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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Some Thoughts On Islamic Terrorism

I recieved the following from a good missionary friend in Japan. Being in the process of watching a 15 hour documentary on WWII I was very interested in the comparisons he would make. While I do not necessarily agree with all that he writes I do believe most of his thoughts are worthy of consideration.

I do agree that all wars have been about ideas and how the world or a part of it would be governed. And in war pacifist never win because the non-pacifist will kill them.

The rest is quoted from the e-mail that I received.


"No matter what your political position is, this is an excellent essay that we all should read and think about, and think about who should be in the White House for the next four years.

Please read it to the end!

SOME OF YOU MAY NOT BE OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER THAT NEARLY EVERY FAMILY IN AMERICA WAS GROSSLY AFFECTED BY WW II. MOST OF YOU MAY NOT REMEMBER THE RATIONING OF MEAT, SHOES, BUTTER, GASOLINE, AND SUGAR. NO TIRES FOR OURAUTOMOBILES, AND A SPEED LIMIT OF 35 MILES PER HOUR ON THE ROAD, NOT TO MENTION, NO NEW AUTOMOBILES. READ THIS AND THINK ABOUT HOW WE WOULD REACT TO BEING TAKEN OVER BY FOREIGNERS IN 2008 or 2009 or ?

This is an EXCELLENT essay; well thought out and presented by Raymond S. Kraft, a writer living in Northern California who has studied the Middle Eastern culture and religion.

Historical Significance Sixty-three years ago, Nazi Germany had overrun almost all of Europe and hammered England to the verge of bankruptcy and defeat. The Nazis had sunk more than 400 British ships in their convoys between England and America, taking food and war materials.

At that time, the US was in an isolationist, pacifist mood, and most Americans wanted nothing to do with the European or the Asian wars.

Then along came Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and in outrage Congress unanimously declared war on Japan, and the following day on Germany, who had not yet attacked us. It was a dicey thing. We had few allies.

France was not an ally, as the Vichy government of France quickly aligned itself with its German occupiers. Germany was certainly not an ally, as Hitler was intent on setting up a Thousand Year Reich in Europe. Japan was not an ally, as it was well on its way to owning and controlling all of Asia.

Together, Japan and Germany had long-range plans of invading Canada and Mexico, as launching pads to get into the United States over our northern and southern borders, after they finished gaining control of Asia and Europe.

America's only allies then were England, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Australia, and Russia. That was about it. All of Europe, from Norway to Italy (except Russia in the East) was already under the Nazi heel.

The US was certainly not prepared for war. The US had drastically downgraded most of its military forces after WW I because of the depression, so that at the outbreak of WW II, Army units were training with broomsticks because they didn't have guns, and cars with 'tank' painted on the doors because they didn't have real tanks. A huge chunk of our Navy had just been sunk or damaged at Pearl Harbor.

Britain had already gone bankrupt, saved only by the donation of $600 million in gold bullion in the Bank of England (that was actually the property of Belgium) given by Belgium to England to carry on the war when Belgium was overrun by Hitler (a little known fact). Actually, Belgium surrendered in one day, because it was unable to oppose the German invasion, and the Germans bombed Brussels into rubble the next day just to prove that they could.

Britain had already been holding out for two years in the face of staggering losses and the near decimation of its Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain, and was saved from being overrun by Germany only because Hitler made the mistake of thinking the Brits were a relatively minor threat that could be dealt with later. Hitler, first turned his attention to Russia, in the late summer of 1940, at a time when England was on the verge of collapse.

Ironically, Russia saved America's butt by putting up a desperate fight for two years, until the US got geared up to begin hammering away at Germany.

Russia lost something like 24,000,000 people in the sieges of Stalingrad and Moscow alone . . . 90% of them from cold and starvation, mostly civilians, but also more than a 1,000,000 soldiers.

Had Russia surrendered, Hitler would have been able to focus his entire war effort against the Brits, then America. If that had happened, the Nazis could possibly have won the war.

All of this has been brought out to illustrate that turning points in history are often dicey things. Now, we find ourselves at another one of those key moments in history.

There is a very dangerous minority in Islam that either has, or wants, and may soon have, the ability to deliver small nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, almost anywhere in the world.

The Jihadis, the militant Muslims, are basically Nazis in Kaffiyahs. They believe that Islam, a radically conservative form of Wahhabi Islam, should own and control the Middle East first, then Europe, then the world. To them, all who do no t bow to their will of thinking should be killed, enslaved, or subjugated. They want to finish the Holocaust, destroy Israel, and purge the world of Jews. This is their mantra. (goal)

There is also a civil war raging in the Middle East. For the most part not a hot war, but a war of ideas. Islam is having its Inquisition and its Reformation, but it is not yet known which side will win -- the Inquisitors or the Reformationists.

If the Inquisition wins, then the Wahhabis, the Jihadis, will control the Middle East, the OPEC oil, and the US, European, and Asian economies.

