Obama at the Bat

Obama at the Bat
Vol: 83 Issue: 29 Friday, August 29, 2008

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, “If only Casey could but get a whack at that
We’d put up even money now, with Casey at the bat.”

Depending on whom one asks, the much-anticipated Obama acceptance speech ran the gamut from ‘soaring rhetoric’ (Boston Globe) to “a speech full, yet empty” (Guardian UK).

While the Financial Times claimed that Obama’s speech ‘silenced doubters’ the Boston Globe headlined its story; “Some Saw Spectacular, Others Just Spectacle.”

In my own opinion, the speech was long on rhetoric and style, but short on both fact and substance. But what do I know?

The New York Times wasn’t able to find much in Obama’s speech that was particularly noteworthy, but that was evidently a secondary issue.

“Mr. Obama looked completely at ease and unintimidated by his task or the huge crowd that surrounded him. And he chastised Mr. McCain for trying to portray him as a celebrity, an attack aides say has been particularly damaging, offering a list of people who he said had inspired him, from his grandmother to an unemployed factory worker he met on the campaign trail.”

There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile lit Casey’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat.

If there were anyone remaining in America who still believed that Obama is a different kind of politician, his acceptance speech ought to put that to rest once and for all.

Obama kicked off his speech with a deliberate lie, claiming John McCain defines the middle class as “someone making five million a year.”

McCain made the comment during his appearance at Saddleback Church, said it was a joke at the time, and then predicted the comment would be used to distort his view.

If Obama were a different kind of politician, McCain’s prediction would have gone unfulfilled. This was only one of a half-dozen glaringly obvious misrepresentations in the speech, but you don’t need me to list them all.

If you saw the speech, you heard them for yourself.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt.
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance flashed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.

According to Obama, “the American promise has been threatened” by eight years under George Bush” and John McCain represents a continuation of those policies.

I listened, then I looked it up in the transcripts.

Obama didn’t identify the “American promise” or how George Bush threatened it. And if John McCain actually did represent a continuation of those policies, then he wouldn’t have been the Democrat’s favorite Republican for the past eight years.

It is worth remembering that in 2004, John Kerry was considering McCain for a running mate and there were so many rumors that McCain was switching parties that he had to make a point of publicly pledging allegiance to the GOP.

Obama’ speech was filled with invectives against the Republicans, but also for ordinary Americans who, according to Obama, have let the country down for the past eight years.

“America, we are better than these last eight years,” he said. “We are a better country than this.”

Bad America for electing George Bush twice! Clearly, a better America would elect Obama.

The sneer has fled from Casey’s lip, the teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.

“Next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third,” he said. “And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight. On Nov. 4, we must stand up and say: ‘Eight is enough.’

And with that, Obama stepped back, confident that he had knocked it out of the park.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville – mighty Casey has struck out.

The Victim of His Success

The Victim of His Success
Vol: 83 Issue: 28 Thursday, August 28, 2008

The DNC is everything its planners were hoping for — so why is the Obama campaign foundering? Make no mistake — it is foundering — despite all the glitz and glamor and bling.

It isn’t because of Hillary Clinton. While most Americans credit her with the “18 million cracks in the glass ceiling” cracked ceilings are not exactly the right image to associate with the person in charge of America’s security umbrella.

We’re glad she cracked it, but most of us don’t want to live under it until we’re sure it won’t cave in on us.

It isn’t because of all the gaffes Obama’s made, either. And he’s made some beauties.

There’s the crack about white midwesterners whose antipathy towards those not like them is the result of their ‘clinging’ to guns and religion.

Or his suggestion that if we all inflate our tires, we could solve the energy crisis without drilling.

Obama has survived mistakes that would have destroyed a white politician of either party, and appears set to survive associations that would even embarrass a Clinton.

I can’t imagine even Bill or Hillary surviving a Jeremiah Wright or a William Ayres. The Clintons have a lot of shady associates, but they would have better sense than to kick off a political campaign from the home of a self-avowed anarchist terror-bomber.

Tony Rezko — well, he’s just your run of the mill money-laundering crook. He might have done damage to a Democrat prior to 1992, but in the post-Clinton era, we’re simply relieved he isn’t a member of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

Obama has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way with his perceived arrogance: “We are The One we’ve been waiting for” — the mainstream media has even taken to calling Obama the Democratic ‘messiah.’

Obama’s campaign enjoys the unequivocal support of the mainstream media. Plus, when it comes to playing the ‘race card’, Obama has all the aces.

Obama can hint that his opponents are all racists with total impunity, while using his race as a shield to deflect any criticism from his opponents.

Obama is the ‘post-racial candidate’ whose race is therefore his most important asset.

