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Tolerant … kind of February 18, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Academia, Christianity, Philosophy, politics.
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It is a clearly observable phenomena that when modern liberalism’s proponents cry out “tolerance” to those who oppose on cultural, sociological, economic, political, or, dare we say, even Biblical grounds, a particular policy or behavior (or policy that will lead to certain behavior), their claims are selective.  This is the legacy of all poorly crafted reasoning.

Case in point: the California student who, in an open-topic speech in class, referenced opposition to same-sex marriage in his support of California’s Proposition 8 but received not a little grief from the professor, obviously a modern liberalism proponent.  You can read the summary at Volokh or may read a PDF version of the complaint courtesy of the Alliance Defense Fund.

And this lack of tolerance is simply normal for modern liberalism ideologues.  Though we hear the words come out of their mouths or from their pens that, “We hope for a world of tolerance,” with the creation of a plethora of social programs and diversity curricula to that end, the pendulum has simply crossed the center point; tolerance is viewed as accepting this other perceived view of how things ought to be.  And once we begin to delve into the world of perception and “oughts”, we necessarily enter into the world of philosophy and ethics and, most tolerably, Christian thought. 

It was once said, though I do not have the source (it may have been from Dr. R.C. Sproul), that tolerance once meant I wouldn’t punch you in the nose when disagreeing with you.  But the terms have shifted yet again.  Simply saying “be tolerant,” can no longer mean we merely disagree civilly, as it should.  No, now it must mean a particular position (same sex marriage in the above example) is as valid as another and worthy of government tax dollars spent to defend it; this view of life, these choices are right individually and may even be right from a societal standpoint.  Claims of truth have been discarded (save for the confused proposition that there is no such thing as truth, of course). 

Reason alone will lead us along the path of Aristotle to truths but no overarching Truth.  To find such, a grand system of thought is needed in which to coordinate all complex ideas.  Some have now found this in Darwinism’s common descent of man.  Others have found it in Islam’s Mohammed.  Yet, when all are considered rationally, reasonably, with the full force of our intellects focused on finding the truth, it is Biblical Christianity alone that gives this overarching system of thought and life and which in fact is Truth itself, not only pointing the way but being that which transforms. 

R. C. Sproul, in his work Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, notes this effect of the Bible on one of theology’s most significant thinkers:

The Swiss theologian Karl Barth was asked by a student during a seminar in the United States, ‘Dr. Barth, what is the most profound thing you have ever learned in your study of theology?’ Barth thought for a moment and then replied, ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.’ The students giggled at his simplistic answer, but their laughter was of a nervous sort as they slowly realized Barth was serious.

Simple but true, the greatest system of thought knowable to man are the facts and truths of Biblical Christianity.  The professor at LA City College would do well to consider this claim and uncover the truth of it for himself and for the sake of those he endeavors to teach. 

 

For further study, read Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth

 

 

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England and the Human Right to Home Educate January 31, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Christianity, politics, Relationships and Family.
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As a parent who educates his four children at home (ages ranging from 2 to 15 … we start early here) in the classical Christian model, I watch closely for government intrusion in this, the most ancient and, in many cases, best modern instructional option for many families.  Not only am I observant of what America’s politicians are pursuing in regards to education, but I keep an eye out for international indicators as well; I think the instruction of children by their parents, particularly for religious reasons, is a basic human right, as basic as the freedom of religion and association.

To the point, Peter Hitchens has penned a well-written, yet troubling article on England’s move to review home education in Great Britain.  This review has a preconceived end in mind and is not at all interested in truly understanding the breadth of excellence resulting in home education.  Here is a sample of Hitchens’ notable quotes, though I heartily recommend its full digestion, for America has the unusual knack of following Europe on societal and philosophical matters:

Why should [the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children, Young People and Families] be less than keen on home education? Why is she even interested in it?  English law since 1944 has allowed parents to educate their children at home without any state interference at all. In this, we are quite unlike Germany, for instance, where it is a criminal offence to do this – a law, I believe, dating from 1938, when Hitler wanted everyone brought up as a National Socialist,   but somehow not repealed by the new Germany.  …

