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News

Population of the world’s largest country begins to decline

For the first time since the early 1960s, deaths have outnumbered births in the world’s largest country – over the course of 2022 China’s population shrunk by 850,000. This development was a long time coming, as the country has seen a steady decrease in births since the 1970’s. That is thanks in part to China’s One-Child Policy, which stayed in force till 2015, and which penalized parents for having more than one child. The Communist government has been trying to reverse the downward trend since then, but with no success. China’s fertility rate is a dismal 1.28 children per woman, and still decreasing each year. To simply stay stable, a country’s fertility rate needs to average out to 2.1 children per woman, the two children to take the place of their two parents in the next generation, and the .1 to account for the fact that not all children reach adulthood. According to the Globe & Mail’s coverage:

“no country has successfully reversed birth-rate decline, which tends to track with development, as wealthier, urbanized populations choose to have less children.”

“China’s demographic and economic outlook is much bleaker than expected,” demographer Yi Fuxian commented in response to these findings. China is realizing quickly what Psalm 127:3 proclaims: “Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from Him.”

However, even as China is being confronted by this truth, Canada and much of the Western world continues to discourage children and is relying on immigration to keep the population and economy stable or growing. But where are these immigrants coming from, and what happens when these countries too need people? And if no country has been successful with reversing a decline, what happens when the world’s population begins to decline, as is expected later this century?

Through birth, fostering, and adoption, Christian families have an opportunity to show to the world the gift that life is.

News

Saturday Selections – Jan 14, 2023

Blue hair as a death sentence? A few years ago headlines declared that Iceland had nearly eradicated Down syndrome. But they hadn't eradicated the syndrome - they were killing those with it. Paul Ehrlich: wrong on 60 Minutes and wrong for 60 years In Deut. 18 God provides a test for a prophet that's pretty simple: if what he says doesn't come true, then we don't need to worry about him. That's a principle that has ready application in the global warming debate as well, and specifically when it comes to Paul Ehrlich. He's a scientist who has been off the mark for almost 60 years now, always predicting imminent doom, but who was recently given a platform on the American news program 60 Minutes to make his same old predictions once again. As Peter Jacobsen explains, he gets it so wrong because he sees only the cost of having children, and overlooks how they are a blessing. What is music for in corporate worship? "Music is a gift of God, a unique way of connecting His revelation with our hearts and minds. St. Augustine is thought to have said, 'he who sings, prays twice.' The Church must recover a more robust understanding and practice of music." More concerns with projectors in church "Using screens for worship devalues Scripture and the Book of Praise as merely books we read and sing from. Not physically using a Bible may result in not knowing which books are OT and NT, where the Minor Prophets are, the five books of Moses, or the Four Gospels...." How competition got my third grader reading Boys don't read. Boys are competitive. So what if we pitted the boys against the girls in a reading contest? This would need to be carefully done, with, most likely, a lesson included about winning and losing graciously - ie. competition sans trash talk. But could it work? Jordan Peterson says no to Ontario's thought police Jordan Peterson is in trouble again, and this Australian article is a great outsider's perspective. Why so many movies have a "Christ-like figure" in them (10 min) Pastor Jake Mentzel explains why Christ-like figures pop up in so many blockbusters. And it's not, he notes, because these movies are so insightful. This could be a great one to share with the kids, to show them that when a story – film or book – features a self-sacrificing figure, that doesn't mean it is deep... or good. ...

News

Saturday Selections – Jan. 7, 2023

Tariffs help producers only by hurting consumers (3 min) Tariffs at best protect the domestic producer at the expense of domestic consumers by requiring them to pay more. Christians can ask, why should the government be showing partiality (Lev. 19:15, Matt. 7:12), picking the one over the other? And tariffs will hurt producers too, when they have to pay more for the goods they use to produce their own product. How to get married "If you are considering marriage at some point in the future, let me urge you to consider making your marriage about something bigger than just a great party with friends. " The inequity that anti-racist activists won't talk about In the US the black abortion rate is about 4 times that of the white abortion rate. How come we never hear antiracist activists talk about that? As John Stonestreet writes: "One problem is that such a conversation requires frank talk about counterproductive attitudes toward marriage and solo parenting in low-income black communities. It requires discussing antisocial behavior and personal responsibility." According to statistics he shared, a single woman is twice as likely to abort as a married woman, and black women are much less likely to be married. So acknowledging the abortion disparity would highlight a topic the Left doesn't want to discuss: the importance of husbands, fathers, and marriage. Dining out on the Lord's Day If you're against Sunday brunch after Church, your Christian friends might peg you as being rather legalistic, trying to earn God's grace by being so overly righteous. But there's another sort of legalism that seeks loopholes to get around the spirit of the law, even as it seems a person is still obeying the letter of it. As this article argues, it's actually dining out on Sunday that's legalistic, but of this second sort. Ethics of "would you kill baby Hitler?" are more important than you probably think This isn't an explicitly Christian article, but the point sure is: that the end can never justify the means. Why? Because the ends aren't in our control, but God's (Prov. 16:9, 19:21; James 4:13-17). Whereas the means are the way we can show our love for Him. It's when we understand this and submit to it that exciting possibilities open up: in our hypothetical example, instead of murdering baby Hitler, we might hug, coach, mentor, and/or discipline him. So many lawful, rather than awful possibilities! For a real-world application consider how those who think they can murder in the name of mercy aren't motivated to seek out better palliative or long-term care possibilities. It is when we rule out the option of choosing evil that we'll start discovering these other better ways of alleviating suffering. Closer to home, in our cultural battles, God's people will often stay silent about Him to, in our minds, be more effective at seeking ends that are in accord with His will. Think of the abortion debate and how rarely God is ever mentioned. We'll forgo the reason God created us – to glorify Him – to pursue these ends. But what if we ruled out means that rob Him of His rightful glory? What other options might open up to us then? Could it be that we'd discover the most God-glorifying argument against abortion – that we get our worth, not from what we can do, but from the One in Whose Image we are made – might also be the most effective one? Aaron Rench: Start a Fire (3 min) A little something to get the blood pumping... Hitler picture credit: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-H1216-0500-002 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons...

