The Obama Zone

Yesterday, ISIS captured more than 100 Christians in Syria. If they are treated as other captives, the women and young girls will be raped and brutalized, then executed. The men may be burned alive or crucified. Hatred drives these Islamists, and nothing will appease them. This is no different in spirit than the Nazis. Both movements were and are fueled by Hell.

Yet what do we hear from the administration about this latest report of Christians being massacred? Not a word yet. You see, we wouldn’t want to “inflame” the captors. It might lead them to continue their rampage of terror. At least, that’s the message Obama’s spokespersons are disseminating.

Our president, meanwhile, shows no signs of changing his mind about the foolish comments he made at the Prayer Breakfast:

Not Be Named

This past week, we did get a warning about a possible terrorist attack on the Mall of America in Minneapolis. Was it genuine, or just a ploy to force Republicans in the Senate to drop their opposition to Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty? I don’t know for sure, but I do know that malls like that would make perfect “soft” targets for the terrorists.

Did you see the sign at the Mall of America, boasting that it was a gun-free zone? Well, that’s great. Now we don’t have to worry about terrorists taking guns in there. After all, it’s against the law, right? And they are so law-abiding. The absolute foolishness of our politically correct contingent is neverending.

Malls

May I take one more opportunity to make fun of the “jobs for jihadists” theme?

Drive-Through Lanes

As a nation, we have entered the “Obama Zone,” where everything we’ve ever believed is now turned upside down.

Obamaland

And here’s another thing that is now reversed:

Dissent

A poignant Scripture from the book of Isaiah is one I’ve used many times to decry what we see happening in our country. I’m going to use it again today simply because it so accurately describes what we are experiencing:

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight!

Obama the Christian?

ObamessiahThe mainstream media is making a big deal out of forcing Republicans to say President Obama is a Christian. As if they care. Surveys over the years have been consistent: the mainstream journalists that attempt to direct the thinking of the nation are overwhelmingly secularist; 90% or so seldom attend church, and when they do, one might question the choice of that church. What gospel is it preaching?

No, they’re not really interested in Obama actually being a Christian. They just want some Republican candidate for president to say he isn’t. Then they will have a sound bite to use against that candidate forever, painting him as a narrowminded bigot.

Fortunately, I’m not running for an office and never will be. I will say what I think. Let’s look at the evidence. Jesus did say you would know who is and is not His disciple by the fruit of their lives. He also said not everyone who claims He is their Lord is really part of His kingdom. Words are extremely cheap.

So, here is a partial list that might help us determine whether Barack Obama is a Christian. Keep in mind this is a partial list only, but pretty representative.

  • His biological father was an anti-colonialist Muslim. Obama, even though he never really knew him well, idolized him.
  • His mother was a radical leftist who wanted nothing to do with Christianity.
  • He was raised a Muslim, attending Muslim school in Indonesia. No child is responsible for where his parents school him, but it is more than obvious by his actions that he has a special place in his mind and heart for Islam.
  • He was sent to live with his maternal grandparents in Hawaii who were also radical leftists; his grandfather deliberately put Obama under the tutelage of a communist agitator, Frank Marshall Davis.
  • In both high school and at the various universities where he was educated, he involved himself in radical activities and was known to smoke marijuana, and who knows what else.
  • When he became a community organizer, he attached himself to a church because that would provide him an “in” with the community.
  • The “church” he chose was one that preached a “gospel” of Black Liberation Theology, which pictures Jesus as more of a revolutionary to bring heaven to earth rather than as the Savior of orthodox Christian belief.
  • In an interview with a Chicago newspaper when he was an Illinois state senator, he said he didn’t know if there was a real heaven or hell.
  • In that same interview, he clearly stated that Christianity wasn’t the exclusive way to God.
  • He is a radical as well on the issue of abortion, seeking to extend this “right” to every woman at all times. He has praised Planned Parenthood for its efforts to make abortion available to all.
  • As an Illinois senator, he even fought against a bill that would provide medical care to any baby “accidentally” born alive during an abortion. In effect, he favors infanticide.
  • We now know he lied about his support for the traditional Christian concept of marriage; he has favored same-sex marriage all along but hid his views for the sake of election and reelection.
  • His administration supports actions against Christians who hold to their belief that homosexuality is a sin. The Justice Dept. has repeatedly sought to take away tax-exempt status from Christian organizations that don’t go along with Obamacare mandates that violate their Christian faith.
  • He has stepped up the rhetoric against Christians lately, as he seeks to portray them as violent extremists as opposed to the actual Muslim violent extremists.
  • He won’t even condemn acts of Islamic terror by name when directed against Christians, pointedly refusing to even identify the victims as Christians.

