Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Does the LDS church have any legitimacy from the Bible?

What is "this rock" that Jesus will build His Church on?

One of the main Mormon claims to divine authority is in interpreting Matthew 16:13-18 to refer to their concept of "continuing revelation." By basing the organization of the LDS church on "continuing revelation," as "the rock" on which Jesus builds His church, the LDS church claims legitimacy for its founder Joseph Smith and the entire line of its prophets "continuing" through today. It is widely known that Mormon leaders routinely misread, mangle, and misapply the Bible in order to fabricate legitimacy for Mormonism, so how has this been done to Matt. 16:13-18?

"13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it."

According to Mormon teaching, "the rock", or foundation, of Jesus' Church is the act of God revealing new information or new revelation to Peter. It infers, therefore, that it is the act of new revelation or continuing revelation that is to be the basis on which Jesus builds His Church. The Mormon Church, as Joseph Smith claimed, is that church that receives God's continuing revelation through the Mormon prophets.

Even if true, this is a curious position for the LDS church to adopt. The concept of "continuing revelation" is believed on the basis of necessary change. The idea that God can give "new" revelation has weak limitations in Mormonism, forcing most Mormons to contradict either themselves or the doctrine itself whenever called on to explain it. On the one hand, the LDS church's main proposition is that it is a 'restoration' of the lost faith in God, yet on the other hand, it accepts that beliefs can and do change based on the next revelation from God. If the former is true, then "continuing revelation" is a danger to the very nature of Mormonism, for it would suppose that the restoration is complete and there would be no need for "continuing revelations." If the latter is true, then Mormonism should not need any validation from the Bible; it does not need to 'restore' anything but only live out what is "new," which is a door flung open to any and all possibilities, even ones that contradict former revelations and all in the name of necessity (God does, because God must). This has forced Mormons to place weak limitations on just how far a theoretical new revelation can lead them, but of course, there is no such limitation within Mormon doctrines or the Four Standard Works themselves. The late Mormon President Ezra Taft Benson himself headed off this question of consistency by discouraging Mormons from comparing the words of previous prophets to any current one. “Beware of those who would pit the dead prophets against the living prophets," he said. Indeed, Mormon Prophet Harold B. Lee said, "Sometimes we get the notion that if it is written in a book, it makes it more true than if it is spoken in the last General Conference. Just because it is written in a book does not make it more of an authority to guide us. President Taylor goes on with this same idea and explains why the scriptures of the past are not sufficient for us today." [emphasis mine]

But I digress. Back to the topic, which is the Bible passage from which the LDS church draws its legitimacy and divine authority, unnecessary as that is by its own standards. Does it exegete the passage correctly?

The "rock" which Jesus calls Peter is masculine (petros), but the "rock" that Jesus says He will build His church on is feminine (petra). Looking at the syntax, "revealed" is a verb and cannot be 'petra', so neither can be the concept of "continuing revelation" which is further removed from the context of the passage. The one question that is almost never asked of this passage is "What is the subject matter?" 'Petra' can only point to the next closest idea, the subject, which in this case is Peter's confession that "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Jesus' Church, therefore, is built on the divine identity of Jesus Christ, which leads necessarily to the believer's confession of His divinity. What Jesus is + our confession of Him = the foundation of the Church, which will continue to build and defeat evil to the point that not even the gates of Hell will be able to hold the Church back.

If the identity and confession of Jesus Christ as the divine Son of God is the foundation of His Church, then no religious body, sect, or denomination can claim to be the "One True Church" anywhere on earth. Jesus did not build and is not building His Church on the outer trappings of religious practices or principles, of names or lineages. The Church is built on Himself and is made of the people (the 'petros'-es) who believe on Him. As it is, all institutions with bylaws, constitutions, hierarchies, and religious rituals are NOT the Church, even as those who are in them ARE the Church. Those who believe and follow Jesus are not simply 'in the Church,' they are the Church as temples of the Holy Spirit.

The confession of Peter can only be made in earnest at God the Father's revelation into the heart of the individual, as Jesus said. For Mormons, this confession is not the foundation to faith and church, as the Mormon prophets have so clearly declared. I should hope that every Mormon who places that high value in sincerety looks at Peter's confession and the confession of all Christians throughout the history of the Church wonders why the Mormon prophets substitute themselves over "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God" for the foundation of Jesus' Church.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9-11 Blogroll

Christian bloggers unite! 
We have, and on this 10th anniversary of the worst Islamic terrorist attack on the United States, we have collaborated on writing a collection of blogs in remembrance and response to 9-11.  Please welcome the Apologetics Bloggers Alliance blogroll with a drumroll:

"Divine Commands Post 9/11" (MandM)
"The Problem of Evil:  Whose problem is it?  Is it a problem?" (Tilled Soil)
"The Need for Moral Choices and Consequences" (Possible Worlds)
"Ground Zero:  Why truth matters in preventing another 9/11-style attack"  (Wintery Knight)
"My 9/11 Memorial: Christianity Offers Authentic Hope In The Face Of Suffering" (Bringing Back the Tao)
Remembering 9-11:  Which revelation is true?  The need for evaluating religious claims" (Eric Chabot, Ratio Christi - Ohio State University)
"If God, Why Evil?" (In Defense of the Christian Faith)
"Unsung Lessons from 9/11:  'Moral Monsters' & Fear of Death" (Clay Jones)
"9/11 and Religious Pluralism" (Another Ascending Lark)
"The Tiptoes of Tolerance" (Valley Girl Apologist)
"9-11" (Deeper Waters)
"Do all roads (and flights) lead to God?" (Sarcastic Xtian)
"On September 11, 2001, harmless things became fearful" (J.W. Wartick - "Always Have a Reason")
"Remembering 9/11:  A Young Californian's Perspective" (Take Two Blog)
"The Two Ground Zeros" (Reasons for God)
"Suffering and the Cross of Christ" (Hieropraxis)
"America after 9 11:  Is Religion Evil?" (Apologetics Guy)
"Resources on the Problem of Evil" (Apologetics 315)
"Atheism, Evil, and Ultimate Justice" (Faithful Thinkers)
"9/11: 'Full Cognitive Meltdown" and its Fallout" (Thinking Christian)
"Where was God on 9/11?" (Cold and Lonely Truth)
"The Three Faces of Evil and A Christian Response" (The Real Issue)
"Christianity and 9/11:  Guilt by Association?" (Tom Gilson, The POINT)
"Did God Allow the Attacks on 9/11 for a 'Greater Good?'" (The Gospel According to Erik)
"Where was God on 9-11?" (Neil Mammen's Blog)
"From Ground Zero to Ten Years Later--September 11, 2001" (Sententia)
"9-11 Remembered" (Answering Muslims)
and of course, there's mine too:  "9-11, Jihad, and the Christian" (Talitha, Koum!)

