Saturday Selections – Jan. 5, 2019
This is a tentative finding that the Institute for Creation Research urges Christians to hold onto loosely, but the data suggests that the Earth, or at least our galaxy, is in a very special, central spot amongst many other galaxies. What we read in the Bible wouldn't lay out that it would have to be so, but considering the central role of Man in all of creation, it also wouldn't be surprising to us if our galaxy was centrally located. But it sure would be unexpected for evolutionists who think everything happened without planning and intention.
New Year's resolutions are often a very surface-oriented attempted fix to a more foundational issue - how are we going to intentionally live our lives to God's glory?
LifeNews.com is reporting that of the approximately 100 million deaths in the world last year, 40 million were due to abortion. In comparison, the next leading cause of death, cancer, killed 8 million.
The average American woman is having just 1.76 children in her lifetime and the Church is following the world's lead.
In the wake of undercover videos showing US Planned Parenthood (PP) clinics selling baby body parts, major US companies have been cutting their support for PP. That includes Coke but not, according to the group 2nd Vote, Pepsi. (These are American findings - it could be different in Canada and elsewhere in the world.)
If we expect our government to manage the complexities of our economy, consider this: no one on earth knows how to make even a pencil. It's a simple everyday object that costs only pennies. And yet, as Milton Friedman explains below, the making of a pencil requires the cooperation of thousands, from different countries, who don't even speak the same languages, and "who might hate one other if they ever met." This is the genius of free trade – "the magic of the price system" – that something no individual knows how to make, can get produced anyway, by mass cooperation, and so efficiently it can be sold for a trifling sum. As Leanard Read once wrote:
"Skeptics of the free market are forever asking, “Well, how would the free market attend to mail delivery? Education? Or, whatever?” a person can no more explain how the free market would attend to mail delivery than his great-grandfather could have explained how television could ever emerge from free market forces! Answer honestly: I don’t know; I never will know; no one will ever know."
Just as no one knows how to make a pencil. And yet it happens!
Most overlooked articles of 2018
We've previously shared a Top-10 list of RP's most popular posts of 2018. While every article on that list was fantastic, not every fantastic article...
Saturday Selections - Dec. 29, 2018
Mutations show devolution, not evolution (3 min) Beneficial mutations do happen, but they happen via a loss of information. And such information-lo...
Saturday Selections - Dec. 22, 2018
Young love: what are you waiting for? When we get married isn't always under our control. But there is a trend in the world, and reaching into the Ch...
Top 10 articles of 2018
The top ten posts of 2018 show that Reformed folk have had wide-ranging interests this past year... #10. Movie Review: “I survived ‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’” I Kissed Dating Goodbye was huge in Christian circles, selling more than a million copies. This year a documentarian, along with the author himself, critiqued the impact the book has had over the last two decades. It's a very good documentary, if an overly critical one, and if you read to the bottom of the review there's a link there to where you can watch it for free. #9. Why do we suffer? Buddhism vs. Christianity The readership for this article keeps growing. It didn't make it to the Top 10 back in 2017 when it was first published, but every month hundreds more would track it down, giving it a place on the list in 2018. #8. Is recreational marijuana sinful? This is another 2017 article. It returned to the Top 10 when Canada legalized marijuana and this question became a pressing one for the Church. #7. War through the eyes of a child: Alice Kuik shares her memories of World War II Little Alice didn’t know her parents were hiding Jews in their home. But she did understand the Nazis were watching their whole family. #6. When we have to parent our parents Sharon Bratcher offers some help and encouragement for caregivers. #5. What’s next? The growth of Statism in Canada ARPA Canada’s André Schutten on the government requiring citizens to comply