… Certainly the home education movement is largely Christian, and Christian in a pretty uncompromising and Protestant way – that’s why it has rejected state schools from which Christianity has been expelled thanks to an absurd misreading of the US Bill of Rights. Roman Catholics tend to use the network of parochial schools instead. But the education achievements of homeschoolers have been considerable, and they regularly capture many of the best scholarships at Ivy League universities. There are also a lot of them, sharing many non-school activities, which disposes of the cliche (invariably trotted out by opponents, and based on nothing)  that home-schooled children do not have any social contact with others of their own age. What they do have is much more contact with adults who think it worthwhile to say ‘no’ to them when it matters, who read to them and converse with them and teach them morals and manners. But let that be, I’m sure we’ll have a chance to debate this.

What the modern left really don’t like about homeschooling is that it is independent of the state, and threatens its egalitarian monopoly from below. If it became a mass movement, it would be very dangerous to their project of enforcing equality of outcome, while using the schools to push radical ideas on sex, drugs, morality and politics.

Light and Darkness January 30, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Christianity, Religion.
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In response to my post Eckhart Tolle’s Old Message, I received this interesting comment:

An APPEAL

An Appeal to all the responsible WORLD CITIZENS
If the presented idea resonates with your Being in any way, please pass on the Message
Also I would insist Whether you BELIEVE or NOT…
Spread this Message as a Responsible WORLD CITIZEN for the Movement to gain momentum & herald the Change

Let’s Call Upon LIGHT to lead us from Darkness unto LIGHT…

LET US ALL PARTICIPATE IN THE WORLD MOVEMENT OF LIGHT CHANNELS

For more info please visit:  [website addresses removed]

Thanks in advance,
Love & Light to all Alike
O

And here is my brief response:

My dear friend,
 
Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me.”  The only way we can know God in a life-changing way (or reach any state of true enlightenment) is through Jesus Christ, His Son.  To truly see the sharp contrasts between darkness and light, please read the book of John in the New Testament of the Bible.  Please also consider reading the material of Ravi Zacharius for further information at www.rzim.org.
 
Soli Deo gloria,
 
G.L. Campbell
The contrasts of light and darkness in the book of John are profound.  Here is a sample of the passages dealing with this topic:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:1-13)

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.  But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. (John 3:19-21; in fact, start at the beginning ch. 3 and read of Nicodemus’s visit to Jesus by night.)

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. (John 12:46)

In short, there is no true enlightenment apart from Christ.  Please pray for this Hindu guru follower, that he may know the true and only light of the world.

Waning Virtue: Expanded Gambling in Kentucky January 28, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Christianity, Economics, politics, Relationships and Family.
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“I’m a Southern Baptist.  I’m kinda proud of that . . . What I hear my preachers saying in my communities are that, ‘Well, you know, we can’t really be for more gambling, but this really isn’t an expansion of gambling as such . . .'” 

–Greg Stumbo, Kentucky Speaker of the House

Kentucky’s Family Foundation is doing the yeoman’s job of notifying Kentuckians about the danger of expanded gambling as proposed by Greg Stumbo.  Mr. Stumbo is apparently redefining terms to fit his own agenda.  Adding thousands of slot machines is in fact an expansion of gambling regardless of whether Mr. Stumbo cares to name it such or not.  He simply wishes to appear to be a mainstream “Christian” by placing such a remark on the record and, of course, then hopes to use that claim as leverage to get his pro-gambling bill through the legislature.  This is shameful, absurd, and nothing more than political trickery.  While I question the veracity of the speaker that he has encountered any Southern Baptist pastors who have said, “we can’t really be for more gambling, but this really isn’t an expansion of gambling as such,”  if it were true, one must question the theological foundation of such men; without question we may wonder at the theological foundation of the speaker.  This scenario is similar to someone who claims to be a religious conservative being in favor of partial-birth abortion — the two concepts are antithetical to one another and cannot be rationally held or adopted at the same time.

