Tag Archives: Gospel

Remember, it is called the Good News for a reason

It is bad enough that Christians aren’t more intentional about sharing the Gospel. But in a twist that Screwtape would be proud of, countless people who profess to follow Christ are actually proud about not sharing the Good News.  Michael Moore gave a good example of this when he said:

I have always believed that one’s religious leanings are deeply personal and should be kept private.

I’m not sure where he came up with that belief, but it isn’t in the Bible.  Since Moore was claiming to speak for Jesus, perhaps he should tell us how the Bible teaches that we should be private about our religious beliefs.  That would make it hard to fulfill the Great Commission: Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

A commenter named Joanne noted that:

Progressive denominations have stopped trying to proselytize with their missionaries YEARS ago. Look at Global Ministries (UCC/Disciples of Christ). They make no efforts to convert people.

She’s right, and it is pathetic that those organizations who willfully withhold the Gospel call themselves churches or “disciples of Christ.”

A regular commenter (“Sunday School Teacher”) noted this:

Our church is currently having a sermon series on Wesley’s “Three Simple Rules”.

The 1st rule is “Do No Harm”. Some people are trying to use this rule to argue that we should not try to change the religious view of others, as this could lead to conflict and thus harm.

I’m glad that SST is trying to lead his church in the right direction, but it is amazing that people learning about John Wesley would ever imagine that he’d discourage people from sharing the Gospel.  They couldn’t be more wrong.

As Paul said in Romans 1:16:

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

From the Newsboys song, I’m Not Ashamed:

What are we sneaking around for?  Who are we trying to please?

Shrugging off sin, apologizing like we’re spreading some kind of disease.  I’m saying no way.  No way.

I’m not ashamed to let you know I want this light in me to show. I’m not ashamed to speak the name of Jesus Christ.

This one says, “It’s a lost cause.  Save your testimonies for church time. ” Other ones say, “You’d better wait until you do a little market research.”

I’m saying no way.  No way.

The Gospel can and will offend people.  We don’t want to add to the offense with our own style, but that is no excuse not to share it.  The bad news is that we are all sinners in need of a Savior.  The Good News — and it is still good news worth sharing — is that there is a Savior.  He is Jesus, and He is the only way to salvation.

Hear the Good News, believe the Good News and share the Good News!  But please don’t identify as a Christian if you think it is bad news and refuse to share it with others.

Paul vs. Jesus? Not exactly.

A thread over at the false gospel-preaching Sojourners Blog had multiple accusations against a commenter about whether Jesus and Paul taught the same Gospel, saying things like:

. . . the question of whether the Gospel according to Paul agrees with the Gospel according to Jesus seem largely ignored.

A commenter there referred to someone quoting Paul as a “Paulian” instead of a “Christian” and a commenter here literally said that “Jesus trumps Paul.”  Another one kept saying that “Paul didn’t know about committed same-sex relationships,” as if the Holy Spirit didn’t know either or wasn’t involved in the writings.  And there have been whole TV shows and analyses about the alleged differences between Jesus and Paul.  But is this really the case?

The “Jesus vs. Paul” debate is what is known as a false dichotomy, or a false dilemma.  It implies that you have to choose one side or the other, when there are actually other options.  Please consider this:

1. Jesus is God.  The Bible is the word of God.  Therefore, it is all the word of Jesus.  The original writings turned out just like He wanted them to, including Paul’s letters.

2. The “red letters” (direct quotes of Jesus sometimes printed in red ink) carry no more authority than any of the other verses, let alone the ~3,000 verses saying, “God said,” “The word of the Lord came to me,” etc.

3. Roughly 10% of the “red letters” quoted the “black letters.”  Jesus unapologetically and frequently quoted from the Old Testament, including the most controversial parts such as Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah and Sodom and Gomorrah.  And the red letters said to believe black letters: Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

4. Peter referred to Paul’s writings as scripture.  This verse not only demonstrates that but exposes why the “Christian” Left dislikes Paul and misinterprets him!

2 Peter 3:16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

5. None of the people making this argument seem to question what Luke wrote in his Gospel, so why do they question what Luke documented about Paul in the book of Acts, including his encounters with Jesus and his acceptance by the other Apostles?

6. Unless you think Paul made up his whole story — which would raise a whole new set of issues — then his claims are just as authoritative as the Gospel writers.

For example, Luke was not a direct follower of Jesus but was a careful historian and under the tutelage of Paul.  Mark leveraged Peter for his Gospel.  But Paul heard directly from Jesus.

7. Think about how much you know about the concept of grace and love and where that came from.  Do you really want to toss that out?  Why don’t these “Christian” Leftists object when someone quotes 1 Corinthians 13?

8. Jesus and Paul don’t disagree.  The clear trumps the unclear, but a Gospel writer’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings doesn’t trump Paul’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings.

9.  Much of Paul’s writings pre-date the Gospels.

So I don’t think Paul disagrees with what others documented directly and indirectly about Jesus, and even if they did you wouldn’t necessarily go with the Gospels.

Quoting Paul doesn’t make one a “Paulian” instead of a Christian, it just means you are quoting the word of God.  Don’t let anyone dismiss your claims because you quote Paul.  And be wary of those arguing against Paul — because they are also arguing against the Holy Spirit.

Just quote scripture, in context.  It’s all good.

Here’s another reason the “Christian” Left denies that Peter wrote 2 Peter: He describes them perfectly!

This passage is about wolves like the “Christian” Leftists, who not only dismiss Paul’s writings (at least all the parts they don’t like) but Peter’s as well. They mock the early church as rubes who didn’t “know” that the writings attributed to Peter weren’t authentic.  Of course they must do that! See how Peter affirm’s Paul’s writings as scripture and then describes the “Christian” Left and their ilk in the most unflattering terms, outing them as ignorant and unstable scripture-twisters.

2 Peter 3:15-16 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

—–

More on the “Jesus vs. Paul” false dichotomy of the “Christian” Left:

A thread over at the false gospel-preaching Sojourners Blog had multiple accusations against a commenter about whether Jesus and Paul taught the same Gospel, saying things like:

. . . the question of whether the Gospel according to Paul agrees with the Gospel according to Jesus seem largely ignored.