The techno-industrial economies will be at the mercy of OPEC. Not an OPEC dominated by the educated, rational Saudis of today, but an OPEC dominated by the Jihadis. Do you want gas in your car? Do you want heating oil next winter? Do you want the dollar to be worth anything? You had better hope that the Jihad, the Muslim Inquisition, loses, and that the Islamic Reformation wins.

If the Reformation movement wins, that is, the moderate Muslims who believe that Islam can respect and tolerate other religions, live in peace with the rest of the world, and move out of the 10th century into the 21st, then the troubles in the Middle East will eventually fade away. A moderate and prosperous Middle East will emerge.

We have to help the Reformation win, and to do that we have to fight the Inquisition, i.e., the Wahhabi movement, the Jihad, Al Qaeda and the Islamic terrorist movements. We have to do it somewhere. We can't do it everywhere at once. We have created a focal point for the battle at a time and place of our choosing . . . in Iraq. Not in New York, not in London, or Paris or Berlin, but in Iraq, where we are doing two important things.

(1) We deposed Saddam Hussein. Whether Saddam Hussein was directly involved in the 9/11 terrorist attack or not, it is undisputed that Saddam has been actively supporting the terrorist movement for decades; Saddam was a terrorist! Saddam was a weapon of mass destruction, responsible for the deaths of probably more than a 1,000,000 Iraqis and 2,000,000 Iranians.

(2) We created a battle, a confrontation, a flash point, with Islamic terrorism in Iraq. We have focused the battle. We are killing bad people, and the ones we get there won't have to be killed here. We also have a good shot at creating a democratic, peaceful Iraq, which will be a catalyst for democratic change in the rest of the Middle East, and an outpost for a stabilizing American military presence in the Middle East for as long as it is needed.

WW II, the war with the Japanese and German Nazis, really began with a whimper in 1928. It did not begin with Pearl Harbor. It began with the Japanese invasion of China. It was a war for 14 years before the US joined it. It officially ended in 1945, a 17-year war, and was followed by another decade of US occupation in Germany and Japan to get those countries reconstructed and running on their own again--a 27-year war.WW II cost the United States an amount equal to approximately a full year's GDP, adjusted for inflation, equal to about $12 trillion dollars! WW II cost America more than 400,000 soldiers killed in action and nearly 100,000 still missing in action.

The Iraq war has, so far, cost the United States about $160,000,000,000, which is roughly what the 9/11 terrorist attack cost New York. It has also cost more than 3,600 American lives, which is roughly equivalent to lives that the Jihad killed (within the United States) in the 9/11 terrorist attack.

The cost of not fighting and winning WW II would have been unimaginably greater -- a world dominated by Japanese Imperialism and German Nazism.

This is not a 60-Minutes TV show, or a 2-hour movie in which everything comes out okay. The real world is not like that. It is messy, uncertain, and sometimes bloody and ugly. It always has been, and probably always will be.

The bottom line is that we will ha ve to deal with Islamic terrorism until we defeat it, whenever that is. It will not go away if we ignore it!

If the US can create a reasonably democratic and stable Iraq, then we have an ally, like England, in the Middle East, a platform, from which we can work to help modernize and moderate the Middle East. The history of the world is the clash between the forces of relative civility and civilization, and the barbarians clamoring at the gates to conquer the world.

The Iraq War is merely another battle in this ancient and never-ending war. Now, for the first time ever, the barbarians are about to get nuclear weapons, unless somebody prevents them from getting them.

We have four options:

1. We can defeat the Jihad now, before it gets nuclear weapons.

2. We can fight the Jihad later, after it gets nuclear weapons (which may be as early as next year, if Iran's progress on nuclear weapons is what Iran claims it is).

3. We can surrender to the Jihad and accept its dominance in the Middle East now; in Europe, in the next few years or decades; and, ultimately, in America.

OR

4. We can stand down now, and pick up the fight later when the Jihad is more widespread and better armed, perhaps after the Jihad has dominated France and Germany and possibly most of the rest of Europe. It will, of course, be more dangerous, more expensive, and much bloodier.

If you oppose this war, I hope you like the idea that your children, or grandchildren, may live in an Islamic America under the Mullahs and the Sharia, an America that resembles Iran today.

The history of the world is the history of civilization clashes, cultural clashes. All wars are about ideas, ideas about what society and civilization should be like, and the most determined always win.

Those who are willing to be the most ruthless always win. The pacifists always lose, because the anti-pacifists kill them.

Remember, perspective is everything, and America's schools teach too little history for perspective to be clear, especially in the young American mind.

The Cold War lasted from about 1947 until at least until the Berlin Wall came down, in 1989; 42 years!

Europe spent the first half of the 19th century fighting Napoleon, and from 1870 to 1945 fighting Germany!

