• The unbeliever in Islam: Paradigm and Primer

    In Islam, according to the Qur’an and the most respected Hadith, the unbeliever (kafir) is treated totally different than Muslims. Through the strict enforcement of sharia (Islamic law) the non-Muslim living in Muslim-majority societies is relegated to the status of dhimmitude, which makes them second or even third class citizens. They are required to pay the jizya (tax). They can be sentenced to death for so-called blasphemy against Islam, especially against the Islamic prophet Muhammad. This sets up an us-versus-them socio-religious dynamic which touches of every aspect of society from education, culture, law, and religious freedom (or rather the lack of it). Non-Muslims are disenfranchised via sharia.

    In Islam, Non-Muslims are perceived negatively. They are wretched people who are like beasts (Surah 8:55), cursed by Allah (Surah 2:88), are hardhearted (Surah 39:22), unjust (Surah 29:49), and the worst of creatures (Surah 98:6). Perhaps this is why it is permissible in Islam to lie to non-Muslims. In fact, the Quran teaches that Muslims are to subjugate all non-Muslims under a totalitarian, Muslim run governmental system.  In addition, unlike the God of Christianity (John 3:16; Matt. 5:43-48), Allah does not love all people (Surah 3:32).  Therefore, many Muslims likewise hate non-Muslims as is evidenced by Surah 5:51 which says not to take Christians and Jews as friends.  Nevertheless, in Islam, unbelievers are described in the following way.