A commenter there referred to someone quoting Paul as a “Paulian” instead of a “Christian” and a commenter here literally said that “Jesus trumps Paul.”  Another one kept saying that “Paul didn’t know about committed same-sex relationships,” as if the Holy Spirit didn’t know either or wasn’t involved in the writings.  And there have been whole TV shows and analyses about the alleged differences between Jesus and Paul.  But is this really the case?

The “Jesus vs. Paul” debate is what is known as a false dichotomy, or a false dilemma.  It implies that you have to choose one side or the other, when there are actually other options.  Please consider this:

1. Jesus is God.  The Bible is the word of God.  Therefore, it is all the word of Jesus.  The original writings turned out just like He wanted them to, including Paul’s letters.

2. The “red letters” (direct quotes of Jesus sometimes printed in red ink) carry no more authority than any of the other verses, let alone the ~3,000 verses saying, “God said,” “The word of the Lord came to me,” etc.

3. Roughly 10% of the “red letters” quoted the “black letters.”  Jesus unapologetically and frequently quoted from the Old Testament, including the most controversial parts such as Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah and Sodom and Gomorrah.

4. Peter referred to Paul’s writings as scripture.  This verse not only demonstrates that but exposes why the “Christian” Left dislikes Paul and misinterprets him!

2 Peter 3:16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

5. None of the people making this argument seem to question what Luke wrote in his Gospel, so why do they question what Luke documented about Paul in the book of Acts, including his encounters with Jesus and his acceptance by the other Apostles?

6. Unless you think Paul made up his whole story — which would raise a whole new set of issues — then his claims are just as authoritative as the Gospel writers.

For example, Luke was not a direct follower of Jesus but was a careful historian and under the tutelage of Paul.  Mark leveraged Peter for his Gospel.  But Paul heard directly from Jesus.

7. Think about how much you know about the concept of grace and where that came from.  Do you really want to toss that out?

8. Jesus and Paul don’t disagree.  The clear trumps the unclear, but a Gospel writer’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings doesn’t trump Paul’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings.

9.  Much of Paul’s writings pre-date the Gospels.

So I don’t think Paul disagrees with what others documented directly and indirectly about Jesus, and even if they did you wouldn’t necessarily go with the Gospels.

Quoting Paul doesn’t make one a “Paulian” instead of a Christian, it just means you are quoting the word of God.  Don’t let anyone dismiss your claims because you quote Paul.  And be wary of those arguing against Paul.

Just quote scripture, in context.  It’s all good.

There is another way: The Christian way.

If you came into church shaking your metaphorical fist at God and insisting that we teach that homosexual behavior isn’t a sin, that Jesus is OK with killing unwanted children up their first breath*, that Jesus doesn’t have a divine nature, that the Bible is full of mistakes and was written by blasphemous liars**, etc., then I’d say, “Sorry, but you’ve come to the wrong place. The United Church of Christ building is up the street.”  The “Christian” Left is all about rebellion against God and that won’t turn out well for you now or for eternity.

But if you came in and said that you are tempted by same-sex attraction, or had an abortion, or pressured someone to have an abortion, or spent time in prison, etc., but were a Bible-believer or wanted to know how to get right with God on his terms, then I’d have lots of time for you, and lots of Good News.

I repeat: Lots of time, and lots of Good News.

Most people can see the distinction between the two scenarios. The “Christian” Left can’t — or, more accurately, won’t. They pretend that you are either pro-abortion and pro-LGBTQX extremism like they are or you are like Democrat Fred Phelps. But there is another way. The Christian way.

I’ve seen it work spectacularly well in pregnancy center ministry and prison ministry.  You can reach the “least of these” — the ones rejected by society and even their family and friends — with the love and truth of Christ and see remarkable transformations.  It works with regular people, too.

All grace and no truth makes no sense, because you don’t need grace if you aren’t a guilty rebel against your creator.  And all truth and no grace will just leave you crushed under the weight of a hopeless works-based righteousness system (i.e., every system besides Christianity, which has a monopoly on grace).

Jesus had the perfect balance of grace and truth.  Strive for that every day.  I absolutely love this verse:

John 1:14 (ESV) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

—–

*The “Christian” Left is far more extreme in their pro-abortion agenda than the average pro-choice person. They insist that life begins at the first breath and insist that Jesus is fine with killing unwanted children until that point.  I realize how ridiculous their views sound and how many people must think I’m making a straw-man argument. But that is just because their own words are so clear and extreme: “According to the bible, a fetus is not a living person with a soul until after drawing its first breath.”  More here about how to respond, with full, in-context quotes from them.

**Rachel Held Evans: “God never told the Israelites to kill the Canaanites. The Israelites believed that God told them to kill the Canaanites.”  Sure, Rachel.  Should I believe the authors of the Bible or the ones who call them blasphemous liars and just happen to agree with the world on all major issues?

I love to see churches that end up multi-ethnic, but not those that aim at it

Alternate title: Just. Preach. The Gospel.

I have deeply appreciated the opportunity to worship in different cultures in Bible believing churches: the Methodist church in Singapore, a few churches in Kenya, black churches in the U.S. (mainly for funerals), a multi-ethnic church in Ohio, multi-ethnic worship with prisoners, and more.  I love how preaching the real Gospel will break down barriers like skin color and income.

But I really don’t like the idea of putting multi-ethnicity first.  These apparently Gospel-believing people seem well-intentioned but are missing the point.  Via Mosaix Leaders Summit Sets Ambitious Goal of Planting 1,000 Multi-Ethnic Churches in 10 Years.

A first-of-its-kind gathering of over 25 different influential Christian organizations and leaders, including the Southern Baptist Convention and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Charlotte), convened this week to discuss and trade ideas on how to plant and grow multi-ethnic churches throughout North America, including strategies to establish 1,000 such churches over the next seven to ten years.

The Christian Post obtained the program of the closed-door, two-day meeting titled the 2015 Multi-Ethnic Church Planting Leaders Summit in Charlotte, North Carolina. The event, from Wednesday to Thursday, was organized by Mosaix Global Network along with Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Center for the Development of Evangelical Leadership in Charlotte.

