Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Democrats fought the Republicans and the regulators on Fannie and Freddie
CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Congress has balked at the Bush administration's proposed $700 billion bailout of Wall Street. Under this plan, the Treasury would have bought the "troubled assets" of financial institutions in an attempt to avoid economic meltdown.
This bailout was a terrible idea. Here's why.
The current mess would never have occurred in the absence of ill-conceived federal policies. The federal government chartered Fannie Mae in 1938 and Freddie Mac in 1970; these two mortgage lending institutions are at the center of the crisis. The government implicitly promised these institutions that it would make good on their debts, so Fannie and Freddie took on huge amounts of excessive risk.
Worse, beginning in 1977 and even more in the 1990s and the early part of this century, Congress pushed mortgage lenders and Fannie/Freddie to expand subprime lending. The industry was happy to oblige, given the implicit promise of federal backing, and subprime lending soared.
This subprime lending was more than a minor relaxation of existing credit guidelines. This lending was a wholesale abandonment of reasonable lending practices in which borrowers with poor credit characteristics got mortgages they were ill-equipped to handle.
Once housing prices declined and economic conditions worsened, defaults and delinquencies soared, leaving the industry holding large amounts of severely depreciated mortgage assets.
The fact that government bears such a huge responsibility for the current mess means any response should eliminate the conditions that created this situation in the first place, not attempt to fix bad government with more government.
The obvious alternative to a bailout is letting troubled financial institutions declare bankruptcy. Bankruptcy means that shareholders typically get wiped out and the creditors own the company.
Bankruptcy does not mean the company disappears; it is just owned by someone new (as has occurred with several airlines). Bankruptcy punishes those who took excessive risks while preserving those aspects of a businesses that remain profitable.
In contrast, a bailout transfers enormous wealth from taxpayers to those who knowingly engaged in risky subprime lending. Thus, the bailout encourages companies to take large, imprudent risks and count on getting bailed out by government. This "moral hazard" generates enormous distortions in an economy's allocation of its financial resources.
Thoughtful advocates of the bailout might concede this perspective, but they argue that a bailout is necessary to prevent economic collapse. According to this view, lenders are not making loans, even for worthy projects, because they cannot get capital. This view has a grain of truth; if the bailout does not occur, more bankruptcies are possible and credit conditions may worsen for a time.
Talk of Armageddon, however, is ridiculous scare-mongering. If financial institutions cannot make productive loans, a profit opportunity exists for someone else. This might not happen instantly, but it will happen.
Further, the current credit freeze is likely due to Wall Street's hope of a bailout; bankers will not sell their lousy assets for 20 cents on the dollar if the government might pay 30, 50, or 80 cents.
The costs of the bailout, moreover, are almost certainly being understated. The administration's claim is that many mortgage assets are merely illiquid, not truly worthless, implying taxpayers will recoup much of their $700 billion.
If these assets are worth something, however, private parties should want to buy them, and they would do so if the owners would accept fair market value. Far more likely is that current owners have brushed under the rug how little their assets are worth.
The bailout has more problems. The final legislation will probably include numerous side conditions and special dealings that reward Washington lobbyists and their clients.
Anticipation of the bailout will engender strategic behavior by Wall Street institutions as they shuffle their assets and position their balance sheets to maximize their take. The bailout will open the door to further federal meddling in financial markets.
So what should the government do? Eliminate those policies that generated the current mess. This means, at a general level, abandoning the goal of home ownership independent of ability to pay. This means, in particular, getting rid of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, along with policies like the Community Reinvestment Act that pressure banks into subprime lending.
The right view of the financial mess is that an enormous fraction of subprime lending should never have occurred in the first place. Someone has to pay for that. That someone should not be, and does not need to be, the U.S. taxpayer.
At least one Democrat is making sense. We have become a nation where we reward bad behavior and just throw money at any problem to fix it. This is not one of those times right now.
Come on people, suck it up. If you're not already doing it, it's time to take personal measures to save your money in a bank, buy bigger shoes for the kids now to wear next year, junk your SUV and carpool, buy in bulk, etc.
Your dollar today is worth more right now than it will be next year and the next 5-10 years from now. Major inflation is coming when this bailout comes and if you are not prepared you will be scrambling to find flour to make biscuits.
This crisis may be one of the best things to happen to this country in a long time. People are going to have to go back to the basics and live within their means (if they even know how). We have become a fat and lazy nation that lives like there is no tomorrow with our excess's. Giant SUV's, giant TV's, giant hamburgers......living on money we don't have and want to keep borrowing more.
Enough. No bailout. Suck it up.
