Tuesday, March 29, 2016

So-Called Evangelicals Denounce The Atonement As "Too Individualistic"

In an interesting article posted a Christianity Today, Mark Dever examines growing opposition within the Evangelical community to the substitionary atonement, meaning the death of Christ upon the cross for the fulfillment of our sins.

Thinking they know more than God now, a number of theologians oppose the Atonement as a barbaric holdover from less enlightened times that fosters a sense of individuality among believers. Heaven forbid anything that hinders our sublimation into members of the COMMUNITY.

Frankly though, if Christ did not die for our sins and rise from the dead, why bother being a Christian at all? 1 Corinthians 15:19 says, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable."

Furthermore, what's the point of forgiveness and eternal life if it means the obliteration of our individuality in a manner akin to Brahmin in Hinduism or the Nirvana of Buddhism? Also, the observant might note that, if these theological babblers have constructed elaborate arguments to convince themselves they are without sin, the last thing they want to confront is the most jarring reminder of all that the bad in humanity outweighs the good.

The word sin is simply retained as a convenient tool with which to prod the masses when the uneducated clods drag their feet in implementing the agenda of the elite and hindering the revolution rather than to convict any one person of individual wrongdoing.

For the offenses of materialism, racism, and nationalism mentioned are so broad that they are more interpretations than specific misdeeds.

In the eyes of our social and ecclesiastical overlords, materialism is not so much the Saganist philosophy that the universe all the was, is, or ever will be but rather the failure to relinquish one's property to the state or other institutions of authority. Racism is not so much the mistreatment of a particular individual and thus covered under more traditional ethical codes but rather failure to support undue concessions or favors for protected groups. Nationalism is not so much the elevation of the state above God or even the individual but rather the failure to embrace the headlong rush towards global government.

As all powerful as the Communitarians would like their collective to be, it's not going to do one bit to keep you out of Hell or launch you into a happy afterlife. And if there is no hope beyond the grave, why shouldn't we party like a bunch of Epicureans, maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain as each of us sees fit if death is nothing but the ultimate get out of jail free card as the cold end of it all with neither the guilty being punished or the righteous rewarded?

by Frederick Meekins

There are answers if you know where to look for them Faith in Christ Lives JOIN the Faith in Jesus Network

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

No Mere Consideration: The Apologetic Quandaries Found In The Lewis Classic

Psalms 14:1 says, “The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God'.” Only those seeking to live in utter irrationality can ignore the arguments made in favor of the God of the Bible by C.S. Lewis in “Mere Christianity”. Three of the most compelling issues the skeptic will have to confront when reading this classic include the universality of the moral law, the existence of a personal God as Creator of the Universe, and whether Jesus is who He says He is.

Fundamental to the creed of the contemporary skeptic is the notion that everything is relative and that there are no absolutes. However, that is itself an absolute. And no matter how cool it is to feign the attitude that one exists beyond right and wrong, no one wants to be treated as if right and wrong did not exist.

Of this universal truth, Lewis observes, “Whenever you find a man who says he does not believe in a real Right or Wrong, you will find the man going back on this a moment later. He may break his promise to you, but if you try breaking one to him he will be complaining 'It's not fair' before you can say 'Jack Robinson' (15).”

Since law exists whether we like it or not, it must have a source beyond us in order to be binding upon us and to avoid degenerating into a matter of mere preference or opinion. Since this universal law represents the codification of a set of principles, it could not have come about as a result of random choice, but rather through some kind of purposeful intelligence. Thus, a second issue confronting the skeptic in “Mere Christianity” is whether the source of this law is personal or impersonal.

The views regarding God can be divided into two basic viewpoints. On the one hand, pantheism believes, in the words of Lewis, that “God animates the universe as you animate your body: that the universe is almost God (30).” Traditional monotheists, on the other hand, believe that God is distinct from creation in a manner similar to “...a man making a picture or composing a tune...A painter is not a picture (30).”

From our understanding of law as a set of principles established for determining right and wrong, the monotheistic conception would be the one most in keeping with the evidence. For if God and the universe were co-terminus as postulated by the pantheists, by definition whatever is, is ought. Only by being distinct from what He has made is God justified in pronouncing judgment upon it.

Since God is the source of perfection and man so marked by imperfection, there must be some way for these seemingly irreconcilable twains to meet. Since man is imperfect, there is nothing he can do of his own merit to bring himself to God's level. Rather, the imperfect can only be made whole and elevated to a higher status on the terms of the perfect.

Since God is the ultimate authority and source of power, it is up to Him to determine the method through which man can be reconciled to God. Of all of the religions of the world, orthodox Biblical Christianity is the only one where that particular belief's conception of salvation is not granted on the basis of the adherent's own merit or accomplishment but rather as a result through the realization that one's own works are as filthy rags and by throwing oneself on the mercy of a loving God willing to extend forgiveness to those embracing what God has done for them rather than on what they have done for Him. In the Christian tradition, this eternal pardon is granted to those believing that Jesus as the only Son of God lived the perfect life that we could not, suffered and died upon the cross for the sins of the world, and rose in bodily form from the dead.

Thus, the most important issue the skeptic is forced to confront is exactly who do they think Jesus is. Impressed with the morals of Jesus but not wanting to admit that they themselves are sinners, most unbelievers think they are broadminded enough by giving Jesus an esteemed status as an ethical teacher from the past with no present claim on their lives.

However, as Lewis points out, a moral person would not say the things about himself that Jesus said about Himself. Lewis writes, “A man who...said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would be a lunatic --- on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg --- or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice (41).”

Much of the spiritual danger of the contemporary world lies in the numerous distractions available to those preferring to avoid those fundamental questions nagging at the human soul. C.S. Lewis, in “Mere Christianity”, forces the reader to confront these issues in an engaging and forthright manner.

By Frederick Meekins

There are answers if you know where to look for them Faith in Christ Lives JOIN the Faith in Jesus Network

Monday, March 21, 2016

Prominent Critic off the Mark Regarding Apocalyptic Thriller

As a semi-professional contrarian prognosticator on current events and ideas, I’ll be the first to admit how easy it is to find fault with things falling outside the purview of one’s own take on the world. However, it would seem from John Whitehead’s review of "Left Behind" in the February 7, 2001 edition of WorldNetDaily that some people are never happy.

Though I have not yet seen the film nor read the series of novels as of earlier 2001, I have seen similar works such as "The Omega Code", "One Moment After" and the 70’s classics "Thief in the Night", "Image of the Beast", and "Prodigal Planet", as well as having noticed the proto-eschatological themes addressed in more mainstream science fiction such as "Babylon 5" and "Earth: Final Conflict". I believe I am safe in addressing John Whitehead’s criticism of this cinematic production.