News

Saturday Selections – Dec. 31, 2022

Dutch woman draws 6 pictures at the same time! This is just fun and crazy... Benefits of working a job for a long time Russell Gehrlein offers a couple of benefits that can come with working the same job for decades. But he's also previously offered a couple of problems that can come with doing the same thing for too long. Blaise Pascal, with four rules for mocking God's enemies These are insightful rules, but worth testing against how God's enemies are mocked in the Bible. Pascal says we shouldn't make things personal - we should mock ideas, not people – but that someone might think it personal doesn't mean it is. A man conducting a "drag queen story hour" might take personal any ridicule of him as a groomer, but would that really be a reason not to do it? Bone growth demonstrates brilliant design When it comes to the human body, and seeing God's fingerprints, we might most often think about the eye, which is truly astonishing. Our bones, however, might get overlooked, because we imagine them to be simple, just supports, hardly more than sticks, right? But no indeed - even your bones, and how they know to grow just so, are unbelievably marvelous! The best-kept secret in preparing kids against pornography "The best kept secret in the fight for your kids’ minds is role-playing. A simple and not very time-consuming activity that costs nothing. Role-playing is practicing difficult situations with your child that might come up as they navigate through a world filled with pornography." Why does Socialism fail? (3 min) Christian economist, Dr. Anne Bradley, offers 4 reasons (for the article version, click above): Socialism doesn't account for self-interest... ...or the importance of incentives Without a marketplace, producers (and socialism's central planners) can't know what products people really want Socialism requires that its all-powerful central planner remain benevolent, which never happens ...