Monday, September 29, 2008
(J. R. Miller, "Ministry of Comfort" 1898)
"He prunes every branch that produces fruit--so that it will produce more fruit." John 15:2
The gardener prunes the branches--but not without wise purpose. The Master's words, referring to this process in spiritual husbandry, are rich in their comfort for those on whom the knife is doing its painful work.
For one thing, we are told that "My Father is the gardener" (verse 1). We know that our Father loves us and would never do anything unloving or hurtful to His children. We know that He is infinitely wise, that He looks far on in our life, planning the largest and the best good for us, not for today only--but for all the future; and that what He does, is certainly the best which could be devised. In every time of sharp pruning, when the knife cuts deep and the pain is sore--it is an unspeakable comfort to read, "My Father is the gardener!"
Another inspiring thought in all such afflictions--is that it is the fruitful branch which the Father prunes. Sometimes godly people say when they are led through great trials, "Surely God does not love me--or He would not afflict me so sorely!" But it takes away all distressing thoughts about our trouble, to read the Master's words, "He prunes every branch that produces fruit." It is not punishment to which we are subjected--but pruning; and it is because we are fruitful that we are pruned.
Still another comfort here is revealed--in the object of the pruning, "He prunes every branch that produces fruit--so that it will produce more fruit." The one object of all God's pruning, is fruitfulness. The figure of pruning helps us to understand this. When one who knows nothing of such processes sees a man cutting away branch after branch of a tree or vine, it would seem to him that the work is destructive. But those who understand the object of the pruning--know that what the gardener is doing, will add to the vine's value and to its ultimate fruitfulness.
Pruning seems to be destroying the vine. The gardener appears to be cutting it all away. But he looks on into the future and knows that the final outcome will be the enrichment of its life, and greater abundance of fruit.
Friday, September 26, 2008
In a meadow on a hot summer's day, a Grasshopper was chirping and carousing his time away. He watched scornfully as an Ant nearby struggled to store up large kernels of food and build a secure nest. The Ant pulled overtime shifts to pay off his loans and accumulate retirement funds for the future.
"Give it a rest," the Grasshopper said. "Why bother saving and slaving and toiling and moiling? Let's party!" The Ant demurred: "I am planning ahead for winter, and you should do the same." The Grasshopper blew off the Ant, squandered his supplies the rest of the season and abandoned his home while on vacation (paid for by tapping every last cent of his home equity gain) instead of holding down a job.
When winter came, the Grasshopper's pantry was empty, and his shelter ruined from neglect. The Ant, weary from planting, harvesting, and stocking up for months, was dining comfortably in his nest.
Cold, hungry, jobless, facing foreclosure and up to his two pairs of eyeballs in debt, the Grasshopper limped to the Association of Community Winged Insects for Rescue Now and demanded recourse. The office was swamped with thousands just like him. ACWIRN immediately put the Grasshopper to work registering dead ants as new voters.
Funded with tax dollars from the rest of the meadow's residents, ACWIRN organized mass protests at the Bank of Antamerica, ambushed its top officials at their private homes, harassed their children and demanded that the meadow's politicians halt all foreclosures ("We must keep Grasshoppers in their houses!") and outlaw discriminatory lending practices against starving, homeless Grasshoppers ("Well-stocked shelters are basic insect rights!")
The banking industry capitulated; the Orthoptera Lobby secured hundreds of millions of dollars in housing earmarks, grants and counseling subsidies to support the Grasshoppers with the shadiest credit and employment histories. Antie Mae, the meadow's government-backed home lending giant, fueled the push for increased insect homeownership in the name of biodiversity. Its executives cooked the books and headed for the hills.
Katie Cricket and the Mainstream Meadow Media joined the grievance-for-profit circus, profiling Grasshopper sob stories and drumming up ratings as bewildered Ants wondered who was looking out for them.
The banks drowned in toxic debt. More Grasshoppers fell behind on their mortgage payments. Bailout mania and panic gripped the meadow.
Our little Ant, minding his own business, heard a knock on his door one late winter night a year later. It was his old, sneering Grasshopper neighbor. With ACWIRN's presidential candidate, Barack Cicada, now in office, the Grasshopper had been hired by the meadow as a tax collector.
"I'm here to take your provisions," the Grasshopper cackled.
But it was the Ant who had the last laugh. "I've learned my lesson," he told his shiftless friend. "Why bother saving and slaving and toiling and moiling? I've spent all my savings. I'm walking away from my mortgage. Thrift is for suckers," the Ant said as he headed out the door, leaving the Grasshopper empty-handed.
by Michelle Malkin
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
(Thomas Watson, "The Godly Man'sPicture Drawn with a Scripture Pencil)
A godly man does not indulge himself in any sin.
