29 Jun 2006
Covenant Eyes redux
It’s a little expensive at $75/year, but Covenant Eyes is — by far — the best software I’ve seen in the vital area of helping people avoid internet temptation. It’s outstanding at separating wheat (tame sites) from chaff, much better than its main accountability competitor, X3Watch, and leagues better than client-based filtering software like Cybersitter. It’s been running great on my machines for many months.
Covenant Eyes has yet to release its filtering software, but it will use the same host technology as their accountability software. So what’s the difference, you ask, between filtering and accountability software?
Filtering software blocks access to sites that it deems bad. It’s especially useful when dealing with small kids who may not know where they are going. There is a password-protected area in the software where you can control the filtering preferences.
Accountability software lets you go wherever you please. However, it periodically emails a report to an accountability partner of your choosing (the partner can also review reports online). The email report is ranked so that any sites that Covenant Eyes deems offensive will show up at the top. The report for Covenant Eyes is concise and clear, easy for your accountability partner to scan in a few minutes.
The Covenant Eyes accountability software is all most adults will need, but those wanting an extra level of protection (e.g. avoiding an inadvertent visit to a fishy site) should consider using both once the filter is available.
1/6/08 UPDATE: The filtering software is now available.
28 Jun 2006
Planned Parenthood’s respectable veneer
Warren Buffett is granting an estimated 37 billion dollars to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is already the largest charitable foundation in the world. Buffett and his late wife were strong supporters of abortion and population control. So is William Gates Sr.. And so are Bill and Melinda Gates, despite their $29 billion foundation’s claim to be “guided by the belief that every life has equal value.” The Gates Foundation has provided large donations to the U.N. Population Fund and that Potemkin Village for abortion and immorality, the phony-baloney Planned Parenthood.
American Life League has this to say about Planned Parenthood’s condom-in-every-pot philosophy:
PPF’s entire business rests upon sex education. By teaching kids a perverted philosophy of human sexuality, PPFA breaks down natural inhibitions, which then leads to greater promiscuity. As a result, PPFA then increases its customer base for artificial birth control, including abortion.
Most people don’t realize that Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the country– 255,000 abortions in 2004. And of course, the evildoing pace-setters aren’t emphasizing that. Nor do they emphasize their international arm’s involvement (along with the U.N.) in China’s forced abortion policy. Nor the wicked philosophies of their lionized founder, Margaret Sanger.
And a side note: All of this is supported by those innocent deep-thinkers at MTV.
25 Jun 2006
Luther and the drinking song myth
One thing you hear, usually from supporters of contemporary worship, is that Luther adapted tavern songs for use in the church. Not so (and the same apparently goes for the Wesleys). According to Dr. Peter Masters of London’s Metropolitan Tabernacle:
Promoters of new worship love to quote Luther as saying, “Why should the devil have all the good tunes?” What they do not tell their hearers is that Luther was talking about Catholic church music, not tavern songs. He was not interested in stealing from the world around him. If, rarely, a secular melody was used, it was very greatly changed, and what else would we expect from the Reformer who wrote:
“Take special care to shun perverted minds who prostitute this lovely gift of nature and of art with their erotic rantings. And be quite assured that none but the devil goads them on to defy their very nature. . . . They purloin the gift of God and use it to worship the foe of God.”
Luther clearly believed that music was to be identified with its source and users. It was the world of those days that stole from the church to obtain a melody line for a bawdy bar song, but not the other way round. …
Does evangelical worship reinvent itself every few decades by adopting new hymn and musical forms, controversial at first, but soon becoming the status quo? Yes, answer the glib advocates of new worship. But let any reader just visit the second-hand bookshop in town, and pick out old hymnbooks. There may be eighteenth-century books there. As you take them up and examine them, you may be surprised to see how many of the hymns are familiar to you. These form the backbone of conservative hymnbooks to this day. … This is because the church of Christ has long had its very own culture of hymns and hymn tunes, formed to suit reverent, intelligent, heartfelt praise, and kept well apart from the world of profanity.
22 Jun 2006
The carnival leaves town
The 2006 General Convention of the Episcopal Church ended yesterday in Columbus. Laboring mightily to bring forth a mouse, as one bishop put it, the chief output was a deficient and tepid response to the Windsor Report. The resolution resolves (without resolve) to “engage in a process of healing” (as opposed to repentance for consecrating a practicing sodomite) and it asks bishops to “exercise restraint” in installing those whose “manner of life presents a challenge” (you’re the weak one, bub!) to the orthodox.
So, the Episcopals ended up with something, something resembling a shivering pile of jello. Even the radical “Bishop”-ess Schori herself said: “I do not understand this resolution as slamming the door.” And: “My sense is that the original resolution is the best we are going to do today, but I’ll only support it if there is reconsideration in the [near] future.”
