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News

Saturday Selections – April 2, 2022

Is having kids socially irresponsible?

The myth of overpopulation refuses to die...but this video can help drive the stake. This is a practical argument that doesn't get into the real reason children are valuable. Their value comes from being made in God's Image (Gen. 9:6). It's when we recognize everyone as valuable, that we'll also recognize that we are more than simply mouths to feed, but have also been given brains and hands to create with.

White noise to soothe the crying baby

For those blessed with a new arrival, this might be a help. If you're having trouble getting your baby to stop crying even though they are fed and dry, try this free white noise generator.

Canadians aren't donating...

...and that presents an opportunity for God's people to stand out, to His glory, with our generosity.

Old commentaries are better than the new

A commentary on Timothy has Rev. Tim Bayly enthused... but he doesn't like many modern commentaries

Prenatal tests, false positives, and abortion

Prenatal testing on the unborn promises to "cure" genetic diseases, but does so via abortion – it does so by killing unborn carriers. That's horrific all on its own, but now it turns out certain prenatal tests, tests which lead to countless abortions, are “usually wrong.”

Topics too hot for conservative pastors to handle

Even in conservative evangelical circles, the importance of parents being married is being forgotten. Why? The article offers as explanation that pastors know many in the pews have had sin stain their relationships, and thus preaching forthrightly on the topic could cause division. That's not a problem in our Reformed churches, yet at least, but are there topics our pastors might find hard to preach on? Might the last two year's events make it hard to preach on the government's authority, or on its limits? Another: we don't share the world's hatred for male headship, but how often are we taught why we should love it? And what about the sixth commandment as it applies to contraceptives and IVF?

The evangelical church has their "too hot to handle" topics that might not be so hot in our circles...... but we do have touchy topics too. May God help us seek out His truth with courage and grace.

Answering Hitchens' "impossible question"

When an atheist asks a question we can't answer, a quick thought to consider is, "So what?" That's the right response to the late Christopher Hitchens' question: what moral action can a believer do that an atheist can't do? Does anything leap to mind? Give to the poor? Atheists can do that. Visit the sick? Atheists can do that too. But...so what? What point does that prove?

The more pertinent question would be: "What moral action should Christians do that atheists can do, but have no real reason to do?" Then we could come up with a list, starting with giving to the poor. Yes, an atheist can do that, but why should they? From their worldview, in which we are all just chemicals in motion, accidental creations of time and chance, with no future, and no purpose, why would an atheist give?

Mike Winger gives his own, very good answer below.

News

Saturday Selections - February 26, 2022

When the Premier of Alberta was also a radio evangelist (2 min) Today, Christians seem to have agreed with the world that God has no place in politics. We treat Him like the villain of the Harry Potter books – His is the name that shall not be named. But as Dr. Michael Wagner shares here, there was a time when everyone thought very differently, such that Alberta's premier would spend his weekends proclaiming God's gospel on the radio, doing so for more than 30 years. Richer than the richest person of 100 years ago Every billionaire of 100 years ago would be jealous to have things we take for granted. This is a secular article, so it doesn't really have a moral to its story, so let's add one: why then do people covet just as much as ever? Because covetousness isn't motivated by need, but by ingratitude for what we have already been given. Renewal movement in the CRC stands against LGBT theology This ten-minute read gives a history of the Christian Reformed Churches' witness when it comes to sexuality. The one side, pushing for change (under the premise that God's Word is unclear here, and the current practices unloving), is being met by a revival movement that recognizes the Church can't help homosexuals and others by encouraging them to continue in their sin. This is an encouraging read! The failure of Canada's Parliament "The basic issue here is not political; it is theological.... Our governing elites no longer believe in God. They recognize no limits to their power because they believe they are the source of political authority. They are unfit to govern. A society that no longer believes in God cannot remain a liberal democracy for long." The mass grave that may or may not be? This is shared in the spirit of Prov. 18:17, highlighting that the mass grave of residential school Native students found last summer in Kamloops may or may not be a mass grave after all. The emphasis here should be on might - it is uncertain either way – and should it not be, that doesn't clear residential schools of wrong. But it does serve as a caution, once again, that media reports presenting the "facts" are very often too certain by half. News worth celebrating While recent headlines might have all of us concerned, Jonathon Van Maren is sharing news worth celebrating: abortions are down by 60% in Texas, and Malta is resisting efforts to make it legalize abortion. Pandemic silver lining - less kids in gov't schools (3 min) Homeschooling in the US may have increased 4-fold since the beginning of the pandemic. While that's a number to take with a grain of salt (other attempts at measuring the homeschooling increase have given other numbers), with government schools focusing ever more on opposing God's truth on equality, sex, gender, and just generally God's sovereignty over every square inch of creation, that's a welcome trend.  ...

