Monday, March 31, 2008

Arlen Has Questions!

Dear Readers,

From time to time, I have had guest bloggers agree to post their articles, essays, and commentaries here at Talk Wisdom.

Arlen, one of our new commenters, has some challenging yet quite important questions for us to answer. He asks for our opinions about Jesus, Pontius Pilate's role in Christ's crucifixion, and the power given by God regarding this most important event in all of history. In addition to this, he has questions regarding God's role in the appointment of leaders; both in the past as well as today.

Here is your chance to delve into Scripture, put on your apologetics thinking caps, and come up with answers to these excellent questions!

Here are Arlen's questions:

I have two questions for you on which I would like to get your opinion and that of your readers.

They both emanate from the same verses of Scripture:

So Pilate said to him, "Do you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?"

Jesus answered (him), "You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above. For this reason the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin." John 19:10-11

1) In verse 11, Jesus implies that God gave Pilate his position of authority. If that is true (and I believe it is), does that mean that God appoints all leaders? In the OT, it says He appoints kings. If God appoints rulers, does this mean He appoints bad ones (as a way of accomplishing His will)? Where I am going with this is does it matter for whom we vote if the leader is sanctioned and appointed by God, whether it be Obama, Clinton or McCain and whether that leader be good or bad? One could argue that Pilate was a bad leader (yet appointed by God per Jesus’ words).

2) Secondly, in a much broader sense, in verse 10, Pilate tells Jesus that he has the power to crucify Him. And in verse 11, Jesus says this power came from God. Therefore, if Pilate has the power to crucify Jesus and God gave him that power, does this mean that God sanctions the death penalty?

I have thought a great deal about these verses as of late, whether they apply only to Jesus’ time or today. What say you?

Blessings to you,


Friday, March 28, 2008

Hidden Racial Toxins

In Barack Obama's speech on racial issues, he encouraged his listeners to conduct honest and open dialogue. I have a lot of questions and comments that I have kept inside for fear of being labeled in a derogatory manner if I even dare to vet them. In light of Obama's encouragement to speak out, I think that I need to overcome such fear and just say what is on my mind.

I must admit, I often feel timid about discussing racial issues. Anything that a white person says today can be misconstrued and taken the wrong way. It is certainly an excessively sensitive topic.

You may disagree fiercely with the points being shared here. However, I hope and pray that people will be tolerant of this post. I also hope that it does some good by opening up a needed dialogue on this current, volatile issue.

Yesterday, when I heard several black pastors verbally place their unequivocal support behind not only the person of Rev. Wright, but also the bigoted and hateful comments that he has spewed over the years, my mind was shocked right out of complacency.

You see, when this story first broke, I genuinely believed that there can't be many black pastors out there who think like this! No way! I genuinely thought that Rev. Wright was the acception to the rule, and role, of "Black Liberation" pastors. Most just can't possibly agree with, or believe in the same way as the Rev. Wright of Trinity Baptist Church.

Apparently, I was wrong. Very wrong.

Why was I so naive?

Opinions may vary greatly. I'm sure that there will be the usual negative responses in the comment section that will state that because I am white, my "privileged" life has blinded me to the suffering and/or inequality of others. Maybe that is your view. I have been accused of such before on this blog for different and various reasons (based on whatever I am blogging about at the time).

But I don't think that is all there is to it.

Could the reason that I am so shocked over this controversy be that because my family and I have attended two multi-racial churches headed by black pastors over the past 18 years, and such hatred and resentment towards white folk has NEVER appeared, at least on the surface, to have been present? At least not at those two churches.

Now, I am sincerely wondering if any racial tension and toxic resentments were just secretly hidden from view all this time? Should I be doubting my good and positive opinions of these pastors? It is certainly very disconcerting for my family. We just can't believe how badly this story has been escalating in the news. The need to "walk carefully upon the egg shells of racial conversation" is definitely apparent, as well.

Don't get me wrong. I always knew that the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharpton types had a lot of anger and resentment against what they perceive as the "white, upper class, privileged establishment." Railing against this so-called "establishment" is, in fact, how they make their money and get donations for their causes! Personally, I think it is sad that they have to do such things through negativity rather than positive approaches. I have always hoped and prayed that one day, men like that would evolve past their rage over former injustices and, as their favorite liberal organization is named, Move On from there - to a new kind of positive racial striving. One can still hope...right?

I just never realized how deep the scars of the past are set in the hearts, minds, souls and spirits of some black individuals. To find out about an entire movement in the black Christian community that labels itself as a racist kind of "black liberation theology" is simply astounding to me. Call me naive. Call me whatever you'd like. I'm probably going to get myself into trouble for my outburst of honesty here.

But I just can't get over the fact that I, and many other white people of my generation (as well as the generations since the baby boomer era) are being punished and blamed behind the closed doors of "black liberation churches" across the country for past greivances of black people which we had nothing to do with!


I said it.

Now go ahead and blame me for "racial insensitivity."

The hidden racial toxins that have been revealed through the media exposure of Barack Obama's racist pastor have certainly been eye-opening. I have found myself desiring to ask someone to explain it all to me.

Last night, I think I have finally found the true answers to my questions via Pat Buchanan's latest article called Uprooting the New Racism.

Watching Greta Van Susteren last night on her show just made me cringe. She had one of the black pastors that continue to support Rev. Wright (as well as Wright's outrageously bigoted remarks) on her show. Yet, Greta resisted directly confronting the man for upholding Rev. Wright's appalling racist views and terrible comments about America. The best she could do was state that at least Obama admitted that the appalling statements of his former pastor were not right. However, the gathering of black liberation pastors in Florida were there to honor Rev. Wright (who didn't show up for security reasons) and get show their agreement with everything that Rev. Wright had said in every sermon (including the incendiary remarks that we are all too familiar with today).

What is wrong with this picture??

Why can the press call out (and fire!) Imus for his racist remarks, but they just can't bring themselves to tell a pastor to his face that he is being an anti-white, anti-Jew, anti-American, black "liberation" bigot??

I don't usually agree with a lot of what Pat Buchanan says or writes. But this time, he is spot on in his analysis of what were previously known as hidden racial what is now exposed as the uprooting of the new racism.


But then he revealed the distorting lens through which he and his fellow liberals see the world. To them, black rage is grounded in real grievances, while white resentments are exaggerated and exploited.

What Barack is saying here is that the resentment of black America is justified, but the resentment of white America is a myth manufactured and manipulated by the conservative commentariat. Barack is attempting to de-legitimize the other side of the argument.

Yet, who is he to claim the moral high ground?

Where does this child of privilege who went to two Ivy League schools, then spent 20 years in a church where racist rants were routine, come off preaching to anyone? What are Barack's moral credentials to instruct white folks on what they must do, when he failed to do what any decent father should have done: Take his wife and daughters out of a church where hate had a home in the pulpit?

Barack needs to reread the Lord's admonition in the Sermon on the Mount: "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"

Longshoreman philosopher Eric Hoffer once wrote that all great movements eventually become a business, then degenerate into a racket.

That is certainly true of the civil rights movement. Begun with just demands for an end to state-mandated discrimination based on race, it ends with unjust demands for state-mandated preferences, based on race.

Under affirmative action, white men are passed over for jobs and promotions in business and government, and denied admission to colleges and universities to which their grades and merits entitle them, because of their gender and race.

Paradoxically, America's greatest warrior for equal justice under law and an end to reverse racism is, like Barack, a man of mixed ancestry. He is Ward Connerly. And his life's mission is to drive through reverse discrimination the same stake America drove through segregation.

Thank God for bi-racial people like Ward Connerly and the two black pastors I know who obviously, and sincerely, do not have a racist bone in their bodies!

Buchanan quote:

Folks need to be able to separate the true friends of racial justice from the phonies who believe with the pigs on Orwell's Animal Farm -- that "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

Powerful article! Powerful truth! Powerful quote at the end!

True friends of racial justice! Powerful statement!

Folks need to be able to separate the true friends of racial justice from the phonies.
Painfully honest, but powerful and true statement!

What's your opinion? Please be civil. If you disagree, then go ahead and let me have it - minus the cursing, of course. If you agree, then please state your reasons why. If you are neutral (is that possible?) then share your views as well.

One last thought.

The verbiage of Rev. Wright is not uplifting - as one would expect - in most Christian church sermons. What he says and how he states it incites people to violence - whether such violence is held in as personal rage - or, even more sadly, acted out on the streets. IMHO, such violent spewing as this is like the backward action of a firearm upon firing. It is the hatred that starts the anger which can escalate into violence.

But think about this.

When a firearm doesn't work properly (as I believe the black "liberation" theology views don't work properly in the true light of the biblical, Christian worldview) the backfire injures the firearm holder.

"Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent" (Arthur Conan Doyle).

Update @ 9:50 a.m. PT

On a separate, but related issue, Obama contends that belief in Jesus not necessary for salvation. [Thanks to Sothenes for emailing me the link.]

Perhaps this explains a lot.

My blogging Christian friend Mark has already addressed this in detail at his blog.