John Whitehead levels considerable criticism at "Left Behind". Yet at one time he was one of the voices calling for greater Christian involvement with popular culture as evidenced in a profile of him published in the December 7, 1998 edition of Christianity Today. It is in response to this yearning that the producers of "Left Behind" hope their efforts will "lead to more family-friendly movies".

But of such efforts, John Whitehead says today, "Christian involvement in culture should be in a way that ultimately serves that end --- not merely to pour $17 million into a poorly adapted feature that does not contribute to leading viewers into a deeper relationship with their eternal Creator."

One must assume Mr. Whitehead thinks such edification can be found in "The Last Temptation of Christ" which he classified as "a sympathetic and reverent treatment of Christianity’s origins," according to the Christianity Today profile. It should be recalled that "The Last Tempation" was the movie that made Judas out to be the hero and cast Jesus as the villain.

Mr. Whitehead further admonishes contemporary Evangelicals in light of the "Left Behind" phenomena, "Instead of dedicating their lives to taking care of the poor and the needy, American followers of Christ too often ignore His example and instead look for cheap thrills in an increasingly superficial world."

Mr. Whitehead should be reminded of his own neglect of the downtrodden in his own pursuit of glitz and the limelight. According to Christianity Today, Mr. Whitehead’s civil rights organization the Rutherford Institute, at the expense of those facing more pressing and substantial First Amendment religious rights issues, came to the defense of Paula Jones --- the floozy who wouldn’t disrobe for then Governor Clinton but who apparently had no problem doing so for Playboy photographers.

To some Christians, it’s not legitimate missions activity unless it’s directed at some impoverished foreigner halfway around the globe. John Whitehead writes, "...instead of centering their hopes, prayers and financial resources behind the tragedy in India [a reference to the recent earthquake] ... much of the American Christian community was busy hyping a movie that one reviewer called ’unintentionally hilarious’."

Elsewhere on his gaudy and semi-tasteless looking magazine and website Gadfly, John Whitehead has explored the metaphysical background of the "X-Files".

How would he propose we reach out to those whom this particular genre speaks to? Somehow I don’t think vaccination clinics or soup kitchens will quite grab them where they are hurting most. An evangelistic film geared towards their interests in paranormal phenomena and government conspiracies likely would, however. And for others, such visualization would help make the obscure beasts, dragons, plagues and judgments of the Book of Revelation and other passages of Scripture relevant to their early twenty-first century lives.

John Whitehead dismisses "Left Behind" as a "B" film and comments, "Truly Christian films embody this aim by exploring the human dimensions of loving thy neighbor as thyself, portraying servants in a world where everyone seeks to be a master, and by encountering the Divine in unexpected places ..."

What more could Mr. Whitehead hope for than a movie set during the time of the Tribulation?

During that period in eschatological history, the very power of Satan will be allowed the seemingly unbridled power the Prince of Darkness has always longed for since the time of his fall, and during this future era simply being a Christian could get you executed. It is under such conditions to which Americans are currently not accustomed that the protagonists of "Left Behind" must stand for truth and righteousness during the heyday of the New World Order.

In all likelihood, "Left Behind" is not a perfect movie. However, much of the drivel and filth produced by Hollywood is not worth watching to begin with.

It must be remembered that Christians have not had much practice at producing cinematic masterpieces that are both theologically accurate and appeal to a broad audience. This is due in large part to the sanctimonious piousness like that displayed by those such as John Whitehead, who in at least this instance, refuse to realize the apologetic of certain literary genres and narrative techniques.

By Frederick Meekins

There are answers if you know where to look for them Faith in Christ Lives JOIN the Faith in Jesus Network

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Catholic Church based upon Roman vs Anglo Saxon Law

There are answers if you know where to look for them Faith in Christ Lives JOIN the Faith in Jesus Network

Whatever you think or believe about the Catholic Church, the latest dust up between the current Pontiff and Donald Trump may seem trite, but actually reveals a fundamental difference in the meaning of being a Christian. When Pope Francis Suggests Donald Trump Is ‘Not Christian’, such a troubling account reported in the New York Times, should alarm believers and non-believers alike. An integral part of this issue must acknowledge a startling distinction on the bases of law and how it relates to the concept of a Christian Church.

“Pope Francis gave a sermon on June 25th in Rome, where he dispelled any and all lingering doubt about how the Vatican views worldwide Christianity. Francis once again declared his unshakable belief that the Roman Catholic Holy Mother Church – the very same one mentioned in Revelation 17 & 18 as the ‘Whore of Babylon’ – is the one and the only church. Listen to Pope Francis as he tells you in his own words exactly what he thinks of all Christian churches outside of the Roman Catholic Church:”

Well, do yourself a service and investigate the true background and ideological temperament of Pope Francis the False Prophet. The dichotomy set forth by this pontiff that only an obedient Catholic can be a real Christian has a long history with the Roman Latin Church. Much of this ritual of cathedral authority is guised in ecclesiastical platitudes of salvation through clerical absolution.

Nonetheless, the operational enforcement of the temporal power exerted by the Church, throughout the last two millenniums requires an understanding of the difference between Roman Law and English Law: Two Patterns of Legal Development. This account by Alan Watson argues from the perspective of the Canon Law tradition of the Catholic Church.

Compare this interpretation with that of Piyali Syam, who answers the question in WashULaw, What is the Difference Between Common Law and Civil Law?

“The main difference between the two systems is that in common law countries, case law — in the form of published judicial opinions — is of primary importance, whereas in civil law systems, codified statutes predominate.”

It is noted that Watson prefers the model followed by the religious jurisprudence foundations for their influence over political authority. Piyali Syam continues:

“The original source of the common law system can be traced back to the English monarchy, which used to issue formal orders called “writs” when justice needed to be done. Because writs were not sufficient to cover all situations, courts of equity were ultimately established to hear complaints and devise appropriate remedies based on equitable principles taken from many sources of authority (such as Roman law and “natural” law). As these decisions were collected and published, it became possible for courts to look up precedential opinions and apply them to current cases. And thus the common law developed.

Civil law in other European nations, on the other hand, is generally traced back to the code of laws compiled by the Roman Emperor Justinian around 600 C.E. Authoritative legal codes with roots in these laws (or others) then developed over many centuries in various countries, leading to similar legal systems, each with their own sets of laws.”

With establishing the clear linkage between the civil authorities claim of the Catholic Church grounded upon Roman law and custom, one needs to track the relative recent departure in defining the essence of the Church.

Turn to the Encyclopædia Britannica section, THE NATURE OF THE CHURCH, which provides a distinction that is often missed.