News

Saturday Selections – Feb. 19, 2022

Kinsey - the man behind perverted sex-ed The biggest bit of propaganda Kinsey passed along? That chastity was basically impossible. Thus sex-ed programs teach "safer sex" rather than actual safe sex – ie. sex only between a committed husband and wife – presuming that kids are akin to beasts in heat who couldn't possibly control their urges. God, in forbidding adultery (Ex. 20:14), presumes something very different. A case for shorter hymnals John Ahern argues for limited hymns. His main point? We can only sing songs well if we actually know them. Why Postmodernism promotes Big Government In this short yet provocative piece, J.P. Moreland offers an explanation for why the godless want government to get bigger and bigger. A how-to for combatting the lie of "deep time" Dinosaur soft tissue used to be inconceivable. Now it is incontrovertible. Our polygamous past This is quite a good practical case against polygamy: men with many wives leave other men without the ties that bind. Then, without families to concern them, these men often cause trouble. It's such a good argument that Christians might be tempted to base their arguments against polygamy on this line of reasoning. But a practical case against can be answered with practical solutions. For example: mayhaps we need to encourage women to take more than one husband so as to even things out. Now our "too many unconnected men" problem is solved...but not in any sort of fashion we were intending. Thus, when we defend God's truth – that "a man should leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh" (Eph. 5:31) – we need to defend it as God's truth. It's only once we have established that as our foundation, that we can then stack arguments like this "practical case" against polygamy on top. While practical objections can't stand on their own, they can stand when supported. Practical problems do come with disobeying God. But will the world listen to us if we talk to them about God? It doesn't seem likely. But is our goal to get pagans to act like Christians? Or do we want them to be Christians? One thing we can be quite certain of: if we are too ashamed to talk about God, we won't be used by God to bring people to Him. Do we want the Bible back in public schools? Gary DeMar explains the problem with that sort of partial victory... ...

News

Saturday Selections – Feb. 12, 2022

Politically correct police When this first came out 7 years ago, it didn't have quite the political edge that it has today. But that only makes it all the more brilliant! Karl Marx's favorite quote A recent poll has more Americans favoring socialism than capitalism, perhaps because they believe the former is about sharing, the latter about greed. But as Jerry Newcombe notes, the truth is something else entirely: "Most Cubans live on $44 (U.S.) per month. In contrast, when Fidel Castro died in 2016, his net worth was estimated at $900 million. In America, wealth is created by providing value in voluntary exchanges, and there is no inherent limit on it. But in a Marxist setting like Castro’s Cuba, the government controls the economy, and it’s a zero-sum game. Castro’s wealth was at the expense of the Cuban people." Where's the evidence that conversion therapy is harmful? An American sociologist came up with a surprising conclusion: such therapy helps, even by secular measures. Join the Anti-Revolutionary Party! "Throw the bums out" is a popular sentiment, but not a solution of any sort. Why? Well, consider the recent exit of the conversion therapy ban-supporting, baby-murder defending Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole. He's out due to his incompetent leadership more than his policy positions. And who is likely to replace him? We might well get a more competent, but also conversion therapy ban-supporting, baby-murder defending Pierre Poilievre. That's what a revolution can net you: one evil replaced with another. That's why Christians need to always be reformational rather than revolutionary. And it's not about word choice, but the spirit behind it. We don't want to burn it all down; we want to reform and repair. We aren't simply against the pro-choice, pro-LGBT Erin O'Toole – we are for protecting from conception to natural death all those made in the very Image of God, and we are for the freedom of Christians to speak God's truth about sexuality. We aren't simply against the devil and his minions. We are for our great and glorious God! How the Babylon Bee failed Elon Musk A couple of months ago the Christian satire site Babylon Bee landed their biggest podcast guest yet, the world's richest man, Elon Musk. While this might be the best interview he's done, it didn't end well when the Bee's staff jokingly pressured him to accept Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. As Ester O'Reilly writes, "Not everything has to be turned into a joke. Indeed, some things positively shouldn’t be. Some things should stay sacred. It’s okay—more than okay, necessary—to keep them that way." Erin O'Toole is out: it's time for Leslyn Lewis, not Pierre Poilievre Jonathon Van Maren lays out the case. What if I can't answer every question about God? (5 min) Michael Krugor, author of Surviving Religion 101, with some encouragement for college students, or just any Christian being challenged to explain why they believe what they believe about God. Click on the link above to read our review of his book. ...

