Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Well whaddayaknow?

Republicans can’t win in ’08, it’s a pending national disaster, the Democrats will sweep into power …

Hold that thought a second. In Louisiana, Republican Bobby Jindal—a 36-year-old Oxford educated son of Indian immigrants, and a traditionalist Roman Catholic—won the election for governor of that state this weekend, tallying 54% of the vote in a field of 11 candidates (Jindal’s winning more than half the votes avoided a runoff election in November).

Political analysts noted that Jindal, a congressman who narrowly lost the governor’s race to current Gov. Kathleen Blanco four years ago, got many “buyer remorse” votes because of the Democratic governor’s bungling in the Hurricane Katrina crisis. How bad was her leadership? Just try and picture New York Mayor Rudy Guliani crying in front of cameras and microphones after 9-11; sends chills up and down your spine, doesn’t it? And yet, that’s what Blanco did in the midst of the worst disaster ever to hit her state. Her general ineptness (with the one exceptional instance of using the state's natural resources boats to rescue trapped residents) led to her not seeking another term as governor.

The “buyer remorse” votes indicate that Louisiana voters know who REALLY was responsible for the chaos that followed Katrina; blaming President Bush just doesn’t wash anymore (no pun intended). Now, if only New Orleans voters had a similar clue and thrown Mayor Ray “Evacuation Buses Under Water” Nagin out of office (Nagin couldn’t even explain to NBC’s Brian Williams why those buses-turned-submarines were never mobilized to evacuate residents in the first place)…

Republican Party Leadership: Looking for that candidate who could unite the party and give you a real winning chance five years from now (should Hillary rise to power and wreak havoc on our nation)? Here he is! Or how about drafting him for vice president for ’08? Maybe I’m jumping the gun, but Jindal comes off as a truly intelligent leader (unlike the pseudo intellectual John Kerry, whose college grade point average was actually one point lower than President Bush’s GPA), who has a strong moral backbone. I’ve known about Jindal for about 15 years, after reading some articles he wrote in the ultra-Catholic magazine New Oxford Review. Putting aside any theological differences I would have with him, Jindal’s articles were sharply written and showed a deep moral conviction rooted in his Catholic faith (not the flaky “As a Catholic, I’m personally against abortion or homosexual marriage, however…” ilk we’re so used to hearing).

Jindal’s election also shows that ’08 is not a done deal for the Democrats, even with Hillary’s media machines (including Media Matters for America) humming at full speed to trash anyone who opposes her. Hillary still has high unfavorable ratings in recent polls; her party will either have to sail with “Billary II” (with Barak Obama’s shallow campaign running out of steam) or draft their Nobel Prize-winning green crusader Al Gore. It could be REAL interesting … and readers, it’s never too early to pray that God’s will be done in the ’08 election.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


In keeping with the politically incorrect observation of Christopher Columbus’ discovering the Americas this month, I thought it might be interesting to point out some interesting (and not well-known) facts about him:

*Columbus was deeply religious, and would have prayers continually recited on his ships every six hours.

*If you read modern accounts of his life, you might get the impression that Columbus just woke up one day and suddenly decided to take up sailing and get some money raised to sail west. In fact, he could well have been the most accomplished sailor and sea captain of his time, having already sailed down the coast of Africa numerous times, and sailing as far north as Greenland on other expeditions. Sailors from all over Europe, even as far away as England, were on his voyage to the New World in 1492.

*Columbus carefully investigated whether heading straight west would lead him to Asia. On the westernmost islands in the Atlantic, he found vegetation and other objects washed on the shores that could not other be accounted for, correctly theorizing that they were from land due west. He also carefully investigated reports of other such sightings, and journals by other explorers about land they found in the west.

*Historians generally agree that Columbus was seeking a westward trade route to Asia, due to the Muslim armies closing the land route by overthrowing Constantinople. What is less well known (but nonetheless recorded in his journals and correspondence) was his desire to use money from the new trade route to finance a new Crusade to retake Jerusalem from the Muslims.

*Columbus is also the first person to figure out the trade winds in the Atlantic, a major discovery for navigation.

These and other facts about Columbus can be found in The Last Crusader: The Untold Story of Christopher Columbus by George Grant.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Favorite songs (Pt. 2)

Keith Green, Holy, Holy, Holy (1982)
Keith Green had a great number of songs that I really liked, but this one—his rendition of the classic hymn—was used by God to solidify my belief in the Trinity, or in the words sung by Keith’s soaring voice, “God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity.”

Some time before this, I had embraced an erroneous “Oneness Pentecostal” view of the Godhead. In the variation I was (mis)taught, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were three “ages” of God’s dealing with man. This led to my faith in Jesus being very unstable for a time. I still remember in 1985 when I shared this “revelation” with a friend who was a Methodist minister. He answered by pointing out the most obvious contradiction: if the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were only three “ages” of God, what was the Holy Spirit doing in the second verse in the Bible (Genesis 1:2, hovering over the waters), in the “age of the Father”? And the heretical house of cards came tumbling down.

