Thursday, May 30, 2013

R.I.P., Boy Scouts of America

By Matt Barber
Christian News, Vol. 51, No. 22, June 3, 2013

“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36)

It’s a sad day for both Scouting and for freedom. Indeed, it’s a sad day for America. The century-old Boy Scouts of America (BSA) – created in 1910 to “prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes” – has betrayed its own constituency, mission, oath and law.

Last Thursday, approximately 1,400 adult BSA delegates from around the country gathered in Texas and decided, in a disgracefully lopsided vote, to welcome into its ranks, “open and avowed” homosexuality (boy-on-boy sexual attraction and behavior), thereby disavowing the “morally straight” Scout Oath its members are sworn to uphold. They voted unwisely.

History will reflect that on this day the BSA turned from morally straight to immorally bent – that this once great organization – founded on “honor,” “reverence” and biblical morality – was crushed beneath the worldly weight of pagan idolatry.

Whereas, for over a century, millions of boys have raised their right hands, swearing “on my honor” to “do my duty to God and my country” – on this day, hundreds of adult delegates likewise raised their right hands, shook their fists at God and flipped their middle fingers at both the boys they serve and the parents who trusted them.
While endeavoring to “gain the world,” this once honorable institution has forfeited its soul.

Scripture admonishes:
“The wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23). This was a catastrophic miscalculation. It was sin, and, tragically, through this sin, the BSA has now effectively sealed its own fate. It has set into motion its own demise.

Even by its own estimates, BSA leadership admits that the decision will likely result in a mass exodus from Scouting. They anticipate that as many as 400,000 Scouts and Scouters will leave the organization (acceptable casualties in the war on morality, I guess). Still, as devastating as this number is, it too represents a gross miscalculation.
Consider, for instance, that when Canada’s version of the Boy Scouts voted in 1998 to welcome open homosexuality, its membership rolls plummeted by over half in just five years, forcing camp closures, staff layoffs and huge budget cuts. Looking north of the border for clues, then, we can expect that, with current membership at around 2.6 million, it’s more likely that roughly 1.5 million Boy Scouts and troop masters will walk.

Then again, we’re talking about “progressive” Canada. This is the good ol’ USA. With over 61 percent of Scouts, Scouters and parents opposing the homosexualization of Boy Scouts, and over 70 percent of U.S. Scout groups sponsored by churches and religious organizations, it’s not unreasonable to expect that defections will even exceed this estimate.

In short, BSA’s betrayal may well result in near-total ruin. The wages of sin is death.
Here’s the reality: Reality has not changed. Objective truth did not suddenly and miraculously reverse itself on May 23, 2013. As BSA has always acknowledged (until Thursday), homosexual behavior remains empirically disordered and immoral. The only thing that has changed is politics.

Ultimately, this decision had nothing to do with “tolerance” or “inclusivity.” Neither did it concern the best interests of the boys who make up Boy Scouting. Instead, this decision was rooted in pure evil. It had everything to do with money. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:10). And wandered from the faith they have. Now come the many griefs.

Really, three things drove this decision: Fear, greed and politics. A number of high-dollar corporate donors threatened to pull funding from BSA if they maintained the existing policy on sexual morality. Additionally, a number of extremist pressure groups, aided by a sympathetic left-wing media, brought tremendous pressure to bear.

But the pressure’s not going away. The BSA made a critical error in judgment. It showed weakness. This has only whipped these radicals into a heightened frenzy. Within moments of the “gay” announcement, Nancy Pelosi called the move “an important first step.” The Human Rights Campaign demanded “the new policy doesn’t go far enough,” and Mother Jones, a liberal online publication, posted an article titled, “Boy Scouts: You Can Be Gay Until You’re 18.”

Sin is never satisfied. The homofascist thirst for absolute affirmation is unquenchable.

What’s the next step? Activists now demand that adult men who desire sex with other males (“gay” scout masters) be allowed to take your sons camping overnight. Soon they’ll be insisting that “transgender boys” (girls who wish they were boys) be allowed to join as well.

What a camping trip. Imagine the pup tent. Your son and Jimmy – who’s got a crush on him – along with Billy and Billy’s boyfriend Bobby, all snuggly warm in the middle of nowhere. But make room for Sammy (formerly Suzie) and Sammy’s boyfriend Gary (formerly Gertrude).

Don’t forget to hang the disco ball.
And “always be prepared.”

You think there won’t be new membership stagnation? Who wants to sign their boy up for the “Gay Scouts”? What’s a kid gotta to do to earn his “tolerance badge”? Parents, you might want to get out while the gettin’s good. As one Eagle Scout told me, “I’m not leaving the Boy Scouts, the Boy Scouts left me.”