In 1965 the Roman Catholic theologian Marie-Joseph Le Guillou defined the church in these terms:

“The Church is recognized as a society of fellowship with God, the sacrament of salvation, the people of God established as the body of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit.”

The progress of Roman Catholic theology can be seen in the contrast between this statement and the definition still current as late as 1960, which was substantially the one formulated by the Jesuit controversialist Robert Cardinal Bellarmine in 1621:

“The society of Christian believers united in the profession of the one Christian faith and the participation in the one sacramental system under the government of the Roman Pontiff.”

Here lies the key to understanding the sympathies of the only Jesuit Pope, Francis. Even Catholic Answers acknowledges the following:

“There is a person sometimes called "the black pope," but his existence is not a secret and he does not have anywhere near as much power as the real pope. "The black pope" is a nickname given to the Father General of the Society of Jesus. "The black pope" does not have authority over anyone but Jesuits.”

Historically Jesuits were the equivalent of the storm troopers for the Roman Church. With the unprecedented selection of Francis, from the ranks of the Society of Jesus, you have the liberation theology ingredients and a celebrity heretic sitting on the chair of Peter.

If one strips out the secular appetite of Popes to enter the political arena, the humanism direction of the post Vatican II Church involvements would be tempered by the correct traditional doctrinal gospel of the New Testament.

The 1054 schism with the Eastern Orthodox Catholics had more to do with an adherence to Roman law authority of a political pontificate emperor, than theological differences.

“The eleventh-century reform in the Western Church called for the strengthening of papal authority, which caused the church to become more autocratic and centralized. Basing his claims on his succession from St. Peter, the pope asserted his direct jurisdiction over the entire church, East as well as West.”

This split forewarned of the eventual 95 Theses of Martin Luther. But before that fateful break which had significant doctrinal differences, the contribution of Thomas Aquinas needs to be recognized. E. B. F. Midgley writes in a scholar abstract in the Cambridge Journals, Natural law and the ‘Anglo-Saxons’—some reflections in response to Hedley Bull.

“I concentrated upon St. Thomas's discussion of the various kinds of law and especially upon the doctrine of eternal law which he brought to a certain perfection. In doing this, I was consoled by the view which I shared with Vincent McNabb that “it was always the thought of Aquinas never the history of that thought which seemed of greatest worth…” Indeed, given the incompleteness of so much of the discussion on the intellectual reconciliation of natural and divine law before Aquinas, it is arguable that McNabb was hardly exaggerating very greatly when he wrote that Aquinas's treatise on law in the Summa theologiae “would seem be the first great treatise ever written on law”.

Church abuses like the inquisition and the selling of indulgences cannot be condoned. Violations of natural law by church courts share similarities to a Roman Ceasar. The English tradition of “Common Law” and Aquinas’ foundations of developing the natural law legal underpinnings of individual rights is the exception.

The transition of restraint on a monarch as laid down in the Magna Carta, leads a path to the break with the Roman Papacy. Since the Catholic Church as an institution is actually a political entity, it should surprise no one that the Vatican is organized as a sovereign civil state.

One should not reject the theological precepts out of hand from two thousand years of Christian teachings. The gospels are timeless and are not subject to a live interpretation as the legal charlatans on the Supreme Court would have you believe.

However, the world is inescapable from its political interactions and the clergy is certainly entitled to enter the coliseum to do warfare. When Pope Francis condemns Donald Trump for not being a Christian, he is engaging in a bare knuckle brawl that often results in self induced bruises.

Political partisans can argue all day long if “The Donald” is a Methodist, a Presbyterian, neither or something else. What everyone should agree upon is that he is not a Jesuit.

The Scottish roots of Trump’s lineage have an influence of Anglo-Saxon Law - Extracts From Early Laws of the English. This contrast with the attitude of proclaimed infallibility as defined in,

 “As Vatican II remarked, it is a charism the pope "enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith (Luke 22:32), he proclaims by a definitive act some doctrine of faith or morals. Therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly held irreformable, for they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, an assistance promised to him in blessed Peter."

Educated within this tradition of church history, one comes to know that few political positions out of the Vatican have very much to do with doctrines of faith and morals.

One can certainly maintain their faith in Catholic teachings, while rejecting the social liberalism and New World Order pronouncements of a fictitious Pope. America is based upon the tradition of English common law, not Roman imperial dictates.

SARTRE – February 23, 2016

Friday, March 18, 2016

Canonizing the Blair Witch: Pagan Religion More Noble than Christian Belief in the Eyes of Some

Isaiah 5:20 reads, "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"

Many assume this warns that those who violate this holy decree will have the judgment of God heaped upon them. But while God is not slack in fulfilling His promises, the forthcoming retribution might not necessarily flow directly from His fingers in the manner we might expect. Often we end up being punished by the consequences of our own actions without God intervening as a primary cause.

In an article appearing in the January 18, 2001 edition of the Prince George’s Sentinel extolling the merits of Wiccan variety witchcraft, one discovers that in calling evil good and good evil that the very epistemological categories required for rational thought and communication begin to break down. Foremost among these is the idea of truth and its basis in objective factual knowledge.

The article begins its symphony of misinformation from almost the very first note. Sentinel staff writer Matt Carr boldly declares early in the piece, "Christianity has dwelled in the hands of war and genocide. Missionaries sent forth to deliver the teachings of God ... led to the torture of the Chinese and Japanese."

From this, one would conclude that fanaticism is only a Christian shortcoming. But excuse me, has anyone checked out much of Islam’s record lately? In Sudan, Christian children are sold into slavery and their legs mutilated so they can’t run away. Upon reaching adulthood, many will be executed so they won’t present a threat to their masters.

And speaking of Japan, did you know that the Christian church there was nearly wiped out by persecution after the death of Francis Xavier, the pioneering Jesuit missionary to the Orient? And the Red Chinese harassment of the modern Church is so well documented that I don’t even need to provide additional information to justify my claim.

So much for the wonders of multiculturalism.

Elsewhere, the Sentinel article plays so loose with the facts that it is doubtful if the statements made are worthy of classification as such. The article says of a local Wiccan, "[he] celebrates a religion of nature, much in the same way those burned at Salem did."

In all likelihood, with the exception of the local slave, probably not one resident of Salem, Massachusetts was a practitioner of the occultic sciences. Rather the modern equivalent of those persecuted at Salem can be found among those falsely accused of sexual harassment simply because they’ve rubbed someone the wrong way, figuratively of course, and their accusers had more in common with Anita Hill than today’s average Christian.