If he was white, he couldn’t be ‘post-racial’ and if there weren’t racial tensions, he couldn’t be ‘post racial.’ So, in order to ‘transcend’ his racial background, he needs to bring it up at every opportunity — as if it were a liability to him, rather than the asset it actually is.

We discussed ‘cognitive dissonance’ before. It is that uncomfortable feeling that comes from holding two contradictory views simultaneously. Your mind wants to believe one thing, but your brain is telling you something else.

Ever notice how angry smokers get when they try to quit? The mind tells them they want to quit, but their brain is telling them how much they really want a cigarette. The result is ‘cognitive dissonance’ at its most extreme.

So here are the voters, trying to convince themselves that Obama is the guy to support because it proves America is post-racial. But if one removes race from the equation and Obama is just another Joe Biden only without any experience.

Cognitive dissonance.

Why nominate an unknown politician with only 143 days Senate experience to run for president? To prove we’re beyond race. Can’t do that without a black guy to transcend it by reminding you that he’s a black guy who managed to overcome being a black guy.

So therefore, race is no longer an issue. But this is how the AP framed the story of his nomination:

“Barack Obama stands before delegates and the nation Thursday – the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech – to accept the Democratic presidential nomination, the first black man to claim such a prize.”

The Kansas City Star reported that “Barack Obama stepped triumphantly into history Wednesday night, the first black person to win a major party s presidential nomination.”

Reuters reminded its readers that Barack Obama is black saying in its story of his nomination:

“Many Democrats see Obama’s campaign as a step towards bridging the country’s racial divide — black Americans constitute some 12 percent of the population —but he has made a point of not running on his race.” Cognitive dissonance.

Newsday — one of New York’s most reliably liberal local dailies, headlined its story about America’s race to transcend race this way: “Obama is First African-American Nominee.”

In Newsday’s uncritical view Obama’s nomination was “a watershed moment that drew tears of amazement and joy on the convention floor, [when] Illinois Sen. Barack Obama secured a place in history last night, becoming the first African-American presidential nominee of a major party.”

But this is NOT an election in which race is a major factor. As reported by the Star, ‘Obama has made a point of not running on his race.’

Cognitive dissonance.

Assessment:

Obama, as I noted, is flat-lining at the polls, a victim of his own success. As the Democrats were nominating Obama by acclamation, John McCain edged slightly ahead in the polls, 47-46 percent.

And the media is scrambling for an explanation. The Agence-France Presse (the European arm of the NYTimes) complained that McCain’s surge was the result of ‘withering attacks’ against Obama.

Historically, a presidential candidate from either party can count on two distinct electoral ‘bounces’ — or surges in the polls.

The first comes following the candidate’s announcement of a running mate. Historically, that event translates, at least temporarily, into a five to nine point bounce. Obama named Joe Biden and the polls flat-lined.

The second comes following the official nomination at the convention. This is the event that generates the biggest ‘bounce’. If you watched the process yesterday, you know what I mean. Even if you aren’t sure about Obama, you can’t help but get caught up in the excitement.

Historically, all that excitement translates, at least temporarily, into a nine to fifteen point “bounce” at the polls.

In 2004, an ABCNews/Washington Post poll found the Kerry-Edwards got a six-point ‘bounce’. They lost. In 1992, Clinton-Gore got a fifteen point ‘bounce’. They won.

In the 1972 election, the McGovern-Shriver ticket received a three point negative ‘bounce’ (the only negative convention bounce in fifty years). That year, the Democrats lost by an Electoral College margin of 96.6%.

But why do I say that the Obama/Biden ticket is doomed to be a victim of its own success? His campaign has stayed on-message throughout — and, let’s admit it, the McCain attack ads haven’t been all that great. The convention has been wildly successful, from an organizational standpoint.

The Clintons’ didn’t try to hijack the convention from within and the militant group PUMA (Party Unity My A**) failed to ‘Recreate ’68) as had been feared.

Joe Biden didn’t make any major gaffes during his acceptance speech — and tonight, Obama Himself will give The Speech that the mainstream media is already raving about.

A month ago, Obama was leading McCain by five points, according to Rassmussen. Yesterday, despite the millions spend on glitz and glitter aimed at introducing the Obama/Biden ticket to America, Rasmussen had McCain slightly ahead with a one point lead.

For the Obama-Biden ticket, it represents the first NEGATIVE campaign ‘bounce’ for the Democrats since 1972.

Obama’s only success so far has been in communicating his message. He is pro-abortion, but unsure when human life begins. He opposes a Constitutional amendment on marriage because “the Constitution doesn’t address marriage.”

(Duh! That’s why an amendment is necessary. The Constitution didn’t mention slavery, either. Until the Civil War forced the passage of the 13th Amendment)

Obama opposes the Iraq War and refuses to acknowledge the surge is working. He opposes domestic oil exploration marches in lockstep with the most liberal views of the Democratic Party.

