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Consider this

Friday, January 27, 2006

What is greater in number than the population of Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Maine, Idaho, Nebraska, West Virginia, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Kansas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Iowa, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington, D.C. - COMBINED?

I am sure there are a number of things that could answer that question, but the answer I am looking reveals a scandal that has infested our nation for the last 33 years. The answer I am looking for is, of course, the number of abortions in the United States since the Supreme Court handed down their decision in the case of Roe v. Wade, 33 years ago on January 22, 1973. That number is 46 million (that is also 10 million more than the population of California, as well.)

Last Sunday, I preached on the need to expose sin and used abortion as an illustration. I was trying to edit the sermon for turning it into a post, but after trying to edit a couple of times, I still end up with seven pages and that is just too big to post.

So, having said that, I would encourage you to take a look at Abort73.com. It is the best site on abortion that I have ever seen.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

The Book of Daniel - Cancelled!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Does "Speaking Up" Make a Difference? Apparently So.

It is easy some times to wonder if speaking up about an issue is worth it. Sometimes you wonder if by talking about a controversial issue, the controversy itself helps the thing that is controversial. It is encouraging to learn that the voices of the people have made a difference in the case of NBC's The Book of Daniel.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an article about a new TV show on NBC called The Book of Daniel. The title of my article was called NBC's Newest Venture into Blasphemy and it explained some of the issues regarding this show.

Thankfully, there were many others who felt the same way and called and wrote their local NBC affiliates and the advertisers and NBC has cancelled the show.

I don't have a lot to say about it right now and I working on a bigger post, but I heard this today (HT: Jason Steffens - a poster at SharperIron). The article that Jason links to a World Net Daily really gives a lot more details on the story, the controversy and the decision to cancel it. It is called NBC Pulls the Plug on the Book of Daniel and is worth a look if you want more information.

An Interview with Pastor John Ashbrook

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Andy Rupert over at Isle Kerguelen has posted some notes from an interview with Pastor John Ashbrook. Pastor Ashbrook is one of the men who I greatly respect in Fundamentalism and a man whose books, Axioms of Separation and The New Neutralism II ought to be read by Fundamentalists. They can be found at Here I Stand books.

File under Fundamentalism_, Friends_, Blogging_

The Christian's Relationship to the World

Saturday, January 14, 2006

In the high priestly prayer of Jesus Christ in John 17, the Lord Jesus Christ prays for His disciples as well as for those of us "which shall believe on me through their word." To consider the very fact that while Jesus Christ was on earth He was praying for me is encouraging, but, of course, we understand that even now He "ever liveth to make intercession" and this high priestly prayer just serves as a precurser of His continuing role of intercessor. I may want to explore this concept further on another post, but, for now, I want to consider a different aspect of this prayer of Christ.

As Christ is praying to His Father, he uses the term "world" 19 different times in 14 verses during this chapter. It is obvious that as Christ was preparing to finish His earthly course, He was concerned about the relationship between His disciples and the world.

Some of the important aspects of that concern is shown in His discussion of the position of the disciples regarding the world ("in the world") as well as the influence of the world on the lives of the disciples (not "of the world").

In verses 15 and 18, Christ speaks about the fact that the disciples are "in the world." In verse 15, Jesus specifically says that He prays "not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil" indicating that it is Christ's desire and intention for us that we remain "in" the world.

Unfortunately, one of the things that seems to be happening more and more frequently in American Christendom is that Christians are becoming increasingly isolated from the people in the world around them. Many Christians (as other Americans) do not know our neighbors. Our children do not know and play with any children from the neighborhood. We are sequestered in comfortable homes and are involved in "Christian" sports leagues, "Christian" schools, "Christian" schools, and even "Christian" diet groups. Many of us do not have a clue about how to even relate to unsaved individuals. I know of one Youth Pastor who actually would go through and teach his (predominately Christian school and home schooled) teens about how to talk with unchurched teenagers.

Now, I am not against Christian schools or home schools. I am not even against church softball leagues. What I am concerned about is that believers need to be careful not to seclude ourselves into some type of monk-like existence in a world of isolation all alone, but rather that we are indeed "in the world." I believe this must be INTENTIONAL. We are "in the world" for a purpose.

Notice John 17:18

John 17:18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.


Jesus indicates here that not only are we in the world by default (i.e. we are not dead), but that we are also in the world because Christ has "sent" us into the world. In other words, we are to be "in the world" on purpose. If that is the case, then I think it behooves us to consider ways that we can interact with the world around us in an purposeful manner. (Perhaps in a future post -or in the comments section - we can interact about ways to do that in an uncompromising fashion.)

It is interesting and sad, however, that not only has much of modern American Christianity somehow missed the concept of being "in the world" but we have also gotten the concept of not being "of the world" wrong as well.

