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News

Peace, peace? Will the CRC be lulled into losing their way?

Is there a spiritual war going on behind the scenes in the Christian Reformed Church? Oh yes, says member Phil Reinders, in a June 5 column in the Christian Courier, published just before this year’s synod.

“…the Church is being played. We are unaware of a larger battle going on, one not against flesh and blood, but against the powers and principalities. …there is a spirit of the age that is binding and blinding the church…”

Those familiar with the CRC will recall that 2022’s synod formally adopted a “Human Sexuality Report” reaffirming homosexuality as sinful. This year’s synod has confirmed it yet again. However, after taking these two steps forward, the denomination’s Calvin University took one big step back, granting every faculty member who filed a “gravamen” – a formal statement of disagreement – with Synod’s decision, their approval for continued employment. Synod 2023 pushed to 2024 a decision that might have challenged the university’s decision.

So Phil Reinders’ warning might have us respond with a hearty “Amen,” and “Preach it brother!” Can’t the CRC leadership see that freeing erring university professors to continue influencing the next generation is a good way to turn this recent victory into a long-term defeat?

But sadly, Reinders isn’t cautioning against a CRC slide into sexual lawlessness. Nope, he is worried about how making big of sexual orthodoxy might cause division in the church.

“Our best witness to the world won’t be a particular stance on sexual ethics, whatever your position might be. At any time, but certainly in this moment of fracture and antagonism, the church’s best witness is a practiced unity in the body of Christ…”

He cites Scripture passages such as James 3:17-18 and Ephesians 4:3 which praise peace and peacemakers. He’s preaching unity.

Above all.

What God has said about what is good and best for everyone when it comes to sexuality, and being created male and female, and husbands’ and wives’ roles in marriage, all of that doesn’t matter. Not if it disrupts unity.

For those of us on the outside looking in, it’s worth considering how an appeal for unity – which God Himself encourages us towards – can be used to oppose God. When anything, even the best of things like love, unity, and truth, are presented as the ultimate good, they become not a means to worship God, but a replacement for Him – this is unity as an idol.

Just consider what this sort of unity would look like. CRC members are being asked to tolerate those who differ and we know what it would look like on the one side: practicing homosexuals being elevated to positions as elders and deacons and pastors, couples getting “married” in the church, and their relationships celebrated. Tolerance would mean homosexuals being loud and proud about their sexuality inside their local congregations. Anything else wouldn’t respect who they are.

And what of those on the other side? What of those convinced that God condemns homosexuality, and that gay “marriages” are two people dangerously committing themselves to ongoing rebellion against their Maker for as long as they both shall live? Will the orthodox side be tolerated if they speak their piece during the “any objections” part of the ceremony? Will they be tolerated if they won’t stop pleading for their homosexual friends to repent and turn back to the God Who knows what is the very best for them?

No. We know better. They’ll be told to be respectful. Be loving. And be quiet.

Jeremiah warned against those who preached “peace, peace when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14, 8:11). Sometimes battles are unavoidable. The unity on offer here is only a trick that will be used to silence God’s truth about sexuality in the CRC… just as our culture most desperately needs to hear that truth from the church. And Phil Reinders is either preaching this impossible unity in ignorance, or, like he said, “the Church is being played.”

News

Saturday Selections – July 1, 2023

Got some bored kids? Are your kids are looking for some summer holiday inspiration? These Dude Perfect juniors are doing amazing trick shots that might spawn some imitation. Parents: reading to your children supports your biblical calling Reading routinely to your children helps you set aside time to teach, shepherd, and love on your child. It is costly – it takes time you might not feel you have – but if you were to talk to a future you about whether they wished they had done more of it, you can be sure of the answer. A parent's guide to teen slang The folks at the Christian parenting organization Axis have created a short guide to some of the most popular teen slang. They've divided it into 3 categories, starting with "Fun, harmless, silly" followed by "Be aware of" and finally "Red flags." This heads-up is worth the 5-10 minutes it would take to scan through it. In praise of silent Cal This article, on the occasion of Calvin Coolidge's 150th birthday last year, celebrates an American president who was best known for thinking government should get out of the way. Air pollution has plummeted in the U.S. over the last 50 years Even as Canada's wildfires had a lot of people eating smoke, air pollution has been going down a lot over the last half century. We hear so much doom and gloom these days, it's a good corrective to hear how things are getting better. Social media is all about gracelessness (3 min) Our own online responses should presume the best of whomever we're talking to (Matt. 7:12). But if Marshall McLuhan was at all right about "the medium is the message" (ie. the deliverer has a huge impact on the message delivered) then we shouldn't be naive about what sort of negativity social media fosters. ...

