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Saturday Selections – July 22, 2023

What would you say to the claim porn improves relationships?

Porn has become so pervasive that some will now, without shame, discuss their viewing of it, and even defend it as a good thing. For Christians, though, there is no debate: Jesus said watching pornography is adultery (Matt 5:28), and, going back further still to the 10th Commandment, God prohibits coveting your neighbor's wife. And there are also practical objections, as detailed in the video below.

Homeschooling boys

One reason boys might be falling behind girls at school:

"How long can you sit still, be quiet, and pay attention? We find no difference on that parameter comparing a 40-year-old woman with a 40-year-old man. But when we compare a 6-year-old girl with a 6-year-old boy, we find that the average 6-year-old boy can sit still, be quiet, and pay attention for only about half as long as the average 6-year-old girl. He may be sitting still and being quiet, but he is not paying attention."

Does the Church need to lead on smartphones?

As more research shows that smartphones are a trigger for all sorts of serious problems for teens, parents face the problem of how to act. No smartphones until 16 might sound nice, but if one family implements this policy on their own, it only means that their kids will be frozen out of the conversations their classmates are having online. That's not that helpful.

So, should the government step in? That has downsides too, as Bonnie Kristian shares.

So who can help? Might the local congregation be able to rally families to work together?

10 roadtrip conversation starters

Your kidlets are in the back dozing and you have miles to go before you arrive at your vacation destination - it's a chance for some meaningful conversation with your better half. Here's 10 questions to kick things off.

Correcting the actual misinformation about gender ideology

It seemed that in times past, when the media mislead us it was because they were giving only half the story. It was a lie of omission, certainly, but the facts they did share were actually facts.

Today, they seem willing to just lie.

No, humans aren't 99% chimp

By one measure, humans share 60% of our DNA with bananas. But no one thinks that makes us 60% fruity. So why the fixation the stat that we share 99% of the DNA of chimps... especially since it isn't even true?

A boomwhacker brawl

Just some Dutch guys making music... and channeling the Three Stooges.


Saturday Selections – July 15, 2023

Dr. Van Dam talking creation with ICR (41 min) Reformed Perspective contributor, author, and professor Dr. Cornelis Van Dam recently did a guest appearance on the Institute for Creation Research's In the Beginning podcast. Wildfires got you worried about a coming climate apocalypse? (10-min read) Then the first graph in this article will be encouraging! MrBeast video shows the self-serving nature of democracy when it is unrestrained by Christianity George W. Bush tried to export democracy to the Middle East, seemingly seeing it as a good all in itself. But Christians need to understand that democracy only worked as well as it has because it's been tried in countries that were largely Christian. A godless mob will elect godless rule. Comparing COVID-era deaths across countries While I've forgotten a lot of the "Science" presented during COVID, one thing that's stuck was the many predictions of how terribly Sweden would do, since it wasn't locking down like the rest of the world. Now the BBC is reporting on "average death rates from March 2020 to February 2023 compared with the five years before." The table below doesn't count deaths attributed specifically to COVID, but instead compares all the deaths in a year to the rate at which death was happening the five years before. And by that measure Sweden did spectacularly, and better than all but one of the ten countries considered. It is, of course, an apples to oranges comparison as no two countries have the same demographics, living arrangements, and lifestyles. But it is still the very opposite of what was predicted. WWII German pro-euthanasia film was banned then; might have won an Oscar today "Those who advance euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide laws... should have to demonstrate just how their arguments differ from Nazi propaganda. If they cannot or will not, it is more evidence that this movement, expanding rapidly around the world, should be stopped." Roe vs. Wade: one year later Great satiric video showing what pro-choicers are really saying, if only we remove the varnish. ...


There is no neutrality so will the State be secular or Christian?