News

One Reformed Christian seeks his day in court

Should Christians test their arguments against the gov’t, or let sleeping dogs lie? ***** Harold Jonker has become a familiar face to many Canadians. In his folksy, good-humored, sensible way, Jonker acted as a spokesman for the “Truckers' Convoy” that went to Ottawa early last year. In that role he was asked and able to explain why the truckers went to Ottawa, and what would get them to leave. In a word: freedom! In a few more words, it was a protest against the government’s mandate that truckers crossing the US/Canadian border had to be vaccinated. Media outlets all across Canada and the U.S. kept him in their rotation of interviewees, partly for his common sense, and partly for his quotable quotes. On Fox News, when asked what he would do if his bank accounts were frozen, the West Lincoln (Ontario) resident responded: “Go ahead, Mr. Trudeau. If you freeze my accounts, you’re not going to hurt me. You’re going to hurt my wife, my 13 children, my two dogs, and my 15 chickens!” (One has to wonder what Janice and the kids thought about this!) The “Jonker Trucking” company was well represented in the truckers’ convoy: partners Harold and Tim, along with brother-in-law Jeff Tenhage, visited Ottawa often and helped organize the event, which brought in truckers, with their rigs, from all across Canada, to park in and around the capital. Ironically, about half of their company’s truckers were vaccinated, and had been able to continue their runs into the U.S. that were not possible for unvaccinated operators, but they still wished to do their part to send the convoy’s message. Jonker at the time was also a town councilor for West Lincoln Township in the Niagara region, although he tried to make clear that he was in Ottawa with the convoy as a private citizen and business owner, not as a government representative of West Lincoln. However, fellow town councilors were not happy with Jonker’s outspokenness against both the vaccine mandates and the enforced lockdowns. This led to a complaint being filed, and an Integrity Commissioner investigation recommended that he be suspended from the town council, without pay, for thirty days due to violation of the council’s code of conduct. On what basis? For what was called the “unlawful nature” of the protests. The Commissioner also advised that Jonker should repay about $300 of gifts received, and the town council accepted both recommendations. At first, Jonker was inclined to just accept the punishment and move on. Thirty days' pay and $300 worth of gifts “is really chicken feed,” said Jonker – that wasn’t reason enough to fight. But with time, he became convinced that justice had not been served. “Basically, we in the convoy were exercising our right of free speech as guaranteed in the Charter of Rights. And two Ontario supreme court justices ruled that the protests were legal” . Then when the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) offered to represent him in a case against the township’s ruling, Jonker accepted. A date has not yet been set for the hearing. Many who spoke out against what they’ve judged to be government overreach in the vaccine mandates and the lockdowns are eager for this type of review. Now that the world has moved on from this pandemic, it is good to reflect on where any level of government may have overstepped its areas of stewardship, and where unjust judgments were given. Was it really necessary to prevent all churches from gathering for public worship for such a long period of time? Was it lawful to force police officers, members of the military, teachers, doctors and nurses to get what was a relatively new vaccine in order to keep their jobs? While many of us may be tired of the debate, we do well to allow these types of hearings to make judgments that may guide future decisions for different levels of government and publicly correct past wrongs. Lawyer Jorge Pineda, who represents Jonker in this case, summarized the situation in a Sept. 26 press release from the JCCF: “The sad truth is that Mr. Jonker has been punished for his political position, in the context of an ongoing dispute with other councillors. In Canada, we must tolerate strong differences in political opinion. Elected politicians should not be permitted to weaponize codes of conduct to silence and intimidate their political opponents. The Charter is intended to guarantee free expression. Canadian democratic institutions cannot survive if such guarantees can be easily ignored through these kinds of tactics.” WHO ARE YOU GOING TO BELIEVE, ME OR YOUR LYING EYES? A couple of years ago the American news outlet CNN famously declared a riot as being a “fiery but mostly peaceful” protest. A different sort of mischaracterization happened earlier this year in Canada when the Prime Minister linked the Truckers' Convoy with Nazism and racism. He couldn’t make his charges stick, largely because protesters used their social media feeds to bypass the mainstream press and directly share pictures and videos that showed the site was full of folks and families strolling, laughing, and even coming together in song. Jonker himself bears no animosity towards those who were against him in this particular fight. “I’m not holding anything against people. We all need time to get over things.” When asked if he had any regrets about the events of the past summer, Jonker said: “It would have been nice if the convoy leadership could have taken more time to organize everything,” although in general the truckers were praised for being fairly disciplined and well behaved. “I wish we would have shut down the horns a bit sooner, they were loud! I’m not a horn guy… but people kept asking us to honk the horns!” Harold is not sure what impact his high profile in the trucker convoy had on him not being re-elected as councilor in October. “I’m not a social media guy, but I know that some candidates painted a pretty radical picture of me.” Jonker is not done with politics yet: he is an active and enthusiastic member of the Christian Heritage Party; he has run as a candidate more than once, and hopes that the Lord can use this party for the good of Canada. During their time in Ottawa, Harold, Tim, and Jeff were all thankful to be able to witness to many people about the joy that they have to be children of the Lord. Many people told Harold that the convoy had given them hope, when they were in such a dark, gloomy, isolated place. “To have people say to truckers, you are our only hope, that’s pretty sad. I would tell them, God is your hope!” There were a lot of Christians amongst the trucker convoy leadership team, which met every morning and evening to be able to give direction to the group. “On the first day,” recalled Harold, “one of the older men asked if anyone objected to us starting each meeting with prayer! I was ashamed that it wasn’t my idea. But I was glad to help out, and that’s how we opened every meeting that whole time!” Boldly written on the wall of the meeting room was a text from Ecclesiastes 10, verse 4 (that’s right, 10-4 good buddy!): “If the anger of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your place, for calmness will lay great offenses to rest.” On one particular weekend, a young man that Harold and Tim had befriended asked if he could come to church with them! They of course were glad to take 16-year-old Logan along, and it worked out really well that most of Janice and the kids were coming up for the weekend. Some time later, the brothers got a text from Logan’s mom, showing herself and Logan all dressed up and ready for church back home in Newfoundland: apparently he insisted to his mom that church should be a regular part of their lives. Praise the Lord that even in unusual circumstances, He can use His people to tell others of the real and eternal hope we have as His redeemed children – not perfect, but forgiven. For Harold Jonker (kneeling, middle) the Trucker’s Convoy was a family affair.   ...

