Category Archives: Christianity

Christ Alone Movie: This Looks Interesting

This is a FaceBook post from Chuck Baldwin. Looks interesting.

A brand new documentary film has just be released by Golden Ratio Media. It features notable leaders such as Dr. Alan Keyes, Dr. Katherine Albrecht, Don McAlvany, Attorney Tim Baldwin, Ty Bollinger, George Hunt, and yours truly. The movie is the masterful production of filmmaker Jason Paul Charles. I had the privilege of seeing the premiere screening of this movie at the theater in Whitefish, Montana over the weekend.

The name of the film is “Christ Alone.” But don’t let the title fool you. This is anything but a typical “religious” movie. With the aid of state of the art graphics, a first-rate script, and powerful narration, the film delves deeply into many of the burning issues of the day that affect Christians and non-Christians alike. Anyone who watches–no matter what their faith–will be mesmerized by this film. Every pastor and church should watch “Christ Alone.” I highly recommend this film to my Facebook friends.

Here is the website where you can order the DVD of this fantastic film:

http://christalonemovie.com

I haven’t seen this movie, and I have some concerns. As I said before, I’m skeptical that the “Natural Law” idea, especially as it is understood by most who use the term today, is a Biblical concept. But, based on the trailer, it incorporates the kind of esoterica that some in our sphere like, and it goes after usury and banking which is something modern Christians need to hear.

ISIS Destroys Tomb of Jonah

For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Russia Today reports on ISIS’s destruction of the Tomb of Jonas. RT estimates the original site dates back to the eighth century BC.

The Tomb was a holy site for both Christians and Muslim (as well as Jews?). It is just one of a number of holy sites recently destroyed by ISIS, which must view them as false idols. According to RT: “Thirty shrines and 15 hussainias and mosques in the Mosul area have been destroyed by IS in recent months.”

ISIS would have never risen to power without US aid given to Syrian rebels. Whenever the US gets involved in the Middle East, we see archaeological sites and museums looted, ancient ethnic minorities chased out (especially Christians, some of the oldest Christian communities), and world heritage sites destroyed.

And of course in America, there are increasing calls for destroying native heritage sites here.

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Blasts US For Incompetence In Iraq

Maybe this interview will cause Catholic pundits like Michael Novak and George Weigel to take notes, and do a lot of earnest soul-searching about having supported the neoconservative foreign policy program.

The Americans were here and made many mistakes. The present situation is their fault. Why replace a regime with a situation that is worse? That happened after 2003. The Americans deposed a dictator. But at least back then under Saddam Hussein we had security and work. And what do we have now? Confusion, anarchy and chaos. The same thing happened in Libya and Syria.

But I wouldn’t hold my breath.  Novak & Co. are at least as likely to accuse the patriarch of flirting with bigotry, since he makes the “racist” claim that “[i]t is impossible to establish here a democracy on the Western model.”

Personally, I think His Excellency errs in criticizing the West’s lack of interest in the situation.  Were I in his shoes, the last thing I’d want is more deranged Western busybodies poking their noses into Iraq.  In lamenting the flight of Christians from the troubled region and warning that “[o]ur identity is threatened,” the patriarch reveals that he doesn’t really understand his Anglo counterparts.  A few honorable exceptions aside, American Catholic leaders are no different from other members of the Western political elite, in that they see the elimination of inherited identity and historic community as a good thing.  Hoo-ray diversity!

Liberal Cognitive Dissonance on Hobby Lobby Decision

Here is a prime example of liberal cognitive dissonance: atheist Darwinian liberals decry the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision on birth control. Ummm geniuses … isn’t reproduction kind of a Darwinian imperative? I’ve got news for you. Creationists Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are kicking your rear in the Darwinian race. This counts as both cognitive dissonance and sweet irony. Another absurdity is people claiming that contraception is an essential part of health care. No it isn’t, because reproducing your species is not a disease. Contraception is a modern convenience. Whether it’s a good or bad one is for a different post.

Preach It Brother Dale, Preach It!

