Sunday, May 28, 2017

Pro-life Voices from Church History

This morning I will be preaching in the morning services of Community Bible Church at 90th and Q with the text being an exciting and particularly illuminating passage of Holy Scripture, Luke 1: 26-45. There are several highlights of the passage we will look at including a heavenly announcement of world-shaking importance, a trio of excellent role models in faithful living for God, and one of the most dramatic proofs of all time of the sanctity of prenatal life, even its very earliest stages of development.

The latter point reminded me of this 10 and a 1/2 minute video we created several years ago that illustrates  how consistent and clear has been the Church’s teaching against abortion throughout her 2,000 year history. Indeed, though not having the remarkable knowledge we now have of embryology, including the highly complex and individually exclusive DNA data that each human possesses even at the single cell stage which is conception itself, the Church has taught the sacred right to protect the preborn persons from the poisons that were used to induce abortion.

How did they know? Well, beyond the common sense of knowing that the beginning is the beginning, they had the knowledge provided by biblical texts like the one I’ll be expositing this morning.

Anyhow, the video really is worth the 10 minutes. It is illuminating, challenging, and inspiring as it features comments on the requirements Christians have to respect and defend the lives of the yet born. And those comments come from such distinguished figures as Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Athenagoras, Hippolytus, Basil the Great, Ambrose of Milan, Jerome, John Chrysostom, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Helmut Thielicke, and Francis Schaeffer.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

What's In This Weekend's Treasure Chest? (Part 1)

* “Horrifying Video From Abortion Conference Shows Utter Disregard for Human Life” (Melanie Israel, Daily Signal)

* “Obama admin knew gang members were part of illegal immigrant surge: Whistleblower” (Stephen Dinan, Washington Times)

* “Abortion Pill Safe to Use at Home? Not So Fast, National Medical Consultant Says” (Liberty McArtor, The Stream)

* “Trump has done what Obama didn’t: Scare NATO into closer tracking of defense spending” (Franco Ordonez, McClatchy Bureau)

* “Shock: Abortion Clinic Did 55 Abortions With No Nurse, Improper Anesthesia” (Maria Gallagher, LifeNews.com)

* “Real Christian Persecution: Are We Near the Tipping Point?” (Tom Gilson, The Stream)

* “Debbie Wasserman Schultz Questions Criminal Probe of Her IT Staffer, Promising ‘Consequences’ for Capitol Police” (Luke Rosiak, Daily Signal)

“The True Purpose of the University” (Heather Mac Donald, City Journal)

A Few Letters

A couple of weeks ago, Claire and I were invited to a meeting of one of the small groups from our church because they wanted us to show them how to create a letter-writing party, one that would feature some of the letter targets we regularly emphasize in our quarterly Vital Signs Ministries letter-writing parties, but would also blend in some that were more particular to their church. Great.  We were delighted to do it.

Many of the letters and cards written that night were sent to politicians and business leaders with fervent appeals to defund Planned Parenthood while several others were sent that dealt with religious freedom and protection of conscience. Still others concerned the "bathroom wars," judicial appointments, cutting ties to terrorist supporting nations, and thank you notes to missionaries and other heroes of the Faith.

I print below just a few of the 45 letters that were written that night. In showing you how brief (but purposeful) they are, perhaps they will prompt you to consider trying a letter-writing party of your own. Claire and I would be honored to help.

Dear Mr. Simpson,

After reading that Hersheypark has not yet changed its disastrous bathroom policy (i.e. allowing men who merely “identify” as female to use the female facilities), I must write and tell you that I am among the many who have crossed off Hersheypark from our vacation considerations.

Please return to a measure of sanity and safety on this matter.

Dear Vice-President Pence,

Just a quick word of thanks for your excellent services in this critical office and in demonstrating such principle, courage, fairness, and a winsome witness to the Christian faith.  We are proud of you and we pledge our continued prayers for God’s protection, wisdom, and all other needed graces.

Wes & Laurie,

A quick word of thanks for your ongoing work for the Lord at the orphanage.  We are profoundly grateful too for the opportunity to pray for the Lord to bless your work and keep you in the palm of His Hand.

Dear Cal, (Cal Thomas)

We miss you on Fox News but it makes us appreciate all the more your excellent columns.  Thank you so much for staying the course for the Lord and His truth over these many years.  And may God continue to use your voice.

Dear Ken & Joni, (Tada)

A few of us from Community Bible Church in Omaha, Nebraska are writing letters tonight in our efforts to be salt and light for the Lord.  And along with letters to politicians and business leaders, we thought we’d write a few thank you notes to some of the heroes of the Faith who we are so grateful for.  And so we write to you two dear saints with deep gratitude, admiration, and promise to keep you both (and the ministry of Joni & Friends) in our frequent prayers.
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Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Best Of...For Your Weekend Reading

* “Trump’s Expansion of Mexico City Policy Is a Major Victory in Protecting Life” (Congressman Chris Smith, Daily Signal)

* “A Win for the Deep State” (Andrew Klavan, PJ Media)

* “Feminism Drives People to Deny Basic Facts” (Dennis Prager, Daily Signal)

