Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Freedom Is Not Free


Before I get to the explanation of the topic "Freedom Is Not Free," I want to share a personal story that led me to think about, and write about that phrase.

From February 6th through the 17th, I was in the midst of the Blizzard of 2010. Yes. This California gal was visiting her mom back east. I ended up being smack dab in the middle of several snow storms that wreaked havoc on the east coast.

It has been several years since I have shoveled snow. Well, over the course of several days, I ended up shoveling snow five times! I hate when the snow plow comes along and drops those large chunks of icy snow right in front of the driveway!

Anyway, I had a great visit with my mom. She is very frail now. Each year when I go back for 10 days to stay with her, it ends up being such a sweet time.

Fortunately, we were able to get out of the house before one snow storm, and then again in between the second and third one.

I discovered that the mall a few miles from her home offers free rental of wheelchairs. This enabled us to spend several hours at the mall without her tiring too easily. My mom can still walk, but she gets pain in one leg if she walks long distances.

Since her birthday was coming up in April, I asked her to shop for her own gift. I thought that when we reached the clothing racks, she would get up and look around. Nope! She enjoyed looking at the clothes sitting in the wheelchair, while directing me to push her all around the Macy's women's department.

A beautiful pants suit caught her eye. The jacket was lime green with black piping around the collar. The pants were black. The sales lady was kind enough to pick out some shell tops for her to try on under the jacket. She looked beautiful in it!! I was so excited to buy it for her. The pants needed hemming, but other than that it was a great fit!

We enjoyed lunch at the Nordstrom Cafe. We had soup and salad, and split a delicious frosted carrot cake. I loved that cake so much, I asked the lady at the register if I could purchase a whole cake to take home. She told me she could order it and it would be $40.00. Forty dollars? Must be one of those fancy bakery-type cakes! Still, I should have bought one more piece to take home!

One Saturday evening, I invited my Aunt Alex to join us for dinner at one of our favorite Italian restaurants. We got there very early (4:30 p.m.), before the crowd would get there.

My Aunt Alex is the older sister of my mom. She is sharp as a whip, funny, active, still drives and still bowls once a week! She might not like me to share her age, so I won't. She is a great person and I love her so much!

Aunt Alex is a senior leader of the Lady's Auxiliary in her town. They hold annual spaghetti dinners to benefit war vets who are recovering from their injuries and/or need prosthetic limbs. During the event, people buy raffle tickets to win prizes. Many of the prizes are small blankets from USA Cares - the same organization that comedian Dennis Miller (often seen on The O'Reilly Factor show segments) promotes. My mom has won several of these blankets from past fund raisers. She had one at home that read: "Freedom Is Not Free." I asked her if I could have it. She said yes. It was nice to have that little blanket in my carry-on bag so that I could rest my head against it during the long plane flight home. More about that saying in a moment.

One of the funniest moments at the restaurant was when I told both of them that this dinner is my treat. My Aunt Alex was hesitant to order the scallops dinner that she wanted because it was so expensive (wasn't really - only $17.00). I told her, "Go ahead and order it! My husband gave me lots of spending money for this trip! I'm getting the crab-stuffed shrimp ($18.00)." Next, it was time to see what my mom wanted. She said, "Spaghetti and meatballs." Now, my aunt rolled her eyes. She said, "we both have freezers full of leftover spaghetti and meatballs! Don't you dare order that!" We both spent the next 15 minutes trying to get my mom to order something different. To no avail. Finally, my aunt said (kiddingly, of course), "Helen, if you order spaghetti and meatballs I'm gonna kill you!" I laughed so hard!! Meanwhile, the original waiter gave up on us and a new waitress came over to get our orders. We must have been sitting there laughing and talking for half an hour!

Our meals were delicious! My mom was stubborn and went ahead and ordered her spaghetti and meatballs. Aunt Alex did the familiar family hand wave of disgust. What a riot!

When we dropped off Aunt Alex at home, she gave her sister a kiss and said, "Love you!" I chuckled to myself. A few hours ago she was humorously irritated with her sister.

Unfortunately, my mom ended up with a bit of heartburn from the meal. I saw her pop two tums chewables when we got home. She shoulda listened to us!

If you have been patient enough to read through the personal account above, thank you! I am now leading up to discussing the title of this post.

The saying, "Freedom Is Not Free" is very true. We all know how our brave military has been instrumental in keeping America free and protecting our homeland throughout our history. We know how they helped the cause of freedom around the world in World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the war in Afghanistan; just to name a few.

Former President Reagan said this classic quote:


Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

Ronald Reagan
40th president of US (1911 - 2004)


Did you read that? "It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same..."

Freedom Is Not Free.

I have recently become a member of The Heritage Foundation. I have donated to that worthy cause several times. I will do so again, especially after reading the latest awesome letter that I received from Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D. - President of the foundation.

My next post will share the details of that letter [See Some Conservative Intellectual Wisdom]

For now, I want to talk about the fact that the saying "Freedom Is Not Free" can also be applied to the freedom that is offered to us through the Person of Jesus Christ.

The Christian faith is based on the Cross of Christ. The Gospel message is one that informs us (via the Bible) that Jesus Christ died for the sins of mankind, so that we could be free from the punishment of eternal death.

Again, Freedom Is Not Free. Someone had to pay the price. Jesus Christ paid the price on that cross at Calvary, over 2,000 years ago.

Non-believers often scoff at this idea. They take on the attitude that one Man, could not possibly have done what Christ claimed to do. One Man, could not possibly achieve what Christ claimed to achieve. To them, it's all "rubbish," "lies," "myth," "an impossibility" due to what we know about science...and the list could go on and on. Unfortunately, the physical world is all that they believe in. They say, "show me - then I will believe." Christian faith says, "Believe, then you will see." It's a spiritual thing that cannot be measured by science, man's wisdom, man's knowledge, man's personality, or man's thoughts.

In the Old Testament, God tells us through Isaiah:


Isa 55:8 For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD.


So, the question becomes, how do we find out God's thoughts? This side of heaven, we cannot find out all of them. However, God has given us the Bible - His written Word, and Jesus Christ - His Living Word to inform us of what we need to know during our brief life on this earth in order to be reconciled back to God and spend eternity in heaven with Him.

The scoffers often try and point out errors and flaws in Scripture. They relish finding verses and quoting them out of context to support their own personal views.