**Many, many thanks to the idea guys behind this collaboration, especially Greg West of The Poached Egg.  Without him, getting all these individual links would have been hard!)  :-) **

9-11, Jihad, and The Christian

The history behind 9-11 contains a long series of events that theoretically stretch back to the time of Muhammed. The shorter explanation for 9-11 points to Islamic jihad (holy war) against the United States and the West. There is a jihad, because of Shari’a (Islamic Law). There is Shari’a, because it is the Islamic way of life as proscribed in the Qu’ran. Every Muslim who takes the Qu’ran seriously will live out Shari’a and promote Shari’a, which broadly outlines a policy of dominance and hostility toward regimes and religions that contradict Islam…which is just about everybody non-Muslim.

Both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have declared that America is not at war with Islam. I agree to the extent that America did not seek a war with a religion; the wars that the U.S. is engaged in are considered wars to dismantle terrorist control over countries like Afghanistan and Iraq. However, those Muslims the American military is fighting have declared war against the U.S. and also against the religion that broadly characterizes this country, Christianity. Islam is openly hostile toward the fundamental doctrine of the Christian God, namely that Jesus Christ is God the Son, the second Person of the Trinity. The Qu’ran states that Christians (and Jews and Pagans) are targets of war and subjugation until only Islam is observed*. Islam makes violent jihad an option for Muslims, either to destroy or convert their enemies to Islam under duress.

9-11 reminds us that as believers, apologetics matters. The tyranny of a religion that teaches a false god and a false worldview, which is enforced by directives to violence begs for Christians to combat its inhumanity in both word and deed. Christians must take a special interest in the teachings of Islam and how they readily promote bloodshed and hostility instead of God’s grace and freedom. Of course, most of the world’s Muslims do not live out those Qu’ranic directives to wage violent jihad, but it is not Muslims with whom we should dispute. It is the existence of the teachings that violent jihad is permissible and virtuous in Islam that I find so contrary to the Bible’s witness to objective moral values.

The solution to Islamic jihad against Christianity is for Christians to wage a holy war of our own, one that is also proscribed by the words of Jesus Christ. In opposition to the jihad we see today, Christ told His worshippers to spread the Gospel, the “Good News,” as messengers of the cross and the Resurrection. “Go, therefore” in Matthew 28 is more properly viewed “As you go, therefore,” signifying that the Gospel is spread not only through words but a life lived reflecting the goodness of God. Christ said to “…love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:43-45). As Christians, our greatest apologetic for the truth of the Gospel is showing the intrinsic value in which Christ has placed on every human being, and that part of being human is respecting the role God has to play in another’s decisions, either to believe or to deny Jesus Christ. Holy war for us is fought on our knees in prayer and by proclaiming without shame the objective truth of God’s victory over sin and death in Jesus.

It is possible that God has ordained for every generation a stark reminder of the presence of evil in this world swimming in sin. The “day that will live in infamy,” for the WWII generation was December 7, 1941. For us today, that day is September 11, 2001. May the remembrance of the infamy of 9-11 drive us to “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:11-13).

*Source: Qu’ran, Suras 8:39, 8:60, 9:5, 9:29, 9:73, 9:123, 48:29, 66:9

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Future of Debating for William Lane Craig

Like a rock band touring the UK, Dr. William Lane Craig is trying to fill his calendar with concerts of head-pounding apologetics to audiences in London, Birmingham, Oxford, Cambridge, and Manchester. According to the official Reasonable Faith press release, the trouble is, he is having difficulty finding fresh new atheists to challenge his belief in theism and Christianity. Given Richard Dawkins' and A.C. Grayling's continual refusal to debate, the president of the British Humanist Society, Polly Toynbee, at first volunteered to meet Craig in a head-to-head, but then withdrew herself from the debate, citing something about a debate with Craig not being her cup of tea*. Craig is still debating two other atheists, however, Drs. Peter Atkins and Peter McMillan.

With 25 years of experience, he has pretty much debated every atheist in academia that cares to make an issue out of theism and Christianity. The last two recent debates this year put to shame two of atheism's top celebrities, Lawrence Krauss and Sam Harris, each giving Craig a win by disengaging from the debates' topic and failing to rebut during the time for rebuttals. I doubt either would like to try again. Atkins will be debating for the second time, just as several others have in the past. It is looking more and more like Dr. Craig is recycling opponents. At this point in William Lane Craig's debating career, I'm starting to wonder if he is at the top of the mountain, where it is a lonely place indeed. With more atheists refusing to engage, and fewer willing to speak his name out of spite, perhaps Craig's career in debates is over.

However, lest some of my colleauges gasp "may it never be!" this is not necessarily a bad thing (nor a fargone conclusion). If I were to guess at what may lie beyond posters of "Craig vs. ___," the future might be quite positive for Christian apologetics.

First, I would love to see Dr. Craig invest his time and experience to train and coach future Christian debaters--lots of them--to carry on the tradition and keep issues surrounding theism in the forefront. Atheists presently hiding from him may be willing to engage other Christians who don't have Dr. Craig's name recognition. The icing on the cake would be the opportunity for me his students to see and learn the wealth of debate materials he typically keeps on the table in those tantalizing manila folders.

Also, Dr. Craig may become an even bigger phenomenon. Up until now, his name recognition was by and large limited to the circles of philosophy and Christian apologetics. Last week, a major news source, Fox News, picked up on the issue of Dawkins' (and now Toynbee's), refusal to debate. The avenue of being a more public figure is possibly opening up for him, and media attention could drive more public speaking engagements, sans debating (although attention could bring a few more debates to fruition). In light of The Four Horsemen's strategy of appealing to popular audiences with their message, I say that a balance of viewpoints needs to be achieved. What if all these years of experience could be put into a weekly or monthly column in a more popular outlet offering his arguments for theism and Christianity? What could that kind of exposure do for Reasonable Faith? One has to admit there is potential here.

It is my confident prayer that, unlike a real rock band where one must have (ideally) a natural talent for music, the fun doesn't end when the tour ends. May Dr. Craig's efforts, even if he turns this page in his career, fuel the continued proliferation of apologetics and apologists through education and training. Debates will not cease, that's for sure, but even if atheism lacks for guts, let us not find ourselves similarly, ahem, understaffed for the challenge.