News, Pro-life - Euthanasia

“Markus showed us how to find meaning in suffering”

On Nov. 25, 2022, Mike and Jennifer Schouten testified before the Parliamentary Committee that is considering expanding euthanasia to children **** On May 29, 2022 Markus Schouten was promoted to be with His Lord, at the age of 18 and after battling cancer for over a year. Just six months later, his parents Mike and Jennifer had the very difficult job of appearing before the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying, in Canada’s Parliament, to share their story of walking with Markus through his suffering and death, and to urge our leaders to promote care for those suffering, rather than aid them with, and encourage them towards, suicide. They were the final witnesses to appear before this group of MPs and Senators, and their presentation made quite the impression, as they received questions for the next 45 minutes. We highly recommend you take the time to watch it. We reached out to Mike and Jennifer the following week to ask them about this experience. **** How did you get invited to share Markus’ and your family’s story with this Parliamentary committee? In April 2022 we sent in a written submission to the committee. At the time we had exhausted all treatment for cure and were focused on quality of life for Markus. We sent in the submission in consultation with Markus and with his blessing to use our experience as we were able to impact the current cultural conversations about euthanasia and assisted suicide. The invitation to appear before the committee came as a reply to our emailed submission in April. We had about ten days notice, but it came as quite a surprise to us. Was it a difficult decision for you  to agree to this? There was some initial excitement about this opportunity that God had put before us, but quickly we began to relive those last days with Markus and this brought up the variety of emotions of his suffering and death. It was only with the help of God, and the prayers of the saints carrying us along that we were able to push through. What were some of your hopes or goals with doing this? Even prior to the invitation we were having more frequent discussions about suffering and how we (as Christians and as a country) have so much to learn about suffering well. The main focus we had as we prepared for the presentation was to present a Christian perspective on suffering and death, with the purpose of ensuring the committee members had to wrestle with their own pre-existing worldviews on euthanasia and assisted suicide. While we were there to speak into the conversation about expanding this to minors, we purposefully framed some of our remarks in such a way as they would apply to all aspects of the euthanasia debate. You  had to endure a lot of questions from the MPs and Senators, some of which would likely have hurt. How did you feel about the questions that you were asked? We were surprised that they asked so many questions. Quite honestly we were preparing as though we might only receive one or two questions from sympathetic committee members, with those opposed to our perspective not giving us more opportunities to repeatedly emphasize our message. That so many MPs and Senators wanted to question us just meant we could speak truth to them in different ways each time. You shared that “Markus showed us how to find meaning in suffering.” Can you share any advice with others who are in the midst of suffering in similar ways right now, or perhaps will face this in the future? Suffering is hard and it looks different for everyone. Even though God has taken our family through the furnace of suffering (Isaiah 48:10) we have much to learn. Perhaps the most helpful advice we received early on in Markus’ cancer journey was the virtue of submission. Submitting to God’s will, especially when it appears His will is to go through a very hard season, and the only thing we (humanly speaking) want to do is flee from it, is challenging. Yet, through the power of our Saviour Jesus who has gone before us in traveling the road of suffering, we can submit to God’s will. This is not only right, it is liberating; it allows the sufferer to give his/her afflictions over to God and live in the assurance that He will carry us in the arms of Jesus, come what may. The love and hope that you have for Markus and our Lord radiated through your presentation and answers. Did you sense a spiritual battle being fought? Do you have any indication as to how your presentation went over? Absolutely. The most challenging part of the time we spent in the committee meeting was the spiritual component. The antithesis was palpable and became more apparent the more questions that were asked. The Senators, in particular, clearly had their minds made up and were trying their best to have us agree that even though it wasn’t something we would support, we should support it for others. We had a few committee members thank us personally immediately after the meeting. Since then we have reached out via email to all those who had questions for us and can thankfully share that one of the more strident members expressed that it helped her “think through the tough stuff.” What would you like to see Christians doing in the face of Parliament’s study into expanding euthanasia to minors? We need to be in prayer for the testimony of witnesses to touch the hearts and minds of the committee members. While our testimony was unique in that it was the only personal story to come before the committee, there were many other witnesses who cautioned the committee in expanding euthanasia to minors. Please pray that God would work through all the evidence before the committee with the result being that they recognize the dangers in making euthanasia available to children. There is still much opportunity to impact the recommendations that the Special Joint Committee will be drafting. They plan to have their report concluded by February 17, 2023 and we would encourage Christians to communicate to both their MP as well as the committee members before then. This can be done using ARPA Canada’s EasyMail system or by visiting the committee website where you can find contact information for all the members. Is there anything else you wish to share with RP’s readers? We are so appreciative for the many people who have reached out to us with words of encouragement and prayers on our behalf. We truly felt carried by your prayers. If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31) **** Presentation to the Special Joint Committee on MAiD A transcript of Mike and Jennifer's 9-minute presentation to the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) follows. You can also watch their presentation, and the question and answer period, in the hour-long video below. JENNIFER: This is our dear son Markus. On February 26, 2021 Markus was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, an aggressive form of bone cancer. After 20 rounds of chemotherapy, 25 rounds of radiation, numerous surgeries, including the replacement of his entire upper right arm with an internal prosthetic, we made the decision with Markus and his doctors to end treatment for cure and focus on quality of life. Markus’ care was then transferred from BC Children’s Hospital to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. The palliative and hospice care Markus received at our home was focused on addressing his suffering and valuing his dignity. The doctors and nurses knew his days would be short, and their efforts ensured that the days he had left were lived well. Markus wanted to die at home, surrounded by his family. But he also didn’t want to experience the intense pain and suffering that he knew would come as his lungs filled with tumours. On what turned out to be his last Friday, nurse Shana assessed Markus and said, “His time is short.” She advised us to take the window we still had for Markus to be transported to Canuck Place Hospice in Vancouver. With the increased intensity of his care we agreed. Our whole family was together at the hospice, and as we entered the evening it appeared that Markus would only last a few more hours. As each of his siblings said good night to Markus, he told them he loved them, and said, “See you in paradise.” Mike and I didn’t sleep at all but took turns sitting beside Markus. The nurses maintained his medication and Markus assured us that he was very comfortable and not in any pain. At one point he said to me, “This is how I hoped it would be.” As dawn arrived we realized that God had another day in store for Markus. Early that morning Markus’ friends arrived at the hospice and together they cried, laughed, and prayed. That afternoon both of Markus’ sets of grandparents also came to say goodbye. By early Sunday morning Markus was non-responsive and his breathing had become a lot more shallow. Just before 2:30 that afternoon Markus’ breathing slowed and with each of us around his bedside he took his final peaceful breaths and Markus’ soul departed from his broken body. MIKE: Markus died 6 months ago, on May 29, 2022, only 15 months after his diagnosis. If he was here today his appeal to you would be to not expand euthanasia to minors, for two reasons. Earlier this month it was reported in the news that CAMAP, the Canadian Association of MAiD Assessors and Providers, is recommending that physicians have an obligation to bring up medical assistance in dying with patients who meet eligibility requirements. As Jennifer just shared, Markus met the eligibility requirements. This means that if euthanasia is extended to minors, the day will come when families just like ours, sitting with their dying children, will feel an obligation to end the suffering of their child by having a doctor euthanize him or her. Dear committee members, we recommend against the expansion of euthanasia because by giving some minors the right to request, you put all minors and their families in a position where they are obliged to consider. If that happened to Markus the message heard would have been clear: we don’t think your life is worth living and if you want we can end it for you. The second reason we recommend you don’t extend MAiD to minors is because by doing so you eliminate unimaginably beautiful experiences. When we went to the Canuck Place Hospice, we didn’t know how long Markus would live. We hadn’t even wanted to go the hospice initially, but being there allowed us to embrace each moment we had with him, and him with us. If euthanasia becomes available to minors then that Friday night when we thought Markus was going to go… after we’d all had our time with him to say our goodbyes… It would seem like the thing to do right? “It’s time,” the nurse would say. “It’s the compassionate thing to do. You’ve all said your goodbyes… he doesn’t have to suffer anymore…he should go now,” the nurse would say. But, then we wouldn’t have had Saturday…a most beautiful day filled with precious memories. We suffered much with Markus, and we miss him terribly. But Markus showed us all how to find meaning in suffering and was thankful for each day God gave to him. It is our heartfelt recommendation to this committee, on behalf of Markus and our family, that you do not extend MAiD to minors and instead focus on providing the necessary palliative and hospice resources to ensure the best quality of living, even when someone is dying....