In addition to discussion on strategic partnerships to establish 1,000 multi-ethnic churches within the next decade, attendees also discussed how to facilitate the process of 20 percent of the churches in North America, having 20 percent racial diversity by 2020.

. . .

The Mosaix website underscores that “according to research, more than 86 percent of all churches in the United States are segregated, with more than 80 percent of their membership representing a single race or ethnic group.”

So are they telling the black churches I’ve visited that they are racist for having nearly 100% black members?  Do they propose quotas?  Do they not see that some cultures prefer to worship in different ways?  Do they not see that most people like to worship close to home, which typically means a more homogeneous congregation?

They seem to ignore worship preferences.  For example, I’m not a hand-waver in church.  If I did that it wouldn’t be sincere.  But if other cultures can do that with sincerity I wouldn’t want to them to change on my account.  I’m pretty liberal that way.

I hope these churches focus on sharing the real Gospel with anyone who will listen and let God sort out who worships in what building.  Of course we should welcome anyone with a sincere interest in following Jesus, but all you need for that is the Gospel.

If you can’t dictate the terms to a McDonald’s cashier, what makes you think you can do so with God?

If you authentically seek God on his terms, you will find him. If you think you get to sit in judgement of the real God, you will not find him.  If you “seek” a god of your own making, you will not find him – except in the mirror, and as you know that god has rather limited powers.  If you think that pretending He doesn’t exist will make him go away, you are mistaken.

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

 

Romans 9:20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?

That may sound obvious, but think about how many people insist that all religions lead to God.  Lots of false teachers in churches will tell you such things.  People claim that they wouldn’t believe in a God who says that homosexual behavior is a sin or who sends guilty sinners to Hell, as if not liking someone makes them disappear.

An acquaintance once noted that he would never believe in a God that would send his Jewish friend to Hell.  What was lost on this college-educated person is that whether he liked God or not, if the one true God will send non-believers to Hell then that is what will happen.  God is not going to disappear because this guy doesn’t like his terms and conditions.  And being in Hell with his friend is not going to make it better for either of them.  Side note: If the subject weren’t so serious it would be amusing how certain people are that they will be happier in Hell or that they get to spend time with friends and family there.

They don’t recognize the absurdity of thinking something doesn’t exist just because they don’t like it or the idea that they can tell the real God what He must be like.

What if you went to a company for a job and demanded that they hire you on your terms?  Hey, go ahead and ask for a million dollar salary and unlimited vacation.  Ridiculous, eh?  But only a tiny fraction as ridiculous as thinking you are going to tell God how things must be.

Or tell the cop who pulled you over that you set the speed limits today and that he is wasting your time.  Or pretend that he doesn’t exist because you don’t like him.

Or tell your teacher that she has to give you an A+ even though you won’t come to class, do homework or take tests.

Or if you are still at home, tell your parents that you set the rules now.

Better yet, go to McDonald’s and tell the cashier to give you your entire meal for $1 because you set the prices and see how that works.

If you can’t dictate terms to the person barely and momentarily higher than you on the cosmic organization chart, what makes you think that the one true God must answer to you or that pretending He doesn’t exist will make him disappear?  

God sets the terms, not us.  His first commandments make that explicit.  Better yet, the first verse of the Bible makes that clear.

What makes anyone think they get to dictate the terms of the universe and eternal life to the one true God?  Pride.  Satanic pride (“Did God really say . . .?”).

Be bold in prayer, but know that God still sets the terms.  Ask tough questions, but know that God is ultimately just and all-knowing (also see Job 38).  Seek him earnestly, but humbly and on his terms.

Where do you find his terms?  In the Bible.  They are indescribably generous.  All you have to do is repent and trust in Jesus.  No good deeds required – though in response to his mercy and grace and by the power of the Holy Spirit you’ll be inspired to do good deeds.  Better yet, not only are all your sins forgiven but God will credit Jesus’ perfect righteousness to your account.  It is the ultimate trade, but that is the only way to get there.

If you “seek” a god of your own making, you will not find the one true God.  If you’ve been doing that, stop kidding yourself.  Eternity is a mighty long time to regret your foolish pride.

If you authentically seek God on his terms, you will find him.

Acts 17:26–27 (ESV) And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us . . .

 

Luke 11:9-13 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.  What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

If you are a believer, try using this line of thinking when sharing the Good News with others.  Ask someone what they think happens when they die, then use the 10 Commandments to point to their sinfulness and need of a Savior.  Explain how God sets the terms of engagement and how remarkably loving and generous they are.  Note how these same terms applied to you and how grateful you are for them.  If they start judging God or pretending that they can ignore him if they don’t like his ways, use any of the examples above to push a reset button on them.  They may not repent and believe on the spot, but you will disarm them of a really bad line of thinking and hopefully plant a seed that someone else will water.

Repent.

Kevin DeYoung is a terrific pastor who wrote a great piece on repentance: Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven Is at Hand.  I encourage you to read it all.  It is a key part of Jesus’ message that is so easy to leave out.

Revelation 9:20-21 “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.”

God’s word to the peoples of the world is not only an offer of grace, nor even less simply a call to live rightly, nor even less still a promise to make all our dreams come true if we just have faith. We have not heard all that God wants to say to us unless we have heard his command to repent.

Ezekiel said “Repent and turn from your transgressions” (Ezek. 18:30). John the Baptist said “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2). Jesus said “Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Peter said “Repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38). And Paul said God “commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).

Repentance has never been easy. No one likes to be told “Die to yourself. Kill that in you. Admit you are wrong and change.” That’s never been an easy sell. It’s much easier to get a crowd by leaving out the repentance part of faith, but it’s not faithful. It’s not even Christianity. Of course, there is a whole lot more to following Jesus than repentance, but it’s certainly not less. “Repent,” Jesus said, or “you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5).

If you don’t repent, you will perish.

His section on how repentance isn’t remorse, embarrassment or apology is important, because we often confuse those things and think we’ve repented.