    1. Unbelievers as Apes
      1. Surah 2:65, “And well ye knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath: We said to them: “Be ye apes, despised and rejected.”
      2. Surah 5:60, Say: “Shall I point out to you something much worse than this, (as judged) by the treatment it received from Allah. Those who incurred the curse of Allah and His wrath, those of whom some He transformed into apes and swine, those who worshipped evil – these are (many times) worse in rank, and far more astray from the even path!”
      3. Surah 7:166, “When in their insolence they transgressed (all) prohibitions, We said to them: “Be ye apes, despised and rejected.”
    2. Unbelievers as Asses
      1. Surah 74:48-50, “Then will no intercession of (any) intercessors profit them. 49 Then what is the matter with them that they turn away from admonition?— 50 As if they were affrighted asses.“
    3. Unbelievers as the worst of beasts
      1. Surah 8:55, “For the worst of beasts in the sight of Allah are those who reject Him: They will not believe.”
    4. Unbelievers are blasphemers
      1. Surah 5:68, “Say: “O People of the Book! Ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord.” It is the revelation that cometh to thee from thy Lord, that increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. But sorrow thou not over (these) people without Faith.”
    5. Unbelievers cannot be heirs of a Muslim
      1. Narrated Usama bin Zaid: the Prophet said, “A Muslim cannot be the heir of a disbeliever, nor can a disbeliever be the heir of a Muslim.”  (Sahih Bukhari, Book #80, Hadith #756)
    6. Condemned for not worshipping Allah
      1. Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah’s Prophet used to say, “A disbeliever will be brought on the Day of Resurrection and will be asked. “Suppose you had as much gold as to fill the earth, would you offer it to ransom yourself?” He will reply, “Yes.” Then it will be said to him, “You were asked for something easier than that (to join none in worship with Allah (i.e. to accept Islam, but you refused).”  (Sahih Bukhari, Book #76, Hadith #546)
    7. Confused
      1. Surah 50:5, “But they deny the Truth when it comes to them: so they are in a confused state.”
    8. Cursed by Allah
      1. Surah 2:88, “They say, “Our hearts are the wrappings (which preserve Allah’s Word: we need no more).” Nay, Allah’s curse is on them for their blasphemy: Little is it they believe.”
      2. Surah 48:6, “And that He may punish the Hypocrites, men and women, and the Polytheists men and women, who imagine an evil opinion of Allah. On them is a round of Evil: the Wrath of Allah is on them: He has cursed them and got Hell ready for them: and evil is it for a destination.”
    9. Deaf, Dumb, and Blind
      1. Surah 2:171, “The parable of those who reject Faith is as if one were to shout Like a goat-herd, to things that listen to nothing but calls and cries: Deaf, dumb, and blind, they are void of wisdom.”
    10. Destruction awaits them
      1. Surah 47:10, “Do they not travel through the earth, and see what was the End of those before them (who did evil)? Allah brought utter destruction on them, and similar (fates await) those who reject Allah.“
    11. Disease in their hearts
      1. Surah 5:52, “Those in whose hearts is a disease – thou seest how eagerly they run about amongst them, saying: “We do fear lest a change of fortune bring us disaster.” Ah! Perhaps Allah will give (thee) victory, or a decision according to His will. Then will they repent of the thoughts which they secretly harboured in their hearts.”
      2. Surah 24:50, “Is it that there is a disease in their hearts? Or do they doubt, or are they in fear, that Allah and His Apostle will deal unjustly with them? Nay, it is they themselves who do wrong.”
    12. Follow vanities
      1. Surah 47:3, “This because those who reject Allah follow vanities, while those who believe follow the Truth from their Lord: Thus does Allah set forth for men their lessons by similitudes.”
    13. Forgotten by Allah
      1. Surah 32:14, “Taste ye then – for ye forgot the Meeting of this Day of yours, and We too will forget you – taste ye the Penalty of Eternity for your (evil) deeds!”
    14. Hardhearted
      1. Surah 39:22, “Is one whose heart Allah has opened to Islam, so that he has received Enlightenment from Allah, (no better than one hard-hearted)? Woe to those whose hearts are hardened against celebrating the praises of Allah! They are manifestly wandering (in error)!”
    15. Impure
      1. Surah 8:37, “In order that Allah may separate the impure from the pure, put the impure, one on another, heap them together, and cast them into Hell. They will be the ones to have lost.”
    16. Killing unbelievers
      1. “…No the law that no Muslim should be killed in Qisas (equality in punishment) for the killing of (a disbeliever).  (Sahih Bukhari, Book #3, Hadith #111)
    17. Lied against their Lord
      1. “…As for the others, or the disbelievers, it will be announced publicly before the witnesses: ‘These are ones who lied against their Lord.”  (Sahih Bukhari, Book #60, Hadith #207)
    18. Loved not by Allah
      1. Surah 3:32, “Say: “Obey Allah and His Apostle”: But if they turn back, Allah loveth not those who reject Faith.”
      2. Surah 22:38, “Verily Allah will defend (from ill) those who believe: verily, Allah loveth not any that is a traitor to faith, or show ingratitude.”
    19. Rebellious and wicked
      1. Surah 9:8, “How (can there be such a league), seeing that if they get an advantage over you, they respect not in you the ties either of kinship or of covenant? With (fair words from) their mouths they entice you, but their hearts are averse from you; and most of them are rebellious and wicked.”
    20. Spread mischief
      1. Surah 16:88, “Those who reject Allah and hinder (men) from the Path of Allah—for them will We add Penalty to Penalty; for that they used to spread mischief.”
    21. Unjust
      1. Surah 29:49, “Nay, here are Signs self-evident in the hearts of those endowed with knowledge: and none but the unjust reject Our Signs.”
    22. Works bear no fruit
      1. Surah 2:117, “They ask thee concerning fighting in the Prohibited Month. Say: “Fighting therein is a grave (offense); but graver is it in the sight of Allah to prevent access to the path of Allah, to deny Him, to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and drive out its members.” Tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter. Nor will they cease fighting you until they turn you back from your faith if they can. And if any of you Turn back from their faith and die in unbelief, their works will bear no fruit in this life and in the Hereafter; they will be companions of the Fire and will abide therein.”
    23. Worst of creatures
      1. Surah 98:6, “Those who reject (Truth), among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, will be in Hell-Fire, to dwell therein (for aye). They are the worst of creatures.”

    Here are some more hateful verses (surah) from the Qur’an:

    • Surah 2:191 “Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them.”
    • Surah 3:28 “Muslims must not take infidels as friends.”
    • Surah 3:85 “Any religion other than Islam is not acceptable.”
    • Surah 5:33 “Maim and crucify th einfidels it the criticize Islam.”
    • Surah 8:12 “Terrorize and behead those who believe in scriptures other than the Qur’an.”
    • Surah 8:60 “Muslims must muster all weapons to terrorize the infidels.”
    • Surah 8:65 “The unbelievers are stupid; urge the Muslims to fight them.”
    • Surah 9:5 “Whenver opportunity arises kill the infidels wherever you find them.”
    • Surah 9:30 “The Jews and Christians are perverts, fight them.”
    • Surah 9:123 “Make war on the infidels living in your neighborhood.”
    • Surah 22:19 “Punish the unbelievers with garments of fire, hooked iron rods, boilt water, melt their skin and bellies.”
    • Surah 47:4 “Do not hanker for peace with the infidels; behead them when you catch them.”

