Tuesday, January 30, 2024

When Battle Is Your Calling

The opening remarks and prayer for Nebraska Right to Life's Gala Banquet I presented last Friday evening in Lincoln:

Good evening. In the face of what’s been happening in our culture, particularly in the raging, repulsive reactions of the left to the overturning of Roe v Wade, way too many Christians are trying to ride out the storm by staying out of it as much as possible. Yes, they prefer right to triumph over wrong. But, for all practical purposes, what they prefer most is to stay comfortable and safe and not rock the boat any worse by making waves themselves. They want to be -- at peace.

But we need (we most desperately need) another kind of Christian in times like these --  Christians who care enough about truth to speak it, Christians who love enough to sacrifice and serve those who are in dire straits, to work hard and to pray hard that they might please God by being courageous warriors, loyal ambassadors, and obedient sons and daughters of their heavenly King.

Abraham Kuyper, the Dutch statesman, journalist, theologian, and Prime Minister of the Netherlands between 1901 and 1905, once wrote, “When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin. You must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith.”

So, in the service of He Who has called us to overcome the darkness (which, among other terrible wickedness in our day, has involved the massive shedding of innocent blood), let us humble ourselves before God, gratefully receive His gracious empowerment, and rededicate ourselves this night to, as our brother Kuyper urged us, “lay our convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of our faith.”

To that end, will you join me in letting Saint Patrick’s simple 5th Century prayer bring us before God. Our father in heaven, hear our prayer this night.

May the strength of God pilot us.
May the power of God preserve us.
May the wisdom of God instruct us.
May the hand of God protect us.
May the way of God direct us.
May the shield of God defend us.
May the hosts of God guard us against the snares of the evil one and the temptations of the world.
May Christ be with us. Christ before us. Christ in us. Christ over us.
May thy salvation, O Lord, be always ours this day and forevermore.

And Father, we also ask You now to bless our evening. Bless to our bodies this food we take with one another. Pour out Your grace upon those who have prepared the meal and so kindly serve it to us. Let Your Holy Spirit move mightily through each speaker and each part of the program. And may we all leave here more encouraged and better equipped to serve Your righteousness and truth. We pray in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

What Did They Say About Abortion? (Part 2)

“For those who conceal sexual wantonness by taking stimulating drugs to bring on an abortion wholly lose their own humanity along with the fetus.” (Clement of Alexandria, Pedagogus, 2nd Century)

“Thou shalt not slay thy child by causing abortion, nor kill that which is begotten. For everything that is shaped, and has received a soul from God, if slain, it shall be avenged, as being unjustly destroyed.” (The Apostolic Constitutions, circa 380 AD)

“Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed upon this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics)

“The most significant thing about abortion legislation in Biblical law is that there is none. It was so unthinkable that an Israelite woman should desire an abortion that there was no need to mention this offense in the criminal code. All that was necessary to prohibit an abortion was the command, ‘You shall not murder’ (Ex. 20:13).” (Meredith Kline, American theologian and Old Testament scholar)

“He who destroys germinating life kills a man.” (Karl Barth)

“When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit.” (Pioneer feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton)

“The right to life is the first right mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Every human being, born or pre-born, is entitled to this fundamental right.” (Dr. Jerome Lejeune, French pediatrician and geneticist)

“The Bible makes it clear that God sees the unborn infant not as a piece of superfluous biological tissue, but as a person created by Him for life.” (Billy Graham)

“It does not matter whether you take away a life that is born or destroy one that is coming to the birth. In both instances, the destruction is murder.” (Tertullian, Apology, 2nd Century)

“Surely at such a time (conception), the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed.” (Martin Luther)

“Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit? Where there are many efforts at abortion? Where there is murder before birth? For you do not even let the harlot remain a mere harlot, but make her a murderer also. Why then do you abuse the gift of God and fight with His laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the place of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter?” (St. John Chrysostom, Homily 24 on Romans, late 4th Century)