News

Saturday Selections – Dec. 3, 2022

Wage gap bake sale (4 min) For a while "wage gap bake sales" were a thing at schools, where men would have to pay more for the baked goods than women. Why? To show them what it was like to be financially discriminated against. But the "wage gap" these sales were meant to highlight wasn't the act of discrimination that the feminist Left made it out to be. This video is a little over the top, but a good overall explanation. What Kuyper can teach us about managing social media Do we want the State doing it, or parents stepping in to save our kids from social media scarring? How you answer that will depend on what you expect from the "sphere" of State and "sphere" of family. I am not my body? To justify transgenderism, euthanasia, and more, the world subscribes to a dualism of body and self - ie. they say you are not your body. Then that allows them to also say you are not the sex you were born as since you are not your body. Or they can ignore caring for their elderly mother because that's not my mother; the "real her" left long ago.  Christians would say we are not merely our body; there is more to us, but there isn't less, because our bodies are an integral part of who we are. This is a deeper article, but worth reading even if just to get the gist, because dualism is the worldview behind so much of what the world is promoting. If Canada’s incoming "assisted dying" rules were there a decade ago, I’d be dead Andrew Lawson explains how his struggle with depression a decade ago would likely have led to a state-assisted suicide, had that option been available then. Honoring parents when they don't deserve it Tim Challies speaks to the 5th commandment to honor our father and mother, and he addresses the hard cases of what that looks like with abusive or otherwise wicked parents. Overly excited soccer announcer Maybe you've come across one of these lately... ...