News

Saturday Selections – Feb. 5, 2022

Is there a reality outside people's feeling? In this episode of the Woke Zone, we watch as a trans activist "lovingly forces everyone to agree." Old Testament case for small government J.P. Moreland gives us something to chew by looking at the first chapters of Amos. John Hopkins University meta-analysis says lockdowns had minimal impact on mortality A National Post article on a new John Hopkins study that calls into question the effectiveness of the lockdowns can be found at the link above while the study itself can be found here. A key quote from the study: "...lockdowns have had little to no effect on COVID-19 mortality. More specifically...lockdowns in Europe and the United States only reduced COVID-19 mortality by 0.2% on average. were also ineffective, only reducing COVID-19 mortality by 2.9% on average....While this meta-analysis concludes that lockdowns have had little to no public health effects, they have imposed enormous economic and social costs where they have been adopted. In consequence, lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument." A few cautions considering this study: While it is from John Hopkins University, this is their economics, rather than medical department. And while it covers 24 studies, it is just one analysis. Also, as it notes, others have differed (though the authors offer some explanation as to why they think their conclusions are the better ones) It argues for the ineffectiveness of government "non-pharmaceutical interventions" – government-imposed lockdowns, mask mandates, stay-at-home orders – and not, for example, the ineffectiveness of voluntary mask usage or social distancing. Reading through this meta-analysis, it becomes apparent that it is far more imprecise than numbers like 0.2% and 2.9% would first make you think – there are lots of educated guesses being made, and conclusions drawn based on minimal data. Of course, that's true not only of this, but studies in general, based as they are not simply on the facts, but on greatly varying ways of interpreting and understanding the facts. As creationists understand, science regularly speaks with a certainty that isn't warranted. Is there an authoritative source we can turn to, to find greater clarity on this issue? Well, there is a Christian consideration for why we might take this study as more credible than some others: the conclusion is in keeping with a vision of less encompassing government. That might seem like supporting a study simply because it says what we want it to say – that big government actions taking away our freedoms haven't been effective. It is like that but with one big difference: it isn't simply that we like the conclusion, but that it seems in keeping with God's Word. How so? The Bible steers us away from big government (see J.P. Moreland's article "Old Testament case for small government" just above, and 1 Sam 8:10-22) and consequently that gives us reason to be skeptical of big government actions. What we see in tyrannies of the past (USSR, Cuba, China, etc.) is that limited Man, no matter his leadership skills, doesn't have the omniscience needed to make the right decisions for everyone. These governments denied God, but when they tried to replace Him, they could never manage it. Unfortunately, this too is not a conclusive argument. There have been times (think World War II, or maybe Israel's conquering of Canaan) where most would agree "big government" actions were needed. But general principles remain principles still even when there are exceptions. It is when exceptions become the rule – when people start speaking of this as  "the new normal" – that we then have increasing reason to doubt whether the intrusions were truly warranted in the first place. How do Mormons view their complex history of polygamy? Mormons used to practice polygamy and now don't - this is a short secular take on how it happened Government spent a quarter million for each job saved To counter the lockdowns the US government imposed, they spent $42,000 per federal taxpayer to stimulate the economy and help preserve jobs. However, it cost "$170,000-$257,000 for each job it helped preserve a lot more than most of those jobs even pay." This is an American example of governmental incompetence, but the warning against big government spending programs is applicable everywhere. On the new Christian film Redeeming Love "Redeeming Love may be the first prominent faith-based film whose two main characters have on-screen sex" and Cap Stewart asks us to "consider the actors." US Report on UFOs (30 min) Last year the American government released a report on documented encounters with unexplained aerial phenomena. In this half-hour podcast, two creationists dig into the report, explaining that they likely are true – "the allegations are serious and the witnesses are credible" – and offering a biblical explanation. ...

