Fear, Confusion and Flooding

Fear, Confusion and Flooding
Vol: 81 Issue: 30 Monday, June 30, 2008

It s said that when you are up to your, er, armpits in alligators, its hard to remember you’re there to drain the swamp. For those in the Midwest, about the only thing that hasn t been thrown at them is a herd of alligators. Swamps they have plenty of.

The pounding being handed out to the American Midwest is of seemingly apocalyptic proportions particularly if you live in one of the areas devastated by this season s record breaking tornadoes and flooding.

As one person put it, if this isn t global warming, it will do until global warming comes along. I don t disagree that there is, or was, a global warming trend. Neither do I doubt that the catastrophic storms raking the American heartland are somehow related to this warming trend.

But where I split with the Ozone Rangers is where the notion conflicts with Scripture. Or rather, that is where I began to split with them. What they propose as a consequence of global warming fails to line up with Bible prophecy. What they offer as a remedy removes God from the equation altogether.

I realize that is the popular scientific way to approach things of a scientific nature, and mostly, I agree with that approach. If scientists were to approach scientific problems from a theological perspective, next thing you know, science would go all religious on us. (As in evolutionary science )

Theology presupposes the existence of God. Indeed, the word means the study of God s Word. It comes from the Greek combination of Theos, meaning God, and Logos, meaning Word. Literally translated from Greek, it means, to talk about God.

As a theologian, my study has led me to conclude that where scientific thought conflicts with the scientific revelations contained in Scripture, my faith is in the Scripture.

Catastrophic global warming is not in there. At least, not man-made global warming. Revelation 16:9 says the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch them with fire.

That s the Fourth Bowl Judgment of God. It is a limited event, not the result of decades of global warming. Neither is it man-made. Nor does man have any control over it.

There has been some warming since the mid 1970 s, and there appears to be a cooling trend on the horizon. Warm and cool cause storms and flooding.

The Great 100 Year Flood of 2008 was preceded by the Great 100 Year Flood of 1993.

And it was preceded by the Great 100 Year Mississippi Flood of 1927, which flooded 27,000 square miles or about 16,570,627 acres to a depth of 30 feet. That flood killed 246 people in seven states; Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.

That isn t to minimize the disaster ongoing in the Midwest. I m just trying to offer some sense of perspective. Global warming wasn t responsible for the 1927 Flood. It wasn t responsible for the 1993 Flood, and it isn t responsible for the Great Flood of 2008. Weather is. And weather is the province of God.

There is no doubt we can affect it, but God has the weather in balance. There are warming trends, followed by cooling trends. When they happen within the time frame of a year, they re called seasons.

One can go back and find it starts cold, warms up, stays warm, begins to cool and ends cold. And it does that, with predictable variations every year (depending on where you happen to live).

When the same thing happens over a period of decades, they re called weather cycles. It starts to cool down, then stays cool, the warms up, then stays warm, then cools again.

These cycles didn t just start recently. They can be tracked back through the 20th century (and beyond) and the weather starts to change just about the time there s a 100 year flood in the Midwest.

It warmed through the 1920s and by the 1930 s, much of the Midwest was parched by drought. It started to cool in the mid 1940 s, then began to warm again in the 70 s.

The warmest years peaked at about the turn of the 21st century, and has trended cooler since. One doesn t need fancy charts or graphs or computer models to determine that the planetary weather cycles between warming and cooling trends.

All it takes to do that is an almanac.

Assessment:

Apart from logic and history, there is also the Testimony of God to consider in the whole man-made global warming scenario.

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. (Genesis 8:22)

That doesn t leave room for the perpetual summer predicted by the global warming lobby. The Scriptures say in many places that God CAN change the seasons, but the fact that He can is not the same as a prediction that He will.

Indeed, in Genesis 8:22 He promises that He will not.

Catastrophic weather cycles have been with us for as long as the world has existed. But never, in all recorded human history, has the entire world been in a panic over the weather until this generation.

One can argue that the panic is the result of improved scientific technology, or as a consequence of instant, world-wide media, or any other argument you can think of off hand. What you can t dispute is either the sense of panic — or that it is global.

It is that sense of panic over the weather and not the weather itself that is relevant to Bible prophecy. Nowhere in the prophetic record can one find any Bible prediction resembling what Al Gore is forecasting.

Probably the best way to describe the global warming argument is confused . First, is it warming? Or is it cooling? That was settled by changing its official name to climate change .

Is it man-made? Or is it a natural cycle? Or is it caused by the record-setting solar activity at the turn of the 21st century? Even the scientists who subscribe to global warming theory can t agree on the cause.

Is it dangerous? Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes. Even Barack Obama and John McCain are singing of the dangers posed by global warming in two-part harmony.

The dangers are legion; rising sea levels, catastrophic crop failures, more severe hurricanes and storms, famine, flood . . . last year the UN found a link between global warming and the Islamic genocide being perpetrated on the Sudanese Christians.

Except we don t know if any of that will happen. It didn t happen during the Medieval warming cycle. (But we know that when the Vikings discovered Greenland, it was green.)

It is that fear and confusion that Jesus forecast as a sign of His soon return not the weather itself.

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars. . . . The signs are there. The solar storms of the past decade are unprecedented.

Every couple of months some scientist warns of an incoming asteroid that may be The Big One, for which, we are solemnly warned, we are overdue. (You know, it s not an issue of if, but when — as if that actually means something.)