He’s communicating his message, which is the hallmark of a successful campaign strategy. So why no ‘bounce’?

It’s because so far, Americans don’t like the message. We’re all for electing a black candidate. Just not this one.

Evidently, we’re smarter than we look. Time will tell.

Deadline Countdown:

We’ve just seventeen days and counting before the deadline to sign up for the Poland/Israel Tour next March expires. If you are planning to join us on this life-changing experience, we’ve only until September 15th to confirm the twenty reservations necessary for the tour to be viable.

If you are planning to go, you can sign up at this link.

Denver’s “Great Awakening”

Denver’s “Great Awakening”
Vol: 83 Issue: 27 Wednesday, August 27, 2008

“Introspective, inspirational, by turns pointed or biblical, and always tailored to the political moment, Obama’s speeches have been a defining feature of his historic ascent. . .”

No, that isn’t an excerpt from a Democratic campaign commercial. Nor is it an adoring anecdote relayed by Mrs. Obama. It’s a quote from an alleged journalist from a fawning front-page story in this morning’s USAToday.

That wasn’t even the most fawning quote in the piece, but to reproduce them all, I’d have to cut and paste the whole article, (which could easily have borne the title, “The Messiah Has Come.”)

After John Kerry went down in flames in ’04, the Democrats decided to change tactics and become the Party of Religion.

Hillary hired Burns Strider, a Congressional staffer (and evangelical Baptist from Mississippi) to assemble a faith steering group from major denominations and send out a weekly wrap-up newsletter, “Faith, Family and Values.”

Nancy Pelosi started bringing up God soon after ascending to the post of Speaker, urging her Democratic colleagues to wear their faith on their sleeve.

For genuine Christians, watching the Democrats fumble the issue is a spectator sport. When Democrats bring up God, one gets the sense that they use Him as a ‘filler’ invoking His Name when they find themselves at a loss for something sensible to say:

“Science is a gift of God to all of us,” said Pelosi during a debate last year over increased embryo-research funding, “and science has taken us to a place that is biblical in its power to cure.”

(I don’t know what that means, either. But Pelosi managed to invoke God and the Bible in the context of creating human embryos for the express purpose of killing them. )

Noted TIME Magazine (“How the Democrats Got Religion” July 12, 2007);

“What we’re seeing,” says strategist Mike McCurry, “is a Great Awakening in the Democratic Party.”

The revival comes at a time when the entire religious-political landscape is changing shape. A new generation of evangelical leaders is rejecting old labels; now an alliance of religious activists that runs from the crunchy left across to the National Association of Evangelicals has called for action to address global warming, citing the biblical imperative of caring for creation.”

The DNC opened this year with an ‘interfaith’ service aimed at highlighting their newfound relationship with God. They had a nun, Helen Trajan (author of “Dead Man Walking”) to rail against the death penalty as ‘unbiblical. ‘ (Genesis 9:12 says; “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed. . .” )

One hallmark of Democratic ‘faith efforts’ at the convention is ‘diversity’, say convention organizers.

So, in addition to the Scripturally-challenged Catholic nun, the DNC featured a rabbi, an imam, some Muslim women in burkas, and several ‘evangelicals’.

(All of whom evidently shared the conviction that God opposes the death penalty, supports abortion on demand, and is something of a Cosmic Schizophrenic unable to decide if He is a Muslim, a Jew, a Christian, or an atheist.)

The DNC announced there will be four faith caucus meetings, blessings to open and close each night, and panels and parties run by Democratic-leaning religious advocacy groups that didn t even exist in 2004.

They’ve a little something for everybody, but they say their aim is to attract Christian ‘values voters’ and they just don’t understand why it doesn’t seem to be working.

“Despite all the effort, there is little evidence religious votes are shifting. A Pew poll released last week showed the political preferences of religious voters, including highly sought Catholics and white evangelicals, have scarcely budged since 2004,” wrote a mystified AP reporter.

(I know. Hard to believe, isn’t it?)

Assessment:

Why would the Democrats have so much trouble attracting “faith-based voters”? The old saying, “Know your enemy” has a corollary truth; “Know your ally.”

If the Democrats want to co-opt God into their political platform, it might help if they got to know Him a bit first.

Barack Obama’s God is a black supremacist who favors the Nation of Islam. Helen Trajan’s God is opposed to capital punishment for murderers. Nancy Pelosi’s God is perfectly ok with stem cell research.

Joe Biden’s God favors aborting His creation up to the moment of delivery on the premise that God accidentally made an unnecessary human being.