Here's an example.

Over at my Talk Wisdom forum, GMPilot (a self-described non-believer in Christ) wrote this in the Che: The Evil Murderer thread:


I'd really like to know...if Guevara was an "evil murderer", who is a good murderer?


Apparently, GMPilot objected to my labeling of Che as an "evil" murderer.

My reply:


The point of this post was to show how people often follow a kind of "groupthink" about past revolutionaries - good, bad, or downright evil - without knowing the history of the person. How else could it be explained that so many young people who worked in the Obama campaign of 2008 allowed posters of Che to be up in the election headquarters? Why would they wear t-shirts and why would a model wear underwear with Che's face all over it?

It's either ignorance or complicity. Take your pick.


Then GM wrote:




Quote:
Christine: The point of this post was to show how people often follow a kind of "groupthink" about past revolutionaries - good, bad, or downright evil - without knowing the history of the person.


I could say the same about those so-called "TEA party-ers" who carry quotes from certain of the Founders without fully understanding their meaning. Or those who equate socialism with fascism, ignorant of the fact that the two systems are incompatible with each other, let alone with what we've got.
IMHO, true patriots never proclaim themselves as such; they don't need to.


Quote:
Christine: How else could it be explained that so many young people who worked in the Obama campaign of 2008 allowed posters of Che to be up in the election headquarters?


How many election headquarters? Which one(s)? Where? All I hear is rhetoric, not facts.


Quote:
Christine: Why would they wear t-shirts and why would a model wear underwear with Che's face all over it?


If you don't know why people wear t-shirts, it's too late to explain anything to you. If I were a model, I'd wear underwear with Che's face on it; I know all about Che Guevara, and he can kiss my ass. Literally. On my skivvies.


Quote:
Christine: It's either ignorance or complicity. Take your pick.


I pick ignorance; ignorance can be cured. Obviously there's a lot of it out there, if Beck feels he must educate his audience about Che!

I repeat...if Guevara was an "evil murderer", who is a good murderer?

Perhaps this guy?


My second reply:



Abortion advocates and abortionists?



Quote:
GM: I'd really like to know...if Guevara was an "evil murderer", who is a good murderer?


In the view of liberal leftists who do all that they can to protect abortion "rights," perhaps you could call them advocates for "good" murder and the abortionists "good" murderers? Of course, they are only "good" in their own minds...

Woe to those who would call evil "good" and good, "evil."
__________________
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:8

The eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth to show Himself strong to those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9


GM wrote:

Re: Post #9479


Don't go dumping the definitions on me, hostess. You determined that Che was an "evil murderer', so I assumed you knew what a "good" one was. I offered you a couple of possibilities, and you wouldn't commit to either one.
If you find you can't answer that question, maybe you should retract that adjective and just settle for "murderer".


Quote:
Woe to those who would call evil "good" and good, "evil."


Murder isn't "evil" if He commands it, though. Ever notice that?
__________________
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration--courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth." --H L Mencken

"When someone asks you if you're a god, you say yes." --"Ghostbusters"


I included our tag lines in the last two comments because I thought they were so fitting to the differences in our spiritual beliefs.

Notice that GMPilot did not address the issue of abortion as being considered as "good murder" - which pro-abortion advocates must obviously think. Otherwise, abortion would be unthinkable to them, would it not?

I have not yet responded to GM's last comment. I find it strange that he now claims to object to my use of the adjective "evil" to describe a person who was a murderer. And, GM objects to the fact that God has the power over life and death. He seems to think that is evil.

My question. Who but the Creator of the Universe should have the ultimate power over life and death?

Taking Scripture out of context is a sport with many atheists/skeptics/Christian haters. The fact that many of these kinds of people hate the God of the Bible is quite evident, too.

The fact that Scripture upholds the death penalty bothers them, as well. But what would they want? Freedom for murderers to get away with their crimes? Life in prison without the possibility of parole?

The admonition, "Thou shalt not murder" in the Ten Commandments does not mean that the act of killing (for self-defense, in war, in protecting family etc.) is never justified. That is a misconception by some who can't understand why there is a death penalty in the first place.

[Note: Please see the essay at the end of this post for Greg Koukl's excellent article: What Exodus 21:22 Says About Abortion. It includes some facts about why the death penalty in the Old Testament is considered biblical.]

Physical death is the penalty for sin that every human being must go through. However, without the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross - the idea that sinners can be set free from spiritual death without confessing and recognizing that Christ paid the penalty for their sin - would not be justice.

Thus, we come full circle on the idea that "Freedom Is Not Free." Of course, this is not an exhaustive essay on the topic. Much more can be written and said about it. But I hope that this brief explanation will get readers thinking about why that phrase is so true.

It also explains why many Americans today are protesting this out-of-control government takeover that we are experiencing today at an alarming rate.

Our Charters of Freedom are on the line. When our United States Constitution is ignored by government leaders, and a presidency can be usurped due to cover-up, we can see the inherent danger that we face in losing our freedoms; as well as our way of life via what the Founding Fathers envisioned for our Constitutional Republic.

Recall what Benjamin Franklin once said to a woman who asked the question, "what type of government have you given us, sir? He replied, "We have given you a Republic, if you can keep it."

What are you willing to do to keep our Constitutional Republic here in the United States of America intact?

If you want to find out what you can do, go to ResistNet.com

You can have most of your questions about the forum answered here.

*******

Copy of Greg Koukl's essay:

What Exodus 21:22 Says About Abortion



Gregory Koukl

The Torah's teaching about accidental "miscarriage"; has been hotly contested concerning the value of the unborn. Is it pro-life or pro-abortion? Here are the facts. You decide.


Most attempts to argue against abortion from biblical texts are misdirected. In the absence of specific prohibitions of abortion in the Scripture, Christian pro-lifers quote equivocal passages.

Some citations use personal pronouns to describe the unborn, but many of these are in poetry texts, so the conclusion is not entirely convincing. God’s personal acquaintance with the unborn can be explained by His omniscience. After all, some texts make it clear that God “knows” us even before we’re conceived.

One text, however, is strong. Exodus 21:22-25 is usually used to argue that the Bible assigns a lower value to the unborn than to other humans. Rabbis and Jewish thinkers I’ve discussed this point with on the radio have been especially adamant--even irate. I think the evidence shows, though, that Moses taught just the opposite. If I’m right, we have a powerful argument for the value Scripture puts on the life of the unborn.