News, Politics

Conversion therapy and silence in Canada

Many concerned readers will remember the federal government of Canada’s effort to ban conversion therapy throughout 2021. The Liberals began their efforts in the spring, with a bill that would ban any therapy that was intended to help change a person's sexual preferences from homosexual or transexual to heterosexual. There were many hearings, some of which I watched, and I was astounded by the clear articulation by so many participants who spoke against the government's broad definition of conversion therapy. The hearings included horrific stories of tortuous attempts of conversion therapy (and these tortures should indeed be banned), but it became clear that the legislation also sought to ban conversations and advice that, for example, a pastor might offer a parishioner who requested their help. While it seemed inevitable that the legislation was going to pass, it would have to do so with much opposition. In June 2021, 62 Conservative MPs voted against this bill at Third Reading, and it moved on to the Senate. However, before they could deal with it, a federal election was called, and the business of Parliament came to an end. The next elected government would have to start all over. That meant there would be another opportunity to continue fighting against bad definitions, godless intentions, and government overreach. Sadly, on December 1, a Conservative Party motion to fast track the government's latest "conversion therapy ban" legislation (Bill C-4), was unanimously approved by the House of Commons. No debate, no discussion, no hearings, no fighting for care and caution. Mr. O’Toole was one of the 51 Conservative MPs that voted for the Bill originally, and he suggested that there were many different ways to expedite the legislative process for the Bill. What’s worse, as reported by the Globe and Mail, we learned: Earlier this week, the Liberal government reintroduced a bill banning conversion therapy. The legislation was wider reaching than a previous version. It was intended to ban the practice entirely for children and adults. Before, the proposed legislation left open the possibility that an adult could consent to conversion therapy. The new bill closes that loophole. (Ian Bailey, Dec. 1 – Surprise Conservative motion sends conversion therapy ban bill through Commons). Silent MPs There are so many different implications with this move that it is hard to comment on them all. What is most disconcerting is the silence with which this Bill was passed. Three members of the Conservative Party, Arnold Viersen (Conservative MP clarifies his stance on “conversion therapy” ban | The Bridgehead), Cathy Wagantall (Second Conservative MP clarifies stance on unanimous vote for “conversion therapy” ban | The Bridgehead), and Ted Falk (Conservative MP explains what happened with unanimous Bill C-4 vote), have expressed regret in not speaking up at that moment, objecting to the unanimous passage of this Bill (can we anticipate more such commentary?). Had only one person done so, the Bill would have had to go through the regular legislative procedures. I appreciate the humility and transparency of Viersen, Wagantall, and Falk and I believe they are sincere in their expression of regret – they are consistent with their previous actions and comments on this topic. Christians excusing silent MPs Another disconcerting phenomenon flowing from this event has been the social media commentary by many Christians dismissing or even endorsing the silence of these and other parliamentarians as being “sheep in the midst of wolves” and thus, being “wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matt 10:16). I understand the very real challenge of being a Christian politician, and I would not want to be judgmental. However, if we won’t take a stand on this issue, with relatively little at stake, what issues do we stand up for? One person considered this a lost cause, so “pick your battles.” Sure, there is truth in both statements, but it isn’t that we were going to lose the battle that concerns us, but how we lost it – capitulation and silence; acquiescing and standing by. Today, it is officially the case that there is not a single Member of Parliament who objects to the definition of Conversion Therapy in Canada. A few months ago there were 61. We are going to lose most moral battles moving forward – we don’t have a great track record of wins – but for righteousness’ sake we fight the battles. If we don’t fight because we know we’re going to lose, then whenever there is a Liberal government with support from the NDP and others, we may stop fighting altogether. Rather, let us recognize that some are fighting on the front lines, where the battle is most fierce, tiring, public, and hard – they need our support and encouragement. And when they lay down their weapons in a moment of weakness, we can still be behind them spurring them on to pick up the armory and keep on fighting – they haven’t lost all our support for such a moment. But neither should we say to the frontline fighters, “drop the weapons, stop fighting, late us take this blow so we can fight the next onslaught.” Such a strategy will not work. After repeated capitulation like this, it will only make those in the supporting roles look for others to support. The ban on conversion therapy legislation passed in silence and was celebrated with loud clamor. This was a sad day in Canada’s history and we pray that the Lord will stem the growing tide of secularism that is filling our land. May he also continue to grant strong men and women who can fight these battles where they are placed, to his honor and glory. May he also forgive all of us when we fail to do so. Postscript: Conversion therapy definitions The Bill (needing only Royal Assent now to be law) defines Conversion Therapy thusly: “Conversion therapy means a practice, treatment, or service designed to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual; change a person’s gender identity to cisgender; change a person’s gender expression so that it conforms to the sex assigned to the person at birth; repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour; repress a person’s non-cisgender gender identity; or repress or reduce a person’s gender expression that does not conform to the sex assigned to the person at birth” There is one point we need to understand. There is nothing in this law that would prevent a practice, treatment, or service designed to change person’s sexual orientation to homosexual; there is nothing in it banning attempts to change a person’s gender identity from heterosexual; it raises no objections to treatments, practices, or services intended to change a person’s gender expression so that it no longer conforms to their biological sex; it does not stand in the way of attempts to repress or reduce heterosexual attraction or heterosexual behavior, etc. It becomes clear then, that this Bill is not about banning conversion therapy, it is about allowing conversion therapy in only one direction – the unbiblical direction. Being gender fluid, transgender, homosexually active, etc. are celebrated and promoted in so many different ways in public schools and communities. There is a strong effort to promote sexual conversions through SOGI 123, and other similar curriculum. This isn’t about creating a safe space for struggling youths – it is about creating a cultural revolution where the standards of God’s Word are continually being tossed aside. ARPA Canada (C-4: Conversion Therapy) and others have commented on the implications of this legislation elsewhere. The next steps, as outlined by Cathy Wagantall, include “working with parents, pastors, and legal experts to develop legislation that protects parents’ and faith leaders’ ability to have conversations with individuals seeking clarity on their personal life decisions.” May the Lord bless these efforts!...