When thinking about political issues, it is important to understand that every society is based on some sort of worldview or philosophy. There is no such thing as a society based on “neutral” principles. There must be a philosophical rationale for the kind of political system that governs a society and the laws that it implements. Anyone who thinks that a “neutral” society is possible should ask themselves what the “neutral” position would be on any of the controversial issues of our day. For example, what is the “neutral” position on abortion? Is killing unborn children ever “neutral”? Of course not. Is allowing them to live “neutral”? No, it’s an active recognition of their humanity. So where is the middle ground of a supposedly “neutral” position? Such neutrality is clearly impossible The same reasoning applies with regards to LGBTQ issues. What is the “neutral” position on same-sex marriage? In 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court constitutionalized the status of same-sex marriage in that country. Now every level of government must formally recognize and enforce laws consistent with same-sex marriage. As a result, some Christian businesses have been under attack from government agencies for failing to comply with the new, non-Christian concept of marriage. All political issues – whether abortion, marriage, or anything else—are approached from one philosophical perspective or another. There is no such thing as neutrality when it comes to politics and law. The only question is, which philosophical perspective (or worldview) will inform the political system and the laws it enacts? Secular or Christian? Douglas Wilson, the pastor of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, has written a book that helpfully addresses this question head-on. The book is called, Empires of Dirt: Secularism, Radical Islam, and the Mere Christendom Alternative, and it was published by Canon Press in 2016. Most of the book deals with matters of secularism versus Christianity, since no Christian would argue in favor of an Islamic society. Some Christians, however, do seem to prefer secularism to Christianity as the governing philosophy for the United States. Generally speaking, countries like the United States and Canada are considered to be “secular” countries, and that is seen as being religiously neutral. But religious neutrality is impossible, and secularism is a worldview with its own belief system. Rather than being neutral towards Christianity, secularism is actively anti-Christian, and this is becoming increasingly evident over time. If there must be a worldview underlying the government and laws of every society, which worldview should Christians embrace for this purpose? Christianity would be the obvious choice, and this is the point asserted by Wilson. He argues for what he calls “mere Christendom” and explains it as follows: “By mere Christendom I mean a network of nations bound together by a formal, public, civic acknowledgement of the lordship of Jesus Christ and the fundamental truth of the Apostles’ Creed.” A Christian nation In essence, this means the formal recognition of Christianity as the basis for a country’s political and legal system. How would that look? For the United States, Wilson writes, “it would be by means of something like referencing the Lordship of Jesus Christ in the Constitution.” When a nation formally submits to the authority of Christ, that nation becomes a Christian nation. However, Wilson is quick to point out that being a formally Christian nation is not the same as having an established church. It is possible to argue for the government acknowledging the authority of Christ “without supporting an ‘established church,’ which – in the form of tax revenues – I do not support." Even without an established church, though, any reference to an explicit political recognition of Christianity immediately leads to objections about the potential persecution of non-believers. If the Lordship of Jesus Christ was recognized in the U.S. Constitution, wouldn’t that mean adherents of other religions would lose their civil rights? No, it wouldn’t. Wilson explains as follows: “There must be a God over all. That God may tell us not to hassle the people who don’t believe in Him, and that is precisely what the triune God does tell us. In this mere Christendom I am talking about (you know, the idyllic one, down the road), Muslims could come from other lands and live peaceably, they could buy and sell, write letters to the editor, own property, have that property protected by the cops, and worship Allah in their hearts and homes. What they could not do is argue that minarets have the same rights of public expression that church bells do. The public space would belong to Jesus.” State coercion It is true, though, that political rule inevitably involves coercion. The civil government is the one institution in society with a monopoly on the legitimate use of force. As Romans 13 says, the civil magistrate bears the sword to execute wrath on evildoers. The question then becomes: how does the civil magistrate distinguish good from evil? For a Christian nation, the Bible determines what is good and what is evil. When it comes to using force, then, a government in a Christian nation is limited by Biblical law. Wilson explains that “a Christian social order should want to strictly limit coercion to the bounds assigned by Scripture. Unless I have a word from God, I don’t want to make anybody do anything.” As an example of where coercion would be justified, he writes, “Because of this I am willing to have tight abortion laws – I am willing to make people not kill other people.” The Christian Taliban Secularists like to compare American Christians to the Taliban and claim that Christian policies in the United States would make it look like Afghanistan. But nothing could be further from the truth. The liberty that Americans have experienced over the centuries is the result of their Christian heritage, not in spite of their Christian heritage. Wilson points out that those who worry about Christian policies in the United States “envision a dark and dystopic Amerika when, on these two topics , it would actually look more like America in 1960. Was America in 1960 a free society? Sodomy was against the law everywhere, and no locales were carving out room for sharia." This is worth thinking about. During the lifetime of many Reformed Perspective readers, abortion and homosexual activity were illegal in both Canada and the United States. Were they not free countries at that time? Of course they were. They weren’t perfect by any means (no country will ever be perfect), but in some respects they may have been freer than they are today. The truth is, it was Christianity that led to the development of the freest societies in the world. Christianity, that is, leads to political freedom. Therefore, in advocating for an explicitly Christian nation, Wilson writes, “I am arguing for a return to the preconditions of civic freedom, and am not arguing for an abandonment of them. Unbelief does not generate free societies.” Tolerance and intolerance Wilson also makes another point that is worth emphasizing: every worldview tolerates some behaviors while prohibiting others. It is true that Christianity does not tolerate same-sex marriage or the killing of unborn children. But progressive ideology does not tolerate Christian wedding service businesses that refuse to participate in same-sex weddings. And in some Canadian cities, progressives even try to suppress pro-life advertising because they can’t tolerate pro-life messages. Wilson explains the toleration issue this way: “As soon as a man shows his hand, and we know what he tolerates, he is put in a position where he cannot tolerate those who refuse to tolerate what he does. A wide acceptance of the homosexual agenda, for example, means that a society has to crack down on the ‘homophobes.’ Not whether, but which.” In other words, intolerance of some behaviors is inescapable in every society. No society tolerates everything. “Every organized society excludes certain behaviors by definition and is inclusive of others. This is what it means to be a society. Every society has shared values, and it polices on behalf of those values.” This means that the secularists who accuse Christians of being uniquely intolerant are hypocrites. Those secularists inevitably also refuse to tolerate certain behaviors. There’s no getting around this. Preaching So, how would a “mere Christian” society be achieved? Would it require some sort of military crusade? Perhaps a clever political campaign or an active legislative agenda? Certainly not. A Christian society can only result from preaching, not from any sort of coercive measures. As Wilson explains, “We will not bring this about because we have reached into our arsenal and pulled out our armies and navies, our parliaments, our laws, and our ivy-covered halls of learning. The next Christendom will come to be when Christian preachers speak it into existence through the folly of preaching.” In other words, the only way a society could be Christianized is by the spread of the gospel. When large numbers of people are converted, every area of their lives will be impacted by the truth of the Bible, including their political views. This would inevitably impact society and influence it, like yeast permeating bread dough. In short, such change would be a grassroots, bottom-up process, not imposed from the top-down. Conclusion There is no such thing as neutrality in government and politics. Every law and every policy is guided by some underlying philosophy or worldview. The only question is: which philosophy or worldview? Douglas Wilson’s book, Empires of Dirt, helpfully explains this topic from an explicitly Christian viewpoint. If Christianity is true (and it is), then ideally it should be the worldview basis underlying every society and government. The alternative to Christianity is not “neutrality,” but an opposing worldview that is inherently hostile to Christianity. That is what we see increasingly in Canada and the United States today....