Dead or Alive?

The New American Standard Bible (NASB) renders Exodus 21:22-25 this way:

And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no [further] injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any [further] injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.[1]
This translation suggests that if a miscarriage takes place and the child is lost, the antagonists are simply fined, but if the mother dies in the scuffle, then the penalty is “life for life.” In the Torah, it seems, the unborn is not considered fully human.

Theologian Millard Erickson notes that in this view, “the lex talionis [life for life] is applied only if the mother is harmed. On this basis it is concluded that the fetus was not considered a soul or a person, and thus is not to be thought of as fully human.”[2]

At issue is the phrase translated “she has a miscarriage.” There is an assumption made about this word that is crucial. In English, the word “miscarriage” implies the death of the child. Webster’s New World Dictionary defines miscarriage as, “The expulsion of the fetus from the womb before it is sufficiently developed to survive.”[3] In the struggle, the child is aborted, and so a fine is levied.

Here’s the crux of the issue: Does the Hebrew word carry the same meaning? Is it correct to presume that the miscarriage of Exodus 21:22 produces a dead child, just like an abortion? This is the single most important question that needs to be answered here. If it does, the English word “miscarriage” is the right choice. If it does not, then the picture changes dramatically.

Are we justified in assuming that the child is dead? The answer is in the original language. There’s a history of how these words are used in the Hebrew Bible, and that history is important. Let’s look at it.


Yeled and Yasa

A word’s meaning in any language is determined in two steps. We learn a word’s range of meaning--its possible definitions--inductively by examining its general usage. We learn its specific meaning within that range by the immediate context.

The relevant phrase in the passage, “...she has a miscarriage...,” reads w˚yase û ye ladêhâ in the Hebrew. It’s a combination of a Hebrew noun--yeled--and a verb--yasa--and literally means “the child comes forth.” The NASB makes note of this literal rendering in the margin.

The Hebrew noun translated “child” in this passage is yeled[4] (yeladim in the plural), and means “child, son, boy, or youth.”[5] It comes from the primary root word yalad,[6] meaning “to bear, bring forth, or beget.” In the NASB yalad is translated “childbirth” 10 times, some form of “gave birth” over 50 times, and either “bore,” “born,” or “borne” 180 times.

The verb yasa[7] is a primary, primitive root that means “to go or come out.” It is used over a thousand times in the Hebrew Scriptures and has been translated 165 different ways in the NASB--escape, exported, go forth, proceed, take out, to name a few. This gives us a rich source for exegetical comparison. It’s translated with some form of “coming out” (e.g., “comes out,” “came out,” etc.) 103 times, and some form of “going” 445 times.

What’s most interesting is to see how frequently yasa refers to the emergence of a living thing:

Genesis 1:24 “Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind’; and it was so.”
Genesis 8:17 [to Noah] “Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you, birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth....”

Genesis 15:4 “This man will not be your heir; but one who shall come forth from your own body....”

Genesis 25:25-26 “Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. And afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob.”

1 Kings 8:19 “Nevertheless you shall not build the house, but your son who shall be born to you, he shall build the house for My name.”

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

2 Kings 20:18 “And some of your sons who shall issue from you, whom you shall beget, shall be taken away; and they shall become officials in the palace of the king of Babylon.”

As you can see, it’s common for yasa to describe the “coming forth” of something living, frequently a child. There is only one time yasa is clearly used for a dead child. Numbers 12:12 says, “Oh, do not let her be like one dead, whose flesh is half eaten away when he comes from his mother’s womb!”

Note here, that we don’t infer the child’s death from the word yasa, but from explicit statements in the context. This is a still-birth, not a miscarriage. The child is dead before the birth (“whose flesh is half eaten away”), and doesn’t die as a result of the untimely delivery, as in a miscarriage.

Yasa is used 1,061 times in the Hebrew Bible. It is never translated “miscarriage” in any other case. Why should the Exodus passage be any different?


Clues from the Context

This inductive analysis shows us something important: Nothing about the word yasa implies the death of the child. The context may give us this information, as in Numbers 12:12, but the word itself does not.

This leads us to our next question: What in the context justifies our assumption that the child that “comes forth” is dead? The answer is, nothing does. There is no indication anywhere in the verse that a fine is assessed for a miscarriage and a more severe penalty is assessed for harming the mother.

This becomes immediately clear when the Hebrew words are translated in their normal, conventional way (the word “further” in the NASB is not in the original):

“And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that the child comes forth, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life....”
The text seems to require a fine for the premature birth, but injury to either of the parties involved incurs a more severe punishment.[8] Millard Erickson notes that “there is no specification as to who must be harmed for the lex talionis [life for life] to come into effect. Whether the mother or the child, the principle applies.”[9]

Gleason Archer, Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, concludes:

“There is no ambiguity here, whatever. What is required is that if there should be an injury either to the mother or to her children, the injury shall be avenged by a like injury to the assailant. If it involves the life (nepes) of the premature baby, then the assailant shall pay for it with his life. There is no second-class status attached to the fetus under this rule; he is avenged just as if he were a normally delivered child or an older person: life for life. Or if the injury is less, but not serious enough to involve inflicting a like injury on the offender, then he may offer compensation in monetary damages...”[10]
Two Rejoinders

Two further objections need to be dealt with. First, if this is a premature birth and not a miscarriage, why the fine?

Babies born prematurely require special care. Because their prenatal development has been interrupted, they are especially prone to difficulty. Pre-term babies often can’t breast feed, and there can be respiratory problems leading to permanent brain damage. The fine represents reimbursement for the expense of an untimely birth, and punitive damages for the serious trauma.

Anyway, even if the fine was for the miscarriage, this wouldn’t prove the child was less than human. A few verses later (v. 32), Moses imposes a fine for the death of a slave, but this doesn’t mean the slave is sub-human.

Second, was this the only word that could be used to indicate a miscarriage? No. Two other words were available to convey this particular meaning, if that’s what the writer had in mind: nepel and sakal. These are used seven times in the Hebrew text.

The noun nepel[11] means “miscarriage” or “abortion,” and is used three times:

Job 3:16 “Or like a miscarriage which is discarded, I would not be, as infants that never saw light.”
Eccl. 6:3-4 “If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, however many they be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things, and he does not even have a proper burial, then I say, ‘Better the miscarriage than he, for it comes in futility and goes into obscurity.’”