*UPDATE: Atheist Dr. Stephen Law of the University of London (Heythrop College) has accepted the opportunity to debate Dr. Craig.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Douglas Groothuis Agrees With Me! ;-)

In a total confirmation of my convictions, Dr. Doug Groothuis of Denver Seminary echoes a good portion of my sentiments in an article on patheos.com about the comments on Rep. Michele Bachmann's so-called "Dominionism" view of the material world.  Just to be clear, Rep. Bachmann is only the means by which this topic is being trodded out, straw manned, and falsely attributed to people I deeply respect within the Christian faith, namely Nancy Pearcy and the late Francis Schaeffer.  The political hit-men responsible for their crazy-train-of-thought (Lizza and Knight) literally know nothing about which they are mocking and throwing up as "dangerous" in the attempt to pummel a respectable Presidential candidate with their near-libelous words.

From Dr. Groothuis' article:
Third, the key Christian influences on Bachman are not Rushdoony and his followers, but Francis Schaeffer and Nancy Pearcey. Schaeffer referred to Rushdoony's views on mandating biblical law as "insanity," and never sanctioned any form of theocracy. (The name "Rushdoony" does not even appear in the index of Schaeffer's five-volume collected works.) Schaeffer explicitly condemned theocracy in A Christian Manifesto (p. 120-1). Nor did he call for the violent overthrow of the government if Roe V. Wade were not overturned. Schaeffer rather explained various ways of resisting tyranny according to a Christian worldview and in light of church history. He saw "civil disobedience" (his phrase) as a last resort and did not stipulate any specific conditions under which it would be advisable in America. In fact, Schaeffer worried (on p. 126) that speaking of civil disobedience is "frightening because there are so many kooky people around." Further, "anarchy is never appropriate."
Schaeffer condemned theocracy and found civil disobedience frightening?  OMG, that's crazy!!  Lizza and Knight need to realize that they are the ones on the crazy train, not Michele Bachmann.  It certainly is crazy what drinking that liberal Kool-aid does to the human mind.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hate the Idiocy, Not the Idiot

Last week, a truly worthless hit piece on Rep. Michele Bachmann was published in the LA Times.  The average American newsreader is probably used to a certain amount of libertinism (yes, I do mean that) in order to inject sensationalism into their stories, but never have I read something so atrociously wrong as this, which made me feel as if it infected me with aliens that were about to bust through my chest. 

Calling himself a "Culture Monster," Christopher Knight takes on the arrogant task of characterizing Bachmann in a way too obvious attempt to smear her in the public eye, but it is as if he protests too much.  From the beginning, he accuses her of disliking the Renaissance and the art of the Renaissance greats.  His article is a travesty of honest-to-goodness honesty as he completely fabricates the animosity of Nancy Pearcy and Francis Schaeffer against figures such as Leonardo Da Vinci.  In what anyone can recognize as extreme self-imposed ignorance, Knight fails to see from the video that he himself embeds into the article that Schaeffer both admires the philosophical journey of artist/philosophers like Leonardo, yet sees the journey's end, just as Leonardo himself did:  life and philosophy eventually arrive at an empty void that humanity and the human mind alone cannot fill.

It's fairly obvious that Knight hasn't read even a page out of one of Schaeffer's or Pearcey's books.  Are we to believe that an author who cannot even get a solitary concept correct in those he criticizes actually knows anything substantive about the Renaissance?  Only with an agenda of evil would one dare to publish such naked vitriol against a woman who's simply running for the office of the President of the United States, for crying out loud.  Our society has been telling little girls they can be whatever they want and dream big, but only the Antichrist forbid that any girl ever actually reach that place of dreams when she grows up.  Journalists and authors should be praising Michele Bachmann for bucking the stereotypes of gritty, haughty women too coarse for prime time who must resort to screeching their way into political power for the substitution of affection they lack otherwise.  Talk about irony walking backwards in the Midieval direction, Mr. Knight.  Yeah, that would be you.

Knight repeatedly frames Bachmann's supposed views on a subject she's never talked about in public with words of his own choosing:

o "artistic spawn"
o "Renaissance ruin"
o "ungodly error"
o "Hate the art, in other words, not the artist."
o "drivel"
o "kooky"
o "wicked Renaissance humanism"
o "Schaeffer's crazy train"

Also, not content to simply project his own words into her thoughts, he quotes from another journo-assassin, Ryan Lizza from the New Yorker, that Schaeffer (and thus Pearcy onto Bachmann) thinks Renaissance philosophy was "dangerous" and "blasphemous."

The LA Times should be red-faced ashamed to have let this person publish such a mammoth-gagging piece with their name on it.  It has all the sense and sensibility of a drive-by shooting.  Not only does the author misunderstand everything that Francis Schaeffer stood for in his ministry, valuing art and teaching on the perspective of artists, but goes on to attribute the care and thoughtfulness of such a scholar like him to insanity.  The entire article is as if it is the result of what happens when garbage smokes dope and then vomits on a keyboard.  The earth would be greener indeed if such energy wasting dopehead garbage were never conceived to pollute the net with its inanity.  However, hate the idiocy, "in other words," not the idiot

The probability of a chimpanzee smashing its fists on a keyboard and pounding out a fairer article on Michele Bachmann is infinitely higher than Christopher Knight's inane and vacuous treatment of not one, two, but three intelligent and accomplished Americans of faith.  Has Christopher Knight even cracked one of the books he's bashed?  I think his response to recommended reading would be the phrase of the day:  resist we much.  Knight should go write about some wet t-shirt contest somewhere on a college campus.  That's the level of journalistic responsibility he appears capable of maintaining.

I join others like Doug Groothuis in calling for a Renaissance of reading.  Those who claim to love the Renaissance of history should avoid absolute hypocrisy by reading Francis Schaeffer themselves.  Some of Schaeffer's titles include:
The God Who Is There
He Is There and He Is Not Silent
Art and the Bible
True Spirituality

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


An article titled “Jesus, Reagan, and John Lennon” came out on FoxNews.com recently that was as stunning as it was hopeful (if you’re a Christian apologist). According to the article’s author, John Lennon’s life near the end was one keenly interested in Christianity. In the book, The Gospel According to the Beatles, rock biographer Steve Turner claims that in his later years, Lennon at one point professed to be a born-again Christian. The point of the Fox News article, however, was to highlight that Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, might just have kept all this a secret after his death.