. . .and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Distress and perplexity fear and confusion the very definition of the global warming argument.

No amount of evidence to the contrary will convince the True Believers that they shouldn t be scared to death. No price is too high to contemplate paying. (Although $5.00/gal seems to be close)

Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. (Luke 21:25-26)

THIS is what is unique about the Lord s prediction. Not that there d be bad weather. But that it would spawn a sense of global fear and confusion unprecedented in human history.

If it weren t unprecedented, it wouldn t be a sign of anything but that history tends to repeat itself. For this to be recognizable to us as a sign of His return, it would, like the restoration of Israel, have to be unique.

It is within THIS context that Jesus said, And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up and lift up your heads for your redemption draweth nigh. (Luke 21:28)

Our prayers go out to all those affected, and in particular those members of the OL family living in the danger zone.

May our God bless you and keep you safe. Until He comes.

A Polite Society

A Polite Society
Vol: 81 Issue: 28 Saturday, June 28, 2008

1950’s-era science fiction writer Robert F. Heinlein observed, in one of his science fiction novels in which he depicted future society as a kind of Wild West in which all citizens were armed and duels were commonplace; “An armed society is a polite society.”

In the American West in the 1880’s, a man could find himself in a fight to the death over a perceived insult. Shooting a card cheat caught in the act was justifiable homicide in practice, whether or not it was codified in law.

Disrespecting decent women was an offense that could put one on Boot Hill pushing up daisies before sundown. And one thought twice about using a gun to commit a robbery, since the odds were better that even that every other person in the room was armed, as well.

That is not to say I am an advocate of returning to the era of vigilante justice as handed down from the barrel of a .44 Colt. That said, it doesn’t change the basic truth behind Heinlein’s contention: An armed society IS a polite society. Moreover, an armed society is a safer society.

Consider, for a moment, the terror inspired by the Beltway sniper case. People living in the area surrounding the Washington DC area were terrified by the prospect of being gunned down at random in the streets by a crazed gunman. (Or gunmen, as it turned out)

Had John Muhammed and Lee Malvo had to worry about whether or not every person they saw might be armed with a weapon, the killing spree might never have begun. Throughout America’s cities, gang violence runs rampant. Gangs control entire neighborhoods in some cities, terrorizing and victimizing with relative impunity.

Some Los Angles gangs require prospective members to commit a murder as a form of initiation. To fulfill their initiation, they just walk up to a stranger in the street at random, pull out a gun, and shoot him in public in front of witnesses.

Gangsters call that ‘making their bones.’ Such murders are seldom solved, since random shootings leave little for police to follow up on, greatly diminishing the chance of getting caught. Remove the risk of getting shot by some bystander, and it is practically risk-free.

If the possibility existed that armed passers-by might pull out their own guns and shoot them in return, the practice would suddenly become a whole lot riskier. And a whole lot less common.

I recall a movie I saw once in which a couple of crooks decided to stick up a neighborhood bar. They walked in, took up positions on either end of the bar, and announced it was a stickup. What they didn’t know was this was a bar frequented by off-duty police.

Every cop in the bar simultaneously pulled his weapon and pointed it at the bad guys. The robbers, outnumbered thirty guns to two, surrendered meekly in what was a visually hilarious scene.

One of the many terrorist manuals confiscated in Afghanistan included a plan in which various terrorist cells would send its members out knocking on doors in American neighborhoods and then shooting whoever answered the door. When revealed by authorities, the plan sent chills up and down spines across America, as it was intended to do.

But if behind every door was an American armed with a gun, the terrorists’ plan would have been noteworthy only because of its stupidity.

The Swiss have the most liberal gun laws in Europe. Every Swiss citizen is required to both own, and be proficient with, his own gun. That is the secret to the famous Swiss neutrality that has kept it free from invasion for centuries. Even Adolf Hitler respected Swiss neutrality. Switzerland, with its armed population of gun enthusiasts, would be too costly to take by force.

A relative handful of well-armed and motivated citizens can hold even the most powerful military forces at bay. Just look at what a handful of armed insurgents — out of fifty million Iraqis — have been able to accomplish against the most powerful military forces the world has ever seen.

Pretty much every American concerned with homeland security recognizes the threat posed by our porous border with Mexico. For years, the federal government argued that federal agencies were doing the best that they could.

Until armed members of the “Minutemen’ took up positions along the border and illegal immigration was immediately choked off.

Assessment:

The 2nd Amendment says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”.

The Supreme Court decided in a landmark case styled “The United States v. Miller” that the 2nd Amendment did not apply to ordinary citizens, but instead conferred a special privilege on the National Guard.

This interpretation was one of those that make you go, “Hmmm.” In this view, the 2nd Amendment confers the right to bear arms to the government. It would, therefore, be the only amendment specifically granting a special right TO the government among a series of amendments designed to LIMIT the rights of government and to enumerate the rights of the people.

It is simply ludicrous that the Founding Fathers would convey the right to bear arms to itself. They already conferred the responsibility to provide for the common defense to the Congress.

Did the Founding Fathers feel the need to tell the Congress, (via the people’s “Bill of Rights” no less), that the Congress could use GUNS to defend against foreign enemies? What did they think Congress was going to use, absent the 2nd Amendment? Spitballs?

The Supreme Court’s interpretation grows even more bizarre when viewed in light of USC Title 10, Chapter 13, Section 311 (a);

“The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are commissioned officers of the National Guard.”