News

Top 10 RP articles of 2021

Free films featured prominently in this year's Top 10 with three entries, but there wasn't an identifiable theme for the rest. Or maybe that diversity was the theme: all of God's universe, from doctrinal discussions on baptism, to history, Christian fiction, the World Wide Web, and more, God created it for us to explore. These, then, are the most popular articles of 2021! You can click on the titles to check them out. #10 – 3 simple reasons we believe misinformation In an era of fake news, you'd think we'd know better than to fall for it again and again. So why do we? Chris Martin offered this much-appreciated explanation. #9 – In His Image: Delighting in God's plan for gender and sexuality Gender and sex will be hot topics for the next decade, and this free documentary was the go-to for thousands of RP readers who wanted to get a good grounding. #8 – Calvin's Institutes: Which edition should I read? There are three main translations of this pivotal work. So which should you read? #7 – On mandatory vaccines and "My body, my choice" Chris deBoer offered up this topical take on how Christians might have different thoughts on the Covid vaccines, but we should all agree to be against mandatory vaccines. #6 – Why do we suffer? Buddhism vs. Christianity There are some similarities between the way Buddhism and Christianity respond to suffering. But there's a big difference too! An article that didn't make the top ten the year it was posted comes in at #6 in 2021. #5 – A Return to Grace: Luther’s life and legacy It's another free film, and what makes this a must-see is its unique mix of drama and documentary. Other great Luther documentaries exist, but the most engaging of “talking heads” can’t really grab the attention of a broad audience. Drama might be more gripping but it can’t go into the same depth as a documentary. However, A Return to Grace is a docudrama – half documentary and half drama, making good use of the strengths of each. And it is free to see at the link. #4 – The hidden meaning of The Chronicles of Narnia This article was actually more popular in 2021 than when it was first published in 2020, when it was only #10. Cap Stewart explains how we've only recently discovered that C.S. Lewis – for his own private amusement because he seems to have never told anyone – linked each of his famous Narnia books to one of the 7 planets as medieval cosmology understood them. #3 – The Marks of a Cult: a biblical analysis This fantastic free documentary was very popular, and with good reason: it boils down a big topic into just two hours. If that's a bit long, it works equally well broken up into four separate chapters. And did we mention it's free? #2 – The impact of saying "I'm so busy!" This was an article for businessmen that we could all benefit from: sometimes it's a point of pride, being so busy. But what does being busy say about our leadership? And what opportunities does it limit? #1 – Infant baptism vs. believer's baptism: what's the main difference? The most popular article this year is a short but sweet piece by Pastor Garry Vanderveen. He asks, "The fundamental difference between the two positions is revealed in how one answers this question: Is baptism primarily God’s action or is it a human response?"...

News

Saturday Selections – Dec. 18, 2021

The #Psalm124Project The #Psalm124Project is all sorts of churches and groups singing this same Psalm, separated by time and space, but united in praise for God. You can find their other videos at the link above. When crickets stop singing, that isn't evolution Hawaiian crickets have gone silent to avoid the notice of a parasitic fly. It’s been hailed as evolution. But losing an ability isn't an example of evolution, but devolution. The pro-choice case against IVF This pro-choice author calls out pro-lifers for not demonstrating outside IVF clinics, where many more children are killed, their bodies donated to medical science. While there is a way to use IVF that doesn't produce "excess embryos," or which even saves some of these frozen children ("snowflake adoption"), the way it is commonly done is monstrously evil.... and many Christians are unaware. The importance of the family dinner table This is a secular defense of the necessity of families to set aside time in their day to just be together, and the best time might be around the dinner table. Brave New World or 1984? Two books written within a couple decades of each other proposed two very different ways we could become enslaved. The one approach was likened by George Orwell to "a boot stomping on a human face – forever" and the other more akin to Netflix binging. It's slavery forcibly imposed, or slavery by default, accepted without resistance by those too apathetic to care. Which way are we heading? Might it be both directions at once? Is Capitalism only about greed? In the video below, Milton Friedman gets it wrong: "greed is not a good idea to run with." But he's right that all economic systems involve greed. The contrast is that in State-run economies like China and the former USSR, that greed involves those in power taking what they would by force. Meanwhile, under free markets, people can only get what they want by offering something of value in exchange – something the other person values more. What makes the free market remarkable is that it allows us to provide for our family while doing good for our neighbors. Joseph Sunde has more in the linked article above. ...

