25 Jun 2009
God is at work
In pondering John 7 recently, our pastor mentioned God’s work in the life of Nicodemus. The Pharisees were blind guides who could not see the living Word right in front of their eyes. They could not “see” their own Creator right in front of them despite being the keepers of His law. But even among these hardened men, there was a remnant: Nicodemus. The light bulb slowly seems to go on in this learned man’s eyes. Our pastor noted that we should draw encouragement from this.
God is at work. He is at work in our lives. He is at work in the lives of people who do foolish and wicked things. He’s working in in the lives of scoffers. We never know how this will come to fruition. Some may be further hardened, others may be reborn as great saints in faith. However, we should never give up in praying for others. We should never see anyone as irredeemable; we don’t know all of God’s sheep. We shouldn’t give up on our own reprehensible selves.
So, what to do? Do what we’re supposed to do, remembering what Luther said:
Work and let him give the fruits thereof! Rule, and let him prosper it! Battle, and let him give victory! Preach, and let him make hearts devout! Marry, and let him give you children! Eat and drink, and let him give you health and strength. Then it will follow that, whatever we do, he will effect everything through us; and to him alone shall be the glory.
24 Jun 2009
A warning to hypocrisy-seeking mockers
Are people going nuts? I have seen and heard of a number of marriages breaking up recently in strange ways. And now comes the odd story of South Carlina Governor Mark Sanford.
Trend researcher Gerald Celente says that when people lose everything, they tend to lose it. True, perhaps, but in all of the cases I’ve heard of, the economy was at best indirectly involved in these marital situations. (I’ve said it many times before, but I believe that the real disaster is yet to come with the economy).
Every time a moral downfalls occurs, we get the usual flood of mockers who are only too happy to pounce. “Ha, another Christian hypocrite!” To the mocker, it’s better to set the bar an inch off the ground and step over it than to set the bar six feet off the ground and fail in jumping over it.
This isn’t to excuse Mark Sanford. He may be an unrepentant fraud for all I know. Church history is replete with them. The Bible warns of those among us who were never of us.
While I don’t want to downplay it, hypocrisy is a fact of life with all believers to some extent, even if it does not lead to scandalous sin. I’ve experienced enough of myself to know that I’m at the head of the “pathetic loser” line. However, to mockers, you’re either perfect or a fake. That’s quite convenient for them. If no man can jump their bar, then they posit that no man has the right to speak God’s judgment against them.
However, man does have the right to do exactly that. God commands it. God commands pastors and elders (sinners all!) to proclaim His righteous judgment. You see, mockers, when R.C. Sproul and Tim Bayly and John MacArthur say that the unrepentant will be thrown into Hell, they’re just proclaiming what Jesus said. If it were only their opinion, it wouldn’t matter, but Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, has proclaimed it. Therefore it matters. Even if you shut up every messenger, the message remains. The eternal God remains. Judgment is coming. There’s no stopping it.
And know this, mockers: God doesn’t grade on a curve. I measure my relative successes against others (and overlook my failures) as well as any sinner, but one man’s scandal doesn’t make you look good to God by comparison. God isn’t comparing you to other people. He’s comparing you to a standard of perfect obedience. If you aren’t trusting in Christ– that is, if you don’t have the imputed, spotless perfection of Christ’s righteousness– then you are on the road to Hell. And you’ll deserve it. The mocking will soon be over.
Mockers, don’t use incidents like this to harden your hearts further. Turn now.
20 Jun 2009
Ah yes, validation!
It’s something we’ve always suspected: politicians share personality traits with serial killers. Let’s see here:
Interpersonal traits include glibness, superficial charm, a grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, and the manipulation of others.
a lack of remorse and/or guilt
They also lack what most consider a “shame” mechanism.
OK, well, I’m convinced.
19 Jun 2009
What caused the bust? How did we get $7 ice cream cones?
This is a good, short interview with Thomas Woods. Along with Peter Schiff, Tom Woods is the clearest economist out there. He’s always funny and lively as an interview, with well-aimed blows.
10 Jun 2009
“Gay marriage” and libertarianism
We often hear the wish expressed that we could just get by all this “divisiveness about “gay marriage.” I heard Peter Schiff say this basic thing recently since he is contemplating a Senate run.
Now, there is no such thing as gay “marriage.” God cannot bless a union He calls an abomination. However, there’s nothing to stop Adam and Steve from tying the knot down at the local Metropolitan Community Church. For that matter, there’s nothing stopping a guy from exchanging rings with his dog out in the back yard. This isn’t a debate about what people can freely do in civil society. People believe in all kinds of heresies and abominations that do not involve the civil authorities.
Some libertarians and “moderates” are offended by the Biblical view, or they wish it would go away, and so they make the leap to supporting the “live and let live” side. However, they’ve taken the wrong side if they believe this. While the popular wisdom is that supporting gay marriage is the freedom-loving side, the exact opposite is the case. Politically, the pro-gay marriage side is all about forcing people to recognize (and pay for) something they do not want to recognize. If an employer finds it repugnant to offer health benefits to a homosexual’s partner because such a “marriage” is illegitimate, well, tough luck for him. He has to pay for it anyway. Similarly, government benefits will be handed out to gay “spouses.” Granted, government benefits are unconstitutional, divisive by nature, and should be eliminated completely, but the point is that while they exist people are forced to support that which they don’t want to support.
