Monthly Archives: February 2013

Today’s ( Thursday ) Posts

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Election Is for Everyone However we interpret the controversial doctrine, it’s clear that salvation is never a human achievement
Benedict XVI vows obedience to successor as pope
The Truth About Sequestration: Will It Harm American Security?
Passing your worldview on to your children
The Embattled Career of Dr. Koop
The End Is Not the End C. Everett Koop on death and dying
Becoming rich by giving
Subway Founder: Subway Would Not Exist If Started Today

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Election Is for Everyone However we interpret the controversial doctrine, it’s clear that salvation is never a human achievement

When I was a kid my brother and I would sometimes spend part of Saturday handing out gospel tracts in our neighborhood. We were pastor’s sons and probably felt some obligation to do it (as it was something promoted in Sunday school and youth group), but I can honestly say we also felt it was our contribution to the kingdom of God.
One of our favorite tracts pictured a voting ballot. The great preacher Herschel Hobbs, known among Southern Baptists as “Mr. Baptist,” preached a famous sermon based on that tract on The Baptist Hour in October 1967. His sermon was “God’s Election Day,” and its main point was: “The devil and God held an election to determine whether or not you would be saved or lost. The devil voted against you and God voted for you. So the vote was a tie. It is up to you to cast the deciding vote.”
Without doubt that concept of the doctrine of election has become popular among Christians. After all, we Americans prize our right and freedom to vote. But is that what Scripture means by election? Is the gospel that God votes for our salvation, Satan votes against it, and we—individually, freely—cast the vote that decides our eternal destiny?
Probably not. Some biblical scholars and theologians would say, “Definitely not!” It does seem to trivialize the concept of election and especially God’s sovereignty in our salvation. On the other hand, there may be some truth in this way of conceiving the issue, even if it does not do justice to the profundity of the biblical doctrine of election.
Unfortunately, the “doctrine of election” has come to be associated especially, even uniquely, with one particular branch of Christian theology—the one people know as “Reformed.” It descends from the Swiss Reformation of the 16th century and most notably from the French reformer John Calvin, who lived in and spiritually led the Swiss city Geneva. Too often, “election” is identified as the distinctive doctrine of Calvinism—as if no other branch of Christianity believes in it.
In fact, it would be impossible to be a Bible-believing Christian without affirming God’s electing grace and having a doctrine of election. The same could be said about predestination, often thought of as a synonym for election. The Bible is filled with references to God’s choice of people, both individuals and groups. Abraham was not just “called” by God but also “chosen” or “elected” to be the father of God’s “chosen people,” God’s elect nation of Israel (Gen. 12:1-3; Isa. 45:4). The church is the elect of God, chosen for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:5). Paul was clearly chosen by God for apostleship (Acts 9).
It would be no stretch of truth to say that God’s election of people is central to the biblical message, to the gospel. And it can safely be said that people’s election is God’s grace, not human achievement. Nowhere does the Bible even hint that people elect themselves.
‘Touched by an Angel’ Theology
That brings us back to the gospel tract and Hobbs’s sermon. All Christians, not only Calvinists, ought to reject the underlying message that election is a human act or achievement. Theologians have a term for that belief: semi-Pelagianism. It is arguably the default view of both salvation and service among American Christians, especially younger Christians. But all branches of Christianity have condemned it as heresy, because it completely contradicts Scripture.
( Election Is for Everyone )

Benedict XVI vows obedience to successor as pope

Pope Benedict XVI has vowed “unconditional obedience and reverence” to his eventual successor.

He was speaking on his final day in office at the Vatican to his cardinals, one of whom will be elected next month to replace him.

Benedict, 85, will leave for the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo, near Rome, later on Thursday.

His deputy, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, will have temporary charge of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.

In his public farewell speech on Wednesday, Benedict hinted at Vatican infighting.

He said he felt “the gratitude, the appreciation and the love that was flowing between the Pope and the cardinals”.

But another Vatican insider admitted that the next Pope has to continue the work started by Benedict to counter sexual abuse by clergy.

“Speaking as a Catholic priest myself”, he told me, “it’s something that blights our Church, that affects our whole role as priests in the Church.

“It’s clear that there’s a long way to go before healing occurs and before the whole issue is consigned to the past.”

His decision to resign has been openly criticised by Australia’s top Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, who questioned his leadership skills.

The Church has been beset by scandals over sexual abuse by priests and leaked confidential documents revealing internal corruption and feuding.