Though sin lives in him—yet he does not live in sin. A godly man may step into sin through infirmity—but he does not keep on that road.
What is it to indulge sin? To indulge sin is to give the breast to it and feed it. To indulge sin is to commit it with delight. The ungodly "delight in wickedness." (2 Thess. 2:12). In this sense, a godly man does not indulge sin. Though sin is in him—he is troubled at it and would gladly get rid of it.
There is as much difference between sin in the wicked, and sin in the godly—as between poison being in a serpent, and poison being in a man. Poison in a serpent is in its natural place and is delightful—but poison in a man's body is harmful and he uses antidotes to expel it. So sin in a wicked man is delightful, being in its natural place—but sin in a child of God is burdensome and he uses all means to expel it.
A godly man will not allow himself in secret sins. Some are more modest than to commit open gross sin. That would be a stain on their reputation. All will not sin on a balcony—but perhaps they will sin behind the curtain!
But a godly man dare not sin secretly, for he knows that God can neither be deceived by our subtlety, nor excluded by our secrecy. He knows that secret sins are in some sense worse than others. They reveal more deceit and atheism. "He knows the secrets of every heart." (Psalm 44:21)
But the curtain-sinner thinks that God does not see: "Have you seen what the leaders of Israel are doing with their idols in dark rooms? They are saying—The Lord doesn't see us!" (Ezek. 8:12). How it provokes God, that men's atheism should give the lie to His omniscience! "He who formed the eye—shall He not see?" (Psalm 94:9).
A godly man knows that secret sins shall not escape God's justice. A judge on the bench cannot punish the treason of the heart. But the sins of the heart are as visible to God, as if they were written upon the forehead! As God will reward secret duties; so He will revenge secret sins!
A godly man enters his protest against sin: "Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin?" (Romans 7:24). A child of God, while he commits sin, hates the sin he commits!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
"You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless, who takes His name in vain." Exodus 20:7
The thing here insisted on is, that great care must be had, that the holy and reverend name of God is not profaned by us, or taken in vain. When we speak slightly of God or His works, He interprets it as a contempt, and taking His name in vain.
We take God's name in vain, when we use God's name in idle discourse. God is not to be spoken of,but with a holy awe upon our hearts. How many are guilty here! Though they have God in their mouths—they have the devil in their hearts. It is a wonder that fire does not come out from the Lord to consume them, as it did Nadab and Abihu!
Monday, September 22, 2008
(Thomas Boston, "Human Nature in its Fourfold State")
"The wrath of God abides on him." John 3:36
1. The wrath of God is IRRESISTIBLE, there is no standing before it; "Who can stand in Your sight, when once You are angry?" Psalm 76:7. Can the worm or the moth defend itself against him who designs to crush it? Can the worm, man, stand before an angry God? Foolish men, indeed, bid a defiance against God; but the Lord often, even in this world, opens such sluices of wrath upon them, as all their might cannot stop—they are carried away thereby, as with a flood! How much more will it be so in hell!
2. The wrath of God is INSUPPORTABLE. What a man cannot resist, he will try to endure. But who shall dwell in devouring fire? Who shall dwell with everlasting burnings? God's wrath is a weight which will sink men into the lowest hell. It is a burden which no man can endure.
3. The wrath of God is UNAVOIDABLE to those who continue impenitently, and die in their sinful course. "He who, being often reproved, hardens his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed—and that without remedy!" Proverbs 29:1. We may now flee from it, indeed, by fleeing to Jesus Christ. But those who flee from Christ, will never be able to avoid it. Where can men flee from the avenging God? Where will they find a shelter? The hills will not bear them. The mountains will be deaf to their loudest supplications, when they cry to them to "hide them from the wrath of the Lamb."
4. The wrath of God is POWERFUL and FIERCE. "Who can comprehend the power of Your anger? Your wrath is as awesome as the fear You deserve." Psalm 90:11. We are apt to fear the wrath of man more than we ought; but no man can apprehend the wrath of God to be more dreadful than it really is. The power of God's wrath can never be known to the utmost; for it is infinite, and, properly speaking, has no utmost limit. However fierce it is, either on earth or in hell, God can still carry it farther. Everything in God is most perfect in its kind; and therefore no wrath is so fierce as His. O sinner! how will you be able to endure that wrath, which will tear you in pieces, Psalm 50:22, and grind you to powder! Luke 20:18.
5. The wrath of God is PENETRATING and PIERCING wrath. It is burning wrath, and fiery indignation. There is no pain more intense than that which is caused by fire; and no fire so piercing as the fire of God's indignation, which burns unto the lowest hell, Deut. 32:22. The arrows of men's wrath can pierce flesh, blood, and bones—but cannot reach the soul. But the wrath of God will sink into the soul, and so pierce a man in the most tender part.