Worldly anti Christ message of Obama

The Truth About Tolerance (Part 2)

There is a right and a wrong way to put forward the application of tolerance in society. Two main ingredients essential to its proper application are responsibility and the concept of grounded moral convictions. A huge problem regarding what (incorrectly) passes for tolerance in today's culture of secular liberalism is the fact that traditional, religiously- grounded convictions often suffer under wrong applications of it. We see daily examples where such convictions are either automatically dismissed, and/or tragically, imperiled. Yesterday's post contains several examples of this fact.

There are ten truth principles discussed in the book, "The Truth About Tolerance: Pluralism, Diversity and the Culture Wars." I hope that readers had the opportunity to read Chapter 5, The Truth About Truth. That chapter reveals and establishes the essential basis for the ten truth principles. All ten principles allow us to gain a clear and comprehensive understanding of the essential idea of toleration. What's more, your eyes will be opened to the fact that the term and true meaning of "tolerance" has been hijacked and so very badly skewed by secular humanistic liberal thinking.

Today, I will introduce and discuss the first three principles of genuine tolerance.

Principle 1
Tolerance, rightly understood, is a patience toward a practice or opinion one disapproves of.

People today have been misled into believing that tolerance should be defined as a synonym for the words "acceptance" or "agreement."

Excerpt from book:

The technical definition of tolerance is "A policy of patient forbearance in the presence of something which is disliked or disapproved of." The English word tolerance is derived from the Latin tolerare, meaning "to bear," so the concept of forbearance or putting up with something not agreeable is inherent in the concept of tolerance. Thus logically built in to the very idea of tolerance is the presence of disagreement. It would make no sense to be tolerant of a public policy or practice we agree with. The concept of tolerance is not relevant when there is no dispute or discontent about the way things should go or the way they should be done. Toleration need only be brought to bear when there is tension, when there is a disagreement about what is fitting and proper, whether the context be public or private.

So disagreement itself cannot constitute intolerance, that is, the failure to be tolerant when one ought to be. This is an extremely important trait of tolerance. Simply by disagreeing with a religious belief, public policy or behavioral habit I am not therefore automatically acting in a manner that is insensitive or intolerant. It would be inaccurate, not to mention uncharitable, to say that I was. Dissent is not immoral. The moral quality of dissent is determined by the style of its expression and the substance of its conviction, not by the simple fact it is disagreement.

We do not have to agree with people in order to be tolerant, to treat them civilly and with respect. Any suggestion that we do is nothing less than a manipulative call to intellectual stagnation and mental conformity. The demand for acceptance and affirmation -- by urging upon dissenters this false tolerance-- is itself intolerant because it would require the assent of others who do not wish to give it. It is as such a form of coercion and intellectual imperiousness.

Principle 2
The practice of tolerance must have limits.

Any collection of values that places tolerance at its peak will quickly topple over from the weight of its impossibility.

As J. Budziszewski notes, "According to our [moral] intuitions, not everything should be tolerated. The duty of tolerance takes the form, 'Tolerate what ought to be tolerated.' What this shows us is that tolerance is not a mechanical duty, but a duty involving judgment."

We can already see where secular liberalism has attempted to change what genuine tolerance demands. The "do not judge" mantra of homosexual activism (especially including the gay "christian" movement) wants to claim that any kind of judgment should never be "tolerated." How ironic is that?

The liberal American habit of "being tolerant" or "teaching tolerance," as though this is a reasonable and realistic solution to our contemporary moral crisis, is as impossible as it is superficial.

Let's look at the definition of "superficial":


1. concerned with or comprehending only what is apparent or obvious; not deep or penetrating emotionally or intellectually; "superficial similarities"; "a superficial mind"; "his thinking was superficial and fuzzy"; "superficial knowledge"; "the superficial report didn't give the true picture"; "only superficial differences" [ant: profound]
2. of, affecting, or being on or near the surface; "superficial measurements"; "the superficial area of the wall"; "a superficial wound"
3. of little substance or significance; "a few superficial editorial changes"; "only trivial objections"

WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.

Superficiality leads the concept of "tolerance" teaching in public schools today. Why? Because the secular elites have taken away any ability for students (and their parents) to be allowed to apply judgment towards the "diversity" teaching and moral matters being pushed upon them by those who have a liberal-thinking-only mindset.

The recent passing of SB777 here in California has shown the impossibility for students, teachers, and parents who disagree with such teachings to be heard or allowed dissent on such issues. What is this called? Anarchy! The next principle will demonstrate this very important moral point. Back to principle 2.

So tolerance operates in personal and social relationships in conjunction with other goods; it does not rudely lay atop them, covering over their own distinctive good role and purpose. The very reality of a diversity of moral goods (e.g., innocent people ought not be harmed; we should not abet our friends' self-destructive habits) means that we must be ready to jettison tolerance if necessary to protect them. Simple human decency and concern demand this.

Using the homosexual activism in public schools as an example, we can see that that the liberal elites do not want any allowance for those who disagree with the homosexual agenda to point out the fact that these kids are involving themselves in self-destructive habits. Rather than seeing counter events (e.g. like the Christian student led "Day of Truth") to the homosexual indoctrination going on in the schools (e.g. the "Day of Silence") as simple human decency and concern; the schools would rather do everything they legally could to discourage the message of the Christians. Yet, they happily uphold the pro-homosexual students event as a "positive" occurrence. What is wrong with this picture? It's bias...plain and simple. It is also a form of intolerance towards what the Christian students have to say.

Interestingly enough, this year's "Day of Silence" advocates have moved their "day" from Wednesday (in April) to Friday. Why? Because the "Day of Truth" always followed the day after the homosexual indoctrination event. Now, the "Day of Truth" students have to wait until after the weekend (while the "Day of Silence" stays in the minds of the students all weekend) to share their "Day of Truth" which directly (but lovingly and non-hostility) points out the truth about homosexual behavior and its undeniably physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences.

See how the "Day of Silence" propagandists work? How sad is that?!

Back to principle 2.

It is obvious that tolerance should not rigidly govern our lives. Any claim that tolerance should always be practiced is nothing less than an invitation to human brutality, on occasion, and moral relativism, uniformly. And, undeniably, moral relativism is illogical since it is self-refuting (e.g., the assertion that there are no objective moral truths represents itself as an objective moral truth; therefore if it is true it must also be false, which is nonsense). Neither is moral relativism logical socio-culturally.

Any effort to universalize tolerance, apart from being self-defeating and illogical, is doomed because it would end up giving permission or free rein to those devoted to destroying tolerance. If we tolerate everything, the ethic of tolerance itself is fair game (along with every other good), and we have no grounds on which to proscribe even the most reprehensible conduct. Tolerance cannot be the bottom line or last word to human social arrangements. Tolerance needs limits.

Principle 3
Tolerance allows for prudent moral criticism and strongly held individual belief.

Toleration is not the same as moral silence or moral agnosticism. Someone who never disagrees with anyone about anything for fear of being intolerant even when they know the other person's ideas are incoherent, dubious or flatly untrue, is, well, a coward. Such a person is acting out of a defect in personal character or a capitulation to the cultural force of political correctness, not a sense of friendship or broadminded humanity.

This describes the controversy over Barack Obama and his relationship with his pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Obama got in trouble because he closely associated (for 20 years!) with a man who recently has been exposed on video spewing such hateful rhetoric from the pulpit of a Christian church...of all places!! This church even had the audacity to sell videos and/or audio tapes of these "sermons" that contained these awful, vile comments!

There are all kinds of opinions as to why Obama would do such a thing. Obama also gave his own speech on the subject. However, over half of the country were not only shocked about the racist pastor being a close confidant of Obama's, they also found that the speech Obama delivered ended up unsatisfactorily addressing many of the questions on peoples minds. Obama must have known about his own pastors anti-white, anti-Jew, and anti-American hate speech and views. This is why he didn't allow Wright to appear and speak at his presidential run announcment. Trying to hide his racist pastor certainly back-fired on Obama. It's just not credible to believe that "he didn't know" for all those years.

Most people who don't agree with the views of a pastor leave the church! The fact that the pastor said untrue things about 9/11 would have been enough for most people to leave. Therefore, we must conclude that political expedience might have had a lot to do with Obama remaining in that church. What does this say about Obama's character? It speaks volumes, people! The next paragraph will inform us why.

Back to principle 3.

If I take seriously the humanity of another person, I will expect of them reasonable, responsible and ethically sound behavior. To harbor such expectations of others is not harsh or unfair. In fact, to expect very little of others in terms of their behavior and character--to have no concern about the ethical direction in which they are forming their character by the habits they are cultivating--is a brutal indifference. We harm others if we do not regard their mental and behavioral habits as relevant and important to their well-being, both now and in their future.

Bingo!! This reveals the huge problem that people have with Obama's complacency towards his pastor. In addition, subjecting his two young daughters to such hate speech is certainly not looking out for their well-being or future!