Dale Peterson has another video out. I’m not sure what moral decline has to do with the Auditor’s job, but this is good stuff. It’s the same backdrop as the “Leaving Americans Behind” video. I’m sure it was shot at the same time. I don’t know if he writes this stuff himself. I doubt it. But he sure knows how to deliver it. It feels like an old fashion camp meeting hell fire and brimstone sermon, although I don’t like to hear God referred to as ‘The Big Guy.” It’s too casual.

Presbyterian “Church” (USA) Recognizes Same Sex “Marriages”

This is absurd and disgusting. The Bible could not be more clear in its denunciation of homosexual acts. Even if you believe that homosexual inclinations may be hard wired in some people, the Biblical prohibition against homosexual acts remains crystal clear. Since it can be assumed that married gay couples will engage in homosexual acts, then condoning gay marriage is flagrantly condoning sin. There is no way around this, so the PC USA is either declaring that they know better than God and/or they don’t really believe God wrote those laws. Either way, they are in essences declaring that they are no longer a Christian denomination. They are like the Unitarians, a group with Christians roots but that has strayed into being something else besides Christian. I have some sympathy for conservative Christians who remain in liberalizing mainline denominations in an effort to reform them, but if you’re in the PC USA, it’s time to get out.

Keep in mind that this is the mainline PC USA. The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and several other break off groups remain orthodox, and shouldn’t be confused with the PC USA.

As the linked article notes, the PC USA has already lost many congregations in protest to earlier acts, which partially explains their continued liberal drift.

Rod Dreher vs. Tom Piatak (re. Irish Catholic Orphanage Story)

Good grief! It didn’t take long for this to get ugly.

Rod Dreher has been following the story about the bodies buried outside a Catholic orphanage in Ireland from the start. Here, Tom Paitak criticizes him for uncritically accepting the story which is now falling apart. Rod Dreher replies here, and it’s not pretty.

He calls Piatak “a stringer for a turgid Midwestern monthly.” First of all, I didn’t know there was any more than the standard Chronicles vs. TAC and staunch Catholic vs. ex-Catholic bad blood between them, but there  must be. Dreher seems to have taken personally Piatak’s criticism of TAC over the gay marriage issue. I didn’t know Dreher was so defensive of TAC because Dreher was on the other side of that issue anyway, and TAC well deserved that criticism.  Also, I didn’t know that Dreher was hostile to Chronicles per se rather than just disinterested. What’s that about? Is there some bad blood there I don’t recall? I know it was widely suggested that Dreher’s Crunchy Conservatism was just paleo light, but did that ever play out in the pages of Chronicles?

Dreher is taking some heat in the comments. I have made two comments. The second one has not been approved at the time of this post.

“Every Use of the Word ‘Racism’ Is Meaningless”

Reactionary Catholic physics professor Bonald analyzes the concept of racism.  He is unimpressed by disingenuous liberal theologians who have identified racism as the deadliest of sins:

If by “racism”, one means “the sin of having a special loyalty and preference for one’s own group”, then [one is] trying to define a natural and non-sinful attitude to be sinful.  “Racism” as “the sinful belief that one race is superior in some way to another” is also guilty [of trying to define a natural and non-sinful attitude to be sinful] because such a belief may be true or false, but there is nothing inherently wicked in entertaining it.

The comments which follow are fascinating.  By the way, not only is having a special loyalty and preference for one’s own group not a sin, we have it on good authority that it IS a sin to LACK that special loyalty and preference.  (1 Timothy 5:8)

Read more…

Music, The Sacred, & Science

At Catholic World Report Jerry Salyer reviews Roger Scruton’s latest book The Soul of the WorldAs the review notes, Scruton devotes considerable attention to aesthetics:

In this age of democracy über alles the claim that certain kinds of music are base and others noble invites the charge of elitism [...]  At the risk of sounding elitist myself, I must observe that Scruton has on his side not only Western philosophy’s godfather Plato—who was convinced that a proper moral education begins with a proper appreciation of music—but also the great Eastern sage, Confucius, who advised his followers to “be perfected by music” and condemned certain tunes as “wanton”. To dismiss out of hand the idea that different musical styles can have different influences on a child’s developing psyche seems almost as foolish as dismissing the idea that a child’s diet can impact his health.

