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The long road to Christian broadcasting in Canada
How Christian activism successfully changes governmental policy
The presence of Christian radio and television stations in Canada is a relatively recent phenomenon. The first Christian radio station went on the air in 1993 and the first Christian TV station began broadcasting in 1996.
Radio and television had been around for decades, so why were the Christian stations so late in coming? The short answer is government policy. The federal government regulatory body with jurisdiction in this area would not allow specifically Christian radio and TV stations in Canada until the mid-1990s. Importantly, the change in policy that did occur at that time was the result of Christian activism.
1920s – Anti-JW feelings used to ban religious stations in general
Religious organizations in Canada began using radio by the late 1920s. In 1928 the federal government started receiving complaints about broadcasts on stations owned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The broadcasts were said to be unpatriotic and abusive of various churches. A Royal Commission on Broadcasting was then appointed, in part due to the controversy over JW broadcasts.
In 1929 the Royal Commission recommended that broadcasting in Canada should serve the national interest by fostering a sense of national unity and Canadian identity. Religious broadcasts should not be used to foment religious controversy or attack the leaders and doctrines of particular religions.
A policy then evolved whereby religious organizations were no longer granted licenses for radio stations since it was believed they would serve only sectarian interests rather than the community as a whole. Religious organizations could purchase time on secular stations, but could not have stations of their own.
1950s & 60s – Birth of the CRTC
However, there were some restrictions even on the organizations that purchased airtime on other stations. Ernest Manning, for example, experienced problems with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), which was not only the national broadcaster, but also the federal regulatory body over broadcasting throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s. Manning was the Premier of Alberta, but he was also a radio evangelist. By the 1950s he had extended his radio program, Back to the Bible Hour, out of Alberta and right across the country. The CBC did not like Manning appealing for funds on his radio program, and it pressured certain radio stations to delete Manning’s financial appeals.
In 1968 a new regulatory body for broadcasting was created, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). As a result, the CBC was removed from a regulatory role.
Despite this change, the situation did not improve for potential Christian broadcasters. In some cases, the hostility to religious broadcasting was so intense that even proposed stations that weren’t explicitly religious were denied licenses out of fear that they could evolve into primarily religious stations.
1970s – Canadian Family Radio kiboshed
It should be noted that by the late 1970s opposition to “religious” radio or TV stations, in effect, meant opposition to evangelical radio and TV stations since it was only evangelical organizations that seriously attempted to establish their own radio and TV stations at the time.
In 1978 Ralph Jacobson, a former missionary with the Sudan Interior Mission, applied to establish Canadian Family Radio in Vancouver. He did not present it as a religious station but one with general programming of interest to families. He and his supporters were concerned about increasing social problems and wanted positive, uplifting radio content that didn’t contribute to the problems.
In February 1979 the CRTC granted approval in principle to Jacobson’s application provided he could find a different radio frequency (a technical detail) and that he reduce the proportion of religious content, especially non-Canadian programs. He was assured that he could proceed to acquire facilities and equipment, which he did.
Unbeknownst to Jacobson, the “mainline” (i.e. liberal) churches (United Church, Anglican Church, etc.) got wind of his achievement and went to work to thwart his plans. They had formed a group called Interchurch Communications which contacted the CRTC in May 1979 requesting that the Commission pull the plug on Jacobson’s station. In August 1979 the CRTC complained to Jacobson that he was still proposing too much religious content, and in July 1980 the CRTC withdrew its approval of his station. Alberta Report attributed the CRTC’s change of heart to the intervention of the mainline churches. Mainline churches like to trumpet their “tolerance” when it comes to sinful practices like abortion and homosexuality, but they give no quarter for evangelical Christianity.
1980s – CRTC says yes to Playboy, no to Christian TV
In April 1981, Crossroads Communications applied for a license for a satellite television station. This, too, was strongly opposed by Interchurch Communications which feared the proliferation of religious (read: evangelical) stations. The Crossroad’s application was turned down, but as a result of the application, the CRTC held public hearings in January 1982 on whether it should license pay TV channels for religious broadcasting.
The result of those hearings was that in the spring of 1983 the CRTC adopted a policy of allowing one religious pay channel, as long as it carried material from a wide spectrum of religious groups across Canada, not just Christian groups. This suited the mainline churches since it would marginalize evangelical programming to a certain degree. The result of this decision would ultimately be the creation of Vision TV, which was licensed in 1987 and formally launched in 1988. Although evangelical organizations would purchase time on Vision TV, its controlling board has had a decidedly leftist slant for many years.
While the CRTC maintained its stance against exclusively Christian radio and television stations, it had no such reluctance about pornography, and it allowed the Playboy pay TV channel to broadcast in Canada.
In August 1983 the CRTC rejected the application for an AM gospel radio station in Edmonton. The spokesman for the group behind the application was a local news anchorman, Doug Main. The application was also supported by local Tory MP David Kilgour. The CRTC agreed that the proposal for a gospel music station was not the same as an explicitly religious station, but feared that it could get a Christian image “and result in the development of a ‘religious’ programming service.”
The CRTC was concerned that there wouldn’t be enough “balance” in the content, that is, not enough non-Christian content. Even today, the CRTC makes a big deal that religious stations (and only religious stations) must incorporate “balance” into their programming. But as Doug Main put it, “Really, is a Christian going to put up all sorts of dough so a Buddhist or a Moslem can get on the air?”
And David Kilgour also had pertinent criticisms of the CRTC’s rejection of the application. “Our youth must run less risk of being corrupted by pornography, in the minds of the CRTC, than by the dangers of gospel music.” And furthermore, “The CRTC speaks in fine, high-sounding terms about the public interest, and maintains a myth of neutrality, but they’ve already shown an antipathy for people who want to listen to something as innocent as gospel music.”
In February 1986 a Christian group in Lethbridge, Alberta began rebroadcasting the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) from the USA, and also applied to the CRTC for permission to do so. In August of that year, the CRTC rejected the application. Rebroadcasters of TBN would subsequently emerge in Edmonton, Lloydminster, and Grand Prairie, Alberta. This rebroadcasting was technically illegal.