Kentuckians, a great many of which are Southern Baptists, should be revolted that such a political leader is attempting to use the Christian faith and heritage of Baptists to prop up support of the damaging sin of gambling.  It is true that we each struggle with sin in our lives, but we enter a different arena when we adopt state-sponsored, i.e., legislative, approval of sinful behavior such as gambling. 

I would encourage every concerned Kentuckian to view The Family Foundation website’s section on casino gambling.

And here is a timeless warning from the prophet Isaiah with commentary by Matthew Henry:

Isa 5:20: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who give out darkness for light, and light for darkness; who give out bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.” The previous woe had reference to those who made the facts of sacred history the butt of their naturalistic doubt and ridicule, especially so far as they were the subject of prophecy. This fourth woe relates to those who adopted a code of morals that completely overturned the first principles of ethics, and was utterly opposed to the law of God; for evil, darkness, and bitter, with their respective antitheses, represent moral principles that are essentially related (Mat_6:23; Jam_3:11), Evil, as hostile to God, is dark in its nature, and therefore loves darkness, and is exposed to the punitive power of darkness. And although it may be sweet to the material taste, it is nevertheless bitter, inasmuch as it produces abhorrence and disgust in the godlike nature of man, and, after a brief period of self-deception, is turned into the bitter woe of fatal results. Darkness and light, bitter and sweet, therefore, are not tautological metaphors for evil and good; but epithets applied to evil and good according to their essential principles, and their necessary and internal effects. 

 Sadly, this scene looks all to familiar when viewing the landscape of Kentucky politics.

Massie Asks Pelosi, “Black Genocide Helps Economy?” January 27, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Christianity, Economics, Philosophy, politics.
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Commentator Mychal Massie confronts Nancy Pelosi, Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives, with the logical conclusion of her ill-advised position that increased federal funding of family planning (i.e., contraceptive and abortive services) will help the economy.  Apparently, Pelosi’s left-wing antics are being emboldened, as expected, by the left-wing ideology of our 44th President.  Speaking of which, Massie has this closing thought at the end of his article:

I am sick of hearing how Obama’s ascendancy has paved the way for today’s black children to understand that they can accomplish or be anything they choose – even president. My question is: “How many of the over 13 million unborn black children that have been murdered since 1973 could have grown up to become president?” How many more potential presidents, doctors, jurists, scientists and educators will we lose?

Using Pelosi’s reasoning, Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th president of the United States, should have been aborted. His mother was abandoned by his father, she had no measurable means of income, rumors of drugs and other abuse persist to this day, and the taxpayers put him through school.

Update:

The Politico reports that Ms. Pelosi has apparently seen the light and is backpeddling.

Igor: Lessons in Virtue January 26, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Christianity, Movies, Art, & Music, Philosophy, Relationships and Family.
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The movie, Igor, is now available on DVD, and I’m planning to pick it up at our favorite, low-cost rental kiosk, Redbox, this morning.  Focus on the Family’s Plugged-In magazine has a helpful review of this family picture and gives us a breakdown, if somewhat forensic, of the value of morality and virtue Igor tries to show in a world where “bad is good and good is bad.”  

A good discussion with the kids of how we know what is bad and evil is sure to follow (see Romans 1:19-20, “men … hold the truth in unrighteousness”, and 1 Cor. 2:14, “he is not able to [know]”), which will invariably lead to a discussion of how we have the ability to do that which is good or evil (see igor_galleryteaserRomans 7:23-25).  These questions erupt: What does God think of sin, which, in all its varied forms and grades, is evil since there is no such thing as a “good” sin?  How can we escape it (both it’s immediate effects and its future significance)?  Is there anyone or anything that is truly “good”?  If not, then why pray, why do good deeds, why even attempt to love at all? 

If sin is always with us, and if God cannot abide any sin, then our only hope, as the Scriptures declare, is to have an intermediary, someone through whom our acts of devotion are deemed acceptable to God the Father.  See the following from Romans 3:10, 21-27:

… as it is written, “None is righteous, no not one.” … But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it — the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.  Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.

For more in-depth analysis of God’s view of sin and its effect on mankind, click here to review a list of sermons by John Piper in his detailed series on the letter of Paul to the Romans.