10 questions to discuss when “interviewing” someone for marriage

These 10 questions were crafted for Reformed Harmony by Taylor DeSoto, with the hope that they could provide guidance for prospective couples to get to know one another more deeply. He encourages singles to keep their emotions low at the outset, until compatibility on the most meaningful levels has been established. The questions are reprinted below with DeSoto’s permission, and my commentary accompanies them in the brackets. 1. When did you know your sin and misery and when did you feel the love of Christ in your life? 2. What are the core tenets of your theology? What are the secondary tenets of your theology? (Which issues are important to you, or not?) 3. What political views do you hold?  (Do you have strong views regarding political parties, poverty, abortion, the environment, or list any other topic important to you). 4. How do you view the husband-wife relationship regarding headship, chores, division of labor? 5. What are you passionate about? What are your hobbies? How do you spend your time? 6. How is your relationship with your parents and family? Do you want your parents to be involved in our relationship? 7. How do you serve your church as a single person?  (This is geared to rooting out the people who don’t go to or participate in church in a meaningful way. DeSoto believes that if you are not serving your church while you are single, then you are not going to serve it as a married person OR serve your family). 8. Do you hope to have children, and how many? How do you want to raise them - what type of schooling or catechism? Do you believe in the baptism of infants? 9. What are your deal breakers in a relationship? This covers everything - where to live, job to have, smoking, drinking alcohol, sports - he encourages people to make a list. 10. How do you want to manage finances when married? This includes views on spending money, finances, credit/debt, and how to share assets. DeSoto adds that an eleventh question could be: May I contact your pastor if I want to? This may seem extreme, but if you are going to live with this person for the rest of your life, his or her character should be known objectively, as well as possible. And if you have nothing to hide, why would it bother you?...


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. ...

Economics - Home Finances

On investing, with Wade Van Bostelen

Thoughts from an experienced financial advisor ***** Reformed Perspective interviewed Wade Van Bostelen, a Christian certified financial planner operating out of Burlington, Ontario. Wade and his wife Leanne have two sons, and are frequent visitors to the west coast. Marty VanDriel: Are there Scriptural principles or texts that you use as guidance for how you advise clients to invest or in your own investing? Wade Van Bostelen: My guiding principle comes from Psalm 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” When it comes to investing personally and with clients, I also return to a passage that speaks to it in Matthew 25:14-30. It speaks of the gifts of the Father and using those gifts, but it comes from an example that people would have understood even in Roman times. Christ uses the example of three servants who understood that their master had given them talents, had set them to work, and they’d invested these talents, with varying outcomes. While the parable has a much deeper meaning than simply investing, the fact that our Lord uses this as an example indicates that this is a valid way to work in His kingdom – maybe even an expectation that this is a way to work in the kingdom. MV: What kind of things can Christians be on the lookout for as they look to be good stewards of what God has entrusted to them? WVB: I will sum it up with a few words – Prudence – Understanding – Self-control. PRUDENCE: Several principles come into investing that help define prudence, but mainly, I am talking about diversifying what you are investing in to have some degree of protection or safety in what you are doing. You also want to ensure that you have the assets to invest without hindering your ability to take care of your responsibilities and personal needs. Christians can be caught up in the world’s obsession with generating wealth or freedom and forget that their obligation is first to serve the Lord. So Christian investors have first to ensure that they have given of their first fruits, then they need to provide for their household, and then they can invest. What I find difficult to understand are the extremes: Christians that have wealth but do not give and Christians that make a fine living but spend all they have and save virtually nothing. Both are not acting as effective stewards. UNDERSTANDING: Christians can get caught up in the hype as quickly as others and invest in things they do not understand. Some may even make money doing this, but it does not make it a good practice. If you cannot explain what you are investing in, the types of companies, the kind of asset, the way a business works, how you will make a return on a real estate rental property, how you will be taxed on assets that you have, then you likely should not be investing in them… SELF-CONTROL: It is known that most investors are driven by two basic emotions: fear and greed. Fear drives people out of their investments because of a lack of prudence and understanding. It also drives them into investing because they are missing out, or they have a fear of missing out (FOMO), also known as greed. Christians have to do better than that. Emotional investing is not stewardship. MV: What is your opinion on investing in the stock market? How does a Christian do so in an ethical manner, in alignment with God’s Word? WVB: I sense a bias in the question, so I will frame it differently before I answer it. Let’s ask the same question and substitute a different market - What is your opinion on investing in the real estate market? Rental income market? Commodity market? Livestock market? or any other market. There is a sense that I have in this question that the other markets may be more ethical, or more in alignment with God’s Word than the stock market. All of these markets are financial markets, and all of them come with risks and ethical questions. Is it prudent for a young couple to stretch themselves to the limit of what they can afford payments for to purchase a house? What drives them to do so? Have they considered the ethical aspects of their decision – for example, will it keep them from contributing to kingdom work because they have stretched themselves so far? Have they considered the ramifications of their leverage? Have they been driven into the market by fear of missing out? What happens if their dual income becomes a single income? Will they still be able to make ends meet? As a farmer, are you effectively using the commodity markets to sell your crops or make decisions on the amount of livestock to purchase? Are there ethical questions that arise working in a quota system that does not allow competition? How do you justify these questions? As a rental real estate investor, have you considered the ramifications of what would happen if your renter fails to pay and you need that rent to cover your debt payments? What if you fail to rent the 70% of your building you need to rent to make ends meet? How did you figure out your math? Were you driven by principal or emotion when you invested? So each market has its questions - the stock market is not at all different than other markets, and you need to exercise prudence, understanding and self-control. You need to be able to justify why you invest in the companies that you do, and be willing to walk away from others. You can engage in positive activism as a shareholder to change the way that companies do business. You need to be willing to exit positions in companies when their activities are unethical. If you are doing these things investing in the stock market is no different than investing in any other market, but more so, you need to think like an investor. In every market I have listed, you need to think long-term to invest successfully. In all markets, your greatest risk occurs right after you have invested – before you have made a return. The one thing that is different about the stock market compared to the other markets is that stocks are priced daily, so you can become obsessed with your short-term returns and not longer-term returns. Real estate investors, for instance, tend to think in 10-year periods or longer. Stock market participants should also think along those lines, and not look daily at their prices. Could you imagine valuing your home every day? What is the price someone will pay today for my house? It seems ludicrous, but people will do that with their well-diversified portfolio and lose sleep or become euphoric based on the price change in a day, month or year. If you are investing for your retirement income – why are you worried about today? MV: What are your thoughts on "investing" in cryptocurrencies?  Or companies that are in the crypto industry? WVB: As indicated before, you have to have prudence, understanding and self-control when investing. If anyone claims to understand cryptocurrency, I would like them to explain why it has value. There have been manias before in investment history. Our Dutch heritage has an exciting period referred to as "Tulipmania" in the 1630s – people were gripped by a speculative desire to own tulip bulbs. Fortunes were made and lost on tulip bulbs. The crypto space is unregulated. That is why people like it, because it falls outside government control. They have ascribed a value to things that previously had no value, and the value has increased because of limited supply. This is not a realm of investment as I would define it because you have no expected future value based on anything that you can quantify. You have no definable present value because it produces nothing – there is no inventory, there is nothing that society needs that it offers, no product. That being said, many crypto-related things may cause some change and are investible. The technology that runs it is called blockchain. It does facilitate immediate transactions. It allows you to move assets from one country to another instantaneously. It requires servers, microchips, technology development, internet service providers, electrical generation, etc. So, there are ways to legitimately invest in these things by investing around the hype, rather than speculating in the hype. If you go into the crypto space now, you are speculating. I find it hard to define speculation as an investment; it is more akin to a gamble. You can make money on speculation as you can with gambling, but don't call it an investment. Unfortunately, because of a lack of regulation, the tax rules are not yet written…but they can be backwardly enforced. There are also opportunities for charlatans like Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) to fraudulently gather assets for personal use because even astute investors, like Kevin O'Leary, can be taken in by fraudsters when they don’t understand what they are buying. MV: What is your own favorite investment and why? WVB: My favorite investment is my own company. I had the advantage of working with another advisor who allowed me to start my own business while working with him. Eventually, I also bought his business from him when he was ready to retire and then consolidated two other companies into my own. I have been blessed to work with partners who have worked alongside me to help build my enterprise while I helped them in their enterprises. But more than anything, my business has allowed me to work with clients from all walks of life to help them develop their financial plans. This has been as enriching for me as for them – so that has to be my favorite investment!...