News, Politics

Bill C-4: the Conservatives did this to Canada

On November 29 the Liberals introduced a bill to ban "Conversion Therapy" that they'd twice before failed to pass. But what the Liberals couldn't do, Conservative leader Erin O'Toole promised he would get done. What was the bill about?  Under the pretense of protecting homosexuals from getting forcibly "converted" from their same-sex attraction, Bill C-4 targeted Christian pastors and counselors and others willing to help those who want out of the homosexual lifestyle. As Jonathon Van Maren wrote: "there were concerns that the deliberately broad definition proposed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals would ban pastoral conversations between clergy and their parishioners and leave adults with unwanted same-sex attraction unable to receive the counseling they desired. In fact, in some instances parents could be prevented from opposing sex changes for their own children." This was actually the third time the Liberals had introduced such a bill, but the previous two had been derailed by the months-long process that it takes to get a bill approved. The previous attempt, then labeled Bill C-6, was introduced on September 23, 2020, and took nine months, until June 22, 2021, to pass through the committee hearings and the three readings required in the House of Commons. It was then given to the Senate for their own three-stage assessment process, but they didn't have a chance to pass it before the Prime Minister called an election on August 15. His election call meant that Bill C-6 (along with all the other bills not yet passed) "died on the order paper." Bill C-4 might have had to go through this same process, and in the months and even years that it could have taken, who knows but that God might have derailed it yet once more. But on Dec. 1 Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole told the media that his party was going to "accelerate passage" of the government's bill. Later that same day Conservative MP Rob Moore put forward a motion to skip all the House committees and readings, and send the bill directly and immediately to the Senate. His motion required unanimous approval to pass – if a single MP had voiced a nay, the motion wouldn't have passed. How could the Conservatives have expected to get that unanimity when there had been 63 MPs willing to vote against Bill C-6 earlier this year? Of that number 62 were their own Conservative MPs. So why would they expect to have no opposition this time around? Their confidence might have been, in part, due to the timing of their motion. Conservative MP Garnett Genius was the most vocal opponent of the previous Bill C-6, launching the website “Fix the Definition” to put a face to the people this bill would harm. But on December 1, Genuis was out of the country, attending a NATO conference in Latvia. The Conservative strategy also involved pulling a fast one on their own MPs – the motion was made and passed in approximately one minute. They were able to do it so quickly because no one actually had to vote for the motion: the Speaker of the House only asked to hear from those opposed to it. When no one spoke up, it was passed.  While many of the Conservatives were clearly in on this maneuver – as evidenced by the wild clapping immediately afterward – any MPs unaware of what Rob Moore was about to do could have blinked and they would have missed it, it was over that fast. The CPAC coverage of the vote shows that some of the Conservatives were not clapping, and remained sitting and the most downcast of them might have been Arnold Viersen (blue jacket, red tie, three rows from the back on the right side) In a statement he posted to Facebook nine days later, Viersen explained that: "...it was a surprise that caught me and some of my colleagues off guard. I am opposed to C-4 as written and should have said no, but I did not react fast enough. I'm sorry." The comments below his post were filled with thanks for his apology. For almost two weeks it had been a mystery as to why a bill that criminalized the presentation of the Gospel would pass without any Christian MPs objecting. Now we had a partial explanation for the MPs' silence: this had been sprung on them. But even as surprise can be an explanation for what happened in the House, no such explanation was possible for the senators – they has the advance notice of seeing what was pulled in the House, and it made no difference. There, too, it was the Conservatives who put forward the motion to get the bill past all of the usual steps. And once again, not a single representative spoke up. Curiously, in his Facebook post, Viersen suggested that: "Had we won the election we would not be in this situation." In a message fellow Conservative MP Cathay Wagantall sent to ARPA Canada some days later, and let them share publicly, she borrowed this same phrase: "Had we won the election, we would not be in this situation." Let's consider that for a moment. Who was it, that pulled this on us? Wasn't it the Conservatives? We can be relieved that Garnett Genuis and Arnold Viersen have some sort of explanation or apology for why they didn't stand up against this bill, but the Conservative Party overall has no such excuse. Trudeau's Liberals introduced this bill, but it was O'Toole's Conservatives who accomplished what the Liberals never did: the Conservatives got it across the finish line. It bears repeating just how wicked this bill is. As Jojo Ruba noted, while an earlier version of the bill at least "could not prevent consenting adults from having conversations about sexuality with their clergy or their counselor, as long as the counseling was free" this latest version removed even that protection. That's what the Conservative Party has accomplished under O'Toole: they've made the compelling case that they are not the lesser of two evils, but rather the more effective. So where are politically-minded Christians to turn? Aren't the Conservatives still our only option? They are, after all, the only major party to tolerate pro-life Christians. That's true enough, but as the passage of this law highlights, tolerating Christians is very different from siding with them. If Christians are to be involved in the Conservative Party, it cannot be to further the party's agenda. We cannot let them use us for their ends, as happened here. If Christians are to continue in the Conservative Party then they have to do so with their eyes wide open, involving themselves in the party only to use it for our own, godly ends. If it becomes impossible to do that, then that should be the end of our involvement. Christians should have no loyalty to a party that has no loyalty to God, and, indeed, in this latest act, stands in direct opposition....