News

Alberta and BC champion very different responses to drug use

Earlier this year, BC became the first province to decriminalize small amounts of illegal drugs. The policy was the latest “harm reduction” effort from the province’s NDP government. The province boasted that “British Columbia is taking a critical step toward reducing the shame and fear associated with substance use.” This move was approved by Health Canada, which granted a three-year exemption from federal drug laws. Only a few months later, the effects are being felt in towns and cities throughout the province. “BC’s drug decriminalization experiment is off to a disastrous start” shouted the headline from the national affairs columnist in the Globe and Mail. Gary Mason proceeded to describe the situation on the ground, including a report from Mike Stolte, from Nelson, BC. “I’m a pretty liberal person who has been involved in compassionate programs for hospices and other entities,” Mr. Stolte told the Globe and Mail. “So, I feel for anyone battling addictions. I was initially a fan of decriminalization but I think the longer we continue with this experiment, the more and more downtowns are going to cease to exist. Nobody will want to go near them.” Stolte now keeps a baseball bat and bear spray by his front door after experiencing four thefts in the last two months. One province over, Alberta has refused to decriminalize drugs. Instead, they have been expanding the treatment spaces and now have capacity to serve 29,000 people every year. They also got rid of the fee for treatment. Instead of making drugs more accessible, they are making treatment more accessible. On the heels of their provincial election, the province’s UCP government took it a step further by announcing it would introduce the Compassionate Intervention Act, which would give the province the authority to require chronic drug addicts, who are believed to be at great risk to themselves or others, to get treatment. This too would be the first of its kind in Canada. “There is virtually no addict that makes a change in their life without some measure of intervention,” shared Marshall Smith, the chief of staff to Alberta’s Premier. He knows this from experience, having gone from being a staffer in the BC legislature to living on the streets in Vancouver for four years, as a result of a cocaine and meth addition. According to the National Post, he credits his recovery to the local police, who gave him the option of jail or a spot in a treatment center. Although there are not yet statistics to compare the two approaches, BC overdose deaths have doubled since 2016, though there was a slight decrease of 1.5 percent last year. The drop was much larger in Alberta, at 12 percent last year. BC’s approach rests on a belief that people should be free to pursue their desires, even if they are risky and dangerous. This is a similar strategy to that which was employed over the past half-century with the normalization of sex outside of heterosexual marriage, by focusing on “safe sex.” In contrast, Alberta’s approach recognizes that some activities need to be discouraged, even to the point of forcing people to change their lives. Although there is no explicit recognition of sin, nor an express desire to live in a way that respects our design as image bearers of God, Alberta’s approach is an encouraging step in the right direction. It will be important to compare the results of the two strategies in the coming year....

News

Saturday Selections – June 24, 2023

A seed that walks? Absolutely awn-some! (5 min) These seeds can walk and dig themselves into the ground! Psychology's culpability in the transgender movement The transgender movement's devilish overreach – trying to force us to say boys can be girls and girls can be boys – clarifies for us what Paul meant when he said the wisdom of the world is foolishness in the sight of God (1 Cor. 3:19). "Experts" can be delusional. We're in freefall because we've never had it so good (10-minute read) Prosperity is blamed here as a key culprit for our culture's ongoing decline in civility. Good diagnosis, but this secular article offers no hope. However, there is hope. Some 300 years ago. Cotton Mather explained that: "Religion begat prosperity, and the daughter devoured the mother." If the good times have our nation turning from our good God, then the solution is to urge them to repentance. Most US teens are watching porn regularly This is a must-read for parents, which has help to offer. The Synod of Dort and the Sabbath (10-minute read) Today many evangelicals might argue that there are 9 Commandments and not 10. However, in the article linked above Dr. Bredenhof weighs in on how the Synod of Dort made the case for 10, and Pastor Wilson offers a very different defense in his 11 Theses on the Glory of the Lord's Day. How do Canada's 2001 climate predictions measure up? (11 min) Today's Canadian government is increasing the cost of energy based on dire predictions of what will happen to the climate if they don't. But how good is the government at prognostication? Are they prophets or pretenders? In the video below, John Robson takes a look back at Canada's 2001 climate predictions and asks, if they got it wrong then, why should we trust that they are reliable today? ...