Read more here:

http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/3150/the_search_for_soul_in_a_fallen_world.aspx

 

Some More Thoughts on “Baldwin Churches”

Sorry for my recent absence from CHT. I was on vacation and away from internet access for a week.

This is a follow-up to my previous post on this subject.

Currently the tab for the application process at the Baldwin Liberty Church Project website is not functioning. I just sent them an e-mail asking when they think it might be working because I am seriously interested in trying to launch such a project in my area. I have made a few inquiries to guage potential interest. I have been giving this a lot of thought, and I see this as a project that has a lot of promise, but is also frought with potential peril.

First of all, I am currently happily churched in a healthy and active church. I have some theological disagreements with the church’s statement of faith, but not so much that I am overwhelmingly uncomfortable there. We have many good friends there. Most importantly, my wife and kids are happy there, and I am sure would resist a major change. I foresee myself initially as engaging this project in addition to my regular church attendence. That is why I prefer the concept of a “fellowship” as opposed to a church initially. Also, I like the idea of having the service on Sunday afternoon, as they do in Montana, which I suspect is at least partially intended to accommodate such dual congregants.

Second, I am not crazy about the heavy focus on the concept of “Biblical Natural Law” and “liberty.” Biblical Natural Law is both a theologically and philosophically problematic formulation and is arguably an oxymoron. And I don’t believe that the Bible’s focus is “liberty” nearly as much as it is obedience to God’s law. But this is a subject for a separate thread. That said, I am sure Chuck Baldwin is no libertine or antinomian, and I suspect this formulation is largely intended to appeal to a certain segment of the “liberty movement” that isn’t also hostile to Christianity and traditional morality. It’s just theologically and philosophically confused.

If I am involved in launching such a project, I would be very weary about poaching people who are already churched in other healthy, doctrinally sound churches. Therefore, I believe the initial focus for building a healthy fellowship would have to be on devout Christians who are currently unchurched for principled reasons, most likely the tax exempt issue. Building by bringing in the unchurched and new converts would likely have to follow the establishment of a healthy core. So you would have a small pool to draw from to begin with, and let’s be honest, one that is potentially filled with a disproportionate number of malcontents and outliers. As I commented in my first post, strong leadership will be essential to make this work right.

Those concerns stated, here is what I see as potentially promising. As I said above, I have some theological disagreements with my current church. But one reason I remain there is because I would almost certainly have theological disagreements with any church I might join. (Our Catholic friends would say that is a fundamental problem with Protestantism, but again, that is for another thread.) For the record, you can relax. I am orthodox (small o) in my beliefs and certainly do not reject any of the fundamentals of the Faith (the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, etc.). It is on some non-essentials that I have a hodgepodge of beliefs that I believe reflect the Bible but don’t usually come as a whole. (Some things I don’t so much disbelieve outright as I just don’t see that the Bible is definitive enough on the subject to be dogmatic about. The subjects of church government and end times come to mind)

Theology tends to come in packages. You have your Reformed. You have your Wesleyan. You have your Baptistic. Etc. For example, while I reject turning the political concept of separation of church and state into a theological dogma, as my own Baptists do, which might otherwise tend me toward the Reformed tradition, I reject the infant baptism and sacraments as a “means of grace” that comes with that package. As far as I know, there is no package that incorporates all my beliefs. So what is a Christian such as I to do?

As I indicated in my first post, I like the concept of a Christian fellowship united on the fundamentals (which IMO includes basically the historic creeds plus Protestant soteriology), but which allows wide latitude on the nonessential secondary issues. This shows humility that we acknowledge that we really don’t have it all figured out, and allows for sincere Christians to embrace membership without reservations if they don’t fit into a specific theological package.