. . . So regret is easy, embarrassment is easy, and apology is easy. Repentance, on the other hand, is very hard and, therefore, much rarer. Repentance involves two things: a change of mind and a change of behavior.

Repentance means you change your mind. That’s what the Greek word metanoia means– a changed (meta) mind (noia).

You change your mind about yourself: “I am not fundamentally a good person deep down. I am not the center of the universe. I am not the king of the world or even my life.”

You change your mind about sin: “I am responsible for my actions. My past hurts do not excuse my present failings. My offenses against God and against others are not trivial. I do not live or think or feel as I should.”

And you change your mind about God: “He is trustworthy. His word is sure. He is able to forgive and to save. I believe in his Son, Jesus Christ. I owe him my life and my allegiance. He is my King and my Sovereign, and he wants what is best for me. I believe it!”

Repentance is hard because changing someone’s mind is hard. In fact, when we’re dealing with spiritual matters of the heart, God’s the only one who can really change your mind. People are simply not predisposed to say “I was wrong! I was wrong about God and about myself. My whole way of looking at the world has been in error. I want to change.” That’s repentance. And it’s amazing when it happens.

. . .

Repentance also involves a change of behavior. It’s like a train conductor driving his train down the tracks straight for the side of a mountain. It’s one thing for him to realize and admit that his train his going in the wrong direction. It’s another thing to stop the train and it get it going in the opposite direction.

. . .

If we preach a “gospel” with no call to repentance we are preaching something other than the apostolic gospel.

If we knowing allow unconcerned, impenitent sinners into the membership and ministry of the church, we are deceiving their souls and putting ours at risk as well.

If we think people can find a Savior without forsaking their sin, we do not know what sort of Savior Jesus Christ is.

There are few things more important in life than repentance. So important, that Revelation, and the gospels, and the epistles, and the Old Testament make clear that you don’t go to heaven without it.

Is Christianity too narrow?

Shouldn’t there be other ways for God to save the world?  John recently asked if there were Too few means to salvation?

One common complaint against Christianity is the doctrine of exclusivism.  The teaching that there is only one true God and only one true religion is something some people just find objectionable.  Whether they find this to be arrogant, narrow-minded, elitist, or worse; they think the idea that there is only one way to God in order to be saved is distasteful.  But what if Jesus wasn’t the only way and there were more than one way to salvation?  How many would be sufficient?

It is a logical question to ask, especially in our culture.  Even many of those filling church pews each week sit in judgment of God and his word and think that the truth that Jesus is the only way to salvation is too restrictive (because there are “only” 100+ passages affirming that truth).  They are ironically exclusive in demanding that others be inclusive.

And of course, if Jesus isn’t the only way then He isn’t a way at all.  If Christianity — and Jesus himself — claimed that He was the exclusive way to salvation, then if even one other religion is correct then Christianity is false.  Those who claim the name of Christ while saying that other paths can lead to salvation should reconsider their views.

It is hard to imagine something more obvious than this: You must meet the creator of the universe on his terms, not yours. He starts off perfectly fair, giving all what they deserve. Then He becomes extremely unfair by offering grace to those who accept the sacrifice made on their behalf.

God is completely inclusive in the sense of offering salvation and forgiveness to all who come to him on his terms. Any type of sinner, any age, any culture, any gender, etc. is welcomed.

God is completely exclusive in that if you reject his terms then He will reject you.

1 John 5:11-12 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Complaining that there is only one way to salvation is the height of ingratitude and another symptom of Romans 1-style rebellion and suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. If God offered two ways, then people would complain that there aren’t three, and so on.

Just get on your knees and thank him that there is a way at all!

One of the commenters at the link said this:

Of course, it is difficult enough to exonerate god for the behavior of god (such as described in the Bible).

He expressed the typically incoherent thoughts of atheists. They insist on the fantasy that the universe came into being without a cause, that life came from non-life, that life evolved to caterpillar/butterflies, elephants, humans, etc. and that there is no ultimate accountability for your actions. And then they can’t go three sentences without making moral judgments! If they were slightly consistent with their worldview they’d “know” that Darwinian evolution was the sole cause for all religions, including Christianity and my conversion from atheism to the belief in the evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. So why are they critical of the products of evolution? Why do they make moral judgments when they would “know” that there is no such thing as universal morality that and that we would agree with or even care about their standards? These Romans 1 poster children tip their hands at every turn.

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

More bad news: You’ll be judged on the standard of Jesus, not by comparing your best traits to your neighbor’s worst traits. All your deepest, darkest secrets will be brought to light and judged by a holy and perfect God.

Romans 2:15-16 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

It is foolish and rebellious to think that you get to define whether God exists and what He must be like. Repent and believe while you still have time. Eternity is a mighty long time to suffer for your foolish pride. Seek God on his incredibly gracious terms and not only will your past, present and future sins be completely forgiven, but you will have the righteousness of Christ imputed to you.

Jesus — fully human and fully divine — came to live the perfect life in your place and to die for your sins.  That is worth celebrating.

Paul vs. Jesus? Not exactly.

A thread over at the false gospel-preaching Sojourners Blog had multiple accusations against a commenter about whether Jesus and Paul taught the same Gospel, saying things like:

. . . the question of whether the Gospel according to Paul agrees with the Gospel according to Jesus seem largely ignored.

A commenter there referred to someone quoting Paul as a “Paulian” instead of a “Christian” and a commenter here literally said that “Jesus trumps Paul.”  Another one kept saying that “Paul didn’t know about committed same-sex relationships,” as if the Holy Spirit didn’t know either or wasn’t involved in the writings.  And there have been whole TV shows and analyses about the alleged differences between Jesus and Paul.  But is this really the case?

The “Jesus vs. Paul” debate is what is known as a false dichotomy, or a false dilemma.  It implies that you have to choose one side or the other, when there are actually other options.  Please consider this:

1. Jesus is God.  The Bible is the word of God.  Therefore, it is all the word of Jesus.  The original writings turned out just like He wanted them to, including Paul’s letters.

2. The “red letters” (direct quotes of Jesus sometimes printed in red ink) carry no more authority than any of the other verses, let alone the ~3,000 verses saying, “God said,” “The word of the Lord came to me,” etc.