“Social-Justice Math Class: ‘Math Has Been Used as a Dehumanizing Tool’” (Katharine Timpf, National Review)

* “8 Major Reasons I Oppose Planned Parenthood” (Denny Hartford, Vital Signs Blog)

* “Strategies for Dealing with the Persecution of Christians” (Rick Plasterer, Juicy Ecumenism)

* “‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Come True? Just not in the Way Feminists Think” (John Stonestreet & Roberto Rivera, Breakpoint)

* “Destroying Donald Trump is all that matters in the newsrooms of the mainstream media” (Wes Pruden, Washington Times)

* “How Barack Obama Conspired with an Enemy to Undermine U.S. Foreign Policy” (John Hinderaker, Power Line)

* “When doctors say No: A law professor defends physicians' right to conscientious objection” (Michael Quinlan, Mercator)

* “Why Russia Can’t Be America’s Ally: What Putin Doesn’t Want You to Know About Moscow’s Persecution of Christians and Covert Support for Radical Islamists” (George Barros, Providence)

8 Major Reasons I Oppose Planned Parenthood

1) Planned Parenthood kills preborn babies for profit. Hundreds of thousands of babies. And by payments to surgical abortionists and sales of chemical abortifacients, Planned Parenthood is raking in millions of dollars every year. They are the largest abortion-providing business in the world.

2) Planned Parenthood is the most aggressive promoter of abortion rights in the U.S. and abroad. It's influence in Congress, the United Nations, in state governments, in social service agencies, and among government educators is huge.

3) Planned Parenthood promotes (and enables) sexual promiscuity, even among very young teenagers.

4) Planned Parenthood promotes sexual perversion and does so with obscene and blasphemous materials.

5) Planned Parenthood holds firm to the racism and elitism of its eugenics founders.

6) Planned Parenthood has been caught on many occasions in criminal cover-ups of statutory rape. They have also been caught in selling fetal body parts and other criminal activity.

7) Planned Parenthood operates many unsafe, unsanitary abortion clinics. It has had several abortionists who have killed adult women through botched abortion. It dispenses very dangerous abortifacient drugs in an unprofessional manner like over the phone and through "at home abortion kits." It works continually against parental rights and control. It works continually against any and all limitations on abortion.

8) Planned Parenthood now makes over $540 million from taxpayer-funded government health services grants — every year!

Shouldn't you be opposing Planned Parenthood too?

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Top Ten for Your Weekend

Among the examples of quality, relevant journalism from the last few days are these 10 gems.

* “World Cyber War I?” (John Hinderaker, Power Line)

* “Hysteria, overblown hooey part of the fake news cycle” (Charles Hurt, Washington Times)

* “The Feminization of Everything Fails Our Boys” (David French, National Review)

* “Walls fall in on Obamacare” (Editors, Washington Examiner)

* “The Ugly Racism of Karl Marx” (Walter E. Williams, Daily Signal)

* “After 100 years, there is still life in the Communist nightmare” (Marion Smith, Mercator)

* “Christians are Leaving the Girl Scouts Over Its Connection to Planned Parenthood” (Micaiah Bilger, LifeNews.com)

* “Scouts on the Outs with LDS” (Family Researh Council’s Washington Update)

* “West ignores Indonesia's slide toward Islamic extremism” (Michael Cook, Mercator)

* “Trump Should Adopt an International Religious-Freedom Policy with Teeth” (Tina Ramirez, National Review)



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Surrendering...Without Even a Fight

I quote from  a recent letter from a dear brother in Christ and active pro-life colleague, Dr. Greg Gardner in Birmingham, England.

...My wife is reading the excellent biography of Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas. I don’t know what Bonhoeffer would have made of all this accommodation to culture, biblical illiteracy and weak leadership. 

...There are several things you mention [in your letter] that resonate but none more so than your comments about the local church. To unfriendliness and a lack of engagement in the culture I would add a lack of intentional discipleship preparing young people for life. Yesterday I attended the annual conference of the Christian Medical Fellowship. There was a seminar given by two retirees from Glasgow on intelligent design which was very good. One of them showed a slide from the Discovery Institute that stated that in one recent survey only 1% of youth pastors ever addressed science-faith issues. Yet this is one area that youth struggle with and according to the book You Lost Me, bad teaching in this area makes a young person more likely to drop out of church in their 20’s. 

After the talk I went up to one of these guys and asked him if he had ever been invited to talk to the youth group in his local church on this subject (about which he is quite knowledgeable and a good teacher). 

He hadn’t.

Alas, the age of capitulation continues.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Want To Check Out Our "When Swing Was King" Newsletters?

To better inform and encourage those of you who are interested in our “When
Swing Was King” ministry, we thought we would start posting on the Vital Signs Ministries website the pdf versions of the quarterly newsletters that we distribute to the residents of the 13 senior care facilities that we visit every month.

We have so far created 3 editions of these 4-page, large-print newsletters which feature big band trivia, a personal note from us, seasonal quotations and Scriptures, and more. So, for your review (and a bit of fun too), here they are.

The Spring newsletter.

The Christmas edition (2016).

The Autumn edition (2016).