Christians Do Stuff

I have no problem saying publicly that Barack Obama is not a Christian. In fact, he’s becoming more vocal about his true beliefs now that he won’t be running for president again.

I understand why Republican candidates have to be careful in what they say; the Obama media will scorch them if they come out too strongly with their real views. The wisest path is to redirect those questions back to the journalists. Why do they never confront Democrat candidates with the same type of “gotcha” questions? Republicans also need to focus on the positive agenda they would bring if elected.

But I’m just an academic and a blogger. I will say what I think—at least until the government stifles free speech on the Internet. I will stand firm for my Christian faith and all that implies in public discourse and public policy. If we stand together on this, we can still turn this around and make a difference. The nation doesn’t have to continue its descent into oblivion.

The First Great Awakening

Throughout American history the nation has experienced renewals of Christian faith. The first time this happened, in the 1730s and 1740s, was not a time of outward spiritual decline; in fact, studies have shown that approximately 70-75% of American colonists attended church regularly. Yet a renewal was necessary.

Historians have decided to call this event the First Great Awakening. Nowadays, we’ve become used to calling such episodes “revivals.” That word, though, has been terribly overworked and is losing meaning. “Awakening,” however, is a term I like better. It implies that people have been asleep spiritually, perhaps living in a dream and thinking it’s reality. Then they come to their senses and realize they have been living a fantasy. Their eyes are opened to the spiritual truths once again.

What had happened is that people began to think that doing all the external things: going to church, being baptized, taking communion, etc., was all that was necessary. They were focused on the outward manifestations of the Christian faith but they were missing the inward change of heart that was essential for real salvation.

William TennantThe Presbyterian father-son team of William and Gilbert Tennant took this to heart themselves and sought to send out more preachers who would emphasize the necessity of repentance and holy living. There was a problem, though. In order to become a minister with all the “right” credentials, one had to get a degree from a college with a ministerial training program. At this time in America, only three such colleges existed: Harvard, Yale, and William and Mary.

Harvard already was under suspicion for drifting away from the orthodox faith and beginning the transition to a Unitarian institution. William and Mary was for Anglicans and wasn’t known for its evangelical fervor. Yale was more suited to the task, but not everyone could afford to go to Yale, or might not be prepared intellectually for its rigor.

Log CollegeTo take up the slack, the Tennants set up what they called Log Colleges. The first was established by William Tennant, which lasted from 1726 until his death in 1746. In this primitive log house, comprised of only about 400 square feet, Tennant would give his students a crash course in Hebrew and Greek and intensive Bible study. Eventually, graduates of this “college” and those modeled after it, would fill the pulpits of the Presbyterian churches in the Middle Colonies and in the South.

This effort laid the groundwork for other men to follow in the Tennants’ footsteps. In future posts, I’ll look at Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield, who became advocates of this new approach to evangelism and Christian discipleship.

Log College Marker

Our Executioner Awaits

As I continued to follow the news yesterday of the search for the Islamic terrorists in France, I wish I could say I was stunned by revelations of Western cluelessness. Unfortunately, I was not.

Imitating President Obama, we now have a multitude of voices saying that Islamic terrorists are not really Islamic. And a chorus is arising—the same chorus we’ve heard on and off since 9/11—fearful that Americans will now persecute peace-loving Muslims in our midst.

That “boy-cried-wolf” scenario, if it had any validity at all, would have occurred in those days following 9/11, but it never has.