And so now comes the interesting part– Will the Anglican Communion unyoke the boat from its dock and let the heretics float out to sea? Or will they whip up a batch of conciliatory goo that extends the charade? God knows the future.
Finally, in case you missed it, Bishopess Schori had this to say during her morning sermon:
Our mother [!] Jesus gives birth to a new creation — and you and I are His children. If we’re going to keep on growing into Christ-images for the world around us, we’re going to have to give up fear… You are God’s beloved, and God is well-pleased with you… Our invitation, both in the last work of this Convention, and as we go out into the world, is to lay down our fear and love the world.
And now the truth:
For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. -Eph 5:5-6
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. -1 John 2:15
Pray for the body of Christ in the Anglican church.
20 Jun 2006
A trip to the carnival
A friend and I wandered down to the Episcopal Convention for a few hours today, figuring: How often does something like this come to town? The exhibits there were a surreal mix: Holy Land travel excursions, sodomy advocacy groups, Eastern Orthodox priests selling artwork, youth groups, Anglo-Catholic societies, beads, necklaces, priestly apparel, and books by Barbara Brown Taylor.
The House of Deputies rejected a resolution to refrain from consecrating homosexual bishops. Despite procedural snafus, it went down without rancor. The majority liberals voted no because they don’t regret doing installing a homosexual priest. The conservatives voted no because the resolution was unrepentant and did not address the Windsor Report from the Anglican Communion (which calls for the Episcopal Church to halt the ordination of homosexuals).
And so it appears that the Windsor Report could remain unanswered, and the Episcopal Church is finally on the road to being detached from the Anglican Communion. The runaway EC wagon is then free to compete among the same pagan smorgasbord demographic as the Unitarians.
Just one sample absurdity from the convention, as reported by one of the orthodox Bishops:
[W]e went into a plenary session where any bishop who wished to, upon being recognized, could stand up and talk about how we feel about the Windsor Report. And most of what went on was feelings and stories and anecdotes. And we had several poems quoted to us. And we had several bishops talk about how teary-eyed they were at different points during this convention. And then we ran out of time.
OK, any questions? Yes friends, it’s not what we say or do, it’s what we feel. When we feel so much that we cannot feel more, our feelings lift us into the land of virtue.
19 Jun 2006
Those predictable Episcopals
The ECUSA (now called the Episcopal Church) has elected Katharine Jefferts Schori (two last names!) as their new Presiding Bishop, thumbing their nose at the believers who remain and much of the Anglican Communion. Expect it to be hailed as yet another victory in the ongoing war against God’s wor… er, prejedice and intolerance. Those innovators not accepting this latest blow for apostasy will be seen as “having a problem with women.” Nay, wait, a problem with “strong women.” Yes, that’s more like it. Our local radio station has already hailed it as historic – the first denom headed by a woman.
It’s been argued that many conservatives in the Episcopal Church are really just 1970s latitudinarians. Happy enough with the modern innovations such as women priests, annihilationism, etc., they aren’t ready for homosexuals in the pulpit. Dabney’s comment that 19th century conservatism was “the shadow that follows radicalism as it moves forward to perdition” comes to mind.
“And some things that should not have been forgotten, were lost.” But is it lost? God only knows. Perhaps if the communion splits and the blatantly apostate go on their sorry way, old truths will roar back and traditional Episcopalianism will return to America.
18 Jun 2006
Signs of a true church
Following on the last post, this helpful study of the seven churches of the Revelation by author Bob DeWaay sums up the key virtues that Christ sees in a true church:
- Overcoming & maintaining one’s confession in the face of persecution
- Persevering by keeping the commandments of God and faith in Jesus
- Rejecting and hating false doctrine & correcting it
- Being faithful when weak numerically
And the worst vices:
- A lack of love
- Toleration of false doctrine
- Compromise with the pagan culture
- Deluded self-satisfaction
16 Jun 2006
Speaking truth is love
Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt. -Lev 19:17
Watching the Episcopal debate for a few minutes tonight on Larry King, it struck me how orthodox Christians so often confront the culture on touchy subjects like sodomy with an appeal to their own unworthiness: “I’m nothing special myself, just a sinner saved by grace! Not trying to pull moral rank on you here, my homosexual friend!”
All well and good, to a point; we are all dreadful sinners. But doesn’t hedging on our obvious unworthiness water down our ability (and in the case of pastors, authority and responsibility) to confront and rebuke sin? We don’t see Paul, the self-proclaimed chief of sinners (1 Tim 1:15), beating about the bush when rebuking the Galatians or the Corinthians.
Why not point out the utter lack of love displayed by those who abet and excuse sin? Enemies of Christ like V. Gene Robinson are deluding themselves and others — destroying souls — by denying the authority of Scripture and calling evil good (Is. 5:20). And that is hatred. So call it that.
We’re so conditioned to speak the truth in love, but isn’t it also good to remember that speaking the truth is love?