with its State ideology. #4. Should we baptize our infants? Resources that make the case On the evening of Sept. 27, 2018, two Reformed pastors debated "Should we baptize infants as well as adults?" Reformed Perspective holds to a paedobaptism position, and in preparation for the debate, we shared a list of some of the very best resources available in defense of infant baptism. #3. Ronald Reagan's challenge to his dying atheist father-in-law Thirty-six years after Reagan wrote this private letter to his father-in-law, God used it to challenge hundreds of thousands of others. #2. Chick-fil-A is always closed on Sunday...except when an ox falls in a pit This was an encouraging story about how a restaurant chain in the US recognizes that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). **** And the number one post of 2018 was... #1. Is Jordan Peterson the champion we've been looking for? Jordan Peterson was all over the Internet in 2018, and in many of the interviews and appearances, he sounded quite like a Christian, talking with respect about Jesus, or speaking of "the Word become divine." He also emphasized personal responsibility, telling his 20-something-year-old followers that if they really want to change the world, it starts with self-discipline – you can't refashion society if you can't even manage to put your socks in the laundry. It was old-fashioned common sense that's becoming increasingly uncommon outside of the Church. To top it off, he'd continue talking, even when he was getting attacked for what he believed. His courage was admirable and unusual, and it made many in his audience hope all the more that he was Christian – here, finally, was someone displaying the courage of a David before Goliath, or a Daniel in the lions' den. But as Joel McDurmon explains in his article, Peterson isn't a Christian at all. The reason he sounds like one is because he is a Jungian and he believes that the world's myths tell us something important about Man. In his view, the tales of Thor, the 12 labors of Hercules, the voyage of Odysseus, and yes, also the life of Jesus, have stayed with us because they all capture something important about who we are. Peterson respects the Bible more than other myths, because of its greater impact on the world. But he doesn't believe it to be God's very words. Peterson doesn't believe that Jesus died for his sins; despite how he often sounds, he is not Christian. And instead of pointing people to Christ, he is telling them to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps....
Saturday Selections - December 15, 2018
Merry Christmas from the moon On Dec. 24, 1968, three American astronauts, orbiting the moon for the first time ever, had an opportunity to give a Christmas address to one billion listening people. They chose to read Genesis 1. Using PragerU to engage the minds of your kids Tim Barnett on how, even though you won't agree with all PragerU's videos, you may find them absolutely fantastic 5-minute conversation-starters for you and your kids about things that matter. Your gut is wrong Our gut instinct is to downplay parts of the Bible that don't sound so pleasant to us, or, we suspect, to new listeners. "Jesus is the one and only way to God (John 14:6). The hearer’s gut reaction is: 'That can’t be right! It just feels wrong.' The question that soon follows is: 'Does that mean that all the other religions in the world are wrong?' When we reply 'yes,' the offense of our response can be felt." "Sadly we also see it in our churches amongst Christians. When we teach on some of those (supposedly) trickier passages, such as God’s good design for human sexuality and the role of men and women, the initial gut reaction is often anything but positive. It’s not that congregations want to openly rebel against God’s word, it’s just that 'it doesn’t feel right.'” Climate scientists aren't economists (and a few other obvious things we tend to forget) The Cornwall Alliance's E. Calvin Beisner (and National Review's Jonah Goldberg) on how, even if we were to grant that climate change is a problem, why would we think climate scientists know the best way forward? The New York Times reveals serious problems with Transgender Ideology The folks at Breakpoint highlight a Times article on the harmful natures of transgender surgeries. Was Jesus just a good teacher? Greg Koukl, channeling C.S. Lewis, with a short video perfect for sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere, to help us talk about Jesus this season. ...