Indeed, even directly confronting people with their own destructive behavioral habits is not a sign of intolerance but, quite the contrary, a mark of true compassion. High behavioral expectations of people are really a sign of respect and concern for them, not indifference and contempt. If you want to help someone, you will honestly and sensitively tell them their mistakes. If you care about somebody, you will consistently hold them to decent ethical standards. If you are compassionate to people, you will not excuse their wrongdoing but fairly name it, and carefully speak to them of the importance of following a tried and true moral code that can bring stability and success to their lives.

The misguided and sentimentalized conception of compassion pre-eminent in American life today is that nice, tolerant people will allow others to make whatever behavioral choices they wish, without telling them whether what they have done and the habits or tendencies they are thereby forming are right or wrong, personally edifying or personally corrupting. This is not genuine compassion.

I want to share with you my belief that a certain talk radio and T.V. analyst news show commentator, Sean Hannity, displays respect, concern, and true compassion regarding the issues we face today.

Sean has a "hate Hannity" hot line for those who disagree with him. Whenever he plays some of the hateful comments people spew over the phone line, a lot of words have to be bleeped out. What is his reason for having that hot line? So that the liberals who hate him can get their spewing out of their systems and maybe be nicer to people they meet on the street (like his daily listeners) as a result. That is certainly a tolerant and compassionate stance - wouldn't you agree?

Anyway, yesterday, on Hannity and Colmes, Sean confronted a pastor who was filmed on Youtube calling Barack Obama "trash" and verbally abusing and insulting Obama's entire family. Despite the fact that Sean disagrees with everything Barack Obama stands for politically, he still called this other pastor out for his hateful rhetoric and personal attacks against Obama. I thought that was very magnanimous of Hannity!

I believe that Hannity did it for another good reason. The pastor insisted that what he was saying about Obama was "biblical." Hannity strongly disagreed and told him so. Like me, Hannity did not want true, biblical Christian faith to be tarnished by a person's incorrect interpretation(s) of Scripture; especially when his intent was only to publically verbally abuse another person. There is an enormous difference between calling a person out for their politics, behavior, associations, judgment in life, and character. But to simply disparage a person the way that pastor Manning did on Sean's show would not be tolerated by Hannity!

O.K. Now my readers can all call me out on the labels that I have given Obama and his wife. Guilty as charged! However, in my own defense, I will say that they were more often meant to be humorous rather than hateful.

Back to Principle 3.

Secular liberalism has replaced the moral vocabulary of Judeo-Christian ethics with the therapeutic slogans of narcissistic culture, in which desires matter more than obligations, intentions more than actions and feelings more than character.

In a long and socially corrosive philosophical journey since the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century, we have moved from a confidence in the wisdom of Western culture's intellectual heritage and Judeo-Christian foundations to a free-floating skepticism about the possibility of knowing objective reality and moral truth. This intellectual devolution has continued since the middle of the twentieth century, and it has manifested in a sneering rebuke of traditional morality and a complacent subjectivism smugly nestled in the obfuscating bushes of "discourse communities," "linguistic paradigms" and "sociocultural contexts." But this non realism and jargon of postmodernism, as well as the atomistic commitment to radical individualism it carries, is only the grinding noise of contemporary liberalism's drive to authenticate its contempt for traditional morality and to affirm that faith and ethics is a matter of taste, not truth, and that judgments about right and wrong are only acts of the will, and not public expressions of genuine human knowledge.

Wow! Is that a powerful paragraph or what? There, within those sentences is revealed the intellectual description of the current culture wars; not only here in America, but across the world as well.

I wasn't planning on sharing an example that is written in Principle 1. But now, I think that it will better illustrate how today's mistaken and misguided definition of "tolerance" is being (unfortunately and to our detriment) incorrectly defined as "affirmation."

In the United Nation's decision to declare 1995 as the "The Year of Tolerance," they got the definition of the word wrong.

In the UN's declaration, tolerance was defined as "respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world's cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human." Here the very idea of disagreement, which has to be present before tolerance even becomes a relevant concept, is completely missing. The UN mistook affirmation for tolerance. Without the presence of objection and disapproval, we cannot even get to work of exercising tolerance. Under the UN's unfortunate mis-definition, fair-minded criticism of a culture's practice, say, Saudi Arabia's denial of female suffrage, qualifies as a narrow-minded disrespect for that nation. In this way the substitution of acceptance for true tolerance leads to conformity and acquiescence to injustice.

Western culture has shifted from a recognition of the fact or phenomenon of pluralism to an ideological conviction that pluralism is itself a proper and normative template for understanding morality and social life. Pluralism or "diversity" has been translated from simply a description of social difference to a value claim about the secular and anti traditional way we are morally obliged to think about ethics and truth. Hence, the misguided yet pervasive view that anyone who really, explicitly believes anything--especially Judeo-Christian values--cannot be tolerant. William Bennett comments at length on this lamentable cultural condition:

Deep moral convictions are often thought to be antithetical to the spirit of tolerance; in fact, they are not. A very particular and very misguided conception of tolerance holds sway today: the tolerance, rooted in relativism, that proclaims we cannot know right and wrong, that rejects assertions based on inviolable principle, that believes truth is mere social construction. But this is not tolerance; this is moral exhaustion and sloth. Nor is it even sincere. For what we find in settings where "tolerance" is the chief byword is often something else entirely. College campuses, where the free marketplace of ideas should flourish most impressively, may be characterized by speech codes, tactics of intimidation, and coerced political conformity.

Properly understood, tolerance means treating people with respect and without malice; it does not require us to dissolve social norms or to weaken our commitment to ancient and honorable beliefs.

Tolerance, then, rightly understood, brings to bear on ethical issues the God-given gifts of human reflection, analysis, moral intuition and far-reaching concern for the well-being of others. The practical wisdom of tolerance in conjunction with our firm moral knowledge leads us to humane and discerning judgment, not away from it. As one philosopher insight-fully and concisely observed, "[Tolerance] is not forbearance from judgment, but the fruit of judgment."

Source: The Truth About Tolerance: Pluralism, Diversity and the Culture Wars by Brad Stetson and Joseph G. Conti, InterVarsity Press, 2005 pp. 140-147.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Christian News & Issues

There are several recent news stories that I think are very important for readers to be aware of. Someone once said, "As California goes the nation." Therefore, I think that it is imperative for people to be informed about legislation, actions of activists, and newsworthy developments that are currently going on in California.

I receive email updates from Capitol Resource Institute. This latest installment contains some good news, some bad news, and some of the really ugly (and evil) news that shows the terrible and drastic measures that some "activists" pursue to silence the speech of those with whom they differ.

How ironic is it that such activists fought for tolerance, won that battle, and get to display (on an almost daily basis) the right to express themselves in the media, government, and in public. However, some of these so-called "activists" are involved with using very intolerant, hate-filled verbal abuse in order to usurp the rights of free speech to those with whom they disagree. What's worse, it is extremely evident that their obviously disturbed, mentally-disordered licentiousness causes them to take matters way to far by ganging up on one Congresswoman - badgering, berating, cursing at, and verbally abusing her - even to the point of threatening the life of this one woman who only used her free speech rights to counter their illicit worldview.

There are two very disturbing stories below. Both groups are related in that they are homosexual radicals. Such groups need to be renamed. The first - perhaps Homosexual Venom Spewers and the second - perhaps - The Sisters of Perpetual Verbal and Physical Terrorism ! These are much more descriptive of their foolishness and hatred, wouldn't you agree?

First, we start with a good bill.


Here's the newsletter email:

Bill of the Week-AB 2605

Families that choose to send their children to private schools or home school are faced with twice paying for their children's education.

Not only do they pay for their child's private or home education, they must also pay their taxes for public schools, even if they do not agree with the teachings in government schools.

AB 2605 (Nakanishi) will help families in this situation by granting them a yearly tax credit for each of their children. Starting in 2009, AB 2605 would authorize a credit of $500 for each child of a taxpayer in grades kindergarten to 12 attending a nonpublic school.

A "nonpublic school" means a private school, or a home school, grades kindergarten to 12. CRFI supports tax credits that will help families provide a quality education for their children. AB 2605 will be heard in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee sometime in early May. In the meantime, please contact your assembly member and urge them to support education choice in California. Read AB 2605

Following up on two important issues:

Two Very Important Petition Deadlines!

It's the final stretch for the California Marriage Protection Act! The deadline is April 1 to sign and return all petitions.

If the California Marriage Protection Act is qualified for the ballot, voters will decide in November whether to amend the state constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. This would prohibit activist groups from claiming that restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples is a violation of the state constitution.

We cannot overstate how crucial it is to protect marriage in California NOW.

It will be close but we believe it can be done! Please sign and return petitions today!

For more information on the California Marriage Protection petitions, go here.

Another fast-approaching deadline is April 15 to sign and return all the petitions for Sarah's Law.

Sarah's Law will require that a physician notify a parent (or, in the case of an abusive parent, an adult family member, such as an aunt or grandparent, can be notified) at least 48 hours before performing an abortion on a minor girl under the age of 18.

Sarah's Law will protect girls and save lives.

For more information on Sarah's Law, go here.


Now, the bad, ugly and evil news:

Who is Being Silenced Now?

Maybe there should be a Day of Silence for Christians?