News

Saturday Selections – Nov 26, 2022

Gender is fluid until you bring up this... (2 min) It's becoming the norm to pretend that men can become women and vice versa. And some are up for pretending white can become black and vice versa. So who can we expose this for the silliness that it is? Well... keep going further, as Mark Spence does below. You can watch the 20 minute version of this video on YouTube by clicking the title above. A struggling society is one ripe for the Gospel This. We mustn't despair at the state of the world; we must seize the opportunity God's placed in front of us. Evolution invokes a "god of the gaps" When ancient Vikings didn't know the natural laws and forces at work that produced lighting they offered Thor, a god of thunder, as an explanation. Evolutionists say Christians are doing the same for how the universe and life came to be – we only credit it to God because we are ignorant. But someday, the evolutionists say, we'll figure out a way to explain the universe's origins and life's beginning without reference to any god. Evolutionists equate "God as an explanation" as simply a way to fill in gaps in our knowledge – this is the "god of the gaps" accusation. And, they say, the gaps we need a god to explain away are always shrinking as our knowledge grows. But it's not ignorance that has us pointing to God, but wonder. And as this article explains, it's actually evolutionists who most invoke their deity – in this case almighty "evolution" – when they have no explanation. Why we can't be uncontroversial John Stonestreet writes: "Pastors need to prepare their congregations to join believers throughout the centuries who were labeled 'controversial.' ....I’m not suggesting we should go looking for trouble. I am suggesting that, in this case, the trouble has come to us." The 7 most destructive Western philosophers  Despite the seemingly weighty topic matter, this is a quick read. I don't know if I'd list Plato as high on my list, but I appreciated the author's reasoning. I also appreciated being introduced to a couple of big bad philosophers (the last two) that I wasn't familiar with. Growing up Christian in Egypt (7 min) As the World Cup begins, here's the story of a Christian boy who in Egypt who would love to play for his national team... but who has to be brave just to try out for his local club. This 7 minute video highlights the persecution Christians have faced in Egypt, but does so in a way that is age-appropriate for even elementary students. ...

News

Saturday Selections – Nov 19, 2022

We kill because we care? Abortion brings to mind Proverbs 12:10: "A righteous person has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel." The righteous notice the little guy, whereas the wicked's best impulses – even their compassion – is still going to be cruel, like proposing murder as a solution to poverty and unwantedness. The Left have been trying to groom children for a long time (10-min read) Jonathon Van Maren writes a longer piece on the history of the Left's push for pedophilia and sexual grooming. Why read about such an unpleasant topic? Because these grooming attempts continue, and Christians opposing these pushes for "progressive sex ed" are often dismissed as conspiracy theorists. But what Van Maren shares is only the readily accessible facts, all out in the open – there's no secret conspiracy here. On the origin of consciousness (15-min read) Evolution has its theories about how our consciousness began but, as this creationist article points out, those explanations are little more than "word salads" – gobblygook that only highlights how little we actually understand about our brains. “Consciousness poses the most baffling problem in the science of the mind…. The puzzle is how a 1.3-kilogram organ with the consistency of tofu can generate the feeling of being.” I lost my mom to Facebook "Over a period of three years, her elderly mom went from Facebook illiterate to Facebook junkie. From a great-grandma liking photos of her great-grandkids to a full-blown QAnon conspiracy theorist posting wild articles..." Marriage is a calling, not a capstone The world misunderstands marriage as a "capstone to success" – something to take on only after you've figured out everything else in your life. When it rains in the world, it often drips in the Church, so are our own young people having this "leak" into their thinking? You are not a visual learner... or do learning styles exist? Are you a visual, or more of an auditory, or tactile learner? There's a widely accepted theory that people have their own ideal learning styles, but as this video, and the article linked above, highlight the evidence for learning styles is lacking. How can that be? Read or watch to find out. A takeaway for Christians is how much of what we know may not actually be so. There is a tendency, even among Christians, to presume the experts really know their stuff and to just "trust the science." But some "facts" might well be just faulty assumptions. So only God's revelation should be trusted to be infallible. ...

News

RP's "What needs reforming today?" contest!

505 years ago, Martin Luther courageously nailed 95 revolutionary opinions onto the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. As children of the Reformation, we recognize our natural inclination to drift away from the LORD, requiring continual reformation in our hearts, families, schools, churches, and society. Our challenge to you is to make the case for something that needs reforming in 2022. It could be how we manage creation, farm, observe the Sunday, invest our money, use smartphones, take part in Young People’s Bible studies, or something entirely different. Here is your opportunity to nail your own thesis! Teachers, this could be a great project for your students. And we aren’t just looking for essays (though they are welcome too). We welcome contributions of art, cartoons, satire, and any medium that you desire to make your point. Categories: Youth (under 18) Adults (18+) Rules: Maximum two entries per person Work must be faithful to God’s Word, also as preserved in the great Reformation Must be an original work No minimum length. Maximum 1,500 words or two pages Submitting your work requires giving permission to RP to publish it online and/or in print if selected by the editor Prizes: $100 gift card to Christianbooks.com and $50 for the runner-up for both categories Winners may be published in Reformed Perspective Details: Send your submissions to [email protected] before December 10, 2022; For youth submissions please include age, and permission from parents for the article to be used by RP.   * While Luther did write his 95 theses, it turns out it is less certain whether he "nailed it" or mailed it. ...