“From conception to our final breath on this earth, all life is a sacred gift from Almighty God. It must be cherished in our hearts and protected through our actions, both in our capacity as individuals and also through our laws and policies as a nation.” (Dr. James Dobson)

“The solution [to a crisis pregnancy] is not to kill the innocent baby but to deal with the mother’s values and her attitudes toward life.” (Rev. Jesse Jackson, 1977 March for Life, Washington, DC)

“Abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women.” (Pioneer feminist Alice Paul)

“Probably nothing has been as damaging to our cause as the advances in technology which have allowed pictures of the developing fetus, because people now talk about the fetus in much different terms than they did 15 years ago. They talk about it as a human being, which is not something that I have an easy answer on how to cure.” (Harrison Hickman, pollster for the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, addressing NARAL’s 20th Anniversary Conference)

“The fetus carried in the mother’s womb is already a man and it is quite unnatural that a life be destroyed of one who has not yet seen its enjoyment. For, it seems more unworthy that a man be killed in his home rather than in his field because for each man his home is his safest refuge. How much more abominable ought it to be considered to kill a fetus in the womb who has not yet been brought into the light.” (John Calvin)

“How can the ‘dream’ [of Martin Luther King] survive if we murder the children? Every aborted baby is like a slave in the womb of his or her mother. The mother decides his or her fate.” (Dr. Alveda C. King)

“The unborn child is a human being created in the image of God, and to deny this is to deny the authority of the Bible. It is impossible to read Psalm 139 and truly believe what it says without realizing that life in the womb is human life. It is impossible to truly believe in the incarnation and not realize that the Child conceived in Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit was indeed the Son of God from the time of conception. If we truly believe the Bible, there is no question when human life begins. And to deny this is to deny the authority of the Bible. Are we so blind not to see what is involved?...But if we are not willing to take a stand even for human life, is there anything for which we will stand?” (Francis Schaeffer)

“I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born.” (President Ronald Reagan)

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

What Did They Say About Abortion? (Part 1)

Here are several appropriate quotations regarding the sanctity of life and the abhorrent evil of abortion. They are from a variety of sources, some that may well surprise you. But please note that the reason I’m posting these brief statements is not merely to encourage and inspire you, but that you yourself will now pass along these quotes in your letters, conversations, social media posts, etc. Never forget that these truths are under constant attack in our culture so we must take our responsibility to counter the lies with the truth. 

To that end I suggest this – copy these quotations; put them on your text edit page or in a notebook; and use them in the weeks to come (one or two at a time) in your correspondence. And, yes; look for another couple of installment of quotes here on Vital Signs Blog in the coming days.

And one more suggestion. Please utilize the other resources of Vital Signs Ministries relevant to the purpose of shining the light of truth regarding the sanctity of life including Key Scripture Passages Relating to the Sanctity of Human Life, Views on Abortion From Church History, An Old Testament Defense of Preborn Children: A Brief Exposition of Exodus 21:22-25, and so on.

“Thou shalt not destroy thy conceptions before they are brought forth; nor kill them after they are born. Thou shalt love thy neighbor more than thy own life. Thou shalt not murder a child by abortion.” (Barnabas, The Epistle of Barnabas 14:11, circa AD 125)

“We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life “the unborn “without diminishing the value of all human life.” (President Ronald Reagan)

“The first feminists were pro-life. Elizabeth C. Stanton called abortion ‘evil.’ Sarah F. Norton called abortion a ‘crime.’ Susan B. Anthony called abortion ‘child murder.’ Alice Paul called abortion ‘child murder.’ Alice Paul called abortion the ‘ultimate exploitation of women.’” (Lila Rose)

In answering the slanderous charge that Christian that Christians were cannibals who took the body and drank the blood of Jesus Christ, Athenagoras wrote in his Legatio (165 AD): “How could we kill a man -- we who say that women who take drugs to procure abortion are guilty of homicide and that they will have to answer to God for this abortion? One cannot at the same time believe that the fetus in the womb is a living being -- as such in God’s care -- and kill one already brought forth into the light.”