World War II began in 1928, lasted 17 years, plus a 10-year occupation, and the US still has troops in Germany and Japan. World War II resulted in the death of more than 50,000,000 people, maybe more than 100,000,000 people, depending on which estimates you accept.

The US has taken more than 3,500 killed in action in Iraq. The US took more than 4,000 killed in action on the morning of June 6, 1944, the first day of the Normandy Invasion to rid Europe of Nazi Imperialism.

In WW II, the US averaged 2,000 KIA a week for four years. Most of the individual battles of WW II lost more Americans than the entire Iraq war has done so far.

The stakes are at least as high. A world dominated by representative governments with civil rights, human rights, and personal freedoms . . . or a world dominated by a radical Islamic Wahhabi movement, by the Jihad, under the Mullahs and the Sharia (Islamic law).

It's difficult to understand why the average American does not grasp this! They favor human rights, civil rights, liberty, and freedom, but evidently not for Iraqis.


'Peace Activists' always seem to demonstrate here in America, where it's safe.

Why don't we see Peace Activists demonstrating in Iran, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, North Korea, in the places that really need peace activism the most? I'll tell you why! They would be killed!

The liberal mentality is supposed to favor human rights, civil rights, democracy, multiculturalism, diversity, etc., but if the Jihad wins, wherever the Jihad wins, it is the end of civil rights, human rights, democracy, multiculturalism, diversity, etc.

Americans who oppose the liberation of Iraq are coming down on the side of their own worst enemy!"

The Secret Is Out!

I see that thousands of people are discovering what we Texans have known for generations. Texas is a great place to live!

The statistics say it all!

I guess people are still saying, "Gone to Texas!"

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More Thoughts On Racism

I found another interesting article at National Review Online dealing with the issue of racism in the United States.

Here are some examples of what the author is arguing:



"Daniel Patrick Moynihan urged years ago that race relations in this country could benefit most from a period of “benign neglect.”"

"First, race relations in this country are good, have never been better, and are improving. We should all be happy and proud of that."

"There has never been less discrimination in more areas than there is now."

"There are those who will say that I am “in denial.” No. It is those who refuse to recognize the progress that has been made who are in denial."

"The fact is, there will always be some discrimination. But there is less and less of it, especially among younger people. And the old racists, of all colors, will eventually die off."

" . . . .any underlying racism that remains must be addressed by all of us — black and white, Asian and Hispanic, American Indian and immigrant — in our hearts."

"Racism today is less a cause of our problems than it is a symptom of them."

"The biggest domestic problem America faces today, and certainly the biggest problem that the African-American community faces today, is that seven out of ten African Americans are born out of wedlock."

"When you grow up in a home without a father, you are much more likely to grow up poor and remain poor, and to get into trouble with the law, and to do poorly in school."



The rest of this article by Roger Clegg is worth reading.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Racism In America?

I present the following fully realizing that it may cause me to be tarred and feathered by some. If so, it will not be the first time and I doubt the last.

America is not a racist country! Are some of our citizens racist? Without a doubt, YES! Racism is no respecter of color or culture. Has America had race problems? YES, without a doubt. We are a country that embraced slavery by acknowledging it in our Constitution. At that point and right on through the Civil War most white people thought black people were inferior. Even Abraham Lincoln, the great emancipator, thought so. The rhetoric of the time period, North and South is appalling! The "Jim Crow" laws in the South that systematically deprived black men, women, and children of their dignity is a shameful heritage that we should all mourn and regret.

I have been watching Ken Burns' documentary on WWII. Two of my children purchased it for me on my birthday. The Marine Corp. did not accept blacks until well after the war started and then only allowed two divisions to go into combat. Of course they distinguished themselves for courage and bravery. In all of the Armed Forces segregation was the rule. Every black company had white commanders. This was also true of the few Japanese units that fought in the European theater.

My Dad has a book, something like a Year Book, that chronicles all the men that served in WWII from the county he grew up in, Henderson County Texas. Even in this book the segregation is apparent. The first pages of the book are filled with the white men that served. Then at the end of the book in a separate section it is mentioned that these men of color also aided in the war effort and then their pictures and biographical sketches were given. "Aided in the war effort" This is shameful. They did not simply aid in the war effort. They fought and died and spilt their blood for liberty. For a country that, at least in the South, was depriving them of their dignity.

I still cringe when I see pictures of buses from that time period that identify the back of the bus for blacks and the front of the bus for whites. I shudder when I see pictures of the sign over water fountains that read "White Only" and "Black Only".

This brings me to the point at hand. Jeremiah Wright and Barack Obama. I would never vote for Obama. Not because he is black but because he is a socialist. If he were a conservative I would not care if he was pink, I would vote for him.

I suppose that most of us have heard the comments of his Pastor. Quite frankly when I heard them I was appalled. I was distraught that there are people spewing that kind of bigotry and racism from the pulpit. The comments that I heard were things with which I could never agree.