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A group of 50 BC doctors are challenging Dr. Henry’s vaccine mandates in court

During the past two years, Canadians in the medical field who were skeptical about COVID vaccines have faced difficult decisions and challenging work environments. If they were unwilling to be among the first to get the jab, they’d no longer be allowed to work in hospitals and extended care homes. And even as restrictions have eased in most of the world, in British Columbia unvaccinated healthcare workers are still barred from working in public healthcare facilities. Now a group of British Columbia physicians – the Canadian Society for Science and Ethics in Medicine (CSSEM) – along with some like-minded nurses, are trying to get that reversed. They’ve submitted a petition for a judicial review of the COVID restrictions. They are asking that a judge rule on whether or not it is reasonable that these employment bans on the unvaccinated continue in light of the current state of the pandemic. Dr. Matt Dykstra of Smithers, BC helped form the CSSEM. He has deep roots in the Smithers area and in the local Reformed community. While he moved away for post-secondary study, he returned to northern BC in 2019 with his wife Fio and their growing family to take over a family practice. During the first couple of years Dykstra spent time with patients at his practice, made house calls, and made rounds at the local extended care home and hospital, where he regularly worked in the emergency department. Then COVID turned things upside down. Dr. Henry decides for everyone In October of 2021, BC’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, made vaccines mandatory for all healthcare workers: get vaccinated or be prepared not to enter public healthcare facilities. Dykstra was hesitant about taking the vaccine himself, and struggled to find any strong evidence that his unvaccinated status posed a risk to his patients: he believed that more time was needed to study the effects of these new inoculations on different age groups, and that a one-size-fits-all mandate was not a helpful medical directive. Although he maintained a low profile on the issue, it was not long before he found himself in the center of a controversy. Dykstra was the only one, of more than a dozen local area doctors, who did not sign a statement of unconditional support for the vaccine and the vaccine mandates. When the healthcare workers’ mandate went into effect, he was no longer able to provide services in the local hospital’s emergency department or maternity ward, nor to see patients there or at the extended care facility. Since over a third of his practice’s revenue had come from Dykstra’s work in these public facilities, his decision to abstain from the vaccine had a very real effect on his income and workload. Dykstra is thankful that he has been able to continue to see patients at his practice. While a handful of Dykstra’s patients chose to find other doctors, nearly all remain under his care, and many have been supportive whether or not they received the vaccine themselves. However, over a year after the mandate went into effect, Dykstra and many other doctors and nurses remain shut out of public healthcare facilities. Asking for answers Now, the CSSEM is applying legal pressure on Dr. Henry’s office. The judicial review they requested is scheduled for ten days, beginning November 28. Dykstra explains: “Essentially, we are forcing Dr. Henry to show her evidence – which I believe doesn’t exist, or the medical society would have received it by now – or have the mandate rescinded. Alberta Health has already rescinded their mandate and has been hiring back their health care workers… I believe these mandates are not reasonable, and must end… the mandates are defeated, unvaccinated lab techs, receptionists, unit clerks, and others will also get their jobs back along with us doctors and nurses.” He expressed concern over the manner in which the vaccines were pushed on both doctors and on the general public – that pressure, he said, is not in alignment with physicians’ classical training surrounding important ethical principles. “What bands us in the CSSEM together is our adherence to the pillars of medical ethics: bodily autonomy – the patient decides what happens to his/her own body, and it’s wrong to force care/medications/vaccines/treatments on someone; and informed consent – ensuring the patient has all the information related to the benefits and risks of accepting a proposed treatment and the benefits and risks of rejecting a proposed treatment.” It isn’t as much about the vaccine as it’s about the pressure Dykstra believes that neither doctors nor government workers should put undue pressure on the public to accept a “one size fits all” course of treatment. “The vaccine mandates forced doctors to give medical advice without using their own professional judgment, and without allowing patients to see both the positives and negatives of the vaccines.” Dykstra also wishes to clarify that in opposing the vaccine mandate, he isn’t trying to say others were wrong to get vaccinated. “My hope is that your readers who chose to get the vaccine did so because they thought it was the best choice for them and their families – that’s great. But for those who got vaccinated under threat or coercion – I’m sorry the medical system did that to you, and that most doctors didn’t oppose.” As for fighting this coercion, Dykstra feels quite strongly that doctors should lead the charge. “I don’t think it’s the mechanic’s or teacher’s duty to fight against the crumbling of medical ethics as much as it is mine.” The fifty physicians who make up the CSSEM have spent about $150,000 of their own funds on this legal challenge. They have asked for public support for the remaining $300,000 they expect to spend to see this review all the way to its end. While Dykstra himself was initially reluctant to ask for donations, his wife Fio reminded him that this is a cause that many people feel strongly about, and that donating may be a way for them to show support to healthcare workers in this predicament. Dykstra ended up sending a letter to members of the local Canadian Reformed and United Reformed churches in the Bulkley Valley (Smithers, Telkwa and Houston), and to other friends and supporters, explaining the upcoming judicial review, and inviting them to support this work by donation or letter. “The response has been very positive; it’s been a great encouragement,” said Dykstra. “Many people have reached out, even if they’re unable to contribute, to thank me… for standing up in what I believe in, and that’s regardless of the people’s vaccination status.” You can find out more about the Canadian Society for Science and Ethics in Medicine and their court case at CSSEM.org....