Christ did not only indicate that Christians are to "in the world", He also clearly indicated that Christians are not to be "of the world." I believe that (at least in part) this is signifying the fact that believers are not be the products of the world and full of the world's influence in our lives.

Yet, again, as we look around us, it seems that we have missed the boat on this as well. When you consider the results of numerous polls such as the ones put out by George Barna, you find that repeatedly Christians are just like the world around us in regards to what we allow into our lives. Christians watch the same type of shows (and movies). Christians have developed the same relativistic attitudes and thinking processes. Christian children often watch the same cartoons and shows. Christian teens often listen to the same music. Christian adults are consumed with the same "self-help" agenda or latest psycho-bable as expounded on Oprah or Dr. Phil. Instead of intentionally influencing our world around us for Christ, we are being subtly and consistently influenced by our world to think and act contrary to what Christ intended.

Be "in the world" not "of the world" - it seems so simple, yet it seems like far too often modern Christianity (myself included) has found itself "of the world" yet not "in the world."

Just my thoughts,

Frank

NBC's Newest Venture into Blasphemy

Friday, January 06, 2006

It is not that unusual to find the entertainment industry denigrating Christ and Christianity and promoting a value system that is diametrically opposed to Biblical values. As Christians, this should not surprise us. The Bible clearly indicates that the world system and those who follow it will be against Christ and Christians.

James reminds us that being a friend of the world (as in the concept of the world-system) is to be an enemy of God

James 4:4 - Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Jesus told us that the world hated him and that likewise the world will hate us.
John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.


The most recent attack of which I am aware is a new show that is debuting on NBC TV tonight called "The Book of Daniel." All one has to do is to see the commercials promoting this show to know that this show is designed to ridicule Christ and is taking the entertainment's long standing war against Christ even further than before.

In this show, the main character is an Episcopal minister with a prescription drug problem who has dysfunction surrounding him in the form of a pot-smoking daughter, a fornicating son, a adulterous father (also a minister), and a lesbian church secretary. So far, it seems about normal for your typical Hollywood portrayal of a minister and his family.

The writer, Jack Kenny - an open homosexual, apparently did not think that was enough, so he adds in a generous dose of a "Jesus" character (white robe, long hair and all) who speaks to the minister and repeatedly gives him unBiblical and unChristian advice. An example of that advice has the character of "Jesus" telling the minister "He's a kid; let him be a kid" when dealing with the 16-year old son's fornication.

Belief net comments on more of Kenny's religious beliefs.
Kenny "is, as he puts it, ‘in Catholic recovery,' is interested in Buddhist teachings about reincarnation, and isn't sure exactly how he defines God and/or Jesus.
"I'm a spiritual person," he says. "I don't know specifically what's going on up there. I think there must be something going on, whether it's an energy we're all connected to or an old white man with a beard and a robe.

The full story can be found here.


As a society, we have moved past the point of things like this being "shocking." In a sense, we have come to expect it. As Christians, we understand that the hatred and mis-portrayal of Christ by the world stems from a rejection of His person and a rejection of His salvation. I wonder, however, if we are failing to be salt and light when we don't take our objection to such a blasphemous show to the powers that be in charge of our local affiliates.

According to this story and this story, it appears that just such a response worked in Terre Haute, Indiana, as the local affiliate there has decided against broadcasting and promoting this blasphemy.

On a tangential note, can you imagine the outcry if NBC had decided to do the same type of show centering on a Muslim Imam with Mohamad showing up and giving advice contrary to the Koran?

Information about this show can can be found at CitizenLink and BeliefNet. Even Tom Shales of the Washington Post has some things to say about this latest venture of "entertainment."

Just my thoughts,

Frank

File under Culture_War

Additional Trial Suggestions

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I plan on getting off of my politics/court system kick for awhile after this post, although I will admit that I had hoped to get some feedback from the last post (I want to make sure that I am not just out in left field.)

Below are some additional things that I think should be considered regarding trials.

1. Focus the trial on the person's innocence or guilt, not on the horrible nature of the crime or the family's loss.

One of the things that has always bugged me about trials is when the prosecution drags out the family and has the family talk about how horrible it is that their loved one is now dead - during the trial stage. If I were the defendant in such a case, I would want to shout, I'M SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS, BUT I DID NOT DO IT. Of course, to do so might be perceived as "protesting too much" and could hurt your case.

Now, after the jury has agreed that a person is guilty, then bring out all the family you want and remind the jury of the effect of the persons crime so that they come back with a serious enough punishment to fit the crime.

In much the same way, the descriptions about how brutally someone was murdered ought to be the focus of the sentancing stage rather than the trial stage. Now, obviously, explanations about how the angle of the knife would shows the person who committed the murder used their left hand and was 6'3" tall are gruesome in and of themselves, but they are necessary to the case, since they go to the point of the trial - is the defendant guilty.

2. Work on the rules regarding Jury pools.

The idea of a jury trial was that the jury was supposed to be made up of the peers of the one accused. In the early system (from what I have read), this would have included people who knew people involved and could make judgements about whether the people involved were telling the truth.