News

2023 wildfires an exception to three decades of declining fires

As millions of Canadians and Americans have been exposed to the smoke from Canadian forest fires already this year, along with a steady stream of media coverage, they would be forgiven for coming to a similar conclusion as Prime Minister Trudeau, who recently tweeted “We’re seeing more and more of these fires because of climate change.” But as Dr. Ross McKitrick, professor of environmental economics at the University of Guelph, explained in the Financial Post, Trudeau’s statement is wrong twice over. Pointing to publicly-available data from the Wildland Fire Information System, McKitrick said that wildfires have in fact been getting less frequent in Canada over the past 30 years. “The annual number of fires grew from 1959 to 1990, peaking in 1989 at just over 12,000 that year, and has been trending down since. From 2017 to 2021 (the most recent interval available), there were about 5,500 fires per year, half the average from 1987 to 1991.” The same is true for the amount of area burned, which also peaked 30 years ago at 7.6 million hectares, far above the current average of 2.4 million. McKitrick also pointed to global data which shows a similar decline in wildfires in recent decades. One reason why fires are getting so much attention this year is because 5.29 million hectares have already burned in 2023, and we are still relatively early in the season. Another reason why fires are getting more attention is because they seem to be getting more dangerous, spreading quickly and threatening entire towns. Is it due to global warming? McKitrick offers another explanation, quoting from forestry experts Stefan Doerr and Cristina Santin: “ aggressive fire suppression policies over much of the 20th century have removed fire from ecosystems where it has been a fundamental part of the landscape rejuvenation cycle…. We cannot completely remove fire from the landscape…That is the misconception that led to the ‘100 per cent fire suppression’ policies in the U.S. and elsewhere that have made things worse in many cases.” In the past government agencies, and even private land owners, have used “prescribed burns” – deliberately lit and managed fires – to burn away undergrowth. When done with some regularity these are lower temperature fires, clearing the ground but without burning the trees down. 100 per cent fire suppression policies do away with these burns, and as McKitrick explained, “this has led to a buildup of fuel in the form of woody debris leading to the risk of more explosive and unstoppable fires.” God has entrusted us with stewardship of His creation (Genesis 1:28) and part of stewardship requires an accurate understanding of this creation, including the importance of fires for healthy forests. Picture is of fires near Hope, BC earlier this year (edb3_16 / iStockphoto.com)....