Recently we wrote about the upcoming Day of Silence in public schools, which is a platform for homosexuals to claim they are silenced and marginalized. You would think that homosexuals claiming to be "silenced" would be especially sympathetic to other people trying to express their viewpoints. Not so.

After Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern expressed her concerns that the homosexual agenda is destroying our nation and that young children are being indoctrinated into believing that the homosexual lifestyle is normal, she received 30,000 e-mails, most of them "vulgar, abusive and threatening" according to her attorney. "Radical homosexual groups are attempting to curtail Rep. Kern's constitutional rights to free speech and use that speech as a platform to push for anti- Christian 'hate crimes' laws," stated Richard Thompson, president of the Thomas More Law Center. "In effect, their goal is to criminalize Christians and Christian beliefs."

Ironically, when Kern made her comments she stated that "the very fact I'm talking to you like this today puts me in jeopardy." These words were prophetic, as now Kern is forced to be accompanied by a state trooper to ensure her safety. "

[E-mail] jamming is pure intimidation," said David Kupelian, managing editor of World Net Daily. "And what homosexual activists are doing right now to Sally Kern is a grotesque case of jamming. Basically, they're trying to silence her by threatening, intimidating, harassing and frightening her until she can't take any more abuse. No dialogue, no debate - just crush her. That's their game. It's despicable, and utterly un-American."

David Kupelian is the author of the book, "The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised as Freedom."

Chapter One goes into great detail about how the marketing blitz of selling "gay" rights to America came about. One of the evil tools of intimidation (currently being used against Sally Kern) is the technique called "jamming."

Here is a link to the entire chapter. See for yourself how, why, and for what reasons the radical homosexual movement in this country has become so powerful in its evil corruption of the hearts, minds, souls, bodies, and spirits of our young adults and children. It is certainly eye-opening to read the truth about where such licentiousness and immorality came from, and what is needed to turn the tide back from "pandering to their dysfunction and pretending it's normal."

Despite the fact that Christians are usually treated with hatred and contempt when it comes to the issues of homosexual behavior, Kupelian treats the subject truthfully, yet with compassion. Note his conclusion of Chapter One:

To the homosexual living in denial, then, even a loving offer of help from, say, a Christian ex-gay ministry or "reparative therapy" counselor (to help overcome homosexual addiction) feels like the most vile, abusive hatred. In fact, it's real love – which we misinterpret as hatred and "bigotry" simply because it causes us to confront a truth that is not welcome in us.

Love and redemption

When all is said and done, the "mainstreaming" of homosexuality over the last few decades has been a great tragedy. But of all the societal confusion, chaos, and corruption it has ushered in, the most tragic dimension of all is what it has done to people struggling with homosexual and "transgender" attractions and compulsions.

Remember, our conflicts contain the seeds of redemption – that is, as long as we know we have a problem, there’s hope for a change. But if we deny there's a problem, we are literally robbed of the chance to find healing. That's exactly what America has done in buying into the "gay rights movement." We have betrayed our homosexual brothers and sisters.

Glorifying dysfunctionality and corruption, we have relieved homosexuals of the inner conflict they once felt over their condition – something they desperately need, indeed all of us need, if we're ever going to overcome our problems and find wholeness.

A generation ago, we understood there is such a thing as sin, and that sin is a serious matter and to be avoided. Now there is no societal consciousness of sin – only limitless "freedom," "choice," and "consensual relationships." Beguiled by our scientific and technological advances into believing we are enlightened, in reality as we move further and further away from our Judeo-Christian spiritual roots, we actually understand less and less about ourselves. Most of all, we've forgotten as a society what love is because supporting and justifying homosexuality is not real love any more than glorifying drinking helps the alcoholic or celebrating smoking helps wipe out lung cancer.

We defend our own corruption at great peril. And if defending that corruption becomes a national movement, as it has with our cultural and legal adoption of the "gay rights agenda," we're all in serious trouble.
In truth, most homosexuals experience guilt and conflict when they first discover homosexual urges. Thus there is a strong temptation – especially in today's pro-"gay" culture – for them to "resolve" the conflict by giving in to the compulsion and affirming, "It's okay to be gay."
But if they do, there is just no way out for them. For this reason, the most loving stance for others to take is not to serve as enablers of self-destructive and immoral compulsions, but to stand in patient but firm opposition. In other words, we need to side with the afflicted person's conscience. In America, we've done the opposite.

"“Hating the sin but not the sinner," the classic Christian expression for loving your struggling neighbor by non-judgmentally disagreeing with his errant behavior, actually has great power – more than we realize. By resisting the temptation to hate, yet still standing firm against what's wrong, God's love is able to come through that obedient "neutral zone."

We started this journey into the world of "gay rights" with the poignant words of former congressman Robert Bauman, who said: "I did not choose to be homosexual. I would change my sexual orientation if that were within my power." Sadly, we've failed Bauman and millions suffering with similar sexual problems by glorifying and pandering to their dysfunction and pretending it's normal.

In the end, we have to ask ourselves which is worse – the previous era in America, when homosexuals were reviled and driven underground? Or today's America, when the pendulum has swung so far in the other direction that those in the grip of powerful self-destructive compulsions are fawned over and lionized as heroes?

Either way, because the rest of us have failed to find real love, they remain victims.


Next up, we have "Blasphemy in San Francisco" -

On Easter weekend, what is arguably the most significant holiday in Christianity, the homosexual group "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence" held its blasphemous 2008 "Hunky Jesus" competition at Dolores Park in San Francisco.

The well-attended contest involves costumed and near-naked men vying for the title of best-looking Jesus. This year the finalists included Doublecross Jesus (two saviours strung up on two conjoined hot pink crosses) and Hunky Cheese-us, a trio of cheese- themed messiahs, with the winner announced as Michelangelo Jesus.

In response to the outcry by the Catholic church that the "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence" (a group of homosexual men) are engaging in sacrilege, the group claims that the contest is simply part of their mission to "promote universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt."

"What is almost worse than this blasphemy against Christ and Christians is that there has been no general public outcry against this competition," stated Karen England, executive director of Capitol Resource Institute. "I cannot imagine that, if the tables were turned and a group of Christians held a competition to mock homosexuality, that there would be the same level of apathy."

The 2008 Hunky Jesus competition came during the same week as a new American Psychological Association (APA) booklet indicating that homosexuality may not be a genetic condition after all. In other words, the APA admits that there is insufficient scientific evidence to state that people are born gay.

How absolutely disgusting!!

Could you imagine if this were done to an image of Mohammed at a mosque? Of course, such a group wouldn't dare. They are to cowardly to attack a mosque! Might cost them their lives! But a Catholic Church is fair game for their evil actions. How sick do people have to act before they are locked away permanently?? I'm so glad that they all ended up in jail where they belong!


Next, we have the bizarreness of trangenderism taken to a whole new, level of confusion:

Transgendered "Man" Gets Pregnant

An Oregon man named Thomas who used to be a woman says "he" is pregnant with a baby girl. Thomas was born a woman but decided to become a transgender male. He had his breasts removed and started bimonthly testosterone injections. Now identifying as male, Thomas legally married Nancy. The couple wanted a child but Nancy was unable to carry a child. So Thomas volunteered.

"How does it feel to be a pregnant man?" asked Thomas. "Incredible. Despite the fact that my belly is growing with a new life inside me, I am stable and confident being the man that I am. In a technical sense I see myself as my own surrogate, though my gender identity as male is constant. To Nancy, I am her husband carrying our child --- I will be my daughter's father, and Nancy will be her mother. We will be a family."

Who cannot feel sorrow and anguish about the future of a child being brought into such a bizarre world of confusion?


Now, back to some good news! What a relief!

Protecting Pro-Life Doctors

The Weldon Amendment prohibits state and local governments from receiving federal funds if they discriminate against doctors that refuse to perform or refer patients for abortions. The Weldon Amendment protects a doctor's right of conscience. No doctor should be forced to perform or refer for abortions, against his or her sincerely held beliefs.

On Tuesday a federal court sided with pro-life doctors and rejected the state of California's challenge to the Weldon Amendment.

"Pro-life medical professionals shouldn't be discriminated against for abiding by their beliefs," said Casey Mattox of CLS's Center for Law & Religious Freedom. "This ruling means that California will remain prohibited from fining and criminally prosecuting pro-life doctors because they refuse to perform abortions. The Weldon Amendment remains a critical protection for the rights of conscience of pro- life health care workers."

We are grateful for this significant victory!


New CRI Poll: Do You Support a Parent's Right to Home school in California?

CRI is excited to announce that we have updated our website so that it will be an even better resource for California families! We have included a "mini poll" feature and we will be changing the poll question periodically.

The current poll question asks if you support a parent's right to home school in California. Unfortunately this has become a front stage issue because of a recent California Court of Appeals ruling restricting parental rights and home school freedom.

CRI is working with California lawmakers to help pass ACR 115, a resolution that would urge the California Supreme Court to overturn this outrageous ruling. Other affiliate legal organizations are working in California's legal system to appeal this ruling. We will keep you updated as we learn more information!