The God of the Democrats is part Jewish, part Islamic, part Christian and part atheist. He is an inclusionary, big tent God who has no particular identity of His own, believes in evolution, thinks the Creation story is a myth, and He doesn’t like having His Name mentioned in public.

He has no rules except love everybody unconditionally (except the unborn), and avoid mentioning Jesus as the only way to salvation.

(Because [in his capacity as Allah] the rule is to kill everybody who doesn’t think Mohammed is the only way. Of course, if they are both the only way, then there is no way at all. Which is the position they are the most comfortable with, since that’s what they really believe anyway.)

The Democrat’s God thinks that marriage is inconsequential. All that stuff about man being created for woman, and woman for man is irrelevant. Same with all that stuff about ‘abomination’ — He didn’t really mean it.

According to an AP story on MSNBC’s website (two evangelical organizations if ever there were any) “Democrats want Christians to know that don’t have to be Republicans to stay true to their faith,” so they’ve launched http://www.faithfuldemocrats.com.

It’s a fascinating site filled with insights that had never occurred to me. For example,

“The language of Scripture calls people to turn away from selfish desire and focus instead on serving God and their neighbors. That s why the Christian faith has been a driving force in the movements for abolition, workers rights, women s rights, and civil rights. And it s why millions of Americans root their identity as Democrats in their faith as Christians.”

The DNC’s religious history lesson begins by breaking the 8th Commandment; “Thou shalt not steal.”

Take the abolition movement. It was the Democratic Party that proposed the “Chicago Platform” in 1864 when they offered to end the Civil War in exchange for a permanent institution of slavery.

They could credibly offer to end the Civil War because it was the Democrats who were the party of institutionalized slavery.

The Republican Party was formed in 1856 expressly to bring about the abolition of slavery. Abe Lincoln was a Republican.

Worker’s rights? The institution of collective bargaining was first proposed by Karl Marx, not Jesus Christ.

Women’s rights? The Democrats opposed giving women the right to vote. Colorado, where the DNC is holding its convention, gave women the right to vote following a Republican-backed 1893 referendum.

Susan B. Anthony, the patron saint of the woman’s suffrage movement, was a lifelong abolitionist AND a life-long Republican. The only “women’s right” the Democratic Party can claim as its own is the women’s right to kill her own baby.

Civil rights? Anybody remember what happened to Trent Lott when he praised Strom Thurmond? Thurmond was a former segregationist member of the Democratic Party — then known as “Dixiecrats.”

The Democratic Party was THE party of racial segregation. So much so that simply praising Thurmond’s 1948 Dixiecrat candidacy got Lott booted from his post as Senate Majority Leader.

Lyndon Johnson predicted his support of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would cost the Democrats their lock on the Southern vote. He was right. And the South has been a Republican stronghold ever since.

For most of the twentieth century, the Democrats have stood in opposition to any government involvement of any kind in religion.

They oppose school prayer, they oppose the public display of religious symbols, they oppose any public declaration of faith — but suddenly, the Democrats are the party of Christianity?

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof . . .

The Democrats have decided to officially embrace a form of godliness, but one without any power of its own. In their religion, God doesn’t make the rules — in fact, the less say He has in them, the better.

The God of the Democrats is faceless, nameless, of indeterminate pedigree and origin, and has no particular doctrine, or theology and evidently, no particular expectation of human beings.

He is the God of Perilous Times, appearing in Denver through Sunday.

“Divide and Conquer”

“Divide and Conquer”
Vol: 83 Issue: 26 Tuesday, August 26, 2008

One of the oldest tenets of military doctrine is best expressed as “Divide and Conquer”. It is a major theme of Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” has been taught at every military academy since and is the root and branch of all politics.

The strategy is so effective that it has become instinctive; nobody has to teach a kid how to divide and conquer. By the time he’s five, unless his parents are on the ball, he’s already an expert at it.

As a strategy, one can trace it all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Satan first drove a wedge between Eve and God, telling Eve that God forbade her the fruit of the tree of knowledge out of jealousy.

“For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)

Division is the principle tactic of the Enemy, whereas the Cross calls us into unity.

“Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;”

Paul explains God’s structural outline for the Church Age, saying:

“And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:3-4,12,13)

Moreover, the Bible tells us that one of the things God hates most is disunity.

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto Him:”

So we count off the first six as things God hates. The seventh on the list, the Bible says, is an abomination unto God, so let’s tick ’em off directly from Proverbs 6:17-19)

1) A proud look; 2) a lying tongue; 3) hands that shed innocent blood; 4) a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations; 5) feet that be swift in running to mischief; 6) a false witness that speaketh lies; and (drum roll, please) the Abominable Sin: 7) he that soweth discord among brethren.

