Clueless Old War Horses

Clueless Old War Horses
Vol: 79 Issue: 18 Friday, April 18, 2008

Former Marine and one-time patriot US Representative John “Jack” Murtha [D-Pa] made headlines this week when he threw another group of Americans that he represents under the wheels of the ’08 campaign bus.

“This one guy running is about as old as me,” Murtha, 75, told a group of union members in Washington yesterday. “Let me tell you something, it’s no old man’s job.”

This brings up two immediate points. In the first, Murtha is two years younger than Ronald Reagan was when Reagan had concluded one of the most successful two-term presidencies of the 20th century.

The second point is that Jack Murtha has never been President of the United States, so he is talking out his, er, hat.

As to age, the average age, across-the-board for US presidents on election is age 55, the average age upon leaving office is 60. While that might seem young to the Gray Panthers of 2008, for most of America’s history, that was pretty old.

When the Social Security system was being formulated in the 1930’s the retirement age was set at 65 because most retirees weren’t expected to live more than another two years.

Today, a person retiring at age sixty-five can reasonably expect to live another 20.9 years to age 86. Statistically, having attained age 75, Murtha can expect, barring accident or major illness, to live to age another 13.7 years, according to 2004 US mortality rates.

Granted, John McCain, if elected, would be the oldest first term president in history. At age 72, he is already four years older than Reagan was in his first term. But he need only survive four years of his remaining 20.9 for Murtha to be as wrong about his fellow oldsters as he was about his fellow Marines.

Ronald Reagan not only survived his own two terms, but George Bush’s term, both of Bill Clinton’s terms, and died just five month’s shy of seeing George W. Bush’s reelection in 2004.

Reagan was one month shy of 78 when he left office. Eisenhower was over 70, Jackson, Buchanan and Truman almost 70.

The average age for presidents who die in office is 58. But five former presidents lived well into their 90’s, and the elder President Bush is over 85.

Herbert Hoover lived 31 years after leaving office, Gerald Ford 29 years, John Adams 25 years, Martin Van Buren and Millard Fillmore both lived an additional 21 years after leaving the Oval Office. And of the only five US Presidents not to live to see age 60, three were assassinated, Garfield, Lincoln and Kennedy.

There is a new website set up by Steve Rosenthal, a former political director at the AFL-CIO and executive director of America Coming Together, a massive soft money effort organized around the 2004 presidential race.

The website is called, “Younger Than McCain” and made a list of all the things John McCain is “older” than. For example, John McCain is older than the Golden Gate Bridge, plutonium, Coke in cans, Velcro, McDonalds, Burger King, color TV and FM radio.

(Starting with Velcro and moving forward, so am I — and I’m 55)

Here is how Rosenthal — and the group of twenty-somethings he worked with, see John McCain at 72:

“John McCain comes from another time, an old war-horse stuck in the past with an old-world view of things,” said Rosenthal. “Our videos — hopefully in a funny way — are aimed at pointing out just how old, out of touch and clueless he is.”

“Out of touch, clueless and a joke.” That’s what McCain’s experience really means — to America’s youth.

God help us.

Assessment:

What the website actually proves is how clueless and out of touch Rosenthal and his posse are. In the first place, why do we let twenty-somethings drive but don’t let 12 year olds? What do they have that 12 years olds don’t?

In a word, experience. How did they get that experience? By not dying. Why don’t we elect twenty-somethings to the White House? Lack of experience.

Does this seem like a difficult concept?

Nobody (under 40) is going to debate that a twenty-something is better qualified to lead the country because of his youth, any more than anyone (under 18) would argue that a 12 year old is experience and mature enough to navigate a six thousand-pound steel projectile down a busy interstate at 180 feet per second.

But my mother-in-law, who is eighty-six, still has her own car, her driver’s license, and has not had an accident in forty years. If I had my choice as to whose hands I’d put my life in on the highway, I’d pick my mother in law over my granddaughter every single time.

(Might take me a little longer to get there, but I’d get there.)

It is counterintuitive — age and experience wins out over youth and enthusiasm every time — it takes a conscious effort at self-deception to see it any other way. But, as we’ve explored in many previous discussions, self-deception is a major hallmark of the last days. When asked of His return, the first words from the Lord’s lips were these: “Take heed that no man deceive you.”

Describing the world as it will be when the antichrist makes his appearance on the world stage, “for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:11)

Consider the power of the lie we are discussing here. Who would you prefer take out your appendix? A kid out of medical school? Or a doctor with forty years experience? You tell me.

But when it comes to leading the most powerful nation on the face of the earth, age and experience are a political liability.

(“Up is down, in is out, black is white, and would you like one lump, or two?” asked the Mad Hatter.)

Those of us who are old, out of touch and clueless today, remember a different world, the one run by old, clueless guys like Dwight Eisenhower. When old, clueless guys were in charge, the biggest problem facing teachers were kids chewing gum in class.

Growing up, I didn’t have a single friend whose parents were divorced. Being a Christian was something to be admired. We didn’t lock our doors at night — or even if we went out of town.

In the 1960’s attitudes about age began to shift. The new catch phrase was ‘Never trust anybody over thirty.’

Power began to shift as well, beginning with John Kennedy, (at 41, the youngest president in US history) and by the end of the decade, most of our lawmakers looked just as weird as their kids did.

The political shift toward youth and inexperience has been reflected in each decade since.

Youth and inexperience scream out at us through laws that blame guns for the actions of their owners, advocate abortion as a method of birth control, or propose legislation like ‘involuntary’ assisted suicide.

(Apparently, one must be ‘old and clueless’ before one recognizes the nuances that separate ‘involuntary assisted suicide’ from ‘murder’ don’t actually exist.)

It screams at us from our school systems, where the kids run the classrooms and the teachers run for their lives.

It screams at us from our practice of locking old people up in assisted living facilities, treating them like idiot children rather than tapping the deep wells of knowledge and experience that they possess.

John McCain is an old war horse, out of touch and clueless, because John McCain also remembers what it was like when the grownups were in charge.

One of the reasons that our culture has turned away from its elders is because it has turned away from the Bible and the wisdom it contains. The Bible, the argument goes, is also ancient, clueless and out-of-touch with modern times.

The Bible celebrates age — indeed, it commands we respect our elders.

“Thou shalt rise up before the hoary [grey-haired] head, and honor the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:32)

“The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.” (Proverbs 16:31)

Under Mosaic law, a child becomes a ‘man’ at thirteen, but cannot serve in a position of public responsibility until he has reached the age of thirty.

In 2nd Chronicles, we find that King Rehoboam rejected the counsel given him by the old men in favor of that given by the young. It is a fascinating story, in that it is so applicable today.

The counsel given Rehoboam by the old men went like this. “If thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants for ever.”

Rehoboam rejected this advice, forsaking “the counsel which the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men that were brought up with him, that stood before him.” (2nd Chronicles 10:7-8)

“And answered them after the advice of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.” (10:14)

Rehoboam forsook the advice of the elderly, hearkened unto the young men, and the result was that Israel divided into two kingdoms — the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah.

A generation later, the Kingdom of Israel had ceased to exist. The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel remain lost to history to this day.

There is a lesson in here, somewhere. But I’m too old and clueless to explain it to anybody under thirty.

In Defense of the Pope

In Defense of the Pope
Vol: 79 Issue: 17 Thursday, April 17, 2008

I think maybe it might be time to defend the Pope. Wow. I can’t believe I just typed that line, so perhaps we should start by setting the parameters.

Let’s start with Catholicism. The non-Catholic beef with the Vatican is both deep and wide. The term ‘Dark Ages’ refers to the period between the 4th century and the 17th century in Europe, when the Vatican kept the Bible under lock and key.

All Bibles were published in Latin — a language used only by the priesthood, and possession of a Bible by non-clergy was a capital offense. For twelve centuries, there was no way to fact-check Vatican theology, until the first Bibles were printed in a common language.

Once the laity was able to fact-check the Vatican’s theology against the Bible, the Reformation went into high gear. Once the Vatican lost its lock on Christianity, its political power began to wane.

In an effort to retain its power, the Vatican launched the infamous Inquisition, in which torture was used to force conversions, non-Catholics were burned at the stake as ‘heretics’ etc.

The fire that burned John Wycliffe, who published the first English-Bible, was fueled by a stack of Wycliffe Bibles.

The papacy during the Dark Ages was a cesspool of corruption and vice, sex and murder. Some Popes bought their titles, others inherited them, others murdered for the job.

Pope Alexander VI fathered at least four children, including the infamous Lucretia Borgia, with whom he is reputed to have had an incestuous relationship.

And the Borgia Pope wasn’t the worst. Indeed, he was pretty typical for the Dark Ages. Pope Benedict IX became pope sometime between age 11 and 20; Pope John XII was 18.

Pope John XI was the illegitimate son of Pope Sergius III. Indeed, the history of the papacy in the tenth century was nicknamed by historians as the ‘Pornocracy’.

What is a bit less well-known about the Vatican was something known as the ‘Counterreformation’ of 1565, or the Council of Trent.

