Friday, August 24, 2018

Ontario woman jailed in U.S. for driving with Canadian licence

It was a rainy night in Georgia, my friend. (Well, probably not night... or raining.) An Ontario woman got pulled over for speeding. The cop would not accept her Canadian driver's license as valid ID, or something...

Tossed in the back of the cruiser, hand-cuffed, car impounded, finger-printed, mug-shotted, oranged, -- tossed in the slammer.

Where's a sue-happy American lawyer when you need one?

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Five Fake News Stories People Believe About Early Christianity

Via Michael Kruger, The Gospel Coalition:
1. Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene.
Perhaps there’s no conspiracy theory about early Christianity more sensational and captivating than the claim that Jesus was married and had children. It’s not only fodder for books like The Da Vinci Code, but it seems to pop up again and again in the mainstream media (see a recent example here).
The problem, of course, is that this belief is patently false. There’s no evidence Jesus was married.
(For a fuller critique of this idea, see my article here.) 
2. The deity of Jesus wasn’t decided until the Council of Nicea in the fourth century.
Another widespread conviction is that Jesus was merely an ordinary human who was exalted to divine status by the council of Nicea. They then suppressed (and oppressed) all who insisted otherwise.
Again, however, the evidence for an early belief in Jesus’s divinity is overwhelming. As early as the 50s of the first century, Paul applies the monotheistic creed of Israel to the person of Jesus, declaring: “For us there is one God, the Father from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist” (1 Cor. 8:6). There’s good evidence Paul is drawing on earlier tradition in this passage, indicating that such a belief was present at the beginning of the Christian movement.
(For more on the early divinity of Jesus, see Richard Bauckham’s book Jesus and the God of Israel.) 
3. Christians didn’t have a ‘Bible’ until the time of Constantine.
Also making our top-five list is the oft-repeated claim that early Christians, at least for the first four centuries, didn’t have a Bible. They were reliant merely on ever-changing oral tradition. And this problem wasn’t resolved until Constantine commissioned the production of a Bible in the fourth century (containing only the books he preferred).
While this is yet another intriguing conspiracy theory, it lacks any historical foundation. The earliest Christians had a “Bible” from day one—what we now call the Old Testament. For them, the Old Testament was the undisputed Word of God, and they were deeply committed to its authority. Moreover, from an early point Christians regarded their own books as scriptural, and a core New Testament canon is evident by the early to middle second century.
(For a brief discussion of this point, see my article here. For more detail, see my full-length volumeThe Question of Canon.) 
4. The ‘Gnostic’ Gospels like Thomas were just as popular as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Ever since the discovery of the so-called Gnostic Gospels at Nag Hammadi in 1945, it’s been popular to insist that these “lost” Gospels were once more popular than our canonical ones. During the first few centuries, we’re told, Christians read the Gospel of Thomas with equal (if not more) regularity than the books that made it into our Bibles.
This whole narrative has a clear purpose behind it: to convince people that all Gospels are pretty much the same, and no Gospel is more valid than another.
But this narrative quickly evaporates when one looks at the historical data. When it comes to nearly every line of evidence—frequency of citation, use as Scripture, number of manuscripts—it’s clear these apocryphal Gospels weren’t very popular after all. Indeed, all historical indicators show our four Gospels were, far and away, the most popular ones in the early church.
(For more on this point, see my article here, or check out Chuck Hill’s book Who Chose the Gospels?) 
5. The words of the New Testament were radically changed and corrupted in the earliest centuries.
Rounding out our top-five fake news stories is the claim that the text of the New Testament has been so radically corrupted, edited, and changed that we can’t really know what the original authors said. Made famous by Bart Ehrman’s bestseller Misquoting Jesus, this story has been repeated ad infinitum.
But there’s no evidence for this level of radical corruption. Can we see scribal changes and mistakes in our New Testament manuscripts? Of course, but that’s true for every document of antiquity. The New Testament is no different.
And if there is a difference, it’s that the New Testament seems even more well-preserved than comparable documents in the ancient world. After generations of careful scholarship, and a wealth of manuscripts at our disposal, we can have great confidence in the words of the New Testament.
(For more on this issue, see the last chapter in my book The Heresy of Orthodoxy, or my review of Misquoting Jesus.)
These five examples of “fake news” about early Christianity get repeated so often people believe they must be true. Just like in the political world, however, we need to carefully examine the facts before we repeat the claims.

As St. Paul-Simon said, "All lies and jest, still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest" -- who do you say Jesus is?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Is Donald Trump President "for such a time as this"?