    Note this is only a sampling of the hateful verses in the Qur’an calling for violence against infidels. The various authoritative Hadith also contain literally dozens of similar statements.

    So as you can see, Islam’s most sacred texts portray unbelievers (kuffar) in an extremely negative fashion. They are not to be trusted, they are not to be your friend if you are a Muslim, it’s permissible to lie to them (taqiyya), and they are to be generally hated and despised; if they don’t submit so sharia law they should be executed. This is the theological and psychological basis of offensive Jihad, as opposed to defensive, by Muslims, which we see all so frequently in recent decades.

    The unholy ambition of every Muslim is to establish a worldwide caliphate with Islamic sharia law ruling supreme, and every non-Muslim under dhimmitude and subjugation, or else killed if they will not submit to subjugation.

    The death penalty for apostasy is part of Islamic law. It’s based on the Qur’an: “They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah. But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper.” (Qur’an 4:89)

    A hadith depicts Muhammad saying: “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him” (Bukhari 9.84.57). The death penalty for apostasy is part of Islamic law according to all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence.

    This is still the position of all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence, both Sunni and Shi’ite. Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the most renowned and prominent Muslim cleric in the world, has stated: “The Muslim jurists are unanimous that apostates must be punished, yet they differ as to determining the kind of punishment to be inflicted upon them. The majority of them, including the four main schools of jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali) as well as the other four schools of jurisprudence (the four Shiite schools of Az-Zaidiyyah, Al-Ithna-‘ashriyyah, Al-Ja’fariyyah, and Az-Zaheriyyah) agree that apostates must be executed.”

    Qaradawi also once famously said: “If they had gotten rid of the apostasy punishment, Islam wouldn’t exist today.”

    “[Islam is] Not even a religion; it’s a political system bent on world domination wrapped in religious clothes.” – Stuart Brogden (my friend)

    I believe history bears this out. Islam spread through offensive warfare with mass killings of those who resisted, forced conversions, etc.

    What the sacred [sic] writings of Islam have done is dehumanize the unbelievers. This dehumanization is systematized and codified into religious law (sharia) which gives it the highest authority and legitimacy (in the eyes of Muslims only). Thus, once Islam has established the kuffar as the alien Other, any type of injustice, discrimination, oppression, and persecution is halal (approved). This includes rape and murder. Only a thoroughly Satanic system could produce such unholy writings and law. I don’t say that to denigrate Islam, but rather as a quantifier. These beliefs are truly from the pit of Hell.

    What is most galling and despicable about these Satanic verses is that they claim to do their evil against Jews and Christians as part of a divine mandate from God Himself. He instructed the angel Gibril (who was actually a demon) to choke the words of the Qur’an out of Mohammed. Muslims believe every single word in the Qur’an in the classical Arabic language is the exact words of God Himself. So when they are murdering and raping Christians their sacred [sic] texts and sharia law instruct them to do so with God’s blessing. That is why when there is an act of Islamic terrorism they almost always preface it with “Allahu ackbar!” (God is great!)

    So Muslims feel totally justified to invade other countries and make Islam dominate (stealth Jihad of Western Europe, Canada, Australia and America is well underway), to rape young Christian girls, to sexually abuse children (Mohammed is their alleged perfect example of conduct, and he had intercourse with his wife Aisha when she was only 9 years old), to murder Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. So all types of wickedness is given divine license in Islam. The kuffar are viewed as subhuman. This is the exact same type of mindset which the Nazis had. The viewed Jews as subhuman. Muslims view Jews and Christians as subhuman. There are many parallels that can be made.

    I believe, as history has shown, that Islam is hellbent on global domination both theologically, culturally, politically and militarily! Islam is the world’s fastest growing religion. This growth is spurred almost entirely by extremely high birth rates (very few conversions). Once Islam has amassed a critical mass of population in the world it will unleash, once again, the same type of offensive jihad it in its first few hundred years when Christian, Persian, and Jewish and other nations fell to Islam. This will be exacerbated by stealth jihads we have already seen happening around the world. Once the Trojan Horse of Islam is unleashed the populations who are Muslim in countries Muslims wish to dominate will readily fight against the lands that fed, clothed, educated, and paid for them to live on generous social welfare. Their allegiance is to Islam. We have already seen this born out in terrorist attacks in Britain and France which were committed by native born Muslims.