Our mainstream media, fearful of being attacked themselves, pull back from associating this latest atrocity with Islam. They still think there can be peaceful co-existence, if only we play nice.

Whittaker ChambersListening to all this vacuous thinking reminded me of a quote from Whittaker Chambers in his book Witness. Reflecting on his world in 1925—a world unaware of the Communist threat it faced—he penned these words that could equally apply today in our time of peril:

The dying world of 1925 was without faith, hope, character, understanding of its malady or will to overcome it. It was dying but it laughed. And this laughter was not the defiance of a vigor that refuses to know when it is whipped. It was the loss, by the mind of a whole civilization, of the power to distinguish between reality and unreality, because, ultimately, though I did not know it, it had lost the power to distinguish between good and evil.… The dying world had no answer at all to the crisis of the 20th century, and, when it was mentioned, and every moral voice in the Western world was shrilling crisis, it cocked an ear of complacent deafness and smiled a smile of blank senility—throughout history, the smile of those for whom the executioner waits.

Scary words to me. Scary because they ring so true in the 21st century also. What has happened to Western culture? It has lost its Christian underpinnings. Keen analysis is rare due to our rejection of truth. We are dying, but we laugh. We have lost the power to distinguish reality from unreality because we have lost clear concepts of good and evil that come from the Biblical worldview.

Our elites, whether in government, the media, or academia, have no answers. We are in a crisis that they refuse to acknowledge. The few—the Christian few, and others who retain the Christian framework in their thinking—point to the crisis, but complacent deafness and the smile of blank senility is the only response. Our executioner awaits, if we don’t return to our roots.

A political cartoon yesterday sums up our plight:

None So Blind

Happy New Year? Will Government Help or Hurt?

The last two days I’ve looked at the role of Christians and the moral/cultural climate as we peer into 2015. I’ve said that the key to this being a happier year is whether real Christians take their task as salt and light seriously. Then I dissected the trend of the culture morally, showing the immense job we have ahead of us.

Today, let’s consider government’s role, and what it does, either to help reverse current trends or push us further along a wrong path.

Good & EvilUnlike some conservatives/libertarians, I don’t think that government is a necessary evil. Rather, it is established by God to bring order to society. According to Romans 13, it is to be a servant of God to protect those who do good and punish those who do wrong.

I can see why many chafe under civil government when it does the opposite of what it is intended by God to accomplish. I feel the same way. When I survey what our government has done in the past (and being a historian, I’ve done a lot of surveying), I can point to many times when it has deviated from God’s directive. Yet, in America, regardless of the failures, we’ve done better than almost any other nation on the globe, both currently and in the past.

Obama Arrogant LookI regard the ascension of Barack Obama into the presidency as a watershed in American history. His vision to fundamentally transform the country was not just rhetoric. He is the first president who, in the deepest part of his being, doesn’t really like and appreciate the nation he is presiding over. He doesn’t like its history, the way the government was set up in the Constitution, nor the free-market approach to prosperity.

In short, he is the antithesis of everything America was designed to be.

His election was supposed to heal the racial divide, but his words and actions have only widened that divide. He has put the federal government in charge of as much as possible, from student loans to the healthcare system. His outright support for homosexuality and same-sex marriage has encouraged our retreat from Biblical morality, and he is the first president ever to address Planned Parenthood—the foremost provider of abortions—and ask God’s blessing on their efforts.

Obama’s background is a deadly mix of anti-colonial resentment, Marxist ideology, and black liberation theology. All three fuel his drive to remake America in his own image.

During his tenure, we have seen one scandal after another—the IRS, the NSA, the VA, Benghazi, etc. In each case, he has swept the dirt under the rug, and the media has obliged by ignoring the potentially devastating nature of the infractions and the blithe dismissal of solutions.

Stymied by Congress, he has now decided to operate as a lone wolf—first by executive orders for which he has no authority; lately, by mere executive memos that even fall short of an official order. His word is all that is necessary to make law.

This is, in summary, the beginnings of a tyranny.

The Obama vision was rejected soundly in the 2014 congressional and state elections. As I’ve noted in previous posts, Republicans now control 70 of the 99 state legislative bodies and both houses of the Congress. Based on that, one might expect a genuine attempt at reversal. But will we see it?

