Saturday, January 30, 2010

Christian Libertarianism

Bojidar Marinov, who took part in the forming of the Libertarian movement in his native Bulgaria, explains why he could not be a libertarian without Christ:
    When a dear friend of mine shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with me, he knew nothing of my intellectual struggles. There was one thing that caught my attention that night when he talked to me about his faith: "You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free." And then Jesus adds: "And if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed."

    There was the solution to my problem! I was blind to search for an impersonal Truth, an inexorable, merciless entity that holds the universe in an iron grip. And I was blind to search for Freedom that was focused on myself so much that would make the rest of the world irrelevant -- and make me irrelevant in the process. Truth was possible to know only if it was itself a Person; and Freedom was possible to have only if it was itself a Person. That Person couldn't be a mere man -- or I would be in slavery. He must be a god, or rather, God, the Creator of the Universe. And if the Bible was true, then my problems had one reason: I was a stranger to God, and thus I was a stranger to Freedom, Ethics, and Justice. I had to come back to Him, through the redemption He provided in Jesus Christ. Only then I had...everything.

    If He was the Creator, He was the Truth. Knowing Him, I would know the Truth. He was Freedom too: He created my very nature and He knew what I should do to be in harmony with my real nature. And He was Justice for He gave me the rules for a just society that has liberty and justice for all. What all the philosophers wanted but couldn't find, He had it, and He was it.

    Therefore I couldn't be a libertarian without Christ. I tried, and it was impossible -- philosophically and ethically. It was self-contradictory, it was against the very nature of things, and it was believing in a set of assumptions that had no discernible connection with reality or with each other. Only in Christ I had them all brought together in a coherent whole. And only in Christ did it make sense to be willing to die for your freedom -- without Him death was the ultimate judge of things, and slavery was preferable to facing death. "Give me liberty or give me death" was folly in a world without Christ -- but now it is divine wisdom in Him.
Read the full article here.

Friday, January 29, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - January 29, 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - January 22, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Remembering Two Great Americans, Two Men of God

(Written Jan. 19, 2006)

You probably won't find anything special printed on your calendar for the 19th and 21st of January. In case you are wondering, those are the respective birthdays of Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.

As a nation we have already honored Martin Luther King, Jr. and will commemorate the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln next month, but Lee and Jackson are especially dear to my heart. They were great men who embodied the inspiring courage, uncompromising honesty, principled conviction, and moral fortitude we no longer see in our leaders today.

Both Lee and Jackson were men of action who fought valiantly to defend their homes and families. Jackson made it clear that if it were up to him, the South would "raise the black flag" and show no quarter to the enemy invading their homeland. They realized that while war was sometimes necessary, it should never be entered into lightly. As Lee put it, "It is good that war is so terrible, else we should grow too fond of it."

Lee and Jackson were Southern gents through and through. Consider Lee's Definition of a Gentleman:
    The forbearing use of power does not only form a touchstone, but the manner in which an individual enjoys certain advantages over others is a test of a true gentleman.

    The power which the strong have over the weak, the employer over the employed, the educated over the unlettered, the experienced over the confiding, even the clever over the silly -- the forbearing or inoffensive use of all this power or authority, or a total abstinence from it when the case admits it, will show the gentleman in a plain light.

    The gentleman does not needlessly and unnecessarily remind an offender of a wrong he may have committed against him. He cannot only forgive, he can forget; and he strives for that nobleness of self and mildness of character which impart sufficient strength to let the past be but the past.

    A true man of Honor feels humble himself when he cannot help humbling others.
Jackson's wife, Mary Anna, wrote of her husband that he "was a great advocate for marriage, appreciating the gentler sex so highly that whenever he met one of the 'unappropriated blessings' under the type of truest womanhood, he would wish that one of his bachelor friends could be fortunate to win her."

Both Lee and Jackson believed in principle over pragmatism. Lee once said, "I think it better to do right, even if we suffer in so doing, than to incur the reproach of our consciences and posterity." Jackson summed it up this way: "Duty is ours; consequences are God's."

Jackson never lived to see the fall of his beloved South, but Lee was gracious even in defeat. When approached by those who wished to remain bitter after surrendering he said, "Abandon your animosities and make your sons Americans." It was his position that "we must forgive our enemies. I can truly say that not a day has passed since the war began that I have not prayed for them."

Above all, Lee and Jackson were men of God. Lee loved to pray. He would be sure to let people know that he was praying for them, and he felt encouraged when he was remembered in their prayers. Once, upon hearing that others had been praying for him, he remarked, "I sincerely thank you for that, and I can only say that I am a poor sinner, trusting in Christ alone, and that I need all the prayers you can offer for me."

Jackson was the epitome of a life devoted to prayer. No matter was too insignificant that it did not warrant communion with the Father: "I have so fixed the habit in my mind that I never raise a glass of water to my lips without asking God's blessing, never seal a letter without putting a word of prayer under the seal, never take a letter from the post without a brief sending of my thoughts heavenward. I never change my classes in the lecture room without a minute's petition for the cadets who go out and for those who come in."

