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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.

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Snubbing the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball January 28, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Uncategorized.
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I am confused.  Why would the President choose to pass on the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball, as reported by The Cleveland Leader? Vice President Biden attended this traditional event, first held in 1953.  Why would the President not attend?  I thought I understood modern liberalism with a fair measure of sophistication, but this fact has only raised the word enigma in my mind.

Deadly Serious: DoE scientists claim global warming “irreversable” January 27, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Economics, politics, science.
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The BBC reports on a team of U.S. Department of Energy scientists publishing a report that claims global warming is “irreversable”.  This was inevitable.  America’s newly minted President has bought into the global warming debacle and now his agencies are beginning to line up to “prove” it is so, a necessary turn to give credence to a policy shift which will require billions of dollars in spending to allegedly help lesson the irreversability factor of global warming.  As I’ve said repeatedly ad naseum, in time, unless revisionist historians are on their game, this season of scientific knee-jerk, grant-mongering, hypothesis-conjuring environmental policy will be viewed as a primary case example of herd mentality and self-preservation (not the physical kind, but the “I need your money for my research” kind).

Update:

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), argues similarly that the new administration will create a crisis to justify spending.

Further update:

Anthony Watts reports on an enlightening press release by the U.S. Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee.

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.

Books for Every Library (or a few for the bookshelf) January 26, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Uncategorized.
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I’m often asked what books I would recommend, and instead of listing them all here, I found a list very close to my own from Clifton Baptist Church in Louisville, KY.  Read it here.  To this list, I would add the following important works:

The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, by John Owen, intro. by J.I. Packer

The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, by John Frame

Always Ready, by Greg Bahnsen

Total Truth, by Nancy Pearcey

Above All Earthly Powers, by David Wells

The Assurance of our Salvation, by Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Showing the Spirit, by D.A. Carson

The Letter to the Ephesians, by Peter O’Brien

Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation, by Dennis Johnson

Understanding Four Views on Baptism

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.

Clint Eastwood’s Drive January 25, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Movies, Art, & Music.
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gran_torino_posterFrontpagemag has an insightful article on the worldview of Clint Eastwood, what has driven his director’s eye, and what motivates the plot lines and character development of his films, the most recent of which, “Gran Torino”, should be a usual pleasure to see.

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.” 

Obama’s Novel Definition of “Unity”? Attack Rush Limbaugh January 24, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Philosophy, politics.
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Thinking rightly doesn’t always come easily.  Often, past influences have helped to shape a perspective that varies from an allegiance to truth.  Case in point: President Obama’s pronouncement yesterday to Republican leaders that, “You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done.” 

So, let’s attempt to puzzle this out.  The President, who claimed just a few days previous that, “On this day, we gather because we have chosen … unity of purpose over conflict and discord,” has himself now chosen conflict and discord in casting down the gauntlet, charging conservative congressional leaders to not listen to a particular radio personality.  The logic is inescapable.  President Obama says, “we are unified” in one breath and in another he redefines that “unity” to simply mean this: do what I want and we’ll all get along.  This isn’t leadership.  This isn’t presidential.  This isn’t any attempt to choose “unity … over discord.”  This is simply the game of bully politics. 

He may be the President of all of America, but that same America is made up of a healthy electorate that agrees with much that Rush Limbaugh says.  It is saddening that the President would attempt to sway others, not by the strength of his own ideology, but by attacking a free market thinker such as Rush Limbaugh or any other entertainer.  And this is a serious concern.  President Obama may have simply meant that conservative political philosophy is opposed to his own ideals and that is problematic given the time-frame in which he would like to see things accomplished, and there wouldn’t have been a peep of news about it; we know the ideologies don’t mesh.  But to say, “You can’t listen to [fill in the blank]…,” appears to mean something much more sinister.  It speaks to a mindset that belies the campaign rhetoric where good ideas from all corners were to be considered.  Apparently, the truth is that only ideas from the left corners are to be considered … conservatives need not apply.  Saddening indeed, but not entirely unexpected.

So, let’s hope that the President will drop the hype and jargon, drop the redefinition of terms to meet his agenda, and simply tell the truth.  He is a liberal intent on enacting socialism as the defining political philosophy of America.  Conservatives, in being true to their consciences, will not and cannot be unified with the President until he abandons his experiments in socialism.  And this is the way it should be.  Let the arguments from both ideologies have at it, and let the best argument win the hearts and minds of America.  But to command allegiance to an ideology by pointing a finger of contention at a single, free market thinker, is not an argument; it is an embarrassment and far removed from the argument and debate which should be necessary in our present form of government to reach majority consensus. 

The conservative consciences of elected leaders must not be demanded to abandonment.  In the poignant words of Martin Luther, “to go against conscience is neither right nor safe” for one’s heart and mind.  Let’s hope the White House understands this in the days to come and instead moves to the common understanding of “unity” in its rhetoric, a unity that can only be won by argumentation and debate, just as America’s founders intended … just as wisdom demands.

UPDATE:

Rush Limbaugh responds to President Obama’s remarks.

Scientists challenge new Antarctic “warming” study January 23, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in science.
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Read the release at the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee page.

For background, read the updated 2007 study debunking the so-called consensus as to global warming.  Click here for the report’s press release.  Here is the release’s introduction and a few of the many notable quotes from leading scientists who disagree with the global warming hysteria:

Over 650 dissenting scientists from around the globe challenged man-made global warming claims made by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore. This new 231-page U.S. Senate Minority Report — updated from 2007’s groundbreaking report of over 400 scientists who voiced skepticism about the so-called global warming “consensus” — features the skeptical voices of over 650 prominent international scientists, including many current and former UN IPCC scientists, who have now turned against the UN IPCC. This updated report includes an additional 250 (and growing) scientists and climate researchers since the initial release in December 2007.  The over 650 dissenting scientists are more than 12 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.  …

 

Highlights of the Updated 2008 Senate Minority Report featuring over 650 international scientists dissenting from man-made climate fears:   

“I am a skeptic…Global warming has become a new religion.” – Nobel Prize Winner for Physics, Ivar Giaever.  

“Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly….As a scientist I remain skeptical…The main basis of the claim that man’s release of greenhouse gases is the cause of the warming is based almost entirely upon climate models. We all know the frailty of models concerning the air-surface system.” – Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a PhD in meteorology, and formerly of NASA, who has authored more than 190 studies and has been called “among the most preeminent scientists of the last 100 years.”  

 

Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” – UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist. 

 

“The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn’t listen to others. It doesn’t have open minds… I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists.” – Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of the UN-supported International Year of the Planet.

 

“So far, real measurements give no ground for concern about a catastrophic future warming.” –  Scientist Dr. Jarl R. Ahlbeck, a chemical engineer at Abo Akademi University in Finland, author of 200 scientific publications and former Greenpeace member.

“Anyone who claims that the debate is over and the conclusions are firm has a fundamentally unscientific approach to one of the most momentous issues of our time.”  – Solar physicist Dr. Pal Brekke, senior advisor to the Norwegian Space Centre in Oslo. Brekke has published more than 40 peer-reviewed scientific articles on the sun and solar interaction with the Earth.

“The models and forecasts of the UN IPCC “are incorrect because they only are based on mathematical models and presented results at scenarios that do not include, for example, solar activity.” – Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera, a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico  

  “It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don’t buy into anthropogenic global warming.” – U.S Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA.   

 

“Even doubling or tripling the amount of carbon dioxide will virtually have little impact, as water vapour and water condensed on particles as clouds dominate the worldwide scene and always will.” – . Geoffrey G. Duffy, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering of the University of Auckland, NZ.