading cause of death, cancer, killed 8 million. Children aren't optional The average American woman is having just 1.76 children in her lifetime and the Church is following the world's lead. Why Coke is now better than Pepsi In the wake of undercover videos showing US Planned Parenthood (PP) clinics selling baby body parts, major US companies have been cutting their support for PP. That includes Coke but not, according to the group 2nd Vote, Pepsi. (These are American findings - it could be different in Canada and elsewhere in the world.) No one knows how to make a pencil If we expect our government to manage the complexities of our economy, consider this: no one on earth knows how to make even a pencil. It's a simple everyday object that costs only pennies. And yet, as Milton Friedman explains below, the making of a pencil requires the cooperation of thousands, from different countries, who don't even speak the same languages, and "who might hate one other if they ever met." This is the genius of free trade – "the magic of the price system" – that something no individual knows how to make, can get produced anyway, by mass cooperation, and so efficiently it can be sold for a trifling sum. As Leanard Read once wrote: "Skeptics of the free market are forever asking, “Well, how would the free market attend to mail delivery? Education? Or, whatever?” a person can no more explain how the free market would attend to mail delivery than his great-grandfather could have explained how television could ever emerge from free market forces! Answer honestly: I don’t know; I never will know; no one will ever know." Just as no one knows how to make a pencil. And yet it happens! ...

News

Most overlooked articles of 2018

We've previously shared a Top-10 list of RP's most popular posts of 2018. While every article on that list was fantastic, not every fantastic article was on that list – in fact, some of 2018's best articles managed to fall through cracks in the Internet and get almost entirely overlooked. But because they deserved better we've gathered them up and are shining the spotlight on them one more time. Without further adieu, here are some of the best, overlooked articles of 2018. Very helpful book reviews 12 ways your phone is changing you We live in a very different world than just 10 years ago - always connected, and yet increasingly disconnected. How does a Christian live with suffering? It's a question we'll all ask at some point... Insightful, incredibly creative fiction Hamlet with a happy ending What if the author of the story wanted to save Hamlet and was willing to step into the story to do it? Report of a meeting that was never held As this first-century meeting makes clear, we can be confident the apostles didn't edit the Bible. On the origin of articles Some silly sorts think articles are designed, but, as this article makes plain, they aren't designed – they evolve! Parenting On reading together Reading with your children is a wonderful way to teach, encourage, and bond with them. Discipline or punishment When it comes to discipline and punishment, parents do you know which you should, and which you shouldn't, be doing? And do your children understand the difference too? Evangelism and apologetics I love apologetics Ray Comfort, on how apologetics and evangelism are not as complicated as we sometimes make them out to be. Disarming a name caller by asking them to explain their insult The quickest way to put a thoughtless critic in their place is to ask them to actually explain their criticism. Paul vs. James: Dealing with Bible difficulties and Dealing with the Bible's difficult texts Bible critics want to confound us with supposed difficulties and contradictions in the Bible. Here are a couple quick takes on how to respond in faith, and with confidence. Humor What is humor? In a world that's increasingly comedic, Christians need to know how to use humor to point to the Truth. And the first step involves seeing humor as God sees it. Insights from the Devil's dictionary The creator of the Devil's dictionary wasn't Christian, but, some of his definitions were hilariously insightful. The very best pro-life signs! Humor can be used as a weapon for Truth. Here are some great examples. BONUS: On economics, dating, and deformers G.K. Chesterton on the difference between reformers and deformers The rich get richer by making us all wealthier Faint heart never won fair maiden...

News

Saturday Selections - Dec. 29, 2018

Mutations show devolution, not evolution (3 min) Beneficial mutations do happen, but they happen via a loss of information. And such information-losing mutations offer no explanation for molecules-to-man type evolution. These beneficial mutations are, in fact, examples of devolution. Don't give your kids smartphones. Let them use yours. Tedd Tripp with one brilliant tip to help teach our children to navigate the online world. How to protect your kids in the online world An article, and 12-minute video, with tips like: "First, you are not primarily your kids’ friend. You’re their parent. So you should parent them." and "You bought the phone. You control the TV. You control the Internet. You set the boundaries in your house." The perils of banning "fake news" Do we really want governments, and social media companies like Facebook, becoming the arbitrators of free speech? That sort of cure could be far worse than the disease. Is 10,000 steps a day a magic number? Some thoughts on the 10,000 steps more and more of us are trying to get each day. What DNA duplication might look like (3 min) Watch this and consider how much thought and intention and creativity would be needed to design a complex robot that could replicate itself. ...

News

Saturday Selections - Dec. 22, 2018

Young love: what are you waiting for? When we get married isn't always under our control. But there is a trend in the world, and reaching into the Church, to put off marriage until all our ducks are in a row. But does that give marriage the prominence it deserves? Rev. Jerrold Lewis offers 7 reasons to consider marrying early. (One caution: his divorce statistics, while commonly cited, are wrong - the real divorce rate is may be as low as 25%, and lower still in the Church.) The pay gap myth that just won't die Have you heard that women make just 77 percent of what men make? This wage-gap myth is based on averaging what all women make and comparing that to what all men make. It is an oversimplification that doesn't factor in is the different jobs, the different risks, and different amounts of overtime the two genders engage in. It turns out that when it comes to careers and family life, men and women have different priorities. An end of the year marriage check-up This is two years old but Kevin DeYoung's questions are just as helpful at the end of 2018. The Mike Pence rule spreads to Wall Street "Some women object, but it's one answer to #MeToo." When the public school tries to indoctrinate your kids about homosexuality The public school system is an arm of the government, and will often teach at cross-purposes to you, the parent. While you can ask that your child be allowed to skip certain classes – maybe the sex-ed classes – the administration may or may not agree. Even if they do allow it, the ungodly propaganda is so pervasive now, it isn't a matter of one class here or there. Consider these two examples: it's been ten years since the BC government agreed to let a same-sex couple rewrite the provincial curriculum to make it more homosexual-friendly, and just this year an Alberta school was involved in handing out explicit instructions on "safe" homosexual sex – a pictorial flip book – to a 13-year-old. So long as your children are in this system, you won't be able to shield them from the peer pressure coming at them from indoctrinated classmates (who will be happy to fill them in on everything that happened in the class they skipped) or from the influence of those you've put in authority over them – their teachers. You can blunt the worst of this impact via private schooling or home-schooling – by getting your children out of a system set on separating them from God – but even then they'll be impacted via neighborhood friends. So how can you innoculate your children against these influences? Amy K. Hall has help to offer, and it starts with coming alongside your children and talking through God's perspective, even as they are exposed to the secular perspective. The secret code of creation (1 hour) You don't have to understand this all to be blown away. A lecture unlike any you've heard before on the intriguing code God has built into numbers themselves. ...