Take a moment to vote in CRI's "mini poll" and check out our new site, go here.

This week four prominent home school organizations in California have issued a joint statement regarding homeschooling in our state.

Joint Statement Regarding Homeschooling in California

The following organizations, California Home school Network, Christian Home Educators Association of California, Private and Home Educators of California and Home School Association of California, represent the major California-based organizations working on a statewide basis to support private homeschooling. They, together with the Home School Legal Defense Association, which also works in California to support private homeschooling and which has members in California, jointly issue the following statement:

1. We are united in the goal of protecting the right of parents to teach their children privately at home without additional governmental interference.

2. We believe that children deserve to learn in the environment that best meets their individual needs. We support the right of parents to direct their children's education including, if they desire, teaching their children privately at home apart from any public school program and without a teaching credential.

3. We believe that the opinion rendered by the Second District Court of Appeals in the case titled "In re Rachel L." on February 28, 2008 is excessively broad in its scope and incorrectly states the law as applied to home education in California.

4. We believe that the interpretation of California law, as understood by our organizations and by the California Department of Education prior to the issuance of this decision, is correct, that the interests of both the State of California in ensuring that children are educated adequately and of parents in directing their children's education are well met by this prior interpretation of law, and that no change in California law regarding the teaching of children privately at home is needed.

Breaking News!

California Court of Appeal will Reconsider Homeschooling Case

On Wednesday, March 26, the California Court of Appeal agreed to reconsider the controversial decision that essentially banned most forms of homeschooling in the state.

"We are thrilled that the Court of Appeal has decided to reconsider this case," stated Karen England. "The court's ruling violated every parent's right to educate their child according to their beliefs. The Court of Appeal should swiftly overturn this ruling and restore educational choice in California."

CRI will keep you informed of the latest news regarding the California homeschooling case.


Movies with Very Strong Christian Worldviews are Preferred

A new five-year study of the Top 250 movies at the box office shows that movies with very strong Christian worldviews earn the most money. They even outperform movies with lots of foul language, sex and nudity, according to

"Sex, nudity, obscenity, and profanity don't really sell that well, especially in extreme forms," stated Dr. Ted Baehr, founder of, "But movies with very strong Christian worldviews do three to 11 times better than movies with sex, nudity and foul language. They also perform much better than movies with very strong non-Christian, immoral, false, or even anti- Christian worldviews.

"Moviegoers want to see movies with very strong Christian content. They want the Savior to overcome the darkness, Truth to triumph over falsehood, Justice to defeat injustice, and Beauty to overcome ugliness: They want the Good News of Jesus Christ."

In the last five years, movies with a very strong Christian worldview earned more than $73 million per movie, but movies with a very strong atheist, agnostic, non-spiritual, or anti-spiritual worldview averaged only $19.3 million.

The study was conducted by the Annual MovieGuide Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ya Gotta Laugh

This is one of those "time out" posts. Has the Democratic race for the presidential nominee battle gotten to the point of absurdity or what?

Heard just half of a story about the latest sparring episode between the two candidates on Fox News this morning. It was, once again, just another one of the never ending battle-of-words that have been relentlessly flying back and forth between the Clinton and Obama campaigns. The funny part is, just the answer made me laugh! However, since I didn't hear the question/comment, and only heard the answer, I thought that I would put this on my blog and make a word game out of it.

In a similar pattern with the game of Jeopardy, I give you the answer, and you provide the preceding question/comment.

The answer is:

The audacity of nope!

Now, you create the question/comment!

C'mon people...don't be shy...use your imaginations!

heh heh

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Truth About Tolerance (Part 1)

Leftist secular liberalism has twisted the right and responsible apprehension and application of true tolerance. The type of tolerance that is being inflicted upon America today is, unfortunately, a one-way street. I would even label it as a "one-say street" of dialogue. Step out of line from liberalism's view of "tolerance" and you are unfairly labeled with derogatory words that certainly reveal the Lefts intolerance toward traditional moral convictions. This is especially true when such convictions are grounded in religious viewpoints. Such viewpoints are, ironically, imperiled by what passes for tolerance today.

If you really want to see how abused and misunderstood the concept of tolerance is today, then I recommend reading The Truth About Tolerance: Pluralism, Diversity and the Culture Wars, by Brad Stetson and Joseph G. Conti.

The book goes into much detail in what the authors call the "flash points in the development of tolerance." Through part one of the book, we learn the essential points, ideas and events that have significantly contributed to the development of tolerance as it has evolved in Western society. Next, the book goes on to describe an ensemble of principles, habits, laws and institutions that advance true toleration, a virtue essential to any just and free society.

The current culture's misuse of tolerance is absolutely mind boggling and astounding! When one examines the true meaning of tolerance, and how it has been hijacked by the secular left in America, we then can see so clearly how our current "clash of cultural difference" has come about and why the dangerous direction that such softheadedness (a title given by J. Budziszewski in his book "The Revenge of Conscience") that people profess as "tolerance" is not really genuine tolerance at all. In fact, it is much more like tyranny due to its own excess of licientiousness and deficit of morality. This will be explained in much more detail in Part 2 of this topic.

The quote by Leo Strauss in the preface of the book summarizes, quite well in fact, the clash going on in America today due to the misuse of the term "tolerance":

Absolute tolerance is altogether impossible; the allegedly absolute tolerance turns into ferocious hatred of those who have stated clearly and most forcefully that there are unchangeable standards founded on the nature of man and the nature of things. - Leo Strauss

I have known for quite some time now that I am certainly not alone in my thinking that something is very wrong with the way many Americans think about tolerance. I have found, numerous times on this blog, that people can't even agree on what the true definition of tolerance really is. What exactly does it mean?

The book points out, and asks, these questions:

1. Does tolerance require the acceptance of all views on a given subject as equally true?

2. Does it mean that I must not believe too strongly that my views are right about a given subject?

3. Can I be tolerant and still believe in objective truth about religion, ethics and politics?

Such questions lead us towards other topics, such as the nature of truth, the nature of human beings and the possibility of moral knowledge.

I appreciate the fact that the book approaches this topic in the worldview context of evangelical Christianity. It presents an overview of the intersection of truth and tolerance in American social life today.

In a previous post, I mentioned this book and shared a quote which expresses that the "new tolerance" is an impostor (a.k.a. "pseudo-tolerance).

R. Douglas Geivett, Professor of Philosophy, Biola University writes:

"We aren't as tolerant as we think we are - and genuine tolerance will emerge only when we no longer tolerate our many forms of pseudo-tolerance. Stetson and Conti demonstrate the need for a new culture of tolerance, where virtue governs our disagreements about the things that matter most. They've produced an astute commentary on contemporary culture, a rousing admonition to witness to truth with humility and respect, and an inspiring set of principles to guide the way."

Between Two Worlds sums it up this way:

Stetson and Conti critique both soft-headed hyper tolerance (tolerating what ought not be tolerated) and narrow-minded intolerance (failing to be tolerant when we should). Instead, they argue for critical tolerance (which returns to the historic, classical understanding of the concept which contains two poles: both allowance and critique).

The list of ten truths of tolerance are:

1. Tolerance, rightly understood, is a patience toward a practice or opinion one disapproves of.

2. The practice of tolerance must have limits.

3. Tolerance allows for prudent moral criticism and strongly held individual belief.

4. There are important distinctions to be made within the concept of intolerance and between the concepts of intolerance and non tolerance.

5. Tolerance is a moral tool that allows for the construction and maintenance of civic order.

6. Tolerance is rightly applied only to people’s conduct and expressions of opinion.

7. Tolerance is inconsistent with philosophical indifference.

8. Tolerance is consistent with a strong confidence in the truthfulness of one’s own beliefs and experience.

9. Since tolerance is inevitably connected with disagreement and moral evaluation, it helpfully compels us toward a philosophical confrontation with competing and irreconcilable perspectives about the good.

10. We should always be conscious of the various contexts in which tolerance is exercised.

That list, alone, gives us instruction that shows how the meaning of tolerance has been so drastically skewed by the liberal left in this country!

The study of tolerance needs to be prefaced by a discussion about truth. Chapter five of the book can does just that and can be read here: The Truth About Truth (chapter 5).

In Part 2, it will be my goal to go into more descriptive detail on some of the "Ten Truths about Tolerance" (listed above).

Perhaps readers would like to cite their own experiences and examples pertaining to each point. Please feel free to do so in the comment section.


The Truth About Tolerance: Pluralism, Diversity, and the Culture Wars

Between Two Worlds

Monday, March 24, 2008

Never Heard of Jesus?

In the previous blog post thread, Arlen asks an excellent question. I worked on answering his question for several hours this morning and thought that I would bring it up here so that more comments and/or questions could be raised and answered.

Here is his comment:

First, I like your blog and admire your beliefs. I have been a believer since 1963.

Secondly, your blog seems polished and sophisticated and your writings seem like they originate from a very educated perspective.

That said, I would like to ask you a question because though you seem well established in your beliefs, you also seem open-minded.