3. Roughly 10% of the “red letters” quoted the “black letters.”  Jesus unapologetically and frequently quoted from the Old Testament, including the most controversial parts such as Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah and Sodom and Gomorrah.  And the red letters said to believe black letters: Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

4. Peter referred to Paul’s writings as scripture.  This verse not only demonstrates that but exposes why the “Christian” Left dislikes Paul and misinterprets him!

2 Peter 3:16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

5. None of the people making this argument seem to question what Luke wrote in his Gospel, so why do they question what Luke documented about Paul in the book of Acts, including his encounters with Jesus and his acceptance by the other Apostles?

6. Unless you think Paul made up his whole story — which would raise a whole new set of issues — then his claims are just as authoritative as the Gospel writers.

For example, Luke was not a direct follower of Jesus but was a careful historian and under the tutelage of Paul.  Mark leveraged Peter for his Gospel.  But Paul heard directly from Jesus.

7. Think about how much you know about the concept of grace and love and where that came from.  Do you really want to toss that out?  Why don’t these “Christian” Leftists object when someone quotes 1 Corinthians 13?

8. Jesus and Paul don’t disagree.  The clear trumps the unclear, but a Gospel writer’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings doesn’t trump Paul’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings.

9.  Much of Paul’s writings pre-date the Gospels.

So I don’t think Paul disagrees with what others documented directly and indirectly about Jesus, and even if they did you wouldn’t necessarily go with the Gospels.

Quoting Paul doesn’t make one a “Paulian” instead of a Christian, it just means you are quoting the word of God.  Don’t let anyone dismiss your claims because you quote Paul.  And be wary of those arguing against Paul — because they are also arguing against the Holy Spirit.

Just quote scripture, in context.  It’s all good.

The Telephone Game and the Bible

phone.jpgMany people are familiar with the telephone game often used with kids to show the challenges and importance of clear communication.  It usually works with a message being given to one person, who has one chance to pass it along to another person, who does the same for the next person, and so on.  By the time it gets to the end the message is usually hilariously (?) garbled.

Sometimes skeptics will use the telephone game analogy to criticize the writings of the Bible, and of the Gospels in particular.  Their premise is that the message was transmitted orally for at least a couple decades (and, by their often convoluted reasoning, many decades), so of course it got changed many times before it was put to paper.

But that game is different from how the oral transmissions that make up the Bible in many key ways:

  1. The Bible wasn’t translated just one-on-one.  There were many witnesses and many people who heard and recounted the events.  People would catch errors instantly.
  2. They didn’t get just one try.  In the telephone game you only get one chance, but in real life – and especially with the New Testament – Jesus probably gave the same message many times, and people repeated it many times with overlapping audiences.  Again, errors would be caught quickly.
  3. Transmitters were well trained in memorizing stories.  People in that culture – especially Jewish men – were trained to memorize things well.  Many Muslims memorize the whole Koran even in our times.
  4. The message being transmitted wasn’t insignificant.  These people thought they had the words of life, and they worked hard to communicate it carefully.  And they often risked their lives to communicate this message. A good analogy I heard was that if a group of cancer patients went to hear someone describe how they could be cured, they would be inclined to pay close attention and to collectively document the information accurately.
  5. The New Testament writers had the benefit of the Holy Spirit to guide them.  I don’t think the Holy Spirit is actively involved in too many instances of the regular telephone game.
  6. Paul’s letters and others were firsthand accounts of events, so no oral tradition was involved.  And we can be highly confident that the original writings were accurately transmitted to us.

A more detailed perspective is available here.

I was surprised to see an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies note that he actually uses this game to teach college students about the Gospels (a link came to my site from his blog via the “related posts” section).  I didn’t realize his background before my first comment, then read more after he responded.  Here’s one of my replies (his words are in italics):

—–

I’ve used the telephone game to teach the gospels a number of times, but it troubles me.

A college prof thinks that is a good way to teach anything? Sad.

On the one hand, of course teaching the gospels by playing the telephone game makes perfect sense: what we have in the New Testament today does not reflect what actually happened in 0 to 35 C.E.

Hmmm . . . if you know what “really” happened perhaps you could enlighten us as to what that was and how you “know” it.

Second, even after they were written down, the stories were copied by scribes who altered the text—textual transmission is just as subject to changes as oral transmission.

False. Even pagan skeptics like Bart Ehrman concede that we know with > 99% confidence what the originals said. The system works, that’s why most Bibles footnote that the ending of Mark and the story of the woman at the well were not in the earliest manuscripts.

Ehrman just makes up a new rule that says that if every copy wasn’t perfect then the originals couldn’t have been inspired (we call that “making God in your own image”).

If you take the two most divergent manuscript streams you still get the same thing: Orthodox Christianity.

However, it is worth nothing that textual transmission may leave alternate editions that permit comparison—to my knowledge historians won’t be able to compare existing texts to oral tellings until they have time machines.

Of course. That’s why you should always assume the opposite of anything ever recorded by anyone.

One can illustrate this point by playing the telephone game: read just a single verse from one of the gospels and have the students pass the message up and down the rows by whispering it to one other.

As noted in my first comment, that is not how the Gospels were transmitted. In theory, you could go to a professor of religious studies and they’d enlighten you as to how it really worked.

So, for instance, we shouldn’t read the gospel of Matthew with an eye to the extent to which it preserves the original message of Jesus, but with an eye to the problems his community was facing some 40 to 60 years after Jesus died, and how he hoped to resolve those problems by writing up some new propaganda.

First, that dating is all wrong. It is easy to demonstrate that the most logical case for the NT datings has the Gospels being written before 70 A.D.

Second, it is hard to imagine someone actually reading the Gospels and coming to that conclusion. Over 25% of the Gospels focus on the Passion Week. How does that represent some solution to an unrelated problem?

The problem is that we are sinners in need of a Savior and Jesus is that Savior. His death on the cross paid the price for us.

You might want to trade in the religious studies gig for fiction writing.

Best. Playlist. Ever.