A devotional from the Prince of Preachers, C.H. Spurgeon January 25, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Christianity, Religion.
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“I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us…” Isa_63:7

And can you not do this? Are there no mercies which you have experienced? What though you are gloomy now, can you forget that blessed hour when Jesus met you, and said, “Come unto me”? Can you not remember that rapturous moment when he snapped your fetters, dashed your chains to the earth, and said, “I came to break your bonds and set you free”? Or if the love of your espousals be forgotten, there must surely be some precious milestone along the road of life not quite grown over with moss, on which you can read a happy memorial of his mercy towards you? What, did you never have a sickness like that which you are suffering now, and did he not restore you? Were you never poor before, and did he not supply your wants? Were you never in straits before, and did he not deliver you? Arise, go to the river of your experience, and pull up a few bulrushes, and plait them into an ark, wherein your infant-faith may float safely on the stream. Forget not what your God has done for you; turn over the book of your remembrance, and consider the days of old. Can you not remember the hill Mizar? Did the Lord never meet with you at Hermon? Have you never climbed the Delectable Mountains? Have you never been helped in time of need? No, I know you have. Go back, then, a little way to the choice mercies of yesterday, and though all may be dark now, light up the lamps of the past, they shall glitter through the darkness, and you will trust in the Lord till the day break and the shadows flee away. “Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses, for they have been ever of old.” 

Eckhart Tolle’s Old Message January 23, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Christianity, Philosophy, Religion.
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Donald S. Whitney, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has written a piercing review of Eckhart Tolle’s book A New Earth.  His are not easy words, by any means, but they are necessary words where many are lulled into accepting Tolle’s writings as spiritually beneficial when, in fact, Tolle’s writings are the antithesis — words detrimental to the souls of men and women.  Whitney explains why that is in a brief analysis from a conservative theological perspective.

A New Endeavor for an Old Purpose January 19, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Business, Christianity, Law, Movies, Art, & Music, Philosophy, politics, Relationships and Family, Religion, science.
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Two Kingdoms.  The phrase may spark memories of history lessons and midieval empires or perhaps  images of the Sphinx Stele of Amenhotep II and the New Kingdom’s conquoring of all enemies.  For others, this phrase, “two kingdoms,” has an entirely different meaning.

In the Christian faith, throughout the Scriptures we find reference to kingdoms.  We find kingdoms of men noted repeatedly, but we also find discussion of another kingdom, a spiritual kingdom, God’s kingdom.  It intimates along lines of his rule and authority in the heavenly realms; yet, it also concerns his soverignty, his control absolute over the affairs of men and the kingdoms of men.  This is the biblical rule.

In his work, Church History in Plain Language, Bruce Shelley expands on this:

In the third century Christianity was no longer a minor Jewish sect. It was fast emerging as the dominant rival to the old ways of Rome. Men of culture and power were asking the big questions. What is Christianity’s role in the affairs of men and empires?

The church always stands in a dual relationship to human affairs. Jesus summarized the role best when he spoke of his diciples — “not of the world” but “sent into the world” (John 17:16, 18). This suggest taht in God’s plan the church feels the rythm of detachment and involvement: detachment because of the gospel and eternal life are not from but from God; yet involvement because God sends the church into the world to shine as light and to lead men to the truth.

Thus, the church moves through history to a special beat: separation from the world yet penetration of the world…

Thus, we have a glimpse of the two kingdoms this blog will address.  I will endeavor to speak to matters both related to this realm, the kingdom of men (including philosophy, relationships, politics, business, science, ethics, law, medicine, and art), and the other, the kingdom of God, which, as noted, touches every corner of the kingdom of men as well.  The purpose is old: I do it solely for God’s glory.  I do not seek attention, save in the expansion of knowledge of these kingdoms and in the general search for truth. It is my prayer and ultimate hope that some will find comfort in these pages, illumination, and better knowledge of the faith of the Christians, rooted in the redemptive cross-work and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the “author and finisher of our faith.” (see Hebrews 12:2).