Persecution

The Hobby Lobby decision put in context...

The Supreme Court of these United States declares Hobby Lobby will no longer be required to submit to Washington D.C.'s oppression and we're supposed to be happy and grateful? Are you kidding me?

The cornerstone of our nation's principles of government is the recognition that all men have an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, yet Christians are tickled pink and giggling with excitement that closely held family corporations of a certain inordinate religiosity will no longer be obligated to pay for the slaughter of their employees' children. It doesn't take much for the court jesters inside the Beltway to make us grateful, does it?

Sometimes I think I have a clear view of the game plan. The relationship between Christian citizens of these United States and their civil magistrates is much like professional wrestling...


Visualize impeachment...

Last week an NPR pundit opined on the U.S. Supreme Court’s strategy to impose sodo-matrimony on the nation. Speaking of last summer’s decision to overturn only part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the pundit explained the High Court “didn’t want to get too far out in front of the people.” This sort of cant is supposed to lull us into believing that We the People and our Injustices are headed in the same direction toward the Promised Land of sexual liberation and tolerance. In other words, the Injustices are in the vanguard as they appeal to the better angels of our nature to acquiesce in homosexual marriage. With gentle nudges, they’re only accelerating the transition from our budding, enlightened inclinations toward actions we would eventually take anyway.

In reality, for the last fifty years the Supreme Court has exercised a debasing cultural and spiritual influence on our nation. Any moral capital the Court won in outlawing segregation in 1954 was years ago forfeited as it rampaged through state law after state law after state law erected to protect the weak and innocent. Abortionists, murderers and rapists on death row, and pornographers have been frequent recipients of the Supreme Court’s solicitude and succor. Then as if that weren’t enough, in the 2003 decision Lawrence v. Texas, homosexuals were enshrined in the constitutional Pantheon. The Court has an insatiable appetite for strong delusion.

A more honest pundit would have said that...


Here am I, send me...

An hour and a half west of Bloomington is the city of Terre Haute which is home to the small and reputable school, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Tomorrow night, this little conservative engineering school in the middle of a city notorious for its lowlife druggies (crystal meth) will host a forum on so-called "marriage equality," which is to say homosexual marriage. The questions to be addressed are:

(1) What is marriage from a legal standpoint? What distinguishes it from other legal relationships?
(2) Does marriage benefit the state?
(3) Why does the government recognize marriage?
(4) How does the Fourteenth Amendment apply to the legality of same-sex marriage? How are civil rights involved?
(5) How does marriage law interact with state and national law? How is marriage a judicial issue?
(6) Also, what are the legal ramifications of the HJR-3? [House Joint Resolution 3 prohibiting homosexual marriage]

Across America, the chattering class has found its latest heartthrob, and it's nothing as pretty as Taylor Swift. Desperately trying to clean it up, they refer to this lie and the dirty acts it exists to legitimize and institutionalize as "marriage equality." Their icy hearts go pitter-patter with deviancy's every advance, and they give themselves to exquisite shivers when these advances occur out there in the hinterlands. Already banned from New York by Governor Cuomo's henchmen, Christians are silent as the marriage equality movement inexorably expands out there in the Midwest. Cuomo rejoices that the hated "Bible thumpers" are one step closer to Siberia.

But what have we done to merit such hatred?


Roman Catholics are not immune...

Top of the morning to you! This past week, I received this e-mail solicitation from John MacArthur. Or was it Chuck Swindoll or Al Mohler?

Oh, alright. Same verse just a little bit worse. The solicitation was from my Tridentine (Latin) Mass Roman Catholic friends who published Joe Sobran until he died. They're holding a conference on the coming persecution, which I'm very much in favor of conferences examining. For many years I've been saying to Christian parents that we need to be raising our children to suffer for their faith. Not to be rich and well-educated and successful, but to suffer for their faith.

So when I scanned down the ad and hit the venue, I laughed and forwarded it to my family. Reminds me of Wheaton a decade and a half after its storied Auca Indian martyrs burnished the image of Wheaton as a conservative Christian college. At the time I was going to Wheaton Christian Grammar School with all my Van der this and Van der that classmates from  the CRC church just down the block. All of a sudden, a magnificent building began rising from the ground in the large lot next door to the school...


Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson: a postmodern morality play...

Well, they'll stone ya when you're trying to be so good
They'll stone ya just a-like they said they would
They'll stone ya when you're tryin' to go home
Then they'll stone ya when you're there all alone

But I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned.

-Bob Dylan, Rainy Day Women #12 & 35

Although a number of men I'm close to have loved the show for quite some time, yesterday in our pastors meeting I was told Duck Dynasty is one of the most popular TV shows of all time, and I was floored. I've never really gotten reality shows. More recently I haven't gotten FB, either. Everybody shouting at their friends that they just went gluten-free. Scintillating ain't it?