Although this article was news to me, the information gathered for it came from an excerpt from Turner’s book, which was published in Christianitytoday.com in 2007. According to Turner, John Lennon’s interest in Christianity was both significant…and brief.
“Over the following months he baffled those close to him by constantly praising "the Lord," writing Christian songs with titles like "Talking with Jesus" and "Amen" (the Lord's Prayer set to music), and trying to convert nonbelievers. He also called the prayer line of The 700 Club, Pat Robertson's program. The change in his life perturbed Yoko, who tried to talk him out of it. She reminded him of what he'd said about his vulnerability to strong religious leaders because of his emotionally deprived background. She knew that if the press found out about it they would have a field day with another John and Jesus story. John became antagonistic toward her, blaming her for practicing the dark arts and telling her that she couldn't see the truth because her eyes had been blinded by Satan.”
Lennon’s story takes a turn, however.
"Those close to the couple sensed that the real reason she was concerned was that it threatened her control over John's life. If he became a follower of Jesus he would no longer depend on her and the occultists. During long, passionate arguments she attacked the key points of his fledgling faith. They met with a couple of Norwegian missionaries whom Yoko questioned fiercely about the divinity of Christ, knowing that this was the teaching that John had always found the most difficult to accept. Their answers didn't satisfy her, and John began to waver in his commitment."
As an apologist, this part of the story intrigues me the most. The author does not supply us with details about their interview with the Christian missionaries, but I am tempted to speculate that as eager as Lennon seemed to embrace Christianity, that the missionaries could not adequately explain to him, despite Ono’s skepticism, the most fundamental truth of the Bible was a great apologetics blunder. In my opinion, of all the essential Christian doctrines, the divinity of Jesus is the one that demands our greatest commitment to its defense by all believers. How might things have turned out differently for John Lennon if the missionaries could quote historians that affirmed that Christ was revered by His followers as Deity? What kind of impact could they have had if they couched Jesus in the Jewish monotheistic culture of that day, who put Himself in the very place of God to make the legal and moral pronouncements which the Jews recognized that only God had the right to make? How might Lennon’s perception of Christianity have been different if they could show that Jesus’ own identity claims were understood as claims to be the Creator God of Israel and Judge of the living and the dead? How might evidence for Jesus’ resurrection have kept his mind open to faith in Christ? As influential and introspective as John Lennon was, I can “Imagine” what a few good answers might have done for him.

The Gospel cannot be fully expressed without acknowledgment of Jesus’ divinity. It behooves us to know and be ready to affirm Jesus’ identity as Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of the universe, not just for devotional significance, but as an objective truth we publicly proclaim and defend. Sometimes the window to faith in others opens for us to recognize a divine appointment for the Gospel. Can a little apologetics make a difference? I believe it can.

(Look for this article on the International Society of Women in Apologetics website, August newsletter.)

Monday, August 1, 2011

From Arab Spring to Norwegian Summer

Last week, some Norwegian dude bombed a government building in Oslo and shot 87 people to death at a youth camp.  My interest in his story is only in part, as the reaction from the news articles regarding the motives for his actions comprise that added 'wow' (more like 'whoa') factor that only the mainstream media can dish out.

News media of all stripes, in their haste to publicize the fact that Anders Behring Breivik was not Muslim, crooned for two days about what the police described as Breivik's "right-wing Christian fundamentalism" with articles like
"Oslo Shooter Anti-Muslim Christian Fundamentalist" http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/oslo-shooter-anti-muslim-christian-extremist/   From the post:  "Anders Behring Breivik, is a frequent poster of anti-Muslim screeds on Christian fundamentalist websites" which came from an article that said merely that Anders "posted on websites with Christian fundamentalist tendencies. He did not describe the websites in any more details." 

"Right-Wing Christian Fundamentalist Charged Following Norway Attack"


"Oslo Suspect Wrote of Fear of Islam and Plan for War"
In particular, this article which was written by Steven Erlander is a toned-down version of one he wrote a day earlier outright labeling Breivik as a "Christian extremist."  This article, which no longer labels Breivik as a "Christian extremist" nevertheless quotes from Thomas Hegghammer who does remark that, “[Breivik's action] seems to be an attempt to mirror Al Qaeda, exactly in reverse.”  Such a statement easily conveys the idea that Breivik's actions are somehow religiously motivated similarly to Al Qaeda.


"Norway Terror Update: Suspect Detained Identified As ‘Christian Fundamentalist’" 
Of course, none of this news frenzy could go ignored by internet pop-skeptics.  Such a salacious story about a Christian shooting up people easily calls out the hounds, which prize expletives like John Loftus seized on to again mime (meme?) his knife-twisting hatred of Christianity.  And once the media let a domino fall, it predictably set off a chain reaction of anti-religious media personalities carving a collective "a ha!" gotcha notch on their digital bedposts.  /CoughBill Mahercough!

And, the last shred of human decency left in this world disintegrated with the publishing of another little piece of refuse like this:
"Pamela Geller and Co. Connected to Norway Bomber Anders Behring Breivik?"

The Golden Ticket, however, again came from the New York Times.  As I referenced above, in an article titled, “As Horrors Emerge, Norway Charges Christian Extremist – Manifesto Shows Plan of Attack, Fear of Islam," Steven Erlander supposedly gave stunning revelations from Brievik's online manifesto to the "fact" of Breivik's religiously-fueled terrorism.  However, despite my earnest attempts to find an online link or archive, it has mysteriously disappeared from the NYT online.  Think this was a small story?  Newsbusters reports that the NYT's article was actually in print on the front page of the July 23rd edition.

But is any of this true?  Nope.  Anders Behring Breivik himself thankfully provides the answer in what I call his "Treatise on how Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment Can be Crimeless Yet Full of Punishment."  In other words, how to rationalize killing the innocent in order to justify killing the perceived guilty.  I think that was also the the basic plot of Star Trek VI.  According to Brevik, his so-called Christian connection is no more substantive than that Norway is considered a "Christian"-dominant country having adopted Christianity as the state religion.  Well if that were the real criteria for being a Christian, then Breivik is certainly a Christian just as anyone else in Norway is a Christian just for living there and not claiming to be anything else.  Now, I think I know a little something about what being a Christian is, and I can safely say that your birthplace doesn't determine if you adopt a particular religion even if it is dominant.  I think any atheist would agree with that.

Just recently, David Wood from Answering Muslims put out a video discussing Anders Behring Breivik.  Wood specifically deals with the whole "Is Breivik a Christian?" question.  Not to be missed, here it is:

For the sake of competent reporting, I sure hope that the MSM will wake up soon and realize that the fascists they've been looking for are maybe the ones staring at themselves in the mirror. The thinly veiled hatred the media has for Christianity isn't all that sensational anymore. Just sayin'.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Gay Activists Try to Defend Cisco

Normally I wouldn’t comment on a situation like this, (because it is far too easy for someone to come along and accuse me of homophobia, even though I love all people, and there is nothing about gay people that scares me in the least), but because it involves someone I know personally, I’m going to make a point on behalf of a friend.  This post is my reaction and comments to the contents of Mike Adam's latest article in Townhall.com commenting on the Cisco firing of Frank Turek, titled "A Queer and Present Danger."  It is in particular to the argument made by gay supporters that Cisco made no unconstitutional moves against Turek that I respond.