1990s – Christian civil disobedience works...in part
Late in 1991, the CRTC summoned the four rebroadcasters for a hearing in Edmonton for the following January. The CRTC was in for a bit of a surprise because not only did the rebroadcasters show up, but also about 600 of their supporters. When a CRTC official stated that all broadcasters must have a license, the crowd chanted, “Then give them a license, give them a license.”
One of the rebroadcasters, Russell Pearson, saw his activity as a form of civil disobedience to force the issue of religious broadcasting. “Technically we are breaking the CRTC’s laws right now,” he admitted. “But we hope that the end result will be freedom of religion in Canada.” Henry Morgentaler had flouted Canadian law for many years, and by 1992 he was receiving government funding for the abortions he performed. Sometimes civil disobedience works (for good or evil – evil in Morgentaler’s case).
At least in part due to the strong showing of support for Christian broadcasters, in June 1993 the CRTC lifted its ban on the licensing of religious broadcasters in Canada in a new Religious Broadcasting Policy. The Lethbridge group that had been rebroadcasting TBN prepared an application, and on April 4, 1995, it received the first CRTC license for a Christian television station in Canadian history. It would subsequently go on the air as the Miracle Channel in January 1996.
Other applicants, however, were not so lucky. In November 1995 seven applications for Christian TV stations across Canada were rejected by the CRTC for lacking “balance” in their content.
The Broadcasting Act does require “balance,” but many people believe what it means is balance (diversity) among the many stations in an area, not specifically just for programming on Christian stations. Christian lawyer Gerard Guay came to the aid of the failed applicants arguing that the CRTC erred in its application of the balance requirement and the Broadcast Act’s freedom of expression requirement. He wrote that the:
“CRTC improperly determined that the Broadcasting Act requires each over-the-air undertaking devoted to religious programming to be 'balanced,' whereas the Act requires balance of the whole broadcasting system. In other words, you get 'balance' by viewing many channels. This CRTC requirement is especially unfair, since only religious broadcast undertakings have to provide balance.
“The other major error in the CRTC's decision is that the CRTC failed to comply with the Broadcasting Act's imperative requirements on freedom of expression. This is another example of how disturbing the CRTC's policies on religious broadcasting are, since there is a specific section in the Broadcasting Act that requires that the Act be applied in a manner that is consistent with freedom of expression.”
On October 29, 1996, the CRTC gave Pastor Allan Hunsperger a license for a gospel music station in Calgary. Previously he had received a license for a station in Edmonton. He had been working towards the establishment of a Christian radio station in Alberta since 1978, and his persistence had finally paid off. There were also two other Christian radio stations in Canada by this time, one in Vancouver and one in Ottawa.
However, Christian television proposals continued to be rejected. In July 1997 the CRTC rejected a number of Christian applicants including the Roman Catholic EWTN station, which had the support of 10 Canadian bishops. At the same time, the CRTC accepted cable distribution of the Playboy Network. The Canada Family Action Coalition (CFAC) then produced a pamphlet exposing the hypocrisy of the CRTC’s decision (rejecting religion but accepting pornography) and distributed 200,000 copies of it across Canada.
On April 9, 1998, the CRTC licensed Canada’s second Christian television station, Crossroads Television System. And a Christian TV station was approved for Vancouver in 2000. So things have been moving in a positive direction as Christian radio and television stations spread across the country.
Over the course of the last few decades, it appears that the CRTC has been responsive (to a certain degree) to public pressure. It was pressure from the mainline churches that apparently helped squelch Ralph Jacobson’s radio station in 1980. But since then continual applications and pressure from conservative Christians pushed the CRTC to accept a religious television station (although Vision TV is a tremendous disappointment), and finally to reluctantly accept Christian radio and television stations in the 1990s.
Part of this Christian success is apparently the result of the civil disobedience of the Alberta TBN rebroadcasters. Lawyer Gerard Guay put it this way:
Had it not been for individuals who decided to fight the historic ban on Christian broadcasting and had it not been for those who joined that fight and insisted in a change of policy, (even if they had to accept prison terms), the prohibition against religious broadcasters in Canada would never have been lifted and we would not even have the opportunity of submitting applications.
So it would seem that Christian activism against the anti-Christian policies of the CRTC had a decided effect. It took many years and was undoubtedly very discouraging for those involved, but the persistent ones, like Allan Hunsperger who soldiered on in the face of obstacle after obstacle, ultimately triumphed and paved the way for Christian broadcasting in Canada.
This first appeared in the May 2008 issue.
Alberta Report. "The CRTC tangles with religion." September 26, 1980, p. 36.
Holly Bannerman. "A battle for the airwaves." Alberta Report, September 25, 1981, pp. 49-50.
Mike Byfield. "A million-dollar miracle." The Report, July 22, 2002, pp. 44-45.
Gerard Guay. "CCLJ Appeals CRTC Decision." Law & Justice, January 1996, pp. 1-2.
Bill Johnson. "A warm welcome for the CRTC." Alberta Report, January 27, 1992, pp. 38-39.
Robert Lee and Stephen Weatherbe. "The CRTC and the needle's eye." Alberta Report, September 12, 1983, pp. 40-41.
David Marshall. "Premier E.C. Manning, Back to the Bible Hour, and Fundamentalism in Canada." In Religion and Public Life in Canada: Historical and Comparative Perspectives. Ed. Marguerite Van Die. University of Toronto Press, 2001.
John Simpson. "Federal Regulation and Religious Broadcasting in Canada and the United States: A Comparative Sociological Analysis." In Canadian Issues Volume 7, 1985, Association for Canadian Studies.
Stephen Weatherbe & Marilyn McKinley. "Christ and the CRTC." Alberta Report. June 20, 1983, pp. 42-43.
Joe Woodard. "A state blessing, after 18 years." Alberta Report, December 16, 1996, p. 36.
Joe Woodard. "Porn over prophecy." Alberta Report, September 15, 1997, pp. 34-35.
Joe Woodard. "Christian TV breakthrough." Alberta Report, May 18, 1998, p. 34.
Saturday Selections – Mar 18, 2023
St. Patrick's bad analogies In honor of St. Patrick's Day just past, and our God who has made Himself known, and yet remains incomprehensible. C...
