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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.

News

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. ...

News

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. ...

News

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. ...

News

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. ...

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 - 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, RP App, 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?    ...

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