I happen to agree that First Amendment rights exist to protect American citizens from unjust treatment by the goverment.  I also agree that a company has the prerogative to fire any employees or consultants for any reason, except for legal limitations.  Those limitations exist to protect employees from superflous and ujnust firings and include reasons such as race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, and yes, viewpoint discrimination.  I agree that Cisco has the prerogative, but I do believe they flubbed it on the viewpoint discrimination. 

As far as Cisco is concerned, nothing Frank Turek ever said or did for which he was fired was ever a part of his dealings with the company. Anything the culpable manager found disagreeable was entirely within the realm of Turek’s private life. And what do we know about what people do in their private lives? That it is viewpoint discrimination if a company takes action for something that does not concern it. Cisco fired Turek for something he did in his private life.

So, gay supporters have been especially shrill as a result in trying to expand an acceptable limit to the First Amendment to justify Turek’s firing, saying that a private citizen is not constitutionally protected from the consequences of having a politically incorrect point of view to the point of forced unemployment. But let’s turn the tables and see if this argument works the other way: would it only be “consequences” if a gay rights activist were fired from his job because the manager didn’t like his views, views that never intersected with his job? The use of the word “consequences” is rather backhanded, as getting fired on account of viewpoint discrimination is no more a "consequence" than it was for blacks to get lynched as a “consequence” of the passage of the 13th Amendment. The manager who sought Turek’s firing did nothing out of said “consequence.” If not he, then Cisco, should have the balls to admit that this was an act of aggression on an indivdual’s private life, not a consequence of anything Turek said or did on behalf of the company.

While we’re talking about consequences, let’s imagine what the consequences of Turek’s experience can bring to Cisco. This would be a great capitalistic opportunity for a competing company to clarify that any similar brouhaha would be stridently avoided and actively woo Cisco’s current clients over to them. Cisco’s clients could also take the time to reevaluate if Cisco’s heavy-handed and unfair firing practices are something they want to associate with. And finally, Cisco managers can all be publicly branded as the invasive, intolerant bigots they have been so far. If Cisco thinks I am being unfair and wants to redeem itself even a little, then the execs can display some public some good faith in showing the offending manager the same courtesy that he showed to Frank.

Read the background story of Frank Turek's firing from Cisco in Mike Adam's articles for Townhall.com:
The Cisco Kid (a reprint of Turek's letter to Cisco's CEO concerning his firing)
Cisco Sinks to a Dishonorable New Low
Holier than Mao

You can also listen to Frank himself talk about his experience on a radio broadcast with Crane Durham:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Much Ado About Harold Camping Nothin'

With five days to go until Take Two of the Camping-senian apocalypse, I've clicked through a number of Harold Camping's YouTube videos logging his final radio shows.  Many of his adherents have sold all their possessions and eliminated their savings in preparation for the end of the world, which he predicts will happen on May 21.  These last days, his staff have been hyping up the advertisements for the end.  In today's video, his webmaster speaks with an air of expectation, like a husband who's pregnant wife is at the 'any day now' phase. 

Is May 21 going to be the end of the world?  Oh, it's entirely possible..............just like it's possible that any other random day could be the end of the world.  Other than the fact that Camping is just one end-times predictor just like all those who have gone before him (e.g. Joseph Smith Jr, the Jehovah's Witnesses), he's apparently marvelously captivating and believable. Otherwise, why would there be purportely so many families who have followed his directives to stop attending churches and crowd around the radio listening to him and him only?  Hmmmmmmm.

As I see it, Camping is really no different than any other self-glory-seeking man (and we all have a little of that in us anyway).  Perhaps the fact that he is now 90 years old and may actually see the Lord has prompted him to reclaim the fame that he had prior to his 1994 failed prediction of the end of the world.  I don't know.  What I do know is that the Bible specifically says that the exact day of the end is not known by anyone except God the Father alone.

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come." (Mark 13:32-33, NIV)

If you're like me and want to know the secret formula for predicting the end of the world, we can thank Camping for generously obliging us.  Here it is:   2 (5 x 10 x 17) = Judgment Day.  Ta da! 

On a more compassionate note, if you know any Camping followers who have seriously ditched all in life to wait by their radios, I beg of you to please be kind and put together care packages for them and deliver them on May 22.  Yeah, it's their fault they are deceived and unbiblical in their belief of Harold Camping, but this going to be a tragedy for many people.  Some of them may even try to take their own lives in the days and weeks to come.  I hope that conscientious believers everywhere would reach out and care for the children of Camping adherents and help these poor folks to get back on their feet.  They will need food, jobs, and homes again.  Most importantly, they will need you to be Jesus to them.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Welcome, The Valley Girl Apologist

My friend and fellow apologist Sarah Ankenman has started her apologetics blog.  Welcome to the blogosphere, Sarah!

Check it out:
The Valley Girl Apologist

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Man Pleads Guilty in Ohio Gunpoint Abortion Case

From AOL.com news:
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- An Ohio man has pleaded guilty to charges that he tried to force his pregnant girlfriend at gunpoint to get an abortion.

Dominic Holt-Reid entered his pleas in a Columbus courtroom Thursday to attempted murder, weapons and abduction charges.
He was charged under a 1996 fetal homicide law.
Police say Holt-Reid pulled a gun Oct. 6 on his girlfriend, Yolanda Burgess, who was three months pregnant, and forced her to drive to an abortion clinic.
Burgess did not go through with the procedure but slipped a note to a clinic employee, who called police.
I can't wait to hear Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and NOW say that the worst wrong and most dangerous thing this man did was have a gun.  Legalized abortions with the kind of privacy demands that abortion supporters make end up tying them into ethical knots; the abortion clinic technically did not have to call the police or acknowledge the woman's note, and that is a problem.  How many other incidents of coerced abortions take place, shielded from the authorities because someone didn't use a gun to force a woman to the abortionist?  No one will ever know.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dearborn Moves to California?

This video ignited a firestorm on my facebook. Take a look:

The complete story about this incident can be found here.