So yeah, the Robertsons are fun and I'd like to blow their duck call once or twice to hear why it made them rich. Is it "Queeeeaaaaaaaaauuuck" or just "Quack Quack?"

In fact, Duck Dynasty's success is mostly about money... {C}


Sodomy rights trump religious freedom...

Peter and Rosemary Bull, the Christian couple fined in 2008 for not allowing sexual immorality in their bed and breakfast, have lost their appeal to the UK's Supreme Court. In a unanimous ruling, the court ruled the Bulls have no religious freedom to decline one of their bedrooms to the sodomite couple who filed a complaint against them.

After 25 years, the Bulls business has been ruined and they are now forced to sell their home.

From the court's decision, this from Deputy President...


Supreme Court accepts Hobby Lobby appeal...

The Supreme Court has accepted an appeal of the requirement by President Obama's nationalized medicine that corporations pay for the murder of unborn children. The appeal filed by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, a Mennonite woodworking company, is based on the companies' religious opposition to providing their employees abortifacient drugs such as "Plan B."

So now we'll see if Chief Justice Roberts has "grown" into lying about the First as well as the Tenth Amendment. Also whether he sees baby-slaughter as no big deal.

Reporting on SCOTUS agreeing to the review, USA Today...


Homeschooling family flees Germany (II)...

This is the second part of the interview with Pastor Walker, a missionary to Germany who was persecuted by the German government for homeschooling his children and now lives in a gypsy village in Romania.


Homeschooling family flees Germany (I)...

Pastor Matthew was in town to visit his son doing graduate work at IU and I had the joy of sitting down with him to talk. After several hours together, I thought it was a waste that no one else was in the room listening, so I asked Luke Trout, our resident video expert, if we could rerun the conversation with him recording it for the blog? He was kind enough to agree and here's the first half.

Pastor Matthew covers much ground, but pay particular attention to his what he has to say about American missionaries in Europe, the dangers homeschooling parents face in the European Union today, the attack upon fatherhood in Germany, the unique challenges he and his wife and children run into living among, and preaching the Gospel to, gypsies in their village in Romania.

Luke Trout has broken the interview in half and this is the first half. We'll post the second half in a few days.


Faithful Christian witness in the UK...

We are not homophobic, but the Bible is very clear that a man should not lie with a man and woman should not lie with a woman. Gay people are more than welcome to stay here, but not in the same bed. It is a case of love the sinner, but not the sin. How people choose to live their lives is their business, but I am responsible, in the eyes of God, for what happens in my home.

Christians are increasingly marginalised in British society, and what we have here is a head-on collision between the conflicting beliefs of Christians and those of homosexuals. Why should the rights of gay people take precedence over ours?

Mrs. Peter Bull, Marazion, Cornwall

Mr. and Mrs. Peter (Hazelmary) Bull ran a bed and breakfast in Cornwall, England the past three decades. Since they are Christians, the Bulls clearly stipulated to those considering staying with them that they were not willing to rent a double-bedded room to unmarried couples. Five years ago, the Bulls declined to rent a double-bedded room to an unmarried couple and the couple sued.


A strategy for Christians who object to same-sex "weddings"...

(This post is by Dan Reuter, attorney-at-law here in Bloomington, Indiana. Dan got his M.Div. from Pittsburgh Seminary and served as a pastor for many years prior to entering the practice of law.)

Christian photographers, florists, caterers, etc. have been under pressure to provide their services to couples of the same sex who are having so-called "weddings." Frequently, the same-sex couples have invoked the civil rights movement, which claimed that anyone offering services to the public must provide those services to all comers, not discriminating against anyone who wants the service and will pay for it. Christians have relied mainly on their right to the free exercise of their religion, but usually they've lost and some of them have paid a heavy price—including the loss of their businesses.

They have been using the wrong strategy. There is force to the argument that a public facility must serve all of the public, and state anti-discrimination laws reinforce this rule. In our culture, "religion" is something private, that should have no effect on anyone but its practitioners. Christians dispute this, of course, but in our increasingly pagan society, theirs is a losing argument.

Here's a better strategy...


Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA) responds: the best defense is a good offense...

(This post is the follow-up to an earlier post which should be read first. The earlier post is titled "Christian Medical and Dental Association doesn't want abortion to divide Christians...".)

Last week, we heard from Christian Medical and Dental Association's CEO, Dr. David Stevens. He responded to our earlier post (detailing CMDA's punitive actions toward a dental student who taught a pro-life position in CMDA's Bible study) by laying out his subordinates' explanations of their actions. Thus, his communication with us was simply a number of bullet points, criticizing the dental student's teaching method and character.