News, Science - General
Genetically-engineered babies have now been born
Human experimentation has been happening around the world for the past four decades, with research scientists actively carrying out experiments on human embryos. The stated objective, in usually something noble-sounding: to learn more about human biology, or to possibly treat some disease conditions. And while few scientists will admit to an interest in cloning people, or in actually producing genetically-altered individuals, this is the direction our society is heading. Indeed, modern society does not value unborn babies enough to protect them, and at the same time society is terribly afraid of genetic abnormalities. Under these conditions – little respect for unborn human life, and little respect for those with genetic abnormalities like Down syndrome – it would seem human cloning and gene alteration is inevitable. But it isn’t acceptable yet. That became clear when, on November 26, 2018, the scientific and medical world reacted in horror to the announcement by Dr. Jiankui He at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong, that he had created modified human embryos. These embryos had been implanted in their mother, and in early November, twin baby girls had been born in China. This was a world-wide first – the first genetically-edited full-term human babies. What happened Ever since the 1970s introduction of in vitro fertilization of human eggs with sperm outside the womb, the stage was set for scientists to experiment on such embryos. Many people, mindful of the special nature of humans at every level of development, protested against such work. Even some scientists were nervous about the implications of these experiments. However, for many, the concern was only that individuals damaged in laboratory experiments should not be allowed to develop to term. They were okay with the human experimentation – they just didn’t want these babies to be born. As a result, a general understanding was reached between ethicists and scientists, that no experiments on embryos would continue longer than 14 days – at this point these embryos were to be destroyed. The 14-day limit was chosen because it is at this point that the embryos begin to develop specialized tissues and thus becomes more obviously human (Nature July 5, 2018 p. 22). But as the experimentation has become more sophisticated, scientists have begun to promote the idea of a longer timeline for their investigations. Thus, a conference was held in May at Rice University at which 30 American scientists and ethicists discussed “whether and how to move the boundary” (Nature July 5, 2018 p. 22). About the same time, Nature magazine published an announcement concerning such research: “At present, many countries …prohibit culture beyond 14 days, a restriction that reflects the conclusions of the 1984 UK Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilization and Embryology (also known as the Warnock Report. Whether this rule should be relaxed is currently being debated” (May 3, 2018 p. 6, emphasis mine). Scientists are clearly seeking to relax the rules governing their studies. “Germ-line changes” Research on human embryos has continued worldwide since those early days. However, all parties once agreed that on no account should modified embryos be implanted into a mother and be allowed to develop. The reasons included society’s disapproval of experiments on people, but especially because such individuals would carry “germ-line changes.” Changes to most cells in the human body have no impact on future generations – these changes die with that individual. However, changes to the gametes (egg and sperm) are called germ-line changes because these modifications will be passed on to each subsequent generation. It is not that the scientists involved actually object to germ-line changes. The problem is that they want their results to be predictable and “safe.” Any uncertainties could lead to catastrophic results, ensuing hostile public opinion and big lawsuits. It would be far better to proceed cautiously. Thus, it is illegal in the US and many other countries to alter genes of human embryos or gametes. However, within the last decade, another new biomedical technology has appeared on the scene that has drastically streamlined gene editing in numerous organisms. The CRISPR-Cas9 technology has made gene editing much easier and much more precise.* Obviously, it was a mere matter of time before someone used this to try his hand at gene editing in human embryos. The scientific community offered no serious objections when Dr. Jiankui He of China presented an account of such work at a conference at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York during the spring of 2018. At this conference, Dr. He discussed the editing of embryos from seven couples. However, at that point, this man made no mention that any of these embryos had been implanted into their mothers. Dr. He “edits” babies to be HIV-resistant According to a Nov. 28 news item at Nature.com (David Cyranoski's "CRISPR-baby scientist fails to satisfy critics") Dr. He recruited couples in which the male was HIV positive but the female was normal. Individual sperm cells were washed to remove any viruses and the cells were injected into eggs along with CRISPR-Cas9 enzymes carrying a gene for resistance to HIV infection. A