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News

Saturday Selections - February 15, 2020

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

News

Trump speaks up for the unborn at the March for Life

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

News

Sanctuary cities for the unborn?

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

News

Saturday Selections - January 18, 2020

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

News

Saturday Selections – January 11, 2020

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

News

Saturday Selections - December 21, 2019

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

News

Saturday Selections - December 14, 2019

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

News

Saturday Selections - December 7, 2019

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

News

Saturday Selections – November 30, 2019

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

News

Saturday Selections - November 9, 2019

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

News

Saturday Selections - November 2, 2019

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

Music, News

That morning I listened to Kanye West

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

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Saturday Selections - Oct 26, 2019

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

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