It’s only a matter of time until BSA caves on these demands as well. They’ll admit “gay” men and girls soon. They have no choice. Now that they’ve opened the door, they’ve waived the only legal defense they once had: religious and moral conviction.
But here’s the good news. I and dozens more will be convening for a coalition meeting of pro-family leaders next month in Louisville, Ky., to discuss the creation of a moral alternative to the Boy Scouts. Nature abhors a vacuum. We intend to fill it.

Still, until then, please join me as we mourn the loss of this once honorable organization. The Boy Scouts of America: Born Feb. 8, 1910 – Died May 23, 2013.
May it rest in peace.

Matt Barber(@jmattbarber on Twitter) is an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. He serves as Vice President of Liberty Counsel Action. (This information is provided for identification purposes only.)

Thursday, May 23, 2013


By Dennis Hipenbecker
Christian News, Vol. 51, No. 21, May 27, 2013

It is the belief of many people, especially within the evangelical or fundamental Christian community, that the covenant God made with Abraham and his descendants is an irrevocable everlasting covenant. This writer disagrees and believes that since the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, God declares no nation, no country, no people of particular ethnic descent as being his “chosen people” receiving special material and or spiritual benefits or blessings. The relationship between God and the descendants of Abraham in the Old Testament times was unique.  As a nation, Israel was a theocracy. God was the king. Such uniqueness was not to be retained or duplicated after the coming of Jesus Christ, Son of God and Savior of all nations or peoples.

If the covenant God made with Abraham and his descendants is still in effect, who is covered? Who are the physical descendants of Abraham today? Can any person who claims to be a Jew trace unbroken physical descent back to Abraham? (This descent would come through Sarah. Abraham had children with other women. But Jewish people do not claim descent through those other women) Over the centuries there has been intermarrying with Gentiles, so that in many cases a blood tie with Abraham is very thin. It is said that in 740 A.D. at the eastern edge of  Europe there lived a tribe of people known as the Khazars who en mass took up Judaism.
It is claimed that many of the Jewish people today come from that tribe. It has also happened that Gentile couples converted to Judaism with their children and grandchildren claiming to be Jewish, yet no physical tie to Abraham. The question of who is a Jew is debated.  Some say it is descent. “If your mother was a Jew, you are a Jew.” Others say, “You are a Jew because of your faith.” And still others claim that both religion and descent must be present. Some years ago, Sammy Davis, the black comedian converted to Judaism. Was he a Jew? There was disagreement.

I come back to the original question. If the covenant to Abraham and his descendants is in force today as when first given, who are his descendants?  Who is covered? Who is among the “chosen’‘? Does it make any difference? Does only God need to know? That does not seem to be the case with those who hold this belief. Their belief effects their preaching, speaking, lobbying, and view of world politics.

If the covenant to Abraham and his descendants is in force today as when first given, a more important question is: what are the benefits or blessings to the “chosen ones”? If there are no specific benefits or blessings, the title “Chosen people of God” is meaningless. Are the benefits material in nature?  Will the “chosen ones” receive from God better protection from various enemies or disasters than the non-chosen? Such does not seem to be the case as we review the history of the Jewish people for the past two thousand years. Will the “chosen ones” be blessed with more wealth, artistic and intellectual ability than the non-chosen? Some people believe this is part of the benefit of being chosen. It is true that the Jewish people have contributed much in the areas of science, medicine, law, arts, finance, etc. Many fine examples could be given. On the other hand Jewish people have been involved in activities and movements that have been detrimental to humanity. For instance, most of the architects of communism were secular Jews. Many of the leaders of the pro-abortion movement are Jews. Whether God caused it or allowed it to happen, both Jews and Gentiles have brought forth both good and evil with their gifts and abilities.

Is possession of the land promised to Abraham part of the benefit of being among the “chosen” people today? Many will answer “yes”. Many believe in the continuity and irrevocability of God’s promise of land to the people Israel, even though for 19 centuries few Jews lived in Israel. They rejoiced with the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, claiming this to be proof of the irrevocability of the covenant given to Abraham. They quote such passages as Genesis 13:15, “All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.” The Hebrew word, “olam“ translated as “forever“ is also used when referring to the establishment of ceremonial laws. For instance, Exodus 30:21 reads, “So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and his seed throughout their generations.” (King James Version). The NIV reads, “They shall wash their hands and feet so that they will not die. This is to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron and his descendants for the generations to come.” As Christians we believe the ceremonial laws were fulfilled in Christ and are abrogated. Therefore, the word, “olam” is used in a conditional sense.