It is an Enemy tactic to divide and conquer. The Church is called to be unified in one Body and led by One Spirit according to the Word of God.

To accomplish that purpose, we’re told, He gave the early Church apostles and prophets and evangelists to spread the Gospel, and then pastors and teachers; 1) for the perfecting of the saints; 2) for the work of the ministry; 3) for the edifying of Christ.

This work is to continue, the Scriptures say, until “we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”

Let’s look once more at the passage — it’s actually in two parts. Do you see it? There is the ‘action’ part and the ‘result’ part. The action part is assigned to God’s workmen: perfecting the saints for the purpose of the ministry, to the edification of Christ.

The ‘result’ part is assigned to the Holy Spirit. When DO we all come together in unity of faith and knowledge, “perfect men” as measured against the full stature of Christ?

The answer should be obvious: on the day we stand before Him.

Assessment:

I got an email the other day from a subscriber who wanted to know more about the Emergent Church movement and how it fits into the end times scenario. But before I tackled it, I wanted to make sure that we’re all on the same page Scripturally.

When critiquing a new movement within the Body of Christ, one must do so with fear and caution. New teaching and Christian identity needs to be evaluated against the faith which was delivered to God’s people, “once, for all.”

The Emergent Church offers what it claims is a more ‘generous’ view of orthodox Christianity. According to one enthusiastic evaluation, the Emergent church rejects;

the simplistic, biased and judgmental way they were taught to look at people in the world –many of whom seem more pleasant, humble and nice than the people from their fundamentalist Churches.

Reacting to this background, they are determined to transcend the separatist spirit of Christians who seem to have nothing more important to do than to defend how right they are and how wrong everyone else is.”

It does sound a lot like the traditional Church, doesn’t it?

There’s a joke about a Baptist who went to Heaven and asked St. Peter what was behind a high wall dividing Heaven. St. Peter answered, “One side is for Catholics, the other for Baptists.”

“Why the wall?” the Baptist wanted to know.

“Simple,” St. Peter replied. “They both think that they are the only ones here.”

The fact is, the Emergent Church reaches out with open arms of tolerance and acceptance to those they were warned to separate from by Scripture.

The Emergent Church has a lot of nicknames: post-conservative, post-evangelical, post-fundamentalist, to name a few.

It sees theology as a quest for the beauty and truth of God rather than a search for propositional statements, proof texts and doctrinal formulations —-used to measure those who are in and judge those who are out.

The Emergent Church views its doctrine as a kindler, gentler kind of Christianity.

It soft-pedals around harsh exclusionary doctrines like salvation through Christ alone or eternal damnation in a literal hell for unbelievers, or Scriptural condemnations of homosexuality.

It is the view of the Emergent Church that traditional churches are dying because they hold too tightly to Scriptural absolutes, which is why the Emergent Church is, well, emerging. That’s one way of looking at it.

The other is to argue that traditional churches are dying because they AREN’T HOLDING TIGHTLY ENOUGH, which gives rise to the kind of spiritual arrogance expressed by Emergent Church leaders in the name of humility.

So, which side of the issue am I on? I opened with warnings about spreading division, but it is clear that the purpose of today’s column is NOT to promote harmony between the Emergent Church and traditional doctrinal understanding.

When one reads most critiques of the Emerging Church, they are more invective and personal observations about the motives and intent of its leaders, like Rick Warren, or Brian McLaren or Edmund Burke, than they are critiques of the doctrine.

That’s not Scriptural, it’s not logical, and it only serves to marginalize the person making the critique.

Scripture says, “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes”, and, that “every way of a man is right in his own eyes.” (Proverbs 16:2, 21:2)

Guys like Rick Warren aren’t evil men — they truly believe that they are doing the Lord’s work. They honestly believe that they are being led by the Holy Spirit. They are as sincere as I am.

It is just that they are sincerely wrong.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2nd Timothy 4:3-4)

Sound doctrine is that which has been delivered through God’s Word. “Itching ears” want something more spectacular, like direct revelation from the Holy Spirit instead of the same old-same old traditional doctrine that the Emergent Church is emerging from.

And that is precisely the argument offered — that the Emergent Church is the one that truly reflects the teaching and intent of the Holy Spirit.

Charles Spurgeon captured the true spirit of the Emergent Church over a hundred years ago when he wrote, “It seems odd, that certain men who talk so much of what the Holy Spirit reveals to themselves, should think so little of what He has revealed to others.”

It seems odd to me, too.

Countdown Alert:

Nineteen days left to register for the Poland-Israel Tour, “From the Ashes of the Holocaust.” “From the Ashes of the Holocaust.” As I mentioned yesterday, in order for the tour to be viable, we need to sign up at least twenty folks and we’ve just nineteen days left to meet the deadline.