    But, as I said, in the future this offensive jihad will be a global event, and it will utterly overwhelm the world’s non-Muslim countries. We need to cripple Muslim majority countries, ban Muslim immigration to Western nations, boycott/divest/sanction Muslim majority nations, we should get our oil from local sources as well as countries such as Canada and Russia (if the US and NATO would only realize that the Cold War is over, and Russia is not our enemy) and utterly cut the money supply to OPEC nations. Muslim nations with oil have spent huge sums of money on pushing Wahhabism, which is a particularly fundamentalist and violence school of Islam, building mosques and madrassa in Western nations, funding terrorist groups, etc. We must sanction Muslim majority countries and have absolutely nothing to do with them until they reform Islam and remove the hatred and violence from the Qur’an and Hadith. As long as the texts are considered authoritative and binding, then Islamic societies will continue on their current trajectory. Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and even atheist countries must band together to destroy Islam and demilitarize Muslim countries. They must not be allowed to have any weapons. All travel to and from Muslim countries must be strictly regulated.

    Make no mistake or harbor any illusions about Islam. It survives and is perpetuated by fear and intimidation. Take away the fear and Islam is impotent. No other major religion in the world is so terrified of losing members that it has so-called apostasy laws that call for the murder of those converting to another religion! No other religion commits tens of thousands of acts of terrorism in the past 2 decades! No other religion has so-called blasphemy laws that would call for the murder of anyone who insults (to analyze Islam critically and honestly is apparently an insult) Mohammed, such is their fear at the true historical facts of Mohammed and Islam coming to light. FEAR, FEAR, FEAR!

    Christ calls us believers to fear not. For He has conquered the world. In the future every single Muslim will bow before Christ, before they are cast into the Lake of Fire to suffer an eternity of conscious torment. Christ and we Christians have the ultimate victory so rejoice! Islam is the loser in the end. GLORY TO GOD! The sooner Islam is relegated to the scrap heap of history the better. It’s estimated Muslims have killed over 100 million non-Muslims since it was founded in the 7th century.

  • Autumn Reflections

    I meander through the park

    On a cold autumn day

    The multi-hued leaves crunch satisfyingly underfoot

    Reflecting on God’s providence and grace

    My mood is slightly morose, yet hopeful

    Squirrels open chestnuts for the long winter ahead

    Over head a Peregrine falcon soars majestically

    Eyeing its prey

    A mouse darts across the open field

    The leaves swirl around in the wind

    Similar to Brownian motion

    My breath hangs suspended briefly in the frosty afternoon air

    The panoply of life play out in front of me

    It invigorates my soul

    Connected to God and at peace

    Knowing I’m secure in Christ

    Makes this a very good day indeed

  • The Full Armor of God

    This poem is about putting on the full armor of God, as delineated in Ephesians 6:10-18.

    Tis the Devil I fight today
    I will battle him without delay

    Not by my own might
    By God’s power that serpent will seek flight

    I can do nothing by my power
    But all can be done as Christ’s soldier

    Don the helmet of salvation to discern spiritual manipulation
    You won’t be in a spiritual depression

    We put on the full armor of the Lord
    And wield the Word of God, the Spirit’s Sword

    The breastplate of Christ’s righteousness
    Preserves us from Satan’s deadliness

    With the belt of truth
    We resist Satanic deception forsooth

    The shield of faith protects us from doubt
    With it, unbelief we shall rout

    Our feet will be covered by the Gospel of peace
    Even in troubled times we can find solace

    And so we have on the full armor of God
    Our victory is assured

  • The One True Church

    I often hear Catholics and Orthodox say they are the oldest churches and can trace through apostolic succession their churches back to 33 AD.

    I posit that what is most important is having the correct doctrine. Men are fallible and can make mistakes. Once a church is institutionalized correcting those mistakes becomes very difficult, if not impossible, especially in the case of dogma that the church had declared de fide. We must be open to correction in our dogma and doctrine through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

    Christ promising us that the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth was a promise for His Body, ie. all those who have been regenerated and are part of the Elect, not for any institutional church.

    Likewise, the True Church is invisible. It is comprised of all individuals from the Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches who have been regenerated and are part of the Elect.

    Some errant dogma and doctrine crept into the Orthodox and Catholic churches over time. God used the glorious Protestant Reformation to return the Church to sound dogma and doctrine.