Saturday Selections – Mar 11, 2023
"Cascading problems" showcase your body's design (2 min) Your cells need oxygen, and that creates a problem because, how are they going to get it? Yo...
Documentary, Movie Reviews, Pro-life - Adoption, Watch for free
Rescued: the heart of adoption and caring for orphans
Documentary 62 min / 2012 RATING: 7/10 There is something a little unsettling about watching a documentary that passionately encourages adoption. RC Sproul Jr. and Kevin Swanson, two of the many folks interviewed, readily assure watchers that not everyone is called to adopt. But then they go on to note how care for orphans is a godly act, an act that pastors should encourage off the pulpit, and an act the Church is currently not giving enough attention to. There are so many children who need parents, that it’s hard to watch and not wonder, “Are we just being selfish deciding not to adopt?” And, of course, that’s the very point: we’re not all called to adopt, but maybe a lot more of us are called to adopt than we think and we just haven’t thought through it all that carefully or prayerfully. These folks want us to think it through again…or for the first time. At just one hour this is a very “shareable” adoption resource, especially since it is now available to watch for free online. That makes it easy to point out to friends and family whether they are interested in adopting a child, or whether they've never thought about it before. It is attractive, with good interviewees, and has a solid Christian perspective. So watch it, share it, and talk about it. ...
The common word on the streets today is “tolerance.” That idea, however, is wrong – very wrong... dead wrong! There’s no such thing as tolerance. No one is tolerant. Tolerance is a myth; indeed, it is a dangerous myth. Anyone who claims to stand for tolerance, anyone who says he is tolerant – whether he’s aware of it or not – is lying. “Wait a minute. I disagree. I’m tolerant, no matter what you say. And, furthermore, I resent being called a liar.” You’re a liar! “Now, hold on. How can you say that? You don’t even know me. How can you call me a liar?” Because you’re lying — that’s what liars do. “It simply isn’t right of you to pre-judge me, your reader, when you have never met me.” Oh? Why not? You seem to be agitated over a simple statement that I made out there in the blue. I didn’t ask you to chime in. You put yourself in the category of liars. “I can’t have people going around calling others liars without challenging them. After all, by implication, since I’m a tolerant person, you included me.” If you are truly tolerant of differing points of view you wouldn’t go about challenging those who say something that disagrees with yours. If you’re truly tolerant, then why don’t you cheerfully agree that I have every right to go about telling your friends and relatives that you’re a liar? “That wouldn’t be right. I don’t like people to make unfounded judgments. And, besides it would be a nasty thing to do.” Are you saying that you’re intolerant of such a claim? Or of anyone who makes it? “No. I’m tolerant of views that differ from mine.” Then, you wouldn’t mind if I talk to your friends — right? “Wrong.” What makes it wrong to do so? “The fact that it’s simply untrue.” But I say that it is true. “Let’s stop this bickering right now. Would you be satisfied if I conceded that you have the right to be wrong?” Ah! So, you’re so tolerant that you are ready to tolerate “error “to make it go away? “That isn’t so. I accept only those things that are true.” So you don’t tolerate error? It doesn’t matter to you whether others are in error or not so long as you are right? Does that mean you are tolerant of error in others and, therefore, of what you call my lies and my position of intolerance? “I want others to know the truth too.” Then, why don’t you accept the truth that you’re a liar? “Because it’s not true.” ‘Tis. “Taint.” ‘Tis. “Prove it” You claim that you’re tolerant when we know that it’s not true. So you say/deny that you tolerate error in yourself/others. “There you go – calling me a liar again! And, I certainly don’t know that it’s true.” All this discussion and you haven’t yet gotten the point? I say you’re a liar simply because you’ve already demonstrated that you are. You claim to accept truth alone, yet you won’t admit that you’re a liar or that you’re intolerant. That’s two lies right there. “You’re impossible!” That’s number three. “OK, there’s one thing I can’t tolerate – you! You’re intolerable.” Good. First thing you’ve said that’s right so far. You’re coming along. But since it’s true, that too proves you’re a liar. You said that you are tolerant, but let me ask you, are you intolerant not only of my intolerance but of intolerance in general? Seems that a tolerant person would have to be in order to be consistent. “Well...” See, that’s the reason why anyone who claims to be tolerant isn’t. You said that you resented being called a liar. That sounds like an intolerant attitude to me. You can’t tolerate intolerance or you’re tolerating what you claim to abhor. Put it the other way: you claim to abhor what you ought to tolerate – if you were truly tolerant. That position is contradictory in itself. To be intolerant of intolerance is contradictory. You can’t have it both ways. Of course, you can lie about it. Let’s move on. Why do you think that intolerance is dangerous? “Don’t think that it is.” Every Christian does. Are you a Christian? “Yes.” Jesus said that He was the way to the Father (if you remember) and that nobody can come to the Father but by Him. The apostle also said that there is no other Name under the sky by which a person may be saved—but only by Jesus’ Name. “Yes, but . . .” No ‘buts’ about it, so far as the Bible is concerned. No one can be saved except by Jesus Christ. All other ways are erroneous, indeed, nothing but lies. So they are dangerous, leading people astray, away from the only true way to God. Right? “But I tolerate other people’s views.” Why? That’s dangerous. It’s dangerous to them. The idea again is that you can tolerate error in others, but not in yourself, right? It doesn’t matter what happens to them – just so you can be tolerant. Is that it? “That’s not fair.” Who’s talking about fairness? By what standard do you determine whether or not something is fair? But, let’s go on rather than getting into a round of that. Do you believe in Christian missions? “Of course.” Then you believe in intolerance. The whole concept of missions is based on a doctrine of intolerance—intolerance of the evil religions of men that lead them to eternal damnation. Moreover, and of greater importance, these false religions dishonor the true God. Missionaries believe that false beliefs must be destroyed before they destroy those who hold them. God doesn’t tolerate false belief or unbelief. Read Romans 1. “I have read it. But we can be polite.” Of course, often we can. But who’s talking about politeness? And by the way, tell me, did Jesus tolerate the Pharisees and the Sadducees? “Well . . .” Do you remember some of the things He said to them and about them? “Certainly.” Was Jesus always polite when he did? Why are you tolerant when Jesus wasn’t? You’re a Christian. Follow Him! “I give up. You’re hopeless!” You mean intolerant? Dr. Jay Adams (1929-2020) was the father of modern biblical counseling and authored more than 100 books. This is from his blog which can be found at Nouthetic.org. This first appeared in the March 2009 issue....