Boehner-McConnellAlready, many suspect that Republican leaders, spurred on by the Chamber of Commerce, are in league with the president on the immigration amnesty. Will they do anything at all to counteract it? The next two months will reveal the truth.

Are Republicans truly committed to repealing Obamacare, step by step? Yes, they still have the hurdle of a presidential veto of anything they pass, but will they take a principled stand, at least? Again, we’ll see.

The Supreme Court may do their job for them on that issue: a case is going to be decided that could kill Obamacare for good. There is hope.

There are two opposite things that Christians must never do: we cannot believe that the government is our savior; neither can we withdraw from the political scene and just let things play out. We must have a realistic view of what government can and cannot accomplish, but then we have an obligation to actively work for the good it can accomplish.

Christians & PoliticsIt still comes back to what I said two days ago: the key for a happier New Year lies with those who are devoted followers of Jesus Christ. They are the only ones with the ultimate Truth to share, and they should be the ones who have the wisdom to apply that Truth properly to society.

Will we be wise? I wish I could be more certain of that, but that goal remains at the top of my prayers.

Happy New Year? The Moral/Cultural Divide

In yesterday’s post I focused on the role of the real church—those truly committed to being disciples of Jesus Christ—as the key to a happier 2015. If genuine Christians become the salt and light that Christ said they should be, they can diffuse His truth throughout our society more effectively.

Today, I want to concentrate on what is actually happening in our society. Where are we morally and culturally? The two are connected, of course, and they both are the result of the status of our spiritual well-being.

I want to be balanced. I want to be able to point to improvements in the moral and cultural trends. Unfortunately, they are few.

Unborn ChildAbortion may be trending our way, but the battle is a long way from over. We have made progress in educating the general public about the horror of taking the lives of innocent babies, helped along by the excesses of some abortionists like Kermit Gosnell.

Public opinion polls—for whatever they’re worth—now show a higher percentage of Americans opposed to abortion on demand, and the late-term abortions such as were done by Gosnell have sickened most people.

So let’s rejoice at least a little bit over this trend, but not get carried away. The human death toll of more than 56 million since Roe v. Wade is a blight on our culture and our concept of morality.

France Gay Marriage FairThe year 2014 was the year of “coming out” for the homosexual revolution. For the first time in our history, a sitting president declared homosexual marriage to be good and wholesome.

Christians who don’t acknowledge the lifestyle as an acceptable alternative, because they hold to the Biblical teaching that homosexuality is sinful, are facing increasing pressure to conform. That pressure could soon turn to outright prosecution and/or persecution.

Race divides us more now than anytime since the 1960s, despite [or should I say with the encouragement of] a black president and attorney general. The furor in Ferguson, Missouri, led to an outburst of pure emotion, setting aside the facts of the Michael Brown shooting. Charges of racism have become so pervasive that anyone simply stating the facts of what occurred there will be accused of being a racist.

Ferguson RiotsPointing out that Brown robbed a store before the incident does not make one a racist. Stating the overwhelming forensic evidence and preponderance of eyewitness testimony that showed Brown attacked the police officer and tried to take his gun does not make one a racist. However, seeing everything through a prism of racism might make one at least “racialist.”

Demagoguery by accomplished demagogues like Al Sharpton, leading chants of “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want them? Now!” only leads to more violence. Two New York City officers just sitting in their car are executed by a man hyped up with this view.

We’re in trouble.

At the root of it all, culturally, is our education system. Ruled by a liberal, progressive, anti-Christian elite, it seeks to undermine all traditional views of morality and culture, along with the faith that undergirds them. American history is ignored or reinterpreted according to the progressive vision, while every modern trend—be it radical feminism, environmentalism, wealth inequality, or whatever—becomes the centerpiece of what we now call “education.”

Stop Fed EdIn fact, it’s nothing more than indoctrination in the guise of teaching children “how” to think, not “what” to think. Regardless of the rhetoric, they are being taught what to think, and it’s destroying us.