Documentary, Movie Reviews, Watch for free

Into the Light: a teaching documentary on freedom from pornography

Documentary 81 minutes / 2023 Rating: 8/10 Are you someone who doesn’t take quickly to reading? Are you looking for a more accessible resource for yourself or perhaps your study group? Look no further than Into the Light! This documentary was created for the very purpose of providing non-readers with a faithful and effective presentation of the Christian’s struggle with pornography, and the work that God does to restore them. An independent project by Jacob Valk and John-Michael Bout, this documentary is a valuable resource for Christians struggling against pornography and for those walking alongside them. Great group resource As the title suggests, this documentary aims to bring the conversation about pornography out into the open and highlight the fact that it is a very real struggle for many Christians, both men and women, young and old. The documentary is comprised of six short interviews, each with an expert in various aspects of the Bible’s teaching about sexual purity and in the fight against pornography. The interviews cover the consequences of sin, God’s design for sex, understanding our hearts, taking radical practical measures, learning to endure in the fight, and discovering true freedom in Christ. The presentations by each of the six interviewees are biblically based and provide great hope for those who may feel lost or defeated in the struggle against sexual sin. The interviews are spaced apart by five short segments that follow the story of Tim and Chelsea – a Christian couple who had their own struggle with pornography. Their story really helps to bring out the talking points that are covered in the interviews and shows how they are lived out by real Christians. They typify what is sadly very common among Christians, namely their initial misunderstanding of how destructive pornography really is and the pain that the struggle against it brings. Their story, however, is full of hope for through Christ they have found freedom from pornography and can live a new life in Him. Into the Light is about an hour and twenty minutes long but for study purposes can be watched in episode form. Since this was an entirely crowd-funded endeavor, the creators of this documentary have made it freely available at On the website, under the resources tab there is an excellent leader’s guide for study groups as well as discussion questions for each of the six interviews. These two resources are of high quality as they thoroughly explore each subject and even provide sample answers and additional resources for those who want to learn more. With the aid of these helpful resources, bringing the conversation about pornography into the light can begin to happen. Caution While the documentary does an excellent job of not discussing unnecessary explicit details of sexual sin, some of the talking points do require a certain level of maturity. For teenagers and young adults this documentary is a great way to start the conversation about pornography but for those of pre-teen age it may need parental guidance. Conclusion One thing that is missing from this documentary is a breakdown of just how pervasive pornography is amongst Christians. It would have been helpful to highlight the fact that this problem is only growing and that the Church needs to be equipped to deal with this. The filmmakers of Into the Light are Reformed Baptists and the teaching and guidance that their documentary provides is scriptural and Christ-centered. To learn more about their story and purpose in making this documentary check out their appearance on the Real Talk podcast, Episode 50. To watch it for free, just pick your format below. To get access, they do ask you for your email address. 81 minute documentary Six 15-20 minute chapters Find the other resources at: And watch the trailer below. ...