I’ve really enjoyed a new Bible playlist on a my iPhone.  It took some time to set up but it was worth it.  It covers the entire Bible in 150 days (with Proverbs repeating every 30 days — one chapter a day except for the first day, which has two).  It includes a variety of areas each day.  It is roughly 36 minutes per day, which is about the length of my morning commute.

Each day has:

  • 1 chapter of Proverbs
  • 1 Psalm
  • 4-5 chapters of the Old Testament (I used the chronological version)
  • 1-2 chapters of the New Testament (basically in order, though I spread the Gospels out so it has Matthew, then Acts, then some letters, then Mark, then some letters, etc. and ends up with John)

For example, day 1 had chapters 1-9 below, day 2 had 10-17, etc.  To state the obvious, you could still enjoy the variety even if you don’t listen to 8-9 chapters in one day.

itune

You can get free audio Bible downloads in a variety of translations at Faith Comes By Hearing.  You can also contribute to them to help get the audio Bible out in hundreds of languages around the world.  This is vital for people who can’t read.  If you ever go on a mission trip be sure to take some of their Proclaimer audio devices.

If you haven’t tried listening to the Bible, give it a try — even if it is just a chapter per day.  Redeem your commute, or your workout, or your chores, or whatever else you do!

Roundup

Obama’s Snooping Excludes Mosques, Missed Boston Bombers — This the most heinous thing of all with their un-Constitutional searches.  Just as with airport security, they deliberately avoid those most likely to be guilty.

The Art of Leading Congregational Worship — good tips.

1. If we, the congregation, can’t hear ourselves, it’s not worship. Christian worship is not a concert. . . .When the amped sound of the praise band overwhelms congregational voices, we can’t hear ourselves sing–so we lose that communal aspect of the congregation and are encouraged to effectively become “private,” passive worshipers.

2. If we, the congregation, can’t sing along, it’s not worship. … And so your virtuosity gives rise to our passivity; your creativity simply encourages our silence. And while you may be worshiping with your creativity, the same creativity actually shuts down congregational song.

Worship leaders, if you look out over the congregation and you see that we are not singing with you, something has gone wrong. Are you jamming alone up there for extended periods of time? Are you changing well-known melodies just enough to surprise us and make us hesitant to sing out, and/or adding flair that we can’t follow? Are you choosing soloistic songs with complicated melodies rather than musically simple ones designed for group singing?

False teacher spotlight: Rachel Held Evans gets a lot of play in the media posing as an evangelical Christian, but she is anything but.  I don’t care for any false teachers, but I at least prefer those who don’t pretend to be on our side.  Via A Response to Rachel Held Evans on the Today Show | Denny Burk (read it all to see how badly she mocks the  Bible and creates a god in her own image):

4. Redefinition of “evangelical.” Both Natalie Morales and the author identify Evans as an evangelical. I have already written about this elsewhere at length, but I will reiterate here. Evans’ definition of evangelical misses the mark on a number of points. Evans denies the inerrancy of scripture and says that “as a woman I have been nursing a secret grudge against the apostle Paul for about eight years.” As a young adult, she says that she stopped believing in the “Bible’s exclusive authority, inerrancy, perspicuity, and internal consistency.” She came to the conclusion that “the Bible wasn’t what I’d once believed it to be.” Evans has also pressed the case for inclusivism—the view that says people need not have conscious faith in Jesus Christ in order to be saved—and she rejects exclusivism. In a recent post, she defines the gospel without reference to the death and resurrection of Jesus and adopts the reductionism of counterimperial interpreters who say that the “good news” is “Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not.” She supports gay marriage, and she has served communion to practicing homosexuals. We could go on, but that is enough to make it clear that her definition of “evangelical” is strained at best. At worse, it’s not anything close to approaching evangelical. She is not a representative of evangelical faith, despite the assumptions of the reporters at the Today Show.

The One Thing Liberals Fear You Will Do — Abandon government education.

New study: health benefits of marriage are unique to opposite-sex unions — They still aren’t equal.

Students Taught about Homosexual Foreplay Disguised As Tolerance — Oh, but they aren’t trying to indoctrinate anyone!  Right.  These people should be in jail.

An interesting thought exercise I saw on Facebook that exposes the ridiculous idea of people picking their “real” gender.

Extend the “gender identity” idea to race: imagine the outrage if someone declared their “race identity” was black or Native American and demanded, say, affirmative action in the form of scholarships, “even if it isn’t the one that matches their biological [race] at birth?”

And this as well:

Something I don’t understand: If your body actually is male and your mind says it is female, why do we assume that means there is something wrong with the body instead of something wrong with the mind?

If you have an emotional problem with your body’s gender, it seems like common sense that we need to address the emotions which contradict reality instead of the gender which is perfectly fine.
Caleb Jones

The Last Place You Look for New Members — A great post about preaching the Gospel at funerals.  I heard someone once say they didn’t want the Gospel preached at their funeral.  I thought, “Are you kidding me?  That is the last time many of those people will think about me and what I cared about.  While I’ve got their attention I certainly want them to hear the Gospel.”

I’m learning that the Word of God is more than sufficient for every occasion, including—if not especially—funerals. This is why Paul so often declared he wasn’t ashamed of the good news, for it is God’s power unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). For timid Timothys like me, it seems a bit frightening to bring this otherworldly power and wild grace to grieving family members in a funeral service. And yet, not once has someone complained to Tim. On the contrary, even unbelievers and nominal church members appreciate and admire his courage. Perhaps people respect a potent and passionate faith more than a watery and universal hope, even if they don’t agree. And maybe they are even less inclined to so easily dismiss it on their way to the graveside service.

Stan on the “least of these” — the passage actually refers to the least of these my brothers, so it is about fellow believers, not everyone on the planet.  That doesn’t mean you can’t help non-Christians, but that isn’t what Matthew 25 is about.

I saw that misquoted dozens of times (literally) at the Leftist Sojourners’ blog this week.  And of course, these people were helping the least of these with other people’s money and they were pro-abortion (i.e., they voted Democrat and none disagreed with their unrestricted, taxpayer-funded abortion platform), which is a peculiar way to care for the “least of these.”