6. The wrath of God is CONSTANT wrath, running parallel with the man's continuance in an unregenerate state; constantly attending him from the womb to the grave. There are few days so dark—but the sun sometimes looks out from under the clouds. But the wrath of God is an abiding cloud on the objects of it; John 3:36, "The wrath of God abides on him" who believes not.
7. The wrath of God is ETERNAL. O, miserable soul! if you flee not from this wrath unto Jesus Christ; though your misery had a beginning—yet it will never have an end! Should devouring death wholly swallow you up, and forever hold you fast in the grave—it would be kind. But your body must be reunited to your immortal soul, and live again, and never die; that you may be ever-dying, in the hands of the ever-living God. Death will quench the flame of man's wrath against us, if nothing else does. But God's wrath, when it has come on the sinner for millions of ages, will still be the wrath to come! Matt. 3:7; 1 Thess. 1:10. While God is, He will pursue the quarrel.
8. However dreadful it is, and though it is eternal—yet it is most JUST wrath! It is a clear fire, without the least smoke of injustice. The sea of wrath, raging with greatest fury against the sinner, is clear as crystal. The Judge of all the earth can do no wrong. "Is God unrighteous to inflict wrath? Absolutely not! Otherwise, how will God judge the world?" Romans 3:5, 6. The Judge being infinitely just—the sentence must be righteous. Therefore, stop your mouth, O proud sinner! Still your clamor against your righteous Judge!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath!"
1 Thessalonians 1:10
"For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but toreceive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ!"
1 Thessalonians 5:9
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Dr. John H. Gerstner
“Repent or Perish” forces people to ponder seriously the popular slogan, “God hates the sin and loves the sinner.” Is a necessary repentance consistent with “God loves the sinner?” If God loves the sinner while he is alive, it is strange that God sends him to hell as soon as he dies. God loves the sinner to death? Loves him to everlasting torment?
There is something wrong here. Either God loves the sinner and will not send him into the furnace of His eternal wrath; or He sends him into His eternal wrath and does not love him. Either “you are going to hell unless” because God hates you, as you are. Or, God loves you and “you are going to hell unless” is false.
What leads almost everyone to believe that God loves the sinner is that God does the sinner so much good. He bestows so many favors including letting him continue to live. How can God let the sinner live and give him so many blessings, unless He loves him? There is a kind of love between God and sinners. We call it the “love of benevolence.” That means the love of good will. Benevolens — willing well. Doing well. God can do well to the sinner without loving him with the other kind of love. “Complacent love,” a pleasure in, affection for, admiration of. It exists in perfection between the Father and the Son, “in whom I am well pleased” (Matt.3:17; Mk.1:11).
God is perfectly displeased with the sinner. The sinner hates God, disobeys God, is ungrateful to God for all His favors, would kill God if he could. He is dead in trespasses and sins. (Eph.2:1) “The thoughts and intents of his heart are only evil continually.” (Gen.6:5) He is the slave of sin (John 8:34), the servant of the devil, (Eph.2:2).
God has no complacent love for the sinner at all. He has a perfect hatred of him, “I hate them with a perfect hatred.” (Ps. 139:22)
Why does God do so much good for those He perfectly hates and as soon as they die impenitent send them immediately to hell and never in all eternity does them one solitary favor more? It is to show His willingness to forgive the sinner if only he will repent. It shows the sincerity of God’s willingness to pardon the greatest sinner that, even while He hates him with a perfect hatred, He showers him with constant daily blessings.
As I mentioned in Chapter 1, there is no “problem of pain.” The only problem is the “problem of pleasure.” Dreadful as it is, it is not surprising that God sends sinners to hell. The problem is why He does not do it sooner. Why does God let a hell-deserving sinner live a minute and then let him prosper like the green bay tree (Ps.37:35), as well? It is obvious that God can destroy the ungrateful. Why doesn’t He? That is the problem.
Yes, the sinner suffers, too. But so little. It is a gentle reminder: though the sinner receives many divine favors, that does not mean that God is pleased with him. It is in spite of the fact that God hates him with a perfect hatred.
Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? (Rom.2:4)
Our text also shows that the one reason a sinner is permitted to be born into and enjoy this world rather than wake up as an infant in hell is that God, with His love of benevolence, is determined to give the sinner a “chance,” an opportunity to repent. Alas, most sinners use it as a chance to sin! They make God’s blessed love of benevolence into a curse.
In this world the sinner enjoys nothing but the benevolent love of God. Every experience of pain as well as pleasure is from God’s love — of benevolence. Even pain is from love because it tends to wake the sinner to his danger. God indeed loves the sinner, whom He hates with a perfect hatred, with a perfect love of benevolence.