It was at the Council of Trent that the Vatican formally adopted the position that salvation is obtained through a combination of grace and works.

The Council of Trent also reaffirmed such practices as indulgences, pilgrimages, the veneration of saints and relics, and the veneration of the Virgin Mary were strongly reaffirmed as spiritually vital.

The Council also commissioned the Roman Catechism, which still serves as authoritative teaching of the Catholic Church.

The most recent edition, updated in 1992, updated and modernized the language, but the basic Catholic doctrines remain unchanged from 1565.

But of all the beefs non-Catholics have with the Vatican, the most intractable was the doctrine of heresy which stood in force until Vatican II in the early 1960’s. Under that doctrine, non-Catholics were declared heretics who were ineligible for salvation.

There is a joke about a guy who arrived at the gates of heaven and noticed an area of heaven separated from the rest by a high, impenetrable wall. The guy asks St. Peter what the wall is for, and St Peter says, “It’s for the Catholics.”

“Why?” the guy asks. “Did they do something wrong?” “No,” Peter replies. “They think they are the only ones here.”

My defense of this pope isn’t spiritual, or theological, or even remotely religious. My defense of this pope is logical.

Assessment:

I said at the outset that it is time to defend the pope. But before I did so, I wanted to spare everyone sending me the history of the papacy or some of the Vatican’s dogmatic statements about salvation and who qualifies as a Christian, so we could get to the meat of the matter.

Newsweek ran a cover story of the Pope’s visit under the sub-headline, “American Muslims Wait to See if Pope Will Reach Out to Them.”

It was an impassioned defense of the Muslim reaction to the Pope’s lecture at a German university in which he invoked the words of a 14th century Byzantine Emperor concerning Islam.

“Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

Newsweek made much of the fact that the Pope ‘never apologized.’ It tracked down Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of a Muslim lobbying group, whom they gleefully quoted;

“We want a meeting with his bishops and key Muslim figures in the U.S. The topic should specifically be Muslim-Catholic issues. But it doesn’t seem to be a priority [for them] right now, even though the pope seems to be a person with very strong views about Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.”

The Pope did NOT express his own views about Islam and Mohammed, he quoted the views of an emperor dead more than 600 years.

And the anger the Muslims have directed at the Pope is still white-hot because, while they may find the quote insulting, it is impossible to dispute the accuracy of the offending statement, when weighed against the historical record.

I’m trying to think of how such an apology would be worded. “I’m sorry he felt that way 600 years ago?” “I’m sorry I know what he said?” “I’m sorry that history confirms the emperor’s assessment?”

Or the apology I’d like to see: “I’m sorry you guys are evil and inhuman.”

I am not defending the Vatican, or its doctrine, or the papacy — just this papal visit. A lot of us are disgusted with all the pomp and circumstance, but the ‘lot of us’ are not the whole world.

All this pomp and circumstance being heaped on this Pope is being heaped upon him by Catholics, non Catholics, Muslims, atheists, agnostics, Budhhists and Jews alike.

Now to the heart of the question. Why? To the world at large, who does the Pope represent?

Forget, for a moment, the deep theological differences that exist between Catholics and non-Catholics and take a look at what the world sees. (The lost and dying world that is our mission field).

Listen to the praises and honorifics being extended; “His Holiness”, the “Vicar of Christ”, the “Visible Representative of Christ on Earth” — the list is as long as one wants it to be.

To non-Catholic Christians, all this praise is being heaped on ‘just a man’. It makes us angry and bitter, and we are not shy about expressing our feelings.

Like I said, forget about fine points of theology for a second — they are meaningless to the lost anyway.

Who is the world honoring when it honors the Pope? Joe Ratzinger of Germany? Regardless of the way we Christians might view him, the lost and dying world is honoring the Person that they believe the Pope represents.

The honorifics are not being extended to Joe Ratzinger, but to Jesus Christ. Don’t misunderstand me. I could bash Catholic theology in every OL for the rest of the year and never go over the same points twice.

But in all the years I’ve been a Christian, I’ve never convinced a Catholic by bashing their faith or their theology. Why?

Because to a Catholic, it is like bashing Jesus. We can go over all the reasons why they’d be wrong to see it that way, but that doesn’t make any difference to the Catholic.

If I walked up to you and told you that your faith is in vain and that you aren’t really saved, I doubt that you’d wait around to let me explain why.

More probably, you’d never speak to me again, so what good have I done either of us?

The world’s interest in the Pope is an excellent opportunity for us to discuss Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, and the Biblical definition of salvation, but I fear that most of us will blow the opportunity in favor of explaining all the things that are wrong with the Vatican.

Think of it from the perspective of some lost person who suddenly wants to know more about Jesus Christ.

So they come to their spiritual friend who is always talking about Jesus and they bring up ‘His Holiness’ — hoping to learn a bit about Jesus and using the Pope’s visit as an ice-breaker.

They mention the Pope, and we blast the Vatican, give a thumbnail history similar to the one I just did, explain why the Pope isn’t really a Christian.

And then, having done all we can to destroy the Pope’s Christian testimony, we invite our friend to enter into the ‘love of Christ’.

To a Catholic, one can’t be saved unless one is a member of the Catholic Church. To many Christians, one can’t get saved unless one is NOT a member of the Catholic Church.

We explain all this carefully, warn of the dangers of Mariolatry, the ridiculousness of Catholic doctrines like transubstantion, confession and purgatory — but all our friend wanted to know about was Jesus Christ and salvation.

And in our zeal to protect them from the evils of Vatican error, we never present the Gospel. We present TWO Gospels. The first is the one that labels the very Pope that prompted their interest in Jesus as really the leader of the ‘synagogue of Satan’.

The second Gospel, (notice we always wait and give the true Gospel second) then falls on deaf ears – ears deafened by our impassioned ‘defense of the faith’ to somebody who only wants to know if Jesus is real and that His promises can be trusted.

So I must defend the Pope’s visit to the United States. Not his theology, not his papacy, not his doctrine, but his visit.

For some Americans, it is the first time they’ve heard the phrase “Jesus Christ” without someone having first hit his thumb with a hammer.

For others, it is the first time they’ve heard His Name expressed in a positive context. It isn’t about the Pope, or the Vatican, or the divisions that exist between the Vatican and non-Catholic Christendom.

Somewhere, here in America, at some point during the papal visit, somebody is going to ask somebody else, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ — because of all the pomp and circumstance. Odds are, though, he’ll be treated to a history of the Vatican and the ‘synagogue of Satan’.

The whole thing reminds me of when Mary Magdalene washed the feet of Jesus with her tears, and anointed Him with expensive oil.

The Apostles cried out against her act, saying the ointment used could have been sold for ‘three hundred pence’ (almost a year’s wages) and given to the poor.

“And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on Me.” (Mark 14:6)

So, too will the Pope have ‘wrought a good work on Him’ if just one person asks that question, “What must I do to be saved?” We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ.

Church membership is irrelevant to salvation. Each of you knows that — or I’ve not been doing my job. One can be saved on the floor of St Peter’s Basilica, at the altar of a Baptist Church — or in the middle of a cornfield.

It isn’t church membership that saves, it is Jesus Christ.

I pray that, should I be the one blessed to receive that question, that I remember the correct answer isn’t, “avoid the Vatican at all costs,” but rather, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

Don’t blow your opportunity by getting the cart in front of the horse. Salvation first. There is plenty of time for doctrine later.

At the moment, I am enjoying all the positive press Jesus is getting. The papal visit ‘hath wrought a good work in Him.’

And I don’t want to be the one to spoil it.

The Company You Keep

The Company You Keep
Vol: 79 Issue: 16 Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It is one of those life principles that most of us learned at our mother’s knee; “A man is known by the company he keeps.”

I learned that adage when my mother forbade me to play with one of the neighborhood ‘bad’ kids. Other kids learned that adage when their mothers forbade them to play with me.

But we all learned the same lesson, and like most of the life lessons that I learned at my mother’s knee, this one proved invaluable to me my whole life through.

Knowing that little tidbit of information has served me well over the course of my life; both for myself and in taking the measure of others. You can tell a lot about a person by the people he chooses to associate with. And even more from the people who choose to associate themselves with him.

People tend to associate with others in whom they see a kindred spirit, bringing up another old adage; “birds of a feather, flock together.” This one always kind of baffled me.

It isn’t true about birds — there are two robins, a sparrow and a pigeon sitting on a telephone wire outside my window right now — but it absolutely true about people.

We tend to employ the lessons contained in those two cliches in all our dealings with people. If you want to know something about new acquaintances on a new job, you pay attention to who people associate with, whether you are aware of it or not.

Who tends to gravitate to whom is information so vital that we often assess it unconsciously and make decisions based on information we’re oftentimes unaware we are even processing.

We apply it in every facet of our lives — except we would never admit it in public. That would be politically incorrect. — the slur that applies here would be ‘profiling’.

So the one place nobody dares to mention what EVERYBODY does instinctively is in politics.