News

Justice delayed is justice denied: Supreme Court Justice Russell Brown resigns

In the midst of a misconduct investigation, Supreme Court Justice Russell Brown has chosen to resign his post on Canada’s top court. The investigation was triggered by allegations of inappropriate conduct by Brown after an altercation in Arizona earlier this year. In a social setting, after a speaking engagement there, Brown was accused of making unwanted advances on a couple of women. In a public statement, Brown pointed to the slow misconduct investigation, the strain on him and his family, and the impact on the court’s proceedings, as leading to his decision that it was “for the common good” to resign. Accompanying the statement, Brown also released evidence to affirm his innocence in the matter. While we aren’t in a position to judge Justice Brown’s guilt or innocence, we can consider the process. Brown was put on leave Feb. 1 and resigned on June 12. In his public statement he noted: “At this point, it is impossible to know how much longer this delay would continue…. Given the progress so far, it is not unreasonable to think that this process may continue well into 2024.” In Ecclesiastes 8:11, the Preacher tells us that: “When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong.” The National Post’s Jamie Sarkonak echoed the thought: “The Supreme Court and the Canadian Judicial Council have shown troublemakers exactly what needs to be done to de-bench a judge.” Canadian news website The Hub shared the reactions of other legal experts including Yuan Yi Zhu, an assistant professor of international relations and international law at Leiden University, who was very critical of the disciplinary process for Canadian judges. "From Chief Justice Wagner’s decision to place Brown on an immediate leave of absence without official explanation on the basis of a flimsy complaint filed by a man who had assaulted his colleague, to the Canadian Judicial Council’s unbearably sluggish preliminary investigation which took the better part of half a year, to the numerous leaks from well-informed insiders to favoured journalists, the whole process has been designed to be as exhausting and wounding to Justice Brown as possible. "There can be no better illustration of what American law professor Malcolm Feeley described as 'the process is the punishment.' Even if Justice Brown had been fully exonerated at the end of the open-ended process, his reputation would still have suffered, not to mention the fact that he would have been barred from exercising his chosen profession for the duration of the investigation, which could have run into years." The justice’s resignation has also shaken the Christian and conservative legal community. Andre Schutten, Director of Law and Policy for ARPA Canada, told Reformed Perspective that Justice Brown’s resignation “is a major setback for our nation’s legal culture.”  Schutten explained that Justice Brown was “faithful to the law, and respected and guarded the rule of law. He was a constitutionalist and believed ardently that the law must be something more than the ruler’s whims. Where a majority of the Supreme Court pursued their own policy preferences and bent the law to reflect that, Justice Brown was loyal to the constitution, even when such loyalty was not in vogue.” Schutten is concerned by what this means for the highest court moving forward, saying that it doesn’t bode well for religious freedom in Canada and is “another step toward judicial policy-making that is decidedly progressive.” Sean Speer, The Hub’s editor-at-large, shared that conservatives sometimes overstate their lack of influence in Canada. However, “the one area though where conservative despair has been justified is the judiciary. The ‘living tree’ view of the Constitution has been the dominant (even the sole) judicial philosophy at law schools and on the bench for more than a generation.” The “living tree doctrine” says that the Constitution’s meaning wasn’t determined by those who wrote it, but is created by the judges who read it, that like a tree it should change and grow with the times. Speer went on to explain that there has been a change in recent years, with “a new generation of law students and scholars… capable of challenging the prevailing legal monoculture.” And he pointed to Brown as a key figure in this movement. "His judicial dissents, including in high-profile cases like References re Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act and Trinity Western University v. Law Society of Upper Canada, gave this emerging cohort of conservative legal thinkers and practitioners a credible and different way to think about individual rights, the division of powers, and the role of the court… "His departure from the bench, therefore, represents a regrettable blow to these efforts. That future now feels farther away especially since he’ll predictably be replaced by another 'living tree' exponent. "It’s important however, particularly for the young people involved in the legal movement that Brown came to personify, that it must ultimately be bigger than one person. While his resignation creates a significant void, it cannot bring an end to these efforts. Quite the contrary. It reinforces the need for more Russell Browns." Schutten came to a similar conclusion, noting that Brown’s resignation underlines again the importance of Christian engagement in the law. “For too long, Christians abandoned the field to secularists and we shouldn’t be surprised that the result is so few principled judges. The Christian community must recommit to serving their nation also in the courts of law, inspiring, encouraging, and assisting the next generation of Christian leaders to pursue law as a calling while ensuring those Christian lawyers think christianly about the law.” The resignation paves the way for Trudeau to appoint a sixth judge to the nine-judge bench that already had the National Post’s Tristin Hopper deeming it “the most activist Supreme Court in the world.” While that’s not an encouraging thought, Christians can remember that one day we will see perfect justice exacted by the Chief Justice of the world’s Supreme Court, before whom every knee will bow....