And, “(b) The classes of the militia are- (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.”

Note that Title 10 doesn’t identify those who are qualified to join a militia, or even those who have, but identifies all able bodied Americans between 17 and 45 as already being members of ‘the militia’ by default.

Ummm, run that Supreme Court decision by me again? The 2nd Amendment gives the right to bear arms to the militia, but not to ordinary citizens?

Despite propaganda to the contrary, guns are used in America more than twice as often for defensive purposes as they are for offensive purposes. Bad guys choose their victims based on the likelihood they might be armed.

When I was a police officer, our department issued a cruiser to each officer to take home, and to use off duty within the city limits. The idea was to convey the image of a much larger police presence on the street than there actually was. In addition, an off duty officer in his cruiser was automatically available for backup as needed.

It also accomplished something else. In ten years, I never had to lock the doors to my house when I went out, as long as that cruiser was parked in my driveway. The homes of police officers are rarely deliberately chosen by burglars as preferred targets.

Especially if there looks like there might be someone home.

Noted John Stossel in a recent column, “As Alex Kozinski, a federal appeals judge and an immigrant from Eastern Europe, warned in 2003, “the simple truth — born of experience — is that tyranny thrives best where government need not fear the wrath of an armed people.”

“The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do,” Judge Kozinski noted. “But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed — where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.”

Rights For Some . . .

Rights For Some . . .
Vol: 81 Issue: 27 Friday, June 27, 2008

One of the problems associated with protecting somebody from being offended by the callousness of an unthinking boor is that the definitions of both ‘offense’ and ‘boor’ are subjective.

What is offensive to some may not be offensive to others. And one man’s boor is another man’s comedian. If you didn’t like the late George Carlin’s humor, (I didn’t) he was both offensive and boorish.

If, on the other hand, you were one of George Carlin’s millions of adoring fans, then Carlin was one of the greatest comic geniuses of his generation.

Carlin didn’t spend much time in Canada — it was much too dangerous. What if he made a joke about being gay? But of course, Carlin never made gay jokes. He preferred to make jokes about the pathetic losers who believe in God.

You see, in Canada, Christians cannot be offended when someone makes light of their faith. In Canada, is it ok to call Christians “losers” or “Bible thumpers” or even to make up blasphemous nicknames for both God the Father and Jesus the Son.

In Canada, you can make jokes about people for their color (as long as its white) for their national origin (provided it is European [ie: white]) for their native tongue (provided it is English) or for their sexual orientation (provided it is straight).

If they are not white, of European stock whose mother tongue is English, or, and this most particularly, if their sexual orientation isn’t straight, making a joke about them is illegal.

A Canadian comedian is now under investigation by the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal for insulting two lesbians during his stand up comedy routine. (All ten provinces have their own human rights tribunals, plus there is a national version)

That way, if live in Ontario but are insulted by somebody who is in British Columbia, you get three kicks at him — two provincial and one national.

What is the difference between a Human Rights Tribunal and a Human Rights Court? Think of the Human Rights Tribunal as a sort of Gestapo or KGB. They are the ones who ‘investigate’ and gather evidence which they then turn over to a Human Rights ‘court’.

What do the Human Rights Tribunal and Human Rights Court have in common? Their shared disdain for human rights.

The Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, appropriately named Jennifer Lynch, announced earlier this month her intention to ‘crack down’ on Internet ‘hate’ sites.

“The current debate on how to balance freedom of expression with the need to protect Canadians from hate messages in the Internet age is an important one. We are confident that this review will provide insight into the issues and move the discourse one step further.”

The poor, defenseless and vulnerable Canadians. Not to mention stupid. Clearly, they must be stupid — otherwise they would have sense enough to do what everybody else does who stumbles on an offensive website.

Or maybe we should envy them. Without a nationally appointed net-nanny to protect them, other ‘net users are forced to decide for themselves what they find offensive.

And in most other countries that claim to value freedom of speech, if one is offended, the remedy is to go where one isn’t offended.

Canada isn’t one of those countries.

In Canada, if one person is offended, then the remedy is to punish everybody who offended him.

In the British Columbia case, that means the comedian, the nightclub that employed him, (and perhaps the unfeeling patrons of the club who had the bad taste to laugh at his jokes — who knows?)

Right now, Maclean’s Magazine (kind of like a Canadian national version of Newsweek or TIME) is defending itself before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for a column it published. The offending column was written by American journalist Mark Steyn.

Maclean’s is being tried under the statute that makes it a crime to communicate anything electronically “likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt.”

What does that mean? It means that, despite the absence of any evidence by the plaintiffs of anyone at all ever having been exposed to actual hatred or contempt, nor even any coherent argument as to why there is a hypothetical possibility of someone unspecified being exposed to theoretical hatred or contempt in the decades ahead, a commission can still deem such hatred or contempt “likely.”

That helps to explain why, in Canada, simply being referred to a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal is the equivalent of being denounced to the Gestapo or KGB.

In the thirty-plus years since the CHRC system was created, not a single person ever charged under the relevant statutes has ever been acquitted. Defendants are guilty until proved innocent (and no person has yet to be proved innocent), and it is NO DEFENSE to prosecution that the offending statement is true.

Indeed, if one attempts to defend oneself by presenting evidence that the offending statement is factually accurate, that ‘evidence’ can be used by the court as compelling evidence of guilt.