It seems like the current system tries to find uneducated people who are not connected to the real world and current events, rather than merely making sure that a person is not too strongly biased in favor of one side or the other before hearing the arguments of the case. (Maybe this last point is a little bitterness coming out, since the only time I was summoned to Jury Duty was when I lived in Greenville and on staff at BJU and I was always refused by the defense attorneys without having a chance to actually sit in on a trial.)

Anyway, I think I am done rambling on this for awhile. I would love to get feedback on any of these things. Especially if I am coming across as a kook because of things I have not considered!

Just my thoughts (for now),

Frank

The Rights of Victims and the Accused

Monday, January 02, 2006

I know this took me longer to complete than I indicated on the Trial Redundancy post. Sorry.

There is much that is said regarding victim's rights and I am an advocate of victim's rights. Of course, that is probably not saying much, as most people would claim to be in favor of victim's rights.

For instance, I believe that a victim of a crime ought to be properly cared for and compensated for their loss. I believe that a victim (or the family of a victim in the event of a murder) should be given opportunity to make input into the sentencing of the criminal. I believe that a victim's identity (for example, a rape victim) should be protected from release by the media.

There is one thing, however, that I have thought about for awhile now. I am not sure of the feasibility of this idea, but I want to throw it out and see what is wrong with my thinking in this area.

What about the rights of the accused?

Now, please be clear about this - I believe that people convicted of a crime ought to be punished. In fact, I believe that this punishment needs to often be more severe than what is currently handed down and should definitely be swifter than it is usually accomplished.

My concern, however, is about what happens to the accused before there is ever a trial.

In our current situation, when a person is accused of a crime (especially a sensational or serious crime) this information automatically gets released to the media and the trial often occurs in the media (and by the public at large) long before an actual trial occurs.

I believe that this is wrong.

One of the principles of our society is supposed to be that a person is innocent until proven guilty. As a result of our current system, however, the accused person is publicly humiliated and has a ruined reputation whether the facts actually end up showing the person guilty or not.

Certain cases of "celebrities" illustrate this point. For instance, the case of L.A. Lakers Basketball star Kobe Bryant a couple of years ago. Now, I don't know very much about Kobe Bryant personally and obviously he admitted to adultery in this situation (something that the Bible indicates is as a very serious and heinous sin in and of itself), but for a year or so there was much said in the media regarding the fact that he had been accused of raping a woman in Colorado. Eventually (if I understand things correctly), the charges in this case got dropped.

Now, I am not arguing for Kobe Bryant's innocence or guilt in the above mentioned case. What I am arguing is that I (and you, dear reader) should not even know there was a case until after Mr. Bryant was convicted of the crime. (In this case, of course, we would therefore not known about it at all since there was no conviction.) While someone like Kobe Bryant is famous and has the money and people to be able to get out his side of the story and "repair his image", many normal people who are accused of things do not have that ability.

Now, let's take this to the real world for a minute. Brian McCrorie over at Sharper Iron has asked for prayer concerning people who are close to him who have apparently been accused of something regarding their children. Since he has chosen not to reveal details, I will not speculate on them here, but this is clearly an example of my concern. This family's name has now been dragged through the media and connected to the accusations that are made against them, yet without there being any kind of trial as of yet. I don't know Brian peronally, but I expect that his belief in the innocence of these people is probably accurate. If so, this family is being torn apart, humiliated, and their ministry (at least in their current location) is effectively ended over nothing. Even if the people accused do end up being proven guilty and convicted of something, is there really a reason why this needs to be made public until that is known for sure?

I remember a story of a situation in Michigan (some details are fuzzy over the years) in the mid 1980s when I was a teenager and newly saved. As I remember the story, a Youth Pastor in Michigan (who also taught at the church's Christian school) who was accused of some type of misconduct with two teenage girls at the Christian school. The media got hold of the story and the school, the church, the Youth Pastor, and the name of Christ were all given a black eye as the story unfolded in the press. Long after this had been a media story, one of the girls admitted that the two girls had made up the story to get back at the Youth Pastor for something he had done that they did not like and that there was no bases for the accusation. The second girl agreed with that the first girl was telling the truth when confronted with the other girls story. However, while the church and school managed to recover, the Youth Pastor was effectively out of the ministry because of the scandal associated with his name.

We have managed to fairly effectively keep the identification of the accusers (and by extension assumed victims) from being public knowledge through the adoption of things such as rape shield laws. My concern is that we should also try to keep the identification of the accused from being public knowledge by the adoption of similar laws.

Now, I recognize that there are probably some difficulties about this both in theory and in practice. I also recognize that it is probably a lot harder for a politician to push for the "Rights of the Accused" than it is to push for "Rights of Victims." But, I do believe this conversation needs to be taking place.

Just my thoughts,

Frank