“Moreover, those, too, who give drugs causing abortion are deliberate murderers themselves, as well as those receiving the poison which kills the fetus.” (Basil the Great, Canon, 4th Century)

From a 1963 pamphlet by Planned Parenthood: “Abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun.”

“A high view of Scripture and a high view of life go hand-in-hand. You cannot be faithful to what the Bible teaches about the value of human life and be in favor of abortion.” (Francis Schaeffer)

“We regard the destruction by parents of their offspring, before birth, with abhorrence, as a crime against God and against nature.” (Presbyterian Convention, Pittsburgh 1869)

“To accept the fact that, after fertilization has taken place, a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion. The human nature of the human being from conception to old age is not a metaphysical conception. It is plain experimental evidence.” (Dr. Jerome Lejeune, French geneticist and recipient of the Kennedy Prize and the William Allen Memorial Medal for his discovery of the genetic basis of Down’s syndrome.)

“You shall not slay a child by abortion.” (The Didache or the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles which was a 2nd century catechism for young converts to Christianity. Also from this document comes this statement, “The Way of Death is filled with people who are…murderers of children and abortionists of God’s creatures.”

“The greatest destroyer of peace is abortion…because if a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for me to kill you and you to kill me…there is nothing in between.” (Mother Teresa) 

“We’re living in an age of genocide…And we do believe that there is not only the genocide of war, and the genocide that took place with the extermination of the Jews, but the whole program…of birth control and abortion is another form of genocide…They claim the poor are bringing forth tremendous numbers of children and so the solution is to kill them off.” (Dorothy Day, American advocate for justice and peace; founded the Catholic Worker Movement.)

“There are women who swallow drugs to stifle in their own womb the beginnings of a man to be -- committing infanticide before they even give birth to the infant.” (Minucius Felix, Octavius, circa AD 180.)

“There was a time when our enemies wore white hoods and drove old pickups. But today, they wear white lab coats and drive Jaguars. For our [black] community, the real weapon of mass destruction is the suction machine at the local Planned Parenthood.” (Dr. Johnny Hunter)

“Once impregnation has taken place it is no longer a question of whether the persons concerned have the responsibility for a possible parenthood; they have become parents.” (Helmut Thielicke)

“The child, by reason of higher physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.” (United Nations’ Declaration of the Rights of the Child, November 1959)

Saturday, January 20, 2024

The Top 5 (January 20)

* "GOP Experts Warn Candidates to Stop Treating Abortion ‘Like a Hot Stove’ They Won’t Touch" (Suzanne Bowdey, Washington Stand)

* "Double Standard of Justice Could ‘Crumble the Entire System’: Former FBI Agent" (Suzanne Bowdey, Washington Stand)

* "Diversity Is Going To Get Us Killed" (John Hinderaker, PowerLine) -- And, if you're interested in this story, you should also check out Lloyd Billingsley's "Sully, Phone Home."

* Video Clip: "Want to Fight Poverty? Then Fight for Freedom." (Kite and Key Media via Vital Signs Blog)

* "Discipleship is More Than a Sunday Experience" (Dr. Andrew Burggraff, Shepherds Seminary) 

Friday, January 19, 2024

Want to Fight Poverty? Then Fight for Freedom.

An excellent, eye-opening primer on the relationship between prosperity and freedom. Pass it on to your "progressive" friends.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Appealing for Justice Towards Persecuted Christians

“Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are badly treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.” (Hebrews 13:3)

In the next couple of days, Claire and I will be sending letters (like the one I’ve posted below) to political leaders and ambassadors of some of the countries who are the absolute worst in persecuting Christians: Burma, China, Eritrea, Belarus, India, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Vietnam. (The addresses to the respective embassies can be found here.)

We hope this action encourages you to lift up prayers for our brethren who are suffering under such despotic regimes…and you might even decide to write a letter or two or three on you own. Indeed, if you need information or assistance, just let us know.