Here’s the way Canada’s infamous CHRC legislation defines it:

“Messages that make use of allegedly true stories, news reports, pictures and references to apparently reputable sources in an attempt to lend an air of objectivity and truthfulness to the extremely negative characterization of the targeted group have been found to be likely to expose members of the targeted group to hatred and contempt.”

So defending oneself by providing news reports, reputable sourcing, facts, documentation, statistics, quotes, scholarly studies and so forth are all “evidence”. But not of your innocence. Evidence of your guilt.

What kind of ‘democracy’ can boast a 100% conviction rate over a thirty-year period — for criminal thought?

Lessee, there was the East German Democratic Republic, (but it’s gone now). There was Stalin’s USSR — but all good things must come to an end. Then there is the People’s Republic of China, (with whom Canada enjoys a close relationship).

Assessment:

Ever wonder why all those liberal morons who threatened to move to Canada if George Bush was re-elected didn’t pack up and head for the Great White North?

If Alex Baldwin had moved to Canada, then the voicemail message he left on his daughter’s answering machine last year would have resulted in his arrest for child abuse.

Tim Robbins would have to worry about one of his films offending one of Canada’s many protected minorities. Susan Sarandon would have to shut up altogether.

Maclean’s got into hot water with the CHRC for publishing an excerpt from American journalist Mark Steyn’s book, “American Alone.” Maclean’s and Steyn are now defending themselves against charges of ‘flagrant Islamophobia.”

As Jonathan Kay observed in the National Post, for an organization that is supposed to promote human rights, the HRC s agents seem curiously oblivious to basic aspects of Canadian constitutional law.”

“In one famous on-the-record exchange during the Lemire case, [CHRC lead investigator Dean] Steacy was asked; “What value do you give freedom of speech when you investigate one of these complaints?”

Steacy’s reply? “Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don t give it any value.””

Suppose, just for a second, that there was a subscription-only website that routinely published factual information that, under Canadian law, would be a prime candidate for prosecution under CHRC legislation. What should such a website do?

First, it would necessarily locate its servers inside the United States. Secondly, it would conceal any and all connections to anything Canadian — ie; the nationality of its operator, his physical location, etc.

Thirdly, it would seem logical to separate that website into a public entity and a private, subscriber-only entity.

But is that enough protection?

In an ongoing case in Ottawa, two CHRC investigators were unable to make a case against one Marc Lemire, whose website was suspected of having neo-Nazi leanings.

So they logged on to Lemire’s website and posted racist comments under assumed names, and then charged the site’s owners with hate crimes! I am NOT making this up!

So clearly, if the CHRC wants to nail a website, there is no way to stop them short of encrypting it.

So it would seem logical that our mythical subscription-only website should consider encrypting its subscriber content. That would protect both the website itself, and any Canadians who may inadvertently post something that the CHRC deems offensive.

Therefore, if any of you know any Canadian citizens who operate subscription websites, even those physically located inside the USA, especially Christian websites who remain faithful to Scripture on issues of sexual morality or the dangers posed by radical Islam, you should advise them to take steps to protect themselves.

Because freedom of speech is an American concept — and therefore is assigned no value by Canada’s Human Rights Gestapo. And if the CHRC wants you, they’ll get you.

Even if they have to invent the evidence themselves.

Milk And Meat

Milk And Meat
Vol: 81 Issue: 26 Thursday, June 26, 2008

A recent Pew Poll on Religious Attitudes in America troubled me so much that I kept going back to it, thinking that somewhere I must have misread something. 

The question was formed as an agree/disagree statement.

When asked, “Do you agree that many religions can lead to eternal life?” fully 83% of mainstream churches, (including both mainstream Protestant and Catholic) indicated that they agreed with the statement.

What does that really mean? These are, ostensibly, Christian churches. That is to say, churches founded on the teaching of Jesus Christ and the writers of the New Testament.

We often speak of ‘milk’ issues and ‘meat’ issues in our briefings and discussion forums. The ‘meat’ issues are the ‘deeper’ things of Scripture; like Bible prophecy, Dispensationalism, eternal security and so on.

But one cannot grasp the ‘meat’ issues until one first has a handle on the ‘milk’ issues. The most important of these is salvation.

If one is not saved, according to the Scripture, there is no possible way one can grasp the deeper doctrinal issues.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1st Corinthians 1:18, 2:14)

The milk doctrine of salvation is summed up in a single verse of Scripture delivered by Jesus Christ Himself:

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6)

Does this mean that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to salvation? Let me put it another way: does this leave room for another path to salvation?

Not according to the Apostle Peter: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

If Jesus Christ is NOT the only way to heaven, then, by definition, Christianity cannot lead to heaven at all.

The essence of Bible Christianity is this: “You can’t do it, so Jesus did.” Whether or not one is saved depends on whether or not one agrees with that statement.

“For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law.” (Romans 2:12)

This is the condition of every human being — either they are under the Law of Moses or they are not; spiritually, all humanity is either Jew or Gentile.

But the Bible also speaks of a third creation of God — a ‘new creature’ in Christ.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2nd Corinthians 5:17)

It teaches that those sinners who recognize their hopeless state under the Law can be justified through faith that, “God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

What does ‘believing in Him’ mean? Does it mean believing that there was once a Jewish carpenter named Jesus who was a wise man and a good teacher who was put to death by the Romans?