Furthermore, technically there were no Wiccans in Massachusetts at the time because, quite frankly, Wicca hadn’t been invented yet. According to an article in the Atlantic Monthly reviewed on, Professor of Religion Phillip Davis of the University of Prince Edward Island and Historian Ronald Hutton of the University of Bristol concur in their assessments that Wicca was concocted in 1950 by amateur anthropologist Gerald B. Gardner who was influenced by German romantics and various occultic practices.

Even though Wicca does not posses a clearly delineable historical pedigree, that does not mean its ideas aren’t drawn from some kind of background. It’s just not the one filled with unicorns and flower children its adherents would like many to believe. It may have more in common with the Wicked Witch of the West depicted in the Wizard of Oz.

For example, in Wiccan lore, practitioners of this form of spirituality trace their lineage back to the Druids. Did you know that the Druids practiced human sacrifice?

Closely related to the Wiccans are those today professing themselves to be pagans. Their rights to bad mouth Christianity’s historical shortcomings are also suspect given their own atrocities.

Leviticus 18:21 says, "Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech [a pagan deity] (New International Version)." Later on in the book of II Kings chapter 23, King Josiah destroys the altars upon which children were sacrificed to pagan gods. One might like to note that Wiccan feminists play a prominent role in the abortion movement.

No wonder Wiccans are quick to heave objective history out the window.

From the Prince George’s Sentinel article, one gets the impression that witches are the only mistreated religious group. The warlock interviewed for the article said, "I’m intimidated to put my beliefs on applications."

Join the club. Many Christians feel the same way about the retaliation they will receive for expressing their convictions to leftwing supervisors and coworkers. Frankly, very few employment applications ask for one’s religious beliefs being that to do so violates the law.

Yet the ironic thing is that these very same ones peeved at those apprehensive about suffering a witch among them, to use the King James English, find John Ashcroft an unfit nominee for the office of Attorney General simply because of the Christian beliefs he happens to live by.

As a nation built upon the freedom of religion, the Constitution guarantees the right of citizens to live free in their beliefs without government harassment and without actual forms of physical violence from those with whom they disagree. However, a society that extols witchcraft as virtuous and shuns Christianity as a shameful thing is further down the yellow-brick road of losing its freedom as a judgment permitted under God than most realize.

By Frederick Meekins

There are answers if you know where to look for them Faith in Christ Lives JOIN the Faith in Jesus Network

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Secularists Once Again Call For The Suppression Of Knowledge

Since the 1920’s or thereabouts, secularists have invoked the imagery of the Scopes Monkey Trial as evidence that conservative Evangelicals are bent on suppressing knowledge in the realms of science and literature.

Most following the news are no doubt aware of the ongoing angst on the part of unbelievers and Modernists regarding the propriety of introducing Intelligent Design into the Biology classroom since in their eyes suggesting anything but the materialist hypothesis (itself a faith-based assumption) diminishes the rigor of so-called scientific education. Instead, they suggest such ideas should be considered as part of the Social Studies or Humanities curriculum.

Yet such gestures of enlightened magnanimous compromise are little more than a canard. For when it becomes time to examine the metaphysical issues within what liberals previously promoted as the appropriate venue for such a discussion, they then cry Separation of Church and State. Thus, what they really want is a monopoly on the perspective taught across all of public education.

As could be expected, Americans United For The Separation Of Church And State has demanded that the State of Florida alter an essay contest that encourages students to submit their reaction to The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. The Humanist front group contends some students might be offended by a work that has often been interpreted as a Christian allegory. The agitators suggest alternative titles should be made available for students to select from.

One wonders if the Lynnites would be as prompt about coming to the defense of students that did not want to read Harry Potter or other works of literature even more salacious in their content. Interesting when it comes to the boy wizard the important thing is that Miss Rowling gets the kids to read; shouldn’t this be the same attitude towards Professor Lewis among those that insist we have nothing to fear from books?

No doubt had the White Witch been the hero of the story rather than the villain, those sympathetic to Wicca and the Dark Arts would have no problem with the novel. The thing about contemporary liberals is not so much that they oppose spirituality in the classroom but rather merely traditional forms of it.

Neither do these liberals support the principles of individual mental autonomy to the extent that they claim. Where were they when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals essentially ruled parents have no constitutional right to protect their elementary-age children from perverts masquerading as educators asking these little ones all kinds of questions even an adult would be embarrassed to answer and to which no agent of the government has a right to know their answers.

These sensitive liberals whine students not wanting to read the book do not have an alternative to choose from if they still want to participate in the contest. Any other time these advocates of radical tolerance and inclusion insist that in a pluralistic society the upstanding member of the community has an obligation to subject oneself to ideas one might otherwise find objectionable.

So if students have to be subjected to putting condoms on cucumbers for their own good, then how are they going to be harmed by a novel about a talking lion? Makes you wonder what they are so afraid of.

All the fuss causes the critically minded to speculate if it’s for the sake of the children or rather about something else the hypertolerant malcontents themselves do not want to confront. A child not belonging to the Christian faith is not going to necessarily pick up on any Christian motifs Lewis might have incorporated into the text.

To pick up on any parallels, one would already have to be familiar with Christian doctrine. Thus to be offended by Aslan as a perceived Christ-figure is to have a problem with an intellect more formidable than even that of C.S. Lewis, namely God Himself.

Adherents of absolutist relativism will contend it is not the place of educators to convert students to any particular set of religious ideas. Funny, public educators don’t mind using the persuasive powers of the classroom as to influence the choices pupils make regarding viewpoints on issues such as homosexuality, abortion, and the origins of the universe. If no set of ideas is better than any other and parents are usually seen as being too stupid to decide what is in the best interests of their children, what’s the big deal if a child switches to Christianity if all paths to God or whatever else you happen to see as the supreme universal truth or lack there of really are equal?

In Lewis’ novel, it is revealed that the White Witch has placed a curse on the Land Of Narnia so it is always winter but never Christmas. With the lust of liberals to remove all vestiges of Christianity from Western culture, my guess is that they hate this book because Lewis just hit too close to home.

by Frederick Meekins

There are answers if you know where to look for them Faith in Christ Lives JOIN the Faith in Jesus Network

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Confession: Breaking Through to Ultimate Victory by Dr. F. Stoner Clark

In the spirit of manufacturers today who set forth their products anticipating potential misuse or abuse of their products, I offer my own disclaimer with this article—not for the spiritually squeamish or faint of heart. I say that because I’m going to talk with you about “confession,” a long lost spiritual discipline within the Protestant ranks of the church. When most believers are presented with the idea of confession, it summons images of a Roman Catholic confessional booth where persons purportedly anonymously confess their sins to a priest. Although most Protestant believers are not averse to the idea of confessing their sins, they seldom think of this activity in terms of an accepted practice or discipline of the faith. If the confessing of one’s sins is truly a biblical mandate, then its omission could potentially leave believers seriously spiritually deficit in their Christian walk.