Are the benefits or blessings given to the “chosen ones” spiritual in nature? For instance, are  Jewish people being given special revelation from God today as in the Old Testament? There seems to be no evidence for  or claim of  such revelation. Do the Jewish people have a different way to eternal life than the Gentiles? A growing number of people, including Christians, believe this to be a present day benefit of being a “chosen one” of the Abrahamic covenant that is irrevocable. The thinking is this:  Jews were not replaced by Christians as the people of God, but both traditions live under a covenant with God to be God’s people. For Jews that covenant was established with Abraham and specifically revealed with Moses at Mt. Sinai as recorded in the biblical book of Exodus. For Christians the covenant was established through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Neither faith need exclude the other from being called,  “people of God.” Both faiths, as well as other faiths, are valid expressions of God’s will. All faiths can lead to eternal life. Christians who try to convert Jews are working against the will of God.

But this flies in the face of nearly 2,000 years of traditional Christian teaching – that Christianity completes and supersedes Judaism, as the New Testament completes and supersedes the Old Testament. Luther, as well as countless other Christian theologians, taught that Christians are the Israel of God in the New Testament, whether Jew or Gentile. They also taught that all of the believing Jews of the Old Testament are part of the assembly of saints, the church, the forever people of God.
The benefits or blessings of the covenant which God made with Abraham and his descendants are clearly spelled out in the Bible. Genesis 12:2-3 reads, “I will make you into a great nation and I  will bless you; I   will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I  will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I   will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” God promises to Abraham many descendants, numerous as the stars. God blessed Abraham with wealth, protection in many difficult circumstances, a long life, etc. The name and person of this Abraham is revered worldwide. He was a blessing to many in his day, we think especially of Lot. Abraham’s faith and trust has been a blessing to millions down through the years. God indeed blessed those individuals and nations that befriended Abraham and his descendants. God also punished those individuals and nations that sought to harm Abraham and his descendants.  Time does not allow for the many examples that could be given. All people on the earth have indeed been blessed through Abraham. From him came the promised Messiah or Savior, Jesus Christ, according to the flesh, Abraham and his descendants were the chosen people of the Old Testament to be the bearer of the Messianic promise. “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.” Deuter-onomy 7:6 “For you are a people holy to the Lord God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession.” Deuteronomy 14:2

In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul lists benefits or blessing enjoyed by those included in the covenant with Abraham. “Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises.

Theirs are the patriarch, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.” Romans 9:4-5 

Israel had been adopted or accepted as God’s son “Then say to Pharaoh, This is my first born son, and I told you, Let my son go so he may worship me.” Exodus 4:25 The glory and presence of the Lord was shown in the appearance of a special cloud and by many miracles of such magnitude never shown among any other people.

Covenants and promises were made to and through Abraham, Moses, David, Jeremiah, etc. The Law or Word of the living God came through Moses and many other prophets. The elaborate temple worship with the sacrificial system came through these covenant people among their family tree were great men of faith and action such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and others. Indeed there were many benefits and blessings that came to Abraham and his descendants, God’s chosen people of the Old Testament era.

The covenant with the physical descendants of Abram was conditional ‘’Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Exodus 19:5-6 “The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 28:9

The Lord warned Israel of the consequences of disobedience. “However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.” Deuteronomy 28:15 “Just as it pleased the Lord to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess. Then the Lord will scatter you among all nation, from one end of the earth to the other.” Deuteronomy 28:63-64 “Remember the instructions you gave your servant Moses, saying, If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations.” Nehemiah 1:1

Israel a chosen people, a people blessed by the unmerited love of God, a nation redeemed from Egyptian slavery, was unable to live up to the standards of the covenant of the law, as given by God through Moses.  God in His mercy introduces a new covenant, which was really the covenant or promise God made with all of humanity at the fall of Adam and Eve. God spoke to Satan and said, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Genesis 3:15  

The new covenant of forgiveness of sins and salvation was part of the Covenant with Abraham, but somewhat veiled in the words, “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Abraham, along with Adam and Eve and all the faithful believers of the Old Testament looked for a deliverer from death.

The new covenant was revealed and promised by various prophets, especially Jeremiah who clearly said, “The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant though I was a husband to them declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time declares the Lord. I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest declares the Lord. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34
The writer of Hebrews says, “But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is the mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises. For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said...(Here the writer to Hebrews quotes Jeremiah 31:31-34) By calling this covenant “new” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon “disappear.” Hebrews 8:8-12

God’s selection of Abraham and his descendants as the chosen people of the Old Testament was in view of the coming Savior. The people of Israel were in a sense the “womb” carrying the precious Savior and Life of the world. During the Old Testament era, this “womb” or people enjoyed special protection and privileges from God. It is the belief of this writer that since the Savior of the world has come the role of national Israel as chosen people no longer exists. The coming of the Messiah has changed many things. God no longer requires that the Old Testament ceremonial laws be kept. They found their fulfillment in Jesus. Even the Jews do not keep those laws especially since the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. In the New Testament writings not one word is said of God declaring any nation, or any ethnic group as being his “chosen people” receiving special benefits to the exclusion of other peoples.