    Thus we who are Protestant, and especially Reformed, have the true Apostolic faith which can be traced back to the very Apostles who wrote the New Testament. We alone can claim we are the oldest church and that our dogma and doctrine, via Sola Scriptura, is the most Biblical.

    During the Reformation, the Reformers identified three main marks of a true church. The Belgic Confession summarizes the general view best when it lists the three marks as follows:

    1. “the pure doctrine of the gospel is preached therein”
    2. “she maintains the pure administration of the sacraments”
    3. “church discipline is exercised”

    The first and foundational mark of a true church is that “the pure doctrine of the gospel is preached therein.” John Hammett explains:

    [John] Calvin was willing to call a group a true church, even if they did not understand all of God’s Word aright, as long as they preserved and preached the pure gospel message. Here we encounter a true sine qua non of the church. If it loses the gospel message, a group of people is no longer a true church. It may be a religious society or club, but it is not a church, for God’s called-out people are called out by the gospel and come in response to the gospel.

    The gospel is truly the sine qua non of the church. This means that it is absolutely essential and indispensable to the church. Without it, a congregation is not a congregation of the one true God. They may be a congregation of people meeting together, but they do not qualify as a congregation (or “church”) of God. When Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, he described them as follows: “those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours” (1 Corinthians 1:2). The congregation of God is made up of those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. This comprehends both his identity and work. One must call upon the true Christ, and not a false Christ. The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 explains who is to make up local congregations:

    All persons throughout the world, professing the faith of the gospel, and obedience unto God by Christ according unto it, not destroying their own profession by any errors everting the foundation, or unholiness of conversation, are and may be called visible saints; and of such ought all particular congregations to be constituted. ( 1 Corinthians 1:2; Acts 11:26; Romans 1:7; Ephesians 1:20-22 )

    1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, Chapter 26

    The phrase “professing the faith of the gospel” refers to the content of the gospel. Without the “faith of the gospel” there are no saints to constitute local churches. It seems the Reformers often equated the Word of God with the pure doctrine of the gospel, interchanging those terms for the first mark of a true church. Martin Luther said: “the sole, uninterrupted, infallible mark of the church has always been the Word.” Commenting on this, W. Robert Godfrey notes, “Without this mark, there can not be any hope at all for the others.”  Hammett concurs: “For the Reformers, the preaching of the Word was almost synonymous with the preaching of the gospel. The gospel message of the Word was salvation by grace alone.

    When the Apostle Paul wrote to the churches of Galatia, he vehemently asserted that the gospel was of supreme importance―so much so that he said, “If we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8). For emphasis, Paul repeats himself: “As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” The Greek word for accursed is anathema and it means to be doomed for destruction. The content of the gospel is so important in the life of churches that the Apostle Paul warns in the strongest language to refuse any false gospel.

    The gospel is the good news. It is identified in Scripture as the good news of the kingdom, grace, God, peace, and even the good news of your salvation. However, the most used description of the good news is the gospel of Christ:

    •  Mark 1:1: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God”
    • Romans 1:9: “the gospel of his Son”
    • Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ”
    • Romans 15:19: “I have fully preached the gospel of Christ”
    • Romans 15:29: “I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ”
    • 1 Corinthians 9:12: “Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ”
    • 1 Corinthians 9:18: “I may make the gospel of Christ without charge”
    • 2 Corinthians 2:12: “When I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel”
    • 2 Corinthians 4:4: “the glorious gospel of Christ”
    • 2 Corinthians 9:13: “the gospel of Christ”
    • 2 Corinthians 10:14: “preaching the gospel of Christ”
    • Galatians 1:7: “there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ”

    Manifestly, the gospel is about Jesus Christ. The gospel is not simply that Jesus died and rose (Jehovah’s Witnesses and other cults believe this), nor can it simply be that Jesus is also God (Roman Catholics believe that). It must encompass his person and his work. The content of the gospel, therefore, concerns Jesus Christ’s identity and work of redemption. The good news of Christ is a message of good tidings that centers around who Jesus Christ is and what he has done. Concerning his identity, Jesus Christ is the God-man, the eternal and unchangeable Son of God, very God of very God (John 1:1; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 13:8). To reject the true identity of Jesus is to reject the good news about him. A “gospel” which presents Jesus as anything less than the God-man is a false gospel.

