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-Celebrating The Resurrection of Jesus and Easter 2019

by Dr. D ~ April 15th, 2019

Here are links to some of the past articles we have featured on this site on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the celebration of Easter:

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ by N.T.Wright:

Listen to this! New Testament scholar N.T. Wright is right on in this short video on the Resurrection (2:23):

 

Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

Yes! If not, as Paul says (I Cor. 15:14) the entire Christian faith is in vain. Here’s a link to a great article on all of the facts concerning the resurrection of Jesus–a timely pursuit for the Easter season:

Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?

by William Lane Craig, professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California. This is the best and most concise article that I have found on the Resurrection of Jesus. 

 

Was Easter Really Borrowed From a Pagan Holiday?

Here’s a good article by Anthony McRoy that contradicts the popular notion that the Christian celebration of Easter was borrowed from pagan sources:

“Was Easter Borrowed from a Pagan Holiday?”

McRoy provides historical evidence that the name ‘Easter’ was actually derived from the Old High German ‘eostarum’ which meant "dawn" and not from the name of a supposed pagan goddess.

 

Good Friday?

Finally, here’s a link to our most popular article of all time during Easter week and one we traditionally post on Good Friday:

-“It’s Friday But Sunday’s Coming”

May you and yours be blessed this Easter season.                 *Top

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-Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2019

by Dr. D ~ March 17th, 2019

Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2019. Here’s our traditional post for this holiday- “The Real Story of St. Patrick”:

The Real Story of St. Patrick

image Happy St. Patrick’s Day! A day to go to your favorite pub, eat corned beef and cabbage and wash it all down with plenty of green beer. Oh yes–a day of parades and celebration of Irish nationality.

But who was this St. Patrick anyway? A man born into a Roman Christian family in Wales around 385 AD with a given name of Macwyn Succat. He didn’t make it to Ireland until he was kidnapped at 16 and enslaved by Irish bandits. After six years of service he heard a voice from God instructing him to escape slavery and make it back home.

He did miraculously escape and went on to study at a Christian seminary to become a Priest. Then had a vision from God to return to Ireland as a missionary.

There were really no Christians at the time in Ireland and he singlehandedly established the church in that country while refusing tribute and support from the noblemen and kings. He converted and baptized thousands of pagans, and ordained hundreds of Priests and set up an untold number of Christian communities and churches.

He is recognized by all major Christian churches–Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, and Anglican since he ministered before the church divided into all the different denominations we have today. So Protestants have just as great a claim on him as Catholics. And those of us who have Welsh blood running through our veins have as much right to claim St. Patrick as any Irishman.

Rather than a day with a built-in excuse to get drunk, I believe that it is a day for Christians to celebrate the reality and continual miracles of the Christian faith. A day to celebrate that God continues to give visions and directions to missionaries even today.

St. Patrick transformed an entire nation bringing the Gospel to an Island in darkness. Missionaries today continue to leave the comforts of home and family to spread the word of Jesus Christ to every nation in the world.  That is the real legacy of Macwyn Succat also known as St. Patrick.                *Top

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-Methodists Will Keep Traditional Views on Homosexuality and Marriage

by Dr. D ~ February 28th, 2019

100px-Logo_of_the_United_Methodist_Church.svg

The United Methodists voted at their General Conference this week in St. Louis, MO to Keep their traditional views and policies on homosexuality, marriage, and ordination. From the Christian Post:

The United Methodist Church will maintain its official position that homosexuality is contrary to Christian teaching, in a decision following days of contentious debate over the issue. …

… delegates approved the “Traditional Plan” in a vote of 438-384. The Plan maintains the denomination’s stance against homosexuality, gay marriage, and the ordination of noncelibate homosexuals while promising to better enforce those rules.

<Read the whole article>

Response: A few years ago I contended that sooner or later every American church would have to publically declare where they stood on homosexuality and same-sex marriage. This week the United Methodist Church voted to keep their traditional Bible  based views. However, the majority of the vote to maintain their present stand actually came from delegates representing Methodist churches in other countries, especially from Africa.