Saturday Selections – Mar 4, 2023
Trick shot basketball (5 min) Everyone talks basketball in March, so here are some highlights from the "That's Amazing" crew and the Harlem Globetrotters. 60 questions for pro-choice Christians For anyone you know who professes to be both Christian and pro-choice, here are questions to clarify a different sort of "choice" they need to make: between supporting abortion or following Christ. Our badly designed pharynx? Christians will sometimes wonder if they should give evolution a hearing since there's supposed to be so much evidence for it. But how much of that evidence is simply ideology? Here's one example: some evolutionists will point to humans' pharynx – the shared opening we have in our throat for both food and air – as an example of the bad design you'd expect chance and time to produce. They point to it as evidence of evolution's trial and error. But if we don't presume that our pharynx was Designer-free, then you'd see it for that example it is of stupendous design – it took genius to make this work just so. COVID might have been created in a lab... and now you're allowed to say it The findings are still not definitive. What is definitive is that the social media censorship and mainstream media dismissal of this possibility two years ago tells us a lot about how little we should trust these information gatekeepers. Girls are getting sick from Tik Tok "One of the strangest stories of the last couple of years is how teenage girls have been stricken with facial tics after browsing the video-sharing app TikTok." But is it only facial tics that are contagious over social media? Or is social media also responsible for “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” and the increase in teens identifying as LGBT? "Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt argues, in a sweeping new analysis, that this catastrophic rise in teen mental illness is largely caused by social media use." What's the greatest of all Protestant "heresies"? Roman Catholic Cardinal Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) thought assurance was the worst of all Protestant doctrines...which is high praise indeed. A dueling banjo To set the scene: in this clip from The Song, Rose has just met Jed King, the singing act for her vineyard's annual wine-tasting festival. When Jed asked her why she seems distracted, Rose finds herself oversharing – to a complete stranger! – that she'd just bumped into her ex-boyfriend Eddie who'd dumped her for... well, for being a good Christian lass. And to top it off, the jerk brought his new girlfriend along. So... Jed decides to sing Rose a song. ...
The problem with "pan-millennialism"
“I’m not amillennial, postmillennial, or premillennial. I’m pan-millennial.” “Huh?” “Yep, I’m pan-millennial—I believe it will all pan out in the end!” I’ve occasionally heard this humorous remark made when the end times are discussed. Technically, if we believe in the biblical gospel, we should all be panmillennialists. The risen and ascended Christ will return and everything will “pan out” for believers who will ultimately enjoy “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). But the person who tells the “panmillennial” joke, and really means it, isn’t interested in details about the end times. He realizes that eschatology (the study of last things) is loaded with difficulties, and says, “I’m not going to think much about end times doctrine anymore. Jesus is going to make everything right when He comes again, and that’s good enough for me.” This man hasn’t just given up on figuring out what “a thousand years” means in Revelation 20, but has decided that thinking about the end times beyond generalities is just too hard and ultimately fruitless. There’s a major problem with the panmillennial mindset. The Bible does speak about the particulars of the end times, so to ignore those verses is to disregard what the Holy Spirit made sure was included. Furthermore, when we skip over those passages, we lose more than just knowledge. God has spoken in understandable ways about the end times to give us hope and joy Transforming grief The Thessalonian believers enthusiastically awaited the return of Christ (1 Thess 1:9-10). But after Paul was forced out of town by persecution, some believers died, sending the remaining Christians into a state of hopeless grief (4:13). They didn’t just miss the deceased believers, but apparently thought the dead believers would miss out on some blessing at Christ’s return. Paul addressed the Thessalonians’ ignorance by speaking of some of the details about the day of Christ’s return. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, he gave an order of some of the events of that day: “The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord.” In the first frame of a Peanuts comic strip, Lucy is looking out the window and says, “Boy, look at it rain… What if it floods the whole world?” Linus responds, “It will never do that…In the ninth chapter of Genesis, God promised Noah that it would never happen again, and the sign of the promise is the rainbow.” Lucy replies, “You’ve taken a great load off my mind…” So Linus concludes, “Sound theology has a way of doing that!” Paul wrote to the Thessalonians about the return of Christ and the resurrection of the dead in order to give them sound theology so they could take a great load off of their minds. They needed to know that their beloved sleeping believers (4:13) wouldn’t miss anything when Jesus came back. Instead, they would have front-row seats! With that kind of information, their grief would undergo a dramatic transformation. Paul refused to ignore the details about the return of Christ in addressing the Thessalonians, because he understood how relevant and encouraging that information really was. He even charged them to “encourage one another with these words” (4:18). What words? The specific words about the believers who had died and their participation in the events surrounding Christ’s return. Blessed is the one… Revelation is full of end times information, yet it is one of the most neglected books of the Bible due to interpretive difficulties. However, in his opening comments John promises, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near” (1:3). We should humbly admit when we are confused about certain aspects of Christ’s return. Yet, not everything that God has said about the end times is puzzling. Read those verses carefully and thoughtfully, and blessing is sure to follow. Copyright © 2013 Steve Burchett (www.BulletinInserts.org). Permission granted for reproduction in exact form....
In a Nutshell
Tidbits - March 2023
Why is so much Christian fiction bad? Back in the June 30, 2007 issue of WORLD magazine, Marvin Olasky “interviewed” the long-departed novelist F...
Adult biographies, Articles, Book Reviews, Church history
Top 10 Christian biographies - something for everyone!
Saturday Selections – Feb. 25, 2023
Cell membranes are amazing! (11 min) Each one of your cells has its own protective shell that has to be able to let food in, allow garbage out, and r...