total of 30 fertilized embryos resulted of which 19 were deemed viable (able to live) and apparently healthy. These were tested for the CCR5 mutation which confers resistance to HIV infection. From one couple, two of four embryos tested positive for the mutation. One embryo carried the mutated gene on one chromosome and a normal gene on the other, while the other embryo carried the mutation on both maternal and paternal chromosomes. These embryos were implanted into the mother who successfully gave birth to twin baby girls early in November. No information was forthcoming on the fate of the other embryos, although Dr. He now says that another woman may be pregnant. The response of the scientific community has been shock and horror. But why are they so horrified? Is this not what they have been working towards? The scientific community is afraid because the risks of this procedure at this preliminary stage of research, are substantial. There are, at present, major questions as to whether the genetic modifications will actually have the desired effect. A well-known problem is that the CRISPR apparatus sometimes cuts the chromosomes at other places as well as/ or instead of the desired location. This off-target effect has been found to be a major problem in some studies. In addition, most genes are known to influence a number of seemingly unrelated traits. This phenomenon is called pleiotropic impact of one gene on other genes. These risks are particularly serious when we consider that these are germ-line changes, that will impact subsequent generations from this individual. Response The same Nov. 28 Nature.com news item declared: “Fears are now growing in the gene-editing community that He’s actions could stall the responsible development of gene editing in babies.” Indeed, a commentator on one website reflected that “if this experiment is unsuccessful or leads to complications later in life … set the field of gene therapy back years if not decades.” In view of these concerns, many individuals and medical and scientific institutions released statements expressing condemnation for this gene-editing work. Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health in the United States, declared that the NIH “does not support the use of gene-editing technologies in human embryos.” The Chinese Academy of Sciences declared that Dr. He’s work “violates internationally accepted ethical principles regulating human experimentation and human rights law." A colleague and friend of Dr. He suggested that the gene-editing work lacked prudence, that it could, unfortunately, serve to create distrust in the public. Obviously, an important concern on the part of the scientists was that the promise of this technology not be rejected by the public. Dr. David Liu of Harvard and MIT’s Broad Institute (heavily involved in CRISPR research), insisted of He’s work: “It’s an appalling example of what not to do about a promising technology that has great potential to benefit society.” Dr. George Daley, dean of Harvard Medical School, summed up the feelings of many colleagues when he said: “It’s possible that the first instance came forward as a misstep, but that should not lead us to stick our heads in the sand and not consider more responsible pathway to clinical translation.” In other words, many scientists seek to continue to pursue the goals also sought by Dr. He, only the rest of them will proceed more slowly and carefully. Conclusion It is largely Christian objections to treating human embryos as things, rather than as persons (made in the image of God), that has led to the ethical rules that control this research. It is a vestige of our Judeo-Christian heritage which limits scientists from just doing whatever they want. They have to obtain permission from ethics committees to conduct their particular research program. Of course, Christians want to see this work made completely illegal, but if political realities make such a ban impossible, then we can still seek to restrict this work as much as possible. It is interesting that a news feature in Nature (July 5, 2018 p. 22) articulated the fascination and unease that some scientists derive from this work. Bioethicist Dr. Jennifer Johnston of the Hastings Center in upstate New York, reflected on the respect that the human embryo commands even in secular observers: “That feeling of wonder and awe reminds us that this is the earliest version of human beings and that’s why so many people have moral misgivings ….. It reminds us that this is not just a couple of cells in a dish.” Are there any good results from this controversy over genetically-engineered babies? Perhaps there is one. The event may cause more people to pay critical attention to the experiments that are, every day, conducted on human embryos. Let the whole world know that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, from the very first cell onward, and manipulation in laboratories should have no place in our society. For further study * For more on this topic, see: Dr. Helder’s book No Christian Silence on Science pages 32-39 for a discussion on Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (ie. CRISPR). Jennifer Doudna and Samuel Sternberg’s book A Crack in Creation: the new power to control evolution, page 281. Dr. Helder's article, providing further background to CRISPR, Natural Firewalls in Bacteria ...