The controversy surrounds not with the behavior of law enforcement, which I think should be the focus this incident, but the behavior of the man reading the Bible. Much was said about how this man was an "obnoxious idiot," a "Bible-thumper," and a detriment to the Church. I really don't see that in the video, but let me grant it for the sake of the argument. Even if the man were to behave 100x's worse, would that justify an arrest? Even if he were Terry Jones can anyone justify an arrest--oh wait, that happened too!

As Lydia McGrew pointed out, this incident happened on public property on which no laws were broken. The video shows that the men were peaceful and stood at a distance away from others. Had this man been a Muslim, I think this point would have hit home, for political correctness would have seen to his protection, and no one would have dared lay a hand on him.

As believers, we should be just as compassionate for these brothers in Christ as we would have for the nonbelieving public. To reserve from them that which we would give to others is duplicitous. The man has been called an "obnoxious idiot," but not one said that the security guard or the patrolman were "obnoxious idiots," even though they were. I cannot in good conscience shame fellow Christians in public for what they were trying to do and for which they were unjustly arrested. I have even had one individual tell me that the man got what he deserved even though the patrolman was wrong--hello, contradiction? The three fellow believers in the video have been unjustly treated; I don't know why as a matter of principle we don't defend their legal rights first instead of savaging someone's character. We don't do this to nonbelievers, but we find it somehow acceptable to eat our own.

Having said that, I can now address the separate issue of the wisdom of standing at a DMV and reading aloud from the Bible to people who clearly don't appreciate the effort. First of all, that's weird. Out of context and out of place, it is a gratuitous intrusion on the sensibilities of the general public, especially to read Bible passages without an explanation of the reader's intentions. Christians and non-Christians alike readily attribute a negative character to anyone who would do so, as shown by the comments on my facebook thread.

Second, this type of "cold" preaching is, as people have accused, detrimental to the mission of the Church. By creating a situation in which the people associate the Gospel with weird, intrusive, and annoying Christians, one may taint the impression of the Gospel itself. This, of course, is not how real missionaries operate. In a strikingly similar case, believers who traveled to Dearborn, MI were unjustly arrested for trying to preach the Gospel to Muslims. But in that case, the Christians had a context, a clear limited scope, and brought people willingly into a dialogue about Jesus Christ.

I think we all agree that maybe these men should have behaved more wisely leading up to being falsely arrested, but if we justify the arrest in any way, shape, or form over and against the Constitution, we have all taken a step toward losing our own First Amendment rights. Hey, it's your freedom (and mine).  It takes surprisingly few cases to set off unconstitutional limitations if they aren't constantly being defended.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Are There Unicorns in the Bible?

Yes, there are, but it's not what you think!  :) 
Please watch:

Another lesson about why we don't read backwards in the Bible.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Denied Valedictorian Receives Her Honor, 75 Years Late

For totally inarticulate-able reasons, this story just struck me right there.  A long overdue rectification of an injustice toward a more-than-deserving individual just has the right ring of sorrow and satisfaction.  Please watch:

The story reports that “it’s believed that school leaders did not want two black valedictorians so close together.”  Fanetta’s Gordon’s sister claims that the principal of the school especially did not want two black students from the same family to graduate with valedictorian honors.   As a result, the principal ordered the music teacher to lower one of Fanetta’s grades in the class. 

Most of us would quickly judge this a case of discrimination and robbery, and I believe that it was.  But I believe it was more sinister than even that.  You see, the principal denied Fanetta not what she was entitled to as a human being (because not all human beings are valedictorians).  Far worse, he denied a title and an honor that Fanetta earned and deserved.  The principal took something away from Fanetta that she had already possessed by ordering the music teacher to change her grade.  The way I understand it, the principal did not simply discriminate, he made her the victim of affirmative action to a position that traditionally has a quota of one.  So instead of one black young woman who earned her way to the top, a most likely white student received the valedictorian honors that he or she did not deserve just because of race. 

I hope that those who support affirmative action in the contemporary debate realize that affirmative action almost always victimizes someone.  Some colleges have quotas; almost all colleges have limits on the number of acceptances per school year based on race and ethnicity, which means someone will inevitably be rejected for belonging to the wrong race.  Employers cannot legally discriminate in hiring, yet they must fill out surveys on the racial makeup of their employees (by percentages!) that can be used to accuse them of doing the very thing they try to avoid, usually at the bark of some malcontent civil rights attorney.  In affirmative action, the dividing line between acceptance and hiring vs. rejection is race-based.  As a society, we should know that what is used to allow one race to gain a certain benefit almost always means that another race must face an undeserved loss, just as Fanetta Gordon did so long ago.  Certain races have always been favored over others for whatever reasons in any civilization.  As much as I’d like to change it and would encourage change on this, I have to admit that this is the way of the world.
It is thankfully not the way of the Kingdom of Christ, however. Galatians 3:27-29 says, “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Every believer is a favored person under the merits of Jesus Christ. We are all spiritual paupers who have been given lavish suites in the mansion of Christ. How then can we deny another something that he/she deserves in this world? It is with the understanding that each human being is unworthy of God’s favor, yet we have it through Jesus, that we can act with justice toward each other.

I am so glad Fanetta Gordon finally received her honor, albeit a sorrowful 75 years denied. Kudos to the school for doing the right thing after all these years.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Is Faith Blind?

This is my Q&A response article up on the Smart Faith Conference website: 

Faith has become one of those terms that has come to be popularly defined as knowingly or unknowingly having positive belief in something that is not true. Even well-meaning Christians have spoken of faith as “a statement of trust in what we do not know for sure.*” With the idea of a necessary uncertainty built into the common understanding of faith, it is no surprise that many people have come to equate having faith with the opposite of having knowledge, evidence, and certitude. In other words, “faith” is the same as “blind faith.” Therefore, all faith must be blind, right?

Is faith really blind? Blind faith is certainly blind, but is this how faith should be defined? Both the Bible and our experiences tell us otherwise.

The Apostles of Jesus taught that their belief in Christ is an informed, evidenced faith. The Apostle John’s opening paragraph in 1 John is an emphatic statement of the reality of Jesus Christ in history. He states,

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:1-5).
Redundantly, John assures the reader that the Disciples’ experiences of Jesus in this life are rooted in tangible reality. 

 The Apostle Peter says similarly. “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain” (2 Peter 1:16-18). Peter writes that the message he preaches came not from conjecture but through actual observance of God’s proclamation about Jesus not once but twice.

Likewise, Luke the historian says that the resurrected Jesus “presented himself to [the disciples] and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). Certainly the Gospel writers considered their faith an evidenced faith; this high value on reason and evidence is a surviving legacy that continues to lead Christians today. The legacy has produced many Christian thinkers who have contributed multiple lines of reasoning, arguing not only for God’s existence but for the essential truths regarding the identity and claims of Jesus Christ.