An estimated 150,000 people packed into St Peter’s Square on Wednesday to hear Pope Benedict, resigning at 85 after seven years in office.

The long-time theologian is expected eventually to retire to a monastery on a hill inside Vatican City, with officials saying he will not be able intervene publicly in the papacy of his successor, though he may offer advice.
( More )

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The Truth About Sequestration: Will It Harm American Security?

Read the blog posting.

Passing your worldview on to your children

How do you pass your values on to your children? From the earliest possible time in their lives, you talk about your values and you explain how they comprise your code for living. Why do you donate $100 bill you found blowing in the wind to the local homeless shelter? Why don’t you allow your children to watch certain movies and television shows? You explain to your children that your definitions of right and wrong, your decisions, and your opinions about various matters are based on certain core principles. Your ability to articulate those principles clearly enough that a 5-year-old can understand them reflects that you are clear on them yourself. And you not only talk about your values, but you walk your talk. There’s no room for “Do as I say, not as I do” in an ethical worldview.

This is the process by which you shape your child’s character, by which you produce a good citizen, someone who will make the community a better place. Everything else – grades, athletic accomplishments, artistic talents, and so on – is secondary. Raising a mathematically and musically gifted child who wins a scholarship to Harvard is fine, but when all is said and done, good parenting is simply an act of love for your neighbor.

But make no mistake, no matter how well you communicate your worldview to your children, they will think for themselves, and from a very early age.

( Billy’s thoughts – Read more of the above column by John Rosemond right here. )

The Embattled Career of Dr. Koop

In three decades of surgery at Philadelphia’s Children’s Hospital, C. Everett Koop pioneered techniques that saved the lives of premature and malformed babies. Meanwhile, in another wing of the hospital an abortion clinic opened, capable of eliminating 10 to 15 lives in the time it took Koop to save 1 or 2. Abortion increasingly became for Koop a simple, black-and-white issue. When he finally spoke out on abortion, he spoke with conviction, calling the Roe v. Wade ruling “the most important event in American history since the Civil War.”
For a time Koop even suspended his brilliant career in pediatric surgery to go on the stump with L’Abri founder Francis Schaeffer. In a dramatic scene from the Schaeffer-produced film series Whatever Happened to the Human Race? Koop looked out on a thousand naked dolls strewn across the salt wastes of the Dead Sea and proclaimed, “I am standing on the site of Sodom, the place of evil and death.”
The aftermath of a momentous telephone call in August of 1980 put to the test this bedrock belief in God’s sovereignty. Ronald Reagan, who had read two of Koop’s books, wanted him to serve as the nation’s surgeon general. The appointment would help cement Reagan’s support among prolife constituents and especially evangelicals, the group who knew Koop best.
Koop’s black-and-white views came back to haunt him. Planned Parenthood, the National Organization for Women (NOW), and other prochoice groups led the cavalry charge, brandishing every extreme statement Koop had ever made on abortion, women’s rights, and homosexuality.
( More )

The End Is Not the End C. Everett Koop on death and dying

The End Is Not the End

Becoming rich by giving

Bill Conley spent the day before his 50th birthday at the doctor’s office.

He’d blown out his knee, but it was too soon to replace it surgically. He’d have to get by. Quit running. Take it easy.

Bill spent his last day at age 49 feeling sorry for himself.

On his first day at age 50, he decided to put into action an idea.

It was one he’d kicked around for a while. One that would require some money — $50 a week — and a little chutzpah, which, for a buttoned-down finance guy like Bill, would be the bigger investment.

He decided to spend his 51st year on this planet being more generous. In a very personal way. He decided that each week, he would hand out $50 to someone — mostly strangers — who happened into his path.
( vice chancellor sees power of giving away $50 a week )

Subway Founder: Subway Would Not Exist If Started Today

Subway Founder Fred Deluca told CNBC today that his company would not exist if it was started today due to onerous government regulations. He also shares that the number one problem his Subway franchise owners face is the impact from ObamaCare.
( Subway Would Not Exist If Started Today Due to Government Regulations )

Today’s ( Tuesday ) Posts

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Senate confirms Hagel as secretary of defense
Gov. Scott to Voters: Never Mind
Cut Tebow some slack
Cuba Closer to Democracy ?
1 year anniversary of neighborhood watch shooting
Planned Parenthood Closing Some Locations

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