Most of the articles I read before the conference predicted that the delegates would vote to change the church’s policy and open the door for regional bodies within the denomination to decide on their own policies toward homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and the ordination of LGBT clergy. Most also looked for schisms to follow expecting the more conservative churches in Africa and the American Bible belt to leave the denomination. Instead, we now read about the more liberal American churches rebelling against the confirmed traditional policy and doing their own thing anyway.

As I have written before, conservative American Christians are at a crossroad:

…evangelical Christians are now or will soon be at a crossroads where they must choose between a high view of Scripture and possibly be marginalized by the dominant American culture or abandon traditional Biblical teaching, accept a more liberal view of scripture, and go along with the cultural flow. …

As the pressure comes to bear on Bible supporting Christians and churches across the nation, some members may choose to leave the increasingly controversial conservative  congregations for more socially acceptable churches and denominations. Some pastors may even respond to the losses by finding ways to re-interpret those troublesome homosexual passages in the Bible.

Those who continue to maintain a traditional high view of scripture may find themselves increasingly being marginalized and even demonized by the larger culture. Soon there may be a real price to pay for Biblical faith and evangelicals may be tested and forced to choose between the Bible and a respected place in 21st century America.

I saw this ‘demonization’ in action this week in the media response to the Methodist vote.  One AP article that I read in my local newspaper had nothing good to say about the vote and was rather one-sided and included responses only from the LGBT supporters. Basically the article implied that the Methodist conferees chose to be bigots and haters rather than choosing a more enlightening and loving route. Nothing in the article showed any understanding that the Methodists were maintaining a traditional Christian view that was two thousand years old and based upon the Bible.

Also, there was little care or understanding in the main stream media that a liberal change in policy would have resulted in the loss of most of the African churches in the denomination and many in other countries along with hundreds of conservative American churches.

It will be interesting to see how the current cultural dynamic plays out in the more liberal Methodist churches in America. Expect rough seas ahead for the ‘United’ Methodist Church with some rebellion and schism.               *Top

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-A Progressive War on Conservative Christians?

by Dr. D ~ January 31st, 2019

Religious-Freedom-Web-146x180

When Karen Pence announced that she was going to teach in a Christian school the major media went into an attack mode. One Washington Post editor even questioned how traditional Christian schools that were ‘anti-LGBT’ could still be in existence in today’s America. Forget the fact that the Christian schools do not actually single out LGBT sex but any sexual relations outside a traditional marriage between one man and one woman. The School policy is really nothing new but merely reflects traditional Christian orthodox beliefs which have been around for nearly two thousand years.

Over and over again, Trump administration and judicial nominees, that hold conservative Christian positions on abortion and marriage, have been challenged by a number of progressive Senators, including Bernie Sanders and Diane Feinstein and others, who seem to imply that Christians who continue to hold orthodox Christian positions should not be eligible for public service. In fact, Bernie Sanders has doubled down on that view and has been rather forthcoming on that issue in spite of the Constitutional provision against religious tests for public office.

Recently Senators Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Kamala Harris of California tried to avoid the ‘religious test’ problem by opposing a Trump judicial nominee for being a member of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic Christian fraternal organization that merely reflects the beliefs of the Catholic Church.

The Senators are suppose to be diligent in questioning nominees in order to insure adherence to the Constitution of the United States, but lately so many of them have been challenging those who merely oppose progressive views. From David Harsanyi  of Townhall:

Merely asking a nominee whether her beliefs might stop her from fulfilling her constitutional duties is a relevant question.

For many liberals, though, the problem is that the beliefs of many Catholics and other adherents of various Christian theologies — or, for that matter, Jewish ones, as well — are increasingly undermining progressive ideals, not constitutional ones.

The attacks against conservative Christian views are not just coming from progressive politicians but also from progressives in the media and in academia.

Christian student organizations are getting kicked off campus by many colleges and universities across America because of new progressive ‘diversity’ requirements being instituted at most public schools. The academic authorities call the conservative Christian student groups ‘discriminatory’ since they require all of their leaders reflect a traditional Christian lifestyle based upon the Bible. Campus authorities increasingly hold that diverse students of all religions, genders, and nationalities should be allowed to be leaders of ‘Christian’ student groups, even atheists. At the same time, conservative Christian professors are increasingly having a difficult time receiving teaching positions and particularly tenure in American colleges that aren’t specifically Christian.