In our own experiences, most rational people understand that blind faith is ultimately an uncomfortable faith. We demand a reality to our lives that is minimally verifiable. Even the atheist who questions the veracity of the Christian faith does so with the assumption that an objective reality exists to support his objections, though he often fails to apply his own criteria to inquire about his own views. In fact, we could ask the skeptic what his evidence is for his belief that all faith is unfounded.

Of course, people can believe things that are untrue. In a strict Christian sense that may be belief, but that isn’t necessarily faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” To the person who thinks that faith is necessarily uncertain, the writer of Hebrews equates faith with having confidence placed in what Christians hope for, which is actually a “Who” in the person of Jesus Christ. Christians then have the assurance of the living Jesus to see us through all of life’s uncertainties. Christian faith, therefore, is not about belief statements which may or may not be true, but it is about trusting and depending on Jesus and His promises.

Is Christian faith blind? In light of the evidence and the object of faith, certainly not.

*D'Souza, Dinesh. What's So Great About Christianity. p. 195.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Eve of Village Atheism?

While reflecting on his debate with Sam Harris and the audience questions that came after, Dr. William Lane Craig wrote the following about the makeup of the audience that night:
I wonder is something culturally significant is going on here. Several years ago, I asked the Warden at Tyndale House in Cambridge why it is that British society is so secular when Britain has such a rich legacy of great Christian scholars. He replied, "Oh, Christianity is not underrepresented among the intelligentsia. It's the working classes which are so secular." He explained that these folks are never exposed to Christian scholarship because of their lack of education. As a result there is a sort of pervasive, uninformed, village atheism among them. I wonder if something like this could be happening in the States. I was surprised to see the number of blue collar folks from the community buying Harris' book and thanking him for all he has done. They didn't seem to have any inkling that his views had just been systematically exposed as logically incoherent. The intelligentsia have almost universally panned Harris' recent book (read the reviews!). Yet it is lapped up in popular culture. Wouldn't it be amazing if unbelief became the possession mainly of the uneducated?
This comment causes my heart to sink. Personally, I like to think that I am fairly observant of the religious cultural shifts here in the U.S. and their bearing on what Christians should do to respond to them. However, I have to admit that Dr. Craig’s note above catches me a little off guard, even alarming to a degree as I realize what his observation, if truly symptomatic of an eve of a significant change, means for Christian apologists in this day and age. An inculcation of “New Atheism” among the blue collar/working class here would be a dramatic reversal of the religious landscape of America. I cannot help but feel that such a situation might be more “dismaying” than “amazing.”

Christianity is a piece of Americana (whether anyone thinks that is a good thing or not). One of our hallmark cultural contours is the common family of common means participating on a minimum level in a Christian expression of some type. Classically, I think of church attendance on Sundays, respect for the Bible, and a basic familiarity with Christian beliefs. So far, that the common man believes he has a faith is the experience of American life. New Atheists seek to change that through a campaign of popularizing atheism.

I have no doubt that the inculcation is taking place. It is being impressed upon the public through books by New Atheists like Sam Harris that are aimed on the popular level, both to adults and youth (e.g. Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials). In the public classroom, atheism is the default worldview in the disciplines of both the hard and social sciences. Atheism is marketed as the new neutral position in almost all of public literature, television, and many commercial media outlets. Atheists pronounce that atheism is the only viable alternative for fair-minded people once they have shed the evil “superstition” of theism and Christianity that has existed here since the Pilgrims brought their Bibles off the Mayflower. Pair the New Atheists’ media blitz of book tours and public appearances and the fruits of declining Christian influence over American culture, I suppose we should expect an eventual ‘atheism-of-the-masses’ to emerge.

As I ponder on the observation that we are Great Britain’s cultural apple that has until now not fallen far from the tree, I wonder how should we take a leap of faith to escape repeating history rather than march in lock step behind a country that has untethered its Christian moorings. The Gospel of Jesus Christ exists for us (for our divinely ordered fulfillment) as much as humanity exists ultimately to encounter the Gospel and the Savior it heralds. Clearly we cannot remain satisfied with an apologetic approach that centers too heavily on the academy and not enough on the daily court of public opinion. Apologetics must be used more frequently in the day-to-day, not less. Our churches must become robust again in faith and orthopraxis and apologetics. The wisdom of Augustine’s “faith seeking understanding” presupposes that we should seek to understand our faith, contrary to frequent contemporary church preaching that faith with no attempt at understanding (blind faith) can be a superior virtue to serious theological reflection. And finally, we must take the Gospel and the defense of it to the gates of hell themselves (so to speak). We must not be afraid to engage the skeptics in their own backyard, which may include aiming for more exposure in the public eye through old and new media outlets and accessing more public venues receptive enough to an airing of a Christian worldview.

Here, I propose a few audacious plans of action. The following suggestions include, but are not limited to, the following acts of sedition against the prevailing cultural push toward total secularism:

• Appearances on television shows like The Colbert Report, Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, and anything opposite Bill Maher. If Bart Ehrman can get an interview with Stephen Colbert, I reason that surely someone on the less apostate side can also.

• Opinion columns with as many newspapers as apologists are humanly capable of contributing to.

• Participation in public discussions on worldview-reflective topics. [For an example, see The Journey’s (St. Louis) pre-evangelistic ministry called “Theology at the Bottleworks” at http://midrashstl.com/theology-at-the-bottleworks/]

As with anything, I cannot presume to predict the outcome of any of these efforts by Christians to make a positive impact on our culture for the cause of Christ. I do know, however, that neglecting the cultural shifts that take America farther away from a competent general understanding of theism and Christianity result in the kind of baseline secularism that is found in our neighbors across the pond. I stake an effort in the spirit of the words of the Apostle Paul, “May it never be!”

Thursday, April 7, 2011

British Muslim convert preaches against the very government that props him up

A former BBC security guard, now unemployed, converted to Islam and currently campaigns for a Sharia takeover of Britain, all the while living rent-free and collecting £1,256 per month in state welfare benefits.  Check it--that's over $2,048 USD. 

In the article, Mr. Dart/Salahuddin actually complains about his silver spoon living conditions in what are considered upscale flats:  "'It's quite luxurious compared with other ones, but you're crammed in like sardines and I can hear my neighbour coming and going. I don't enjoy living among non-Muslims,' he told the Sun. 'Under Islam things would be much better. You could have a detached bungalow for each wife, maybe four bungalows if you had four wives. I have to live here - and it's very hard to have four wives.'"