But at this point, I only assented to the Trinity doctrine, and pushed it to the back of my mind. Then I heard this hymn sung by Green three years later, the last track on his Songs for the Shepherd album (released shortly after his death in an airplane crash in 1982). For some reason, it REALLY got my attention, and forced me to totally reexamine the Trinity doctrine in the light of the Bible. What I found was that the more I examined what the Bible says on the Godhead, the more contradictory I found the Oneness view—and the more in harmony with the Scriptures I found the Trinitarian view. This, in turn, solidified my faith in the Lord Jesus, and my Christian walk became noticeably stronger as a result.

If you want to examine this issue for yourself, a good friend of mine has a blog site you can visit: www.pastorcraigsblog.blogspot.com. Just several points from me on this: 1) How can Oneness proponents explain the Father and Jesus speaking in the place at the same time, such as in Matthew 3:15-17 and John 12:27-30? (Ventriloquism maybe?) 2) When I once pointed out to a Oneness proponent that Jesus prayed to His Heavenly Father, he responded that Jesus only did this as “an example” for believers. The problem with this view is that Jesus is STILL praying to His Father in heaven, on our behalf (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25 and 9:24; 1 John 2:1). 3) When Oneness proponents quote Revelation 4:2 to say there was “only one throne in heaven, and One sitting on it,” they need to read a little further down in Revelation 5:6-7, where the Lamb appears (see John 1:29) and takes the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sits on the throne (also, the Holy Spirit appears in the scene as the “seven Spirits,” signifying His fullness, in Revelation 4:5 and 5:6).

For further reading on this, Pastor Craig’s blog has some really good books. Several others I recommend are: God in Three Persons by E. Calvin Beisner, which traces the development of the Trinity belief back to the early church (Beisner also demonstrates that there was a Greek word for the Trinity used in the church in the early second century, within several decades of the Apostle John’s death); Why You Should Believe in the Trinity by Robert Bowman, which is an answer to Jehovah’s Witnesses, but is an excellent basic resource on Trinity doctrine; and another book called God in Three Persons by Carl Brumback. I’ve also written a booklet, The Truth About the Trinity, a direct answer to a popular Oneness tract; if you would like a copy, send me an e-mail at sk32900@hotmail.com.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

North Korea: About Face

Talk about an about face: North Korea now wants to take down its nuclear program—and even wants to have U.S. inspectors come in to make sure they are in compliance. There is also an official proclamation between the leaders of North and South Korea to officially sign a peace treaty (technically, both sides are still at war under an armistice). Earlier this year, I wrote about geopolitical scientist Dr. Jack Wheeler’s assertion that China, with the 2008 Olympics coming to Beijing, won’t tolerate a nutty regime in North Korea starting a war on its doorstep. This would lead to a coup orchestrated by Beijing which, Wheeler speculated, could lead to North Korea being a vassal state to China, and being rapidly converted to Christianity. Immediately after that statement, interestingly, North Korean dictator Kim Jung Il profusely apologized to China for all the trouble it caused (including testing a nuclear weapon, which turned out to be a dud). Could this be an interesting maneuver by Kim Jong Il to get on America’s good side—to avoid a possible Beijing-inspired coup to overthrow him?

It appears President George W. Bush may release some humanitarian aid as a return gesture. Let’s pray that the president use godly wisdom to deal with Kim Jung Il and North Korea—and that God will open the doors of this closed nation to the gospel of the Lord Jesus!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


I need to get something off my chest this morning:

The election of Hillary Clinton to the presidency would be a frightening national nightmare.

Now that I got that out of my system, you might be asking why. No, it’s not necessarily tied to national security or the war in Iraq. It’s one of those “by their fruits you shall know them” observations (to quote Jesus in Matthew 7:20). It’s because of a little-known “media watchdog” group her people have created that is all too much of an echo from her husband’s presidency: Media Matters for America.

Over the past several weeks, this group has been creeping behind the scenes, using their “mainstream media” lapdogs to attack Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly through misquotes and more misquotes. They operate by looking for “missteps” (which aren’t really missteps except in the Media Matters “investigators’” minds), then twisting those quotes and packaging them for lazy mainstream reporters (lazy because they don’t do one ounce of research into the original context of the quotes) to spew out.

What makes this so frightening is that it basically follows them same pattern that Bill and Hillary’s media manipulating machine perfected in the 90s, to club anyone who may try to expose Bill’s immoral exploits or corruption. Indeed, the phrase “bimbo eruptions” actually originated from CLINTON campaigners during the 1992 election. When anyone stood up to tell the truth about Clinton, they were tarred and feathered by the “watchdog” media before the week was out.

Even during the Monica Lewinsky scandal (exposed thanks to The Drudge Report), Clintonistas managed to eventually demonize Ken Starr, transforming him into a salacious, hypocritical prude.

Contrast all this with what you have seen during President George W. Bush’s presidency. Has President Bush, or any other president in recent memory (with the exception of Richard Nixon), conducted his presidency wielding such frightening slander against opponents? Not even the so-called Valerie Plame “scandal” holds up as much of a media “attack”: she used her CIA post to campaign for her husband Joe Wilson—an ardent enemy of the administration—to be appointed to investigate whether Saddam Hussein was trying to buy uranium from Niger (British intelligence still says he did). This unfortunate appointment of such a lying partisan (made during the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks, when partisanship was understandably at a low ebb), would be puzzling to reporters, and it’s easy to see why people in the administration would want to explain this contradictory move by Bush’s White House (Richard Armitage, by the way, revealed Plame’s CIA connection, not Scooter Libby).