Saturday Selections – Feb. 18, 2023
Recycling plastic is bad stewardship (7 min) Recycling paper and cans can make sense. Despite what we've been told, recycling plastic most often doesn't. How long have you been battling sin? Tim Challies on how "In some way each of us carries a heavy load through this life. In some way each of us finds it a long marathon more than a brief sprint. In some way each of us is called to endure with fortitude, even for a very long time." 1984, China, and Sydney WorldPride 2023 As George Orwell wrote, "Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four" - it is the freedom to say what really is, including that men can't become women, and homosexuality is a sin. Declare that anywhere around Sydney this upcoming week, and you will not be tolerated or celebrated for your diverse thinking - you will be instead a candidate for the "two minute hate." Trans "medicine" is based on bad science A new study is debunking the “Dutch Protocol” research that was being used to promote and legitimize "trans" treatments. Creationist Christians were always aware that ideologically-driven bias exists in "Science" but now the trans agenda is making that increasingly plain to everyone else too. A biblical identity for adoptees Adopted children can struggle with their sense of identity. How can we help them to cultivate a biblical identity? Coherence - amazing evidence of our design (1 min) If you've ever had to replace a missing screw from this or that gizmo in your house, you already know the importance of coherence – it isn't enough to have a screw; you need to have the exact right screw that the gizmo has been designed to work with. The coherence in our bodies – eyes that precisely fit eyeball sockets, wrist bones that each, individually fit alongside the other wrist bones, muscles that attach at just the right points, arteries that carry blood to exactly where it is needed, etc. and etc. – is clear evidence of our own brilliant design. ...
Soup and Buns
Friends or acquaintances?
Loneliness can make you pretty sad. In lonely times, you may ponder your relationships and realize that they are superficial. Perhaps you have wanted to strengthen them and not known how. Perhaps you have tried, but you have not yet been successful. It may be that a little analysis and understanding could head you in the right direction. In the realm of relationships, there are four categories that people fall into: strangers, acquaintances, companions, and friends. Strangers are those whom you haven’t met yet; the other three categories can somewhat overlap. Acquaintances and companions Acquaintances are people whom we have met. They may be neighbors, fellow students, customers or co-workers. They may also be the majority of the members of our church. We know them by sight and reputation, and may feel comfortable having a conversation with them. The level of the conversation is usually superficial, pleasant, and relevant to our activities or the weather. Companions are the people whom we are together within a specific group. We function together because we are together. But as soon as we graduate, retire, or move away, we rarely stay in touch with most of them. The group defined our activities and without its structure, we drift apart. Friends Friends are on a level above these categories. Some will be close and one or two may get the title of “best friend” within your lifetime. Friends enjoy, love, and encourage you. They stick by you in difficult times, and are never an intrusion. Friends don’t keep track or keep score. Friends understand you and share your deepest griefs and your highest joys. They help when necessary and possible. This connection rarely disappears, for even if busy friends live far apart, they still value contact. I read about a tribe in an African country where each person is assigned a friend when he is young. This person is his official best friend, and they are to care for one another throughout their lives. It is considered as sacred a relationship as marriage. What a remarkable way to honor friendship, instill loyalty, provide security and prevent loneliness! The people there didn’t move away from home, so outside of death, this friendship was a certainty in a person’s life. It was stability, a fact to be counted upon. To call everyone a “friend” on a daily basis is sometimes easier than trying to subdivide into all of these categories. But it can be helpful to analyze and determine which of your companions you might like to encourage to become your friends. From one to the other How do you change the categories? A friendship must be built. Proverbs 18:24 states, “A man that has friends must show himself friendly.” From this we learn that selfless effort is the way to get started. I'll note it is somewhat like a dating relationship, even as I'll quickly add I am not talking in any way about a sexual attraction. Two people are determining whether the other person’s company is worth an investment of their time. Usually, one person is more proactive in pursuing the relationship at the beginning. It helps to know that. This is not necessarily because the friendship is undesired by the other party. Rather, it is just because the other person is busy, isn’t as eager for company, or is kind of lazy about that sort of thing. Let’s face it, it’s easier to relax at home than to get out and interact with people. Think about your companions and choose someone who might be “friendship material.” Now it is time for both action and patience. Think of an activity that you might enjoy together and call with an invitation. Or just call to say hello and talk for a while. If it goes well, try it again after a week. Take joy in the slow progress, and be patient because depth takes time. If nothing comes of it, still give it a try at another time, and/or choose someone else to befriend. Don’t be discouraged if the person doesn’t issue invitations to you or initiate the call, as long as he or she is glad to hear from you and spend time together. Some people aren’t good at initiating but they enjoy responding. On the other hand, if you are accustomed to responding and not initiating, and you really want friends, you might want to pray for courage to get the process going instead of feeling sad that no one is calling you. As we put forth the efforts to build friendships, we can also pray and ask God to provide for us in this way, because a friend is a gift from God. We should also realize that others may need to have our care and friendship. It is important not to get so caught up in our own little worlds that we neglect growing closer to the members of our congregation. This first appeared in the December 2007 issue of Reformed Perspective....
