So why should we radically reallocate the global resources of all the developed nations on the planet in such a way that would crater the world economy and head us all back in the direction of pre-industrial standards of living at the very moment when the science that supports anthropogenic global warming is melting faster than Nixon’s Watergate alibis in the August 1974 noonday sun? The answer, according Australian parliamentarian Malcolm Turnbull, is: “Just in case!” Continue reading …
What is it about Christmas that draws us every year to celebrations of this holiday? What is so special about Christmas?
Christmas is a special time because of the happiness it brings. It’s a time of giving and receiving, a family time, a time when we feel especially close to friends and loved ones. It is a time of happy reminiscing; remembering the carefree happy days of our childhood. We hear an old favorite carol, we catch the scent of balsam, we see the bright lights; and then, if we’re lucky, we get that blanket of white, and we are transported back to lighter days. Yes, Christmas is a happy time.
Yet, if we were to talk to counselors, we would find the picture is not all rosy at Christmas. Suicide is up, and depression is rampant… Does this mean Christmas is not a very special time after all? No – the opposite is true. Aren’t people sad because they know it is a special time, and the holiday they are experiencing just doesn’t live up to the expectations of the day that they hold in their hearts? Some folks are grieving over a recent loss. Perhaps this is the first Christmas without mom, or dad, a beloved spouse, or a child. Christmas heartache is the worst heartache of all. The bright gaiety of the season might even seem to mock their pain.
Some are sad because they are pining for the ideal childhood Christmases of hazy memory. What current Christmas could compare with the Christmases of innocence? For some people, it may be the years when Continue reading …
Matthew, Mark and Luke recorded the words of Jesus when He said:
YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ (Matt. 22:37)
Mark adds “strength” (Mark 12:30) and Luke adds “strength:” and loving your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27). IN spite of this, the mind in the life of faith is an aspect of the faith that has largely been lost over the last 200 years or so within the church on the whole. In the seventeenth and early eighteenth century, the life of the mind was still held to be an important aspect of faith. Harvard University was established in 1636 for the purpose of training Christian ministers. Ten years later they adopted their “Rules and Precepts”:
2. Let every Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the maine end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottome, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and Learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisedome, Let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seeke it of him (Prov. 2:3).
3. Every one shall so exercise himselfe in reading the Scriptures twice a day, that he shall be ready to give such an account of his proficiency therein, both in Theoreticall observations of Language and Logick, and in practical and spiritual truths, as his Tutor shall require, according to his ability; seeing the entrance of the word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple (Psalm 119:130).
In 1701 a collegiate college was founded by several ministers in the New England colony of Connecticut “to the end that they might educate ministers in their own way.” It is said that the Mather family “also were among those in Boston who welcomed and labored for the establishment of a seminary of a stricter theology than Harvard” This Collegiate School of Connecticut was named Yale in 1718 after a wealthy benefactor by the name of Elihu Yale made a fairly substantial donation to the institution. Although arts and science were an important aspect of the instruction, they were to be viewed theocentrically (God centered) and grounded in sound theology:
The charter of 1701 stated that the end of the school was the instruction of youth in the arts and sciences, that they might be fitted for public employment, both in church and civil state. To the clergy, however, who controlled the College, theology was the basis, security and test of arts and sciences. In 1722 the rector, Timothy Cutler, was dismissed because of a leaning toward Episcopacy. Various special tests were employed to preserve the doctrinal purity of Calvinism among, the instructors; that of the students was carefully looked after. In 1753 a stringent test was fixed by the Corporation to ensure the orthodoxy of the teachers. This was abolished in 1778.
It is approximately here that a theocentric (God centered) and specifically a Christocentric (Christ centered) view of Scripture and life began to be replaced with an anthropocentric (man centered) view. By the time we get to the nineteenth century Continue reading …
This past week a couple of things again demonstrated the need to ask the question as to how the church got to where it is today. The first was the falderal over The Manhattan Declaration. The number of signers is increasing daly and is nearly at 200,000. FOX News is discussing it but as I pointed out in last week’s Crux E-Letter, this is little more than an updated version of the 1984 Evangelicals and Catholics Together: Toward a Common Mission and subsequent attempts, this being the latest incarnation with many of the same signers. William Webster wrote a fairly well done treatment on the previous attempts titled, “The ECT Accords: A Betrayal of the Gospel in the Name of Unity.” Some of the lay people who have contacted us to defend their signing have tried to suggest that this is not a religious statement but a declaration of conservatism and as such all who agree with its values can sign on. Focus on the Family’s email of November 25, 2009 addresses this head on as Jim Daly, President and CEO writes:
It is important, first off, to note that the The Manhattan Declaration is not a partisan or political statement–I shared the podium last Friday at the National Press Club with Republicans and Democrats alike. Instead, it addresses and elevates four specific areas of universal consensus. Some have referred to these as “threshold issues,” meaning they represent the foundation of our faith and the pivot point from which everything else flows. This is the bedrock. If we can’t agree on these areas of doctrine, everything else will be of reduced value. These four areas are:
The sanctity of human life.
The sanctity of marriage
The protection of religious liberty
The rejection of unjust laws
Notice, he is clear it “is not a partisan or political statement.” It is not political in nature. Instead Continue reading …