Assessment:

John McCain is a known associate of liberals and Democrats, charges the anti-McCain conservative lobby. Merely hearing the phrase, “McCain-Feingold” sets conservatives’ teeth on edge.

But not so much because of what the McCain-Feingold Bill is about so much as that Senator Russ Feingold is about as far to the Left as one can go without falling off the page. It is almost as painful as seeing McCain’s name linked to Teddy Kennedy as in the McCain-Kennedy Immigration reform bill.

For reasons not entirely clear, conservatives are less vulnerable to charges of ‘profiling’ when they are profiling one of their own.

McCain was offered two opportunities to generalize his opponents at Villanova College yesterday, once at Barack Obama’s expense, the second at Hillary Clinton’s. McCain passed on the opportunity each time, saying he wanted to run a respectful campaign.

But neither Kennedy and Feingold are endorsing McCain. What does that reveal? If nothing else, it reveals that McCain, Kennedy and Feingold aren’t birds of a feather, after all. McCain is not known for siding with liberals because they are liberals, instead, he is known as a ‘maverick’ who occasionally bucks his own party for the good of the country.

You can learn a lot from the associations enjoyed by McCain’s opponents, but you’ll have to do it on your own. No liberal is going to ‘profile’ his own candidate for you. That would be political suicide.

Seemingly most of Hillary Clinton’s associates are white-collar criminals, shady donors, or agents of foreign governments. The ‘Clinton List’ was several hundred names long already before she even ran for the Senate.

It is much longer now; Ron Burkles, Jose Cabrera, Johnny Chung, Vini Gupta, Frank Guistra, John Huang, Norman Hsu, Joseph Pellicano and Peter Paul, just to mention a few.

But bringing up any of those past associations is labeled an ‘attack’ — even when they are extremely relevant to evaluating the candidate. The more damaging the association, the more it seems to advantage her. It is counterintuitive.

Even more baffling is the pass being given to Barack Obama. They guy started out his candidacy promising to ‘transcend’ race — but it is the only thing he’s talked about since.

His association with Jeremiah Wright and his Black Liberation Theology is the black equivalent to David Duke and the KKK.

Yet the speech he gave justifying black racism against whites was hailed as “the best speech on race since Martin Luther King”.

His refusal to distance himself from Wright’s racist anti-Americanism earned him accolades for his ‘loyalty’ to Rev. Wright, even as they dismissed any allegations that his loyalty to Wright superseded his loyalty to his country.

Although Obama claims that his candidacy ‘transcends’ race, it only transcends to the degree he allows it to.

Which is almost never.

Last night, HBO broadcast an interview between Obama and Bryan Gumble. It was supposed to about basketball. It seems that while Obama was in high school, he played ‘black’ basketball (meaning he was pretty good) but as he aged, he started to play ‘white’ basketball (meaning he was no longer pretty good.)

His explanation to an elite crowd of Marin County voters for why white rural voters are so, ummm, backward (Middle America is composed of white, gun-toting, church-going, racist, immigrant-hating xenophobes) temporarily raised a few eyebrows.

But those eyebrows went back down as his supporters concluded that Obama must be right after all. He should know, the thinking goes. After all, Obama understands the ‘Black Experience’ and whites don’t — so they should trust him.

Besides, as Obama pointed out, it isn’t the fault of Middle America — they’re that way because they can’t find jobs.

And everybody evidently knows those in ‘the Bible Belt’ who ‘cling’ to God and guns can’t help themselves. In the final analysis, his supporters concluded that Obama wasn’t being a racist, an elitist or condescending. He was just ‘tellin’ it like it is.’

Ahmed Yousef, Hamas’ top political advisor in the Gaza Strip, told John Batchelor in a radio interview that; “We like Mr. Obama. We hope that he will win the elections.”

Hamas says it isn’t fooled by Obama’s condemnation of terrorist attacks against Israel.

“I understand American politics and this is the season for elections and everybody tries to sound like he’s a friend of the Israelis,” he said. All that would change if Obama would get elected. “I hope Mr. Obama and the Democrats will change the political discourse….”

“I do believe [Obama] is like John Kennedy, a great man with a great principle. And he has a vision to change America to make it in a position to lead the world community, but not with humiliation and arrogance.”

Obama is the first choice among angry anti-American liberals, first choice among angry American blacks, first choice among angry American Muslims, hailed by Hamas, and despised and feared by most Israelis and almost all American Jews.

Those qualities appear to be the ones that will ultimately win him the Democratic nomination for the President of the United States.

A man is known by the company he keeps. A nation is known by the leaders it chooses. America’s choices are McCain, Clinton and Obama.

If my mother were still living, I wouldn’t be allowed to play with any of them.

The Name of the Lord. . .

The Name of the Lord. . .
Vol: 79 Issue: 15 Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Name of the Lord. . .

One of the most baffling claims I’ve heard repeated about Jesus is the one that says Jesus Christ never claimed to be God.

Indeed, some will go so far as to say that Jesus Christ didn’t even THINK He was God. I read one critic’s opinion that said if Jesus were alive today, He would be astonished and dismayed to find Himself an object of worship.

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times, and I’ve seen it in print under the names of some otherwise fairly astute and intelligent authors.

There are as many opinions about Jesus as their are religious worldviews on this planet. Everybody wants to include Him as part of their own religious dogma, provided He doesn’t mind playing second fiddle to their own deity.

There is a Muslim ‘Jesus’ [Isa] but the Muslim Jesus is not God. The Muslim Jesus wasn’t born of a virgin, did not go to the Cross, and certainly never rose again from the dead. The Muslim Jesus was not God, but instead, he was a prophet and a teacher.

Jesus plays some kind of role in most the great pagan religions of the world. But with the exception of Christianity, the pagan Jesus was invariably depicted as a ‘good man’ or as a ‘wise teacher’.

And for THAT reason, those who deny the Deity of Christ do so in order to keep their own religious doctrine from flying apart. If the real Jesus claimed to be God, then He was neither ‘good’ nor ‘wise’.

‘Good’ men don’t lie about who they are. ‘Wise’ men don’t allow themselves to be executed to perpetuate a lie. If Jesus Christ wasn’t God, but claimed He was, then He was a liar and a lunatic.

So whether or not Jesus Christ believed He was God is of critical importance to their doctrine. The Islamic Jesus says of himself,

He [Jesus] said: ‘I am indeed a servant of God. He has given me revelation and made me a prophet; He has made me blessed wheresoever I be; and He has enjoined on me prayer and charity as long as I live. He has made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable. So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)!’ Such was Jesus the son of Mary. It is a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute. It is not befitting to (the majesty of) God that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! When He determines a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.” (Sura 19:30-35).

So Islam’s Jesus is NOT the begotten Son of God — because it does not befit their god to have a son.

“Christ, the son of Mary, was no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how God makes His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth!” (5:75).

For Islam to recognize that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God would require throwing out the Koran.

The Koran advances the belief that Mohammed was the final prophet of God. But if Jesus had claimed to be the only begotten Son of God, then Mohammed would not only be a liar, he would have been unnecessary.

Or Jesus would have to be exposed as a fraud. Since Mohammed evidently couldn’t credibly deny His existence, the best he could do instead was ‘adopt’ Him as a mascot.

Islamic theology relies on Mohammed being superior to Jesus, but makes no claim that Mohammed was divine. If Jesus therefore simply CLAIMED to be the Son of God, then Mohammed would either be an inferior prophet, or Isa couldn’t be a prophet at all. In either case, Islam’s foundational stone would crumble.

Most cults find a way to reduce Jesus to the status of a created being, for the same reason. If Jesus claimed to be God, then their god can’t be, or they wouldn’t need a Jesus. They’d have their own Jesus and wouldn’t need to steal ours.

To the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jesus Christ isn’t the Eternal God, but rather, a creation OF God.

Charles Taze Russell accomplished this transformation by in including a single letter in the text of John 1:1 in his ‘New World Translation: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was [a] god.”

The Mormons not only deny the Deity of Christ, they deny the Deity of God Himself. The Mormon God was once a man himself, and Jesus Christ was really Satan’s smarter brother.

Mormons believe that God liked the plan for the salvation of mankind that Jesus submitted better than the one that Satan came up with. So Jesus got to be the Savior of Mankind, and Lucifer became Satan out of sibling rivalry.

All the cults who claim Jesus do so on the grounds He was either a good man and a wise teacher or that He was a prophet sent from God.

If at some point, Jesus claimed to be God come in the flesh, then He could be neither.

Assessment:

As I said at the outset, the argument that Jesus never claimed Divinity is among the most baffling of all.

Consider this. There are somewhere between a billion and two billion Muslims on this planet. They not only believe He was just another prophet, their entire religion demands it.

It isn’t that Islam would crumble if Jesus WAS Divine, it would crumble if Jesus simply BELIEVED He was Divine. As previously noted, if He believed He was the Son of God, He could NOT be a prophet of God. He could only be Who He claimed to be, or He would be a liar. There is no logical third option.

If He said He was the Son of God, He cannot be a prophet. And if He thought that He was, and was mistaken, deluded or insane, well, then He cannot be a prophet.