Then I heard someone say something and I thought how true. This man preached for 40 years. We get 10 minutes of 40 years of preaching and the man is thoroughly condemned. Think about 40 years of preaching. If he just preached on average of twice a week for an average of 45 minutes a message that would be 187,200 minutes of preaching. That is 3,120 hours of preaching. That is 130 days of preaching 24 hours a day straight through. I would say that is a pretty small percentage of all that he said. If there was much more that was equally inflammatory no doubt we would know about it for I am sure there are people with nothing better to do than to pour over this man's sermons looking for the kind of hatred and racism contained in these few minutes.

As a preacher I would hate for someone to pour over my records and pull out ten minutes of 17 years of sermons. If some one did this I am quite certain that could make me look like a raging lunatic. . . . but, in all honesty, would that be fair?

Obama answered for his relationship with his Pastor. I actually listened to the entire speech. To be honest when he finished I thought it was one of the best speeches I have ever heard on the state of race relations in our country. There was a dose of honesty about the present realities that was refreshing. But then.......I started hearing the Sean Hannity's of the world and I thought well maybe I missed something. The speech has been critiqued into oblivion. His political opposites have looked for hidden meaning, suspicious turns of phrase, and complained about what he did not say. He has set himself to try and explain. I heard a snippet on the radio last night of an interview he did on a Philadelphia radio station where he was trying to explain what he meant by his white grandmother expressing fear of passing black men on the street. In the course of the explanation he said she was a "typical white person". When I heard that I thought that is not fair. That is stereotyping. And of course the radio personality I was listening to was making the most of it. Alright already!!

He will now be in a position of having to explain what he meant by "typical white person". The point is for those who want to defeat him and his political ambitions he will never be able to say anything to silence them. If I were him I would quit trying. Well, there you go I am helping a Democrat!

Well, I went over to the the National Review Online expecting to find several articles still castigating him and his Pastor over these 10 minutes of grossly mischaracterizing the United States and actually found someone who was expressing what I was thinking.

If you still have a ear to hear I would recommend you go over and read the piece by Mark Goldblatt.

I know some will think I have become a raging liberal, well its not so I am not even crazy about McCain. One thing I do know. My ancestors were never slaves, at least not in this country (we never owned any to my knowledge either). We were generally poor white people. My Grandparents and Parents were never subject to "Jim Crow" laws. We were white! And to be quite honest I am ashamed of how my white ancestry viewed black men, women, and children.

I am thankful for the black people I know who unlike Jeremiah Wright understand that this is 2008 and not 1858 or 1958 and they have refused to let the memory of the bondage and oppression of their ancestry hold them in bondage to bitterness. Especially against a generation who like myself regret that slavery and systematized oppression ever existed and was protected by law in this land of the free and home of the brave.

Our Confidence: Answering The Assault Against Holiness

PERFECTING HOLINESS IN THE FEAR OF GOD
2 CORINTHIANS 6:14-7:1
OUR CONFIDENCE: ANSWERING THE ASSAULT AGAINST HOLINESS
ROMANS 3:31

I want to address an issue head-on that I have touched on several times over the course of this series. It is the use of the terms such as legalism and legalist. I have come to believe that this is the spiritual equivalent to “tolerance” in the socio/political sphere. We now live in a day that to raise a cry against worldliness and a lack of separation in dress, language, and entertainment, etc. it to be labeled a legalist.

There are a couple of interesting points to be made about this phenomenon:

The very people who use the term legalist/legalism would often decry the use of the term “toleration” in the socio/political realm.

According to their definition of legalism just a few decades ago most, if not all Baptist pulpits were filled with legalist. The idea that Christians are to be different in their dress, language, and entertainment choices is no novel invention. It was not that long ago that most Baptists were known for opposing dancing, drinking, smoking and going to the movies! It was not that long ago that most Baptist were known for believing a woman should dress and look like a woman and a man should dress and look like a man. Now to embrace these views is to be a legalist. Consequently we are left with concluding that the great preachers and churches of a previous generation were unenlightened.

What is a legalist? Let us consider the definition provided by Webster. 1. One who desires a strict adherence to the law. 2. (Theol.) One who regards conformity to the law as a ground for salvation.

Legalism – Strictness in adhering to law, or trusting to conformity to law; as, the spirit of legalism.

These definitions are important to consider. In a general context a legalist is one who desires a strict adherence to law. Most people are probably legalist in the application of justice in the criminal justice system. Most Christians are probably legalist in that they desire strict adherence to law, even if it is the law of not being a legalist! Now there is a novel application, being legalistically opposed to legalism. The point is we are all legalist the only question is the standard we embrace. In this sense it is not a negative thing.

The word legalist does have a theological use. And as Mr. Webster rightly expresses it. Theologically a legalist is one who regards conformity to the law as a ground for salvation. That is a legalist is one who believes that human effort or behaviour contributes to or produces salvation.