News

Saturday Selections – June 10, 2023

The astonishing giraffe neck Did you know a giraffe doesn't need its neck muscles to hold its neck up, but rather to bend it down? As a ruminant (an animal that chews its cud) the giraffe has to be able to bring food back up its neck to chew again. It also has to have an enormous heart to create enough pressure to get the blood up to its head. And then it has to have shut-off valves of a sort, to relieve the pressure when it bends its head down to drink, otherwise the blood pressure would cause it to blow out its own brain. The article linked above has more on giraffes' amazing design, as does the video below, though since it is a giraffe dissection (albeit a bloodless one), it might be a bit much for some kids. Population is collapsing and the world has no answers In the not too distant future there will be more grandparents than grandkids, and that's a problem. This downward population trend is happening in Western atheistic countries and Middle Eastern Muslim ones too. How can it be reversed? Different countries have tried child-care subsidies, education, and immigration, all to no avail. What they haven't tried is repentance. Only a nation that turns to God will treasure children as the blessing that God says they are (Ps. 127:3-5, Gen. 1:28, Ps. 128:3) and want more of them. But, of course, how can they know they should repent unless we tell them (Rom. 10:14)? While we can't tell anyone else how many kids they should have, the Church is, collectively, following the world's downward population trend, with smaller families each generation. So we seem to have some repenting to do too. The cult of the presidency (and prime ministership) must end This American article's point applies to Canada too (where the Prime Minister arguably has even more power than the US President): a change of government shouldn't have such a huge impact on our lives, and the only way the impact can be lessened is to have less government. What makes for a good law? Thoughts on Uganda's homosexuality bill Our society has been celebrating homosexuality for so long that even Christians may find the idea of legislating against it shocking. Samuel Sey has some thoughts above about Uganda's controversial law, as does Albert Mohler. Big Tech won't protect our kids: parents must 10 years ago if a depressed teen quit social media that'd quite likely help. But as John Stonestreet notes, that's in part because 10 years ago there were still a lot of teens who weren't on social media. In other words, if the teen left the pressures of the digital world, there was a real world of teens they could meet and interact with. But today parents are leery of taking away their teen's phone because it's the contact point between them and all their friends. At the same time, we can see these phones are a problem. So what's a parent to do? A question will  quiet them... or move the discussion forward In the New Testament Jesus asked more questions than He gave answers. Was it because He didn't have answers? Nope. So, perhaps it was because a good question can bring us right to the heart of an issue. Some of His clarifying questions include: Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your lifespan? (Matt 6:27) What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life and what can one give in exchange for his life? (Matt 16:26) Today, a simple question is still effective. We've seen how just asking "What is a woman?" can cause conniptions. In the clip below we have someone complaining about privilege. If she has some examples, great, because specific complaints can then be addressed and hopefully fixed. But if they are simply assertions without justifications, then asking her for more information is a great way of exposing her empty rhetoric. Either way, a question gets us moving forward. Other great clarifying questions Christians should ask include: When does life begin? Where does our worth come from? In what sense would you say men and women are equal? (See Genesis 1:27. Gen 9:6). pic.twitter.com/3poZbLF8Br — Davy Jones (@itsNTBmedia) June 6, 2023 ...

News

Sooners seize opportunity to glorify God

Doesn’t matter if you like sports or not, you’re going to enjoy hearing about this team. The Oklahoma Sooners won their third straight Women’s College World Series on Thursday, with a 3-1 victory in the series finale. That also added to their record-breaking winning streak, which sits at 53 games, 6 more than the old record. But what really makes this team special came out in a pre-series press conference on Tuesday, when ESPN’s Alex Scarborough asked players about the streak. “I know you guys talk about keeping the joy of the game, but it's a long season and you guys have had the target on your back the entire time, with the win streak, with being number one. How do you handle the unique pressure that comes with that? How do you keep the joy for so long when anxiety seems like a thing that could very easily set in?” Shortstop Grace Lyons was the first to answer: “The only way that you can have a joy that doesn't fade away is from the Lord. And any other type of joy is actually happiness that comes from circumstances, and outcomes. I think coach has said this before but, joy from the Lord is really the only thing that can keep you motivated, and just in a good mindset, no matter the outcomes. Thankfully we've had a lot of success this year but if it was the other way around, joy from the Lord is the only thing that can keep you embracing those memories, moments, friendships, and all of that. So, really the only answer to that, because there's no other way that softball can bring you that because of how much failure comes in it and just how much of a roller coaster the game can be.” And if that wasn’t amazing enough, utility player Jayda Coleman wanted to echo the point: “One thousand percent agree with Grace Lyons. I went through that my freshman year. I’ve talked about this before, but I was just so happy that we won the College World Series but I didn't feel joy. I didn't know what to do the next day. I didn't know what to do for that following week. I didn't feel filled. And I had to find Christ in that. I think that is what makes our team so strong: we're not afraid to lose because it's not the end of the world if we do lose. Yes, obviously we've worked our butts off to be here and we want to win. But it's not the end of the world because our life is in Christ and that's all that matters.” Next up was sophomore Alyssa Brito: “We're really fixing our eyes on Christ. Like they were saying, you can't find fulfillment in an outcome, whether it's good or bad. I think that's why we're so steady in what we do… because we know this game is giving us the opportunity to glorify God. Once we figured that out, and that was our purpose and everyone was all in with that, it's really changed so much for us. Once I turned to Jesus and I realized how He had changed my outlook on life – not just softball but understanding how much I have to live for, living to exemplify the kingdom – I think that brings so much freedom. I'm sure everyone's story is similar: we all have those great testimonies that have really shown how awesome it is to play for something bigger. That's just what brings me so much joy, no matter the outcome, whether we get a trophy in the end or not. This isn't our home, and I think that's what's amazing. We have so much more; we have an eternity of joy with our Father and I'm so excited about that. Yes, I live in the moment, but I know this isn't my home and no matter what, my sisters in Christ will be there with me in the end when we're with our King.” The final word went to the coach after a follow-up question. The same reporter wanted to know how she could get these kids to keep going hard when they were winning so often. Wasn’t it just human nature to slack off in the midst of so much success? How could they keep their focus? Coach Patty Gasso replied: “I think that they just gave you that answer.” ...