We turn to James’ epistle for our precedent in attempting to further understand the significance of this concept of confession.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much (Ja 5:16 NASB).

This verse directing believers to confess their sins is not an isolated, stand alone verse; it has a context in the preceding verses. Leading up to this directive is a discussion about how we are to address affliction and sickness which involves calling upon the church for prayer and ministry. It also brings out the correlation between life’s afflictions and sin in one’s life. The idea of healing here is directly related to the forgiveness of sins. This concept was first set forth by Jesus in his healing of the paralytic who was lowered through the roof where Jesus ministered.

“Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘get up, and pick up your pallet and walk’”? (Mk 2:9 NASV)

James verse on confession follows directly on the heels of addressing affliction and sickness. In the more modern translations the word “therefore” is supplied at the beginning of the verse. I believe this is a perfectly understood and correct rendering which captures the appropriate meaning of the verse. If we desire healing and wholeness, we should solicit the ministry and prayer of the church and then in keeping with that action we should confess our sins.

I believe a brief caveat would be in order at this point. In seeking to more fully understand the significance of personal confession as it relates to our walk with Christ, we need to see that this issue is much broader than simply obtaining physical healing for our bodies. As with all teachings in Scripture, we should couch it within the meta-narrative of God. We should always keep the larger picture of God’s ultimate intention as our context. Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection wasn’t just about securing our place in heaven. It was principally about bringing us fully into the same kind of relationship with Father God that Jesus himself has always enjoyed. It is all about the full stature life in Christ, about being fully conformed to his image. Considering this, we can see that the New Testament concept of healing—drawing upon Thayer’s Greek Lexicon—means to make whole, to free from errors and sin, to bring about one’s full salvation.

Returning to our James 5 passage, we learn that what NASV translates as “sins” could just as easily be rendered offenses, trespasses, fall or faults. In matter of fact, the Greek paraptoma is translated by Thayers as: a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness; a sin, misdeed. This corresponds closely with our understanding of “healing” as that which brings us into the ultimate fullness in Christ. Taking these several verses together from James 5, I think it is reasonable to aver that coming out of our aberrant ways into a modality leading to full stature life in Christ minimally involves intra-church ministry and personal disclosure of how we have been spiritually errant. Confession is functionally both individual and corporate. However, this does not mean that all confession is necessarily public.

Summing up where we have come in this study so far, we can see that James has introduced a very challenging—if not threatening—spiritual discipline to the church. This discipline—confessing personal sins one to another—ties together the concepts of total wholeness and the need to reveal undisclosed sin in one’s life. Confession is an intra-body ministry and resolves to bring persons fully into conformity to the image of Christ.

Many believers struggle with understanding exactly what it is in their lives that deserves confession. Most Christians tend to over simplify the definition of sin as that which is outward, palpable and socially condemned. This viewpoint of sin is not only erroneous but will always leave believers far short of reaching the spiritual depths and maturation Jesus died to bring them into. As point of clarification, I am assuming here by definition that true believers would not be intentionally, knowingly involved in biblically defined sin such as is delineated in the Ten Commandments. Sin literally means missing the mark. Sin is broadly speaking anything in our hearts, attitudes, thought life and behavior that in any measure precludes Christ from assuming his rightful place on the throne of our hearts.

If we seriously want to grasp what it is in our lives that qualifies as confessionable, we simply need to look no further than identifying content in basically two areas. One is to bring indictment to every area in one’s life where there is a demonstrable failure to overcome according to biblical standards and the expectations of God. If we are failing to aspire to overcome in ways that are biblically mandated and that reflect the heart of God for us, then we are spiritually culpable in these ways. The second is to mark those areas of one’s life wherein God has been in any manner excluded or prohibited from assuming his rightful place in one’s heart. Maybe another way of viewing this is to discern in one’s life in what manner is conformity to the image of Christ being ignored, thwarted or denied.

In considering the above two categories, it is imperative that we keep our focus on the matters of the heart. We are enjoined in Proverbs to guard or watch over our hearts with all diligence since everything in life flows out of that. Jesus warned the Pharisees about cleansing the outside of the cup while ignoring the inside. He explained to his disciples that the origin of all corruption resided in the heart.

I want to qualify here that a proper understanding of confession must necessarily embrace sincere repentance. Without repentance—a turning and going the other way—confession simply turns into scrupulosity and becomes a farce. It becomes a kind of religious excessive-compulsive disorder wherein a pathological guilt arises over attention to misdeeds sans any intention to correct one’s heart and behavior. Without true repentance, confession is reduced to simply attempting to assuage one’s false guilt. Confession that arises out of godly sorrow and authentic repentance opens the way to emendation in one’s journey unto completion in Christ.

Confession is principally a matter of light and darkness, about things open and above board versus things buried and hidden, about that which produces spiritual health and well being as contrasted with that which is pathological in nature. The simple truth is that we are not going to overcome, mature and progress spiritually as long as unresolved un-Christ likeness continues to reside within our hearts. Any thoughts, attitudes or behaviors which fail to pass muster with respect to the righteousness of God and his holiness allowed to remain un-confessed and un-repented of will not only stymie current spiritual progress but will also become the grounds for even more extensive continuing spiritual damage in our lives. Un-confessed sin—anything in our lives that precludes Christ’s ascension in our hearts—provides Satan legal grounds for continuing his pathological activity in our lives.

Reconciling ourselves with this challenging discipline of confession will take intentionally rejecting the world’s concepts of how we perceive ourselves and how our understanding of personal significance and value are formed. The world’s concept of one’s significance is basically found in what one does and what others think. Since everyone’s emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being is very much dependent on a healthy self-perception, it is an ongoing struggle to effectively reject notions of self-worth based on one’s performance and what others think. If we adopt the world’s standards, we will find ourselves unconsciously and falsely covering up all detracting traits in our lives. The antidote for this spiritual malaise is in finding our significance—our sense of worth and value—fully in our relationship with Christ. When our self-perception is grounded purely in the love and acceptance of Christ and what he has done for us, we will be free to be fully integrous in all aspects of our lives and relationships.   

The drive to be admired, appreciated and accepted by others is nearly insatiable. All persons dread that sense of disappointment conveyed from others when failing to meet—in their eyes--expectations and measure up to whatever degree. It is fascinating that when Adam and Eve committed that original sin, their first response was to “cover up.” Unfortunately we are still continuing this destructive practice. One of the principal functions of the church is to create such an environment of love and acceptance—a safe zone—that persons will be released and encouraged to live personally integrous lives free of all pretensions and pseudo-personas. I believe this may be the major reason there are so many admonitions in the New Testament to “love one another.”  