A letter to the leaders of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,

I am writing as an American minister of Christ’s gospel with an urgent appeal for you to initiate new moves of justice and compassion regarding the sad plight of prisoners who are experiencing unfair and harsh imprisonment in your nation because of their faith in Jesus for eternal salvation. Please recognize that sincere Christians represent a wonderful blessing to your nation as they are morally upright, diligent workers, respectful, kindhearted, and generous. They do not seek to undermine the State, but indeed seek to enhance your nation's strength and culture through prayers, devotion to family life, and peaceful service.

Therefore, to mistreat persons merely because of religious differences (or other acts of conscience) is a tragic mistake, one that frustrates, angers, and saddens people of tolerance and goodwill throughout the world. Please act quickly to open the jail cells of those enduring undeserved punishment for their religious faith. 

“Religious freedom, an essential requirement of the dignity of every person, is a cornerstone of the structure of human rights, and for this reason, an irreplaceable factor in the good of individuals and of the whole of society as well as of the personal fulfillment of each individual.” (John Paul II)

Thank you for your consideration of this crucial human rights matter.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Still "Swinging" After 13 Years

Well, we are certainly into the “swing” this month as we begin our 14th year of “When Swing Was King” shows to area senior living facilities. We are blessed beyond description at the fact that the presentations are more popular than ever. And our comeback from the covid hysteria seems pretty well complete with our schedule now back to 12 (sometimes 13) every month. 

Of course, please remember that you can always join in the nostalgia, beauty, fascination, and fun of “When Swing Was King” simply by coming along to any of our shows. The schedule is always on the Vital Signs Ministries website.

And the January songlist? As always it's a very an impressive one:

1) Glenn Miller Orchestra (Ray Eberle, vocals) -- “The Nearness of You”
2) Bob Crosby & the Bobcats -- “Skater's Waltz in Swing Time”
3) Count Basie Orchestra (Helen Humes, vocals) -- “And the Angels Sing”
4) Benny Goodman Orchestra -- “Let’s Dance”
5) Chick Webb Orchestra --“There’s Frost on the Moon”
6) The Andrews Sisters -- “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen”
7) Artie Shaw Orchestra (Helen Forrest, vocals) -- “All the Things You Are”
8) Les Brown Orchestra (Doris Day, vocals) -- “Sentimental Journey”
9) Bing Crosby -- “Moonlight Becomes You”
10) Harry James Orchestra -- “Deep Purple”
11) Gordon MacRae -- “Oklahoma”
12) The Four Lads -- “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing”

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

The Reading Year in Review

It was an excellent year “between the covers.” Book covers, that is. My total number of books ended up at 71 with several sizeable challenges among them. 

The highlights (almost all of them being re-reads) included the whole of the Sherlock Holmes canon; 3 Dickens novels and a couple of Sabatini’s; The Lord of the Rings trilogy (plus The Hobbit, of course); Lewis’ space trilogy and his Chronicles of Narnia; The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich; Ben-Hur; Cripple Creek Days; Seabiscuit; The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization; a couple of Paul Tournier’s works; Malcolm Muggeridge’s Confessions of a Twentieth Century Pilgrim; 4 of Shakespeare’s history plays; Fahrenheit 451; Killer Angels; Cal Thomas’ Watchman in the Night; 10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didn't Help; and the massive collection rightfully entitled, The Ultimate Christmas Collection.

And among the books specifically planned for the first quarter or so of this year? We Will Not Be Silenced by Erwin Lutzer; David Copperfield by Charles Dickens; No Little People: Sixteen Sermons for the 20th Century by Francis Schaeffer; Witness by Whittaker Chambers; What’s So Great about Christianity by Dinesh D’Souza; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne; Jesus Is Risen: Paul and the Early Church by David Limbaugh; Heaven by Randy Alcorn; And in the End: The Last Days of The Beatles by Ken McNab; and Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels by J. Warner Wallace.

Want to join me for any of these?

P.S. My complete list can be found at this post over at The Book Den.