Saturday Selections - December 8, 2018
Christian professor pressured to call male student by female pronouns The professor agreed to avoid using pronouns altogether and just use the student's last name, but that compromise wasn't accepted. Suffering well: disability and a faith that's big enough for pain Joni Eareckson Tada "understands that members of Christ’s body who can’t walk, or see, or interact on the same level as others are not only indispensable parts of the Kingdom of God, but are needed by the rest of us for our own edification and sanctification. Unfortunately, many of us in the church fail to grasp this." Porn addiction? Is it helpful to describe the hold pornography has as being an addition? Mark Sanders writes first, on 3 ways that the "disease model" – likening the pull of pornography to addiction – can be helpful. And in a follow-up article, he notes how this description falls short. Parenting 001 In this oldie but goodie, Kevin DeYoung shares how his kids make it hard to parent like Paul Tripp - this isn't Parenting 101; DeYoung isn't that advanced. But he is funny and encouraging. (h/t to Walter Walraven) More upsets in Human Evolution "If you like scientific truths that become untrue every year or month, join the paleoanthropology guild. Anything you are told about human evolution today doesn’t match what National Geographic was proclaiming as scientific truth in the 1960s, and will probably be overturned next year." Creation/Evolution Headlines's David Coppedge has collected some of the newest human evolution discoveries that are rewriting the "facts." Heavenly Fire: the mystery of the Northern and Southern Lights (7 minutes) A stunning look into how the Auoras are created by the energy of the Sun, and how our planet's magnetic field protects us from solar radiation. As Dr. Paul Nelson puts it, "God gave us a world that, if we gave it half a chance, testifies of Him." ...
Saturday Selections - Dec. 1, 2018
The lowly dandelion is way cooler than we knew Scientists have discovered that dandelions use a never-before-discovered means of flight. Parents, ...
Saturday Selections - Nov. 3, 2018
Do you read the Bible literally? Stand to Reason's Greg Koukl on how reading the Bible literally isn't the same as reading it woodenly (10-minute read). Tortured for Christ – a free film everyone needs to see Wurmbrand: "If I speak now, you will have no husband." His wife: "I don't need a coward for a husband." Tortured for Christ is a must-see film about Richard Wurmbrand's courageous and faithful stand against the Communists when they took over Romania. This is not family viewing, but it is a film older teens and up should see to understand how much more outspoken we should dare to be, and how faithful God is to his children in the most desperate of circumstances. In that way it is an incredibly encouraging film. While the subject matter includes torture, it does so with as much delicacy as is possible. But there is a reason they left it at only one hour – it would be too much if it was longer. It can be viewed at the link above - they ask you to consider a donation, but there is a link to watch it for free (near the bottom or on the right-hand side) on that page. Are women real? Our society, on one hand, holds that men can never understand women’s struggle and, at the same time, insists that men can become women. Clearly, something has to give. Motherhood and the "Wage Gap" Women, averaged overall, make less than men, but that's because they have prioritized something else over making money – having children. Society is presumptuous to act like that is a choice that needs correcting. Why sex is the best argument for creation The director of Is Genesis History? presents an attention-getting argument for God's design. For another aspect of the incredible design evident in sexual reproduction, check out Dr. David Menton on The Placenta. World War I in color Director Peter Jackson (best known for his Lord of the Rings trilogy) has created a documentary on the First World War using the original footage, first cleaning it up, then colorizing it, hiring lip readers to figure out what the soldiers are saying (the original footage is silent), and hiring Hollywood actors to give these soldiers a voice again. The film has already played in Britain, and won't play in North America until later this year, but even the trailer is fascinating for how it makes these men – these boys – come back to us as real people. ...
Saturday Selections - Oct. 27, 2018
Should prostitution be legal? An important one to watch....but not with the kids around What happy teens do By one measure, a third of teens struggle with anxiety. So what do happy teens do differently? Some cautions concerning Fortnite More than 100 million play Fortnite, so this parent and political scientist decided to take a look. Evangelicals are confused (but a fantastic free book might help) Ligonier Ministries has put out their 2018 survey on "The State of Theology" and it turns out Evangelical Americans are very confused about the core of the Gospel, with a majority thinking most people are good at heart, and that you can worship God through Islam and Judaism. But, while this confusion is distressing, Ligonier Ministries is doing what it can to correct it, by offering a free download of R.C. Sproul's incredibly readable Everyone's a Theologian (you do have to give them your email, but you can always unsubscribe). So check out the survey results, and then scroll to the bottom for a book that is simply a must-have for any Christian. Peer-reviewed Pranksters Three liberal professors set out to show if a paper was couched in enough politically-correct phraseology, it would get accepted by many peer-reviewed academic journals....even if the paper itself was sheer nonsense. 3 things to remember when you are anxious David Powilson on how anxiety is universal and understandable, and we can take comfort in knowing God is in control. ...