Pro-life - Euthanasia

Getting even crazier: 27% of Canadians think being poor is good enough reason for euthanasia

Is poverty itself reason enough to allow someone to opt for doctor-assisted suicide? The question seems ludicrous – poverty is a condition that can change over a lifetime, and is hardly comparable to terminal lung cancer (an example of the “reasonably foreseen” death that’s previously been used to justify euthanasia). Yet a recent survey found 27% of Canadians agree with allowing doctor-assisted suicide in cases of poverty. This is one in four people you might meet! The survey was done by Research Co. and the results were released on May 5. Almost immediately it began making headlines with 11% of respondents saying they “strongly agree” and 16% that they “moderately agree” poverty was reason enough to let people kill themselves. We might be surprised, but the reality is, once suicide is an option and personal autonomy is valued, it’s not clear on what grounds someone would be prevented from asking for death because of poverty. After all, why shouldn’t the poor be able to make these kinds of decisions for themselves? If assisted dying is available to all Canadians, why should the poor be considered less able to choose? Christians know we are commanded to have compassion for the poor, not seek to eliminate them. But in a society where the government provides both social support services and medically-assisted dying, there is a financial incentive to reduce the cost of what gets provided to struggling people. This inevitably puts the poor in a vulnerable situation, a situation where they should receive the support and advocacy of their neighbors around them in a system that can be cold and impersonal. “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern” (Prov. 29:7). Insisting that the poor have the full capacity to make a choice for euthanasia misses all the ways they might not feel like they have much of a choice. This survey also demonstrates how far opponents of euthanasia have to go in influencing public opinion. Do people really understand what they’re saying when they answer a poll question like this? The most charitable interpretation is that the poll responders wanted to emphasize the personal autonomy of a poor individual. But a personal choice is never made in isolation. Ultimately to declare poverty as reason enough to consider euthanasia is to devalue the worth of all the poor. To say poverty is enough reason for one person to consider no longer living is to say this kind of suffering decreases the value of that life. This comes into starker contrast looking beyond our borders to take in the poor worldwide. Tell humans who are barely getting by that they don’t need to struggle anymore, tell them that they can decide their life has no value and they can quit it. What would they say about this attitude to the life they’re fighting tooth and nail to keep? Suffering does not erase the meaning and value of being alive. But in a modern world where personal fulfillment and the individual’s choice matter above everything else, this message will be a challenge for Christians to drive home....