Jesus never said, “I am God” in the English Bible. Instead, the Bible quotes Jesus as saying, “before Abraham was, I am.” “I am” is one of the Hebrew Names for God. When Moses asked God to identify Himself, He replied, “I am that I am. Tell them that I AM sent you.”

To the Jews living under the Mosaic Law, “I AM” could only be a reference to the God Who handed Moses the two tablets.

Jesus knew exactly what He was saying, and so did the assembled Jews. Abraham lived around 2160 BC; about as far removed from Christ’s time as Christ’s time was from our point on the timeline. After He made the claim, the Jews prepared to stone Him for blasphemy, but He slipped away in the crowd.

To somehow see this as a claim of anything other than one of Divinity is an act of desperation. What else could it POSSIBLY mean? If I said to you, “before Jesus was, I am,” how would YOU, a non-Jew living in 21st century, interpret that remark?

If YOU see it that way, how could the religious Jews of the 1st century have interpreted it to mean something different?

Matthew 28:18 records Jesus saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Who has ALL authority in heaven and earth? Who does Islam think that refers to?

Mohammed? Hardly. Only Allah is all-powerful. Who do the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe has all power in heaven and earth? Or the Mormons? Or any other religion that co-opts Christ in a supporting role?

Jesus claimed to be “Lord of the Sabbath”. Who did the Jews believe was the Lord of the Sabbath? (Answer: the One Who gave Moses the tablets. They knew Him as “I AM”.)

Jesus said that authority was given Him to forgive sins. Remember, He was addressing the most religious Jews of His day — they knew that the authority to forgive sins belongs to God alone.

Jesus claimed to be the “light of the world’ that provides salvation. David identified Jehovah as his “light and salvation.” (Psalms 27:1)

Jesus identified Himself as “the Good Shepherd” who was ‘sent to the lost sheep of Israel’ (Matthew 15:24) Ezekiel 34:11 identifies the Good Shepherd; “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.”

Jesus said He would separate the sheep nations from the goat nations. Ezekiel 34:17 says that this is a function of God: “And as for you, My flock, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I will judge between one sheep and another, between the rams and the male goats.”

Jesus said of His sheep: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:27-28)

Now, is it even POSSIBLE that the observant Jews of Israel circa AD 30 could be confused as to the identity of the One Who gives eternal life? Can you conceive of the possibility that the observant Jews of circa AD 30 were unfamiliar with the identify of the “Great I AM”?

Or that there is any other way for the Jews to have understood Christ’s claim to be anything less than Divinity? What was the charge under which Christ was convicted by the Sanhedrin?

Did Jesus ever directly claim to be the Christ, the Son of God? You tell me.

“Again the high priest asked Him, and said unto Him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I AM:” (Mark 14:61-62)

Is this unclear?

If one requires proof that Jesus Christ is real, and that Jesus Christ IS the only-begotten Son of God, the most convincing evidence is found in the number of religions that co-opted Him into it — to lend themselves legitimacy.

Why do the religions that claim Christ do so? And having done so, why claim a watered-down version of who He is? The reason they cannot deny Him outright is because He is real.

The reason they cannot acknowledge Him for Whom He claims to be is because it would expose their own religion as false.

Even acknowledging that He made the claim of Divinity exposes that religion as false. If He claimed Divinity, but was merely a man, He has no credentials as a prophet of God.

God cannot lie. If He was a liar Who allowed Himself to be executed to perpetuate a myth, then He has no credentials as a wise teacher.

In either case, there would be no reason for any other religion to even WANT Him, let alone kidnap Him as their prophet.

In the final analysis, logic dictates that the Person of Jesus Christ was either the Son of God, truly God and truly Man, Who lived a sinless life and died a sinner’s death as full payment for the sins of mankind, and now sits at the Right Hand of the Father.

Or those religions who have adopted Him as their prophet are following a liar and a lunatic.

In either case, it exposes them as cheap counterfeits. If He is not Lord OF all, then He cannot be Lord AT All.

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

That Name is Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God.

A Tale of Two Citizenships

A Tale of Two Citizenships
Vol: 79 Issue: 14 Monday, April 14, 2008

A two year old American child is fighting deportation to Mexico. That was the intriguing headline. The back-story involves an illegal alien, a criminal, and their American-born daughter.

And the sudden rediscovery of some archaic and discarded legal principle called “immigration law.”

Perhaps you’ve heard of it — some antiquated notion that a nation has the right to determine who is allowed inside its borders. Evidently, immigration laws are still on the books, despite the twelve million or so illegal aliens now called ‘undocumented workers.’

The child’s mother, Margaux Stamps, is serving time in minimum security jail in Wilsonville, Oregon. The child’s step-father used to be an ‘undocumented worker’ but somewhere along the line, was redesignated an illegal alien and deported.

Does any of this make any sense, so far? No? Good. (I thought it was me.)

Margaux Stamps is doing time for abusing her three kids, two of whom were fathered by the deported ex-boyfriend from Mexico. The third, Faith, was fathered by an American citizen — also now doing time in prison.

So, are you still with me? Faith Cephas is an American citizen, the child of American citizens, who has lived in America since birth. But she is fighting deportation!

How can this be? Stay with me. It’s complicated. . .

Right now, Faith is living with her paternal grandparents, Maurice and Luz Cephus, of Oregon, (which is still believed to be part of the United States at the time of this writing).

The grandparents are Faith’s biological grandparents –and about the only real family she’s ever known. They’ve served as her foster parents since Faith’s mother went to prison.

“We wanted to adopt her,” said Maurice Cephus. “She’s our blood granddaughter. She has our name. And we are ready and willing to take care of her and raise her.”

So, she’s American, her parents are American, and her grandparents are American, but Faith is scheduled to be deported to Mexico, to live with a family that she has never met, to whom she is not related.

But wait! There’s more. The family in Mexico doesn’t particularly want baby Faith but Oregon is insisting they take her.

That’s the deal, so what the heck is going on?

Remember the illegal alien who fathered Stamps’ first two kids? Well, although he’s not her father, the other two kids are her half-siblings.

And Oregon’s Department of Human Services has a policy of keeping siblings together. Faith’s siblings are living with family members in Mexico City.

The local television station in Oregon, KATU News, tracked down a family member of the Mexican grandparents living in Hillsboro. He said his sister and brother-in-law lead a comfortable, middle class life and are ready and willing to take in their two biological grandchildren.

He said they have been told by DHS they would also have to adopt Faith. In essence, they would have to adopt all three — or get none of them.

As for Faith’s mother, Stamps said the home Maurice and Luz Cephus provide is better than the conditions she saw in Mexico several years ago during a visit to see her ex-boyfriend’s parents.

“It’s not safe. Not somewhere you’d want your children to grow up,” she said, describing their neighborhood in Mexico City. “I think it’s selfish for them to want to take my children from this country and into theirs – especially a neighborhood that is so poor and dangerous.”

“That just baffles me,” Stamps said. “I don’t understand how anyone could think that would make sense or be in her best interest. She’s not even related,” she continued.

“I don’t think she’d be taken care of well at all because she’s not related and the culture is different. And I don’t even see how she’d survive over there.”

Here’s the Big Picture. Immigrants who come to Oregon illegally can expect to receive sanctuary from the state, in violation of federal immigration laws that make giving sanctuary to illegal aliens a federal felony.

But American-born Faith Cephus is in danger of being deported thanks to some state child-welfare law.

The spirit of the law is aimed at keeping families together. But in this case, following the letter of the law, the spirit of the law is turned on its head.

Assessment:

As Christians, we often struggle with the problems associated with being IN a world that we are not OF. One of those struggles involves separating the spirit of the law from the letter of the law.

It wasn’t some liberal-minded Christian that made that distinction, but rather, it was Jesus Christ Himself. (And He ought to know!)

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

The Pharisees had perverted the original intent of the Mosaic Law, keeping its letter, but ignoring the spirit in which it was given.

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. . . . Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.” (Matthew 24:23,25)

Jesus condemned them for using the details of the Law to circumvent the intent of the Law. Indeed, the Apostle Paul pointed out that “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight” (Romans 3:20) because the Law was designed to prove our helpless spiritual estate; “for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20)

This, as I noted earlier, is an issue many Christians struggle with, dismissing the concept of “once saved, always saved,” by either claiming it is Calvinist or somehow unBiblical.

The Law is the Law, they say, and therefore, a professing Christian who is still in bondage to some habitual sin is not really saved.

That is as logical as the law that plans to deport an American citizen to Mexico to live with a family she isn’t related to because of some state law requiring siblings to be kept together. (Faith doesn’t know her half-siblings, but she knows her grandparents).

If, as Paul says, “by the deeds of the law there shall be no flesh justified in His sight” then what is the intended ‘spirit’ of the Law that says it must be obeyed perfectly from cradle to grave in order to be saved?

There can be but one logical answer. To prove that man must rely on God for salvation. He cannot earn it on his own.

“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all,” James 2:10 tells us.

So what if somebody doesn’t keep PART of the law, but trusts Jesus for His salvation? Is that person still saved?

