Thursday, October 13, 2016

Fetal Life Matters

A young woman, 35, called into a local talk-radio program and said that she was a devout Christian, reared in a Republican home by Christian parents, but she was in favor of abortion and would vote for the Democrat presidential candidate.

The radio host reminded her that the church was opposed to abortion, and he questioned the woman's honesty:
Something doesn't add up. You say that you are a devout Christian, raised in a conservative home yet you're going to vote for someone who supports unrestricted, taxpayer-funded, full-term abortions.
The woman replied,
I just don't believe that's what the church teaches. The church didn't always teach that abortion was wrong. In my research I found that the Jews and Christians had no rules against abortion. Only in the last 200 years has it become an issue with fundamentalists wanting to keep women barefoot and pregnant.
One of the distinctions of ancient Judaism was its opposition to abortion and infanticide which were commonly practiced throughout the pagan, Greco-Roman world to control slave populations and cover the sin of sexual immorality.  Philo of Alexandria, a Jewish philosopher at the time of Christ, condemned the practice; and Jewish Christians upheld the precept that abortion was murder. Saving the life of the mother was the only exception.

Augustine, in the 5th century, revived the Aristotelian teaching that the fetus has no soul until it becomes animated; but this was rejected by the orthodoxy which preserved church doctrine that the fetus is ensouled at conception.

When does life begin? Tertullian wrote:
In our case, a murder being once for all forbidden, we may not destroy even the fetus in the womb ... To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter whether you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to birth (197 AD).
... all knew well enough that a living being had been conceived, and pitied this most luckless infant state, which had first to be put to death ...
Now we allow that life begins with conception because we contend that the soul also begins from conception; life taking its commencement at the same moment and place that the soul does. The law of Moses, indeed, punishes with due penalties the man who shall cause abortion (210 AD).
Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, wrote:
The Catholic Church has always condemned abortion as a grave evil. Christian writers from the first-century author of the Didache to Pope John Paul II in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae ("The Gospel of Life") have maintained that the Bible forbids abortion, just as it forbids murder.
The Didache (The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles) dates to the first century, and is a summary compilation of Apostolic doctrines:
The second commandment of the teaching: You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not seduce boys. You shall not commit fornication. You shall not steal. You shall not practice magic. You shall not use potions. You shall not procure abortion, nor destroy a newborn child (70 AD).
Pope John Paul II:
I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written word of God, is transmitted by the Church’s tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal magisterium. No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever can ever make licit an act which is intrinsically illicit, since it is contrary to the law of God which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself, and proclaimed by the Church.
The evidence, then, is that the church has always upheld the sanctity of life. What about the Democrat Vice-Presidential candidate who professes Christian faith?

Said the candidate:
I’m Catholic; I’m against abortion. But I’m going to take an oath to follow the law, and I will follow the law. I will represent all the people.
Well, if he publicly supports abortion how is he representing all the people? How does his position align with the millions of people who are opposed to the procedure? How can a man, in good conscience, deny his faith in pursuit of power? As Peter told the high priest, We must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). The higher (moral) law must always reign in the hearts of God's people, or else our faith is in vain and the Lord is denied. 

The history of the term barefoot and pregnant is debated, but it became a signature phrase of radical feminists who wanted to denigrate the sanctity of motherhood. It was an assault on family values to suggest that women had no worth outside the home. What, there is no worth in being a mother?

How enlightened we have become to believe such lies. In ancient days there was great honor in motherhood. The story of Hannah reveals the disquietude of a barren woman who could not conceive. Such women were socially outcast and cruelly taunted.

What does Paul mean in 1 Timothy 2:15?
But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.
Motherhood is a blessing from God. A woman is transformed by the bonding self-sacrifice in caring for a child. It is love perfected -- a sanctifying love that is a gift from God.

David said that before his conception the days of his life were ordained by the LORD (Psalm 139:13-16).
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
What David called unformed substance, abortionists dismissively call fetal tissue. And we can't overlook the fact that abortion is an appalling act of racism sponsored by the party of slavery. Though blacks make up only 13% of the population they account for 37% of all abortions. Martin Luther King asked, How can we achieve the Dream if we murder our babies? Every aborted baby is like a slave in the womb. [Source: Alveda King]

How is it that the Democrat Party receives even one black vote? As the toll rises ever closer to 60 million abortions we have to wonder how the government, entrusted by God to protect us, can willfully facilitate the murder of the most innocent, most vulnerable among us -- the unborn.