I was once a part of a model such as this when I attended chapel in the military. I would not recommend this alternative all the time because much depends on the Chaplain, but we had a theologically sound Chaplain. The Sunday School and Bible studies that we had were some of the best I have ever participated in. They were not echo chambers. We had serious discussions about issues from a variety of theological standpoints.

But my main reason for hoping to see a “Baldwin Church” established in my area, is because I feel really strongly about the 501c3 issue, and I think it is important enough to take precedence over many other theological and practical concerns. A church that voluntarily allows itself to be censored by the State is arguably guilty of idolatry as it is allowing something to come between it and the whole proclamation of God’s Word. While the charge of idolatry is likely unhelpfully argumentative, it does indicate the seriousness of the issue at hand. People should be judged in the context of the milieu they are in, and since 501c3 status is currently the norm, I don’t want to be overly harsh. Many people who participate in such mean well and likely don’t know the alternative, but the current state of affairs is very misguided to say the least. As I said in my first post, churches should be non-taxable as opposed to tax exempt. As I understand it, this was essentially the state of affairs before the relatively recent development of the 501c3 status. But also as I said in my first post, since 501c3 status is normative these days, unincorporated churches are potentially wild cards, both theology wise and membership wise. As far as I know, we have only one unincorporated church in my area, but it is a Reconstructionist church so it comes with the whole Reformed package. Having a theologically sound but less doctrinally exclusive alternative would be a blessing IMO.

This post has essentially been me thinking out loud, so I would appreciate your thoughts and feedback. Thanks.

Chuck Baldwin Seeks to Launch Liberty Churches Nationwide

This is interesting.

For many months now, I have been making preparations for this moment. Hundreds of man-hours have gone into the planning of this project. Now, I am ready.

Over the past couple of years, hundreds of people from across the country have pleaded with me to help them start new independent, unorganized, unincorporated, non-501c3 churches and Christian fellowships. It has become painfully obvious to many patriotic believers that the vast majority of establishment 501c3 churches and pastors have made a deliberate decision to NOT engage the liberty fight. For the most part, these pastors and churches have been completely muzzled by State incorporation and the 501c3 government tax-status. And, sadly, these pastors and churches have absolutely no desire to change. They are cemented in lethargy and indifference. Meanwhile, our nation is spiraling downward toward certain destruction–and the biggest reason for this calamitous situation is the absence of patriot-pulpits.

See more here…

Here is the website for the project.

I’ll give my thoughts in the comments, because I don’t want to detract from something I’m largely supportive of, with criticism.

National Saints

At Mark Hackard’s excellent inventory of new and classic translations Soul of the East, we encounter Russian science fiction writer Natalya Irtenina’s comments regarding Russian saints and their role in Russian identity:

Russian saints have been wholly undeservedly forgotten and ousted beyond the frontiers of modern non-Church culture. They’ve become but another “tradition out of deep antiquity.” And this is not only a misunderstanding; in the final analysis, it is a crime against Russian history and culture, from which the heart has practically been excised [...]

The moral and spiritual authority of the saints was very high: they could give orders to rulers, and by the force of their words and personality subdue rebellious tempers. And, of course, it is impossible to compare anything with the spiritual and moral influence of the saints on the Russian people as a whole.

National saints are, of course, found in places other than Russia.

For that matter even 21st-Century multicultural America has its own “saints,” though they represent a quite different faith.

Christ is Risen …

… He is Risen Indeed. Happy Easter to all our CHT readers.

1 Corinthians Chapter 15

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. ~ KJV

We Believe in God the Father…

One criticism of contemporary Christian music is that it is often theology weak if not in outright error. But the song below, which is currently popular, is practically a creed in song. Now whether this actually sings all that well is debatable, but in this time of so much depravity in popular culture, such blatant declarations of truth are much welcomed.

When all we know is doubt and fear
There is only One Foundation
We believe, We believe
In this broken generation
When all is dark, You help us see
There is only One Salvation
We believe, We believe

We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He’s given us new life
We believe in the crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He’s comin’ back again, we believe

So, let our faith be more than anthems
Greater than the songs we sing
And in our weakness and temptations
We believe, We believe!