The Law says, “Remember the Sabbath, and keep it Holy.” Do we have to keep that part? Do you?

Do you refrain from all work? Do you refuse to embark on a journey on the Sabbath? Would you call a halt to the journey mid-point to keep the Sabbath? Most would answer ‘no’ — but it IS the Law.

Are you are prepared to argue that if you don’t keep the Sabbath, you are not really saved?

What about; “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” (Exodus 20:4)?

Do you have a photo album? Does it mean you aren’t saved?

What is the spirit of these two Laws — that is to say, what is their intent? To remind us to honor God? Or to keep us housebound on Sundays and eliminate the photo-album market?

What is the spirit of the Oregonian law mandating siblings be kept together? It should be obvious that Oregon’s state legislature was not contemplating deporting American citizens to Mexico when it enacted the law in question here. But keeping the ‘letter’ of the law demands it.

The Bible says it is the ‘letter’ of the law that kills the spirit. “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” (2nd Corinthians 3:6)

Many of the same Christians who condemn carnal Christians to eternal hellfire also argue that it would be wrong to suddenly deport twelve million illegal aliens because it would be morally wrong.

But it’s the law! Can one be a law-abiding American citizen and simultaneously object to the legal deportation of a segment of the population equivalent to that of a small country?

You tell me. If the answer is ‘no’, then half of America, (or more) is undeserving of citizenship.

At the point of salvation, a Christian becomes a citizen of heaven, temporarily stationed on earth as an ambassador for Christ.

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” (2nd Corinthians 5:20)

“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” (Ephesians 2:19)

As Christians, we are not only citizens of heaven, but from God’s perspective, it is as if we are already there.

“Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:5-9)

Those who object to eternal security do so on the grounds that they see it as ‘license to sin” while simultaneously knowing in their hearts that man doesn’t need a license to sin.

The license issued by Satan at the Garden of Eden is still in force. Sin is what men do. Forgive is what God does.

Claiming the spirit of the Law does not make provision for man’s inability to meet God’s standard both denies the Word of God and despises the price paid for our redemption.

We are made citizens of heaven by the Sovereign Will of God at the point of our spiritual rebirth, in much the same way that little Faith Cephus became an American citizen by the sovereign laws of the United States of America at the point of her birth.

God is not the Oregon Department of Human Resources. He doesn’t revoke our citizenship on a legal technicality.

Just as there is no legal provision to revoke a native-born American’s citizenship, there is no Scriptural provision for revoking the heavenly citizenship of one who has been born-again into the newness of the Spirit.

A Christian is a new creation, no longer either Jew or Gentile, but as distinctly different as a butterfly is from a caterpillar. (2nd Corinthians 5:16-21)

A caterpillar can become a butterfly, but the process is irreversible. The Christian’s transformation is accomplished by the Holy Spirit, and it defies logical comprehension how this can be accomplished more than once.

That leaves only two, possible, logical conclusions. Either one is forever saved, or, if one loses his salvation, he is forever damned, so it doesn’t matter if he repents or not.

Which then logically suggests that salvation is a reward in exchange for a ‘good’ life, which is neither Scripturally or logically supportable.

Who defines a ‘good life?’ You? Your cultural standards? Your church’s rules? If your answer is “God” then He already did: Keep the Ten Commandments perfectly from cradle to grave. And the circle closes where it began.

Nobody’s gonna be there.

So when a Christian falls, God is not standing by with a sledgehammer to pound him into the dirt — He is standing by with a Hand outstretched to lift him back up on his feet and to set him back on the road.

Being a Christian is too easy for some of us — we want to make it harder because it seems right to us to do so. And that is logical enough in its own way. When one considers what our heavenly citizenship is worth, it doesn’t seem logical that we get it for free.

For 95% of the world, America is like that. When one considers what American citizenship is worth, it doesn’t seem logical that to get it, all one has to do is be born within a specific geographic location.

That is all that is necessary to possess it, and there is nothing one can do on one’s own to lose it.

In a sense, we’re all a bit like little Faith — destined to be foreigners trapped by circumstance in a strange land, unable to claim our birthrights of citizenship — for now.

But even if little Faith IS deported to Mexico now, she will always be an American, and when she is ready to come home, she’ll need nothing more than to show her passport at the border. No matter what Oregon’s Department of Human Services thinks is right.

At that moment when you cried out in despair, “Lord Jesus, I am a sinner, forgive me.” your heavenly passport was issued and stamped ‘irrevocable’.

It was the letter of the law, not its Spirit, that caused the Lord of Glory to be nailed to a tree.

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)

The Spirit of the Law is that God is not willing that any should perish, and that all should come to repentance.

The truth is, you already have your passport.

You are already a citizen of heaven, sealed by the seal of the Holy Spirit.

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)

Maranatha!

With Liberty and Justice for Some. . .

With Liberty and Justice for Some. . .
Vol: 79 Issue: 12 Saturday, April 12, 2008

Is there some kind of Constitutional provision that allows Congress to legislate morality? Some might argue yes, insofar as all laws are efforts to enforce acceptable standards for moral conduct.

It is immoral not to provide the basic necessities of life for one’s children. We have laws making failure to meet this fundamental moral responsibility a crime.

County jails across America are crammed with deadbeat dads doing time for failing to live up to this socially-mandated moral responsibility.

Without bringing up whether or not this is discriminatory on its face, we can agree that men are generally ordered to pay support, and women are usually required to adhere to visitation schedules.

But, if one were to interpret the statistics as they exist, one could conclude one of two things. Either such court orders are only binding on men, or else women more scrupulously obey them.

As noted, the jails are full of deadbeat dads, but one would be hard pressed to find a mother doing time for making the kids unavailable during scheduled visitation days.

Recently, a Christian photographer was fined $6,600.00 for turning down a gig to take wedding photos at a same-sex ceremony in New Mexico. (It should be noted at this point that both gay marriage and civil unions are illegal in New Mexico.)

It seems, according to the WND report, that the ‘couple’ approached the owners of Elane Photography, who declined the job because it violated their Christian conscience to do so.

Rather than seek another photographer, the two women evidently decided that nobody else was as good as Elane Photography, so they filed a complaint with the state human rights commission to force Elane Photography to either photograph their ceremony or face legal consequences.

The state agency concluded that it was a crime for Elane Photography to refuse to violate her religious convictions and photograph what is, by any interpretation of existing New Mexico law, an illegal ceremony.

Assessment:

Let’s turn this around. Suppose, for example, instead of being owned by Christians, Elane Photography were owned by a Muslim family.

Along comes a local livestock rancher who contracts for a photo shoot of his farm for insurance purposes, or to put it up for sale, or maybe he just likes his farm.

After all, they’re photographers, right? Their job is to take pictures. So, once the photographers confirm that they are in the business of taking pictures for hire, the livestock ranger says his main business is pork production, and he wants photos of his livestock.

“Whoa!” says our Muslim photographer. “I can’t go on your pig farm and take pictures. It would violate my religious conscience.”

So, the livestock owner takes the Muslim photographer to court, alleging discrimination against his legal business based on somebody else’s religious convictions.

It’s a no-brainer, really. The human rights court orders the Muslim photographers to set aside their religious convictions and go to the pig farm and take pictures, or face heavy fines and a conviction for human rights violations, right?

I dunno. You tell me. I’m trying to picture it happening and I just can’t see it. In fact, if it were to happen, I would be among the loudest of critics.

You see, I don’t believe what Muslims believe — I plan to have bacon for breakfast this morning — but I believe that they believe it.

And so, to force someone to do something they believe would condemn them to eternal damnation would be unconscionable. It would be as if I were ordered by a court to renounce Jesus.

But for the fun of it, let’s assume that our pig farmer did try to use the law to force the Muslims to violate their religious beliefs by entering and photographing his pig farm.

Would it even make it to court? Unlikely.

At the terrorist detention center at Gitmo, American guards must wear rubber gloves when handling a Koran so that they don’t soil it by their infidel touch. To do otherwise, ruled the military, would violate the freedom of conscience of the murderous terrorists housed there.

This isn’t about Muslims or same sex-marriage or where one is philosophically. It is about the legal precedent establishing political correctness as a fundamental principle of law.

It may be just as legal for the pig farmer to demand a Muslim photographer as it was the gay couple to demand a Christian photographer, but it is nowhere nearly as politically correct.

And therefore, one form of religious conscience is judicially illegal under the Doctrine of Political Correctness.

And the other is, (just as judicially) both legally justifiable under the Constitutional guarantee of freedom of assembly and reasonable under any logical standard of human rights.

Texas A&M holds an annual contest for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term. Last year, the term to be defined was ‘Political Correctness’.

The winner defined Political Correctness as follows:

“Political Correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up [a poop] by the clean end.”

(I cleaned it up slightly, but you get the idea)

Political correctness is rightly called the ‘tyranny of the minority’ because it is impossible for a member of a majority group to claim discrimination, and equally impossible for a member of that same group to mount an effective defense when charged against him.

A Christian’s religious convictions are, by definition, discriminatory because they are Christian. If they were Islamic convictions, then they cannot be discriminatory because they are NOT Christian.