This is tolerance? It won’t stop there. Once gay marriage is 100% legal, we can expect legal actions taken against faithful churches that refuse to perform these phony marriages. It will be yet another avenue for persecution.
Gay marriage supporters are the intolerant ones. Shouldn’t this be clear since most of the people who support it also support government meddling in all other areas of our lives?
09 Jun 2009
Be skeptical of wars
We don’t burn our draft cards down on Main Street / Cause we like a livin’ right and bein’ free. -Merle Haggard
The late libertarian Harry Browne once called the Defense Department “the Post Office in battle fatigues.” I believe his point was that people often romanticize the military brass, but really these are just government bureaucrats.
After World War II, the Cold War arose, and conservative-minded folks became suspicious about opponents of war. Didn’t they want to fight communists? This divide deepened in the 1960s, when all the dopey hippies came along preaching free love and flying high. My late father, a WWII vet who fought under MacArthur, despised hippies. He rightly saw them as irresponsible cretins. When I was young in the 1970s, America was still fighting aggressive communism. Those who opposed the fight were distrusted, especially those who told us that if we were just nicer to dictator xyz, then they’d listen to reason and we’d all sing Kumbaya together (we see their descendants today who think Obama some sort of demigod). Middle American conservatives don’t like these people. They distrust those who oppose military involvement. They prefer Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.
This was my own thinking on wars for a long time– I favored every war up until Iraq. It was then that my views started changing. I still can’t stand hippies, but I took a second look at the serious anti-war libertarians (as opposed to the liberal posers who’ve suddenly quieted down since their guy was elected). If we don’t trust the government in anything it does domestically, why should we trust its foreign policy wisdom? Perhaps the things they do there backfire. Perhaps they are motivated by non-altruistic concerns.
Consider these problems with wars:
- People get killed. Our soldiers, their soldiers, and civilians. It sounds simple, and it doesn’t mean that there aren’t instances where wars can save lives, but the fact that people are being killed should invite questions about the necessity of any war.
- Wars waste a lot of money. The government spends huge amounts of money to create weapons. Then it uses those weapons to blow up bridges and buildings in other countries. Then it spends still more to rebuild all those homes and bridges. Where does this money come from? It is stolen from the private sector. Debt and inflation attack the savings that could have funded real investment. A labor force that could have produced useful items instead is diverted to produce things that will be blown up. (This gives lie to this idea that World War II “got us out of the Depression.” This conventional wisdom is a fallacy, as historians like Robert Higgs have pointed out.)
- Wars divert resources from the private to the public sector. Any dollar moved from the private realm to the public realm enervates private society and strengthens the the public sector.
- Government grows bigger and more powerful on the heels of popular support for wars. This leads to new laws that expand government and lessen social and economic freedom. The late conservative Paul Weyrich noted that one should never give to your friend power that your enemy might one day inherit. If Obama’s popularity persists, will anyone be surprised if its administration eventually use all the new security powers given it by the Bush Administration to persecute all you 2nd-Amendment “terrorists” out there with your guns, or you unpatriotic elements who won’t hire unrepentant homosexuals? It wouldn’t surprise me. As we continue toward a cashless society, it becomes easier to ensure that no transaction goes unnoticed. We usually are told it’s all about “national security.” I guess it’s all just a coincidence that it eases auditing and taxation, and eliminates privacy.
- Randolph Bourne put it this way: “War is the health of the State. It automatically sets in motion throughout society those irresistible forces for uniformity, for passionate cooperation with the Government in coercing into obedience the minority groups and individuals which lack the larger herd sense. … Minorities are rendered sullen, and some intellectual opinion bitter and satirical. Loyalty — or mystic devotion to the State — becomes the major imagined human value. Other values, such as artistic creation, knowledge, reason, beauty, the enhancement of life, are instantly and almost unanimously sacrificed, and the significant classes who have constituted themselves the amateur agents of the State are engaged not only in sacrificing these values for themselves but in coercing all other persons into sacrificing them.”
- Empires are brought down by expensive wars. The US is, conservatively, $65-100 trillion in the hole now depending on which estimates you believe. Debt and inflation always accompany wars. The U.S. simply does not have the money to be blowing stuff up in Iraq or to be occupying bases across the globe. Necessity will eventually force many of these troops home in lickety-split fashion. Empire is the last stage before collapse.
I am not anti-war in blanket fashion, but I hate big government. I do not trust the state. Why should I?
Why should you, my conservative friends? I am not saying that all wars are evil. But be very skeptical.
04 Jun 2009
Shock and outrage
As an addendum to the last post, it’s telling that Barack Obama was shocked and outraged at George Tiller’s murder, but he’s not shocked and outraged at George Tiller’s long career of destroying infants.