If that’s the worst the Bush White House has done in the way of “media attacks,” you can see why I sleep a lot better at night knowing our current president is occupying the Oval Office—and why the thought of a Hillary presidency would, well, give me nightmares.

Favorite songs (Pt. 1)

Once in a while I’ll write about which Christian songs are my favorite of all time. Feel free to let me know your favorites, or if you agree or disagree with how I describe these songs.

Bob Dylan, Gotta Serve Somebody (1979)
The “Poet of This Generation” caused quite a stir in the late 70s when he announced he had become a born-again Christian. Then he followed up the proclamation of his new faith with the album Slow Train Coming, and watch out! What an uproar among his longtime fans, especially when they went to his concerts at the time to hear his NEW music! Even so, a number of critics who may not have liked Dylan’s new-found faith still like the rejuvenated sound that came across on the album.

Among his new songs was Gotta Serve Somebody, which is about as direct a song about following Jesus as you can get: “You gotta serve somebody/ it may be the devil, or it may be the Lord/but you gotta serve somebody.” Some listeners may have whined about the song being dogmatic—but enough liked it to put in the Top 25 on the Billboard charts. The song earned Dylan a Grammy in 1980 for Best Rock Vocal Performance.

The song musically avoided the genres that dominated the charts in 1979, disco (which was waning) and punk/new wave (that was on the rise). The song may also contain an interest nudge in the ribs of another artist who (until this time) was a friend of Dylan—John Lennon.

Back in 1970, Lennon recorded an atheistic anthem called God, in which he denounced belief in God and just about everyone else he could think of—Jesus, Buddha, even his ex-band The Beatles (except when he warbled “I just believe in me/Yoko and me/and that’s reality.” Uh, sure, whatever you say, John). Anyway, in the song, he screams, “I don’t believe in Zimmerman” (being Dylan’s real last name). Now in Gotta Serve Somebody, one of the last lines is: “You may call me Bobby/Or you may call me Zimmy,” with the stanza later ending, “You can call me anything/It don’t matter what you say/You’re still going to have to serve somebody…” Could Dylan have been taking a sideswipe at Lennon’s reference to him in God? It makes you wonder, especially with Lennon’s caustic reaction to Gotta Serve Somebody, writing an awful tune called Serve Yourself as his “answer” (then again, Lennon may simply have been upset about Dylan getting a Grammy out of the song).

Regardless of whether all that holds any water, Gotta Serve Somebody is still just as challenging today to Christians and non-Christians alike, as it was when it was first released.

Rich Mullins, Peace (A Communion Blessing from St. Joseph’s Square) (1993)
"Do this in memory of Me," Jesus said about the ordinance of communion—and yet I’m not aware of many songs about this important part of our Christian walk that reaffirms our salvation covenant. Up until I first heard this song, I was only aware of two: the 70s song I Am the Bread of Life and Trust by Smalltown Poets (technically, you could also include How Beautiful by Twila Paris).

Peace, like many of Mullins’ classics, captures our imperfect attempts at living out our faith. Just the first few words in the song are stunning: “Though we’re strangers, still I love you/I love you more than your mask/And I know you have to trust to be true/And I know that’s much to ask…” In the midst of this struggle to put aside our masks to accept true fellowship, one can almost see Mullins opening his arms to his brothers and sisters: “But lay down your fears/Come and join this feast/He has brought us here/ You and me …”

This song can make you appreciate the Lord’s Supper so much more, especially if your church faithfully practices it on a consistent basis (and it can sadden you if it doesn’t). You can find this gem on Mullins’ classic CD A Liturgy, a Legacy and a Ragamuffin Band and the compilation Songs 2.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Lessons from the sports world

*The Bible says a good name is desirable above great riches (Proverbs 22:1). So what to make of the New England Patriots filming opponents against NFL rules? You could argue whether the hefty fines and forfeiting of a first-round draft pick next year was enough of a penalty. But really, what was the head coach THINKING? Did the team really NEED to steal signals? For crying out loud, they were stealing signals from the JETS when they were caught; it wasn’t like they were facing the Colts or Packers! I’m sure their Super Bowl victories were legit—but look at the price being paid, so far as their reputation is concerned. A cloud will be hanging over those triumphs because of this idiocy.

*Never give up, never give up, never give up. The New York Yankees, all but written off after being 14 games out in May, post the best record in the second half of the season and make the playoffs. The Philadelphia Phillies, counted out after slipping to 7-1/2 games out of first place in the NL East on September 1, plow ahead to a division pennant while the “sure thing” New York Mets go into inexplicable tailspin. The Colorado Rockies storm back to take the NL wild card from the Padres, after tying San Diego on the last day of the season and winning a 13-inning slugfest in the one-game playoff. The picture of perseverance, all of them.