Legalism as defined by Mr. Webster is probably something that everyone practices in relation to some standard. Again the issue is not whether we embrace legalism but what standard we embrace, to what law do we conform.

Having considered the definition of these terms it seems to use them in the context of a discussion concerning separation is not helpful. The use of the terms fail to bring clarity and it seems often times is simply an attempt to silence the person who draws the lines more conservatively. Again, the word is used in the same manner that the word toleration/tolerant is used in the cultural arena.

Do you believe it is wrong to steal, lie, murder, commit adultery, etc.? Is that not legalistic?

But it is wrong to say it is wrong for a woman to dress like a man or wear her hair like a man, or to say it is wrong for a man to dress like a woman or wear his hair like a woman, it is wrong to say that certain choices for entertainment are unacceptable for the Christian, it is wrong to say it is wrong to wear bathing suits and participate in mixed swimming, etc. . .

They say it is not wrong to think those things are wrong but it is wrong to expect other people to live by those standards. Is it wrong to expect other people to live by the standard of not stealing, lying, murdering, or committing adultery?

You say well those things are clear in the Bible. They are clear to you!

There is nothing so clear in the Bible that no one will take exception to it!



LOATHING THE LAW

The law is not the problem.

Romans 7:12,14 - Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good . . .
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

The law is holy.
The law is just.
The law is good.
The law is spiritual.

In contrast:
I am carnal.
I am sold under sin.

The problem is not the law, the problem is me. My inability or unwillingness to obey the moral law of God provides no legitimacy to calling into question its authority.

Psalms 19:7-11 - The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

The law of the Lord is perfect.
The testimony of the Lord is sure.
The statutes of the Lord are right.
The commandment of the Lord is pure.

In contrast it is:
My soul that needs converting.
I who need to be made wise.
I who need to rejoice in right.
I who need to have my eyes enlightened.

The law warns.
Keeping the law brings great reward.

Romans 7:7 – What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid.
To hear some speak of the law you would think the law is sin. "Well, that's in the Old Testament" they say. It is as though because it is in the Old Testament it is relegated to sub-standard material. It ceases to be true. I would be the first to admit that some things in the Old Testament or not applicable to the New Testament economy. But those things are clearly identified and explained in the New Testament. Things such as the Jewish ceremonial law. Hebrews deals extensively with this aspect of the law being set aside in the New Testament. I have yet to find a place in the New Testament where the moral law of the Old Testament is set aside in the New Testament. The moral decrees of God are timeless and transcend the Testaments.


The law does not cease to be relevant once we are saved.

Romans 3:31 - Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
This verse is at the end of chapter where Paul is arguing that we are not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ. Paul, having so vehemently opposed the idea of being justified by the works of the law he stops short those who would take the arguments presented and use them to completely dismiss the law.

To "make void" means to be (render) entirely idle (useless), abolish, destroy, put away.
The question is an important one. Because we are saved by faith and not the works of the law does it mean that we have rendered the law entirely idle and useless? Have we abolished the law completely?

Paul's answer is unequivocal. God forbid!

He goes on to explain that so far are we from making void the law that we establish the law. To establish means to stand, appoint, continue, establish. Because the law does not justify us but by faith we are justified the argument does not follow the law ceases to have any relevance in our lives. It continues to bear testimony to God’s standard of righteousness and what pleases and displeases him!

Romans 6:14,15 - For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Sin shall not have dominion over you. What a great a glorious truth. It is important to remember exactly what sin is. Sin is the transgression of the law. In effect what Paul is saying is the transgression of the law shall not have dominion over you.

He then proceeds to give the reason why this is true. For ye are not under the law but under grace. Law is not motivating us, grace is.

He then anticipates and proceeds to another question. What then, shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? Shall we transgress the law because we are not under the law, but under grace? This question strikes at the heart of the matter for the Christian. Does grace allow for the transgression of the law?

Again the answer is stated in unequivocal terms. God forbid! Absolutely not!

Romans 7:6 - But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
But now we are delivered from the law. Some take that to mean we are no longer have an obligation to obey the law. Are we delivered from the practice of its precepts or from its condemnation? Are we no more morally obligated to obey God or have we been delivered from the law of sin and death? These are questions that must be answered. In what sense are we delivered from the law.

If I was arrested and charged with unlawful entry of a building. Upon trial I was acquitted by a jury of my peers. I could legitimately be said that I have been delivered from the law. But does that now mean that I can go out and enter any building I want, whenever I want. No, of course not! My acquittal does not relieve me of the responsibility of obeying the law. Likewise when I am acquitted on the merits of Jesus Christ, I am delivered from the law. My justification does not free me from the obligation I have to the moral law.

"That being dead wherein we were held". That is the law having dominion over us as the woman is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth. (vs. 1) Vs: 4 – We are dead to the law. The law no longer has dominion over us. There is no condemnation (8:1). All of this is as it relates to justification.