In considering further what should be guiding our confession one to another, I want to draw upon the types and shadows in the Old Testament.

Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the end of the age has come (1 Cor 10:11 NASB).

There is so much understanding to be found in the exploits of ancient Israel corresponding to the church. For example, God’s ultimate intention for his people—to be fully conformed to the image of Christ—is wonderfully depicted in Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and subsequent possession of the Promised Land. Multiple times God conveyed to the people of Israel that he brought them out to take them in. Their deliverance wasn’t principally about coming out from under Egyptian bondage; it was first and foremost about getting them into the Promised Land. This is so strongly developed in the Old Testament that one could make the case that without their moving on to possess Canaan, there was no purpose in coming out of Egypt. It was Israel’s entering the Promised land that prefigured our coming into full maturation in Christ.

 Following Israel’s deliverance form Egypt they entered into the wilderness and faced various trying circumstances often leading to rebellious and unfaithful responses. Although God continuously met their needs in supernatural ways, they doubted and questioned the goodness of God and his benign intentions for them. Sometimes it was an issue of water or food. At other times they were confronted with the possibility of being overcome by an enemy. Israel’s typical response in these trails was to turn on their leaders, impugn the character of God and wish they were back in Egypt. God clarified that he allowed Israel to be tested in order to purify their hearts and bring them into absolute obedience.

Although Israel was punished for their moral failures in each of these scenarios, the most severe chastisement they received came at the border of Canaan in the face of the pejorative report brought by the ten spies. You can read the full account of this situation in Numbers 14. In this case, the people completely disbelieved God, accused him of bringing them out into the wilderness to kill them, made plans to return to Egypt and sought to stone Caleb and Joshua who attempted to persuade them of God’s true heart, intentions and ability to see them through whatever obstacles they faced.

In Caleb’s argument to the people, he strenuously warmed them about rebelling against God. The Hebrew word for rebel, marad, is defined in Strong’s thusly: to be contumacious, rebellious, seditious. Contumacious carries the following meaning: to be stubbornly perverse and rebellious; to be willfully and obstinately disobedient. Sedition is the act of leading others to rebel against authority. This is what Caleb was passionately warning the Israelites to avoid in their response to the spies’ report. As if this weren’t horrific enough, it gets even worse. Later in Numbers 14 we see God’s response to the rebellion of the people. “And the Lord said unto Moses, how long will this people provoke me”? What does it mean to “provoke” God? We mostly think of the term provoke as meaning to upset or possibly incite someone. However, the Hebrew renders this term thusly: to deride, to despise, to reject with contempt and derision. It is almost impossible to think of anyone intentionally, consciously treating God in this manner. However, this is exactly how God perceived the Israelites’ response.

Let’s see if we can summarize this situation and ascertain its significance for our discipline of confession today. God acted upon his eternal desire to form a people whom he would fill with his very presence by calling Abraham. From Abraham God amassed a people for himself shaping and refining them in the fires of affliction (Egypt) and ultimately delivering them through miraculous deeds. God made known his purpose to Israel of dwelling among them as his special people to whom he would provide an inheritance known as the Promised Land. At the border of the Promised Land and in light of the spies’ unfaithful report, the Israelites treated God with contempt, derision, perversion, obstinate disobedience, sedition and dispisableness. For these responses, for their refusal to enter the Promised Land, for their failure to believe and trust God, for their outrageous impugnment of the character of God, the people were disinherited and condemned to wander in the wilderness until all those over the age of twenty had died off. It would be hard to imagine a more final and ultimate punishment than to be cut off from God’s eternal intent and design to be filled with the fullness of his life with all of the ramifications appertaining thereto.

God’s ultimate intention has never changed or wavered. Being filled with the fullness of Christ, being conformed to his image, growing up into the full stature of Christ still remains Father God’s eternal desire and focus for our lives. Although there are myriad ways in which we can sin—far short of the glory of God—there is none more eternally fatal than refusing God’s overtures to bring us into the same relationship with himself that he enjoys with his only Son, Jesus. In determining the deepest egregiousness of sin, all one need do is ascertain to what degree a behavior, belief or attitude deters or precludes one’s progression into the fullness of Christ—the Promised Land.

Confessing our faults one to another is fully meant to help us discover and rectify the things in our lives that interdict God’s eternal work of taking his rightful place on the throne of our hearts. The consequences of not doing so are too monumental to contemplate. Working out the particulars of how confession is practiced in one’s life is mostly a personal matter. It is time to focus on that which is truly eternal, set our pride aside and cooperate with the eternal heart of almighty God.

Dr. F. Stoner Clark

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Hipster Nazarene Insists Daily Bathing Perpetuates Western Imperialism

In a sermon, a Nazarene pastor condemned everyone as an oppressor.

In a self-flagellating confession, the pastor admits he is guilty of this particular evil by taking showers everyday while the natives of an area of Africa to which he went on a short term missions expedition did not have the luxury of using water in such a carefree manner.

And how is that the pastor's fault?

Neither can the Africans probably afford airline travel halfway around the globe.

However, that apparently did not prevent the pastor from engaging in such extraneous travel.

More importantly, did this pastor ever stop and think that these Africans are probably being denied the benefits of modern utilities such as an advanced sewer system as a result of the environmentalist organizations that such self-aware hipsters usually support insisting that the bushmen are more adorable in a state of perpetual primitivism?

Furthermore, even if the White man was magnanimous enough to gift these savages with the latest water distribution technology, will these backward cultures be willing to maintain it or will they get too distracted by the overwhelming compulsion to slaughter the neighboring tribe?

By Frederick Meekins

There are answers if you know where to look for them Faith in Christ Lives JOIN the Faith in Jesus Network

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Will Evangelical Wimps Elevate Manners Over Survival?

In justifying why it is acceptable to vote for Mitt Romney but not Donald Trump since it is likely that neither is a valid Christian, the pastoral staff of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina enunciated during a SermonAudio podcast an interesting array of verbal criteria to justify such an electoral decision.

For example, Romney is supposedly a much more pleasant individual more concerned about unity and bringing people together.

Furthermore, it was clarified, even if his Mormon faith is in error, it is still sincerely held.

So would these pastors have as much problem if people utilized a similar criteria in deciding what church to attend or join?

For example, sure, Brother Osteen has his glaring doctrinal deficiencies.