The mere fact that the above statement made sense to you as you read it is all the evidence necessary to make my point.

Christianity is the majority religion, and therefore, automatically discriminatory. By virtue its majority standing, it is automatically guilty until proved innocent, as the saying goes.

I submit that a gay photographer could NOT discriminate against a heterosexual couple by refusing to photograph a straight wedding. No court would entertain such a notion long enough for it to make it to a hearing. It is ridiculous to even contemplate such a scenario.

But a Christian? That is different story. Two thousand years ago, at the dawn of the Church Age, the Roman authorities threw Christians to the lions for refusing to compromise their convictions of faith.

Since historians point to that as being the final act of a dying empire, literally throwing Christians to the lions is illegal in 21st century America.

But figuratively throwing Christians to the wolves has become the blood sport of the tyrannical minority of the Politically Correct.

I knew the Bible said this would be the case as the clock wound down on the age of human government. But I could never picture it happening. Before, it seemed like science-fiction.

And then suddenly, it was headline news.

The Doomsday Machine

The Doomsday Machine
Vol: 79 Issue: 11 Friday, April 11, 2008

As I first reported in my blog (how’s that for shameless self-promotion?) the London Sunday Times featured a report that said the internet, as we know it, may soon be obsolete.

Obsolete? The internet, to all intents and purposes, is only about eighteen years old now! Think about THAT for a second, in terms of Daniel’s prophecy about ‘knowledge being increased.’

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Daniel 12:4

The Grid, which is to replace the internet, is expected to make the internet so fast that it will be faster and easier to store all your information online than in your hard drive.

At the kinds of speeds the Grid is capable of delivering, anything capable of accessing the internet could replace a high-end desk top.

The Grid is expected to transmit data at, get this, ten THOUSAND times the speed of a typical broadband cable connection.

Online internet games could be populated by thousands of players simultaneously. One could download a feature-length film in eight seconds or less.

And The Grid is almost here. Or, ‘almost here’ in Britain, anyway. If all goes as planned, by fall, The Grid will be operational there, and fiber optic networks necessary to hook up the US and Canada are already in place.

Noted the Times, “The power of the grid will become apparent this summer after what scientists at Cern have termed their red button day – the switching-on of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the new particle accelerator built to probe the origin of the universe. The grid will be activated at the same time to capture the data it generates.”

It seems that researchers at Cern (birthplace of the Internet) started The Grid project in 2001 when they realized that the Large Hadron Collider would generate enough annual data to make a stack of CDs forty miles high and there was no existing technology capable of capturing it.

Most really cool consumer technology evolved out of some military or scientific necessity, so it makes sense that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) forced the creation of The Grid in the first place, and so therefore, all the above makes sense.

But for one little detail. What the heck is an LHC? In layman’s terms, it’s an atom smasher. Here’s how Malcolm Fairbairn, a theoretical physicist at Cern explained it:

“It is the biggest experiment in the world and we hope we are going to understand all sorts of things like the origin of mass and what is the dark matter in the universe.”

The LHC will duplicate what Cern says happens in “nature all the time” (in outer space, and — and this is important — in theory) by sending protons crashing into each other in a 18 mile long particle accelerator tunnel.

The result will be, according to Dr. Fairbairn; “. . .the highest energy that man has ever created, but the key word is man, because in nature protons are smashing against each other all the time at much higher energies than those of the LHC.”

What will happen when Cern flips the switch and unleashes the LHC? There are two theoretical scenarios. In the first one, the LHC unlocks the secrets of the universe, including, it is hoped, the isolation of the “God Particle”.

The other theoretic possibility is that it creates a black hole that destroys it.

Assessment:

It is the second possibility that prompted a lawsuit, filed March 21 in Federal District Court, in Honolulu, seeking a temporary restraining order prohibiting CERN from proceeding with the accelerator as scheduled.

Could the collider create mini-black holes that last long enough and get big enough to turn into a matter-sucking maelstrom? Could exotic particles known as magnetic monopoles throw atomic nuclei out of whack?

Could quarks recombine into “strangelets” that would turn the whole Earth into one big lump of exotic matter?

“Ummm,” say the theorists, “we don’t think so.”

Some physicists say the LHC could create microscopic black holes that would ‘hang around for just a tiny fraction of a second and then decay.’ Others deny the possibility at all.

And others, like the guys who filed the lawsuit, think as long as there is a theoretical possibility, however slight, that the earth could be sucked into a black hole, maybe we should learn to live with broadband?

There are other theoretical possibilities less drastic than creating a black hole that consumes the universe. Air has density, and would be the first thing consumed by even a mini-black hole. (One hopes the LHC is airtight)

This brings to mind a line from the “Jurrasic Park” movie where Jeff Goldblum says of the science that created the man-eating dinosaurs trying to eat them that they were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that nobody stopped to think if they should.

For its part, the European Organization for Nuclear Research addresses the fears it might destroy the earth rather nonchalantly on its website.

It notes, “Since the much higher-energy collisions provided by Nature for billions of years have not harmed the Earth, there is no reason to think that any phenomenon produced by the LHC will do so.”

Apart from the fact its never been artificially reproduced? When one considers man’s other attempts to artificially reproduce natural phenomenon, that reassurance is not really that reassuring.

“Cosmic rays also collide with the Moon, Jupiter, the Sun and other astronomical bodies. The total number of these collisions is huge compared to what is expected at the LHC. The fact that planets and stars remain intact strengthens our confidence that LHC collisions are safe.”

Again, expecting what happens on Jupiter to happen in a tunnel laboratory on the Swiss border with France doesn’t seem that scientifically reassuring.

At its website, Cern doesn’t deny that the mini-black holes will produce energy.

It says instead that while the total energy in each beam of protons is the “equivalent to a 400 ton train traveling at 90 mph” the amount the LHC will release in each particle collision is “roughly equivalent to the energy of a dozen flying mosquitoes.” (Gee, that makes sense.)

Especially since the next paragraph says that, “During part of its operation, the LHC will collide beams of lead nuclei, which have a greater collision energy, equivalent to just over a thousand mosquitoes. However, this will be much more spread out than the energy produced in the proton collisions, and also presents no risk.”

Granted, I’m not a nuclear physicist. But is it the energy of a 400 ton train going 90 mph or a dozen mosquitoes — or a thousand mosquitoes?

In fact, an executive summary of the scientific reassurances offered by Cern would read, “Ummm, we’re not sure, either.”

Now, before you run screaming from the room, I don’t think that the Cern experiment will create a black hole that will eat the earth sometime this summer.

The Bible says that this earth has at least another thousand years left, and that as long as it remains, it will remain capable of sustaining human life.

What is most interesting here, I think, in terms of the Bible, is what it says ABOUT the Bible’s supernatural origin. This is all about finding the Higgs-Bosun Particle, or the “God particle” that holds the universe together.

Two thousand years ago, the Apostle Peter had already explained the “God Particle” and what will happen to the matter of the universe without it.

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” (2nd Peter 3:10)

Think of this in the context of the first century. Peter is describing the death of the universe using scientific terms unknown to anyone except the 21st century particle physicists. Think of it conceptually, from the perspective of 1st century man.

It is astonishing to consider some of the descriptions of end times battles in Scripture in light of modern nuclear weapons.

The prophets variously described battles involving blood, fire, and pillars of smoke, capable of raining down 100 pound hailstones, fire and brimstone and polluting the environment.

Such things were unthinkable prior to August 6, 1945, when the Enola Gay dropped “Little Boy” over Hiroshima. Since August 6th, 1945 we’ve thought of little else.

There are those who believe the Bible is really a work of human beings, which has been updated and ‘modernized’ over the centuries to fit current events.

What Peter described 2000 years ago and recorded in 2nd Peter 3:10 was unthinkable even a decade ago. Now, there are lawsuits aimed at trying to prevent it.

So also, was Peter’s explanation for how he knew 2000 years ago what Cern isn’t totally certain of, even today.

“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:” (2nd Peter 1:19)

So, I don’t think the LHC will destroy the earth. The real story here isn’t even that it could.

The real story is that once again, when science and the Bible seem out of synch, it was because science needed to catch up.

Brrrr! Must Be Global Warming!

Brrrr! Must Be Global Warming!
Vol: 79 Issue: 10 Thursday, April 10, 2008

On January 4th, 2007, the BBC reported that 2007 would become “the warmest year on record.”

Citing experts in the British government’s Meteorological Office, the story announced that “the world is likely to experience the warmest year on record in 2007,” surpassing the all-time high reached in 1998.

Instead, 2007 was no warmer than 2006, which was no warmer than 2005. . . or any year going back to the turn of the century. Indeed, the warmest year on record remains 1998.

What does that mean? It means that there has been no evidence of ‘global warming’ for almost a decade. Atmospheric carbon dioxide — the identified culprit responsible for global warming, (according to Al Gore) has risen four percent since 1998. But temperatures didn’t go up correspondingly.