"That we should serve". To serve means to be a slave to, be in bondage. Serve what? The law? In newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. The legalism crowd jumps on this and implies from this statement we have no obligation to the letter of the law, even though it clearly says “serve”. Then it describes how we are to serve, in newness of spirit. We are to serve not the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law. This is the crux of the matter.

We have a New Testament illustration of what this means and what it looks like in life.
Matthew 5

21,22 – Thou shalt not kill.

Vs. 21 – Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
This is the letter of the law!

Vs. 22 – But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
This is the spirit of the law!

27,28 – Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Vs. 27 – Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
This is the letter of the law!

Vs. 28 – But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
This is the spirit of the law!

33-37 – Thou shalt not bear false witness.

Vs. 33 – Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
This is the letter of the law!

Vs. 34-37 – But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
This is the spirit of the law!


Romans 8:1-4 - There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Vs: 1 – No condemnation. Christ frees us from the condemnation of the law. Not walking after the flesh but the Spirit is evidence of a changed heart.

Vs: 2 – Competing laws. The word law here is being used in the same way we would say the “law” of gravity. It is used this way in 7:21 – I find then a law that when I would do good evil is present with me. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. It is a law of life.

"Hath made me free". The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus is a superior law because it frees from another law. It frees, delivers us from the law of sin and death. You sin, you die. "The wages of sin is death."

Vs: 3 – The in ability of the law.

Vs: 4 – The fulfillment of the law.
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us. That is the spirit not simply the letter of the law. That which goes beyond the letter of the law. It righteous intent touching the heart and not simply the behaviour. Effecting the attitudes and not simply the reputation.

"Who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." This is not speaking of our position in Christ but our walk. The righteousness of the law is fulfilled in our walk, because it is not after the flesh but the Spirit.


HIDING BEHIND THE HEART

God looks on the heart.

I do not personally know anyone who denies this truth. The problem I have with it is that it is often spoken as though this is all that matters. It is as though some are saying my heart is spiritual no matter how worldly my behaviour. Where it really counts I am what I am supposed to be. As long as my heart is right then my behaviour is only secondary. These are conclusions I cannot accept.

In fact few of us would accept this premise if a fornicator was using this argument. Most would look at his behaviour and say his heart was amiss.

Does God look on the heart and does that matter? Of course.

1Samuel 16:7 - But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

It really comes down to the reality that man sees the fruit and God sees the root. Consequently it must be readily admitted by all that man is not infallible in his judgments, God is!

Jeremiah 17:9 - The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
What we must be willing to admit is that we are apt to misjudge our own hearts.

Psalms 139:23,24 - Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
This must be our constant prayer.

The heart is the root of behaviour.
Proverbs 4:23 - Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Matthew 12:35 - A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
Matthew 15:19 - For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
Mark 7:21-23 - For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
James 1:14.15 - But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
It is hard to read these verse without realizing there is a direct connection between one's heart and one's behaviour. In fact what we learn from these verses is that in most cases the behaviour is a very reliable indicator of the condition of the heart.


Of course in this discussion the issue of judging always comes up.

Matthew. 7:1-5 - Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Let me give just a brief summary of these verses:

Vs: 1 – A simple premise. It is not amazing that everyone has this verse memorized but most are absolutly clueless concerning its context.
Vs: 2 – A restraint on our spirit of condemnation
Vs: 3 – The problem of improper focus.
Vs: 4 – An ineffective ministry.
Vs: 5 – An effective ministry.
The bottom line is that we are not preculded from passing judgment. In fact the opposite is true. We are encouraged to remove the mote that is in our brother's eye. The hitch is that we are to only do so after we have removed the beam out of our own eye. Others are approached only after serious self-examination, confession, and repentance. This ensures that we will make the approach with humility and a vivid awareness of our own inadequacies.

1 Corinthians. 13:5,6 – Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Charity does not think evil yet at the same time it does not rejoice in iniquity. This whole process involves making judgments about people and dealing with them appropriately in the context of charity.

2 Corinthians. 10:12 - For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

Others should not be the standard by which we judge ourselves. We should not be the standard by which we judge others. To do either is not wise.


Our behaviour matters to God.

Jeremiah. 17:9,10 - The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
Think about what these two verses tell us. The heart is desperately wicked. The Lord searches the heart. The Lord gives to every man. According to his ways. According to the fruit of his doings. You will note that the while the Lord searches the heart he gives to every man according to his ways and doings. Why? Because his heart is revealed in his doings.

2 Corinthians. 5:10 - For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Receive the things done in his body. According to that he hath done. At the judgment seat of Christ we will be rewarded according to what we did. The behaviour is clearly judged and rewarded accordingly.