    The gospel is the good news of salvation for sinners. It is therefore about the work that Jesus Christ did (and is doing). In Christ’s great work of redemption (his life, death, and resurrection) he secured the salvation of all the elect. The Bible teaches us that the gospel of Christ includes the fact that Jesus “will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). It teaches us that Jesus Christ laid down his life “for the sheep” (John 10:15). It teaches us that all the Father gives to Christ will come to him (John 6:37). The Bible teaches us that “no one can come to [Christ] unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44). It teaches us that a man must be born again (from above) in order to be saved (John 3). It teaches us that those who become believers are not born of the will of man (a decision), but of God (John 1:13). It teaches us that the repentance of sin and faith in Christ Jesus which are necessary for salvation are, in fact, gifts from God, given to the elect according to God’s grace (2 Timothy 2:25; Ephesians 2:8-9). The good news is that salvation is of the Lord, not man. Every aspect of salvation is of God. Steven Lawson comments:

    The central truth of God’s saving grace is succinctly stated in the assertion, “Salvation is of the Lord.” This strong declaration means that every aspect of man’s salvation is from God and is entirely dependent upon God. The only contribution that we make is the sin that was laid upon Jesus Christ at the cross. The Apostle Paul affirmed this when he wrote, “From Him and through Him and to Him are all things” (Rom. 11:36). This is to say, salvation is God determined, God purchased, God applied, and God secured. From start to finish, salvation is of the Lord alone.

    In short, the good news of Jesus Christ is nothing less than what is often referred to as the “doctrines of grace” or “Calvinism.” Charles Spurgeon, the Baptist preacher from the 19th century, put it quite frankly: “[T]here is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else.”

    The gospel of Christ contains the great truth of salvation. The church is entrusted with this truth. 1 Timothy 3:15 tells us that the church is the “pillar and buttress of the truth.” It is the gospel of Christ and the gospel of Christ alone that has the power to save (Romans 1:16).

    Thus we see that since Rome anathematized the gospel at the Council of Trent in the 16th century. In 1672, a synod of bishops gathered in Jerusalem to respond to Cyril Lucaris’ Calvinistic 1629 Confession. The council resoundingly rejected Reformed theology and drafted a formal statement known as the Confession of Dositheus. It soon acquired the status of being Orthodoxy’s definitive stance on Reformed theology. So the Orthodox also reject Calvinism and thus follow a different gospel; it is crystal clear that neither the Roman or Orthodox churches are true churches. They have members, some of which may indeed be counted among the Elect. But the churches themselves do not possess the gospel. And anyone saved in those churches will be saved in spite of the erroneous doctrine.

    So we have seen that the Reformed, and only the Reformed, can rightly say that we are the One True Church!

  • The 5 Solas of the Reformation

    The glorious Protestant Reformation was built on 5 foundational principles. These are collectively known as The 5 Solas. Below is each of the terms in Latin with an English translation, followed by a brief description.

    Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”). This means that the Bible alone is the ultimate authority. Although it can be beneficial to study things churches have historically taught, the Bible rises above even the greatest of human teachers and tells us what to believe and how to live.

    Sola Fide (“faith alone”). This means that we are saved simply by faith in Christ. While ordinances like the baptism and the Lord’s Supper are important, they do not confer salvation. 

    Sola Gratia (“grace alone”). This means that we are saved purely through God’s grace and not by our merits or achievements. God gets 100% of the credit!

    Solus Christus (“Christ alone”). This means that Jesus alone is our Lord and Savior. In the end, we all answer to him and we all are saved by him. 

    Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”). We live for God’s glory, not our own. In every decision and every course of action, God’s glory is our ultimate and primary concern. Whatever else we do, we want to make much of him!

    All of these 5 Solas were embraced by the magisterial Protestant Reformers. They have been codified in Reformed confessions such as the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith.

  • The Faithful Five

    Here is some background info on the 5 Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe, thus declaring that abortion is not a constitutional right.

    The majority opinion, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. Thomas and Kavanaugh also filed concurring opinions.

    Chief Justice John Roberts filed an opinion concurring in the judgement, in which he advocated for a more narrow ruling.

    “The Court’s decision to overrule Roe and Casey is a serious jolt to the legal system—regardless of how you view those cases,” his opinion reads. “A narrower decision rejecting the misguided viability line would be markedly less unsettling, and nothing more is needed to decide this case.”