14 Jun 2006
“The homosexual agenda is Jesus Christ”
Will the Episcopals finally split over the homosexual issue? I hope so.
To give you an idea of what the remnant is dealing with, here’s V. Gene Robinson, homosexual “priest,” as quoted earlier today at the Episcopal convention:
It seems to me that this debate is about one thing. Do we recognize the life of Christ in the GLBT members of this church. Are we not in this debate now because we have seen the fruits of the spirit in the eyes of our brothers and sisters who happen to be gay. If we see this, what then. We cannot make decisions on the basis of what the [Anglican Communion] does or does not decide. Our job is to discern the will of God here. If we see God in our GLBT members let us say so. The homosexual agenda is Jesus Christ. I know that I am loved beyond my wildest imagining. I am not an abomination but a beloved sinner forgiven by grace. Pilates sin was not that he did not know what is right, but that he did not do it. Let us do right.
As I’ve said before, sodomy is a sin that many have convinced themselves – to the peril of their eternal soul – is not sin.
14 Jun 2006
Ignorance leads to… holiness?
Yesterday’s Ryle quote stated called holiness “the habit of agreeing with the mind with God, in accordance as we find His mind described in Scripture.” And the other day in USA Today we have this fine sentiment as the Episcopals descend on Columbus for their their triennial convention:
[T]he whole purpose of the Bible … to convince people to set the written word down in order to become living words in the world for God’s sake. –Barbara Brown Taylor
Such is a typical example of the false teaching (oops, I’m sorry, diverse views) we’ve come to expect from such clouds without water (oops, “holy troublemakers”). Apparently holy acts don’t spring from knowledge. One advantage of this “close the Book” philosophy is that you remain blissfully unaware of contrary sentiments in Scripture:
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. -Heb 4:12
And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. -Acts 20:32
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Ps 119:105)
And on it goes…
13 Jun 2006
Holiness is the habit of agreeing with the mind with God, in accordance as we find His mind described in Scripture. It is the habit of agreeing with God’s judgment – hating what He hates, loving what He loves- and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word. The person who most completely agrees with God is the one who is the most holy person. –JC Ryle
08 Jun 2006
One of my favorite native wildflowers, the showy ladyslipper orchid. It is such a joy to get down on one’s knees and enjoy the Creation!
05 Jun 2006
The future’s discreditable past
What are the common threads in these progressive contest finalists? Well, first that none of these high-flown sentiments may be realized without being backed up by the threat of government force and bureaucracy. But second, we see this common thread of future vs. past. It reminded me of words Joe Sobran wrote in 1990, words which apply not only to politics, but to many debates going on in our churches.
In The Whig Interpretation of History, Herbert Butterfield lamented the tendency of historians to see the controversies of the past in the anachronistic categories of “progressive” and “reactionary.” Whig history interpreted the clash of, say, Reformers and Church not in terms the raging opponents would have understood, but as a battle between the forces of the future (Luther) and the forces of the past (Pope Leo X).
This way of flattening complicated disputes into easily grasped melodrama has trickled down into journalism. Many “news” stories have as their subtext the battle between Progressive good guys and Reactionary villains. Despite the official journalistic ethic of neutrality, unmistakable moral commitment creeps into news reports of conflict between pope and theologian, government and protestor, business and labor, white and black, male and female. We sense we’re getting cues as to which side we should be rooting for … The ultimate Progressive categories are not heaven and hell, or good and evil, or order and chaos, but Future and Past. Even the cusswords of the Progressive are chronological: archaic, outdated, Neanderthal, medieval.
…History itself has begun to demolish the Progressive mythology. Socialism is in moral, political, and economic ruins. The noble savages of the Third World have shown us what comes after “liberation.” And it’s all so tiresome. We have seen the Future, and it has acquired its own discreditable past.
01 Jun 2006
So much for covenant theology
This is some pretty sorry stuff:
Thirty-five percent of those ages 40-64 believe marriage is very important if a couple have a child together; 58% of adults 65 and older say so. Of those ages 18-39, 30% believe it is very important. Overall, 37% of respondents believe a child is a very important reason to marry.
Given that 1/3 of the children born today are illegitimate, and the steady moral encouragement offered by the culture — entertainers, faux-hipster music channels, and so forth — these stats are not so surprising. The word “bastard” (used correctly) is about as popular today as “sodomite.” One wonders how much longer even “illegitimacy” and its moral overtones will survive, for it breaks commandment #1 of the culture: Thou shalt not judge.
And here we see the growing acceptance of perma-shackup:
There was much greater agreement on a question about whether it is very important to marry if the couple plan to spend their lives together. Overall, 65% agreed. For ages 40-64, the response was similar: 66%. Of those ages 18-39, 57% agreed it is very important to marry if the couple are committed to each other, compared with 80% of those 65 and older.
My country tis of thee, sweet land of libertine.