"Whether it be good or bad." Every thing we do will be judged as either good or bad. Where is the gray? It is inconceivable that at the judgment seat of Christ there will be a large category of behaviour that was neither good nor bad. In fact in 1 Corinthians 3 we find our works be placed into two categories. One is characterized as gold, sliver, and precious stones. The other is characterized as wood, hay, and stubble. Every work is considered to be one or the other. When it is tried by fire the only thing remaining will the works that are characterized as gold, silver, and precious stones and those works will be rewarded. Everything else will be burned up and we will suffer loss of reward accordingly. But remember the judgment is based upon what we have done.

Ephesians 6:8 - Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.
Colossians 3:25 - But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
Revelation 22:12 - And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
1Corinthians 6:19,20 - What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
2 Corinthians 7:1 – Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

These verses, and there are many more like them, clearly indicate that behaviour matters. We decieve ourselves by thinking that our hearts are right when our behaviour is wrong. I can, hypothetically of course, hear believers now at the judgment seat of Christ when many of their works are burnt up saying, "But it is the heart that matters not the outside."


LOVING LEGALISM

The cry of legalism provides a natural defense against public preaching.

Isaiah 58:1 - Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
We live in a day when few people want to hear the voice of a prophet but rather the platitudes of a teacher.

2 Timothy 4:1-4 – I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
The reproof of carnality is dismissed as legalism.
The messenger of rebuke is discounted as a legalist.
The exhortation to holy living is distorted as legalism delivered by a legalist.


The cry of legalism provides opportunity to sidestep any position that is more conservative.

Legalism is often the home of shallow thinkers. It delivers them from the hard work of actually working through an issue. It delivers them from the difficult task of searching the Scripture for wisdom and insight concerning an issue. They free themselves from having to ask does this please God and deicsions can be made based upon things such as what is culturally acceptable and what they personally like.

To label another’s genuine convictions as legalism or the messenger as a legalist is the same as the liberal politician labeling the opposing view on gay marriage as intolerant.

Hebrews 10:23-29 - Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Again let me give an abbreviated outline of this passage:

Vs: 23 – Holding fast is a virtue.
Vs: 24 – We are to be provoking one another unto good works.
Vs: 25 – We are to be exhorting one another.
Vs: 26,27 – Willful sin invites chastisement.
It is not good enough to just say, “that’s not the way I see it.”
Vs: 28,29 – Showing despite unto the Spirit of grace.
The word "despite" means to insult. What greater insult than to plead grace in order to sin (transgress the law)? What insult to the Spirit of grace to label someone who is seeking to provoke unto good works a legalist.


In conclusion let us remember the words of Romans 3:31 - Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

Redistribution Of Wealth

The following is a letter to the editor that was printed several days ago in our local paper and my response. Mr. Clark is a regular contributor to the "letter to the editor" section of our paper. I don't write as many letters as I have in the past probably because my blog has provided an outlet for my writing. But when I read Mr. Clark's comments I could not let them pass without challenge.

Mr. Clark's letter is first and then my response.



Equality should replace current lopsided system

What’s next?

We now have the election in November ahead of us. Does anyone believe we will have investment in infrastructure that has been so neglected since Nixon? Does anyone realize that even in Europe and Asia, building of rail, highways and locks on waterways have continued, though not as much as is really needed, at least something is being done?

We hear calls for less government, yet it gets bigger and more restrictive of the individual every year. Down with the IRS, they say. There is no fairer tax than the income tax, properly administered. Roosevelt managed to curtail the conglomerates, and through the income tax, hindered the amassing of great fortunes. Under him, we all paid a more equal share of our income and America has never had it as good as during his years.

We need to learn again that satisfaction of the heart is more important than Mamon, that an equitable share for all of us does us all more good than the present lopsided system. As our Constitution says, “We are all equal.”

Norman Clark, Lake Jackson



It’s not government’s place to redistribute wealth

Norm Clark writes, “satisfaction of the heart is more important than Mammon” (March 18). I agree, but why then focus on those who have more and argue for an “equitable share for all of us.”

This reveals a preoccupation with Mammon and a heart that is not satisfied unless it can have what belongs to another person. Because I cannot take my share from those that have more than me I empower government to take it and give it to me. The role of government is to protect the property of its citizens, not plunder and redistribute it.

It is the Declaration of Independence that says, “all men are created equal.” This is quite different than saying “we are all equal.” Being created equal means we all have the rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It does not mean equality of outcome. Should the indolent have an equality of outcome with the diligent? Should the foolish have equality of outcome with the wise? Should the fast-food employee have equality of outcome with the chemical engineer working in research and development? The answer is no and woe to the government that plunders its citizens to ensure it.

James C. McEntire Jr.,
pastor of Faith Baptist Church, Freeport

Friday, March 14, 2008

Clothes & Culture

Yesterday I was browsing through the history and biography section of our local Hastings book store. Just as I was finishing an employee approached me and said that he was marking down all the used books with the yellow sticker to $2.99. He had not yet been through the biographies and history but if I found anything I wanted with a yellow sticker to bring it to him and he would put the reduced price on it. At that point I had not picked anything out for purchase, but this put things in a whole new light, so...... I went back through looking for yellow stickers and came away with four tomes.