Pro-life - Abortion
A day in the life of a pro-life intern
A summer internship gives young people an opportunity to build friendships and grow in courage while speaking up for the unborn **** It’s 5:30 AM. My alarm clock goes off. Groggily, I turn it off and roll out of bed. It’s time to get up, go out, and start working to save babies. An hour later finds me driving to today’s postcarding location. I chat with Kim – one of our summer interns – about each other’s weekends. It crosses my mind how if it wasn’t for this awful issue of abortion, I probably never would have met Kim. I hate abortion – but I’m glad I know Kim. Getting the truth out We get out of the car, grab stacks of postcards, and set out. I walk up to the mailbox of the first house and put the postcard in. Back to the street and then up a second driveway. Up and down, back and forth, spreading the truth. It’s a bloody, gory, awful truth, but it’s truth nonetheless, and that’s why we spread it. People need to know. Babies’ lives depend on it. As we enter one neighborhood, children start coming out of their homes. Boys and girls, sleepy-eyed and yawning, lugging backpacks that seem almost as big as they are. I watch them trudge to the bus stop, the number of them growing. We’re here because there should be more of them, I think to myself. For every three children walking to the bus stop, there should be one more. I imagine a fourth child for every three and am struck by how those children did exist – they were just killed before they had a chance to wait for the bus on a sleepy weekday morning. Several hundred houses later and we meet up with the rest of our team. Next on the schedule is a “Choice” Chain; here, we hold signs showing abortion and engage pedestrians in conversation. Afterward, we debrief as a team, sharing conversations that culminated in changed hearts and minds. It’s always encouraging getting to talk to a culture and to watch people shift their views on abortion. It’s encouraging to be with so many young people who are a part of making that change. At the end of the day, we unpack our supplies and everyone heads off to their own homes. I’m about to go home myself when I hear something. Back in the room where we keep our supplies, on the floor amidst scattered postcards, I see Kim, crying. I sit down, put my arm around her, and stay. She keeps crying. “Whose idea was this?” she sobs. Now I’m crying too. “Whose idea was it to kill babies?” We sit. We cry. We look at the postcards around us and think of all the babies who died today. Just two girls, surrounded by so much evil, so much death. Afterward, I can’t remember exactly what else we said to each other, just that there was brokenness, and grief, and longing for a better day. Anger and courage Later, I reflect on the supply room, the postcards on the floor, and crying with Kim. I think of a quote by Augustine: “Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.” As I pack lunch and pick out clothes for the following morning, I pray and I plan for courage. Courage to face another day filled with the tragedy of abortion; courage fuelled by the hope we have as we see the results of our efforts in our country day after day; courage as we lean on each other, cry together, and work together. I hate abortion. I’m glad I know Kim. The Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical Reform is a dynamic pro-life group working to end the ongoing slaughter of 300 unborn Canadian children that happens every day in our country. They are offering a unique summer job opportunity to come help them in this fight. You can learn more about this paid position at EndTheKilling.ca/internships. Deadline to apply is March 18th. Devorah Gilman worked for the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform from 2013-2019 (Picture courtesy of CCBR). ...
Saturday Selections – Feb. 11, 2023
Overpopulation isn't a problem (4 min) Two secular economists differed in how they saw people, the first seeing people as a burden on the planet, the other seeing them as a benefit (or as we might put it, a blessing). So whose worldview better aligns with what God has told us? The second, right? And which of these two economists warned of a coming collapse of civilization? Hint: it wasn't the second. Triggering the tingles What if you could get a feeling of love and companionship at the press of a button? As John Stonestreet explains, that's a temptation that's going to become more potent as technological advances show artificial ways of inducing pleasant feelings. But as tempting as these technologies will be, they will fail to deliver what they promise because we were not created to simply feel as if we were in relationship, but to actually know God. Top 10 evilest people of all time Whether most evil, or simply most destructive, these are 10 you should know. Canadians owe $1,300 a year to pay for gov't interest payments On average every Canadian owed $1,300 this year just to pay interest on provincial and federal debt. Check out an infographic here for how much you owe depending on your province. Click the link above for the longer report. 7 financial tips from Proverbs This article is remarkable for the helpful collection of financial wisdom it shares from the book of Proverbs and for how studiously it avoids any mention of who the Author of that wisdom is. Budgeting advice from Saturday Night Live (2 min) As one commenter put it, "This is Dave Ramsey's favorite sketch." ...
Economics - Home Finances
Simple steps for living generously
Jesus says: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:34). It should go without saying that our giving is a reflection ...
How to have a proper conversation
or, Confessions of a Loquacious Person ***** Loquacious: tending to talk a great deal We might all think that we know how to have a conversation, h...
Adult non-fiction, Book Reviews, Economics
Economics in One Lesson
by Henry Hazlitt 1946 / 193 pages Universal basic income, a four-day work week, and government-funded daycare are just a few big-ticket proposals that are gaining momentum nationally, and even within our own church circles. All these proposals boil down to getting more while doing less. Promises have been made that middle and lower class families will not have to pay a cent more in taxes but the wealthy 1% will do all the heavy lifting. In Economics in One Lesson, Henry Hazlitt argues that all these policies can’t deliver what they promise. He argues that many of these proposals only focus on a special interest group in the present and fail to consider how the proposal will affect the general populace both now and in the future. For example, when a government announces a multitude of public “make-work” projects, at first glance these projects seem like a good idea, or at least seem like they couldn’t do any harm. The citizens get: An employment opportunity Tangible infrastructure But Hazlitt warns that although these benefits look attractive, there are many indirect consequences that are not considered. First, someone must pay for these employment opportunities. For every dollar spent on a public work project, a dollar will be taken away from a taxpaying citizen. Not only are the citizens as a whole worse off, there is now less money for them to create new jobs. Second, now that the infrastructure exists it is easy to assume that without that piece of infrastructure the country would be worse off – having a bridge would seem obviously better than not having a bridge. But in reality, one thing has been created instead of others. Instead of the government-built bridge there could’ve been citizen-built houses, or cars, or dresses and coats. All of these items are unrealized because the bridge is now standing. Although Hazlitt wrote this over 70 years ago, many of the issues he deals with are just as relevant as ever. We should be wary of governmental promises to ease our daily tasks. Our sinful nature yearns for an easy life; that is why these promises are so alluring to us. However, as Christians we are not called to an easy life. That does not mean that we should always seek out the hard way, but we shouldn’t become entangled in false promises of an easy way. To get Economics in One Lesson as a free pdf book, click here....