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Friday, October 7, 2016

What is Truth?

I am afraid of the Protestant Church. Not a day goes by when I discover a new heresy, or deviation from the truth. A follower of this blog said he doesn't believe the Book of Revelation belongs in the Bible. Granted, it was one of the disputed books along with Hebrews, 2 Peter, James, Jude, 2 John and 3 John. Martin Luther only inserted Revelation into the index of his Bible for it was too Jewish.

Luther was anti-Semitic, and a nationalist. His writings, though not the catalyst, were influential in the rise of German nationalism in the 1930's.

This is the fruit of the Protestant Reformation. Thousands of splintered, divided congregations led by pastors who teach a false gospel to members who are free to interpret, or discard scripture according to their own understanding. (See 1 Corinthians 1:10.)

R.C. Sproul said that when Martin Luther was warned that this would happen he answered, "So be it."

If I may be so bold, it's enough to turn a soul Catholic.

Something that has nagged me for some time is whether the Protestant Reformation was the Great Apostasy spoken of by the Apostle Paul ...
Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
Catholics and Protestants interpret Paul in opposition to one another. Rome cited the Reformation as the rebellion against the one, true church while Luther condemned the papacy as the seat of Antichrist.

Assuming that the Pope was the man of sin, why is the papacy still intact? The day that Paul spoke of was the day of the Lord. That day would come, but not until the rebellion (or apostasy) first occurred. The Dispensational view is that the Antichrist would reign for 7 years, and then be conquered at the return of Jesus Christ.

Well, it's been 500 years since the apostasy, and nothing is changed. Christ did not return, the Pope still sits in Rome and the Protestant Church continues to tickle people's ears with every manner of false doctrine.

When I look to the church for sound teaching on issues such as abortion, marriage and moral absolutes there is only voice that stands firm, united and unwavering -- and that is the Catholic Church.

The Protestant Church has surrendered to sociocultural pressures, and welcomed blasphemies that are mindful of the sins of the churches in the Book of Revelation.

Have you heard about the atheist pastor at the United Church of Canada (UCC)? I've followed this story since it was brought to my attention by John MacArthur. UCC was founded in 1925 and is Canada's largest Protestant denomination. It has evolved into an ecumenical blend of Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational churches. UCC holds to a liberal theology that is inclusive and tolerant even though attendance is declining.

Gretta Vosper is pastor at the West Hill United Church in Scarborough. She has been a minister for 20 years, but over time, and in the permissive environment of the UCC, Vosper came to the self-realization that she no longer believes in essential Christian doctrines.

So the West Hill United Church has been led by a person who does not believe in God. Her sermons have been centered around love and community. The UCC ruling council found itself in a dilemma. The governing policies of the church created the problem by permitting -- even encouraging -- Vosper to refine and preach her core beliefs which, ironically, no longer conform with what the church believes.

A year ago, the church opened an investigative hearing as to Vosper's pastoral qualifications. Her congregation organized a petition drive to retain her services. The advisory report concluded that Vosper was allowed to amend her beliefs; but the ruling council would have to determine whether it was compatible with mission directives to have someone who doesn't believe in God lead a congregation.

The church council completed its investigation a month ago, and ruled that Vosper be defrocked. In a 39-page report, the church’s Toronto Conference Review Committee determined that Vosper was not suitable to continue in ordained ministry because she does not believe in God, Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit.
We have concluded that if Gretta Vosper were before us today, seeking to be ordained, the committee would not recommend her. After prayer and much discussion the 23-person committee voted 19 to 4 in favour of a motion that found Vosper unsuitable to continue serving.
Vosper said,
My sadness is for the many clergy and members and individuals currently studying for leadership in the UCC who are now also being told they need to keep quiet about their true beliefs or risk censure. The majority report said nothing about ethos and spoke exclusively to theological belief. A very sad day for the UCC.
Friends, I don't understand any of this. Why are there even people in pastoral training who don't believe in Christianity? Liberalism has once again reared its ugly head. Humanism and social activism are pushing aside the Gospel of Jesus Christ even within mainstream Protestantism.