The question: what do you personally believe about individuals who never hear the story of Jesus and salvation or what do you believe regarding people who never hear and are raised in an environment steeped in Eastern or other religions?

My reason for posing this question to you is because I get asked this all of the time and have not come up with a satisfactory response. I know what Jesus advocates in John 14:6, but is this just for the people that have heard? If not, how can people who have never heard be held responsible? And how can the mentally retarded or those too young to understand be held responsible?

Thank you for indulging me. Blessings to you.

My response to Arlen's first question follows. Questions in his final paragraph still need to be addressed. I ask my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to please join in the conversation!

In Christ,


Hi Arlen,

Welcome and thanks for you warm compliments! I really appreciated that!

You asked,
"The question: what do you personally believe about individuals who never hear the story of Jesus and salvation or what do you believe regarding people who never hear and are raised in an environment steeped in Eastern or other religions?"

First, I must admit that there are probably thousands of Christians who could answer your question better than my attempt here. If you do not find what I will share satisfactory, then I would recommend going to Steve Camp's blog and asking him that question. I'm sure that he will give you a great summary of explanation.

Second, all that I will share here will not, of course, be an exhaustive commentary on the subject. Other Christians are welcome to add and/or correct anything that they deem is needed for better accuracy in the discussion of Arlen's question.

There are several schools of Christian thought about this issue. Some, unfortunately are heretical. However, the true scholars all lead to the same, if not similar conclusion.

I recognize that you have specifically asked me to share with you what I have found through study of the Bible and the writings of Christian scholars. I will try to briefly sum them up here.

In the Old Testament times (OT) people were saved while looking forward to the arrival of the Messiah. For example, the Bible tells us that Moses' "faith was accounted to righteousness." So, it was their faith in the God of Israel, obedience to His Word and guidance in their lives, and the sacrificial system (unblemished animals) that provided forgiveness for sin. Those who lived at that time were saved according to the OT covenant.

The covenant between Abraham and God was a two-way deal. It was a contract that showed the roles and responsibilities of both parties: a person and God. The Almighty took an oath. He swore upon His own life that whatever He promised, He would fulfill. God's covenant with Abraham included:

1. The gift of land
2. The father of a great nation.
3. All the nations of the earth would be blessed.

Taking into account that The Fall of man had already occurred, we realize that the battle in the conversation between Eve and the serpent is found on almost every page of Scripture from that point forward. Once sin entered into the world, so did evil and death.

When Adam and Eve sinned, the question then became who will rule? God or man? Will mankind seek autonomy or will he submit to the authority of God? Will man serve God or will he pursue personal power, selfish purposes, and sensual desires? Whose word will prevail?

Like Eve, we are challenged to live out our lives under God's Law or face death for a false freedom - which is the only kind of "freedom" that Satan can offer. Eve and Adam failed the test and instead of continuing to "walk in fellowship with God," they were made to run away and hide from Him. We have been running away ever since.

Thank God that He continues to pursue us. It is precisely because He first loved us that we have the capacity to love Him. Because our sin separates us from Holy and Righteous God, His plan to send the Savior was God fulfilling His covenant with man all along.

When Jesus lived, died, and rose again, the New Covenant was formulated. Since you are a longtime Christian, I probably don't need to describe it.

From what I have read, studied and learned, it is not what we don't know that sends us to hell, it is what we DO know and REJECT. These days, it is very difficult for people NOT TO HAVE HEARD of Jesus Christ. The various missions and the added convenience of the worldwide internet has made access to knowing Jesus almost inescapable. But people still do hear and outrightly reject Him. It is that rejection, when held within an individual's heart until the death of the person, that sends them into eternity separated from God forever.

God does not want anyone to perish. He doesn't take any gratification in the death of the wicked!

Eze 33:11 Say unto them, [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

People will be judged according to what they DO KNOW. Spiritually speaking, it is written upon the hearts of all men that God exists. Therefore, refusal to admit or acknowledge this fact has no excuse.

Rom 1:20 (KJV) For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

That verse speaks of the general revelation of God to man.

Read all of Romans 1 (NKJV) to get a better idea of what I am trying to say. That chapter reveals the ways that man "suppresses the truth in unrighteousness."

In John 3:3, Jesus tells Nicodemus (and us):

Jhn 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. [See John 3]

Personally, I didn't learn that in the church I grew up in. I needed to seek out God's Word on my own to learn that. As I look back before my conversion, the Lord had sent many people into my path in life who were witnessing the gospel of Jesus Christ to me over the years. It is unmistakable that the Lord God was pursuing me - even when I wasn't necessarily looking to Him or for Him!

Once born again, the Holy Spirit indwells the heart and 2 Cor. 3 describes how the Holy Spirit works in the life of the born again believer. The first step, however, is repentance for sin, belief in Christ, his death for our sin and resurrection to life, and then the power of the Holy Spirit brings the Scriptures to life and provides guidance for the believer.

Note this verse: 2Cr 3:2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:

Yesterday, during the Easter Sunday celebration, our pastor gave a wonderful sermon on Jesus and how the number 3 is utilized throughout Scripture and prophecy. When the sermon is posted for viewing I will link to it. He also mentioned that all other religious leaders who died - stayed dead!

Note these words from Jesus:

And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself. (John 12:32)

Jesus draws us to Him! Those who refuse His obvious invitation to come to Him will die with their own sins upon their souls. Those who accept the gospel will live. His presence and His message leave no room for doubt. His love invites us to come to Him. Of course, His holiness overwhelms us, but His mercy welcomes us.

John wrote:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

God's plan is simple enough for even the most uncivilized person in the world to understand. The truth of Christ's atonement for our sin was primitively dramatized in the OT (animal sacrificial system) in order to point towards the "once for all" perfect atonement sacrifice of Jesus Christ in the NT. Christ's shed blood at the cross was for our sakes; his beaten body was the propitiation for the sins of mankind. We are forgiven through acceptance to the truth of Christ bearing our sins for our sakes.

This shows the ugliness of our sin and how severely Holy God views sin.

The first words uttered by Jesus when he began His 3 year earthly ministry was, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

Mat 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Mat 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Salvation requires repentance.

The Bible tells us that we are condemned (because of our sin) already. The only way to be written into the Lamb's Book of Life is through the cross of Christ.

Even an indecision counts as rejection!

Jhn 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Rev 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither [whatsoever] worketh abomination, or [maketh] a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life. [See Revelation 21]

Jesus emphatically said:

Jhn 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (bold mine)

There is no other way to be saved.

Act 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He Is Risen, Rejoice!

Mat 28:1 NOW after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.

Mat 28:2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door,[fn1] and sat on it.

Mat 28:3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.

Mat 28:4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.

Mat 28:5 But the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.

Mat 28:6 "He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Mat 28:7 "And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you."

Mat 28:8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.

Mat 28:9 And as they went to tell His disciples,[fn2] behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.

Mat 28:10 Then Jesus said to them,
"Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me."

Mat 28:11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened.

Mat 28:12 When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,

Mat 28:13 saying, "Tell them, 'His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.'

Mat 28:14 "And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will appease him and make you secure."

Mat 28:15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

Mat 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them.

Mat 28:17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.

Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying,
"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

Mat 28:19 "Go therefore[fn3] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Mat 28:20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.[fn4]

(bold mine - for emphasis)

28:2 NU-Text omits from the door.
28:9 NU-Text omits the first clause of this verse.
28:19 M-Text omits therefore.
28:20 NU-Text omits Amen.

New King James Version, © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

None But Wise Men

It has been a busy, yet fun Saturday. Our family has been active all day. At one location, I picked up a copy of Architectural Digest. There was a story and photos on how First Lady Laura Bush had redecorated several rooms at the White House. She had good advice from others and came up with some beautiful results!

More on that article in a bit.

My husband has been watching (and recording) the HBO mini-series on John Adams. I have seen several parts of it, but I look forward to some quiet time after the holiday to watch the past two segments uninterrupted. The portions that I have seen have been really entertaining and historically educating.

I have to admit that watching our country gain its independence is a wonderful thing to behold! I am so very grateful to God for our great nation. How very brave our Founding Fathers really were! Despite all the obstacles and set-backs, they prevailed to achieve their goals. As Michael Medved often quips, we are "the greatest nation on God's green earth."

Here is one review at the website:

Magnificent work from HBO, 16 March 2008

Author: Schmiggy_JK23 from United States

The first two episodes of this mini series have captivated me like very few things have. It is interesting to see a detailed look at the foundation of this great nation come to life instead of merely being read on page.

The cast is stellar. Giamatti is a great actor and he brings John Adams to life. Wilkinson as Benjamin Franklin is one of the highlights. The realism of the time frame is brought to life like few movies have done; accuracy in costumes, to architecture, and locational shots.

This is a truly moving piece, and a must watch for fans of history, and those with a appreciation of great cinema regardless.