In a Nutshell
Tidbits – February 2023
What Darwin didn’t know Darwin, ignorant of the inner workings of the cell, could imagine them to be simple. But the more we learn of the cell today, the more we discover there is to learn, and thus explain. And that’s a growing problem for evolution. It isn’t as if the more we learn, the more we begin to understand how life could have evolved – it’s the very opposite! As David Berlinski put it: “The cell is an unbelievably complex bit of machinery, unfathomably complex. And we haven't understood its complexity at all. Every time we look there seems to be an additional layer of evocative complexity that needs to be factored into our theories. Don't forget the eternal goal is to explain the emergence of this complexity, and if we're continually behind the curve because the complexity is increasing every time we look that eternal goal is also receding from view, not approaching. It's receding; it's becoming more and more difficult to construct a theory for that.” A granddad joke Grandpa always said “when one door closes, another one opens.” He was a great man, my grandpa, but a horrible cabinet maker. Wit and wisdom of Thomas Sowell While it’s not clear whether American economist Thomas Sowell is Christian – he almost never talks about God – his understanding of human nature certainly lines up with what the Bible says about our fallen state. Here are a few of his pithier quotes, along with a comment or two, “Fair” is one of the most dangerous concepts in politics. Since no two people are likely to agree on what is “fair,” this means that there must be some third party with power – the government – to impose its will. The road to despotism is paved with “fairness.” When there is no submission to God, His standards, and His definitions – whether of fairness, life, marriage, gender, and more – then there is no justice exercised, only power. There are three questions that would destroy most arguments of the Left. The first is – compared to what? The second is – at what cost? And the third is – what hard evidence do you have? Continuing from the point above, we can add one more – by what standard? When you want to help people you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” – Prov. 27:6 One of the most important reasons for studying history is that virtually every stupid idea that is in vogue today has been tried before and proved disastrous, time and again. “…there is nothing new under the sun.” Eccl. 1:9b The strongest argument for socialism is that it sounds good. The strongest argument against socialism is that it doesn’t work. But those who live by words will always have a soft spot in their hearts for socialism because it sounds so good. “…with itching ears they will gather around themselves teachers to suit their own desires. So they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” – 2 Tim. 4:3b-4 Fixing democracy in 1 step Every ballot needs a "none of the above" option. Then, if the “nones” won, the election would be run again with an entirely new slate of candidates – all of the original candidates would be disqualified. Questions for you and your kids I ran across a book by Les Christie, What if….?, which offered up 450 discussion starters for parents to tackle with their teens. The idea is great, the book only okay, because of the inclusion of some troubling questions. But what follows are some of the best. You and your teen can both try to answer them, either working through all the possible answers (including what the Bible might have to say) or just running through them quickly and then making up some questions of your own. So, what if: you could speak to the prime minister for 1 minute? you inherited a million dollars? the Internet went down? you could be your parent for a day? you could only read 10 books from now on? a store clerk accidentally gave you back $10 extra in change? a flood meant you could only save 3 things from your room? you could begin one new tradition in your family? you had to name three of your heroes? you had to pick a slogan to describe your life? Identifying as right In the recent online abortion debate between conservative commentator Michael Knowles and online “influencer” Brontë Remsik, a clever defense of the unborn also ended up highlighting why Christians can’t adopt “inclusive” language. Just short of the half-hour mark, the third-year medical student Remsik took Knowles to task for refusing to use terms like “pregnant people” rather than “pregnant women.” Brontë Remsik: It's interesting, you come into this conversation trying to hold this moral superiority, but when I use inclusive language – which it only takes a couple extra syllables to use inclusive language… Michael Knowles: To include who? BR: To include people who don’t identify as women but can become pregnant. MK: So, like a person who is born a woman and then identifies as a man and is pregnant. So, you’re telling me that to be a moral person I need to accept the idea that someone who is born a man can really become a woman. That’s a prerequisite of my being a moral person. BR: Yes, to me it is. Because if you are trying to deny someone of their identity and deny what their life experience is then that doesn’t seem like a moral stance to me. I want to be accepting and I want to respect people's life experiences. And I want to respect how they identify, and respect how they want to present themselves to the world. MK: I would like to identify, I do identify actually, as the correct person on this issue of abortion. I identify as being correct, and more correct than you on this issue. And I would just ask that you accept and affirm my identity. Do you? BR: You are not a medical professional, and abortion and pregnancy is a medical concern. MK: I’m just sharing my identity. BR: That’s not your identity. MK: That is my identity. I promise you that is my identity. Remsik understood that if she had accepted Knowles’ identity, she would have conceded the debate. The same is every bit as true in the gender debate where one side recognizes that God determines our gender, and the other insists that we do. Requests to address a man with female pronouns might be positioned as a matter of politeness, but such an act would, in fact, concede the argument. It would be to identify him as correct about being a her. Electric cars aren’t green “Let’s clear something up… Electricity is not a power source, it is a delivery mechanism. Electricity will never be a power source. So it is inappropriate and inaccurate to say ‘electric cars are green.’ The cars themselves are not green, they are the color of the fuel used to create electricity. Electric cars are only as green as the electricity they consume. And infrastructure they require, and storage they rely on.” – David Salch C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, and a whole bunch of t-shirts take down socialism My wife gave me a t-shirt screen printer for Christmas and since then I’ve been looking for some quotes worthy of being emblazoned across my chest. I’ve also been on an economics fix for the last year, so in keeping an eye out, I’ve seen a lot of t-shirts with pretty good socialism take downs. I also added a couple of longer quotes – from Chesterton and Lewis – that are either simply too long, or would necessitate me doing a few thousand push-ups or so, before my chest would be a wide enough canvas. But hey, maybe that’s just the motivation I need. “…those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – C.S. Lewis in God in the Dock: Essays on Theology Don’t ask the government to fix problems they caused Nothing the government gives you is “free” Capitalism makes. Socialism takes. The F in Communism stands for Food Trust God. Not government. The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money Conservatives are such elitists: they think they can run their lives better than the government “Individual ambition serves the common good.” – Adam Smith Socialism: the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, the gospel of envy Child of God. Not of the State. “It may be said of Socialism, therefore, that its friends recommended it as increasing equality, while its foes resisted it as decreasing liberty…. The compromise eventually made was one of the most interesting and even curious cases in history. It was decided to do everything that had ever been denounced in Socialism, and nothing that had ever been desired in it…we proceeded to prove that it was possible to sacrifice liberty without gaining equality…. In short, people decided that it was impossible to achieve any of the good of Socialism, but they comforted themselves by achieving all the bad.” – G.K. Chesterton in Eugenics and Other Evils: An Argument Against the Scientifically Organized State Ideas to improve sports: basketball Basketball needs to eliminate free throws. When a defender fouls, the offense should get a point and keep the ball. Fouls on a shot would have the basket count if it goes in, and the offense would still keep the ball. There’d no longer be any “strategic” reason to foul, even late in a game. Bye-bye boring free throws! Two bodies involved Jeff Durbin is a Reformed Baptist pastor who, along with his church members, regularly witnesses in front of their local abortion clinic. In an exchange captured on their Apologia Studios YouTube channel, he had an opportunity to drive home the point that there are two bodies involved in any pregnancy. Man: What’s wrong with them being able to choose? Durbin: Who being able to choose? Man: Whoever. People should be able to do what they want with their bodies. Durbin: So, can I rape a woman? Man: No, you shouldn’t do that. Durbin: So I can’t do what I want with my own body, can I? Man: You can do what you want with your body. You just can’t do anything with anyone else’s body. Durbin: So, let me try this. A person should be able to do what they want with their own bodies. We shouldn’t be allowed to just abuse other people’s bodies. Man: Absolutely. Durbin: So, in the case of what’s happening inside there right now, the woman’s body is not dying. It’s another body, biologically distinct inside of her, that is being killed. I’m all for women doing what they want with their bodies. I’m in agreement with you actually, fundamentally, that we shouldn’t be able to harm other people’s bodies, which is precisely what’s happening in there. I’m glad you joined us. ...