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Saturday Selections – October 22, 2022

Newton on science and the supernatural (7 min) Science and faith don't mix? One of the world's most famous scientists, Sir Isaac Newton, would beg to differ. But even as Newton believed in a god, he didn't seem to believe in our one true God – Newton denied the Trinity. Joe Rogan: do we want the government regulating truth on the Internet? Podcaster Joe Rogan recently asked a guest whether we should want the government to regulate speech on the Internet. For those who'd say yes, there's this to consider: a UK mom arrested earlier this month for social media posts critical of transgender ideology. God – not gov't – offers direction to the gender-confused Chloe Cole was gender-confused at 12, approved for puberty blockers and a double mastectomy at 15, and full of regret at 16. Why didn't anyone help Chloe before she made the biggest mistake of her young life? Because: "In California, any attempt to dissuade a minor from their preferred gender is considered 'conversion therapy.'”  God – not government – offers hope to the suicidal Last month, an Ontario mom discovered her depressed 23-year-old son had scheduled to kill himself. This Catholic lady may have taken inspiration from the parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8) – she made such a stink that the doctor backed off. However, for every suicide prevented, there are many more encouraged and enabled by the government, and no wonder: euthanasia is a cost-saving measure for the State because killing a citizen is cheaper than caring for them. Euthanasia is Canada's "new social safety net." In offering no remedy for this callousness, this secular article illustrates how hope for the depressed and suicidal needs to be sought elsewhere. It doesn't share that hope, but God does, in three ways: Purpose: death becomes preferable when living is seen as pointless, so Christians need to share how God gives us purpose, to glorify Him, which is possible for everyone in every situation and stage of life. Value: in contrast to some lives being not worth living, God tells us our worth isn't found in what we can or can't do, but in whose Image we are made (Gen. 9:6, 1:27). Refuge: the Church can start hospitals again, where people can go to be cared for, and not killed. How Christianity created the hospital "The first major epidemic faced by the Church was the Antonine Plague (A.D. 166-189). In fear of their lives, the Romans threw the sick out of their homes to die in the streets. Galen, the most prominent physician of the age, knew he could neither heal its victims nor protect himself. So, he fled Rome to stay at his country estate. ....Many Christians ran the other direction." The truth about plastics pollution (6 min) Government bans on single-use plastics here in North America won't help turtles. What such bans can do, is get some consumers to use paper rather than plastic, or, use heavier plastic garbage bags and heavier grocery bags that are theoretically recyclable but only use more resources when consumers don't. ...

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Saturday Selections – October 15, 2022

Perfect timing Here's a fun one for the whole fam that's sure to inspire some imitation... Scientists revive 100 million-year-old bacteria? For anything to be alive that long is, of course, impossible... unless it's actually much younger. Vaping tax led to an increase in cigarette usage... The practical case for government being small is simply that they are fallible. One of the latest illustrations of that fallibility is a tax on vaping that was intended to discourage use. But instead it prompted a turn to even more harmful cigarettes. As the article asks, "How many times do their efforts have to backfire before bureaucrats and politicians learn the limits of their abilities?" Fossil fuels: still essential to human flourishing In his new book, Alex Epstein notes that there is still a pressing need for the poor to get access to fossil fuels. As this review notes: "One example of the suffering which energy poverty imposes is the fact that almost 800 million people have no access to electricity, while around 2.4 billion people still rely on wood and animal dung to cook and heat their homes...." By using "human flourishing" as his measure for environmental policies Epstein is, whether intentionally or not, placing Man at the pinacle of creation just as God has done. Tips for homeschooling when you have a toddler in tow When mom is teaching the olders but has a little one toddling about the juggling act can get hectic. This article, and its two sequels, offer some tips on keeping that toddler busy so you can have time to help with lessons. Public schooled! In the video below a student discovers that government schools teach that whatever the problem, government is the answer. As Douglas Wilson has noted, why would parents be surprised that their kids are indoctrinated in socialism when they've sent them to what is a socialist school system? Similarly, Voddie Baucham wrote, "We cannot continue to send our children to Caesar for their education and be surprised when they come home as Romans.” ...

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