There was no acknowledgement that CMDA was wrong in disciplining the student for his pro-life commitments. In our earlier work seeking a resolution to this matter, this is the response we had gotten from CMDA regional and national staff, so we weren't surprised Dr. Stevens continued this line of defense.

The same day we heard from Dr. Stevens, World Magazine contacted us asking for more information. We declined, explaining that we wanted first to work toward a private resolution.


Book recommendations: Baxter's Reformed Pastor and Shusaku Endo's Silence...

It seems inane to say so when so many others have said the same so often for so many centuries, but having recently led our Pastors College men through Richard Baxter's The Reformed Pastor, I was reminded how central to the development of my work as a minister of the Word Baxter has been. After seminary, I read The Reformed Pastor, followed quickly by Baxter's Autobiography, and it's impossible to overstate the impact both had on my pastoral conscience and commitments these past thirty years. Page after page, I see my markings and marginal notes and think to myself, "that's where I learned that" and "that's why I think that way!"

Whether you're a deacon, pastor, or elder, if you haven't read Baxter's Reformed Pastor, buy it now and read it yesterday! Then preach on Acts 20 and you're good to go! (Or to sit down and mourn and cry and beat your breast and confess your failures to the Chief Shepherd, asking for His mercy and renewed commitment to faithfully shepherd Christ's Church which He bought with His Own precious blood.)

* * *

Speaking of books, I also just finished Silence by Shusaku Endo and recommend it to our good readers. (I was up staying with my brother, David, for a couple days and pulled it from his bookshelves, so thank David for the recommendation.) Silence is said to be the masterpiece of Japan's most respected novelist and the work is a fictionalized account of the great persecution Christians suffered in Japan during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries...


Please pray for Pastor Abedini...

So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. (Acts 5:41)

Pastor Saeed Abedini is suffering in an Iranian jail for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Please pray for him. You can find out more about Pastor Abedini here on FB.


Christian Medical and Dental Association doesn't want abortion to divide Christians...

Then they themselves also will answer, "Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?" (Matthew 25:44)

(NOTE: CMDA's president, vice-president, and midwest regional director have all responded to the content of this post by attacking the gifts and character of the young dental student whose teaching on abortion CMDA had disciplined—as outlined below. We have now published a follow-up post in which we document CMDA's defense, responding with a careful and detailed demonstration of their attack's errors of fact.)

Walmart has an unimpeachable return policy. Read about it on their national website. It is one of the most generous in the industry, but it's only as good as the implementation at your local Walmart when you try to get a refund. If every Walmart were free to reject returns, the official policy wouldn't be worth the paper it was printed on. This is true of every national organization with local branches. The acid test of a national policy is its local implementation.

This is seen all the time with parachurch ministries. For example, the national office of Inter-Varsity was unwilling to discipline a local chapter that promoted homosexuality. Similarly, although the PCA issued a fevered condemnation of Federal-Vision theology at the national level, she hasn't been able to find any local individual who holds to what she condemned. Men tried for Federal-Vision leanings are always exonerated.

The most recent example is the Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA). Officially opposed to abortion since 1985, CMDA punished a man who taught their curriculum and position on abortion in one of their local Bible studies. When their official position against abortion becomes painfully local, they undermine it. They are prophets at a distance, but at home they desire peace.

Case in point: a godly, irenic dental student (let's call him John*) attending a CMDA Bible study was asked to take over teaching the study...


Theological critique of Escondido Two Kingdoms theology (IX): Religious persecution 101...

(NOTE: This post is part of a series showing the errors of so-called Two-Kingdom Theology. We refer to it as "so-called" Two-Kingdom Theology because what the church historically has meant by "Two-Kingdoms" bears little resemblance to what Escondido Theology men mean when they write it today. Thus sometimes we write "Two-Kingdom Theology," but more often we write "Radical Two Kingdom," "Rigid Two Kingdom," or "R2K.")

Now arrive the justices of the Supreme Court of New Mexico declaring they will not tolerate freedom of conscience concerning sodomite marriages or "commitment ceremonies." Announcing their decision in Elane Photography v. Vanessa Willock, the court declared Elane Photography was a "public accommodation" business, and therefore in violation of the New Mexico Human Rights Acts when the owner declined a job shooting pics of two women parading their shame through a public commitment ceremony.

Showing the utter degradation of legal reasoning in our law schools and courts today, the court preened itself over its enlightened devotion to civil rights: "when Elane Photography refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, it violated the (New Mexico Human Rights Acts) in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races."

Seeking to justify the moral cesspool they preside over within their state, these Supreme Court justices trot out two assumptions they believe unassailable within the boundaries of their decadent society...


Theological critique of Escondido Two Kingdoms Theology (VI): To be rid of the burden of confessing Christ...