We believe in God the Father!
We believe in Jesus Christ!
We believe in the Holy Spirit!
And He’s given us new life!
We believe in the crucifixion!
We believe that He conquered death!
We believe in the resurrection!
And He’s comin’ back again!

Let the lost be found and the dead be raised!
In the here and now, let love invade!
Let the church live love our God will see
We believe, We believe!
And the gates of hell will not prevail!
For the power of God, has torn the veil!
Now we know Your love will never fail!
We believe, We believe!

We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He’s given us new life!
We believe in the crucifixion!
We believe that He conquered death!
We believe in the resurrection!
And He’s comin’ back,
He’s comin’ back again!
He’s comin’ back again!
We believe!
We believe

Lyrics thanks to Songlyrics.com

Buchanan Hearts Putin Too

Steven Seagal isn’t the only one showing Putin some love these days. So is Pat Buchanan.

Putin is entering a claim that Moscow is the Godly City of today and command post of the counter-reformation against the new paganism. Putin is plugging into some of the modern world’s most powerful currents. Not only in his defiance of what much of the world sees as America’s arrogant drive for global hegemony. Not only in his tribal defense of lost Russians left behind when the USSR disintegrated. He is also tapping into the worldwide revulsion of and resistance to the sewage of a hedonistic secular and social revolution coming out of the West.

In the culture war for the future of mankind, Putin is planting Russia’s flag firmly on the side of traditional Christianity.

File Under Things That Will Hurt Your Christian Testimony

Anyone who grew up in evangelical culture will be familiar with the often heard terminology that one is “not being a good witness” (to his Christian faith). A Christian is said to “not be a good witness” when he is caught in un-Christian behavior – smoking, drinking (at all or in excess depending on your denomination), shacking up with his girlfriend, etc. This is closely associated with the charge that engaging in open sin will “hurt your Christian testimony.” We’ll you can file this story under things that will most definitely hurt your Christian testimony.

Christian metal singer pleads guilty in California murder plot

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – The lead singer for the heavy metal Christian rock band As I Lay Dying pleaded guilty in California on Tuesday to a charge of soliciting an undercover detective posing as a hit man to kill his estranged wife.

Tim Lambesis, 33, entered the plea in a San Diego court as part of a deal that will net him a 9-year prison sentence, said his attorney, Thomas Warwick. Lambesis remains free on $2 million bail until his May 2 sentencing hearing, Warwick said.

Lambesis had been in a custody dispute with his wife, Meggan, regarding their three adopted children when in May 2013 he asked a personal trainer at his gym if he knew anyone who could kill his wife, according to charging documents in the criminal case.

The trainer contacted the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, which sent an undercover detective to meet with Lambesis

Read more…

Yep, hiring a hitman to off your wife is definitely way up there on the list of things that wouldn’t be the best Christian witness. Now the old fuddy-duddy in me really wants to suggest that maybe there is something fundamentally (no pun intended) incompatable between Christianity and “heavy metal” music, but I will refrain for now. Such conversations take me back to my youth and the constant harangue … err … concerned admonitions of youth ministers in the 80′s. A second take home lesson from all of this, and I’m not suggesting it mind you, but if you are dead set (again, no pun intended) on hiring a hitman, perhaps, just perhaps, your personal trainer is not the go to person to help you locate one.

All kidding aside, Mr. Lambesis is said to have lost his faith and become a heavy user of steroids. Hopefully the steroids help explains this bizarre turn of events, and we should all pray that Mr. Lambesis returns to his faith. Maybe his will be one of those post prison conversion stories, but I hope all will indulge me one small suggestion. Perhaps post release Mr. Lambesis should try his hand at Southern Gospel. I don’t recall ever seeing any headlines that read “Lead Singer of The Inspirations Pleads Guilty in Murder for Hire Plot.”