In a word, no. Not even close.

It means understanding that God loved me so much He stepped out of eternity and into space and time in the Person of Jesus Christ, to live the life expected of me.

And, having lived the life God expects of me, He suffered the penalty that I so richly deserved — on my behalf.

It is that understanding that breaks down the barrier between me and God. Without that understanding, the death and resurrection of Jesus is irrelevant to my own condition. If my condition is not hopeless apart from Christ, then it isn’t hopeless at all.

And if Christianity is not the only way to heaven, then, again by definition, there must be several ‘heavens’. No man has ever seen heaven. So how do we know that it exists?

Because it says so in the Bible. That’s where we learned of it. If the Bible is accurate about the existence of heaven, then it is equally accurate about its entrance requirements.

According to the Pew poll results, 83% of mainline Christian churches do not meet the minimum requirements necessary for admission.

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth. ” (Revelation 3:16)

Assessment:

While the response to the first question stunned me, the response to the question: “There is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of my religion” absolutely floored me.

In the first place, the premise of the question itself assumes that there can be more than one ‘truth.’

This is illogical to the point of delusional. There can be many variations of truth, in the sense that there are many variations of ‘red’ — but only one of them is pure ‘red’ — the rest contain shades of red.

There is only one ‘truth’. Everything else is different. And things that are different are not the same. For example, the Bible is the Word of God, and therefore, infallible “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2nd Timothy 3:16)

Today’s column contains the Word of God — but it is NOT infallible on any of those issues. And if this column were to conflict with the Word of God — (ie; by denying Jesus is the only way to heaven) it would NOT be an alternate ‘truth’ even though it contains the word of God.

This may be a good place to restate the bedrock truths upon which the Omega Letter is founded.

First, we believe that salvation comes by grace through faith in the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ as FULL propitiation (payment) for our sins.

“And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1st John 2:2)

There is NO alternative religion that can lead to eternal life apart from Christ. If there is, then Christ is dead in vain.

“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)

We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, inerrant in its original languages, and preserved by God through the ages. It contains the full and complete record of God’s interaction with man.

We reject any suggestion that there can be more than one ‘truth’ on the basis of ordinary logic and the dictionary’s definition of the word, ‘truth.’

We believe that salvation is eternal, and that, while man has free will to accept or reject the offer of salvation procured for him by Jesus, God in His foreknowledge is already aware of the choice each of us will make.

“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29)

This is by no means a complete statement of faith — but it is the bedrock upon which Biblical Christianity rests. It is the ‘milk’ of the Scriptures. Without an understanding of the Cross and the role it plays in one’s salvation, one can never grasp the meaning of the word ‘truth.’

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1st Corinthians 1:18)

Pew’s poll results DO serve as a wake-up call to us all, however. Don’t assume that just because somebody goes to church on Sunday that they have already ‘finished their milk’ — so to speak.

Odds are 83% in favor of the assumption they haven’t even picked up the glass.

Window of Opportunity

Window of Opportunity
Vol: 81 Issue: 25 Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Last week, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad bragged that the West had failed to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear program in a speech carried on Iran state radio.

“In the nuclear case, bullying powers applied all their power, but they could not break the will of the Iranian nation, he boasted.

At issue is Iran s nuclear enrichment program. Iran claims it is only interested in nuclear power for civilian uses, but civilian nuclear power does not require weapons-grade enriched uranium.

The Israeli Mossad estimated in 2004 that Iran was only two years from having passed the nuclear point of no return . Thanks to those few sanctions that have actually taken hold, Iran s nuclear timetable has been slowed somewhat.

Israel now estimates Iran is about six months away. And there is a growing international consensus among Western intelligence agencies that the Israeli estimate is just about right.

Iran and Syria have just taken delivery of new training simulators for the new Russian-made Pantsyr-S1E surface-to-air missile system. The Patsyr, also known as the SA-22, is one of the most advanced air defense systems in the world.

Each system contains 12 57E6 surface-to-air missiles, two 2A72 30mm cannons and 750 ready-to-use rounds of ammunition.

According to Jane s Defense Weekly, once the SA-22 systems are operational, the odds of Israel penetrating either Syrian or Iranian airspace without being shot down range from poor to non-existent.

Last September, Israel conducted an air raid on what is believed to be a North Korean-designed nuclear power plant located at al Kibar in northeastern Syria near the Turkish border.

In a June 8 interview with the Indian newspaper, Hindu, Assad acknowledged that Al Kibar would continue to serve as a military facility.

We rebuilt it,” Assad said. “We did that right away; after the attack by few days, we started rebuilding the site. So, it is something normal to remove the “debris and have another site.”

The Syrians took delivery of the their first SA-22 systems in May. Iran has several systems already in place. It will take an estimated six more months before they are fully manned and operational.

That is about how wide a window of opportunity remains to stop them.

Assessment:

In an interview with the London Telegraph, former US Ambassador John Bolton predicted that Israel will hold off on attacking Iran until after the US general elections but before the new president, whoever that might be, is sworn into office.

In light of the Russian-Iranian-Syrian timetable, Bolton s estimate sounds right on the money. Israel has six months to either act or face the prospect of nuclear annihilation on two separate fronts.

Six months from now would be January.

In the interview, Bolton acknowledged that the US is unlikely to take the lead on stopping Iran. The Bush presidency is in its waning months whatever Bush starts he ll leave for the next administration to finish.