News

Saturday Selections – May 13, 2023

Burning Ember (8 min) Steve Bell and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra may just give you the shivers – this is wonderful! Are Proverbs an ancient form of tweets? Proverbs are concise, and because they are memorable, they are also pass-along-able – they can go viral! But as author Harma-Mae Smit notes, "the most significant difference between Twitter and Proverbs is obviously the end result of reading them" – Proverbs are for developing wisdom! The restless heart of Generation Z and the mental health crisis "The timing of this unprecedented outbreak of anxiety, depression and other mental health problems, Haidt points out, corresponds suspiciously with the rise of smartphones and social media apps." Is it loving for a Christian to attend a "gay wedding"? A couple has asked you to come to their ceremony where they plan to pledge themselves to a lifelong rebellion against their Maker - should you go and lend your support and encouragement? A parent's guide to bullying (and teaching your kids to stand up for the little guy instead) Kids in Christian schools get bullied too. Might that be because Christian parents don't take the topic seriously enough? Are too many presuming their kids are immune to being bullied? And could never be bullies? Maybe we think of bullying as only a physical thing, and don't even consider how constant put-downs (perhaps disguised as biting "Dutch" humor) can cause kids to hate school. If we want to deal with bullying in our schools, this guide is really a must-read for all parents. It's crafted by the Christian parents' group Axis, short at just 16 pages, and free to download. It could be the start of something. Johnson & John's Sons & Son's (2 min) For all the English teachers out there... ...

News

Canada replaces the cross with a snowflake

On the same day that the world’s attention was fixed on the coronation of Charles III, Canada’s federal government took the opportunity to show off its new design for our Canadian Royal Crown. As the "Canadian Crown" twitter account noted: “The design replaces religious symbols (crosses & fleur-de-lis) with maple leaves & a snowflake” This crown isn’t a physical crown worn by an official or put on display. Rather, it is an emblem or design, featured at the top of Canada’s Coat of Arms, as well as police and military badges, among other places. Symbols matter, especially when they are meant to represent our leadership and nation. This change came from the top. Our Governor General’s website explains that it was “approved in April 2023 by His Majesty The King on the advice of the Prime Minister of Canada.” The fleur-de-lis symbolizes a king’s divinely-approved authority to rule. “For there is no authority except from God” (Romans 13). Likewise, the cross symbolizes the kingship of Jesus Christ, Lord over all creation. Together, they bear witness to the fact that humanity is not sovereign. God alone is. And He alone gives authority to office-bearers, including our civil governments. It is no surprise that Justin Trudeau has no use for these public reminders of our Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ. But in divorcing the civil government’s authority from God, where does it get its authority from? The new symbols point to nature. How do the snow, leaves, and water give any authority to our government? They are pretty to view, and useful for living, but have no transcendent authority themselves. As snowflakes melt and leaves decay, we can expect the same for any government that finds its authority in itself. It is also ironic that, in an effort to undermine Christ as king, our government has to look to Christ’s creation for new symbols. Instead of anger or ridicule, decisions like this ought to move us to sadness. Justin Trudeau and most of Canada’s leaders think that decisions like this are a move towards an enlightened and “progressive” future, characterized by secularism instead of “religion.” Yet they are blind to the reality that they are no less religious than their forefathers. In many respects, they show even more zeal for their religion of humanism and paganism than many of our forefathers showed for our Lord. Some years ago, I witnessed the leaders of Canada’s political parties, including Justin Trudeau, each piously reading a selection from Scripture at the National Prayer Breakfast. This included a reading from Psalm 2, reminding them Who is King and Who they will one day have to give account to: Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill…. Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear….”...