Articles, Book Reviews, Science - Creation/Evolution

ICR’s impactful half century

A look at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), its work, and its resources ***** See's review here. The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) in Dallas, Texas, was established in 1970 and has developed into an outstanding center of scientific research where well-qualified scientists probe and seek to understand the mysteries of God’s creation ( Their impressive Discovery Center, which opened in 2019, highlights how the sixteenth-century Reformation set the stage for the birth of modern science and takes the visitor on an informative journey that includes key biblical events which are relevant for science, stunning displays, and some of the results of their research. Regular shows in the planetarium offer awesome displays of the wonders of God’s creation. This past March, my wife and I had the opportunity to visit ICR. It all started with an email from a staff member of ICR, who had read my book, In the Beginning: Listening to Genesis 1 and 2 (2021, 400 pages). After ongoing contact by email and even in person during a conference in Denver, we ended up visiting the Institute. It was a memorable experience to tour the facilities and get updates from the scientists working there on their research. The purpose of this article is to introduce some of the work done in ICR since it is committed to honoring the Bible as God’s infallible Word, also when doing scientific research. What the Bible states to be true is accepted as reliable information also for a scientist. This laudable approach has enormous consequences since the scientists at ICR reject scientific theories that contradict the clear teachings of Scripture, such as evolution. Much of their research results in showing that the actual facts of science are more readily in agreement with the biblical account of creation and subsequent events like the world-wide flood in the days of Noah than with evolutionary theories of origin spanning billions of years. Their publications, some of which I will highlight in this article, are all very accessible and lavishly illustrated although they are also full of in-depth science. Biological issues In 2005, Dr. Mary Schweitzer announced one of greatest paleontological discoveries in history, the finding of soft pliable organic tissue including blood vessels in a dinosaur bone. This discovery, followed by more of the same, has called into question the dating of millions of years usually assigned to such fossils since such tissue cannot last that long. ICR scientist Brian Thomas did his Ph.D. thesis in paleobiochemistry on this issue at the University of Liverpool. It has been published by ICR as Ancient and Fossil Bone Collagen Remnants (2019, 137 pages). His conclusions include the following: “The pervasive presence of proteins in fossils combined with their short half-lives present a poor fit with deep time. Last, the prevalence of radiocarbon in fossils combined with its even shorter half-life would reasonably follow from a biblical origins scenario. If the Noachic Flood deposited those fossils only thousands of years ago, then it is no wonder they still have proteins including bone collagen and levels of radiocarbon well above AMS detection thresholds.” Although Brian Thomas was raised as an evolutionist, his research made him question mainline evolutionary science since it showed evidence for evolution wanting, but much support for biblical creation. A popular presentation about the unfossilized tissue focussing on the hard evidence and its implications for evolutionary thinking is a documentary hosted by David Rives, Echoes of the Jurassic: Discoveries of Dinosaur Soft Tissue (2012, 95 minutes) published by the Creation Research Society and available through ICR. You can find the trailer for it below. A common argument for evolution and common ancestry is that human beings and chimps are said to have 98% similar DNA. However, when more accurate comparisons are made, the similarity of DNA is only 85%, not enough for humans and chimps to have a common origin. An ape is not a human being and a human being is not an ape. ICR Geneticist Dr. Jeffrey P. Tomkins has published his research on this topic in his book Chimps and Humans: A Geneticist Discovers DNA Evidence That Challenges Evolution (2021, 192 pages). There he shares that his findings, along with those of: “a wide variety of research reports have clearly shown a pattern of incredible irreducible genetic complexity that appears suddenly and fully integrated in humans but is distinctively different from chimpanzees.” Tomkins also wrote The Design and Complexity of the Cell (2012, 132 pages), intending it as a scientific resource “to address the various evolutionary arguments that have dominated and shaped the academic environment.” He wanted to help especially college students, to counter the evolutionary arguments that will come their way. As he notes, science is not a morally neutral discipline, and will always look at the data through an interpretative lens. That’s why ICR is currently doing research on blind cave fish, which have long been cited as an example of Darwinian evolution. These fish, otherwise identical to their sighted cousins living outside in the light, are said to have lost their sight in a random act of adaptive evolution – a mutation caused a fish to lose its eyes, and because that made it better suited for the dark cave system, natural selection eventually led to the “fitter” blind fish taking over. But what if we viewed this through a lens that gives God His brilliant due? ICR researchers are proposing it wasn’t so random after all, but that God has created these fish with the ability to adapt to completely different environments, namely, a dark cave and normal day-lit water. As Tomkins and his co-authors write in their article “Catching the Vision” (Creation Research Society Quarterly vol. 58, 2022): “These rapid, repeatable, and complex organism-wide system adaptations make little sense in the context of Darwinian evolution involving mutation and natural selection.” Earth history Did apes walk on the face of the earth before humans? Evolution holds this to be so. However, in an elucidating video, Adam or Apes (2022, 36 minutes), Dr. Brian Thomas clearly showed that there is no basis for this in scientific fact (see the trailer below). He demonstrated that the designation of certain fossils as "transitional," indicating a development from ape to human, is completely without any scientific basis, and that many mainstream scientists agree with this evaluation. It is essentially the result of wishful evolutionary thinking since the analysis of these fossils is deeply flawed by, for example, supplying bones and features that were not actually found, but were added according to scientists' evolutionary presuppositions. Dinosaurs! What about dinosaurs? How do they fit into biblical history? Dinosaur fossils testify of their existence. Only catastrophic conditions could have killed these powerful huge creatures and buried and fossilized them along with all sorts of other creatures. The world-wide flood in Noah’s days provided the conditions for such fossilisation. The ark likely held young dinosaurs and these eventually matured and multiplied. They were known, for example, as dragons. Pictures of dinosaurs resembling the fossil remains have survived and testify to their existence. Eventually they became extinct. All this and more (including soft tissue in dinosaurs) is explained in a video presentation by Brian Thomas, Discovering Dinosaurs (2018, 50 minutes), a version of which you can watch here. Speaking of the intriguing subject of dinosaurs, ICR geologist Timothy Clarey has written an in-depth scientific work, Dinosaurs: Marvels of God’s Design (2015, 192 pages), to explain these creatures within a biblical context as part of God’s creation. All sorts of issues are dealt with such as what the fossils tell us, why dinosaurs went extinct, and dinosaur behavior and more using the latest up-to-date research. The Flood The notion of a world-wide flood is regularly dismissed as a biblical myth. It never happened according to evolutionary thinking. Dr. Timothy Clarey has, however, shown in his book Carved in Stone: Geological Evidence for the Worldwide Flood (2020, 496 pages) that the geological evidence for such an event is compelling. Clarey has wide experience as an exploration geologist and has access to an enormous amount of data on geological core samples from around the world. Sedimentary (water-deposited) rocks cover 75% of the earth’s land surface and contain fossils of marine and land creatures. So far Clarey has compiled data from three continents (North America, South America, and Africa). The “megasequences” of these deposits on each continent show the same general pattern. Clarey notes that: “this is what makes these data so compelling. It is not just one continent that shows this pattern but three, and three that show it simultaneously. This is the strongest evidence I have ever witnessed in my 35 years as a geologist that indicates a global flood has occurred. How can anyone look at these data, these maps, and not realize it is showing the exact same pattern and timing of global flooding? This is truly compelling evidence of worldwide activity.” These three continents studied comprise about half the earth’s landmass. So the evidence is compelling for a global flood that occurred about 4,500 years ago. Clarey is continuing his studies on land not yet researched. The issue of climate change One of the hottest topics of our time is the issue of climate change. The meticulous scientific study of ICR's Dr. Jake Hebert, The Ice Age and Climate Change (2021, 300 pages), is therefore most welcome to bring clear scientific thinking to this controversial subject. A refreshing aspect of this work is the fact that Hebert integrates the biblical evidence for real climate change in the case of the Genesis flood and draws out the consequences for today’s discussion. It was God’s judgment that brought about the flood and the resulting change of climate. The cataclysmic events of the flood plausibly triggered the Ice Age to which the fossils of tropical plants in, for example, the Arctic bear witness. No longer would there be a temperate climate worldwide. But God assured Noah and all his descendants that there would be stability from here on in the sense that seasons would follow each other in due order (Gen. 8:22). If such a catastrophic, never-to-be-repeated event was required to bring about such a dramatic climate change like the Ice Age, Hebert concluded that “we do not need to worry that noncatastrophic causes such as relatively slow increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide will result in a future climate catastrophe.” This conclusion is in part based on the fact that unbiased scientific evidence indicates that the earth’s climate is stable and self-regulating. The real issue in the debate on climate change is climate sensitivity. Climate change alarmists are convinced that our climate system is very sensitive to changes and that little is needed to effect catastrophic change, a thinking which Hebert challenges and convincingly refutes using scientific evidence and in some cases exposing fraudulent data. Since the earth’s climate is stable, it self-adjusts to prevent out-of-control warming. Hebert strongly suspects that “global warming is not occurring now. This is partly because of the well-known warming pause that has been occurring for the last 20 years or so. But even if warming is occurring right now, it will not continue indefinitely, and it is not a reason to panic.” Draconian measures are not needed to forestall a climate catastrophe. The marvel of the human body Dr. Randy J. Guliuzza is a retired flight surgeon as well as a professional engineer. With these qualifications he is well equipped to appreciate the biological engineering of the human body and its design features as well as the body’s incredible interconnecting systems that enable us to function as humans. He wrote a popular-level book, Made in His Image: Examining the Complexities of the Human Body (2009, 63 pages). In it he unwraps the astounding marvel of God’s design which enables the body to move, have stable temperatures, and resist microscopic invaders with an elaborate immune system. Guliuzza also explains the amazing properties of blood that help to make life possible in a mind-boggling way given the millions of chemical reactions that take place every second. Among other topics dealt with are the marvels of human reproduction, gestation, and birth which leaves one in awe of God’s handiwork and can only invoke praise to the Creator. A DVD set by the same name, Made in His Image (2015, 88 minutes) focusses on the miracle of birth, the marvel of eyes, the uniqueness of human hands, and the beauty of human motion. An accompanying lavishly illustrated viewer guide with thought provoking questions is very helpful in highlighting and reinforcing key information from the DVD (see the trailer below).  In conclusion There is no such thing as neutral thinking or research. Everyone is influenced by underlying assumptions and worldviews through which one views and seeks to understand reality. Also, scientific fields of endeavor probing the earth’s past history and using computer models to project into the future are not immune to underlying presuppositions. Whether one, for instance, uses an evolutionary lens through which to interpret scientific data or a biblical perspective can make all the difference. It is a great blessing, then, when Christian scientists publish their work and counter unsubstantiated claims by mainstream science that deny biblical truth and also challenge, for example, the alarmist propaganda surrounding the issue of climate change. Dr. Cornelis Van Dam is the Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at the Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary, and is the author of several books including “In the Beginning: Listening to Genesis 1 and 2.” Canadians may find it easier getting the books listed here from creationist organizations north of the border like and