This is a fact, despite Al Gore’s oft-repeated contention that the ‘debate in the scientific community is over.’ If there has been no evidence of global warming in a decade, and essentially no evidence of global warming prior to 1975, could it be possible that we are about to recreate human civilization based on a weather pattern of just over two decades duration?

Of course, the scientific debate isn’t over — it’s simply been suppressed. Belief in global warming has taken on all the trappings of a religious belief. It has its own prophets, (like Al Gore), it’s own mysteries of faith, (like where did it go?) and, most religious of all, it has its own heretics and a form of excommunication to deal with them.

Global warming has become a euphemism for a political agenda. There is Socialism, Capitalism and global warmingism.

It has become a religion run by fanatics reminiscent of the leaders of the darkest days of the Inquisition that nearly destroyed civil society only a few hundred years ago. We are not to question the great god of global warming. Those who do are separated from civil society and labeled as heretics.

So how can anyone question the decrees handed down from the Ivory Towers to the unwashed masses? Answer: every religion has its heretics.

The simple truth is there is no scientific consensus on global warming. In fact, as the media frenzy screams global warming, there are a growing number of scientists who are expressing their doubts.

Last December, more than 100 scientists signed a strongly-worded open letter in which they said that climate change is a well-known natural phenomenon, and that adapting to it is far more sensible than attempting to prevent it.

Because slashing carbon dioxide emissions means retarding economic development, they warned, “the current UN approach of CO2 reduction is likely to increase human suffering from future climate change rather than to decrease it.”

If global warming is a hoax, then why are there so many scientists and scientific organizations backing it?

Knowing its origins is helpful. In the 1980’s British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was pushing to expand Britain’s nuclear energy grid, against stiff opposition from environmental groups. So Maggie offered research grant money for scientific ‘evidence’ that nuclear energy is safer than fossil fuel energy.

Accordingly, a ‘scientific consensus’ emerged that fossil fuel energy was more dangerous than nuclear energy because fossil fuels created greenhouse gases that causes global warming.

Other nations picked up on the hidden political power behind global warming alarmism. After all, what agenda is too extreme to save humanity from extinction?

The scientific ‘consensus’ behind global warming can be expressed thusly: “Government grants that purchase the desired result generate more grants.”

If you are a worker-bee scientist for some large scientific agency, are you going to submit a proposal saying global warming is exaggerated and that no further grant money is necessary. (And therefore, neither are you?)

The fear of global warming translates into power. Power in Washington. Power on the international stage. Power over economic development. Power over international monetary decisions. Power over energy.

But it is all based on a con game.

Assessment:

I readily admit I am not a scientist. But I refuse to concede that my not being a scientist is the same thing as being an unthinking idiot.

Last winter was among the coldest on record in South America. In Buenos Aires, it snowed for the first time in 89 years. Chile’s winter was the worst in fifty years, and was blamed for at least $200 million in crop losses.

A global warming concert in Johannesburg, South Africa, was marked by the first snowfall in that city in twenty-eight years. In Australia, June, 2007 was the coldest on record.

Snowfall in New Hampshire in December, 2007 broke a record that had stood since 1876. The Canadians experienced their coldest winter in fifteen years.

Oleg Sorokhtin, a senior scientist with Russia’s Academy of Natural Sciences, says the world is entering into another cold snap, similar to that experienced between 1940 and 1975.

(Which followed a warming period from 1900-1940, which broke a four hundred year cold cycle, which had broken a four hundred year cycle of warming. . .)

Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve personally experience several extended periods of cooling, followed by warming, followed by cooling.

I recall the breathless 1975 warnings of a coming Ice Age with the same clarity that I recall the first breathless warnings of global warming in the late 1980’s.

Just about the time the scientific community had us convinced it was time to stock up on winter clothing, the British announced fossil fuels were responsible for global warming.

Since losing the 2000 Election, Al Gore turned it into a personal crusade. And now that we’re pretty much convinced that global warming is real, it’s started getting colder again.

But, as previously noted, I am not a scientist. So how can I be so absolutely sure that global warming is a farce? Because the whole global warming debate was predicted in Scripture as being among the signs of the return of Christ.

“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:25-26)

Notice that Jesus is talking about ‘signs’ and ‘perception’ rather than fact. Notice also that the fear is global. Nations in distress and perplexity over those things they see coming upon the earth. It isn’t climate change being warned of here, but the FEAR of climate change.

Scripture says that the climate is regulated by God, and He promised in Genesis 8:22 that, “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”

Well, the earth remaineth. And so do cold and heat, seedtime and harvest, summer and winter.

And so does the distress of nations, with perplexity, at looking after the things they see coming upon the earth, as the powers of heaven are shaken. To the world, it is a terrifying prospect.

But unto us who are saved, it is both a manifestation of the power of God and a Promise.

“And when these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)

Blog Notes:

The membership has spoken! The Omega Letter’s blog now bears the name chosen by the majority; “What’s This World Coming To?”

I am awaiting the new header design to replace that dumb-looking red car that graces the top of the page now. That and a few more minor housekeeping improvements, and we’re good to go.

Thank you all for participating in the polls. Feel free to register to and post a comment or two at the new blog site so that when it goes live, it doesn’t look too totally deserted.

And may God bless our efforts, and our fellowship. Until He comes.

Alice in Washington

Alice in Washington
Vol: 79 Issue: 9 Wednesday, April 9, 2008

It was bound to become a media circus. All three presidential candidates found the time to seat themselves at the Grown Up Table in time for the grilling of General David Petraeus.

The last time the general was scheduled to deliver his report to the Congress, he was greeted by a full-page ad in the New York Times that hurled the worst insult one could throw at a professional military officer.

The ad, paid for by moveon.org, used a childish play on his name to call him a ‘traitor’ — the infamous “General Petraeus? Or General Betray Us?” spot.

Still, the disconnect between the rhetoric and reality this time around, although expected, was nonetheless startling.

It is difficult to imagine that otherwise sane, educated people who manage to tie their own shoelaces, drive automobiles, and find their way to work each day all by themselves could actually believe the blather they were spewing.

There are only a handful of positions in government more senior than that of Senate Majority Leader. One would expect a responsible position like that to be filled by someone who, well, someone who isn’t so obviously out of touch with reality.

“Has the war in Iraq made America safer?” Reid asked on the Senate floor. To my astonishment, he had the jaw-dropping temerity to answer himself, out loud and in front of people, saying “There is no question that it has not.”

What criteria was used to make THAT determination? It’s been argued that, thanks to the war in Iraq, America is less safe because it turned former allies against us.

That is double-talk. At worst, it laid bare who were allies based on shared principles and which were allies of convenience.

Forget nations for second, and break it down to the personal level. (After all, ‘nations’ are composed of individuals.)

As an individual, wouldn’t you want to know which of the people you work with are reliable allies and which would stab you in the back if it was a good career move for them?

When are you more secure? Before you know whom you can trust and whom you can’t? Or after you’ve identified the backstabbers among you? It’s an ugly fact of life, but it IS a fact of life.

Clearly, it would be equally advantageous for a nation to know who its friends really are, and which are the back-stabbers in waiting. Having that information does NOT make America less secure in any discernible way. At worst, it exposes a much more dangerous illusion of security

Apart from that, there hasn’t been a major terrorist attack against the United States since the United States took the war to the enemy’s front yard. That isn’t a subjective assessment, it is a statement of concrete fact.

That isn’t to say that they aren’t trying, or that they won’t ultimately manage another major attack against the US homeland, but they’d be trying whether Saddam was still in power or not.

No matter how many times one runs it through the spin cycle, America has been safer since September 11 than it was ON September 11. And plenty of evidence indicating the war in Iraq played a role.

There are reams and reams of documents captured by US forces since the fall of Baghdad that prove direct connections in the early 1990’s between Saddam and Osama. There are memos of understanding providing Iraqi assistance for training and supplying al-Qaeda between Osama and Uday Hussein.

These documents have been released to the media, which largely ignored them, so the average guy on the street can be forgiven for his ignorance.

But Harry Reid is not the average guy on the street. It is impossible to believe that he doesn’t know any of this.

Reid knows that Iraq has become a magnet for al-Qaeda — he has said as much on previous rants against the war. (He stopped saying that when somebody asked him where al-Qaeda would go to fight the West if NOT Iraq.)

Reid couldn’t care less about the safety of the American homeland, unless it affords his party a political advantage. That sounds harsh to say, but it is hard to come to any other conclusion, given the evidence.

The reality is that what we are supposed to be talking about is a real war, with real blood and real death.

What are the Democrats talking about? The next election.

Assessment:

“The commander in chief has incredible authority,” said Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, one of the freshman Democrats swept into Congress in 2006 amid promises to challenge the war.

“It’s going to take the election for the policy to change,” Tester said. “It’s going to take a different president.”

Allow that statement to sweep over you, drink in the monumental stupidity and partisan blindness that, if anything, is the one thing that has NOT contributed to the safety and security of the American homeland.

General Petraeus’ report, if you are inclined to see American victory as good news, is proof positive that the current policy is working. Tester is advocating ‘change’ for the sake of change.