The nation of Israel as a whole did not accept Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah.  ‘’He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him” John 1:11 Jesus said that the Jews who did not believe in Him were not Abrahams descendants.

“Abraham is our father,” they answered. “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, ‘’then you would do the things Abraham did. As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the things your own father does.” John 8:39-41 The Gentiles are to take the place of Jews at the heavenly banquet. “I  say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 8:11-12 John the Baptist said God could make descendants of Abraham from stones if need be. “And do not think you can say to yourselves,  ‘We have Abraham as our father. I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.” Matthew 3:9    
The parable of  the vineyard tenants teaches that God’s kingdom will be taken from the Jews because the majority rejects Jesus as their Messiah. No doubt you  remember the parable. A landowner planted a vineyard. He had everything in tip-top shape and then rented it out, since he  had to go on a journey. The tenants didn’t want to pay rent. They treated the servants poorly, and finally they killed the owner’s son.   Near the end of the parable Jesus gives the interpretation: “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.” Matthew 21:33-44 Jesus also speaks of the nation of Israel being left desolate. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate.” Matthew 23:37-38 This would seem to refer to the future destruction of Jerusalem and other parts of the land of Israel in 70 A.D. by the Roman armies.

Jesus of Nazareth is the prophet that Moses spoke about and whoever does not listen to him shall be destroyed or cut off. “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him for this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said ‘Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.’” The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. I  will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If  anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I will call him to account.” Deuteronomy 18:15-18 “For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.’” Acts 3: 22-23

As earlier mentioned in Exodus 19:6, a special designation is given to Old Testament Israel: “Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” The Apostle Peter transfers this special designation to New Testament Christians. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” I Peter 2:9-10  This is an extremely important verse.  It shows that the chosen people of the New Testament era are believers in Christ, both Jews and Gentiles. Although it would seem Peter  is directing his remarks more to Gentiles since he refers to  his readers as previously not being the people of God and not obtaining  mercy. That has all changed with faith in the Messiah, Jesus.

Those who believe that the Jews are still considered by God to be his chosen people will argue that this verse does not negate the fact. Some will argue, as mentioned earlier, that the Jews were not replaced by Christians as the people of God, but both traditions live under a covenant with God to be God’s people. But it is not Scriptural, or  logical, or reasonable, to transfer a special, unique designation or status from one group to another, and then say both are unique.

In Romans chapters nine through eleven, the Apostle Paul speaks at length concerning Israel, the descendants of Abraham. In chapter nine he speaks of his great sorrow for his Jewish people, the majority who will not believe in Jesus as their Savior. In verse 6 he says, “It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel (physical descent) are Israel (spiritual Israel, believers). Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children.”  He goes on to point out that God’s people, those who will be saved, are people of the promise. They believe in salvation by grace, through faith in the Messiah. In chapter ten, verses 1-4,  Paul says that the majority of the people of Israel did not know or accept the righteousness provided by God but sought to establish their own righteousness.

In  Chapter eleven  verse one, the Apostle Paul writes “I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.“ On the surface, the phrase, “his people” would seem to include all the living descendants of Abraham, the Jewish people, to whoever reads the epistle. The verse has been used by some to back their belief that the Jewish people today en masse are the chosen people of God  as in the Old Testament era. But in verse two, Paul qualifies his statement. He writes: “God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew.” The word, “foreknew” is a telling  one. It is the same word used by Paul in Romans 8:29 when he presents God’s doctrine or truth of election. Therefore, Paul in effect is saying, “God did not reject the elect among the Israelites.” Paul uses as example the apostasy during the time of Elijah, who was so depressed as to cry out that he alone was left to worship the true God. God told him he was not alone. Many others (seven thousand) had not bowed to Baal. In verse five Paul says: “So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.” In verse seven he uses the word; “election”. “What then? What Israel (the people as a whole) sought so earnestly it  did not obtain but the elect did.” The words “remnant”‘ and ‘‘elect” are used synonymously and interchangeably.

Just as it is with the Gentiles, so it is with the Jews. God’s election of grace is at work just as it is in the New Testament era, so it was in the Old Testament era. God’s election of grace was and  is at work. God’s people are the elect, those who were brought to faith in  a coming Messiah and those brought to  faith in a Messiah come.