Back to the article and pictorial in Architectural Digest. Near the end of the article, the author wrote:

Presidents come and go, and the next president, or the president after that, will probably make changes in other rooms [of the White House]. But one thing will doubtless remain unchanged - an inscription carved into the mantel of the State Dining Room, just below a portrait of Lincoln himself. It is from a letter written by John Adams, the first occupant of what was then called the President's House, to his wife, Abigail, on the second night in that new and strange building. It reads:

"I Pray Heaven To Bestow the Best of Blessings on This House and All that shall hereafter Inhabit it. May none but Wise Men ever rule under This Roof."


Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday. Christians around the world are observing THE most solemn day on the Christian calendar.

In David Jeremiah's newsletter today, he described what some other countries call this day:

Recommended Reading
Luke 23:26-34

Today is Karfreitag, a German word meaning "Friday of Lamentation." In English we call it Good Friday, but other languages usually refer to it as Holy Friday. In Armenia it's called High Friday, and the Russians refer to it as Passion Friday. In China, it's known as the Day of Christ's Suffering.

In Bermuda, kites will be flown today, all of them using wooden frames in the shape of a cross. As the kites soar into the sky, they symbolize the crucified one who has now ascended into heaven. In England, hot cross buns will be served, and the BBC will introduce its morning newscast with a verse from Isaac Watts' hymn, "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross."

Some previous Good Friday posts:

The Power of Christ's Cross

Why Did Jesus Have To Die?

When Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ movie came out in 2004, I created a "before" and "after" survey for people to fill out. It was completely voluntary. I had a fairly good response (considering that it was conducted at my infrequently visited former message board). Now that I have been blogging for three years, I thought that I would post it here for anyone who might like to share their opinions/reactions to that movie.

If you haven't seen the movie, then fill out the first survey, rent and watch the movie, then come back and fill out the second survey.

Even if you have already seen the movie, you can still participate. Perhaps the impact of the movie upon you was so strong that you will instantly be able to recall your thoughts and feelings upon viewing it. If not, then rent it and watch it again.

You can copy and paste the survey(s) into the comment section, and then mark your responses to the questions. You can check only one answer, or as many as you think apply. Feel free to use your screen name, or, you may also post your answers anonymously.

God bless you during this Holy Weekend,



First Survey (can fill out before viewing movie)

Age: ____

( ) Male
( ) Female

Ethnicity: (Optional)
( ) Caucasian/White
( ) African-American/Black
( ) Hispanic
( ) Asian
( ) Bi-racial
( ) Other
( ) N/A (no answer)

(1.) I currently consider myself as a(n):
( ) atheist (denies/dis-believes existence of God)
( ) agnostic (existence of God is unknown and unknowable)
( ) member of a non-Christian religion ______________ (fill in blank)
( ) Christian (any denomination) _______________(fill in blank)
( ) Born-again Christian
( ) not sure
( ) other ______________________ (fill in blank)

(2.) My current personal views about the Person of Jesus Christ are:
( ) He was a mythical person
( ) He was a historical person who once lived on the earth
( ) He was a good prophet but not the Son of God
( ) He was, and is, the Son of God
( ) He is my Lord and Savior, the eternal Son of God
( ) Not sure what I believe about Him
( ) other ____________________

(3.) My current personal views about the Bible are:
( ) It is all a myth
( ) It is just a book written by several men who claimed to be
( ) It is a good book with a mixture of truth and error
( ) It is allegory (representation of spiritual, moral meanings
through the actions of fictional characters that serve as
( ) It is the Word of God because other people have told me this
( ) It is the Word of God, contains absolute truth, and is Gods'
eternal message to mankind
( ) other ________________________

(4.) Have you ever read and/or studied the Bible?
( ) No
( ) Never motivated to read it
( ) Parts of it (Read _____ / Studied _____ )
( ) Only the New Testament (Read _____ / Studied ______)
( ) Both the Old and New Testament (Read _____ /Studied _____ )
( ) Read it cover to cover (Read ____ / Studied ____ )
( ) other ___________________________

(5.) What is your religious background?
( ) Do not have a religious background
( ) Brought up in a non-Christian faith
( ) Brought up in Christian faith but left it for another religion
( ) Brought up in a Christian faith but now agnostic/atheist
( ) Brought up as a Christian and still am a Christian
( ) Born-again Christian as a child or, became one as an adult
( ) Other _____________________ (please specify)

(6.) What do you currently believe about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ?
( ) It didn't happen; it's a myth
( ) I don't know what the crucifixion is
( ) It is a historical fact
( ) I have heard that he died for the sins of mankind but don't
personally believe this
( ) He died for the sins of mankind
( ) His sacrificial death on the cross was to cover the sins of mankind and to bridge the gap between Holy God and sinful man.
( ) other ______________________

(7.) What do you currently believe about the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
( ) It didn't happen; it is a myth
( ) I don't know what the Resurrection really is
( ) It can be explained away
( ) It is a historical fact
( ) The historical evidence proves that Christ rose from the
dead and is the living Son of God
( ) Biblical and historical evidence proves that Christ rose
from the dead and is the living Son of God
( ) other _______________________

(8.) What are you more likely to believe about the crucifixion,
death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?
( ) It didn't happen
( ) It may have happened but I don't know why
( ) It may be a fact of history but I don't believe in the reasons
why he died and rose again
( ) It may be a fact of history but it only matters to Christians
( ) The biblical account of this may be true but it doesn't matter
to me
( ) It was the ultimate act of love to save mankind from an
eternity separated from God
( ) other _________________________

(9.) What do you think was the reason WHY Jesus Christ died and
rose from the dead?
( ) It didn't happen
( ) It may have happened but I don't know why
( ) Haven't given this much thought
( ) It is only important to Christians
( ) I don't know why but would like to know
( ) It's about forgiveness of sin. Christ took my sins as his own through his death, and his rising from death showed that I will spend eternity with him.
( ) other _____________________

(10.) What do you currently believe (or know) about biblical prophecy - the ability for prophets from the Old Testament to accurately predict events that actually happened in the New Testament?
( ) I do not know anything about this
( ) It doesn't matter to me
( ) I have heard of this but could not cite any examples
( ) I am familiar with the prophecies about the Messiah
( ) I have studied the Bible and know about the prophecies about Jesus Christ
( ) I have studied the Bible, know and believe the prophecies written about Jesus Christ
( ) other _______________________

(11.) From what you have read or know about biblical prophecy, who (meaning, which person) do you think the prophecies regarding the Messiah in the Old Testament point to?
( ) I do not know
( ) It doesn't matter to me
( ) The Messiah has not yet come so couldn't answer this
( ) Someone other than Jesus Christ
( ) The prophecies point towards Jesus Christ but I don't personally believe in Him
( ) The prophecies accurately pointed to Jesus Christ and most were fulfilled by him during his earthly ministry, including his crucifixion, death, and resurrection
( ) other _________________________

(12.) Do you believe that the second coming of Jesus Christ will happen some time in the future?
( ) I do not know
( ) I do not care
( ) No
( ) Yes
( ) The Bible claims this will happen but I do not personally believe this.
( ) The Bible contains the absolute truth on this matter and it says that this is inevitable and I believe it to be true.
( ) other _________________________

(13.) What do you think happens after you die?
( ) Nothing - it is the end of existence
( ) Reincarnation
( ) The body dies but the soul lives on in eternity somewhere
( ) The body dies but the soul immediately lives on in eternity in one of two places, heaven (with God) or hell (separated from God) with the promise of a future bodily resurrection upon Christ's return
( ) I go to heaven because I was a good person here
( ) I do not know
( ) other _______________________

(14.) When/where did you first hear about Mel Gibsons' movie, "The Passion of the Christ?"
( ) This survey is how I first heard of it
( ) From the media, TV, newspapers, internet
( ) Someone told me about it
( ) At my church
( ) In the movie theater coming attractions
( ) other _______________________

(15.) Were you planning on seeing this movie before you were asked to participate in this survey?
( ) No
( ) Yes
( ) Had not decided yet
( ) Only going to see it because of survey request
( ) I like to see all of Mel Gibsons' movies
( ) other ________________________

YOUR Additional Comments:


Second Survey:

AGE: ____

Male: ____
Female: ____

(1.) I currently consider myself as a(n):

( ) atheist (denies/dis-believes existence of God)
( ) agnostic (existence of God is unknown and unknowable)
( ) member of a non-Christian religion ______________ (fill in blank)
( ) Christian (any denomination) _______________(fill in blank)
( ) Born-again Christian
( ) not sure
( ) other ______________________ (fill in blank)

(2.) After viewing the movie, "The Passion of the Christ," has your view changed about the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?

( ) Yes
( ) No

Please explain: _______________________

(3.) From what you saw, heard and read via the subtitles, did the movie clearly show to you the reason WHY Jesus Christ suffered, died and rose from the dead?

( ) Yes
( ) No
( ) Other _____________________
Please explain: _______________________

(4.) Do you understand WHY Jesus had to die?

( ) Yes
( ) No
( ) Other ______________________
Please explain: ______________________

(5.) Was Jesus a victim or did he die voluntarily? If voluntarily, why would he do such a thing? What was accomplished by his death?

Please explain: _________________________

(6.) What do you think is the main message of "The Passion of the Christ."

Please explain: ___________________________

(7.) Did you understand the meaning and purpose of every scene that you saw? If no, state what you did not understand.