Psalms 58:8 “Let them be as a snail which melts away as it goes along, like the miscarriages of a woman which never see the sun.”

The verb sakal[12] means “to be bereaved” and is used four times, including one time when it’s actually translated “abort:”

Genesis 31:38 “These twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten the rams of your flocks.”
Exodus 23:26 “There shall be no one miscarrying or barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.”

Hosea 9:14 “Give them, O Lord-- what wilt Thou give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.”

Job 21:10 “His ox mates without fail; his cow calves and does not abort.

Moses had words in his vocabulary that literally meant abortion or miscarriage, but he didn’t use them in Exodus 21:22. Instead, he chose the same word he used in many other places to signify a living child being brought forth.

Yasa doesn’t mean miscarriage in the sense we think of that word. Instead, the combination of yeled with yasa suggests a living child coming forth from the womb. Nowhere else is this word ever translated “miscarriage.” Why? Because the word doesn’t mean the baby is still-born. It simply means the child comes out.


Three Questions

When someone raises this issue with you, ask these three questions.

First, why presume the child is dead? Though the English word “miscarriage” entails this notion, nothing in the Hebrew wording suggests it. Yasa doesn’t mean miscarriage; it means “to come forth.” The word itself never suggests death.[13] In fact, the word generally implies the opposite: live birth. If it’s never translated elsewhere as miscarriage, why translate it that way here?

Second, what in the context itself implies the death of the child? There’s nothing that does, nothing at all. The fine does not necessarily mean the child is dead, and even if it did this wouldn’t indicate that the child wasn’t fully human (as in the case of the slave in v. 32).

Third, ancient Hebrew had a specific word for miscarriage. It was used in other passages. Why not here? Because Moses didn’t mean miscarriage. When his words are simply taken at face value, there is no confusion at all. The verse is clear and straight-forward. Everything falls into place.

Regardless of the translation, it’s clear that killing the child--and the text does refer to the unborn as a child--is a criminal act. There is no justification for abortion-on-demand from the Torah. Instead, we have a reasonable--even powerful--argument that God views the unborn as valuable as any other human being.




-------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] The 1995 updated version of the NASB now renders this verse, “If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined...” etc.
[2] Millard Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1985), p. 555.

[3] Webster’s New World Dictionary, Second College Edition (New York: Prentice Hall Press, 1984).

[4] Strong’s Index word #3206.

[5] Definitions come from the New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance. For further documentation, see the Hebrew/English Lexicon of the Old Testament, by Brown, Driver and Briggs, the standard lexicon of ancient Hebrew.

[6] Strong’s Index word #3205.

[7] Strong’s Index word #3318.

[8] The New International Version is correct in rendering this passage, “If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life.”

[9] Millard Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1985), p. 556.

[10] Gleason Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982), p. 248.

[11] Strong’s Index word #5309.

[12] Strong’s Index word #7921.

[13] Again, in the Numbers passage the context indicates the death, not the word yasa itself.





This is a transcript of a commentary from the radio show "Stand to Reason," with Gregory Koukl. It is made available to you at no charge through the faithful giving of those who support Stand to Reason. Reproduction permitted for non-commercial use only. ©2002 Gregory Koukl

For more information, contact Stand to Reason at 1438 East 33rd St., Signal Hill, CA 90755
(800) 2-REASON (562) 595-7333 www.str.org








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24 comments:

Gary Baker said...

Hi Christine,

Very interesting and informative. I salute you. FYI - My wife, oldest daughter and I are now attending a session of "True U" at our local church. It's an apologetics course put out by Focus on the Family which provides scientific support for the Biblical account and hard scientific information that refutes many arguments that atheists like to throw out as they claim that "science" is on their side. We're enjoying it quite a bit, and I rest easier knowing that my daughter will be armed with knowledge as she prepares to go off to college in a couple of years.

As for GM, he seems to have gotten all worked up splitting hairs. Nothing new there. As near as I can make out, he seems to be hung up with the use of the adjective "evil". I suppose that it could be considered redundant since murder is by definition an "evil" act. It's the same with his comments on fascism and socialism are incompatible because socialism requires government ownership of businesses and fascism allows individuals to own them under heavy government control. Both amount to government control of production, prices, wages, and the people through the economy. It's a distinction but not often with much difference.

It kind of relates back to a point that Kevin made the other day. He seemed to be completely indignant that "evil" insurance companies would raise the rates of health insurance up to 39% (and yes, I know he didn't use the word "evil," he simply implied it heavily in context). He said he resented that they had so much control over people. What he didn't know or at least didn't acknowledge is that it wasn't the insurance companies that were exerting the control. It was the government. California passed a rule requiring the insurance companies to extend the COBRA coverage of people. This dramatically raised the cost of the service provided. Since health insurance companies operate under a very low profit margin, it was either raise the rates to cover the cost or go out of business. De facto fascism. The government controlled the business in a way that required prices to go up.

Kevin said...

Hi Gary,
So what exactly does COBRA do, and why are you so against it? Are you saying that there should be no COBRA coverage? Maybe you can explain that.

Gary Baker said...

Hi Kevin,
I didn't say anything that COBRA did or didn't do. I didn't say that I was for or against it and I certainly didn't say there should be no COBRA coverage. Are you hearing those voices again? (I'm still waiting for some kind of "cause-effect" link from our last discussion. Come up with anything yet?)

I said, truthfully, that the government of California enacted a rule with the force of law that caused an increase in the cost that the health insurance companies to bear. Essentially, the government took over the health insurance companies using legal force. Having no other means of income and faced with a cost increase, the companies had to either fold in bankruptcy or pass the costs along. This is always the case when governments pass regulations. They can blame the companies, but the government is responsible for the increase in cost. You would think a college lecturer would have a better ability to distinguish what is actually said in a paragraph or two. Then again, you are content to be forced to join a union to make sure that you can get paid for minimal effort, so just how much you have on the ball is questionable at best.

Christinewjc said...

Hi Gary,

Thanks for your kind words about the post.

I applaud you, your wife, and your daughter for attending what sounds like a great Apologetics course. It's good to arm our Christian young adults with ammunition against the secular onslaught of propaganda that they will receive in college.