Group Opposes Amnesty Supporter Dr. Russell Moore

We would like to direct your attention to a group dedicated to opposing the amnesty supporting antics of Dr. Russell Moore and his Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention. The group is ERLC Watch.

Their website is here.

Follow them on Twitter here.

They have been giving Dr. Moore a much deserved hard time of late, especially on Twitter.

Did Phil Robertson Dis the Confederate Flag?

Here is a NY Post article that alleges that Phil Robertson isn’t too fond of the Confederate Battle Flag. In the typical PC manner, it suggests that this is somehow evidence that Robertson is not a “racist.” You see, according to PC rightthink, respect for the Confederate Battle Flag is  prima facia evidence that someone is a racist. The story is from 30 Dec, but I didn’t hear about it until a comment about it appeared recently on my FaceBook feed. And interestingly, when I Googled to find some more commentary on the issue not much came up. This mention from a blog called The “Right” Scoop seems to accept the PC association in a “See, we told you Phil Robertson wasn’t a racist!” type of manner. (This is so typical of mainstream conservatives to accept the leftists’ PC framing of an issue.)

First of all, proud Southerners should be careful not to get too carried away just yet. This is an account of someone relating what he thinks he saw and heard. These are not Robertson’s own words, and as far as I know he has not commented on the issue. It is possible that he was bemoaning the fact that certain unsavory elements have used the flag for their own purposes, but this is not the conclusion the senario the witness recounts suggests. Mr. Robertson needs to publically clarify his true feelings.

That said, if this is a true recounting of the event, then it is very disappointing. Robertson is old enough to know better, so he doesn’t have the excuse of youth. The modern demonization of the Confederate Battle Flag (CBF) is a relatively recent phenomenon, and Mr. Robertson should know this. The Duke boys proudly sported a CBF on the roof of their car, named the General Lee, on prime time TV in the 80′s. Until fairly recently it was assumed that Southerners would be proud of their heritage. This relentless PC/Cultural Marxist attack on all things Southern is of relatively recent vintage. For some perspective on this, this artcle by Prof. Clyde Wilson should be read again and again. I wish Phil Robertson would read it.

There is a lesson here that conservative (and especially conservative Christian) Southerners who wish to distance themselves from the CBF lest they be tainted desperately need to learn. The PC beast is monolithic in it’s desire to eradicate every stray unegalitarian thought or at least the public expression thereof. (It is my belief that the mind of the typical PC stormtrooper is besieged by unegalitarian thoughts, and their PC shock troop role playing is a form of reaction formation, but that is for another post.). The PC beast is without nuance or subtlety. It doesn’t matter to it that Mr. Robertson’s thoughts on homosexuality are  based on his acceptance of the long held historic teachings of the Christian faith and his belief that God has explicitly condemned the act in His Holy Word. Nope. The senior Robertson has committed wrongthink and must be condemned and re-educated. The same article that says Robertson might not be a racist, begins by saying “Phil Robertson may be homophobic…,” whatever that means. (A more absurdly silly term than homo”phobia” is hard to imagine.)

Conservative (as in traditional/orthodox [small o] more so than political) Christians who wish to maintain the inherently unegalitarian teachings of their faith such as the condemnation of homosexuality and various other sexual practices, the endorsement of gender roles, Jesus as the only means of salvation, etc. need to resist the PC beast with every fiber of their being.  It can not be placated by throwing it sops such as distancing yourself from the CBF. Robertson, if this was his motive, whether thought out or visceral, for his comment on the CBF, is woefully niave to believe so.  If you are a wrongthinker on any issue, you are a wrongthinker in toto. There is no middle ground with this mindless beast. The fight for the CBF very much is the fight for a Christian understanding of homosexuality. The two can not be disentangled.

This is not to say that traditionalist Christians should not denounce malice and ill will based on race, which is not a Christian attitude, but racism has long since ceased meaning just malice or ill will based on race if it ever did. It means any unegalitarian thought. Conservative Christians need to understand this and understand it quickly, lest they empower the beast that ends up eating them and the civilization they created alive.