And we’re getting a new president, no matter who wins in November, so what the heck does that mean?

The answer is it is meaningless electioneering — apart from using real blood, real war and real death as a backdrop.

The mere fact that Harry Reid could stand up and question whether or not the Iraq War has contributed to American security is evidence that it has. If America were facing the terrorist assault currently being visited on Iraq, he wouldn’t have to ask. If America were mourning another 9/11, he wouldn’t have to ask.

Way back when the wounds of September 11 were still fresh, the Democrats solemnly pledged to America that it would never ‘politicize’ the war. You don’t have to take my word for it — take Tom Daschle’s, delivered from the well of the Senate on September 25, 2002:

“That is wrong. We ought not politicize this war. We ought not politicize the rhetoric about war and life and death.”

For five years, I’ve been struggling with the concept that the war to remove Saddam Hussein from power was either immoral or wrong-headed. The prosecution of the war was idiotic, but that isn’t the same thing.

To argue that Saddam was not a threat is to ignore history. To argue that America is less safe with Saddam in the grave is mindless.

And to argue that removing a mass murderer from power is ‘immoral’ indicates a moral compass in need of a north pole.

Since the fall of Saddam, every Islamic nutbar with a grudge against Uncle Sam has flocked to Iraq where he is met by Americans in Kevlar helmets carrying M-16s instead of American civilians carrying briefcases.

I’ve used the “Alice in Wonderland” analogy in the past because I can’t really think of anything else that fits — other than the picture presented by Scripture for the last days.

It is described as a time when right will be called wrong, good will be despised, evil celebrated and defended, where dishonesty is a virtue and patriotism a vice.

“. . . lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” (2nd Timothy 3:2-5)

Like the characters in the Alice in Wonderland story or in the US Congress.

Or, in the obviously perilous times still to come.

Blog Notes:

Ok, we’ve narrowed the choices down to the four names that got the most votes overall. So, now it is up to you to pick the winner. We’ve one last poll — I hope you aren’t tired of it yet — and we’ll be bloggin’.

Please pray with me for God’s blessings on our new endeavor and that it will bear much fruit for the Kingdom.

And may God bless us all, as we press forward to the time appointed.

Is it “Offensive” to Hold Up a Mirror?

Is it “Offensive” to Hold Up a Mirror?
Vol: 79 Issue: 8 Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Among the ‘tributes’ being offered to the late Charlton Heston was one offered by a blogger who noted, “You may now pry the gun from his cold, dead fingers.”

However, that comment wasn’t necessarily intended to be offensive — it was an example of liberal political ‘humor’. If somebody is offended, well, welcome to America, land of the First Amendment.

And as fond as I was of Charlton Heston, he DID infuriate liberals to the point of distraction when, from the podium of the NRA he held aloft an antique rifle and boomed; “You can take my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.”

And I am sure that while a lot of conservatives took offense, it is because they CHOSE to. In a sense, the ‘joke’ could also be taken as a sort of left-handed tribute, in the sense that Heston ‘stuck to his guns’ to the end of his life.

In our current cultural environment, ‘sensitivity’ is all the rage. One can take courses in Islamic sensitivity, racial sensitivity, cultural sensitivity, gender sensitivity — about the only conditions for which there are no corresponding courses in sensitivity would be white male sensitivity or Christian sensitivity.

In modern Western culture, it is still ok to be insensitive to the problems associated with being a white male or a Christian, which is why it is ok to parody Charlton Heston in death without fear of being ordered by some judge into the appropriate sensitivity training session.

On the other hand, one would never get away with similarly mocking the death of a member of a ‘protected’ group. Making a sick joke about the death of a prominent gay person from AIDS is a guaranteed trip to a sensitivity training session, if somebody from that protected group takes offense.

And NOBODY in their right minds would consider making Islam the butt of any kind of joke. In some places in the West, (Canada, for example) the Heston ‘joke’ could air on national TV, but making light of Islam or gay rights is a criminal offense.

In fact, I am not sure that I couldn’t be arrested for simply making the above statement, if it offended gays or Muslims. Under a number of Western hate crimes laws, (Canada, for example), whether or not the offensive statement is true is no defense.

If it offends a member of a privileged group, then the ‘crime’ constitutes the evidence. (“If it wasn’t offensive, then nobody would have been offended and you wouldn’t be standing here. Guilty. Next case?”)

Assessment:

Offense is something that must be taken — it is an act of voluntary choice. If one chooses to TAKE offense, then one is offended. But to be offended involves the act of ‘taking’ offense by the ‘offended’ party. Do you follow?

In the Heston example I used, one has a choice between taking offense, (as did Bill O’Reilly , who called it ‘hate speech’) or choosing to see it as an accidental tribute to Heston’s uncompromising courage of conviction.

Heston himself exercised that choice when, as I wrote yesterday, George Clooney reacted with glee to Heston’s announcement he had been diagnosed with Altzheimer’s.

Rather than taking offense, Heston simply said he felt sorry for Clooney, since Clooney had as good a chance of coming down with the disease as anybody else. Clooney OFFERED an offense, but Heston chose not to take it.

What began as a seemingly good idea — there are, after all, such things as ‘hate crimes’ — quickly morphed into a political weapon, more often used to silence political criticism than it is to prevent hate crimes.

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12,16:25)

One never hears of Muslims being hauled before a human rights court for hate speech. When the hate speech emanates from an Islamic source, it is protected religious speech.

One never hears of homosexual activists being hauled before a human rights court for hateful depictions of Christianity.

‘Hate speech’ is defined as speech that causes offense to an identifiable minority group. Therefore, the crime originates with the victim rather than the ‘perpetrator’. If any of the photos (except the first one) in today’s OL offend a Muslim or a gay person, then they are illegal. If nobody is offended, then they are legal.

Whether or not I’ve committed a crime depends on someone else’s whim.

Notice where all the power is in this equation — or rather, where it is NOT. Charlton Heston’s ‘cold, dead fingers’ are already fair game for ridicule before his body arrived at the funeral home. A few guys, (like Bill O’Reilly) took public offense, most decent human beings were offended privately, but nobody is going to haul the Huffington Post or the Daily Kos before some human rights commission.

Charlton Heston was not gay, he wasn’t a Muslim, he wasn’t a liberal. And he was unashamedly pro-American, pro-Constitution and pro-Christian. Therefore, Heston can be hated with impunity.

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:” (2nd Timothy 3:1-5)

Blog Notes:

Judging from the polls, I guess you guys didn’t care much for the first crop of choices — 59% of you didn’t like any of them. Most of the names suggested in the forums have either a Biblical or prophetic theme to them. I am trying to avoid that for deliberate reasons. It isn’t that I am ashamed of the Gospel, or that I am trying to hide it.

I guess the best way to explain it is by way of anecdote. I used to work for the TV program, “This Week in Bible Prophecy.” It was a great name, and it was one of the most highly rated TV shows on TBN, in part, because the name attracted those who were interested in the subject.

Another reason was because we made an effort to obtain interviews with non-Christians, reasoning that the truth was more powerful coming from someone outside the Bible prophecy community.

If a top Israeli or American politician was saying essentially the same thing we were, then it couldn’t be as easily dismissed. The problem was getting them to agree after they heard the name of the program. Some would just hang up. Others would laugh first.

I once ‘ambush interviewed’ former CIA Director William Colby, until halfway through the interview, he asked me what TWIBP on my microphone stood for. When I told him, he turned and walked away without saying another word.

My goal is not to attract Christians to the blog, but rather to use the evidence to make Christians out of them after they get there.

But first we have to get them there.

What I was looking for is a play on words type of title that is interesting enough to instill curiosity yet descriptive enough to make sense. “How Sausages Are Made” is a play on the old saying, “Two things you don’t want to know. How they make sausages. And how they make laws.”

“You can observe a lot by watching” is both descriptive of what the blog is about and a play on words — in fact, it is a quote by Yogi Berra, as is “The Future ain’t What It Used To Be.”

“Freedom’s Acropolis” (suggested by a reader) evokes both the concept of freedom and the great debating center of Acropolis in ancient Greece. Right now, the ‘placeholder’ title of the blog is another play on words; “A Word to the Wise is Deficient”.

So, that is sort of what I had in mind, not that makes it necessarily the final word. That’s why I included the option of five more choices — I want the final word to come from you. (Multitude of counselors, safety, that kind of thing).

So, we’ll post the next five and see how that goes. Obviously, we can’t go on forever, and we can’t publish a blog with no name, (or can we?) so this is what I propose: We’ll post five more choices.

We’ll take the top two from each poll and run a final ‘run-off poll tomorrow with the four final candidates — the top two from each group of five.

(“A Blog With No Name . . . ” Hmmm.)

Finally, if you want to register and have a look around at the blog (remembering it is still under construction) and maybe make a comment or two, here’s the link. (The red car in the header is also a placeholder until we know what to call it)

And here’s where to vote in today’s poll (Remember, you must be logged in first to vote) Or you can follow the link on the front page of the OL (to the right of my commentary.)

(Again, you must be logged in to see the link)