Where does this leave the West Hill United Church? Evidently, the beliefs of Gretta Vosper are widely accepted in the UCC. Advocates are pushing for even more liberal reform. Abortion, ordination of practicing homosexuals, gay marriage -- even atheists -- are welcomed.

The UCC council acknowledged that it is no surprise that atheism is a fruit of their tolerance and inclusivity. The church does not become apostate overnight. It's incremental. Satan has taken the church, placed it in a pot of boiling water and turned up the heat.

Get out of the water, people! Stop drinking the Kool-Aid!

The apostate course of the Protestant Church has led me to an intensive study of church history. Reading from the fragments of the church fathers, before there was a Bible -- when the church had to rely on custom and oral tradition -- there was a pre-existing catholic dogma from which the church received what we call essential Christian doctrine.

One of the central break-points between Catholics and Protestants was the doctrine of justification. Luther charged Rome with teaching salvation by works. However, what I found was that the fathers taught salvation as it was presented in James 2:24.

This is why Luther thought that James should not be included in the Bible. Luther's sola fide has given birth to a church that is unconfessional, unrepentant, fruitless and centered on ear-tickling, private interpretation of holy writ. Christians understand faith alone to mean Christ is away, let's play. Like when Moses, a type of Christ, was on the mountaintop, and the children of Israel partied like heathens.

These are the Christians I have known, "Christ did everything, I don't have to do anything". That's not what the Catholic Church teaches (nor Jesus Christ). Now, I'm not excusing the peculiarities of the CC. I'm only pleading Jesus Christ in John 8:7 ...

Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

All I am saying is that some Protestants may be surprised to see Catholics in heaven.

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

In Search of God

The pastor of a mega church in Colorado led his members in a Tantra meditative session to close out the Sunday service. People who felt uncomfortable with the breath and hum meditation were invited to leave.

The pastor had just come back from a missionary trip to Africa. While there he had a crisis of faith. He couldn't understand why God would allow so much suffering and deprivation.

He said that he was on the verge of a breakdown when, one evening, he called his wife and sobbed uncontrollably. The peace of God had left him yet he couldn't help but notice that the tribal people, in the midst of their squalor, were comforted by their worship of pagan deities.

The pastor then remembered the books that his mother gave him when he was a child. This was what interested me about the pastor because my mother gave me the same books about Native Americans and their cultural and religious customs which were not unlike the tribal rituals in Africa. He noted that indigenous people everywhere seek after their gods for comfort. They are no different from Christians and Jews. By whatever name He is called, people are seeking God.

To deal with the stress of his African trip he started doing breathing exercises that he had learned from his study of Eastern religions. There, somewhere on the African plain, he claims to have had a 'God' experience.

He couldn't explain what happened except that it was a deeply spiritual event that was triggered by his chakra breathing technique.
We are all searching for God. People have different customs around the world, but they all are seeking communion with God. Their ways may be different from ours, but they are seeking the same peace of mind. As Christians we believe in Jesus Christ, and that's a good thing; but other people groups seek God according to their customs and traditions. They don't know Jesus Christ, but they are spiritual people. We seek God in the way we were taught, but it's not the only way. I mean, we believe that Jesus Christ is the way to God, and that's fine; but tribal people who are without that knowledge seek the same God.
I want us, as a church, to close our eyes and breathe together -- in and out. As we breathe I want us to notice the rhythm of our breathing. In that rhythm we find harmony and closeness with God. This is sort of like what happened to me in Africa. A sudden peace just washed over me.
This practice is foreign to us as Christians so if you feel uncomfortable you may leave.
So, on this particular Sunday, the pastor decided to close out the service with a group breathing exercise. It was an interesting experiment where Christianity was seasoned with a touch of Hinduism.