Scottish minister charges police with hate for their hate crime campaign
The Scottish government and Scottish police have joined together under the banner "One Scotland" to campaign against hate crimes using videos and a variety of billboards. One billboard reads: Dear bigots, you can't spread your religious hate here. End of sermon. Yours, Scotland. Another, longer one, says: Dear bigots, division seems to be what you believe in. We don't want your religious hate on our buses, on our streets and in our communities. We don't want you spreading your intolerance. Or making people's lives a misery because of their religious dress. You may not have faith in respect and love, but we do. That's why if we see or hear your hate, we're reporting you. End of sermon. Yours, Scotland The minister at St Peters Free Church (and former moderator of the Free Church of Scotland) David Robertson, was quick to point out the problem with this campaign – the police have lumped hate crimes (crimes motivated by hate...as opposed to those motivated by love?) in with "hate incidents." Vague definitions mean that the police's hate crime campaign might well be violating their own definition of a hate incident. On his blog (theweeflea.com) Robertson shared a letter he had written to the police and government to report to them their own "hate incident" and began with their definition: “A hate incident is any incident that is not a criminal offence, but something which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hate or prejudice.” On these incredibly vague grounds, he points out that on a day-to-day basis, he experiences a lot of anti-Christian "hate." He gives as examples, parishioners who have been bullied at work and in higher education. But he also quotes a number of emails that he regularly receives, such as: “Personally, as a secularist, I hate religion and feel I have every right to, despite attempts by the Scottish government to sneak a blasphemy law round the back door by making it an offence this year to hate religion.” He then points out that the inundation of billboards is in and of itself "hate incidents," promoting anger and hatred against religion, possibly resulting in vandalism against churches and worse. He also points out that the problem with the term "hate crime" is that it bears with it the threat of criminal prosecution. We can learn from Robertson's response to the officials in Scotland. With some wit, he points out the self-contradicting nature of their own propaganda, and then takes the time to ensure there is no doubt that he is against bullying and hatred...and also governments that exceed their proper limits. Hatred, as we know from Scripture, is a sin, but things such as murder and assault are sins as well as crimes. Sin must be repented of, and then forgiven in Christ. Crimes must be punished by the government, and it is difficult to judge something based on feelings in a court of law. At the end of the day, the irrationality of such a billboard campaign may be clear enough for even the culture at large to see. It is internally incoherent, as can be seen in their two fundamental principles: 1) Hatred is a crime 2) I hate haters One other Christian voice has chimed in with wit and humor to expose this campaign. A Christian think tank and advocacy group, Christian Concern, created three alternative posters copying the very same style. One read: Dear One Scotland, All people should be free to express their views, even if they offend other people. This is what freedom of speech means. How about promising to protect those whose views others might find offensive? This is how democracy works. Love, Some Christian friends And we'll leave them with the last word: Dear One Scotland, Do you really think that churches are teaching their members to be hateful towards others? Or to be violent towards people we disagree with? Why not pop into a church sometime and find out what we really think? Love, Some Christian friends...