“It’s clear that the administration has essentially given up that possibility,” he said. “I don’t think it’s serious any more. If you had asked me a year ago I would have said I thought it was a real possibility. I just don’t think it’s in the cards.”

Israel, however, still had a determination to prevent a nuclear Iran, he argued. The “optimal window” for strikes would be between the November 4 election and the inauguration on January 20, 2009.

“The Israelis have one eye on the calendar because of the pace at which the Iranians are proceeding both to develop their nuclear weapons capability and to do things like increase their defenses by buying new Russian anti-aircraft systems and further harden the nuclear installations.

“They’re also obviously looking at the American election calendar. My judgment is they would not want to do anything before our election because there’s no telling what impact it could have on the election.”

What does this mean insofar as our upcoming trip to Israel? If anything, the current scenario tends to work in our favor.

If war is to break out between Israel and Iran, it will most likely occur sometime after early November but before the middle of January.

Our trip is scheduled for the end of March, 2008. Which leaves two remaining possibilities. Either it will all be over and our trip will go as scheduled or it will be canceled and our deposits will be refunded.

Of one thing I am increasingly confident. An Israeli attack on Iran is unlikely to spark a wider regional war.

The Saudis, Egyptians and Jordanians would protest, but privately, they are no more comfortable with the thought of a nuclear Iran than the Israelis are.

Forecasting events in the Middle East is a bit like forecasting the weather at best, it is an educated guess.

But this isn t shaping up as the Gog Magog Invasion, and since Iran plays a major role in that invasion, whatever exchange that takes place between Israel and Iran will likely be quick and limited.

We ll be watching the situation as it develops very closely. One thing you can be certain of.

I wouldn t take any of you on a tour I wouldn t take my wife on. So we ll be watching very closely as things develop.

Website Note:

Frank says the print function is operational on the new website. You will find a “print” button at the bottom of each article that will automatically format it for your printer.

Frank has also activated the PDA function so that, in addition to being able to subscribe to the OL’s RSS feeds, those of you who use PDA’s can download it directly to that medium.

Thanks for participating in the poll question regarding the new site. The results are encouraging.

Frank is working on a new contact form for the website. It should be operational within a day or so.

More to follow . . .

And I Thought It Was Just Me. . .

And I Thought It Was Just Me. . .
Vol: 81 Issue: 24 Tuesday, June 24, 2008

And I Thought It Was Just Me. . .

More often than not, as I’m reading through the various headlines of the day, I catch myself humming the theme song to the 1950’s TV series, “Car 54, Where Are You?”

For you youngsters out there, “Car 54, Where Are You?” was a weekly half-hour sitcom revolving around two particularly bumbling NY City police officers, Officer Toody and Officer Muldoon.

I don’t remember much about the plot lines or the other characters – mostly I remember the opening sequence and the theme song.

Officers Toody and Muldoon are driving in their squad car, confusion on their faces approaching panic, while the theme song provides the context.

(Baby Boomers, feel free to sing along. You might as well – you’re gonna be humming it all day long anyway. Sorry. LOL)

“There’s a hold up in the Bronx, /Brooklyn’s broken out in fights. /There’s a traffic jam in Harlem /That’s backed up to Jackson Heights./ There’s a scout troup short a child, /Kruschev’s due at Idlewild. . . . /Car 54, Where Are You?”

I don’t think I’ve seen the TV show in thirty years or more, (maybe forty, who knows?) but when I checked the lyrics — as I recall them — I still had every word rattling around in my head.

Officers Toody and Muldoon are a sort of a metaphor; their theme song resonates at every level of Western society; the UN, the White House, the economy, the election campaign, the candidates, entertainment, the military . . . it’s like a 50’s sitcom. (Is there anybody DRIVING this bus?)

But I thought it was just me.

Well, not exactly just me. You, too. But we are “prophecy nuts” or “Doomsday merchants” who see the antichrist behind every tree.

You know the drill: “People have been predicting the end of the world for thousands of years, and it’s still here.”

I often think to myself, ‘doesn’t anybody else think things are a bit, er, surreal? After all, if it is this obvious to me that something is more than a bit off-center here, then it should be just as obvious to everybody else.

It’s like an elephant on the coffee table. We’re locked in a war of civilizations in which the enemy goal is to either convert or exterminate Western society.

The economy is being ground to its knees by the meteoric rise in fuel prices. The nation’s dependence on foreign oil forces us to kowtow to the wellspring of Islamic terrorism.

And the campaign platform of the current front-runner for the office of President of the United States calls for surrendering to al-Qaeda, levying new taxes against energy suppliers, and a moratorium on domestic oil exploration!

So I was somewhat relieved to see an AP headline this morning that read: “Everything Seemingly Is Spinning Out of Control.” (Even that seems a bit weird; shouldn’t that headline be scary?)

The AP noted: “The sense of helplessness is even reflected in this year’s presidential election. Each contender offers a sense of order and hope. Republican John McCain promises an experienced hand in a frightening time. Democrat Barack Obama promises bright and shiny change, and his large crowds believe his exhortation, “Yes, we can.”

Even so, a battered public seems discouraged by the onslaught of dispiriting things. An Associated Press-Ipsos poll says a barrel-scraping 17 percent of people surveyed believe the country is moving in the right direction. That is the lowest reading since the survey began in 2003.