Since I obviously wasn't paying attention to the new California health care law, can you tell me when it was enacted? I suspect that it was started in January, 2010. That is when my son's monthly health insurance payment went from $85.00 a month to $139.00 a month! Must have been because of that new legislation! It figures. The Dems in our State House have been ruining the state for decades. Clueless RINO Arnold - the Progressive wolf in Republican sheep clothing - became drunk with bill signing power in his second term in office. I'm so proud of myself for NOT VOTING for him! Tom McClintock would have been a far better Conservative Governor.

Will the Independents and Moderate Dems in our state learn anything from all of this? Who knows? One can only hope that they make a better choice in 2010. Thank God that Arnold will be outta here!

Gary Baker said...

Hi Christine,

The information out on the web is kind of thick, but I have done some research for you and here is a reader's digest version:

As it turns out, actual recent changes have been fairly minor. What you are seeing is more due to a cumulative effect over time. Here is part of the history.

The part of COBRA that is relevant to this case is the ability of people involuntarily separated from their job (fired or laid off) to continue on their employer's health insurance. My understanding is that the law initially allowed them to stay on the policy for 18 months and was later extended to 36 months. This is one of those ideas that sounds nice and compassionate. In a perfect world, it might even be practical under limited conditions. Unfortunately, I don't know anyone who lives in a perfect world.

For starters, the coverage is expensive. Unless you have a pre-existing condition, you could probably find some coverage at a better price to tide you over. However, unlike our government, unemployed people have to make tough choices and stand by them. A lot of the newly unemployed in good health opt for no insurance, gambling that they can get another covered job before anything serious happens. This leads to two effects.

The first is that fewer healthy people are staying in the plan, bringing revenue down. The second effect is that those who remain use more medical care than average. For the insurance group, outlays go up relative to income. The only way for the insurance company to balance the books is to raise prices.

Over the last couple of years, the economy has put a real whooping on the system. The longer people are out of work, the more borderline healthy people drop out, further reducing revenue. You reach a point where the insurance companies are losing more money for each person who signs up on average.

(Continued)

Gary Baker said...

Now, enter our helpful federal government. As part of one of the big spending bills, they pass a subsidy program that covers 65% of the cost of the COBRA insurance. It's still not a great bargain, but it makes it cheap enough so that more high usage clients can sign up. More people. More negative revenue. The recent change is an extension to the sign up period. The subsidy was supposed to expire at the end of December last year. It's extended to the end of February now. I haven't heard of further extensions, but I would rule them out.

Last but not least is California. They passed a separate requirement to expand the program in state. More users means more usage not covered by revenue means higher costs. Until and unless you can get unemployment down and revenue back up the problem will only get worse.

And finally, you have the blow-hard liberals. They've been screaming that the government needs to force people to take care of the poor and unemployed and if they have to pay more so be it. Well, the government did exactly what they said with very predictable results. Now costs have gone up and so premiums have to go up to cover them, which leaves lefties like Kevin with the question: Do I blame the government I supported for doing what I wanted or do I blame a business for doing what it has to do to survive?

I think we all know the answer to that one.

Hope to get a few checks in the "I learned something" box for this.

GMpilot said...

CJW: ”Again, Freedom Is Not Free. Someone had to pay the price. Jesus Christ paid the price on that cross at Calvary, over 2,000 years ago.”

Okay.
So why do you keep insisting that this salvation/eternal life business is a “free gift”? As you said above, someone had to pay for it—in this case, Jesus.
But as I see it, God doesn't offer a gift, he offers a reward: “Do this, and I'll give you this.” He might even give you a pat on the head afterward. And don't even think
about not accepting the gift; it's the original “offer you can not refuse”, with similar consequences.
Some might object to this view, but that's what I think. As someone told me not long ago, "Hey...I'm only human. And I'm entitled to my own opinions."

”Unfortunately, the physical world is all that [non-believers] believe in. They say, "show me - then I will believe." Christian faith says, "Believe, then you will see." It's a spiritual thing that cannot be measured by science, man's wisdom, man's knowledge, man's personality, or man's thoughts.”

No, madam, it's not just Christian faith that says that. All of them do.
I've never seen the Taj Mahal, but I believe it exists. I've talked to people who have seen it. I've read articles about it. I've seen pictures of it. More importantly, I know exactly where to go if I want to see it myself. You could draw the same parallels about God, with one exception: we get to read about what God has done, not about what he does; where he has been, not about where he is.

”The scoffers...relish finding verses and quoting them out of context to support their own personal views.”
And we all know that Christians never do that, right?

But the banner of your screed was “Freedom Is Not Free”. I agree.
Like any other “free” item out there, what's expensive is the maintenance. I've paid my share of that, unlike some people I could mention.
Anyway, thanks for the rant. You've now guaranteed even more hits on your old soapbox, and that has to be good for something.

Kevin said...

Oh Gary, You sometimes say the funniest things! "Are you hearing those voices again?" And that is coming from a Christian? Please tell me again who hears voices...

You also stated :"You would think a college lecturer would have a better ability to distinguish what is actually said in a paragraph or two. Then again, you are content to be forced to join a union to make sure that you can get paid for minimal effort, so just how much you have on the ball is questionable at best."
And you wonder why nothing I can say to you gets through to your brain!
'Minimal effort'? Oh that's right--you are living in the real world, doing real working, producing real things. What exactly do you do, by the way? If I find out, then I can get down on my hands and knees and thank you for being a real person.

Gary Baker said...

"someone had to pay for it—in this case, Jesus."

I think someone had to pay for most things that are given. That doesn't stop them from being free to you.

"we get to read about what God has done, not about what he does; where he has been, not about where he is."

You can read about things that God is doing every day, about miracles and answers to prayer and where He is. You choose not to believe. If you wanted to, you could choose not to believe in the Taj Mahal either, but that wouldn't make it any less real.

"it's the original “offer you can not refuse”, with similar consequences."

You're argument carries all the logic of a twelve-year-old playing out the street and about to get run down, his last thought "This is all my dad's fault. He should have been watching me 24 hours a day to make sure I never did stupid stuff like this."

The consequences are what you have already brought upon yourself. If you want to suffer all that you have earned, by all means go ahead. Most drowning people are grateful to receive a life preserver from a passing ship. You seem much more worried about what the captain may want you to do if you take the line and come aboard. Say hello to the sharks for me!