Reagan’s challenge to his dying atheist father-in-law
Earlier this year a note was discovered in Nancy Reagan’s personal effects – dated August 7, 1982 – written by Ronald Reagan to his father-in-law. What makes the 36-year-old letter special is the topic – the president of the United States was taking time on a Saturday afternoon to write to Loyal Davis, his ailing father-in-law. Reagan was concerned about his health, but even more so about his eternity – Davis was a self-declared atheist. Reagan was 71, and just 16 months removed from being shot in the chest by crazed gunman John Hinckley Jr. So maybe he understood what his father-in-law was facing, how he was being confronted with his certain mortality. From the letter it's clear that Reagan has been doing some reading about God, sharing with his father-in-law arguments that probably came from C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity and Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands a Verdict. What he began with was one of his own experiences. During his first year as governor of California, Reagan developed an ulcer that gave him sharp pains, and other times only discomfort, but which never went away entirely. Then one morning, as he reached for his Maalox, he discovered he didn’t need it – he was healed. That same morning the first and second letters of the day were from people telling him that they and others were praying for Reagan. Inside of an hour, a member of his legal staff popped in “on some routine matter” and on the way out the young man shared that some of Reagan's staff would arrive early every day to pray for him. An appointment two weeks later confirmed that not only did Reagan no longer have an ulcer, but, the doctor added, “there was no indication I’d ever had one.” Reagan understood this as God answering these many prayers. But he knew his skeptical father-in-law might dismiss this as coincidence, so he presented him with more to consider. Some seven hundred years before the birth of Christ the ancient Jewish prophets predicted the coming of a Messiah…. All in all there were a total of one hundred and twenty-three specific prophesys (sic) about his life all of which came true. Crucifixion was unknown in those times, yet it was foretold that he would be nailed to a cross of wood.* And one of the predictions was that he would be born of a Virgin. ....But Loyal, I don’t find that as great a miracle as the actual history of his life. Either he was who he said he was or he was the greatest faker & charlatan who ever lived. But would a liar & faker suffer the death he did when all he had to do to save himself was admit he’d been lying? The miracle is that a young man of 30 yrs. without credentials as a scholar or priest began preaching on street corners. He owned nothing but the clothes on his back & he didn’t travel beyond a circle less than one hundred miles across. He did this for only 3 years and then was executed as a common criminal. But for two thousand years he has had more impact on the world than all the teachers, scientists, emperors, generals and admirals who ever lived, all put together. And with that, Reagan pleaded with his father-in-law to turn to God and place his trust in Jesus Christ. And there is some reason to hope that he did. Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post discovered the letter while doing research for a biography on Nancy Reagan, and, rather than simply place it back in the box, she brought it to her paper, where they published it this past month. And so it was that, some 35 years after it was written, God used this private plea to challenge the many hundreds of thousands who have now been able to read it. * Reagan isn't quite right on this point. King David does prophecy, in Psalm 22, of Jesus' hands and feet being pierced (which points to the cross) but nowhere does it prophecy specifically that he would be nailed to a cross of wood. This is important to mention only because Christians don't want to be accused of overstating things....
Saturday Selections - Oct. 20, 2018
How our sun and atmosphere show evidence of being Intelligently-designed (3 minutes) A different take on pro-abortion bully Jordan Hunter When Jo...
Woman identifies as a man who identifies as a dog
Any journalist knows there's nothing newsworthy about a dog biting a man, but when a man bites a dog then you have headline material! So you can imagi...
Saturday Selections - October 13, 2018
Conservative group confronts students with a smile and a $100 bill Campus Reform offered college students $100 to name just one time that conservativ...
Saturday Selections - October 6, 2018
Alberta's NDP says Christian school cannot state that God's authority supersedes human authority If the idea that a Canadian provincial government would try this strikes you as unbelievable, don't just read the article linked up above, but also the Christian school's "Safe and Caring Policy" as marked up by the government. You can find it here. What the 9th commandment would have us do in a social media world Tim Challies applies the 9th Commandment (and the Westminster Shorter Catechism) to Twitter, Facebook, and more. Part 1 is here, and Part 2 here. Keeping technology in its proper place: An interview with Andy Crouch Andy Crouch is the author of the Tech-Wise Family. Parents will find a lot of advice here worth considering. Gender ideology over science The American Academy of Pediatricians has "made a monumental decision" recently to embrace transgenderism, and as the folks at Breakpoint show, it has nothing to do with evidence, or science, but is instead about blind unthinking obedience to an ideology. Suppressing politically incorrect science on gender...and on intelligent design This is a long read, but if you know someone who thinks science is the ultimate standard, this might be a helpful one to point them to, to highlight just how biased scientists, and published "science," can be. Answering Ehrman - one of the Bible's skeptics gets answered in bite-size chunks Dr. Bart Ehrman is one of the best known critics of the Bible, and now a number of Christian scholars have come together to answer his charges one by one, in bite-sized videos, at EhrmanProject.com. This is a great resource if you or anyone you know is being confronted with Ehrman's work, but discernment is needed as some answers are better than others. ...