I checked with Ines Weber yesterday to see how close we are to meeting the minimum head count of twenty.

I received the following, decidedly optimistic reply: “Only eight more couples to go!”

Nineteen days and counting . . .

Caveat Emptor

Caveat Emptor
Vol: 83 Issue: 25 Monday, August 25, 2008

How’s this for dusting off an old saying? “Caveat emptor, quia ignorare non debuit quod jus alienum emit.”

As ‘old sayings’ go, this one is pretty unwieldy — not to mention being enshrined in a dead language. But some human observations transcend both time and translation.

The phrase transliterates as; “Let the purchaser beware, for he ought not to be ignorant of the nature of the property he is buying”, but is best known by the shorter “caveat emptor” — “let the buyer beware.”

I was nothing short of astonished when it was announced that Barack Obama had chosen Senator Joe Biden to be his running mate this November. If the RNC had been tasked with selecting Obama’s running mate, that’s who they would have picked, too.

Obama’s entire campaign has revolved around two central themes: Obama’s ‘superior judgment’ in voting against the Iraq War and Obama’s promise of bringing change to Washington.

The Obama campaign has floated other trial balloons, but he defeated Hillary Clinton in the primaries based on her vote for the Iraq War and by capitalizing on sixteen years of Clinton fatigue with his message of change.

Selecting Biden as his running mate wipes away Obama’s only two real issues. Joe Biden has been in the Senate since Obama was an Indonesian schoolboy — he was first elected to the Senate in 1972 — and Joe Biden voted in favor of authorizing the Iraq War.

The election, Obama said, is about “whether we are going to allow ourselves to watch this country get run into the ground, whether we are going to do the same old things over and over and over again and somehow expect a different result, or whether we are finally going to decide: Not this time.”

(Evidently, that decision has been put off for a later time after all. For now, we’ll do the same thing over again and expect a different result.)

So the whole ‘agent of change’ thing is now as dead as the ‘superior judgment’ thing as Obama shifts gears. So, too, is all the hype about Obama being a different kind of politician.

Biden’s fond of referring to himself as ‘The Guy’ as in; “I’m the guy who, probably in the mind of a lot of Democrats, is, if not the most qualified, then qualified,” he said, while running for president in November 2007.

Or, “I’m the guy who wrote the drug czar legislation,” as he said in July 2004.

Or, “I’m the guy who had two cranial aneurysms,” as he said in November 2006.

But only a week ago, when he was asked if he being considered for the number two spot, he said, “I’m NOT the guy.”

A couple of days later, Biden went out of his way to underscore the point, bringing up the subject himself and telling reporters that, not only had he not been asked, if he WERE to be asked, he would turn it down.

It is fair to assume that when Biden told reporters, “I’m not the guy” he probably knew that he was, and so Biden was probably lying. But when Biden promised that, if asked, he would turn the offer down, there was no probably about it — he WAS lying.

One could argue that a candidate’s first act as vice-presidential nominee is accepting the spot on the ticket.

First you accept, then you run, and hopefully, you win the job, but it all begins when you say ‘yes’ to the offer.

So Biden’s candidacy is predicated either on a lie, or a broken promise.

Hillary Clinton fully expected to be named as vice-president. So did her supporters. As she is fond of repeating, Hillary received more votes in the primaries than any candidate in history.

Setting the caucus states aside, Hillary received a greater share of the individual popular vote than did Barack Obama. Both Clintons are certain that, were Barack Obama not black, Hillary Clinton would have won the top spot on the ticket.

And more importantly, so are the eighteen million Democrats who voted for her.

I don’t blame Obama for not picking Hillary. As vice-president, Hillary would be just one heartbeat away from the Oval Office — Obama’s heartbeat. Not to mention the “buy one, get one free” issue.

Obama was probably right to assume that an Obama-Clinton ticket would end up as three competing presidencies with no vice president — but an Obama-Clinton ticket at least had a chance of making it that far.

Obama-Biden has no chance at all — and the Democrats have only a week to fix it in Denver — or go down in flames in November. Therefore, the coming week should be interesting, to say the least.

Caveat Emptor.

Israel Tour Countdown

We’ve but twenty days left to confirm reservations for the Omega Letter Poland/Israel Tour. We need a minimum of twenty confirmations for the tour to be viable — and we’re still some distance from our magic minimum.

For more information about the tour, click on the <a href="http://www.omegaletter.com/index.php/tour-info/

” Title=”Popup Text” target=”NEW”>Tour Links Page

If you are planning to join us on the tour, please take a minute and fill out the sign up sheet and confirm your reservation soon.

We’ll be counting down the days to the sign up deadline. We’re praying that the Lord will clear away all the obstacles and that you can join us for this once-in-a lifetime trip.