RP's 2023 Summer Photo Contest: a different perspective on God's World

Last year we invited you to show us how you were enjoying God this summer. This time we’d like to put a twist to the same idea. We’re calling our theme “A Different Perspective on God’s World.” So please explore God’s creation, his flowers and forests, the Heavens that declare His glory, and the people He has put here, and then put a unique spin on the presentation. Maybe that means a closeup, or shot from high up above. Maybe it means a different perspective on a topic, like trying to take a photo of oxygen or sound. Might it involve an artistic use of Black and White? Perhaps… but that’s up for you to decide.  We hope this theme will inspire, but we’re not trying to use it to limit your creativity. So take your picture and then send it along with a caption of one or two sentences highlighting how this is a different angle on God’s world. So get out there and start clicking! Categories: Children and youth (under 18) Adults (18+) Rules: Maximum 3 entries per person Must be an original photo, taken this year Include a line to explain how the photo relates to the theme (max. 100 words) Provide permission to RP to publish your photo online and/or in print if selected Include the name of the photographer and photo title, and for the under 18 entries, the photographer's age. Prizes: Winner and runner-up for both categories will be printed in Reformed Perspective • Winner of each category will receive a $100 gift certificate to; runner-up will receive a $75 gift certificate. Deadline: Send your photo (high-resolution) to [email protected] before Aug 15, 2023 ...