A Civil War Treasury
Miracle at Philadelphia (the story of the Constitutional Convention May to September 1787)
Carrying the Flag (the story of private Charles Whilden, the Confederacy's most unlikely hero)
A Perfect Fit (clothes, character, and the promise of America)

I read the introduction and first few pages of the first chapter in the last book. Found an interesting section in the introduction. I am including it here for your reflection:

"Today, when fashion is associated with the avant-garde and the cutting edge, with the flouting of convention and the primacy of self-expression, it is hard to imagine at time when fashion had more to do with virtue than with license, with the commonweal rather than the individual. But only a half century ago Americans held fashion to a different standard. Wearing their beliefs on their sleeves, they freighted hats and suits, jewelry and shoes, outerwear and underwear with moral value. Fashion was not simply about looking good. Fashion was about being good as well.

The subject of intense debate - on the street and in the sanctuary, around the dinner table and the water cooler - fashion both registered the most pressing issues of the day and provoked them. In prewar America, the length of a dress, the color of a man's shirt, the size of a hat, the height of a pair of shoes, the sheen of a fut coat, and the glint of a gold bracelet brought to the surface the country's ongoing concern with womanliness and gentlemanliness, religiosity and simplicity, probity and perfectibility even as it focused attention on the health of the nation and the state of its soul."

I find these thoughts interesting because I have been saying this for years. The author is clearly no rabid fundamental Baptist, yet she honestly acknowledges the past reality in contrast to the present abandonment of virtue, decency, and morality in clothing choices.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Who Says It's Wrong To Kill?

I don't listen to much talk radio anymore but yesterday on my way home I caught about five minuets of the Rush Limbaugh show. He had just taken a call from a man who was complaining that the socially conservative "right" was always seeking to impose their morality on everyone else. Rush argued that there were well established and accepted norms of behaviour and decency. I thought that sounds a little hollow. Established and accepted by whom, I thought. Normal to who?

The caller went on to explain that if he were single and wanted to enjoy the services of a prostitute he should not be thwarted in his desires, on the other hand if he were married then seeking the companionship of a prostitute would be unacceptable.

Rush rightly pointed out that he had just established a level of morality by which he would judge others and presumably himself. Rush asked why it would be OK if you were single and not if you were married. The man defended his position by appealing to the vows in marriage. Rush rightly challenged the man that he had again established a code of morality. Rush asked him why do vows mean anything. They only mean something in a system of morality. That's when I arrived home and went inside. Quite frankly I had heard enough.

Any system of morality is rendered mute unless their is an authoritative God who establishes principles of right and wrong. Atheist/evolutionist embrace a philosophy that deprives them of the ability to say anything is wrong. Whatever boundaries they impose are self-imposed and arbitrary. Their boundaries are subject to being challenged on the premise of no one having the right to impose their morality on the masses.

If there is no God I can kill and no one can question my moral authority to do so. To argue that killing or stealing is morally wrong because it imposes on another person that which they do not desire is not a consistent position. They have simply imposed another standard of morality, that is if it imposes on others that which they do not desire then the behaviour is immoral.

My question is says, who??

Who has the authority to declare such behaviour immoral?

Is it consensus that makes killing another person immoral? And why is that binding? Why should it be binding? Why should I accept the moral standard that has been arrived at by consensus? If this is true then most ethnic cleansing is morally just because it is the result of consensus.

The reality is, if there is no God then there is no moral standard!

The minute someone attempts to impose a moral standard apart from God I will always ask the question, says who?? What is your authority for saying so?

If there is no God every man is set free to kill, rape, plunder, steal, lie, assault, and exercise their might to build their own kingdom at the expense of anyone and everyone else. A man is free to walk the streets and take any woman he wants and force her. I would be free to enter my nieghbor's home armed and take what I wanted and if he tried to stop me I would simply execute him on the spot. You say, well that would just not be right. I ask, who says??

Why is certain behaviour wrong. It has nothing to do with well established and accepted norms of behaviour, or consensus, or any other insipid wrangling of logic.

It is wrong because God said:

Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not kill.
Thou shalt not bear false witness.
Though shalt not commit adultery.

It is wrong because God said it was wrong and anything short of that reality will leave us adrift on a sea of moral relativism.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

And Then There Were Four

This morning our oldest daughter Sara delivered her fourth child, Luke Wayne Gordon.

So Luke becomes the youngest of four grandchildren.

James, Thomas, and Evelyn being older

Lord willing we hope to make it five before the end of the year.

Proverbs 17:6 - Children‘s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.

Old men??? Its funny but I don't feel like what I thought Grandpa's felt like. Although I must admit the title does carry a bit of dignity with it. I trust the Lord will see fit to make me a Grandpa many times over again. More than that I hope He will make me a Grandpa that is an example of pious devotion leaving a legacy of love for God, truth, and the church that Jesus established.