Gore Says Obama Needs To Get Serious On Dealing With Hotcoldwetdry

Alternate headline: Man with massive “carbon footprint” and lots of money at stake says other man with largest “carbon footprint” in the world needs to Do Something about no statistically significant warming in 15+ years.

The war on young girls: Obama administration approves Plan B morning after pill for young girls

Janice Crouse, also of CWFA, responded: “Once again, those who yell the loudest about caring about the nation’s children and youth applaud a decision to place our kids in a special interest experiment. Plan B, popularly called the ‘morning-after pill’ is a much-higher-dosage version of the regular birth control pill (which used to require a doctor’s prescription and continued doctor’s supervision). It is irresponsible to advocate over-the-counter use of these high-potency drugs, which would make them available to anyone – including those predators who exploit young girls. Mark my words, it will not be long before we see girls and women forced to purchase Plan B for their abuser to keep them and others enslaved. This is a pimp, predator, and pedophile’s dream – unlimited access to Plan B.”

She added: “This is a political decision, made by those who stand to profit financially from an action that puts ideology ahead of the nation’s girls and young women. Where is the scientific data and solid reasoning behind a decision that endangers minors?”

Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America also weighed in on the decision.

She told LifeNews: “President Obama is waging a War on Girls by allowing young children to get Plan B without a physician or parent’s care or knowledge. The morning after pill is a megadose of the birth-control pill, which has been categorized by the World Health Organization as a Group I carcinogen. That’s the highest possible ranking – cigarettes are also in Group I. So why are drugstores required to put cigarettes behind the counter and ask for a photo id to stop minors from purchasing them, but President Obama is now ordering the morning after pill be sold over the counter, next to candy bars and packs of gum?  This is not reproductive justice, this is child abuse.”

Just to be clear, according to the drug manufacturer, Plan B does cause abortions in some situations by preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg.

John Lennon Stopped Yoko Ono From Having Abortion of Son Sean

Equal rights!

Book recommendation: Cold-Case Christianity

Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels by J. Warner Wallace was even better than expected.  I figured it would be a good refresher on some basic apologetics, but he offered a lot fresh angles and was very interesting to read.

A few highlights  . . .

He noticed how John’s Gospel never refers to Jesus’ mother by name, and then points out how that would be logical given that Jesus asked John to take her as his mother.  He wrote the Gospel a few decades later, so it might have been odd for him to call her by her first name.

The differences between the Gospel writers made so much sense when the texts were analyzed forensically.   For example:

Mark used specific titles to describe Peter, gave him priority in the narrative, uniquely included information related to Peter, and copied Peter’s preaching outline when structuring his own gospel. These circumstantial facts support the claims of the early church fathers who identified Peter as the source of Mark’s information. By hanging on every word, we were able to construct a reasonable circumstantial case for the gospel of Mark as an eyewitness account. When combined with the testimony of the early church, this evidence becomes even more powerful.

He does a great job of annihilating the conspiracy theory angle of skeptics.

Don’t get me wrong, successful conspiracies occur every day. But they typically involve a small number of incredibly close-knit participants who are in constant contact with one another for a very short period of time without any outside pressure. That wasn’t the case for the disciples. These men and women either were involved in the greatest conspiracy of all time or were simply eyewitnesses who were telling the truth. The more I learned about conspiracies, the more the latter seemed to be the most reasonable conclusion.

As a VP of Internal Audit, one of the roles of my team is to investigate thefts and other issues, so I found the interrogation and evidence-gathering parts to be fascinating.  I have a 70 yr. old investigator who is amazing at what he does.  He is a committed Christian and will enjoy this book!

Jim Wallis officially supports oxymoronic “Same-Sex Marriage”

No surprise: Jim Wallis Now Supports Same-Sex Marriage. Of course he always supported it, he just didn’t have the guts to say so.

If anyone is surprised then they haven’t followed Wallis closely.  Mr. “Social Justice” is on board with not only legalized abortion but taxpayer-funded abortions.  He is also on record as saying that the “Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” (he should read Galatians 1 again).  He is a false teacher and this is just more evidence of it.  He doesn’t care what the Bible says, he just waited until it profited him to “change his mind.”

Roundup

Good news: Five reasons to believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead — it isn’t just that I love the “minimal facts” argument for explaining why Christianity is true and supportable by facts and logic, this article was actually in the Washington Post.  Hopefully it got lots of people to reconsider matters of eternal importance.

Professor Gary Habermas had the following piece in the Washington Post (of all places).  It’s not often that a politically-left leaning media outlet allows content which shines positive light onto Christianity.

(Washington Post) – I will assume nothing special about the New Testament writings whatsoever. I will use only the historical information that is accepted as historical by virtually all scholars who have studied this material today-no matter how skeptical or liberal they are. That means, for example, that I will only cite New Testament passages, ones that pass the customary skeptical standards and are recognized as such. Using only these “minimal facts,” I will still maintain that Jesus’ resurrection is the most likely explanation for what we know.

[…]

(1) Most scholars agree that Jesus’ tomb was discovered empty shortly afterwards. With almost two dozen reasons favoring this report alone, what best explains this? Other hypotheses do not account for all the data.

(2) Many eyewitnesses assert that they saw the risen Jesus, both individually and in groups. Even apart from the Gospels, we can establish this totally from just two passages in Paul’s “undisputed writings”:

–Paul told the Corinthians that he had received the Gospel resurrection report from others (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).

–The consensus critical view is that Paul probably obtained this material in Jerusalem, when he visited the eyewitness apostles Peter and James, the brother of Jesus (Galatians 1:18-24).

–Paul returned to Jerusalem 14 years later and specifically checked out the nature of the Gospel message, again with eyewitnesses Peter, James, and now John (Galatians 2:1-10).

–All the apostles agreed that Jesus appeared to them after his death (1 Corinthians 15:11).

Ten Q&A on Same-Sex Marriage Canards and Evasions — this is a pithy yet thorough list.  You mainly need the first three.