(NOTE: This post is part of a series showing the errors of so-called Two-Kingdom Theology. We refer to it as "so-called" Two-Kingdom Theology because what the church historically has meant by "Two-Kingdoms" bears little resemblance to what Escondido Theology men mean when they write it today. Thus sometimes we write "Two-Kingdom Theology," but more often we write "Radical Two Kingdom," "Rigid Two Kingdom," or "R2K.")

In an essay critiquing R2K that ran¹ in the latest issue of Mid-America's journal for scholars, Cornelius Venema writes:

For those who advocate the two kingdoms perspective [R2K], human conduct in the common kingdom of life and culture is the same for believer and unbeliever alike. The two kingdoms perspective, therefore, liberates Christians from the burden of having to find a distinctively Christian way of living in the “common kingdom.” ...Unlike (those who call) for the transformation of human life under the lordship of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, the two kingdoms project promises a far simpler, less pretentious and burdensome view of the vocation of human beings within the framework of the common kingdom of God.

Which being interpreted simply says the R2K man breathes a deep sigh of relief and calls out to his R2K playmates "Allee, allee in-free!" Surveying the minefields they would have had to walk as followers of Jesus Christ at work, in the university classroom, inside the courtroom, at the statehouse, in the cafeteria, on FB, and in the coffee shop when everyone else was confessing sodomite marriage, they found a principle to allow them not to confess Scripture, God's Law, Creation sexuality, manhood and womanhood; in short, a principle allowing them not to confess the Lordship of Jesus Christ...


The heart of our opposition to R2K...

Here on Baylyblog, David and I are pastors first, second, and last. Thus it is our purpose to call men and women who are former gays or lesbians, fornicators and adulterers, those unbiblically divorced alongside gossips and materialists growing old with their first wife to be witnesses to their neighbors and thus to fulfill the law of love.

Sincere Christians willing to obey their Lord in this matter of loving their neighbor by being salt and light ought not to be ridiculed and shamed into silence by professional intellectuals claiming the Name of Christ. We aim to protect them from this abuse. By exposing the Biblical and spiritual—not to mention theological, legal, and historical—errors of R2K, it's our purpose to create a safe space for faithful men and women of God to witness to their Lord without fear of...


Theological critique of Escondido Two Kingdoms Theology (II): Sodomy now, incest later...

(NOTE: This post is part of a series showing the errors of so-called Two-Kingdom Theology. We refer to it as "so-called" Two-Kingdom Theology because what the church historically has meant by "Two-Kingdoms" bears little resemblance to what Escondido Theology men mean when they write it today. Thus sometimes we write "Two-Kingdom Theology," but more often we write "Radical Two Kingdom," "Rigid Two Kingdom," or "R2K.")

So with many other exhortations he preached the gospel to the people. But when Herod the tetrarch was reprimanded by him because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and because of all the wicked things which Herod had done, Herod also added this to them all: he locked John up in prison. - Luke 3:18-20

Where are the men of God preaching the Gospel today by reprimanding our civil magistrates for their incest and sodomy and adultery—as well as "all the other wicked things they have done?"

Among the brave and Reformed, we read this account of Godly John and learned our lesson, so we invented R2K to justify the betrayal of our calling. Right now it doesn't seem so very bad since it's just gayness being condoned and gayness has become mainstream, but what other sins will we find ourselves supporting out in the naked public square a few years from now?

Far afield from Scripture and historical Reformed theology, the R2K (Radical Two-Kingdom) movement is a modern novelty perfectly suited to our decadent age. This is the reason R2K men are currently arguing for the repeal of sodomy laws and the passage of sodomite marriage rites instead of arguing for the repeal of laws against incest and bestiality. The mainstreaming of the sodomite perversion is all around us right now whereas the mainstreaming of bestiality and incest are still down the road a piece. Take any R2K argument for the legality of sodomy and sodomite marriage, replacing the sin of sodomy with the sin of "bestiality" or "incest," and clarity of thought will return.

Thus R2K men arguing for sodomy rights and rites are demonstrating now where they'll be in twenty years. Whatever form of wickedness liberals are working to normalize right now is the wickedness R2K men will argue for right now. They just go with the flow. Having argued that Christian conscience and charity should be entirely private with respect to sodomy, they'll port their arguments to the normalization of whatever sexual perversion...


Muslim butchers Coptic Christians...

Yusuf Ibrahim has been arrested and is being held on charges of murder and desecration of bodies in connection with the murder and mutilation of two Coptic Christian men. The men lived in Buena Vista, New Jersey, and were recent immigrants from Egypt.

Reports indicate both men had their hands cut off and were beheaded with their heads and bodies separated and buried.

You hadn't heard about it? It didn't make Google's news page?

In the past couple of months I've had two conversations with two students recently arrived in the U.S. from China and Saudia Arabia.