Gary Baker said...

Hi Kevin,

I would be glad to let you know what I do as soon as you explain the errors in my reasoning. You stated "And you wonder why nothing I can say to you gets through to your brain!" Actually I am pretty sure that it's because you repeat liberal BS with no regard for truth and no understanding of how things work, though I am prepared to be shown that I am wrong. Please list some of my errors in reasoning, or give me that cause and effect line for how correct you are. Go ahead. Show me how wrong I am. Show that there actually is some capacity for thought in there instead of simply parroting the party line and union label. As it is, looking back it seems as though I've responded to your requests for reasons and you've pretty much come up with nothing. I expect union people to be lazy (after all, unions pretty much count on lazy people for their dues), but if you want me to bother addressing you directly you should at least show that you are willing to work a little.

Gary Baker said...

Kevin,

All snarkiness aside and in complete seriousness: Give my questions serious answers and you will get them in return. Right now, you haven't shown much effort in serious reply and seem to be substituting sarcasm for reason. If that's your choice then so be it, but that's the point I stop addressing you directly. I simply shred your statements and heap ridicule on you. Your choice.

GMpilot said...

You're so predictable, Mr. Baker.

”You can read about things that God is doing every day, about miracles and answers to prayer and where He is. You choose not to believe. If you wanted to, you could choose not to believe in the Taj Mahal either, but that wouldn't make it any less real.”

Exactly, just as I choose not to believe in Dracula or Sherlock Holmes. I could choose to believe in them, or your God, but that wouldn't make them any more real.

You're argument carries all the logic of a twelve-year-old playing out the street and about to get run down, his last thought "This is all my dad's fault. He should have been watching me 24 hours a day to make sure I never did stupid stuff like this."

Except that that hypothetical father doesn't arrange to have a car kill his son. Can your Father make that claim?

”The consequences are what you have already brought upon yourself. If you want to suffer all that you have earned, by all means go ahead.”

I already do, and I don't need your permission. I learned long ago that there is no need for a hell; we are punished by our sins, not for them. And that happens right here.

”Most drowning people are grateful to receive a life preserver from a passing ship. You seem much more worried about what the captain may want you to do if you take the line and come aboard. Say hello to the sharks for me!”

Depends on the ship. I'd sooner it was a USN destroyer than a Somali speedboat. If it were the latter, I'd probably soon wish I was back with the sharks; at least the sharks will simply eat me. The destroyer captain probably wouldn't demand that I grovel and give him eternal thanks for rescuing me. I'm not so sure about the other guy.

Have a good day.

Kevin said...

Hi Gary,
The response I gave was one you deserved. I asked Christine about the parallels between the communist creed and Acts. You step in (which is totally fine--I always like hearing from you) and say that I am trying to be deceptive. Well, that isn't a very good way to start a discussion, now is it? The passage you gave from Acts (right after what I provided) was the moral of the story--either sell everything and give it ALL to the church or get killed by God for cheating. The moral has nothing to do with the parallel I provided.
So telling me that I hear voices and am being deceptive or being a dictator or not being a productive member of society is not the proper way to deal with debates. So you received sarcasm in return.
By the way, why is it that a government can't act as Jesus and the disciples by spreading out the wealth to those less fortunate?
And speaking of insurance companies and the ridiculous amounts that are charged by doctors and hospitals, there was a student visiting from China. He was going to school at Stanford. He was killed in a bike accident. His bill, for just two weeks in the hospital, was just over 1 million dollars! I find it hard to imagine how they can justify that cost. That is $71,000 a day. For me that is a good reason for the government to try and control health care costs. Otherwise people get ripped off by unscrupulous businesses.

COBRA is a way to make sure that people who are unemployed have some kind of health care. It allows them to keep their health care, WHILE paying full premiums (and sometimes a bit more than what they paid when they were working). Insurance companies are just that--companies and as such, have the right to charge for their services. However, they should not be able to rip people off. The fact that these people have COBRA is not an added cost to insurance companies. These people who get COBRA had insurance before--but their companies were usually paying the premium. Now that they have been unemployed, they can stay with their old insurance plans. But now they have to pay for it themselves.

Gary Baker said...

"You're so predictable, Mr. Baker."

Which makes it no less correct.

"I could choose to believe in them, or your God, but that wouldn't make them any more real."

Very true. In the same way, your unbelief makes God no less real.

"Can your Father make that claim?"

Absolutely. When you arrive at hell, it will strictly be your own actions that bring you there.

"Depends on the ship."

Well, there's only one ship out there. If you feel your pride is worth going down for, that's your privilege. For my part, I'm grateful for the help I'm getting now, and really looking forward to the "Welcome Home" party when the ship pulls in.

Gary Baker said...

"Well, that isn't a very good way to start a discussion, now is it?"

Guilty as charged. Too long on aggression and too short on manners. I'll cop to that. As for the rest...

I'll accept your word that you were not trying to be deceptive in your point, but if you try to make the point that Jesus was in any way advocating forced giving or taking, that's a position that can't be supported by scripture.

There was a case in the Old Testament where David wanted a threshing floor to make a sacrifice. The owner offered to give him the floor and the animals. David refused. He said he couldn't offer something to the Lord that cost him nothing. Essentially, you are trying to reverse that. You are trying to satisfy your desire to sacrifice by taking from others.

"By the way, why is it that a government can't act as Jesus and the disciples by spreading out the wealth to those less fortunate?"

Jesus put into action what he approved of. How about showing me a few places where he used force, especially government force, to impose giving on the unwilling? And there is a very basic reason why government's can't "give" - they have nothing that they haven't taken from someone else. And that's where the term "dictatorial" comes back. You are saying that you, or the government officials you elect, should have the power to decide who is worthy of keeping what they earn, how much, and who is more worthy. I would say that fits the adjective "dictatorial" pretty well.

"That is $71,000 a day. For me that is a good reason for the government to try and control health care costs. Otherwise people get ripped off by unscrupulous businesses. "

You have a lot of assumptions inherent in that premise, none of which I think you can back up. For starters, I doubt you know the extent of care the student received, the required experts, the staff on call, the capital costs of the equipment (which have to include R&D, likewise for drugs and treatments used). Now, you say you find it hard to believe they can justify that cost. It's very likely that 20 years ago they would not have been able to save the student for ten or a hundred times that. Research, training, case studies, all of this costs money. You also need to look at yourself in this regard. Chances are at least some of the work involved was handled by union employees who had their labor rates artificially raised. Cost of labor also increases cost of care.