But one cannot deny that he treats people a whole lot better than Touch Not The Unclean Thing Hyperseperationist Baptist Church where Pator Knowitall yells at the top of his lungs about women wearing pants rather than dungaree skirts so long that they herd dustbunnies as the garment scrapes the floor.

By Frederick Meekins

There are answers if you know where to look for them Faith in Christ Lives JOIN the Faith in Jesus Network

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Review Of Salvaging Civilization By H.G. Wells

To most Americans with a recollection of the Cold War, it was assumed the global superstate would be brought about through military conquest. However, in Salvaging Civilization, H.G. Wells suggests how this planetary political organization could be brought about through education and the management of public opinion.

According to Wells, the future of mankind is dependent upon the establishment of world unity in order to protect the human race from social disintegration and physical destruction. However, instead of blatantly imposing this new world order from without, Wells suggests conditioning the masses into accepting the world state through targeted forms of intellectual manipulation.

While Wells claims to have the best interests of man at heart, it is clear he does not think all that much of the common individual as in his view it is the place of such people to simply go along with the will of the elite. Wells writes, “It is often forgotten, in America, even more than in Europe, that education exists for the community, and only for the individual only so far that it makes him a sufficient member of the community. The chief end of education is to subjugate and sublimate for the collective purpose of our own kind the savage egoism we inherit (24-25).”

Thus, education in the proposed global society is not so much about empowering the individual to think for himself as it is to condition him to take his place as a docile member of the group. As such, the early stages of establishing a world government will not be as much about changing politics itself as it will be about influencing the minds of the young.

The freedom Wells grants with one hand by liberating the individual from traditional authorities he takes back with the other. Wells writes, “The world state must begin as a propagandist cult, to which men and women must give themselves and their energies regardless of the consequences (35).”

Furthermore, the future world state won’t simply be an institution in the background keeping the peace and making sure the trains run on time. Rather, it is to be in the forefront in molding what the good member of the community is to think and believe.

Foremost among the methods for keeping order in the New World Order will be what Wells calls ‘The Bible of Civilization”. However, this is not to be the famed Good Book that has guided mankind in religious and ethical matters century upon century. Rather, this new Bible is to consist of an anthology of the best in human literature and learning selected and periodically revised by “a few hundred resolute and capable people”.

But as a renowned atheist, what Wells failed to realize is that the thing that has granted the Bible such sway over the minds of men and cherished in their hearts is that it was handed down by the hand of God or at least that is that is believed by those that honor its precepts. All Wells leaves us is a committee working paper with the proviso that the documents findings are subject to change at a later date.

If God says something like thou shalt not murder, like it or not, I don’t have much room to argue about it. If some sanctimonious committee with no other authority than that which it has bestowed upon itself and duped the masses into abiding by for the time being makes grandiose pronouncements it claims we are obligated to obey , why should I have to comply with its dictates and decrees?

Despite claiming to stand for human freedom by abolishing traditional prohibitions on sex outside of marriage (no doubt in part because he was himself a profligate adulterer), Wells’ behavioral codes would be far more extensive and binding than anything elaborated upon in the pages of the Bible. Wells writes, “One of the first duties of a citizen is to keep himself in mental and bodily health in order to be fit for the rest of his duties.”

Thus, to translate Wells’ position into something we can understand, go out and have as many affairs as you want (no doubt to lessen the bonds to a particular spouse or family so that identity comes instead to be derived from the larger group). Just don’t get caught smoking a cigarette or enjoying fast foods since that might hinder the revolution and the glorious expansion of the motherworld.

To some viewing H.G. Wells as a figure prominent at the beginning of the previous century, he has little bearing on the world in which we live today. However, upon contemplating his proposals in The Salvaging Of Civilization such as the rule by elite committees, extensive control of education, and regulations that bear a frightening similarity to provisions against hate speech when he writes “We must put ourselves, and our rulers and our fellow men on trial. We must ask ‘What have you done or hinder the peace of mankind?.’ A time will come when a politician who has...willfully promoted international dissension will be...much surer of the noose than a private homicide (40)” we are already too eerily close to living in a world of this author’s own making.

by Frederick Meekins

There are answers if you know where to look for them Faith in Christ Lives JOIN the Faith in Jesus Network

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Review Of "Mere Christianity" By C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis is renowned as one of the foremost Christian thinkers of the twentieth century. Despite being an Anglican and exhibiting a number of tendencies making him a bit of an iconoclast among his fellow believers, C.S. Lewis has been fondly embraced by a broad swath of the church in part because of his efforts to promote a version of the Christian faith amicable towards all denominations by appealing to what all of these theological niches have in common, which could be referred to as mere Christianity.

As such, one of Lewis’ best known apologetic texts is titled none other than Mere Christianity. Originally presented as a series of broadcast talks, Lewis vetted much of his text past four members of the clergy --- an Anglican, a Methodist, a Presbyterian, and a Roman Catholic --- in order to keep denominational idiosyncrasies to a minimum. Because of such conscientious effort, the Christian finds in Mere Christianity a rational defense of the faith of considerable sophistication.

Mere Christianity begins as a recitation of what is known as the moral argument for the existence of God. According to Lewis, the moral law consists of the fundamental rules by which the universe operates and to which all residing within are bound. And even though considerable intellectual resources have been expended to deny its existence, not even those making it their life’s purpose to undermine these eternal principles can escape from them try as they might. Lewis observes, “Whenever you find a man who says he does not believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later. He may break his promise to you, but if you try breaking one to him, he will be complaining ‘It’s not fair’ before you can say ‘Jack Robinson’ (5).”

The very fact that human beings are able to argue that one set of moral claims is superior to another, Lewis observes, is itself proof that some kind of higher law exists. Lewis writes, “Quarrelling means trying to show that the other man is wrong. And there would be no sense in trying to do that unless you and he had some sort of agreement as to what Right and Wrong are; just as there would be no sense in saying that a footballer has committed a foul unless there was some kind of agreement about the rules of football (4).”

Lewis notes, “If no set of moral ideas were truer or better than any other, there would be no sense in preferring...Christian morality to Nazi morality...If your moral ideas can be truer, and those of the Nazis less true, there must be something --- some real morality --- for them to be true about (11).” Thus, the standard by which human moralities are judged stem from a source apart and above them.

From establishing that natural law exists, Lewis moves on to examine where this eternal law originates from. Lewis postulates there are approximately two sources that this law could possibly originate from: the materialist view that the principles governing the universe arose through a process of chance and the religious view that the universe was established by a conscious mind. And since the law comes to us in the form of principles and instructions, this would seem to conclude that the promulgator of this law would have to be mind rather than inanimate matter.