An ABC News-Washington Post survey put that figure at 14 percent, tying the low in more than three decades of taking soundings on the national mood.

“It is pretty scary,” said Charles Truxal, 64, a retired corporate manager in Rochester, Minn. “People are thinking things are going to get better, and they haven’t been. And then you go hide in your basement because tornadoes are coming through. If you think about things, you have very little power to make it change.”

A good part of the article (from the AP, remember) sounds like it was lifted right out of an analysis of the Olivet Discourse; “What shall be the sign of Thy coming and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3)

“Food is becoming scarcer and more expensive on a worldwide scale, due to increased consumption in growing countries such as China and India and rising fuel costs. That can-do solution to energy needs turning corn into fuel is sapping fields of plenty once devoted to crops that people need to eat. Shortages have sparked riots. In the U.S., rice prices tripled and some stores rationed the staple.

Residents of the nation’s capital and its suburbs repeatedly lose power for extended periods as mere thunderstorms rumble through. In California, leaders warn people to use less water in the unrelenting drought.”

The tone of the article is unquestionably messianic; could it be that the AP has suddenly ‘got religion’? It would seem so.

The AP quotes historian Allan Lichtman, who opines that in previous times of crisis, America’s confidence was restored by a “change in the party controlling the White House.”

The AP’s point is unmistakeable. We need a messiah to restore order and bring things back from the abyss. And by changing the party in control of the White House, we’ll have one.

At the same time that the AP is making its case for an American messiah to solve the world’s crises, an new Pew Research Poll firmly establishes that America has joined the rest of the Western society’s post-Christian era.

The survey was conducted last year, but only released this week. Among its findings was that 70% of Americans ‘with a religious affiliation’ said they believe that many religions can lead to eternal life. That view was shared by 57% of alleged “evangelicals”.

The finding that floored me was this one: More than two-thirds (68%) said there is “more than one true way to interpret the teachings of their own religion.”

Two-thirds of Americans can accept conflicting ‘truths’ as being equally ‘true’. That goes beyond illogical and crosses all the way over to delusional.

Noted Rice University sociologist on religion professor D. Michael Lindsay, “The survey shows that religion in America is indeed 3,000 miles wide and only three inches deep.”

According to Pew’s research, only 14% of Americans cite their religious beliefs as the main influence on their political thinking. And while 92% of Americans express a belief in God, one in four self-professing Christians say they have doubts.

Only six in 10 Catholics described God as “a Person with Whom people can have a relationship” which the Vatican teaches while three in 10 described God as an “impersonal force” — a view shared, astonishingly enough, by 21% of self-identified atheists.

So, we can glean two important facts from today’s report so far: America has a messiah complex and pretty much any old messiah will do.

In fact, the best kind of messiah would be the kind who was educated and raised among Muslims before converting to Christianity, but who makes it clear that he doesn’t really believe any of that stuff anyway.

Assessment:

The Apostle Paul’s Second Letter to the Thessalonians was written specifically to address a heresy that had begun to circulate in the Church at Thessolonika.

He opens by addressing the topic at hand head on; “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” AND “our gathering together unto Him.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:1)

Open up your Bible and read it for yourself and tell me if you can find an alternative understanding. Paul mentions two things: the Lord’s return and “our gathering unto Him.”

This doesn’t occur at His Second Coming — He comes WITH His saints, not FOR them. So it can only refer to the Rapture of the Church. There was a rumor circulating that the Rapture had already taken place and that they had been left behind to face the Tribulation.

“That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”

The “Day of Christ” is not the Rapture — it refers to His Triumphant Return at the end of the Tribulation Period. The Rapture is, by definition, a secret coming.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.”

“That day” (the Day of Christ) comes AFTER two other events: “the falling away” — reflected admirably by the Pew Poll — and the subsequent revelation of the man of sin (ie; the antichrist).

Having laid out the heresy, Paul begins in 2nd Thessalonians 2:6 to set the record straight:

“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.”

Two points to note here. Something withholds the revelation of the antichrist until the appointed time, and Paul assumes the Thessalonians know that that something is actually Someone.

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way.”

The “mystery of iniquity” could be expressed like this: 70% of Americans ‘with a religious affiliation’ said they believe that many religions can lead to eternal life.

By definition, this view conflicts with the basic doctrine of Christianity expressed in John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”

If there is more than one way to heaven, then Jesus cannot be God come in the flesh and that He cannot be “the Christ”.

“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1st John 4:3)

The revelation of the antichrist is ‘withheld’ by the Holy Spirit, Who indwells the Church. Paul says that only AFTER the Holy Spirit is withdrawn;

“And THEN shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His Coming.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:8)

Notice the chronology. First, the withdrawal of the Restrainer. THEN, the revelation of the antichrist. And AFTER that, his destruction by the Lord “with the brightness of His Coming.”

The Rapture, the Tribulation and the 2nd Coming at Armageddon.

Where are we right now? Even the Associated Press thinks the world is spinning out of control. The public is yearning for a messiah who can give them hope.

They prefer a messiah who is above all that Biblical faith nonsense, one who has the form of godliness, while denying its power.

All the polls indicate a growing apostasy within the professing Church, with one in four Christians expressing doubt about the reality of God and two-thirds denying the efficacy of Christ.

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

But what is holding them back? The indwelling Holy Spirit.

Until He is taken out of the way ” . . . by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him.”

Maranatha!