The sinner, as I said, makes every divine blessing into a curse including God’s love of benevolence. This he does by construing a love of benevolence as a love of complacency.
Construing God’s love of benevolence as a love of complacency is fatal. Instead of the divine forbearance leading to repentance, it is used as an excuse for non-repentance. Thus the sinner is not saved but damned by God’s love of benevolence.
God “loves” the sinner benevolently and hates the sinner displacently. If the sinner dies impenitent, God removes His love of benevolence and pours out the full wrath of his displacent love.
As far as “hatred of sins” is concerned, sins do not exist apart from the sinner. God does hate sinning, killing, stealing, lying, lusting, etc., but this alludes to the perpetrator of these crimes.
God never hates the redeemed even when they sin. Is He an unfair respecter of persons? No! (Act. 10:34) God hates the unredeemed sinner but loves the redeemed even when they sin for a good and just reason. God loves the redeemed even when they sin because His Son, in whom God is always well-pleased, ever lives to make intercession for them. (Rom.8:27, 34) Christ died to atone for the guilt of His people’s sins. When they sin, these are atoned-for sins. They are sins with their guilt removed. In one sense, they are not sins at all. God does not hate His people when they sin because they are in His Son, Christ Jesus. And they are made acceptable in His Son. He “has made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Eph. 1:6)
Divine nepotism? No, His Son died for these people and paid the price for their sins past, present, and future. They are cancelled before they are committed. That is truth, not fiction. Righteousness, not nepotistic favoritism. In fact, it is not their original relationship to Christ which makes their sins guiltless, but Christ’s making satisfaction for their sins that created the relationship as children adopted into the family of God.
God, in hot displeasure, chastens His people when they sin (Ps.6: 1; 38:1). It is not hatred but complacent love in Christ Jesus. “Whom the Lord loves He chastens.” (Heb. 12:6,7) God loves His people even when He afflicts them and hates the impenitent even when He befriends them.
Why the chastening when there is love? God blessed the wicked when there was holy hatred. Now He chastens His people when there is holy love. This is because true moral behavior must be perfected. No sin can be tolerated in those for whom Christ died. He died to purchase a “peculiar people zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:14) Being redeemed, so far from tolerating their sinning, precludes it. Anyone who persists in sinning proves thereby that he is not a child of God. God punishes His own especially because they are His children. “You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth: Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” (Amos 3:2)
“Upright” man was promised and warned. A holy, just, and perfect God would promise and warn. Eternal life — if obedient. Instant death — the moment of disobedience. (Gen.3:5; Ecc.7:29)
When man sinned, he died spiritually and was rejected from communion with God his maker and friend. (Gen.3; Rom. 5:12ff) The wrath of God was upon him; labor was his lot; suffering in childbirth; alienation and death, as threatened. God is holy; of purer eyes than to behold iniquity. (Hab. 1:13)
Yet mortal man “lived” on (though to live in pleasure is death, 1 Tim. 5:6), and so did promise. When the angels sinned they perished without delay, without promise, without hope.
Man’s fate was better and worse than the fallen angels’ lot. It was a day of possible salvation but also of possible greater damnation, greater damnation for sinning away the day of possible salvation. God in His wrath; God in His mercy; at the same time.
This was a terrible but holy wrath. God was using His omnipotent power but according to His perfect justice. Man was affected but he deserved it. It was no more, no less, than he deserved. God is no more powerful than holy; no more holy than powerful.
As man continued to sin, God continued to increase His fury. His wrath is in no hurry. The record is kept, all accounts receivable. Every idle word will be brought into judgment (Matt. 12:36). The cup of iniquity must be filled. Then wrath to the uttermost. (1 Thess. 2:16) God’s glory shines in the perfection of His work.
But — God decreed the sin, (Prov. 16:4). Yes, for good and for glory. Man did it for evil and for shame.
A little sin and infinite wrath? A little sin against an infinite God is infinite. Wrath is in perfect proportion to the guilt. But even if the punishment were finite it would go in “infinitely,” unendingly, because the sinner continues to sin in resenting it.
All glory to God for His holy anger. (John 17:3; Rom.9:17f)
Thursday, September 18, 2008
"Unless you repent, you will also perish." Luke 13:5
Repentance is a grace of God's Spirit, whereby a sinner is inwardly humbled and outwardly reformed. Repentance is a spiritual medicine made up of six special ingredients:
1. Sight of sin
2. Sorrow for sin
3. Confession of sin
4. Shame for sin
5. Hatred for sin
6. Turning from sin
If any ingredient is left out, it loses its virtue.