Despite the fact that the universe was meant to run according to moral law, it is obvious from a quick look around that the moral agents operating within it fail to live up to these noble ideals as we are regularly aware of even our own shortcomings. As such, the universe requires a divine intervention to set things right. Lewis writes, “Enemy occupied territory --- that is what the world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed...and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage (36).” This king is none other than Jesus, whom from his own claims, must be God or, as Lewis famously points out, is a lunatic “on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg or a devilish liar (41).” It was the primary purpose of Jesus to suffer and die so that our sins might be forgiven so that we might be made whole in Him.

Fundamental as this message is to man’s eternal salvation, Mere Christianity is also full of practical observations less cosmic and more down to earth. Lewis writes, “Theology is practical. Consequently, if you do not listen to Theology...It will mean that you have a lot of...bad muddled, out of date ideas (120.)” Many of theology’s practical concerns manifest themselves in the form of morality.

Lewis lists morality as being concerned with three matters: harmony between individuals, the inner life of the individual, and the general purpose of human life as a whole (57). Lewis observes that different beliefs about the universe will naturally result in different behaviors and those closest to the truth will produce the best results (58).

Lewis demonstrates how this phenomena manifests itself in a number of ethical spheres, sex being one of interest to just about all people. It is this obsession with sex, Lewis point out, that shows just how out of whack contemporary morality has become. Lewis comically comments that the level to which this biological impulse has been elevated in our own society is akin to a land where the inhabitants have such a prurient interest in food beyond nourishment and wholesome pleasure that the inhabitants watch a plate containing a mutton chop that is uncovered just before the lights go out (75). Ironically, Lewis points out, such deviancy is not usually the result of starvation but rather overindulgence.

Though Lewis is witty in regards to most issues he addresses, even in regards to this beloved Oxford professor, the Christian must remember to be a Berean and measure even his formidable intellect by the standard of Biblical truth. Unfortunately, there are at least two matters that must be approached with caution.

Lewis likens the process of change we go through as Christians to the biological theory of recapitulation where it is believed an embryo passes through the various phases of evolution during development in the womb. Of the process, Lewis writes, “We were once like vegetables, and once rather like fish; it was only at a later stage that we became like human babies (159).”

One hopes that had Lewis lived until more technologically advanced times that he would have not retained this scientifically erroneous theory. For at its most innocent, it is used to justify Darwinisim and from Lewis’ statement one could very well use it to justify abortion.

From another passage, it would seem Lewis tottered dangerously close to a “proto-universalism” in his thought. Lewis writes, “There are people in other religions who are being led by God’s secret influence to concentrate on those parts of their religion which are in agreement with Christianity, and who thus belong to Christ without knowing it (162).”

John 14:6 says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” And Acts 4:12 says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

In writing Mere Christianity, Lewis does a commendable job overall of balancing the theoretical and practical concerns of the faith. As such, Mere Christianity will no doubt continue as a classic apologetics text for decades to come.

by Frederick Meekins

There are answers if you know where to look for them Faith in Christ Lives JOIN the Faith in Jesus Network

Monday, March 7, 2016

Pastor Badgers Congregation To Boycott C.S. Lewis

In a series of sermons against C.S. Lewis posted at, Pastor Jason Cooley creates the impression that it is wrong to read that particular author's works because of areas in which the famed scholar's theology was deficient by the standard of Biblical orthodoxy.

So why is it not wrong for the pastor to have either read these works or to have familiarized himself with this material?

At one point in the sermon, Pastor Cooley shouts like a lunatic asking if anyone in the congregation still wants to read the disputed books or watch movies inspired by these particular texts.

And what if someone responded back “YES!”

In this series of sermons, Pastor Cooley insisted that the title alone of “The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe” ought to be enough to get the believing Christian to avoid the book.

So if witches are evil, what is wrong with casting one in the role of the villain?

Maybe that role should instead, as in the case of many of Stephen King's works of speculative literature, be reserved for ultralegalistic ministers attempting to assert too much control over their congregations and parishioners.

From the sermons, it becomes increasingly apparent that, while Pastor Cooley has a commendable grasp of these areas where caution regarding Lewis would be prudent, the minister does not have much appreciation for the techniques of the literary arts.

This is particularly evident in regards to the scenes Cooley analyzes of Lucy's encounter with the fawn Mr.Tumnus.

For example, Rev. Cooley insists that, since fawns are noted in mythology for their seductive powers, that what Lewis is advocating are indecent carnal relations between underage minors and demoniac spirit beings.

Instead, the greater truth Lewis could be attempting to convey might be for the need to be cautious of that which we might initially find appealing if we consider the literary motif associated with the fawn and how the narrative plays itself out with Mr. Tumnus wanting to capitalize on his initial encounter with Lucy by handing her over to the White Witch.

Sometimes these unsettling realities that we are reluctant to face can be easier to grapple with or stick in the brain in the form of an engaging story rather than be constantly hollered at alone.

However, apparently Pastor Cooley is not much of a proponent of the old adage about a spoonful of sugar getting the medicine to go down.

In his tirades against C.S. Lewis, Pastor Cooley remarked that science fiction is nothing but witchcraft.

As justification for such a claim, Pastor Cooley posits that witchcraft consists of any power that does not come from God.

Once again, what Pastor Cooley possesses in terms of a desire to preserve sound doctrine he sadly lacks in literary understanding.

Admittedly, magic is often an intrinsic component of many forms of fantasy.

However, though science fiction can contain certain mystical elements such as the Force in Star Wars, over all, the genre attempts to provide a technological basis for the impressive wonders described in these works of imagination.

As such, though science fiction can be utilized to promote questionable philosophies, science fiction is morally neutral like most other forms of technology.

As such, does Pastor Cooley condemn the use of electricity or the internal combustion engine?

For though these are based upon natural forces set into motion by God's sustaining power, as in the case of literary speculation in conjecture like science fiction, these are the result of the human mind reflecting upon a fact or a concept and extrapolating from these to configure them in such a way as to result in an until then unrealized application or insight.

Interestingly, developers of these technologies expressed affinities towards ideas and affiliations perhaps even more questionable than those to which C.S. Lewis was drawn.

Henry Ford disseminated “The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion” to promote his particular brand of anti-Semiticism.

Thomas Edison wasn't just at one time a member of Theosophical Society; his research into electricity was intermingled with speculation regarding spiritualist phenomena and communication.

Therefore, does that mean that to remain consistent with Pastor Cooley's call for a radical degree of separation, that Pastor Cooley must repent of his electronic ministries and instead must in faith rely only on those methods utilized by the Apostles in the early days of the Church?

By Frederick Meekins

There are answers if you know where to look for them Faith in Christ Lives JOIN the Faith in Jesus Network