Maranatha!

So, How Many Houses Do Own?

So, How Many Houses Do You Own?
Vol: 83 Issue: 22 Friday, August 22, 2008

It seems pretty early in the campaign season for the Democrats to have already reached this point of desperation.

Particularly in light of the high hopes they had upon entering into the Silly Season. “It’s the Democrats’ to lose” was what the pundits were saying only a few weeks ago.

(The same pundits, I hasten to add, that pronounced Hillary Clinton ‘the next president of the United States’ — until somebody noticed that Barack Obama was black).

There is a well-established military doctrine that gives a two-to-one advantage to the defenders of an entrenched position. The advantage always goes to the defender.

At this point in the 1988 election, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis (remember him?) was running 14 points ahead of George H. W. Bush in the popular polls.

Dukakis won eleven states in the general election to Bush the Elder’s forty-one in a landslide. The election was ‘theirs’ to lose in 1988 — and they lost it.

At one point, McGovern led Nixon in early polling during the 1972 election. McGovern’s landslide defeat was even more impressive than Dukakis.

In this case, John McCain, as a Republican, holds the entrenched position, whereas Obama represents the attacking force. Following established rules of combat, then, Obama should leading by double-digits at this point.

He should be. But he isn’t. In fact, as of the latest Rasmussen poll, Obama is trailing by at least five points. Why?

I think there are lots of reasons. Jeremiah Wright. Tony Rezko. His school records in Indonesia listing him as a Muslim citizen of Indonesia. His elitism.

His comments about Midwestern xenophobes “clinging to religion and guns to justify their antipathy towards strangers.”

His dedication to the proposition that the best time to take “a principled stand” is after consulting with the pollsters.

His position on late-term abortion. And his almost-neurotic preoccupation with his color.

Obama has been insisting for months that soon, John McCain will attack him for ‘having a funny name’ and for ‘not looking like the rest of those presidents on the dollar bills,’ and, “Oh, did I mention that I’m black?”

The only ones to notice Obama’s funny name and the fact that he is black are the Democrats — and always in the context of warning that this is what McCain will eventually use against him.

I recall but one time when Obama’s ‘funny name’ was linked with McCain. That was when Bill Cunningham referred to Obama repeatedly as “Barack Hussein Obama” while introducing McCain at a campaign rally in February.

McCain immediately excoriated Cunnningham, calling Obama ‘a man of integrity’ saying that “I absolutely repudiate such comments.”

Assessment:

Desperate times call for desperate measures. The DNC hasn’t even kicked off this year’s convention and they are already desperate to the point of distraction.

Last week during the ‘Showdown at Saddleback’ Rick Warren asked both candidates to define ‘rich’. Obama set out to actually define it, demonstrating how little he actually understands about the economy.

Obama decided ‘rich’ meant more than $250k annually. And if he were referring to folks living Seminole, Oklahoma, he might be right.

On the other hand, if he were referring to people living in Manhattan, Los Angeles, San Fransisco, Miami, Houston, etc., $250k means you probably can afford to live in a house instead of an apartment.

McCain answered by saying, “If you make $5 million, then you’re rich.”

McCain then laughed at himself and predicted that the Obama campaign would use his answer in a campaign attack ad.

The audience joined him in the laugh — but less than a week later, there it was, just as McCain predicted. The Dems went after him for being ‘out of touch’ with ‘ordinary Americans’ and painted him as just another rich white guy.

When McCain was unable to answer the question, “How many houses do you own?”, Obama’s campaign strung the two answers together as evidence of McCain’s elitism.

“If you’re like me, and you’ve got one house, or you are like the millions of people who are struggling right now to keep up with their mortgage so they don’t lose their home, you might have different perspective,” Obama said.

Not smart. Obama got his mortgage with the help of convicted money-launderer Tony Rezko.

For the record, McCain’s wife’s family owns eight homes. (Cindy McCain’s family is worth $100 million) But the McCain’s have a pre-nup that separates their property.

So the reason John McCain doesn’t know how many houses he owns is because he doesn’t own any!

This election was the Democrats to lose — and they’re working hard at losing it. Maybe America still has four more years, after all.

Time will tell.

Special Report: “Hey — What’s With All the Punditry?”

Special Report: “Hey — What’s With All the Punditry?”
Vol: 83 Issue: 21 Thursday, August 21, 2008

Every few weeks or so, somebody will drop me an email saying something like, “Hey! All you ever talk about is politics and current events. I thought this was a Bible prophecy website!”

You’re right. I’m sorry. It is supposed to be dedicated to the movement of Bible prophecy in this generation. So this morning, we’ll discuss Bible prophecy.