Please explain: ___________________________

(8.) Can you share the general reaction of the audience at the end of the movie?

Please explain: _____________________________

(9.) What type of audience was it?

( ) Secular audience
( ) My church provided private screenings of the movie and I attended one of the showings.
( ) Mixed audience
( ) Did not observe this
( ) Could not tell what type of audience I was in
( ) Other _____________________________

(10.) Did a pastor from a neighborhood church speak either before or after the screening you attended?

( ) Yes
( ) No
( ) Did not stay for this
( ) Not sure
( ) Other __________________________

(11.) Do you have an interest in finding out more information about Jesus Christ and the Word of God as a result of seeing this movie?

( ) Yes
( ) No
( ) Not sure
( ) Might consider this
( ) Other ______________________

(12.) Were you moved spiritually to consider the purpose of Jesus' death for you? If so, how?

Please explain: ________________________

(13.) Would you consider reading any articles that share additional information about Jesus Christ and what this movie could not show?

( ) Yes
( ) No
( ) Other _____________________

(14.) Do you have any additional questions that you would like answered?

( ) Yes
( ) No
( ) Other __________________________

Please list any questions: ________________________________

(15.) Would you like a link to a discussion forum where you can post comments/ questions/ reactions/ feelings about the movie, "The Passion of the Christ" with others who have participated in the surveys?

( ) Yes
( ) No
( ) Other __________________________

Your additional comments:

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

There's A Cost To Sin

I have found, through years of experience, that a person is usually not brought towards faith in Jesus Christ through intellectual arguments. When someone is focused on "winning the debate" rather than realizing that their sin separates them from Holy and Righteous God - thus, they are in desperate need of the Savior, Jesus Christ, - then the only thing that generally happens during such "debates" is a stalemate.

I agree with what Bill Keller wrote (also quoted at my website):

The anger of the lost keeps many people from sharing their faith. Never forget, they are angry at God, NOT you. Your job is simply to tell them the truth, and share with them the hope and love of Christ. What they choose to do with that truth is then between them and God.

It helps to remember this: someone that is lost and simply trying to justify their rejection of Christ will always have more questions than you will ever have answers.

Keep in mind that you will rarely, if ever, win a debate with someone that is lost - especially when they exhibit no desire to accept what you are saying. Your time is best spent praying for these people rather than debating them.

However, you will meet many people who are searching for reconciliation with God; and therefore, will be honestly open to looking into having a relationship with Jesus Christ.

It is for those people that I continue to answer the questions of skeptics. It may help another person who happens to come here to read them. As far as the person who poses such questions is concerned, he/she may or may not ever become a believer. But that's O.K. ! My job, our job as followers of Christ is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and, as the Bible (NKJV)instructs, to be evangelists:

1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God[fn4] in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

1Pe 3:16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.

1Pe 3:17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

1Pe 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us[fn5] to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,

3:15 NU-Text reads Christ as Lord.
3:18 NU-Text and M-Text read you.
3:20 NU-Text and M-Text read when the longsuffering of God waited patiently.

Several posts ago, I mentioned that I would share more from Chapter 6 of Lee Strobel's book, "The Case for the Real Jesus." I have found that oftentimes, the non-believer has objections against Christ's crucifixion on the cross to pay for our sins. Even some liberal theologians try to claim that this concept of substitutionary atonement is somehow "outmoded."


"Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong said, 'A human father who would nail his son to a cross for any purpose would be arrested for child abuse.'"

Over the years of actively "giving an answer to those (who are perishing) for the hope that is in you (me);" I have found that many detractors like to use the "cosmic child abuse" argument against Christians. With Good Friday only days away, I thought that I would share Paul Copan's great explanation for the necessity of substitutionary atonement through Jesus Christ's crucifixion on the cross at Calvary in order for sinners (which includes all of us) to be reconciled back unto God.

Paul Copan answers the Spong comment:

"We have to be careful about this notion being outmoded," came Copan's reply. "C.S. Lewis rightly warns us against chronological snobbery -- saying, 'Oh, they used to do things that way, but we know better now because we're more enlightened.' Sometimes there is a mind-set that if no one believes something anymore, surely it has got to be false. G.K. Chesterton said if you take that view, you may as well say that on certain days of the week something is true and on others it's not. The question should be: Is there anything to this notion of substitutionary atonement?"

"Well, is there?" I asked. "Why can't God just say he forgives the sins of the world?"

Copan's answer came swiftly. "Why can't judges just forgive criminals? Why can't they let rapists and thieves back on the street and just say, 'It's okay, I forgive you'? For God to do something like this would be an insult to his holiness. It would look like he was simply endorsing rebellion against himself and his character. He is a righteous judge, and therefore he must find us guilty of sin because the truth of the matter is that we are guilty. We have fallen short of how God wants us to live. We violate even our own moral standards, so certainly we violate God's higher standard. To pretend otherwise would be a lie -- and God is not a liar.

"Also, if God simply forgives, then he hasn't taken human responsibility with much seriousness at all. To simply let people go does not hold them accountable to the standards that people know they've transgressed. And he would be denying the gravity of sin, which we take far too lightly but which God takes very, very seriously."

That last remark made me thing of a comment in a book I had been reading on the plane to Florida for the interview. As James R. Edwards, a professor of biblical languages and literature as well as a Presbyterian minister, said in Is Jesus the Only Savior?:

The doctrine of atonement obviously hangs on the doctrine of sin. A physician who removes a leg because of a splinter is a monster. A physician who removes a leg because of cancer or gangrene, on the other hand, is a hero who saves his or her patients life. It all depends on the nature and seriousness of the problem. Spong and others see sin as a splinter; the New Testament sees it as a cancer that is fatal if left untreated. And that accounts for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on a cross of cruelty and shame. The cross is indeed an outrage -- an outrage of grace. If this is the kind of world in which we live--and I believe it is--then the death of God's Son for the sins of the world is the only way the world can be reunited with its Maker and Redeemer.

Nevertheless, I continued to press the issue about why God simply couldn't magnanimously forgive people without having to sacrifice his Son. "What about the story in Matthew 18 about the king who forgave an enormous debt that was owed to him by his servant?" I asked Copan. "He seemed capable of forgiveness without sacrificing anyone on a cross."

Copan's eyebrows went up. "Ah, but notice what happens in that parable: the king doesn't just forgive; he also absorbs the debt," He said. "The king basically says he's going to bear the burden of the loss even though the servant owes the money. Similarly, Jesus pays the cost of our sin on the cross. It's sort of like a child who breaks a neighbor's window. He may be too young to pay the price himself, so his parents pay it for him. Or when a small corporation is bought out by a larger one, the new corporation has to assume its debts.

"There's a cost to sin: Romans 6:23 says it's death, or eternal separation from God. That's the penalty we owe. That's the cost we incur when our sins separate us from God. But Jesus willingly paid the price in our place, as our substitute--and offers forgiveness as a free gift. There's nothing illegitimate about that kind of representation. If we aren't able to handle our situation, what's wrong with someone who's willing to assume our indebtedness?

"From one perspective, Jesus' death was the very low point of God's career--he is crucified as if he were a criminal, exposed naked to the world, cursed on this tree, and tortured though he was innocent. But despite this ultimate degradation, John talks about the Son of God being 'lifted up,' which is a double entendre. Yes, Jesus was physically lifted up on the cross, but this is also the point of God's exaltation. The crucifixion turns out to be a high point of God's career. The point is, Jesus was willing to go this low for our salvation--to be humiliated, to be degraded, to be insulted, that through this selfless act he was able to rescue us, bring an end to the powers of darkness, and bring about the restoration of a fallen world into a new creation.

"God isn't guilty of cosmic child abuse. It's not as though the Father consigns the Son to this humiliating death on the cross; it's something Jesus does voluntarily. Jesus says in John 10 that he lays down his life of his own accord. It's important to see the Trinity being involved in this whole process. As 2 Corinthians 5 says, God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself. God the Father and God the Spirit suffer along with the Son as he hangs on the cross. The Father isn't pitted against his Son; this is something the Son willingly takes upon himself in order to pay the debt that humankind could not pay on its own."

"Some people say this seems utterly drastic," I observed.

"Well, yeah, if this were to happen to you or me, we would be terribly embittered and completely overwhelmed. But Christ bears the punishment perfectly. As British theologian John Stott said, 'For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man.'"

"The atonement, then, is not illogical or unfair," I suggested.

"That's right," Copan agreed. "Remember, the Scriptures have a number of different pictures or metaphors for what was accomplished on the cross. But the substitutionary aspect of the atonement is deeply significant in that Christ our representative accomplishes for us what we can't do for ourselves."

"So what should our response be? Gratitude--the Christian faith is a religion of gratitude. Why would we be reluctant to humble ourselves and receive the free gift of forgiveness that Christ purchased through his death--and also receive the gift-giver himself as the leader of our life?"

Source: "The Case for the Real Jesus," by Lee Strobel, published by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2007 pp. 254-256.

Jhn 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

Jhn 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

Jhn 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.