Note on the new website:

A number of you have emailed to say you are unable to log in to the new website using your Omega Letter credentials. The reason is because they operate out of two different databases, for the time being. Frank is working on resolving this issue.

In the meantime, logging in to the new website is only necessary if you want to post a comment on the new website.

Nothing has changed on the old website — you use the same username and password as before. However, until we resolve the translation issues, you will have to register separately in order to log in and post comments on the new website.

When you register your username, your password will be automatically emailed to the email address you provide. (It may take a few minutes)

I know it is a real pain — but we’re working on it. And it is only necessary if you intend to post comments there.

Otherwise, you needn’t worry about it. Once Frank sorts out the database translations, a separate login won’t be necessary.

Special Member’s Report: OL Ver 3.0

Special Member’s Report: OL Ver 3.0
Vol: 81 Issue: 23 Monday, June 23, 2008

Well, we went live on Sunday with the redesigned OL — without a lot of fanfare, to give folks a chance to get used to it. A few of you have already visited and expressed your opinion in the poll we put up in order to get your thoughts.

When last I looked, the split was about even between those who liked it and those who either didn’t or hadn’t yet made up their minds.

Now that it is live, let’s talk about it a bit.

First, you’ll notice that what is linked as the Member’s Homepage is really just the old Omega Letter. If you really hate the new page, you can bypass the whole thing and go to our old home. Just click on the link under the Omegaletter tab that says “Members Homepage.”

We’re going to keep the member’s features right where they are. We’ll make a few cosmetic changes to the front page by moving the publicly accessible pages one level up to the new page. (Let’s call all the new stuff ‘public’ and the old stuff ‘members’ for now so I don’t lose my place)

The OL briefings, and private member’s forums and other member’s features will remain basically unchanged. But to the outside world, the member’s section will be a locked door.

There are two ways to approach the reality that, great, swelling words of freedom aside, Christians are no longer free to preach the unvarnished Gospel. The freedom not to be offended trumps freedom of speech in practice, principles notwithstanding.

In Canada, preaching from the Bible is hate speech, subject to criminal prosecution before a legally empowered human rights tribunal. In the US, there are concurrent efforts by the IRS, the People for the American Way, the ACLU and a significant portion of the US judiciary to use the legal system to silence the Church.

Canada uses the Human Rights Courts, whereas the US has found civil rights legislation very useful. In either country, there are things one can no longer say in public without rousing the ire of the Thought Police (at whose ire, even real police tremble in fear).

That is the reality. There are two ways to deal with it. The first is to go ahead and shout the truth from the housetops (or, in this case, upper case letters on a webpage) — and it seems the more admirable choice.

Going down in a blaze of glory kind of appeals to my inner thirty-year old. Maybe it is the extra twenty-five years or so that causes my attention to swing back from ‘blaze of glory’ to ‘going down.’ I think that is why they send young men to fight wars.

Young men seeking glory don’t tend to focus on questions like; “Then what?”

If somebody wanted to bring the full force of the legal system down on the OL, it would crush it like an egg — and then what? (Making bold statements doesn’t have the same impact if nobody hears them. )

The other way to deal with it is the same one that kept the Romans from crushing the Church in the first century. We split between our public and private communications.

Certain ‘privileged groups’ prowl the internet seeking places to be ‘offended’ so they can denounce the offender and/or haul him before some kangaroo court.

Nobody is going to be offended by stumbling over some Bible study on Leviticus if it isn’t publicly accessible.

At the same time, we still want to be able to reach out to the lost with the truth of the Gospel, without running afoul of the Thought Police by digging into the meat of the Scripture, or by freely expressing our opinions on topics like abortion, gay rights, Islamic terrorism, and so forth.

Our solution, therefore, is to do both. We have a public website where we can reach out to the lost, and a private, member’s only site where we can fellowship freely. As I said, there won’t be a lot of changes to the member’s site right now, other than cleaning up the old public front page and moving the public stuff forward.

The Omega Letter will be delivered the same way, and the current issue and the archives will remain unchanged. All of the existing forums will remain the same — whatever changes are made will be in terms of simplifying getting around.

In essence, the old website will continue to have the look and feel you’re used to, plus all the features. Think of the public side of the website as a ‘value-added’ section. There will be commentary features and news stories there that you can comment on, in addition to the blogsite.

I hope you like the additions. If you don’t, I hope you will at least give them a chance. We’ve worked very hard on them, and our only intention was to preserve our fellowship and improve the overall usefulness of your Omega Letter. We want to let you explore the new site, and we really want to hear your comments about it.

The software is new to us, and despite weeks and weeks of testing offline, there are no doubt plenty of bugs we missed. Please let Frank know — you will be doing him a HUGE favor.

There are other new features; including the ability to subscribe via RSS, download to a PDA, post video, an OL ‘Wiki’; a whole bunch of things -all of which will make the site more interactive and give you more input into its content and style.

We’ll be rolling them out one at a time as we develop a ‘feel’ for the new site and we all start to get comfortable with things.

So, take a look around, explore some of the links, kick the tires and slam a few doors. Let us know what you think. Especially Frank. He’s the unsung hero here.

Frank drove all the way here from Chicago to spend the last week working with me to kick things off. He and Connie are, at the moment, making the long drive home.

Please pray with me that the Lord will grant Frank and Connie journey mercies, and put a hedge of protection around them as they make their way home.

And may God bless us all. Every one.