In a Nutshell

Tidbits - June 2023

Those wild and crazy Vikings! You may have learned in school that Vikings visited North America long before Christopher Columbus did, but I bet you never learned how they did it. Their marine tech wasn’t anything close to what Columbus had, but what they lacked in equipment, they made up for in chutzpah. To get to North America, the Vikings had to “surf” the north edge of nasty storms. As Glenn Sunshine explains in his book 32 Christians Who Changed Their World: “We don’t often appreciate the difficulties the Vikings faced sailing west across the Atlantic. Their ships had square sales, which means they could not tack into the wind; the wind had to be blowing from behind them for the sails to propel the ship. Since prevailing winds in the north Atlantic blow from west to east, to sail west the Vikings had to rely on storms. Severe storms turn cyclonic, that is, the winds circulate counterclockwise around the eye. This means that by riding the north edge of the storms, the Vikings could take advantage of westward blowing winds to propel them across the ocean.” Gary North on breaking your TV habit Gary North (1942-2022) was a Christian economist and such a prolific writer he must have followed the advice he offers here and entirely kicked his TV habit. “Put a piggy bank next to the couch where you watch TV. Every time you watch a one-hour show, put $2 into the piggy bank. If someone else watches, and you're a free rider, have that person put in $2. Then break the piggy bank – or at least empty it – in the last week of December. Put the money in your bank account. Then write a check for this amount. Send it to a charity. In short, put a price on your time. Pay the price. Economics teaches: ‘When the price rises, less is demanded.’ You will cut your TV habit by 50%. If not, make it $3.” Source: Gary North’s Tip of the Week, January 3, 2015 Those guys are right too? It’s been a crazy few years, what with too many of yesterday’s conspiracy theories turning into the next day’s headlines. So when I heard that there was now irrefutable proof the earth was flat I didn’t know if I could handle it. Could it be possible? Could those guys be right too? Well, prepare for your mind to be blown! As you know, most of the world is water – 71% of the planet is covered with it. But what they never told you, what you probably never thought about before, is the fact that none of it is carbonated. Not even a single percent. Ergo, the world really is flat! Source: inspired by a Douglas Wilson quip Learn the right lesson The trouble with learning from experience is the inbuilt tendency to overreact. If drunkenness has ruined someone close to us, we could conclude Christians should abstain. A child who tries out for a basketball team and gets cut might think they’ll never be good at any sports. A young man mocked by the first girl he asks out will wonder whether he should bother with a second. That many a Hollywood movie is vile, has some convinced all movies must be. That 95 songs on the year’s Top 100 list are vulgar, could lead parents to conclude that rock and rap is purely the Devil’s domain. And that dirty dancing is a thing, will have some thinking pure dancing is not. But Mark Twain has a warning for us to consider: “We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it, lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will not sit down on a hot stove-lid again – but also she will not sit down on a cold one either.” Experience is quite the tutor, but we can learn too much from the lesson. That’s why we must test our experiences against the Bible. Then we can understand that despite the frequent abuse of wine, there remains a legitimate use (Isa. 25:6, 1 Tim. 5:23) and instead of banning it, we need to model right usage. Dancing might be dirty, but it can also be done to the Lord (2 Sam. 6:14). And the gun-shy young man can be assured that a good woman is worth risking rejection (Prov. 31:10-31). 4 thoughts on education “I am much afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, and engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which means are not unceasingly occupied with the Word of God must be corrupt.” – Martin Luther, in his Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation “The surest way to keep a people down is to educate the men and neglect the women. If you educate a man you simply educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family.” – James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey (1875-1927) "The family is the main engine of education. If we use schooling to break children away from parents... we're going to continue to have the horror show we have right now." – John Taylor Gatto (1935-2018), New York City’s 3-time “Teacher of the Year” “Education is the process of selling someone on books.” – Douglas Wilson That explains a lot Who are smarter, men or women? A good test might be to ask this question in mixed company and see who’s dumb enough to answer. A case for men could be made by pointing to the greater number of males who win top prizes, like the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (183 to 8) or the Abel Prize for mathematics (25 to 1). But the case for women could be made by pointing out how men take many more unnecessary risks, like driving while drunk, which leads to 3 times more men than women dying, according to US stats. So which is it? Well, according to the late Walter Williams, economist and educator extraordinaire, both cases are correct. “Male geniuses outnumber female geniuses 7-to-1. Female intelligence is packed much closer to the middle of the bell curve, whereas men’s intelligence has far greater variability. That means that though there are many more male geniuses, there are also many more male idiots. The latter might partially explain why more men are in jail than women.” Source: Walter Williams’ “Are We Equal?” posted to May 27, 2013 If we really believed in recycling… …why don’t we stop charging tax on recycled goods? They’ve already been taxed once, when they were new, so the government has gotten their pound of flesh. Should a good be taxed twice, just because it has been refurbished or in some other way made useful again? We live in a throwaway culture, and what an incentive it would be if used goods could be sold tax-free. Giraffe necks are neat 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 brilliance of their design comes out more and more, the closer you look....


Dodgers honor drag queen “nuns”

CORRECTION: The original title for this article was "Dodgers honor drag queen 'nuns' in front of empty stadium" was true, as videos showed that when the nuns were honored before the game, very few people were in attendance. But it turns out, they showed up afterwards, so we've edited the article to reflect that.   **** In May, the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team extended an invitation to the "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence," a self-proclaimed queer and drag order of nuns, to receive the team’s Community Hero Award. This “order” is defined by what it mocks: the Roman Catholic Church. Conservative Christian groups voiced strong objections, which prompted the Dodgers to rescind their invitation.  This, then, sparked controversy among progressive groups. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence released a statement asserting that their organization is based on love, acceptance, and celebrating human diversity. But their performances contradict this claim.  For example, each year, they organize an Easter event that includes a "hunky Jesus and foxy Mary" contest. Drag queens dress in skimpy outfits, imitating Jesus and even simulating crucifixion, with another drag queen pole dancing on the "Jesus" figure. The event also features a character called "Fesus," hatched from an egg, who claims to be the alpha and omega. Fesus mockingly proclaims:  "I was born 30 seconds ago, yet I was created with no beginning, no middle, and no end. Sent from the heavens to slay and take away the sins of the world."  Due to pressure from progressive factions, the Dodgers organization ultimately reversed its decision, issuing a Twitter statement that expressed apologies to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and their friends and family. And they re-invited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to a pride night event on June 16 where they received an award from the Dodgers for their work in the community. In the face of such open hostility, how can Christians respond? 1. Remain steadfast  The Dodgers organization appears very concerned with pleasing people. However, as Christians, our focus must be on faithfully following God's commands (Galations 1:10). The Bible forewarns us about facing persecution and being judged, as expressed in 1 Corinthians 4:3-4, where Paul affirms,  "But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me."  When we stand firm in the truth revealed in God's Word, we should expect judgment and slander. Yet, we should adopt Paul's attitude toward such judgment, recognizing that our ultimate accountability lies with God alone. 2. Educate our children  The Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dort, all provide a solid understanding of what we believe and why we believe it. And so too does Pastor Chris Gordon’s New Reformation Cathechism on Human Sexuality. While catechizing can present challenges, it is an immensely rewarding endeavor. And if we won’t catechize our children ourselves, then they will be catechised by the world. 3. Consider boycotts  Recent examples, such as Target and Bud Light, garnered backlash for endorsing woke ideologies. According to a report by Fox, Target and Bud Light suffered a combined loss of $28 billion, with even larger figures expected since then. So boycotts can sometimes send a message. 4. Pray for those who oppose us In the famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructs us:  "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:43-44).  Jesus commands us to love and pray for the progressive movement. Loving them does not imply tolerating their beliefs, but rather sharing the truth with grace. Let us make it a practice to pray specifically for the LGBT community this pride month. Pray that they would come to repentance and turn from the path that leads to destruction. Create a list of individuals you know or organizations that support this lifestyle and commit to praying for them daily throughout the month. Noah Faber is a member of Cascade Christian Reformed Church in Maryville, Washington. Picture was taken by Ringo Chiu / ...

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