Gary Baker said...

Finally, and these are big, you are assuming first that government could realistically reduce or contain costs and, second, that it would provide for more equitable distribution of care. For the first one I point out that every health benefit program, and most other programs administered by government are operated at a loss, heavily subsidized, inferior quality, or some combination of the three. VA hospitals, AMTRAK, Medicare, Social Security - All big losers and/or propped up on a mountain of debt. For the second part, look at the health care bill "negotiations." Just to get a bill that the Democrats would agree to there had to be major payoffs for unions, pharmaceutical companies, state senators, and all of that coming at the expense of the bulk of the people. Can you give me any reason to believe that this mish-mash of crime could produce and efficient and effective health care system when they have already tried with Medicare and failed?

"WHILE paying full premiums (and sometimes a bit more than what they paid when they were working). "

Except that right now the government is subsidizing 65% of the cost for those who sign up by end of February. The plan may be extended.

"companies were usually paying the premium. Now that they have been unemployed, they can stay with their old insurance plans. But now they have to pay for it themselves."

That's right. And the fact that far fewer have chosen to pay for it themselves and those that do are the sicker clients has pushed up expenses and chopped out revenue. When expenses go up, premiums have to go up. There is no magic money tree. All of this is fine, but it still comes down to you blaming the insurance companies for surviving by doing what they had to under government regulation. If you want to blame someone, blame the responsible party. If the insurance companies had simply gone out of business, then a lot more people would be without insurance (which I am not discounting as part of the administration's goal).

Christinewjc said...

Thanks for that explanation, Gary. Living in California can be beautiful...and a nightmare. We are in the thick of a nightmare right now and I don't know what is going to happen.

I have seen the tax and spend Democrats write awful bills, get them passed thanks to RINO Arnold, and spend this state into oblivion. It is certainly disheartening. They don't listen to the ordinary Californians who did NOT WANT THESE UNNECESSARY BILLS passed! Now we are in heavy debt and an economic disaster looms. They have no one to blame but themselves.

You wrote:

And finally, you have the blow-hard liberals. They've been screaming that the government needs to force people to take care of the poor and unemployed and if they have to pay more so be it. Well, the government did exactly what they said with very predictable results. Now costs have gone up and so premiums have to go up to cover them, which leaves lefties like Kevin with the question: Do I blame the government I supported for doing what I wanted or do I blame a business for doing what it has to do to survive?

I think we all know the answer to that one.


We in California have been there, done that. It has bankrupted our state and I blame the government. Period. They have driven so many businesses out of this state that it isn't even funny. Those businesses who cannot afford to run and make a profit here have left! It's no longer a decision to just survive, it is a practical decision to PROSPER ELSEWHERE.

p.s. I gave you a check for "I learned something" from this comment section of this post!

Christinewjc said...

GM,

You wrote:

Except that that hypothetical father doesn't arrange to have a car kill his son. Can your Father make that claim?

I have explained to you over and over again what it means for Christ to have paid the price for us; as well as it being a free gift for us.

Logically, a gift must be accepted, or it will not be of any use...right? That is the part that we must involve ourselves with even though Jesus paid the price to reconcile sinners back to God through his sacrificial death on the cross.

Instead of dismissing what Gary wrote to you, please take your blinders off and think about what he has written. You might learn something.

In addition, I must say that you are looking at what Christ did (by WILLINGLY laying down his life for us) in the wrong way. The Father didn't "arrange" to have his Son crucified. It was an agreed arrangement between the Father and Son. Christ willingly went to the cross for the forgiveness of sins of mankind. The magnificient act of this - and the subsequent resurrection from the dead gives us eternal hope and life that we would never have had if we all died with our own sins upon our own souls.

But as usual, I am probably wasting time typing all of this out to you. Your attitude causes you to refuse to see the truth of the matter. Therefore, you will die in your own sin and be forever separated from the God in whom you choose not to believe (and, in fact - hate). Your hatred of the God of the Bible comes through in all of your posts and comments. God says back to you, "so be it." He doesn't force anyone to believe in Him or to love Him. So, as usual, your writing here is only meant to mock, disparage and insult those of us who do believe in God's written Word, the Bible, and His Living Word - Jesus Christ.

So be it.

GMpilot said...

CJW: ”I must say that you are looking at what Christ did (by WILLINGLY laying down his life for us) in the wrong way.”

No, I read Mark 14:36, just as you did. He didn't sound THAT willing.

”The Father didn't "arrange" to have his Son crucified. It was an agreed arrangement between the Father and Son. Christ willingly went to the cross for the forgiveness of sins of mankind.”

What part of “arrange” do you not understand, Christine?

”Your hatred of the God of the Bible comes through in all of your posts and comments. God says back to you, "so be it."

He doesn't force anyone to believe in Him or to love Him.”


Love him, no.
Believe in him, yes: ”...and they [you] shall know that I AM THE LORD.”
Would you like to guess how many times that line appears in the Old Testament? Do you think he persuaded his enemies and wayward people to believe, or did he force them to?

”So, as usual, your writing here is only meant to mock, disparage and insult those of us who do believe in God's written Word, the Bible, and His Living Word - Jesus Christ.”

And you just love it, because all that mockery is 'in accordance with the prophecy'. It just makes you all feel so smug and self-righteous (see Mr. Baker's comment about his anticipated “Welcome Home” party).

”So be it.”

God must be real pleased to have you condemn me on his behalf, ma'am.
See, that's my point: if he spoke to me, personally, I might fall into step with the rest of you. But he never does. Instead, since he's so shy he won't approach me himself, he talks to people such as you, and you tell me what you think he wants me to do. But you always garble the message!!
Did you ever play 'telephone' as a kid? 10 people sit in a line or circle, and the first person whispers some words to the person next to him/her; the last person is supposed to speak the words out loud. What that last person says is seldom what the first one said, and never EXACTLY what the first one said.
Since God won't talk to me, I can only conclude one of three things:
1. He's already made up his mind—I was elected or damned even before I was born, and it can't be changed. (There's quite a bit of biblical evidence for that, O Apologetics certificate-holder.)
2. He simply doesn't care if I believe or not. (What kind of threat/annoyance could I possibly be to the Lord of the Universe?)
3. He doesn't exist.