Christians Practicing Yoga posted on their Facebook page:
(We) want a Church that takes the connection between the body, mind, and spirit more seriously. (We) envision a Church that recognizes the importance of the body in the spiritual life and is more open to popular practices that lead to calm and connection.
These popular practices include yoga. The blurb was an excerpt from an article about Ignatian Yoga that appeared in The Jesuit Post. Ignatian Yoga is a blend of Christianity and Eastern meditative arts designed to create body awareness, spiritual and psychological development and connection to the presence of God. Breathing and stretching techniques are necessary to create the proper balance between body, mind and spirit. Only in this balanced state can we connect with God.

Trendy millennials, young women in particular, are especially seduced by New Age, metaphysical practices. According to the Yoga Journal over 80% of the 23 million yoga practitioners are women (18-44). It has become a $27B industry.

The Christian Research Institute (CRI) called this popular trend Satanic, but when faced with opposition and declining contributions they recanted (although CRI still advises caution for those who practice the Eastern arts.)

I noted in another post an article titled, How Satan Deceives Women to Corrupt the Church. Since Eve in the Garden this has been true. Anyone who claims that the church is patriarchal does not understand the powerful influence that women have always held in the church. Christian women who are practitioners insist that yoga has physical and mental health benefits that are separate from the spiritual implications. And, they argue, the Bible teaches that we should meditate. However, when the Psalmist (Aleph) wrote ...

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways (Psalm 119:15) ...

... he did not mean that he would twist himself into a pretzel, breathe in rhythm and chant Jehovah's name. The verse following explains that, by meditation, the psalmist will delight in God's statutes and remember His word.

One Christian woman said that the yoga she practices is so Westernized that the pagan symbolism has no force of effect. It's like eating meat offered to idols, but all of the Yogi masters I researched concurred with Dr. George P. Alexander from Sri Lanka:
Yoga poses are offerings to the 330 million Hindu gods. Many Westerners who practice yoga today are unaware that the physical positions assumed in yoga symbolize a spiritual act: worshiping one of the many Hindu gods. To a Hindu, yoga is the outward physical expression of a deep spiritual belief. You cannot separate one from the other.
Yoga professor Subhas Tiwari, Swami Param and Hinduism Today agreed that yoga is Hinduism, and it is naive to think one can separate the physical aspect from the religious structure.

The positions and breathing techniques are designed to make the practitioner one with God. But what god? Certainly, Christianity does not teach this as we learn from the Apostle Paul ...
... for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come (1 Timothy 4:8).
There are many ways to stretch and tone and care for your body that are not tainted by Eastern mysticism. Paul does not imply that we should not exercise -- only that godliness is of more value in this life and beyond.

Yoga practitioners claim mental health benefits, but a study by the University of Rochester concluded that prayer has meditative health benefits and is the most widespread alternative therapy in America today. The study found that people who pray are statistically healthier and longer-lived. Prayer calms the mind, lowers blood pressure and boosts the immune system while increasing dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is associated with a greater sense of well-being.

Consider this, 35 years ago aerobics studios were the ubiquitous cultural fad. Like yoga shops are today, there were aerobic dance gyms everywhere. Inspired by the very popular movie Flash Dance, aerobic exercise was the dominant trend of the 1980's. Likewise, yoga is a youth-oriented fad that may go the way of leg warmers.

The world is a distraction, and Satan uses that to deceive many. In my neighborhood yoga shop they have a little Buddha that people rub as they greet one another with the cordial namaste which is a recognition of the Divine spark dwelling within the heart chakra.

There is a lord god of Yoga. His name is Shiva. He represents the eternal life force, and the one who conquers death. Christian practitioners will say that yoga is as harmless as putting up a Christmas tree. But is it?

CRI reported:
Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yogah, which means “to yoke or to unite.” Indeed, the goal of yoga is to uncouple oneself from the material world and to unite oneself with the God of Hinduism, commonly understood to be Brahman, the impersonal cosmic consciousness of the universe. Put another way, yoga is the means by which the user’s mind is merged into the universal mind.
While an alarming number of American Christians suppose they can harmlessly achieve physical and spiritual well-being through a form of yoga divorced from its Eastern worldview, in reality attempts to Christianize Hinduism only Hinduize Christianity.
The sin of Israel is that it adopted the customs of its pagan neighbors; and Christians are similarly called to not be conformed to the world. My recommendation? Go for a walk, eat a good meal, take a nap ... and say a prayer.

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