James Dobson warns America that its fundamental rights and liberties are threatened by the totalitarian instincts of progressive courts and legislators.
Let me illustrate what can happen in a country that doesn't respect basic human rights as they have been understood historically. The Parliament of Canada, our neighbor to the north, passed an act into law on June 19, 2017. It is called the Transgender Rights Bill, and it imposes jail time and fines on anyone who uses inappropriate pronouns with regard to gender identity, gender expression, race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, genetic characteristics, disability or conviction of an offense for which a pardon has been granted. Forget laws protecting freedom of speech. Violations of this act are considered to be hate crimes in Canada's Criminal Code. Its passage has been lauded by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as "another step toward equality." No! It is a step toward tyranny for our Canadian friends....
..... In Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015, the [American] Supreme Court redefined marriage as it had been protected in law and celebrated internationally for more than 5,000 years. The decision was five to four, and it eliminated the exclusivity of marriage between a man and woman in 31 states. Five Justices imposed that cultural earthquake on America. Let me describe that ruling in another way. The laws protecting traditional marriage in 31 states were summarily invalidated. The citizens in those 31 states had recently gone to their polling places and voted to define marriage as being exclusively between one man and one woman. By a single vote, an arrogant, imperious, unelected justice and four colleagues on the Supreme Court overrode the will of the people and swept away collective decisions of the populous. 
These five unelected and imperious justices imposed a cultural disaster on America. Some court-watchers say it was tantamount to the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, because it helped to undermine the institution of marriage. The family will never be the same. Lincoln's words at Gettysburg became hollow. Whatever happened to the promise that ours is a government of, by and for the people? What hubris those pious justices demonstrated with their votes!
In my opinion, this next example stands as one of the most outrageous assaults on parental rights in American history. Children attending Mesquite Elementary School in Palmdale, California, came home one afternoon and told their parents what had happened to them in class. It was a shocker. One of their teachers, with administrative approval, sat for hours with students, aged 7 to 10, to ensure that each of them completed 79 items on a questionnaire. The kids, barely out of babyhood, were required to respond to highly personal questions about their private thoughts, including 10 items about their sexuality. Permission was neither requested nor discussed with parents. The children were asked about such topics as frequency of thinking about having sex and thinking about touching other peoples' private parts, among many others. 
The parents were incensed (wouldn't you be?), and filed suit in both federal and district courts against the school district for invading their children's privacy and the parents' rights to control the upbringing of their children. They were desperately trying to defend the innocence of their children, but to no avail. The courts ruled that there is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexuality or education of their children. Both the district and federal courts dismissed the case. One of them asserted that parents have no right to determine what their sons and daughters will be exposed to while enrolled in California's public schools. 
When the parents appealed their case, it went (where else?) to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California. You can guess what happened there. The judges upheld the lower court ruling in favor of the school district and concluded that education is not merely about teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Education, they said, serves higher civil and social functions, including the rearing of children into healthy and responsible adults. In other words, "Parents, get lost."
The rest, here.

Canada, barring divine intervention, is probably too far gone. America needs conservative Supreme Court justices and a sea-change in public opinion regard progressive activism. Is Donald Trump President "for such a time as this"?

Saturday, August 11, 2018

America: Is There a White Push-Back?

An excellent article from Taki's Magazine on the inevitability of push-back against incessant media/Democrat goading of white Americans...
Now, you might think that if you don’t like the increasing racialization of American politics—which is, as Klein notes, driven by mass immigration—you might think it wise and prudent to cut back on immigration for a while.
But of course that simple remedy never comes up in Klein’s essay. The “browning of America” is instead presented as some vast natural process, like the drift of the solar system through the Milky Way. And the browning of America is much less under human influence than climate change.
To Vox readers, importing a new electorate of foreign ringers is how they intend to grind their enemies, their fellow American citizens, into the dust beneath their political chariot wheels, so it’s best not to notice what they’ve chosen to inflict upon their nation.
After all, that white Americans are slowly waking up to the fact that they don’t really want to get pushed around by newcomers just for being white merely proves that whites deserve their fate.
And an excellent review of the excellent article in American Spectator:
You can’t insult a group of people repeatedly, aggressively, the way the Left in its mob mentality insists upon doing to the majority of America and not expect consequences. Those will come. And in its rampant enthusiasm the Left has apparently decided to take a swing at some 60-plus percent of the population — a decent chunk of which has heretofore been sympathetic to its policies.
When non-whites act in their perceived collective interests it is the natural order of things; when whites do the same, it is racist.

As the recent Laura Ingraham pile-ons  demonstrates.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Chuck Colson asks, “What is Christianity?”

... Chuck Colson’s question to a group of theologians years ago. “What is Christianity?” he asked. Their answers varied from, “The culture from which we sprang,” to “a living relationship with God in Christ.” He disagreed with them all. Their answers weren’t so much wrong, he said, as inadequate, for in truth “Christianity is the explanation for everything.” 
[Bradley G.] Green would certainly agree that it’s the basis for knowing. And how little we know these days! He caught my attention right up front when he said, 
Having gone through school and now made the transition to teaching at a small liberal arts college, I have discovered that others have had similar experiences. They have come to the realization that they have really missed something crucial in their education. … What I am speaking of is not simply a humility that comes with age. I am describing a more troubling reality among my contemporaries marked by a genuine ignorance of the past, lack of grounding in the cultural and intellectual inheritance of the West, and perhaps most sadly, no sort of remorse or recognition that this situation might be a bad thing.
We know so little. How many times, reading C. S. Lewis, have I thought, “who is this writer he’s alluding to?” Followed by the unnerving sensation that if I were really educated I ought to know...
More from Tom Gilson's review of THE GOSPEL AND THE MIND, BY BRADLEY G. GREEN here.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

You don't know me from Adam...

... I think that's how the phrase goes.

William Lane Craig is studying the issue of Adam in the Bible. Historical? Figurative? Representative?

Here's an interesting nugget on the difference between biblical vs. systematic theology.
It’s crucial that the tasks of biblical theology and systematic theology be pursued in pristine isolation from each other. There is an almost irresistible tendency to allow science to guide our biblical interpretation. This sort of interpretive approach to Scripture is often called “concordism.” Beginning with what modern science tells us about the origin of the world and mankind, we approach the biblical text and read that science into the text, or, at least, read the text in such a way that it comports with modern science. The flaws in such a hermeneutic are obvious: (1) It does not interpret the text as the author and its intended readers would have understood it but imports meanings foreign to them; (2) As science progresses, every generation will read its own science back into the text, e.g., 19th century biology and geology.  
Worth noting.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"