In verses 11-24 Paul says that the rejection of Jesus by the majority of the descendants of Abraham has resulted in a benefit to the Gentiles, in that God has directed his saving Gospel to be carried to them. Paul is confident and prays that many of his fellow Jews (elect Jews) will be saved. In verse 13 he says, “I make much of my ministry  in the hope that I  may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.”  In verse 16 he says, “If the part of the dough offered as first fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy. If the root is holy so are the branches.” Paul does not want his Gentile believers to gloat over the fact that many of the Jewish people had rejected Christ. They must remember salvation comes from the Jews. God made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, (the roots) that the Savior would come from them. God was faithful to his promise. He will save his people, the elect, both Jews and Gentiles. The tree represents  the entire mass of true spiritual children of Abraham, Jew and Gentile, the communion of saints of all times. Every person that accepts the Messiah by faith is a branch of the tree.

In verses 25 and 26, Paul says, “Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.  And so all Israel will be saved.” Again, we must interpret these verses in light of the doctrine of election. The phrase “full number of Gentiles” is the total elect. The phrase, “all Israel” is the total elect of the Jewish people.

There are many people who believe the day is coming when literally all Israel, every Jewish person living at that time will be converted to Christ. This is not a correct interpretation. In addition to the above-cited verses, another key verse for use in interpretation is verse 6b chapter nine. “For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.” Not all who are physical descendants of Abraham are believers in the Messiah. They are not part of spiritual Israel, the elect, the remnant, the eternally saved.

By way of deduction, and I emphasize the word “deduction”, this truth means that in the Old Testament when all of the descendants of Abraham were referred to as the chosen people of God, some were not saved for eternity. The benefits to such people had to be temporal or material, even though they were numbered with the chosen people. A parallel truth would be this: not every Christian church member is a Christian. Such people will not be saved eternally, but they may enjoy some temporal or material blessings from membership and association with Christians.
Do those who believe that the Jewish people are still the chosen people of God believe the word “chosen” is synonymous with “elect”.  That every Jewish person will be converted and saved for eternity? I don’t think so. Therefore, I come back to my two original questions: What are the benefits to the Jewish people today and who is included?

As mentioned, God’s selection of Abraham and his descendants as the chosen people of the Old Testament was in view of the coming Savior. He has come, and as Simeon said, “He is the glory of his people Israel.” Since his coming God declares no nation, no country, no people of particular ethnic  descent  as His “chosen people” receiving special material and or spiritual benefits.

The Christian Church, composed of  both Jews and Gentiles, is the New Testament Israel and legitimate successor to the Old Testament promises. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:28-29  “For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus” Philippians 3:3

The Messiah, Jesus Christ, is the ultimate “Promised Land” to which the Old Testament people of God were to look and we New Testament people of God do look. There is not one New Testament passage that speaks of the restoration of the state of Israel. The modern state of Israel is not Old Testament Israel in its reborn form. Israel of old was a theocracy. Reading the Old Testament as a land contract for the state of Israel forever distorts the role of the Messiah as the consummation of God’s s saving revelation.

There are Christians “Zionists” who are more radical in their determination to bring about the state of Israel than many Jewish “Zionists.” Israel plays center stage in their dispensational, millennial interpretation of Scripture. It goes something like this: The creation of the state of Israel (1948), next the rebuilding of the temple with the re-introduction of animal sacrifices, next the rapture, the seven year tribulation, Armageddon, conversion of all the Jews, the return of Christ to rule a thousand years from the temple in Jerusalem, and  the great white throne judgment.

The belief that the Jewish people are still the chosen people of God is not some mere academic matter, but has serious ramification for American foreign policy. These people believe that America must support Israel no matter what they do, for God will bless those who help Israel and will curse those who do not help Israel. Their belief has influenced our nation’s foreign policy in the Middle East to the point where we have tilted very much in favor of Israel personally, I believe this has and will continue to cause problems for our nation.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pastor Otten Memories

Christian News, May 13, 2013

It has recently come to my attention that Pastor Otten is coming to the conclusion of his official service to Trinity in New Haven as their pastor.  It sounds a bit like he is retiring, however, to use the term "retire" in reference to Pastor Otten seems foreign in nature.  When the Prophet Moses' service to God's people came to its conclusion the Scriptures describe him as a man whose "eye was not dim nor vigor abated".  More than anyone else I know, Pastor Otten is a man who shares such a description.  For my entire life (all 56 plus years) he has been a tireless soldier in the army of our King--working as God gave him strength to know "nothing among you but Jesus Christ and Him crucified."

My earliest memory of my godfather, the man I know as "Uncle Herman" was very early in my life.  I recall the arrival of a sedan on a warm evening out front of our home in Spencerport, NY.  Herman had come to visit and to introduce Grace to my parents. 

"Uncle Herman" had served as a vicar at St. Matthew in Rochester, NY where my mother was a member.  He came to know my Dad too, who was a member at St. John in Hamlin, NY at the time my parents were dating.  I am told there were a good number of athletic contests in which the "vicar' participated along with the Lutheran Youth in the area. 