According to the Prophet Daniel, in the last days, there will rise to power, a confederation of ten ‘kings’ who will preside over what, combining Daniel’s description with historical hindsight, can only describe a revived form of the old Roman Empire.

Daniel spoke of the ‘people of the prince who is to come’ as being those who would destroy the ‘city and sanctuary’. The ‘prince who is to come’ is the antichrist. The city and the sanctuary were destroyed by the Roman legions in AD 70.

So, if this is the generation that will see the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy, there should exist a political entity that more or less mirrors Daniel’s description.

Of course, such a political entity exists today.

I’d tell you more, but that would be too much about current events and politics and not enough about prophecy.

The Apostle John said that in the last days, those subject to the antichrist’s government will be required to submit themselves to receiving a mark, either in their right hand or forehead, without which, ‘no man might buy or sell.’

This economic mark will be more than simply economics, however. According to the Apostle John, it will also be an expression of worship.

“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Revelation 13:15-17)

Of course, while the antichrist has not yet made his appearance on the scene, if he were to show up tomorrow, he’d find that the necessary systems to make all this happen already exist.

But that would require examining current technology as well as the current political atmosphere before one could get any sense of how close such a prophecy might be to being fulfilled.

But if I was going to discuss either the current technology or the political attitudes that lend themselves to the creation of such a system then this would be punditry instead of prophecy, no? Today, we’re going to ignore current events and stick just to prophecy.

The Prophet Ezekiel predicted that “in the latter days” there would arise a great alliance of nations, under the leadership of a political power referred to as “Gog and Magog.”

Gog and Magog will align themselves with the nations of Persia, Togarmah, Gomer, Libya, Ethiopia, and a bunch of others. Once assembled, they will invade Israel.

On the other side are a bunch of other nations; “Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish and all the young lions thereof,” Ezekiel says. These nations will oppose Gog-Magog. Not militarily, but diplomatically.

“Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” (Ezekiel 38:13)

Gog, Magog, (and all the other countries Ezekiel predicted would be allied with them) exist today, in exactly the alliance structure foretold.

And if we were planning to discuss either politics or current events today, well, then, I could tell you who they all were. But today, I am sticking strictly to Bible prophecy.

One of the great mysteries of the Book of the Revelation is the manner of death prescribed for those who refuse to take the Mark of the Beast. In the Big Picture overview, it looks a bit like this:

There will be a false religion that will contain elements of Christian imagery, but doctrinally, John says it will ‘speak like a dragon’. It will demand that those it deems unbelievers either convert to the new religion or submit to death by decapitation.

What kind of religion could possibly win enough popular support to be viable when its doctrine calls for beheading people in the name of its god? Does such a religion exist? Is it possible that this prophecy is coming true in this generation?

If we were discussing current events and politics, I’d be happy to answer all of these questions. But today, we’re only discussing Bible prophecy.

After all, I’m a Bible teacher, not a pundit.

The Apostle Paul once outlined the social, political and moral characteristics that will dominate cultural Christianity in the last days under the general heading of a warning: “This know also, in the last days, perilous times shall come.”

From there, Paul outlines the things to watch for that will indicate that those perilous times have arrived.

“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2nd Timothy 3:1-5)

So, have we reached the point of ‘perilous times’ yet? My answer is, “Absolutely.”

This is a letter-perfect description that, were we discussing current events and politics, would be as crystal-clear to you as it is to me.

But we’re NOT discussing current events and politics this morning. We’re discussing Bible prophecy. (I’m a preacher, not a pundit!)

According to the Words of Jesus from the Olivet Discourse, the generation that will see His return will be one marked by deception, wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes and pestilences ‘in diverse places’.

Does this generation qualify? Does it fit the Bible’s description?

I’d discuss that, but today, we’re avoiding politics and punditry to stick to Bible prophecy.

Jesus also described “signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 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)

He said of these things, “when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)

But to figure out when these things were beginning to come to pass would require some examination of current events and global politics.

And today we’re sticking strictly to Bible prophecy.

According to the Bible, the antichrist is part of an unholy trinity, consisting of Satan, the antichrist and the false prophet. The antichrist comes to power by deception, Paul tells us in 2nd Thessalonians.

He presides over a government that is party strong and partly weak, like iron mixed with clay, Daniel says.

He controls a global economy and global government, John says. His partner has control of the global religion, which proscribes death by beheading for infidels who refuse to convert.

So, for these to be the last days, there must be a revived form of the Roman Empire, but unlike Rome, partly strong and partly weak, but with a strong centralized government and banking system.

And a viable, global religious system that governs by terror and insists on submission or death by decapitation.

It all exists today and I can prove it. But that would require introducing politics and current events into the discussion. I promised today we’d only discuss Bible prophecy, not politics, punditry or current events. I kept my promise, too.

Learn anything?