Articles, Book Reviews, Interview with an artist
Stephanie Vanderpol has a zoologist in the house
Interview with an artist Stephanie Vanderpol is the author and artist behind RP’s “Come and Explore” children’s pages, and she’s also the author of a new picture book, "Cheetahs Eat Cantaloupe." If this title sounds a bit odd to you, that’s because it’s an example of the various other animal “facts” that you’ll find inside. I had a chance, recently, to ask the author how her book came about. – JD ***** Jon Dykstra: In the opening of “Cheetahs Eat Cantaloupe” you explain that it was “inspired by the comical ‘animal facts’ as stated by my daughter Scarlett.” It sounds like you had a zoological expert in the house. What sorts of animal facts was she sharing? The author and her inspiration Stephanie Vanderpol: Scarlett has always been interested in animals. When she was two, she had a pet spider, a bucket of worms, and a collection of snails that she would play with on the regular. Outside, of course! Between the ages of six and seven she started sharing animal “facts” like in the book, things like “chipmunks stuff their cheeks because they cannot climb when their hands are full.” The facts were mainly born out of curiosity, sort of her way of answering her own questions of “why does that animal do that?” Sometimes she would write them down and I would find them, or I would overhear her teaching her brother the ways of these animals, or, sometimes, she would outright just tell me. JD: What prompted you to turn it into a book? SV: I had been illustrating my daughter's animal facts and posting them to Instagram at the beginning of COVID thinking that people could use a little bit of joy in their day. A few months in, the winter was looming over me and I knew I needed some sort of project to keep me sane through the winter. I actually got on my knees and asked God to direct my ways, to give me a project that would give Him glory and keep my head above water. He led my heart to the book project. It was initially just for my daughter Scarlett's 8th birthday, one copy, just for her. But as I posted about it, people got excited and by printing date I had a fair amount of pre-orders. I never would have thought! JD: What did Scarlett think of how you illustrated each of her “facts”? SV: Either she would giggle, at which point I knew she liked it, or she'd critique it and tell me what to change. She was very involved in the sketching stage, so it was a cool bonding moment. Maybe I hit the "cool mom" stage with her…though, of course, she never said that out loud. JD: What was involved to turn this from idea to finished book? SV: It took over a year to go from the first sketch until I held the final copy in my hands. During the day I would be doing my regular mom job, folding laundry, making meals, keeping the house clean, and then once my kids were tucked into bed at night, I’d whip out all my art supplies, sit on the couch, open up my folding table and get to work. My husband is a school teacher so it worked out well. He’d be sitting with me, marking tests and prepping for the next day, and I’d be playing with my pencils and watercolors, with baby no. 4 kicking away in my belly. JD: What was the process for a single two-page spread? SV: Each page had a similar process: Take one of Scarlett’s animal facts and imagine what it could look like. Sketch the image onto paper until it came out right (sometimes this took up to 15 different tries). Run the sketch for approval under the careful eye of Scarlett for laughability, my husband, for common sense and continuity, and my best friend Breanna for accuracy in facial expressions and other artistic critiques. Trace the sketch onto watercolor paper using a lightpad and a waterproof pen. Using my watercolors, paint the image. This was my favorite part! Scan the images into the computer and arrange them and the text in Photoshop, creating the pages as they are in the book. Once all the pages were done, I ordered a proof copy of the book to go through final edits, including text, done by my editor, Julia. After many edits and proof copies, I ended up with the final copy! Snuggle up on the couch and read the final book to my kids! JD: We’ve got your book in the school library down here in Lynden, WA. Where else has it reached? And how can people get a copy? SV: Cheetahs Eat Cantaloupe has made it all across Canada and into the United States, and there’s even a copy in Scotland, too, which is pretty cool. I have a few copies left of the first print run that can be purchased through my website, www.stephanielorinda.com, or on Instagram @stephanielorinda. And if I run out, I’m happy to take pre-orders for the second edition....
Saturday Selections – Jan 28, 2023
British comic on climate change (7 min) Comedian Konstantin Kisin went viral in mid-January for his common sense counter to climate change hysteria. What we can learn about sacrifice from John Calvin’s "School of Death" "If any of our seminaries today were nicknamed 'The School of Death,' they would be empty!" Denmark secretly inserted IUDs in Greenland's women for decades In a 15-year span, from 1963 to 1978, Greenland's fertility rate dropped from 6.74 births per woman to just 2.21, and it was due in part to Danish doctors secretly and systematically chemically sterilizing Greenland women. While the world doesn't know how such a widespread evil like this is even possible, John Stonestreet offers an explanation above. Lord Acton offers another: "all power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely." A Christian response to an arrogant government's abuse is to urge citizens to minimize its powers. Instead of expecting our governments to run not only justice and defense, but healthcare, education, the overall economy, and even whether we should have children, we should demand our elected leaders control much less. When a government is forced to acknowledge it doesn't know better than its own citizens how best to run their lives, that humility can counter the temptation to abuse its powers. And should it still succumb, a smaller government won't have the power to do harm on this scale. 8 ways we normalize the abnormal The world is normalizing certain sins, but as Paul Tripp notes even Christians – orthodox Bible-believing Christians – are busy normalizing our own sins. 8 times C.S. Lewis displayed brilliant political commentary in the Chronicles of Narnia Peter Jacobsen shares "what Narnia can teach us about politics in our own world." A key difference between social justice and biblical justice (4 min) Voddie Baucham says that one big difference between the two is how they each define "injustice." ...