As a youngster, like many other Lutheran youngsters, the importance and influence of godparents was severely underestimated.  "Uncle Herman" may not have been geographically involved, but his influence was evident just the same.  My library today still contains any number of volumes he endowed upon me over the years, some which found continued use in the schooling of my children and now my grandchildren.  "Little Visits with God", "More Little Visits with God", "Christ of the Gospels", "The Church of the Ages", "The Dead Sea Scrolls", are all treasured volumes along with many others, not just because of the subject of each book, but even more so because of the personal notations contained in each one.  "The Lutheran Hymnal" which was his gift to me at my Baptism is tattered and worn, but treasured even more so for the hours of blessings it has brought over the years.

Other memories also abound of time with "Uncle Herman" and his family.  Our children all remember visits to New Haven as well as visits to Texas by the Otten clan.  The girls especially recall when on one of their family vacations the Ottens came to visit us in East Texas.  "Uncle Herman" speaking at the Free Conference at Grace in Brenham or preaching at my installation as Pastor at Grace some 20 years ago were memorable events for me and for my family.  However, no more memorable than his preaching at my 20th anniversary year in the ministry...or at my ordination.  I can still recall his words in that ordination sermon from the pulpit at St. Paul in Hilton, NY, "Matt, always remember that you are a dying man preaching to dying people".  That was his commentary on John 3:30--"He must increase and I must decrease."  That advice has served me well in my own ministry and was always a godly context for my own preaching to God's holy people.

It is certain that we along with many others could go on with memories of our interaction with Pastor Otten that would keep you all day, but perhaps it is best to conclude with the real heart of the matter.  For "Uncle Herman", myself, and many others it is always about Jesus Christ our Savior....because we are dying people and Jesus is our only hope and salvation.  Whatever we accomplish in this life is by the grace and power of our Lord Jesus Christ, for in Him we can do all things because He strengthens us.  One hymn writer has penned words quite fitting for this day's occasion: "Change and decay in all around I see, O, Thou who changest not abide with me."  Today there is a milestone of change observed for Pastor Otten, his family, and the congregation of Trinity in New Haven.  Jesus Christ, however, is the same yesterday, today and forever.  His mercy endures forever and it is in Him we place our trust and hope, because He was crucified for our offenses and raised for our justification. 

As you contemplate where God leads next, we pray His blessings upon you now and always; "And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of The Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."  Colossians 3:17

Pastor Matthew Jacobs
Grace Lutheran Church,
Brenham, Texas

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Atheist Refuted - The Seed of Indoctrination

Christian News, May 6, 2013, Vol. 51, No. 19

Dear Pastor Otten:
I am sending you the following article by Tom DeRosa as a reply to the letter by atheist John W. Patterson which appeared on page 13 of the April 15, edition of Christian News.
Mr. Patterson’s letter makes it clear that he has a closed mind, and is unwilling to look at any scientific evidence that does not support his pre-conceived bias against the supernatural. He also asserts that rejecting the supernatural has brought progress, although it should be obvious to anyone that the opposite is true. The number of people killed by atheists since the time of Darwin now exceeds the population of the United States. That figure includes those killed by Hitler, Stalin, Margaret Sanger, and the Chinese abortion program. The following article shows what can happen if an atheist opens his mind.
Gary Branscome
The Seed of Indoctrination
The Challenge
If Dr. David Lumsden’s (1937–1997) bio was on a theater marquee, it would read, “A Zealous Atheist and Evolutionist.” This professor of parasitology and cell biology also served as the Dean of the Graduate School at Tulane University. As a renowned scientist he had trained 30 Ph.D. students, published more than 90 peer-reviewed papers and was well known for his outstanding research work in parasitology. He was awarded the Henry Baldwin Ward Medal, which is the highest recognized award worldwide in the field of parasitology. In 1986, Professor Lumsden decided to use the last lecture in a course he was teaching that semester to launch a direct assault on Creationism. He did this in retaliation for the Louisiana state law, that would later be declared unconstitutional, requiring that creationism be taught alongside evolution. Lumsden had been angry with God for a long time, and this law caused him to rant, that it was an act of “stupidity” and evil. Now, armed with his evolutionary biology, he was going to use the lecture hall to declare war on the God of Creation. He would show that, without any doubt, evolution was the absolute truth. In his own words, “I mentioned Genesis with all the mockery, sarcasm and cynicism I could bear, quoting Darwin and others with the fervor of a Baptist minister attempting to demolish everything that had to do with the God of Creation.” After the lecture, he received a standing ovation of appreciation; however, he had no idea that his world, consisting of evolution, atheism, and his ingrained Darwinian philosophy, would be turned upside down that same day.