"I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds." Acts 26:20
Thomas Watson - 1668
The above ingredients apply to ALL sins; even the ones we are 'comfortable' in.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
We all agree that toddlers are valuable human beings with rights. Yet the unborn differ from toddlers in only four ways, and the first letters of each of these differences spell an easy-to-remember acronym:
SLED: Size-Level of Development-Environment-Degree of Dependency.
Here's how to use the SLED test with a technique I like to call "trotting out the toddler."
*The unborn is smaller than the toddler, but toddlers are smaller than adults.
* The unborn is less developed than the toddler, but toddlers are less developed than elementary school kids.
*The unborn is in a different location than the toddler, but toddlers can change environments without changing their value.
*Finally, the unborn is more dependent than a toddler, but toddlers are more dependent than adolescents (even if some parents would deny this). And many other born people depend on medications, caregivers, and spacesuits to sustain their lives. They are more dependent than those who don't need these things.
So, there are only four ways the unborn differ from toddlers, but many toddlers and other born humans differ in exactly the same ways. So how can we justify killing the unborn on these grounds, when we protect born humans who have the same deficiencies?
The SLED Test Meets the Real World Anyone who has talked with an abortion advocate knows that the dynamics of real conversation many times make it impossible to give a four-step argument like the SLED Test. Sometimes people have a short attention span or want to focus on just one of these points. Even still, items from the SLED test come up frequently in any conversation on abortion. All you have to do is keep watch for them, then respond with a response from the SLED Test.
Here are the SLED concerns I hear repeated most frequently on campus, followed by my most favored response(s). Learn these and you'll be in good shape!Size:
"How Can Something So Small Be a Person? It Looks Like a Clump of Cells."
"Why should we believe that microscopic human beings aren't persons? Are you saying those who are larger have the right to determine whether those who are smaller deserve to exist? Doesn't that sound like discrimination? Would that be called sizism? And to disqualify someone because their body is undeveloped sounds mean. How is your statement different from saying to a disabled person that he doesn't count because of how his body looks and works? Should we call that developmentism, discrimination against someone for the body she's developed? Think of a two-year-old: Isn't she smaller than the rest of us? But she has equal value to adults in spite of her small stature. If she's valuable, size is irrelevant to value, right?
Isn't the embryo valuable too?"Level of Development: "The Unborn Can't Think or Feel Pain or Know That It Exists."
"Well, in the earliest stages at least, I agree. There's a debate about when we develop these abilities, but the embryo can't do any of these things. But is our value really based on our abilities? After all, even adults differ in how well they think or how sensitive they are to pain or how self-aware they are. How can you value all of these people the same even though some of them can't think well? And some children, like Gabby Gingras,can't feel pain at all. Are they disqualified? Some severely disabled people aren't self-aware. People in a reversible coma aren't thinking, feeling pain, and they definitely aren't aware of themselves. In order to be consistent, aren't you going to have to disqualify all of these people with disabilities too? And if not, shouldn't we value the unborn whose also a human being?
"Environment: "It's Not in the World Yet. It Doesn't Even Breathe Air."
"What do you mean by saying the unborn isn't 'in the world'? Surely the unborn is in the world — it's simply hidden from view. It doesn't interact with you and I like a toddler does, but isn't he interacting with his mother in exactly the way someone at his stage of development should? It's interesting that you claim the unborn is not breathing air. Do you mean that he isn't even undergoing oxygen exchange, or respiration? All of us did that from the moment we began to exist as zygotes. But you must think breathing air into the lungs is critical for value. What is it about the unborn's method of respiration or the location of her respiration that diminishes her value? Let me ask you a question. How long can you breathe under water? For about one swallow of water, right? Well, did you know that the unborn is not only surrounded by amniotic fluid, she is breathing it in and out of her lungs? If you can't survive in her world, why do you expect her to survive in yours? Isn't that a bit arbitrary and unfair?
"Degree of Dependency: "The Unborn Is Totally Dependent on Only One Person."
"So let me see if I understand your concern. Are you saying that since the unborn can't survive without the mother, that it's dependent in a different way than a toddler, who can survive with any caretaker? So, being dependent on only one person is what disqualifies the unborn? Imagine that you are the last person to leave a swimming pool area and you know everyone else has left and are miles away. As you're closing the gate, you hear a splash in the pool as an infant falls into the pool. Evidently, her parents forgot her and left her at the pool. How are you going to respond? You would save that infant, right? But why? She's dependent on only one person – You. Isn't it the case that human beings are valuable even if they're dependent on only one person? If we don't disqualify the infant that's totally dependent on only one person, why disqualify the unborn? Dependency is irrelevant to value…and doesn't dependency usually signal that we have an obligation to the dependent person, not a right to terminate them?"