    “My point is that Roe adopted two distinct rules of constitutional law: one, that a woman has the right to choose to terminate a pregnancy; two, that such right may be overridden by the State’s legitimate interests when the fetus is viable outside the womb,” he added at another point. “The latter is obviously distinct from the former. I would abandon that timing rule, but see no need in this case to consider the basic right.”

    Here are the justices who voted to end Roe v. Wade.

    Associate Justice Samuel J. Alito Jr.

    Alito is the author of the Dobbs decision. Now 72, he was nominated to the Supreme Court by President George W. Bush, where he has served since January 2006. He replaced Reagan nominee Justice Sandra Day O’Connor upon her retirement.

    Alito outlined his philosophy in a January 2006 hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

    “A judge can’t have any agenda. A judge can’t have any preferred outcome in any particular case. And a judge certainly doesn’t have a client,” he said. “The judge’s only obligation — and it’s a solemn obligation — is to the rule of law, and what that means is that in every single case, the judge has to do what the law requires.”

    Alito added that “there is nothing that is more important for our Republic than the rule of law. No person in this country, no matter how high or powerful, is above the law, and no person in this country is beneath the law.”

    Associate Justice Samuel J. Alito Jr. Screenshot from YouTube video
    Associate Justice Samuel J. Alito Jr. Screenshot from YouTube video

    The justice’s other work has at times addressed religious and moral issues. Alito wrote the majority opinion in the 2014 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case, which rebuked the Obama administration’s mandate that companies and others provide contraceptive coverage, including drugs that can cause abortions, in employee health plans. The mandate through the Department of Health and Human Services was particularly burdensome to Catholic organizations which reject contraception and abortifacients as unethical.

    Alito also wrote a notable dissent from the majority opinion in the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges case, in which the Supreme Court held that the Constitution guarantees the right to same-sex marriage.

    He is a practicing Catholic from a first-generation Italian-American family in Trenton, New Jersey. He is a graduate of Yale Law School and was an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1972 to 1980.

    Alito gave the keynote address to the 2017 graduating class of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia and received an honorary doctorate from the seminary, presented by Philadelphia’s then-Archbishop Charles Chaput.

    In his remarks to the seminarians, he emphasized the importance of religious freedom and anticipated more struggles to come in the face of political and cultural dangers. He also said his faith provides him meaning and purpose in life.

    Alito’s nomination gave the Supreme Court its first Catholic majority. At the time of his nomination Eleanor Smeal, then-president of the group Feminist Majority, whose causes include legal abortion, noted this fact and voiced concern that the court majority “would underrepresent other religions, not to mention nonbelievers.” Smeal’s statement drew criticism from some Catholics.

    Associate Justice Clarence Thomas

    In 1991, Thomas was nominated by President George H. W. Bush to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Supreme Court justice and a President Kennedy appointee who retired due to declining health.

    Thomas, a Black man who grew up in segregated Georgia, has often had to reflect on the effects of race and racism in his life and in American history.

    In a 2007 Supreme Court decision that ruled that race cannot be a factor in assigning children to public schools, rejecting a policy implemented to advance racial diversity, Thomas cited Justice John Marshall Harlan. In 1896 Harlan dissented from a pro-racial segregation ruling with the words: “Our Constitution is colorblind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens.”

    Before Thomas became a federal judge, he served in various public and private roles and was chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He was a Catholic seminarian at Conception Seminary in Conception, Missouri. He was one of the first African-Americans to graduate from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he later served as a trustee.

    Allegations of sexual harassment, which Thomas strongly denied, made his 1991 confirmation hearings a major flashpoint of contention. His critics also opposed his judicial philosophy and worried how he might decide on various cases, including any reconsideration of Roe v. Wade.

    Thomas has explicitly lamented abortion as a “tool of modern-day eugenics” that the court must eventually address. He made this argument in a 2019 solo opinion in the case Box v. Planned Parenthood, which concerned an Indiana ban on abortion based on race, sex, or disability of the unborn child.

     In his view, the foundation for legal abortion was built in the birth-control movement of the early 20th century, which developed alongside the eugenics movement. Eugenics claimed to advance the scientific improvement of the human population either through fostering births of “superior” humans or by preventing the births of “inferior” people, sometimes through coercive means including forced sterilization.