After the lecture, he was approached by a young lady with a yellow legal pad. “Doc, Doc, Doc, terrific lecture! Doc, I have a bunch of questions that I would like to ask you.” He had high regard for her; as she was his top “A” student that year. In his own words, “I was flattered with this student’s positive approach,” so he agreed on a time to meet in his office. Perhaps her positive approach led him to think she was going to applaud him for his impassioned statements made during the lecture and he felt it was his obligation to spend time with her. Maybe the questions she posed would be supportive of his anti-creationism stand. Besides that, she was an excellent student, and a serious prospect for graduate school. He dutifully made an appointment that afternoon. When she appeared punctually at his office, she had a yellow legal pad filled with questions and a stack of reference books in tow. He had no idea that this meeting would last over three hours and change his life forever.

Eloquently Making a Case
She came prepared with thoughtful science questions and a strategy to avoid going down the emotional pathway of the creation vs. evolution debate. There was too much at stake. It was evident from the morning lecture that Lumsden was vested, heart and soul, in evolution. For this reason, she decided to preempt any argument by stating, “Doc, I don’t want to present an argument about today’s lecture this morning; I just want to get my science straight.” In a previous Evolutionary Biology course, where she was also an “A” student, as reported by her professor, she “drove her professor nuts” on the issue of evolution being scientific. She was so academically skilled that she would go on to study medicine and become a medical missionary.

She challenged him with questions that were qualified by research in the pertinent literature and relevant to the courses she was taking. Basically, Lumsden had to validate what he taught that morning and, more importantly, his approach to biology and the very core of his life’s philosophy. If you believe you are a product of chance, then there is little or no meaning to life. However, if you are a product of design by a Creator, then there is very clear purpose for life.

She started going down a long list of questions on her legal pad with the first question dealing with the origin of life. At that time, it was believed that life came from inert lifeless particles of earth called amino acids, and that they could assemble themselves into the building blocks of life called proteins. Not many realized that the basic chemical equations found in the textbooks that were used by Lumsden and many others did not work. In fact, these formulas defied the laws of chemistry. This astute student pointed this out to Lumsden and it was very difficult for him to defend. Why were these incorrect formulas in the textbooks and why were so many scientists continuing to use these reactions to explain the origin of life? The answer lies in their deep blind faith in evolution. If you state unequivocally that evolution began from inert matter and all the laws of chemistry and physics negate that possibility, then no explanation apart from divine intervention can explain it. Lumsden had known there was a problem here, but like so many others, he simply overlooked it, because of his evolutionary indoctrination.

Even though she basically dismantled the professor’s morning lecture, she did not stop there. The molecules-to-man scenario has been doomed since its inception. It is refuted by the very laws of chemistry and physics that are foundational to all of the sciences.

With the utmost respect for her professor, she steadfastly moved on to the area of probability. Being a math minor in college, she demonstrated clearly that these preliminary particles, amino acids, could not just randomly come together to build a living organism. She impressed the professor with her mathematics and the conclusions were clear. It would be impossible for life to come into existence by chance. She came prepared with the scientific literature that cited the statistical improbabilities of producing life from the materials found in soil. One of those sources was Cambridge University’s eminent astronomer and mathematician, Fred Hoyle. He is famous for comparing the evolutionary origin of life to a tornado sweeping through a junkyard and assembling a fully operational Boeing 747 from the materials therein. In the scientific journal, “The New Scientist,” in November 1981, Hoyle compared the statistical probability of life arising by purely natural processes by using the analogy of a blind person solving a Rubik’s cube puzzle. He wrote, “Now imagine 1050 blind persons, each with a scrambled Rubik’s cube, and try to conceive of the chance of them all simultaneously arriving at the solved form.” Simply stated, the possibility of life being formed from the inert particles called amino acids would be like the chances of that number of blind people, essentially equaling twice the number of stars in the universe with all of them simultaneously solving the Rubik’s cube. Such a statistical improbability brings us to the evident conclusion again, that the evolution of life on earth is impossible to the highest degree.

As the young student meticulously used the sword of science to shred away the professor’s evolutionary philosophy, she then took aim at beneficial mutations. She reminded him of what he said in a previous class, “Doc, you mentioned most mutations are destructive to the species, then how does it cause evolution.” A mutation is a change in the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) code that can result in missing or malformed proteins that may lead to disease. One such genetic mutation causes sickle cell anemia (SSA). This type of anemia is a multigenerational disease that has its origin in Africa. It causes a person’s red bloods cells to become stiff, sticky, susceptible to rupture, and far less permeable than normally flexible biconcave-shaped red cells. This distortion gives the red blood cells their typical crescent moon appearance. When sickling occurs, they can block blood flow in the smaller blood vessels called capillaries. An attack causes severe pain, depriving tissues and organs of oxygen-rich blood, and can lead to serious organ damage, especially in the lungs, kidneys, spleen and brain. In countries without advanced medical facilities, sickle cell disease is often a fatal hemoglobinopathy.