Steve Wagner is a bio-ethics speaker for Stand to Reason and the author of a new book called "Common Ground Without Compromise - 25 Questions to Create Dialogue on Abortion." In addition to making the pro-life case to those who disagree, Steve specializes in training college students to engage their campuses in large-scale discussion on abortion. Steve has trained students at more than fifteen universities, including the college students at the Focus on the Family Institute. For help with talking for more than 10 seconds about your pro-life convictions, visit Stand to Reason at www.str.org.
Monday, September 15, 2008
One of Boltz's most famous songs is, 'The Anchor Holds". The chorus to this song goes like this:
The anchor holds
Though the ship is battered
The anchor holds
Though the sails are torn
I have fallen on my knees
As I faced the raging seas
The anchor holds
In spite of the storm
Boltz is quoted as saying, “This is what it really comes down to,” he says. “If this is the way God made me, then this is the way I’m going to live. It’s not like God made me this way and he’ll send me to hell if I am who he created me to be … I really feel closer to God because I no longer hate myself.”
Here is a response to that statement from The Desert Pastor over at DefendingContending....
Mr. Boltz, I am afraid that you are VERY WRONG! God did not make you or anyone else to live a perverted lifestyle that demeans His creation of man, and the institution of marriage which God ordained to be between 1 man and one woman. And, yes, if there is NO REPENTANCE, God will send you and many others to hell - but the reason will be because you reject the truth of Scripture and remain in unbelief.
One last note, what Scripture verse tells us that we draw closer or feel closer to God because we don’t hate ourselves anymore. What a load of new-age nonsense! The ONLY way we will ever draw close to God is by cleansing our hands, we who are sinners. Cleansing our hands does not take place when we choose to live in habitual sin which is condemned by God.
Boltz has put his trust into an anchor that will perish in the sin of salty water. His anchor failed because he put his trust into a man centered gospel that cannot hold firm to the Truth.
We will be praying that Boltz will repent of his sins and put his trust into Christ who can save him from this sin he seems to be quite comfortable in now; now that he feels God 'made' him gay.
Friday, September 12, 2008
And behold, a man came up to him, saying, "Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?"
And he said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good.
If you would enter life, keep the commandments."
He said to him, "Which ones?"
And Jesus said, "You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
The young man said to him, "All these I have kept. What do I still lack?"
Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."
When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God."
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?"
But Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
Then Peter said in reply, "See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?"
Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
While in prison this past weekend, I met several people who thought that they must do 'good deeds' to have eternal life in Heaven. They thought if they did more good things than bad, then the scales of righteousness would tip in their favor and God would allow them sanctuary into His Kingdom.
The rich young man also had this problem. Jesus, after correcting the young mans understanding of the word 'good', brought the Law upon him. Jesus took him through five of the Ten Commandments to which the young man said he had kept from his youth. Hard to believe that he kept them, but Jesus didn't argue the point with the young man.
Jesus knew his heart and told him to sell all he had, give it to the poor and then follow Him. This was a intentional swing to 'thou shall have no other god's before Me'. Jesus knew what this man's idol was; his money.
The young man went away sad because he loved his money more than God.
If you want eternal life in Heaven, keep the Commandments from your birth.
Haven't kept them.......no one has....that's bad news for you because you're going to die in your sins unless you do something about it.
The Bible say’s in Hebrews 9:27 that it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. The Bible is clear that after we die, we will stand in judgment before God.
So how does one get forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God?
You may say, "What sins?" The Bible says in 1 John 3:4 that whoever transgresses the Law commits sin. So sinning is transgressing or breaking God’s Law.
Which Law? The Ten Commandments, God’s moral Law.
Have you broken God’s Law?
Let’s look at just three of the Commandments…The 9th Commandment is thou shall not lie. Ever told a lie? That makes you a liar. The 8th Commandment is thou shall not steal. Ever stolen something? That makes you a thief. The 3rd Commandment is thou shall not take the Lord’s Name in vain. Ever said something like, "Oh my G**?" Or used His name as a curse word? The Bible calls that blasphemy. The Bible says that God will not hold him guiltless who takes His Name in vain.
The Bible says that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire.
The Bible also says that no thieves will inherit the Kingdom of God.
That’s the bad news.
But there is good news!
Two thousand years ago, God sent His Son Jesus Christ to Earth. He lived a perfect sinless life. He died a horrible brutal death on the cross for the sins of the world; for your sins and my sins. They buried Him. But three days later, God raised Him from the dead so that you could have forgiveness of your sins and eternal life in Heaven.
It’s like this; you broke God’s Law, but Jesus paid your fine.