Then there are ‘progressive’ atheist groups that are demanding that Christian schools not be allowed to receive any kind of government support through vouchers or even indirectly through government guaranteed student loans. Some have demanded that the IRS drop such ‘discriminatory’ schools and organizations from the non-profit roles. Many of the same groups are now approaching quasi-governmental organizations like regional school accrediting groups and athletic organizations like the NCAA hoping to get Christian schools kicked out, unrepresented, and unaccredited.

Besides the attack on Karen Pence and a WP editor questioning how Conservative Christian schools even exist, main stream media folks have demonstratively taken sides against orthodox Christian views and have not only tainted their reports with biased views against conservative Christians but many times have completely left out stories of Christian persecution around the world. Particularly if Islam and Muslims were involved.

Not only that, but when it comes to religious freedom, many progressive media folks, politicians, and academicians now claim that it’s nothing more than a poor excuse for discrimination and the Constitutional provision needs to be reinterpreted and more limited in scope and application than it has been in the past. In the process, you have some major law schools in America, political figures like Pres. Obama, and progressive judges pushing for the First Amendment to be understood as only ‘Freedom of Worship’ which would limit religious freedom to the four walls of a church or official place of worship.

Increasingly you also have progressives demanding that discrimination should not be tolerated for any reason and LGBT rights should supersede and override religious freedom in spite of the First Amendment. As time goes on, there seems to be more and more judges who agree with them on that issue. All would be lost except the Supreme Court still supports religious liberty most of the time.

So what is really happening? There is an actual cultural battle against conservative Christian views in the media, in academic circles, and among progressive politicians. It is a war pitting progressives against Conservative orthodox Christians. All have come to the realization that conservative Christians are standing in the way of ‘progress’ and need to be removed from the public square and in some way their influence needs to be reduced and finally eliminated. Particularly, their political power since Christians have opposed and blocked them on abortion and the implementation and primacy of LGBT and transgender rights.

What is really ironic is that Christians are constantly being surprised at all of this  public opposition seemingly at every turn and really do not understand that they are in a war for the hearts and minds of the American people. In the middle of this,  many conservative churches and religious leaders have ignored what is happening.  So many Christians have not been alerted to the fact that they are actually in a fight for their very freedoms and way of life.  Add to that, many Christians are in agreement with progressives on social programs for the poor and end up voting for many of the very same progressive politicians who are trying to diminish our religious liberty and freedoms.

Up to this point, the Christians who are trying to protect our freedom of religion have concentrated on the political process and looked for remediation in the courts. However the real battle is cultural and we have nearly lost that one. Most Christians assume that the First Amendment will continue to protect them. However, in just one generation freedom of religion has been turned on its ear to effectively mean ‘freedom from religion’ in the public square and the battle continues and the future does not look good even though the election of Pres. Trump has slowed down the attrition somewhat.

But what is ahead for Christians may not be satisfactorily resolved legally. If the hearts and the minds of the majority of the American people end up against us then there will be no remediation or legal recourse. It will end with public marginalization, rejection, shaming, and exclusion. 

What I am talking about is already being demonstrated by progressive politicians in the Senate, and by those in academic circles. The shaming of Karen Pence for teaching in a Christian school has taken an even more disturbing turn. From National Review:

…a local private academy called the Sheridan School decided to prohibit its sports teams from playing games at Immanuel. The reason? …some students felt “unsafe.” No, really. …Unsafe? Absurd. Just absurd. But it’s worse than absurd. It’s bigotry.  …

It’s time for Christian parents, pastors, and politicians to understand a simple fact — in the fight for religious freedom, we often focus our efforts on the less important battleground. Legal protections matter less and less when the culture drifts so far from Christianity that shunning, shaming, and exclusion become the norm. …

And in this more-important cultural fight, it’s critical to wrap our arms around principles, not politicians. …it depends on Christians exercising a degree of personal courage and resolve …

Silence and compliance only embolden those who seek to sideline Christian thought and belief. …Christians must be equally willing to speak the truth and defend their faith. Otherwise, fear and shame will do what censorship cannot — drive the Christian faith from America’s public square.