It is considered a “beneficial” mutation, because people with the sickle cell trait (carriers as well as those with the disease) do have some increased protection against malarial infection. The decreased permeability in their red blood cells membrane makes those cells more resistant to invasion by the malarial parasite. Is sickle cell anemia really beneficial to the human race? No, this mutation can be lethal. Is having the “trait” really beneficial? Perhaps it is to you, but not to your children. Two parents with the trait are destined to pass the trait on to three out of four of their children, with the fourth inheriting the deadly form of SSA. That cannot be considered beneficial by anyone’s definition. If one parent has the disease and the other is a carrier, the morbidity rate for your children increases to 50% and the remaining 50% becoming carriers. It cannot be truly beneficial if you might escape a malarial infection, only to die from SSA. Losing information never benefits the original overall design of any organism. This is what we observe today as many different species have become extinct. Lumsden could easily identify with this example, because he was recognized for his work on organisms like the female Anopheles mosquito, the genus that carries the malarial parasite.

The Humbled Professor
After three hours, the student graciously thanked him, but he was intellectually devastated. The altar Lumsden had built for evolution had been demolished. He described the experience as being, “Worse than the oral defense for his doctrinal dissertation.” For the first time, he heard himself answering those questions and realized how void of science evolution truly was. According to Lumsden, evolution was “a bankrupt theory” worse than any pseudoscience or science fiction.
Watch from Evolution to Creation:

The Testimony of Dr. Richard Lumsden
For the first time, he was being truly challenged. If evolution was not the answer, he would be faced with the only alternative, other than a race of creator-aliens, which was God. After a year, his daughter invited him to church and he accepted Christ as his Savior. In his own words, “With flesh protesting every inch of the way, I found myself walking forward, down to the altar. And there, I found God! Truly, at that moment, I came to know Him, and received the Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.” That student who questioned him had prayed for all her professors, but she gave Lumsden special attention. The unique ministry of the Holy Spirit was at work that day, and that’s why he was open to the truth.

After becoming a new creature in Christ, it was difficult for Professor Lumsden to continue at Tulane University. His vocal conversion resulted in his ejection from the science department. Soon after, He took a position as the Director of Biology at the Institute of Creation Research and began teaching at the Master’s College from 1990 to 1996.
Dr. Lumsden went home to be with the Lord at age 59. He left a legacy of a vibrant professor who, was excited about God’s glory as evidenced through His Creation. Watch Dr. Lumsden’s heartfelt testimony.

Dangerous  Indoctrination
One of the most revealing aspects of Dr. Lumsden’s testimony is from early in his life. As a child who loved science and regularly attended Sunday school, he had numerous questions about apparent contradictions between science and the Bible. When he sought answers from his Sunday school teachers and pastors, they were not forthcoming. When he saw Adam and Eve being depicted as beautifully human in his Sunday school, he compared them with the gross pictures of prehistoric man found his textbook. Because the church never addressed his needs, he went with evolution. Lumsden defined this as the seed of indoctrination. In everything around him, all the materials he read, the instruction in the classroom, the public media, and almost everywhere else, evolution was spoken as a fact. If God is censored out of the explanations, and the brainwashing mantra “Everything comes from evolution,” is constantly repeated, what else can you expect? The salient point was, as a youngster in church, his questions went unanswered. Rather than giving him the clear logic of God’s Word and truly biblical answers, he was indoctrinated into a hostile atheistic worldview by which he was blinded to the truth of God.

What Can We Do?
We can’t be idle when so many young lives are being taken hostage by the lie of evolution. I have written a book, Evolution’s Fatal Fruit: How Darwin’s Tree of Life Brought Death to Millions, in which I present Darwin, the man, and his dangerous theory of evolution. The book identifies Darwin’s key disciples; men who were needed to carry and pass the torch of this dark lie to Hitler and others who would ultimately bring death to millions. Todd Friel, who has dynamic insight in these issues, has produced an exciting two DVD documentary series entitled, What Hath Darwin Wrought? This film chronicles the dreadful results of evolution’s twisted ideas. It features Dr. John West, Dr. Richard Weikart and Dr. David Berlinski. This two-hour series will definitely open your eyes to the atrocities that evolution has brought, and continues to bring, upon our society.

Please consider helping our ministry with a $35 donation. You will receive both my book and the two DVD set as excellent resources for you and your loved ones. We declare this is God’s ministry and we always rely on Him to guide us in how to best proclaim the vital truths of creation, especially to the young. We ask you to partner with us. It is your prayers and financial donations that keep this ministry moving forward. CSI depends on you. Thank you for standing with us as we give God all the glory due His name.
In His service,
Tom DeRosa
Executive Director & Founder of CSI