Whenever we try to reform education, we instead set up a nationwide system like Common Core that, while sounding good, only hastens our downfall.

Real education reform would expand the opportunities for private educational choices and, step by step, reduce the near-monopoly of the government’s control over what we ought to learn and who is allowed to teach.

Clearly, we are a nation adrift from our spiritual base, and it is reflected in what we deem to be moral nowadays. Our culture retains only a thin veneer of Biblical memories. We are poised to become more divided than ever.

I wish I could offer a more positive perspective today, but I have to be honest. This is what I see.

Our federal government is not the source of all our woes; they come from our abandonment of Christian truth. The government, though, does play an essential role in promoting that abandonment. That will be my subject tomorrow.

Happy New Year? Real Christians Are the Key

Everyone always says “Happy New Year!” Is that what we really expect, or do we look ahead with more anxiety than anticipation? Is there much to be happy about in our world?

JeremiahIn this blog, I’ve tried hard to stay upbeat even while pointing out the follies, misfortunes, and outright sins in our society. I’ve never desired to be a Jeremiah. Maybe that’s because I don’t like suffering. No one wanted to hear his words; at one point, he was thrown in a well to die. I’m not fond of wells and other pits. Not everyone gets rescued as he did.

It’s a delicate balance to maintain, pointing out the problems while remaining upbeat. There are too many who spend all their time denouncing everything. They become boring after a while. Yet there is a lot to denounce. How can we do so in the right spirit?

When I look at the world and attempt to make sense of what’s happening, I look first to the church. How is its spiritual health? What impact is it having on day-to-day life? Is it being faithful to the Message delivered to the saints?

It’s always important to keep in mind that there are two “churches” out there: one that is visible and outward, and the other that is within the visible and outward manifestation. The true church is comprised of genuine believers who may worship in many types of outward church buildings and/or denominations.

Do I have to say this? I will anyway. The true church is only a minority within the number of those who show up for a worship service on any given Sunday. The old cliché never goes out of date: going to church doesn’t make anyone a Christian any more than entering a garage makes one a car.

What the world calls “the church” is slipping away from its Biblical moorings. It has watered down Biblical authority and allowed the tenor of the times to dictate what it believes to be true. Some have even gone the entire way and have claimed that truth itself is elusive, rather relative, and unattainable.

We can never look to that external church for real leadership; we must look instead to those who labor within it who have remained faithful to the Gospel—individual salvation only through Christ and societal reform only via the salvation message.

On balance, we have both good and bad occurring simultaneously within what is normally seen as Christendom. That’s to be expected. Jesus made it clear there would be tares [weeds] growing alongside the wheat. He also said it would remain that way throughout time, until God the Father decides that our time is up.

In former decades, America saw itself as a Christian nation, at least in the sense that we honored Christian faith publicly. Those days are nearly gone. Yet, although that may cause us grief, there is an up side to it. The lines are more clearly drawn now; we cannot just rely on a civic religion that gives lip service to Christianity. We are now forced to make a choice—what do we really believe?

Atheists have lately become more emboldened. They are using the courts and putting pressure on the society to toss religious beliefs aside. The society has accepted behaviors that we never thought would become normalized.

What will the genuine church do in response to these challenges in 2015? Will that church stand tall and strong? Will it hold to Biblical truth in spite of the pressures to conform to new societal standards? Will it speak the truth in love and accept whatever persecution may come from that stance?

Salt & LightI keep coming back to this point regularly in my blog: Jesus called us to be salt and light. Salt preserves. There is much in our society that has been based on Biblical truth; it needs to be preserved. We have a responsibility to try to maintain our Biblical roots. Light shows others the way, the proper path to follow. They need this light because they are walking in darkness. If we don’t shine the light, they will remain in their sins.

Love God above all else and love our neighbors as ourselves. Those are the two greatest commandments. But we don’t love either God or our neighbors if we don’t tell the truth about sin, judgment, and how to restore a right relationship with the One who gave us life in the first place.

Will it be a happy new year? Or at least happier? The church of devoted followers of Jesus Christ is the key; we are His hands, feet, and mouth. Will we be faithful this year?