<Read the whole article>

This could be the beginning of a new norm unless the millions of Christians stand up unashamed for their faith and beliefs. Christian schools, institutions, and non-profit organizations all across America could find themselves marginalized and shunned because of their Biblical stands on sexuality and marriage. Note also that such actions may not be legally addressed nor does the First Amendment really apply.

Christians must wake up and challenge progressives and not quietly slink into the night. Progressive PC views demand that a diversity of cultures and religions be honored and respected. However, conservative Christianity does not seem to have a place in their PC diversity and that hypocrisy needs to be pointed out and challenged. Ironically Islam holds many of the same views on sexuality and yet progressives go out of their way to support the right of Muslims to publically practice and live their faith.

America could be a far different and unwelcome place for orthodox conservative Christians in the near future unless we stand up and be counted. One of the most effective tools in the Christian arsenal is prayer. It is time to get serious in our prayer lives. We need to pray for those who oppose us and pray for the American church to rise up and fulfill its calling and destiny. Also we need to continue to ask God for a new cultural awakening and revival in America while there is yet day.               *Top

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-Human Extinction: A Philosophical Question or A Religious One?

by Dr. D ~ December 31st, 2018

Humans Global Warming Climate Change Animal Rights

Some radical philosophers have been kicking around the idea that human extinction could be a possible solution to ‘global warming’ and maybe the only solution. Along the same line of thinking, some animal rights radicals contend that the world and its ecosystems would be far better off if the human race was no longer around. These ideas and similar ones have been topics of discussion for some time now in college and university classes all across America.

Recently these ideas were elevated to the mainstream in an editorial in the NY Times by Todd May, a professor of philosophy at Clemson University:

Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?:
Our species possesses inherent value, but we are devastating the earth and causing unimaginable animal suffering”

Some quotes from the article:

There are stirrings of discussion these days in philosophical circles about the prospect of human extinction. This should not be surprising, given the increasingly threatening predations of climate change. …

Would human extinction be a tragedy? …

Yet what I am asking here is simply whether it would be a tragedy if the planet no longer contained human beings. And the answer I am going to give might seem puzzling at first. I want to suggest, at least tentatively, both that it would be a tragedy and that it might just be a good thing. …

Human beings are destroying large parts of the inhabitable earth and causing unimaginable suffering to many of the animals that inhabit it. …There is no reason to think that those practices are going to diminish any time soon. Quite the opposite. …

But this entire set of reflections is taking place from a human viewpoint. We cannot ask the questions we are asking here without situating them within the human practice of philosophy.

<Read the whole editorial>

Response: This editorial is both scary and refreshing.

Most of the discussion about climate change and global warming is done in the context of politics and social policy generated to contain the supposed damage that humans are perpetrating on the ecosystems we live in. General evidence from science and pseudoscience is submitted by both sides with little affect in changing anyone’s attitudes or actions.

Lately, I’ve read a number of articles suggesting the humans need to be forced to be limited and regulated in a number of different ways. Animal rights activists suggest that laws need to be passed to force folks to give up meat. Some ecologists suggest that governments need to force their citizens to limit the number of children that they have in order to contain or even decrease human population. Others are suggesting that we limit our use of technology or even roll it back to earlier levels. We even have a number of radical religious groups in Islam (like ISIS and Boko Haram) calling for the extinction of all who do not commit to Islam. So the call for a forced response  or some kind of decrease in humanity is nothing new. But the idea that the world would be a better place if there was a complete extinction of humanity takes the conversation to another level entirely.

I am an avid reader of Sci-Fi novels. One of the most popular themes in that genre is the extinction or near extinction of humanity. Sometimes through major ecological disasters, alien invasions, or by radical human action. Dystopian themes are particularly popular right now, most of which depict a regression to 19th century technology and the elimination of 90% or more of the population due to EMPs, major epidemics, and civil wars and conflicts mostly caused by governments gone totalitarian or initiated by radicals within.

In this case, the writer suggests that questions pertaining to the continuation of humanity, whether its elimination would be a solution or a tragedy, should be addressed in the realm of human philosophy. I would like to suggest that there is a better forum for this discussion- Christianity and the Bible with The Creator as the ultimate judge of humanity.                    *Top

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