The question now becomes; how do you receive this forgiveness of sins? The Bible says you must repent of your sins and place your trust in Christ to save you from God’s wrath on judgment day. To repent is not just saying you’re sorry, but turning your back on sin as well. Trusting in Christ is like trusting a parachute. You don’t just believe in a parachute, you must put it on for it to save you.
Once you do this, you will pass from death to life and God’s wrath will pass-over you.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I received your letter, about the death of your godly daughter--and hope that you will soon learn to bless your Redeemer for snatching her away so speedily. Methinks I see great mercy in the suddenness of her removal; and when your affections have done yearning for her--you will see it too.
O! what is she snatched from? Why, truly, from the plague of an evil heart, a wicked world, and a crafty devil--snatched from all future bitter grief, and from everything which might wound her ear, afflict her eye, or pain her heart!
And what is she snatched to? To a land of everlasting peace, where every inhabitant can say, 'I am no more sick!' No more affliction in the body, no more plague in the heart--but all full of love and full of praise; ever seeing with enraptured eyes, ever blessing with adoring hearts--that dear Lamb who has washed them in His blood, and has now made them kings and priests unto God, forever and ever!
Oh, madam! What would you rather have? Is it not better singing in heaven, 'Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!' --than crying out on earth, 'O wretched woman that I am!'
Is it not better to have your daughter taken to heaven--than to have your heart divided between Christ and her? If she was a silver idol before--might she not prove to be a golden idol afterwards?
She has gone to the most blessed place, and will see you again by and by--never more to part. Had she crossed the sea and gone to Ireland--you would have born it; but now that she is gone to heaven--should this be difficult for you? Strange love is this!
Such behavior in others would not surprise me--but I could almost chasten you for it. And I am sure your daughter would chasten you too, if she was called back but one moment from the glories of heaven--to gratify your fond desires! I cannot soothe you--and I must not flatter you. I am glad the dear creature has gone to heaven before you. Lament, if you please; but 'Glory, glory, glory be to God!' says John Berridge.
It's a very tough and sad time when we lose a loved one. If that loved one was a born-again Christian, we have the knowledge of knowing where they are spending eternity; we have comfort as Christians knowing we we will see them again some day.
As Berridge points out, it would be foolishness to call that loved one back 'from the glories of Heaven' to satisfy our desire to see them again while we are here on this Earth.
Do you, Christian, have a loved one has not been born-again? Please take the time to share the wonderful news of the Gospel and be in continual prayer for them before it's too late.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
A close friend and I leave this morning to join hundreds of fellow prison ministry workers in Atlanta for a three day adventure into the metro area prisons. This will be my friends first time going into prison (he is part of a local jail ministry) to witness to long-term inmates. I got involved last year in the prison ministry and developed a deep passion for witnessing to the inmates.
Please pray that God will use the men and women who go into these institutes for His glory, that the Gospel will be faithfully preached, the inmates hearts will be moved to repentance and that the love of Christ will be evident in all those who minister in the prisons.
Hopefully Monday sometime (may be late in the evening) I will get to share how God used us to proclaim His Word!
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Type in "Gospel Tracts" on Google and you find about 83,000 links to click on. These links will take you to ministries that specialize in the making of tracts, selling tracts, creating personalized tracts, demeaning the use of tracts, personal testimonies of conversion from tracts and everything else in between.
Some Christians love to hand out tracts (I would be one), some Christians can't stand the mere thought of tracts, while others, it seems, could care less one way or another while taking the attitude, 'to each their own'.
But do tracts work? That is to say, do tracts do the work of the Lord as would a personal witnessing encounter without a tract?
First we could examine personal testimonies from people who got saved while reading a tract.
Second we could examine the claims of Joey Hancock who says that 53% of all people who come to Christ worldwide come through the use of printed Gospel literature.
Charles Spurgeon himself once said, "When preaching and private talk are not available, you need to have a tract ready . . . Get good striking tracts, or none at all. But a touching gospel tract may be the seed of eternal life. Therefore, do not go out without your tracts."
But bottom line......do Gospel tracts save anyone?
A Gospel tract has never saved anyone.
In fact no printed literature, no lay person on the street and no preacher in the pulpit has ever saved anyone; ever.
Only God can save someone; period.
Can God use a biblical Gospel tract to accomplish this? Yes, of course He can.
I tell the folks in the evangelism classes I lead........"If you saved someone, they ain't saved."
That's the work of the Holy Spirit alone! If the Holy Spirit is not there convicting people of their sins and showing them the need for a Savior, nothing is going to happen. But God through a biblical Gospel tract can, and does, convict folks of sin and will save them if they repent and turn to Christ to save them.
To each their own then? What do you think?