1. What’s love got to do with it?

Nothing.  Romanticizing this debate by claiming that any two people in love should have a civil right to civil marriage is a foolish distraction.  Neither judges nor legislators have any business discussing “affection” as a factor in defining civil marriage.  Clergy who bless marriages have a legitimate and separate role in discerning the internal dynamics of couples.  But not the state.

2. What is the state’s interest in marriage?

First, to recognize the union that produces the state’s citizens.  Second, to encourage those who sire and bear the citizens to take responsibility for rearing them together.  That’s all, folks.  Proponents of genderless marriage often answer this question with non sequiturs such as property rights (irrelevant), civil rights (extraneous to the question), and “love and stability” (not a function of state involvement).

3.  Why should state interest in marriage be about children if not all marriages produce children?

It’s thoroughly irrelevant that many heterosexual couples lack children because of intent, infertility, age, or health.  Claiming that this is relevant to the case for genderless marriage suggests the “fallacy of composition“: inferring that something must be true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole.  Citizens of the state can exist only through the female-male union, no matter how the union occurs — whether traditionally, artificially, or in a petri dish.  That’s the only fact that provides any grounds for state interest in marriage.

And here’s a great summary:

It violates the rights of children by serving to deprive them deliberately of biological parents.  It violates everybody’s civil right to religious freedom by setting up a collision course in which conscience protections will be trumped by a nonsensical legal definition of marriage.  It violates our freedom of association by removing the buffer zone of family (and all mediating institutions) that insulate all individuals in society from abuses of state power.  It violates freedom of expression by requiring Orwellian Newspeak of everyone, especially those accused of hate for objecting to same-sex marriage.

In the end, the primary beneficiary of this social experiment is a tyrannical minority hell-bent on controlling every aspect of our lives and eventually dictating all of our personal relationships.

From the “This is a piece from the Onion, right?” category, Hiring Lifeguards Who Can’t Swim in the Name of Diversity:

More than 90 percent of the students at Alhambra High are black, Latino or Asian. On a recruiting effort there over the winter, the city’s Melissa Boyle tells students she’s not looking for strong swimmers. Like many under-resourced schools, Alhambra doesn’t have a swim team.

“We will work with you in your swimming abilities,” Boyle says.

Vandalism of pro-life display at The Ohio State University:

Pretty bizarre.  So she is apparently only for abortions by mothers who are poor or on drugs and she thinks middle class and above drug-free people shouldn’t be able to have abortions.  That’s an interesting branch of fiscal conservatism!  My guess is that she’s really pro-abortion all the way, including taxpayer-funded abortions without restriction, but she’s just posing as caring for the poor.

‘Billions and Billions and Billions’: Biden Has No Comment on Fisker Failure — Just one more reason we need to let the free market pick the winners and losers.

“This is seed money that will return back to the American consumer in billions and billions and billions of dollars of good new jobs.”
– Joe Biden, Oct. 27, 2009

“With the help of UAW lobbying efforts for advanced vehicle manufacturing and federal dollars, the plant will become a production facility for Fisker Automotive, a new American car company that plans to produce 100,000 electric hybrid vehicles per year by 2014.
“GM’s former Wilmington [Delaware] assembly plant was selected for its primary global production facility based on its size, production capacity, access to shipping ports and rail lines, and skilled workforce.”
– United Auto Workers, February 2010

“Once again, the American public lost when the Obama administration attempted to pick ‘winners and losers’ in the free market. Today the electric car company Fisker Automotive, which received nearly $200 million in taxpayer money, is laying off three-fourths of its U.S. workers.”
– Sarah Palin, April 5, 2013

I started to read The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire based on the recommendation of the Bumbling Genius.  But after the most excellent summary on Winging It maybe I don’t need to . . .

In Volume 1, Chapter 9, Gibbon describes for us what he calls “barbarians”. What makes a “barbarian”? He starts with the premise that they are not masters of letters. Without a firm grasp on the written word, he argues, they cannot learn and pass that learning on to subsequent generations. Written communication is key. And I look at the texting and facebooking and Twitter stuff that today’s younger generation is using and ask myself, “Do they have a firm grasp on the written word?” The number of times I see their own generation ask, “What are you talking about?” suggests that they don’t. But he goes on with a very interesting next characteristic. He says that barbarians are lazy and yet energetic. Huh? Well, he says, they aren’t really interested in doing any industrious work, but they are inexhaustible in their efforts to find the next big sensation. They lived for big experiences. You know, like extreme sports. Oh, wait, no, that’s our time. Oh, wait … could it be that we are headed toward being barbarians in Gibbon’s view?

Gibbon argues that Rome fell for a few basic reasons. First, they were strong as long as they had wars to fight and places to conquer and enemies to subdue. They got soft when they got rich and comfortable. Gibbon argues that, just as humans live under a “no pain, no gain” sentence, so also do civilizations. Second, in their rich and comfortable decline, they experienced moral decline. They indulged every whim, outsourced their work to other places (yes, that’s one of his observations), surrendered any sense of civic virtue, and pursued pleasure as the ultimate good. Now if that doesn’t describe America, I don’t know what does.

Ben Carson: White Liberals Are Pretty Darned Racist — Yep.  Get back on the plantation!  If you don’t agree with the White Liberals then you are obviously an Uncle Tom.  Haven’t you seen how well our policies have worked out in Detroit?

(Mediaite) On his radio show last night, Mark Levin had on newfound conservative “hero” Dr. Ben Carson to discuss all the lashings he’s received from the “left-wing media” over his views on gay marriage and religion. While discussing his being a black conservative, Carson told Levin that, in his experience, white liberals are the “most racist people there are.”

“They need to shut me up, they need to delegitimize me,” Carson told the radio host while explaining why he believes the media has scorned him for lumping homosexuality in with unsavory sexual acts like bestiality and pedophilia.

Levin added that the doctor has been attacked by “white liberals” because he is a black conservative, to which Carson replied: “They are the most racist people there are. Because they put you in a little category, a little box. You have to think this way. How could you dare come off the plantation?”

They forgot to mention “racists.”

I grew up thinking the entire world called the grass between the sidewalk and the street the “devilstrip.” Apparently this term was unique to the NE Ohio area and especially Akron.