News

Saturday Selections - November 13, 2021

Though you slay me (6 min) John Piper teams up with Shane & Shane in this must-listen. On Christian conscience and vaccination (5 min read) Larry Taunton has a bone to pick with John Piper about vaccines. Soft flexible nerves found in Triceratops "If these fossils were millions of years old, we would not expect to find any actual soft tissue or biomolecules." Fewer children because of climate anxiety? Some people are having no or fewer children to save the planet. They've got it dead wrong, John Stonestreet explains. How to prepare for the Metaverse (10-minute read) Facebook recently announced plans to rebrand themselves as "Meta" but they aren't the first to speak of a coming "metaverse." It's not just an online world, but online worlds, all of them linked and providing users the opportunity to represent themselves digitally however they want to be seen. Ian Harbor outlines the challenges the Church may face, but also presents the opportunities, and how this may sharpen the antithesis between God's people and the world. Great article! Teens are lonelier than ever: what do smartphones have to do with it? "In theory, this connection should bode well for teens’ well-being — in particular, they should feel less loneliness, an emotion that occurs when we feel alone and disconnected from others. But has it boosted teen well-being? Do teens feel less lonely?" Happily divorced vs. unhappily married? (6 min) The video below and article above present a practical case against divorce and offers it up to a world that too often looks too quickly at divorce as a solution for marriage problems. So, this is a corrective to myths the world pitches that a happily divorced is clearly better than unhappily married. But it is important to put such a practical case in a biblical context where we see that God says that He hates divorce (Mal. 2:16, Matt. 19:6) but does also allow for it (Matt. 19:8). ...

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Saturday Selections - November 6, 2021

Safe spaces should be about being safe to share ideas, not being safe from ideas (5 min) CNN host Van Jones wouldn't be called a conservative by anyone so it was interesting to hear him take on the idea of "safe spaces" on university campuses  7 marks of a good apology, 8 marks of a bad one This would be a good review for all of us! One lesson of the pandemic? Humility We have limitations in knowledge, time, and ability... but is that how we act? RP contributor Hendrik van der Breggen advocates for humility too in his article "We need some healthy skepticism about science and medicine." The great chromosome fiasco "Follow the science" is a phrase often heard, but seldom considered. Who decides what the "science" says? Is it science when some say men can become women? Or when some say that the unborn are not alive? When it comes to evolution, no one can show how life could come from non-life on purpose, and yet science supposedly says it happened. So nonsense can get passed along in the name of "following the science" and this short article shows how it sometimes happens. What Jordan Peterson taught us about the Holocaust "Dr. Jordan Peterson is frequently moved to tears as he begs his listeners to realize that it was so-called 'good' people and 'normal' people and 'nice' people that allowed the Holocaust to happen—and in many cases, even facilitated it. We must all realize, Peterson says with a passion that demands attention, that it was people like us who murdered the Jews, and it is essential that we understand why that happened, and how that happened." Serious or satire? The Babylon Bee, a Christian satire site, and its sister site Not the Bee, which reports the news of the day, have crafted a 10-question quiz where you get to guess what's fact and what's farce. It says something about our culture's crafters when the real and the ridiculous are so hard to tell apart. Taste and see (5 min) Shane and Shane with an amazing song based on Psalm 34. ...