Wow, Mr. Dart wants to live the Islama-vida with four wives and separate bungalows, eh?   My, but he's such an elegible out-of-work welfare junkie and so dedicated to spending his days biting the hand that feeds him (someone tell me if he's good husband-material by Islamic standards, please).  According to the article, "he regularly takes to the streets of Whitechapel, East London, where he now lives, to conjure support for the fight to create a global Islamic state."  There's a word for this type of sponging--parasitism.

Well!  A la Charlie Sheen:  WINNING!

(HT: Answering Muslims)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Smart Faith Conference

I am pleased to announce that the first Smart Faith Conference on apologetics will be taking place in my hometown of Phoenix this summer!  Shawn White and I have organized a slate of phenomenal speakers to teach and assist youth and college students to understand how the Christian faith is a reasonable faith.

Conference dates:  June 10-11, 2011

Speakers include:
Mary Jo Sharp (Confident Christianity)
Brett Kunkle (Stand to Reason)
Neil Mammen (No Blind Faith)
Shawn White (Living Dead Man)
and yours truly, Letitia Wong

If you know a teenager or college student searching for ultimate answers regarding faith, science, and spirituality, consider signing them up.  Registration is ONLY $30 per student.  Early-bird registration is an insane $20 from now until May 13th, so do not delay if you want to attend!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Writer Eric Metaxas' Faith Story

I must thank God for facebook, otherwise I wouldn't have known about this terrific video of Eric Metaxas sharing his journey to faith in Jesus Christ.  The bonus for this huge, huge fan is finding out that Mr. Metaxas also attends church at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York.  Hello, Tim Keller?  That is freak-out awesome!

Eric Metaxas in his own words

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chris Matthews' 'Don't Know Much About History' Blunder on Hardball

I found this yesterday on Huffpo.  Though suffering through a cold usually makes one numb to what else goes on in the world, I had to gasp at this interview they pulled off of Chris Matthews' Hardball earlier this week:

Wow, talk about biting it on national television with a shameful showing of the utter lack of knowledge on the US Constitution and American history. On Tuesday, leftist lackey Chris Matthews went on a jaundiced tirade against Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's speech for the Iowans for Tax Relief. Specifically, he derided Rep. Bachmann's citation of John Quincy Adams as one of this country's forebearers who worked tirelessly for abolition.

Actually, let me change that. Chris Matthews doesn't have a "lack" of knowledge about the US Constitution and the history of abolition; he has a lack of accurate knowledge about the US Constitution and the history of abolition. He has drunk the liberal historical revisionism that many high school teachers and college professors now pour down the throats of our impressionable students who haven't understood history as it was between the Constitutional Congress and the Civil War. Let's let the circumstances back then speak for themselves.

- John Quincy Adams: according to biographies of Adams' life, he repeatedly attempted to introduce bills by abolitionist groups into Congress calling for the abolition of slavery. Such was the opposition to his ongoing attempts, Southern Democrats passed a number of gag rules in order to prevent Adams from introducing any more abolitionist bills.
"Throughout he was conspicuous as an opponent of the extension of slavery, though he was never technically an abolitionist, and in particular he was the champion in the House of Representatives of the right of petition at a time when, through the influence of the Southern members, this right was, in practice, denied by that body. His prolonged fight for the repeal of the so-called "Gag Laws" is one of the most dramatic contests in the history of the U.S. Congress. The agitation for the abolition of slavery, which really began in earnest with the establishment of the Liberator by William Lloyd Garrison in 1831, soon led to the sending of innumerable petitions to congress for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, over which the Federal government had jurisdiction, and for other action by congress with respect to that institution. These petitions were generally sent to Adams for presentation. They aroused the anger of the pro-slavery members of congress, who, in 1836, brought about the passage of the first "Gag Rule", the Pinckney Resolution, presented by Henry L. Pinckney, of South Carolina. It provided that all petitions relating to slavery should be laid on the table without being referred to committee or printed; and, in substance, this resolution was re-adopted at the beginning of each of the immediately succeeding sessions of congress, the Patton Resolution being adopted in 1837, the Atherton Resolution, or "Atherton Gag", in 1838, and the Twenty-first Rule in 1840 and subsequently until repealed. Adams contended that these "Gag Rules" were a direct violation of the First Amendment to the Federal Constitution, and refused to be silenced on the question, fighting for repeal with indomitable courage, in spite of the bitter denunciation of his opponents. Each year the number of anti-slavery petitions received and presented by him increased; perhaps the climax was in 1837, when Adams presented a petition from twenty-two slaves, and, when threatened by his opponents with censure, defended himself with remarkable keenness and ability. At each session, also, the majority against him decreased until in 1844 his motion to repeal the Twenty-first Rule was carried by a vote of 108 to 80 and his battle was won." (Source: NDDB biographies, http://www.nndb.com/people/370/000026292/)
Incidentally (or not incidentally, if you believe in Divine Providence as I do), in the last year of Adams' life, he mentored a young Congressman to work toward abolition. This Congressman later went on to become the 16th President of the United States. Oh, what was his name? Abraham Lincoln. (Watch this history video about John Quincy Adams and Abraham Lincoln: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhtkAO9PUE8)

- the Three-Fifths Clause in the US Constitution: historical revisionism has erased the word "compromise" from the Three-Fifths Compromise as written in Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3. Why? Because the word "compromise" could cause people to ask questions over what the compromise was about. In the runup to this clause in the Constitution, slave-holding states wanted their slaves to be included in the state population to give them more seats in Congress and votes in the electoral college. Morally, this was outrageous, for using slaves to increase your representation in Congress was insult beyond subjugation, not to mention an unfair advantage in congressional representation against Northern states. Abolitionists moved to oppose such accounting, wanting slaves not to be included at all. In a compromise, Congress adopted the Three-Fifths rule to appease the Democrats yet limit their power.

From Gary Wills, "Negro President”: Jefferson and the Slave Power, cited on Wikipedia: The three-fifths ratio, or "Federal ratio" had a major effect on pre-Civil War political affairs due to the disproportionate representation of slaveholding states relative to voters. For example, in 1793 slave states would have been apportioned 33 seats in the House of Representatives had the seats been assigned based on the free population; instead they were apportioned 47. In 1812, slaveholding states had 76 instead of the 59 they would have had; in 1833, 98 instead of 73. As a result, southerners dominated the Presidency, the Speakership of the House, and the Supreme Court in the period prior to the Civil War.

Chris Matthews clearly needs to go back to school and read some real American history and apologize to Rep. Bachmann for inflicting his ignorance on her and the American public. Maybe then, he won't be as big of a "balloon head" who suffers from so much hoof-in-mouth disease on national television.