Jackson had an intimate knowledge of the sovereignty of God and rested in the promises of his Heavenly Father. Following the loss of his first wife, Ellie, who died almost immediately after giving birth to a stillborn son, he wrote to his sister-in-law, "I have been called to pass through the deep waters of affliction, but all has been satisfied. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord. ... I can willingly submit to anything if God strengthens me." It was this unshakable faith that taught him "to feel as safe in battle as in bed."

The more I see what passes for leadership today in our government, in our churches, and in our homes, the more I am convinced that we need men like Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. Jackson. I guess it's time for me to watch Gods and Generals again.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Our Orphanage in Haiti Makes National News

Maison des Enfants de Dieu, the creche where our kids Philippe and Patricia are staying, was just featured on FoxNews.com:



The good news is that some children who are in the process of being adopted are already being brought to the U.S. We pray that our kids will soon be among them.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Desperate Plea from Our Orphanage in Haiti

Regular readers of this blog (especially those who visit our family blog) are aware that my wife, Dawn, and I adopted Olivia from China and are currently in the process of adopting a brother and sister, Philippe and Patricia, from Haiti. You can imagine how closely we've been paying attention to the news coverage coming out of that devastated country.

We had heard that the kids were safe, but we just received this harrowing update from our orphanage:
    URGENT CALL FOR PRAYER

    We received word from Pierre this morning that the situation in the orphanage is becoming dire. We would like to ask EVERYONE that receives this to use this information to get on your knees before our Lord and ask Him to provide.

    We have one nanny that is deceased and the orphanage needs her body to be removed.
    The orphanage has no drinkable water.

    In addition they need:

    • formula for babies
    • medicines
    • IV fluids (one child is currently on an IV)
    • charcoal to cook
    • diesel
    • cash to buy supplies if they find them. They are running out of cash and there are no banks open to get cash, so it needs to be delivered by someone already on the ground or by helicopter.

    Others are beginning to rob them of what supplies they do have.

    There are helicopters flying over the orphanage and they have made a sign on the roof that says they are an orphanage and need help.

    The staff is also working to get together all the paperwork for each child that has an adoptive family in a way that it can be attached to their body if there is an opportunity to evacuate.

    For His Glory is doing everything we can on this end to contact people who may be able to help. Please pray. Currently, that is the best thing you can do to help. Kim is doing everything she can, and respectfully requests that adoptive families do not call her at this time. We realize this is a very difficult time, however she needs her phone and time available to do everything she can to make contacts to try to help the children and staff at the orphanage. We will give you any updates we have as soon as they are available.

    Trusting in Him,

    For His Glory
Please remember them, us, our kids, and other adoptive families in your prayers. If you'd like to donate, please visit FHG's web site here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

This Week in Calvinism - January 15, 2010

  • TULIPs and DAISYs and ROSES, oh my!

  • Dr. James White and Dr. Michael Brown will be debating Calvinism on January 26 and 27.

  • Calvinism or Arminianism? Brother Mark chooses "biblical universalism."

  • Randal Rauser thinks Calvinism undermines God's sovereignty, because "if God always acts to maximize his own glory and damning some maximizes his own glory, then God cannot save all because doing so would be to act against his own greatest glory." Sounds to me like a variation of the "Can God make a rock so big that he can't lift it?" argument. God, in maximizing his own glory, is simply remaining consistent with his nature. Would anyone dare to argue that it's possible for God to go against his own nature?

What Pat Robertson Should Have Said

Rather than blather on about the earthquake in Haiti having something to do with a 200-year-old pact with the devil, ol' Pat should have just quoted Luke 13:1-5:
    There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."
What happened in Haiti should be a wake-up call for the entire world.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti, the Devil, and Pat Robertson



Contrary to what you may initially think, Pat Robertson isn't making this up. The story of Haitian revolutionary leaders making a pact with Satan has been around for a long time. Missionaries believe it. Even native Haitians believe it. It's accepted as historical fact in many Christian circles.

Jean R. Gelin, Ph.D., born and raised in Haiti and now serving as assistant pastor at a church in the U.S., covers the legend of the pact in an article entitled "God, Satan, and the Birth of Haiti" (part 1, part 2, part 3). In short, he hasn't found any evidence to support it.

He does, however, offer a reasonable explanation for Haiti's extreme poverty:
    Haiti's emergence as a free nation in the New World was similar to the birth of an unwanted child. After winning its liberty through the literal destruction of the entire colonial structure, the new country was simply not welcome in the community of nations. ... Haiti was forced to pay a large compensation to France before its independence could finally be accepted. Many historians believe that this huge financial burden, in the order of several millions and lasting one century, plays a critical role in the country's slow but steady descent into poverty.

    Along with France, the United States and even the Vatican initially refused to recognize the new nation. For reasons known only to them, the leaders of the Catholic Church in Europe, who were very much involved in Saint-Domingue, declined to have diplomatic relations with Haiti, even after repeated attempts by several heads of state, and despite the fact that Catholicism was made the official religion of the new country.
To suggest that what we are seeing in Haiti is the result of a 200-year-old pact with the devil is to underestimate the sinful depravity of man. Since when did we humans need any help in being evil?

Yes, there are dark spiritual forces at work in Haiti, just as there are everywhere else in the world, but let's not give the devil more credit than he's due. Satan may be "the god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4), but the God of all eternity is still in control.

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