Saturday Selections – September 29, 2018
My big flaw: I am an impatient parent Being on time is a virtue. Taking it out on your kids when you're not, isn't. Thank-you for your messy house! "While I’m not suggesting never cleaning your house, it did strike me that it is pride that makes me reluctant to present a less than perfect front." Prof tells BC student that discussing abortion in class is "hateful" and "unsafe" Why is any mention of abortion thought offensive, even in a university (i.e. supposedly free-thinking) setting? Because deep down the world understands it is a monstrous evil, and even their deadened consciences are pricked when the least mention is made. So they don't want to hear it! But for the sake of the unborn, hear it they must. And this Reformed young woman was willing to do so. How to think (and how not to think) This is an absolutely fascinating article making the point that much of the evidence cited in the creation/evolution debate isn't evidence for one side or the other, but fits with both. So the key, then, is to focus on finding the sorts of evidence that only fit one theory or the other. Our minds are more than our brains The world views us as elaborate machines, the brain the equivalent of a computer (admittedly a supercomputer). That has implications, the biggest being that free will is an illusion. If we are only machines, then our actions – our output – are merely the outworking of our collective inputs. We've done what we were programmed to do. The Bible says something else entirely. And a closer look at our brain also shows that the computer analogy simply doesn't hold. The evidence says that our minds are separate from and exist somewhere beyond our brains. Myers-Briggs and other mirrors for the soul (1o minutes) A Christianity Today review explores how one of the world's most influential personality tests doesn't have a solid scientific grounding, while in the video below Dr. David Powlison gives a Christian perspective on how our temperament (our personality) can have a powerful impact on us. (10 minutes) The video "Do smartphones make us stupid? Or rude?" that was previously listed here has been cut because it might have had copyright problems....
Saturday Selections - September 22, 2018
The myth of the ongoing papacy "If we believe the popular myth, we might think that there has been an unbroken succession of popes in Rome since Peter." But it isn't so. When LGBT families come to church It isn't a matter of if, but only when. So how should we respond? Going for the cheap casket People who are grieving aren't in an emotional place where they can negotiate. Should the Church intercede? Why you can't name the virtues Are virtues the mid-point between two vices? For example, is the virtue of generosity the midpoint between the vices of miserliness and wastefulness? Is gender dysphoria (transgenderism) contagious? One preliminary study indicates it might be, which has the folks at Breakpoint wondering if this is one of those peer pressure "all the cool girls are transitioning" kind of things. How to debunk transgender madness in 2 minutes ...
Saturday Selections – September 15, 2018
Mark Schultz on standing with, and praising God for, those who are devastated by grief In the first of these two videos Mark Schultz shares a beautiful song he has written as a pledge of sort to those who are so emptied they can't manage to stand and sing. In the second video he shares the story behind the song. h/t David Murray Addictions: sickness or sin? The trend to view all addictions as merely physical problems rather than sin, as John points out, will never get to the root of the problem. How the United Nations gets poverty wrong Inequality isn’t poverty and poverty ain’t inequality. Hope for ex-readers "Are you an ‘ex-reader’? Did you read Christian books in the past but have long since given up? If this bothers you, it should. Reading quality Christian books is good for you and for the people who know you. But don’t despair; you can start reading again. Here’s how." 3 problems with libertarianism "libertarianism tends to be ideologically-driven, and not driven by love" "libertarianism is backing away from the 'social issues' at just the moment when corruption on those issues has reached our nation’s lymph nodes." "libertarianism sees the abstraction of 'free market forces' as a tree in the orchard, instead of fruit from the orchard." The impact of legalizing marijuana in Colorado Prov. 18:17 says it is good to hear both sides of a debate. This documentary presents one side that is being underreported (57 minutes). ...