BTW, Christine, you got it wrong, as you frequently do. I don't disparage your beliefs, but I do disparage your reasons for those beliefs.

Have a good day.

Gary Baker said...

GM,

"He didn't sound THAT willing."

He also said that he could have called to His Father for immediate rescue and it would have been granted. That sounds very willing to me. Not eager. I don't think anyone would be, and that's one of the things that makes the sacrifice so precious.

"Do you think he persuaded his enemies and wayward people to believe, or did he force them to? "

Interesting. How could he "force" people to believe?

"Instead, since he's so shy he won't approach me himself, "

Well, he sent prophets, His Son, and the apostles. You have access to all that they wrote, and you still don't think you've been approached? I don't think you are listening.

GMpilot said...

Mr. Baker:

”He also said that he could have called to His Father for immediate rescue and it would have been granted. That sounds very willing to me. Not eager. I don't think anyone would be, and that's one of the things that makes the sacrifice so precious.”

Well, it sure sounds like an ARRANGEment, doesn't it? As for someone not being “eager” to die, I suggest you look up the origins of the word “assassin”.

Putting aside the mutual snarkiness, I ask you: sacrifice is described as 'the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.' I am honestly puzzled as to what Jesus actually sacrificed. If God sacrificed him, it wasn't a sacrifice at all, because he came back, right?

”Interesting. How could he 'force' people to believe?”

The same way he could “persuade” them to believe. Ezekiel, for one, is full of examples of the use of divine force; you haven't tried to deny those 'they shall know that I am the Lord' quotes. You'll have to tell me what books talk about the divine persuasion.

”Well, he sent prophets, His Son, and the apostles. You have access to all that they wrote, and you still don't think you've been approached? I don't think you are listening.”

Oh, I've been approached, but by his (often self-appointed) representatives, not by himself. As I've said, they never get it right. What else can explain that Roman Catholics, Methodists, Mormons, Southern Baptists, Episcopalians and Eastern Orthodox all claim the same God, yet all so bitterly disagree with each other?
I listened all right. One babble sounded like another—but never enough like another.

Have a good weekend.

Christinewjc said...

GM,

If you consider yourself only to have been approached by God's "self-appointed representatives, and not by Himself (God)," then you haven't been looking in the right place.

In the appendix of John MacArthur's book, The Truth War he sums it up nicely:

Quote:

All truth sets itself against error. Where Scripture speaks, it speaks with authority. It speaks definitvely. It speaks decisively. It calls for absolute conviction. It demands that we submit to God and resist the devil (James 4:7). It urges us to discern between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error (1 John 4:6). It commands us to turn away from evil and do good (1 Peter 3:11). It bids us reject the broad way that seems right to the human mind (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25) and follow the narrow way prescribed by God (Matthew 7:13-14). It tells us that our ways are not God's ways nor our thoughts His thoughts (Isaiah 55:8). It orders us to protect the truth and reject lies (Romans 1:25). It declares that no lie is of the truth (1 John 2:21). It guarantees that the righteous shall be blessed and the wicked perish (Psalm 1:1, 6). And it reminds us that "friendship with the world is enmity with God. Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God" (James 4:4).

Discernment demands that where Scripture speaks with clarity, a hard line must be drawn. Christ is against human philosophy, against empty deception, against human tradition, and against the elementary principles of this world (Colossians 2:8). Those things cannot be integrated with true Christian belief; they must be repudiated and steadfastly resisted.


[Christine: The above helps to explain why you are experiencing the clashes between the denominations you had mentioned.]

Scripture demands that we make a definitive choice: "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him" (1 Kings 18:21). "Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve...But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:15).

The modern canonization of compromise represents a detour down a dead-end alley. Both Scripture and church history reveal the danger of compromising biblical truth. Those whom God uses are invariably men and women who swim against the tide. They hold strong convictions with great courage and refuse to compromise in the face of incredible opposition.


The plumb line is Scripture. If any person does not hold to the truth of what is written in the Scriptures, then he/she is a false prophet. That is how people can discern truth from error; false teachers from truth teachers. Authentic Christianity has always recognized that truth is unchanging.

Gary Baker said...

"I am honestly puzzled as to what Jesus actually sacrificed."

Consider context and perspective. Try placing yourself in God's position for a frame of reference: You gave your creation a perfect world. You set just one rule for them - Don't eat this fruit. Really nothing at all, since there was lots of other things to eat. One rule, and they couldn't do it. And that rejection separated you.

Now, to repair that rift and bring them back to you, he sends the part of Himself that contains his love and compassion for humanity and says "One choice condemned you, but I will do what it takes for one choice to save you." But for God to make that work, he sets aside about 99+% of what he deserves. A lot of people concentrate on the death on the cross, the suffering involved, and that was a horrible thing to endure. What most forget is that the sacrifice also included the 33 years that came before. Giving up his right to rule to be subject to humanity. Moved to avoid assassination, subject to the same cruelties that children endure from each other, brought up in a land where his countrymen were routinely abused and murdered by an occupying force. All this done by the king of the universe.

If this sounds trivial to you, tell me: What is the greatest sacrifice that you have made for someone else? What did it cost you that you will never recover? How long did it last? And then try to convince me that it was anything compared to what Christ endured, even knowing that he would be resurrected.

Gary Baker said...

"they shall know that I am the Lord'"

Now, I'm the one that is confused by your usage. From my reading, all God is saying that they will look at all that is apparent and what has happened and recognize the truth. That isn't forcing people to believe. To this day, people see the evidence and deny the truth. It's their choice. Now if you are saying that God uses force to make his point as he decides, you are completely correct. Decisions have consequences. I don't like what Obama is doing to the country as president, but I don't choose to believe that he has no authority over me. If I did, that could cause great trouble for me and my family, but I could still choose to do it.

You seem to be engaging in liberal double-think here, trying to put God in a no win situation. When he steps back and leaves the decision to you whether or not to believe, you claim there is no evidence. When you look at the history where he made himself clear you say he gave people no choice as to whether or not to believe. It sounds as though there is nothing that he could really do to satisfy you, and if that's the case then why should he make a special effort?

"As I've said, they never get it right."

Then go to the source. People aren't perfect, so go to the one who is. Genuinely look, expecting to find. It's right there in front of you.