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Saturday Selections - October 30, 2021

Do intersex people prove there are more than two genders? We live in a broken world, and that means that sometimes people are born with disabilities or disorders and that happens with our reproductive systems too. Without Luther, there would be no Bach (10 -minute read) Luther was born into a church culture that celebrated religious work above all else. But by time Bach was born, he was able to recognize that all of his music — whether sacred hymns or secular cantatas — should be and could be to the glory of God. We're all in a video game? Elon Musk seems determined to prove the adage that when you don't believe in God, you'll fall for anything. Tesla's founder isn't the only one proposing we might be "in the Matrix" so what's the attraction of supposing things to be so? As the article notes the appeal is that it, “gives atheists a way to talk about spirituality,” or something like it. It offers “a source of awe.” It even brings up similar questions for our simulators that one might ask of God: “Why did they create us? Why did they allow evil in their simulation?” “Why are we here?” And perhaps even, “Do they love us?” For a short read see the article above, but for an hour-long discussion on the same topic (between filmmaker Eric Hovind and astronomer Spike Psarris, creationists both) tune in here. Keeping our kids off porn (10-min read) "...delaying children’s private access to screens is the top piece of advice I heard from experts. " Did Calvin murder Michael Servetus? Jonathan Moorhead offers a short answer above, a medium answer in this interview, and a longer answer in his book The Trial of the 16th Century. Will Islam become the world's largest religion? That's what some are predicting will happen by 2050, but a closer look at the numbers gives us quite a different understanding. What's involved in throwing a strike? (2 min) There's a lot more going on than we might have realized. ...

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Saturday Selections - October 23, 2021

"Who's on first?" gets a modern update At the risk of killing the joke, it's worth a moment's reflection on what makes this funny. In Abbott and Costello's original, the confusion was caused by the unlikely names of the players. This time the confusion is caused by people who want to unhinge pronoun usage from the biological reality of sex, and instead tie it to the social construct of gender. And because a social construct is, well, constructed that means it can be reconstructed, right? And not just once either. That's how we get to individualized pronouns, which can change on a whim. The benefit of this approach? What it lacks in clarity, it might make up for in hilarity. Except "they" don't really have a sense of humor. The other alternative? To ignore gender as the ill-defined, meaningless social construct that it is, and use pronouns to refer to an unchanging biological reality instead. As always, it is Christ or chaos. Atheists and agnostics who admire Christianity (10-minute read) Jonathon Van Maren on the notable unbelievers who've come to believe that much of the good in the world springs out of a Christian worldview. Gratitude is good for you But as John Stonestreet notes, secular folk don't know Who to be grateful to. Covid vaccines, fetal cells, and ethical concerns Pro-life advocate Randy Alcorn shares his careful research. On Christians celebrating Halloween "...This obviously can (and should) include kids dressing up and getting boatloads of candy, but I would strongly urge that no one have their kids dress up as members of the other team — witches, ghosts, devils, imps, or congressmen.... So if you take your kid around to grandma’s house dressed up like a red M&M, or like Theodore Beza, don’t have them say trick or treat the same way some ghost or witch would. Of course, repent or perish or sola fide probably wouldn’t work either. Let’s do this differently, and intelligently, and still have fun. So have them say trick or treat the way a cute M&M would." More ground-breaking research evolutionists won't do Were the layers in the Grand Canyon folded soon after they were laid down by the Flood, or did it happen later, as the evolutionary account presumes? This is testable... Should there be racial quotas at university? Ophelie Jacobson asked University of Florida students if they supported "diversity quotas" (a form of affirmative action) where students are identified by their race, and admitted in proportion to the local racial make-up. In other words, if the local population was 35% white, 30% black, 25% Hispanic, and 10% Asian, then that's the percentage of whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians that should be let into university, irrespective of their grades. The students were generally in favor... until Ophelie asked if that would also be a good approach for their beloved football team (and she was asking this on Game Day!). Diversity quotas have meant Asians need to score higher than whites and blacks on admissions tests to get into some universities. Why? Because there are, by diversity quota standards, too many Asians on campus. So some colleges lower their numbers by specifically raising the requirements for Asians. Do two wrongs make a right? If it was wrong to discriminate against blacks in the past (and it was) then how can the fix be to discriminate against Asians now? The Bible condemns discrimination, whichever direction it goes (Ex. 23:2-3, Lev. 19:15). ...

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