News

Saturday Selections – May 6, 2023

The amazing Archer Fish (4 min) This critter has crazy accuracy as it shoots its food down from the leaves and branches above. Trump's pivot on abortion In his last term, President Trump may have done more for the unborn than any president before. But is candidate Trump still interested in defending the unborn this time around? Is social justice killing Science? Ideology blinds Science, but whereas in the past it was Naturalism ignoring evidence of the Supernatural, now we have "woke-ism" ignoring evidence of gender differences. Parents need to be able to opt out of "woke" education Michael Zwaagstra is on to something here as he makes a case against Canada's public school system. But he's also a senior fellow at a secular think tank, and that's where his diagnosis falls flat. Zwaagstra thinks "...teachers should be politically neutral" and schools shouldn't be "indoctrination centres." But schools can't help but present doctrine, and the only choice is which. Will they celebrate God as Lord of all, or oppose Him, either explicitly, or implicitly by treating Him as irrelevant to all that students are learning? The surprising way ChatGPT could make university better A new Artificial Intelligence tool can write original essays in seconds that are good enough to pass many a university class. Is that a problem for Higher Ed? Maybe not. The New York Times’ stunning confession on Sweden’s pandemic response In 2020 they said Sweden's no mandate approach was going to kill thousands. They're saying something quite different today. So what's the lesson we can learn? That Man and therefore government, is fallible and limited, and should therefore proceed with humility. Or, this secular article puts it: "Central planners do not possess the knowledge to effectively organize society, but they do possess the power to wreck the social order – quickly. This is precisely why Hayek said it was imperative that those with power approach society with humility." Another reason for humility? The coming "cancer bomb." Big study touts exercise to deal with anxiety, depression New research suggests that, for many, exercise may be more effective than even medicine for improving their mental health. ...

News

Saturday Selections – Apr 29, 2023

How was the canon of Scripture established? (3 min) Stephen Nicols shares that the Church hasn't established the canon, but recognizes it, and that truth is a key difference between Protestants and Roman Catholics. Should AI be shut down? "When our science and technologies are guided by an 'if we can do something we should' kind of moral reasoning, bigger and faster is not better." Housing prices up, builds are down Canada's housing-to-population ratio is the lowest of any G7 nation, because Canada has seen a general decline in home builds since the 1970s, despite a growing population. While the linked report doesn't get into why it is happening, it presses for an investigation to figure it out. Some government policies have focussed on increasing supply without increasing builds, by taxing foreigners who buy homes here. But this doesn't get at the root of the problem – we need more houses. So why aren't builders building, if there is money to be made? Parents need to be able to opt out of "woke" education Michael Zwaagstra is on to something here as he makes a case against Canada's public school system. But he's also a senior fellow at a secular think tank, and that's where his diagnosis falls flat. Zwaagstra thinks "...teachers should be politically neutral" and schools shouldn't be "indoctrination centres." But schools can't help but present doctrine, and the only choice is which. Will they celebrate God as Lord of all, or oppose Him, either explicitly, or implicitly by treating Him as irrelevant to all that students are learning? Reflecting on the Church during the time of COVID The author presents a helpful standard: did we act out of fear, or love for our neighbor? This is a question of motivation, not the end result, since the same act – closing a church, for example – could be done for either reason. However, only one of these motivations is God-honoring. So, now, 3 years later, are we in a place where we can ask, how did we do? How the Earth cleans itself If you believe our astonishingly complex Earth came about by chance and time, one lucky happenstance after another for millions of years, then you'd have ever reason to think it fragile. But if you knew it to be designed, then you wouldn't be surprised to discover that the Earth has been crafted with some impressive self-cleaning abilities. That's not a reason to neglect our stewardship responsibilities (Gen. 1:26-28), but realizing the Earth isn't a delicate egg is a reason to resist climate catastrophism. Unbelief isn't a sin...or is it? Doubters will ask all sorts of questions, but only some will put in the same effort to actually seek answers. When a person's objections are more smokescreen than sincere, we should be sure to call them to "repent and believe" and not simply dig up more answers for them that will never satisfy their rebellion anyway. The article above and video below approach doubt and unbelief from two different but complementary angles and both are worth checking out. ...

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