    Thomas charged that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger promoted birth control, though not abortion, “as a means of reducing the ‘ever increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all,” Thomas said, citing Sanger’s own words. Later abortion advocates, including Sanger collaborator Allan Guttmacher, “explicitly endorsed eugenic reasons for abortion,” the justice wrote.

    Thomas lamented that previous Supreme Court decisions gave legitimacy and power to the eugenics movement and its coercive aspects. Prenatal screenings and other technologies, he warned, mean that “abortion can easily be used to eliminate children with unwanted characteristics” and he questioned why the right to a legal abortion should protect this.

    At that time, Thomas agreed with the Supreme Court’s decision not to revisit lower courts’ injunction against the Indiana abortion regulation, pending further developments.

    “Although the Court declines to wade into these issues today, we cannot avoid them forever,” said Thomas, who added, “the Constitution itself is silent on abortion.”

    U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States
    U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

    Thomas was born near Savannah, Georgia. He was raised by his grandfather, a Black Catholic convert, and his grandmother, a staunch Baptist. Thomas attended Catholic schools and would convert to Catholicism in his youth.

    Though he entered a Catholic seminary, he left after the 1968 assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Thomas has said he was repelled by fellow seminarians’ disparaging comments about King. That experience led to years of distance from Catholicism, and years of involvement and interest in Black radicalism before he moved into conservative political circles. He returned to the practice of the Catholic faith after becoming a Supreme Court justice.

    In a September 2021 address at the University of Notre Dame, Thomas said the example of his grandparents and the Catholic nuns who taught him helped instill the belief that all people were children of God and that the racist flaws of American society were a betrayal of its best promises. He said he did not heed his grandfather’s warnings and became disenchanted, embittered, cynical, and despondent until he once again returned to the beliefs taught to him in his childhood.

    Thomas is married and has a son from a previous marriage. The 74-year-old justice is the longest-serving justice on the court.

    Associate Justice Neil M. Gorsuch

    Gorsuch was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. The vacancy became especially contentious, with Democrats strongly objecting that Senate Republicans should not have blocked then-President Barack Obama’s nomination of federal appellate court judge Merrick Garland. Garland would later become President Joe Biden’s attorney general.

    Gorsuch’s approach to the U.S. Constitution tends to defer to elected legislatures. Federal judges should shun imposing their views on the laws as written, he said.

    “If judges were just secret legislators, declaring not what the law is but what they would like it to be, the very idea of a government by the people and for the people would be at risk,” he said in his March 2017 confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    “In my decade on the bench, I have tried to treat all who come before me fairly and with respect, and afford equal right to poor and to rich,” he added.

    At his confirmation hearings, he acknowledged Roe v. Wade as settled precedent, though he declined to say whether it was decided correctly and how he would rule in future abortion cases.

    Gorsuch holds a law degree from Harvard Law School and a doctorate from Oxford University, where he studied under the prominent natural law legal scholar John Finnis.

    He authored the 2006 book “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia,” in which he explored various arguments made in favor of doctor-prescribed suicide and euthanasia before offering his own observations and opinions. He argued that “human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable,” and that “the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.” He supported laws that banned doctor-prescribed suicide, basing his arguments upon “secular moral theory.”

    During his 2017 confirmation hearings, he said that the book was essentially his doctoral dissertation, written in his capacity as a commentator and not a judge. He published the book the same year he was nominated and confirmed to the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Gorsuch clerked for Reagan appointee Justice Anthony Kennedy, a longtime swing vote in key court decisions. Kennedy was a joint author of the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision which concerned abortion restrictions in Pennsylvania. That decision was a divided judgement. It allowed some abortion restrictions but refused to overturn Roe v. Wade, as pro-life advocates had hoped.

    Gorsuch also clerked for President John F. Kennedy-appointee Justice Byron White, one of two justices to dissent from the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

    White’s dissent, which Alito cites in the Dobbs decision, said there was “nothing in the language or history of the Constitution to support the Court’s judgment” legalizing abortion. White said the Supreme Court’s action in Roe was “an exercise of raw judicial power” and he objected to the invalidation of all state abortion laws. While not declaring a value judgement on abortion, he rejected the court’s choice both to impose “a constitutional barrier to state efforts to protect human life” and to invest “mothers and doctors with the constitutionally protected right to exterminate it.”

    White was the only Democrat-appointed justice to join Justice Clarence Thomas and two other justices to dissent against Planned Parenthood v. Casey.  

    Gorsuch’s time on the court is not without controversy. He wrote the majority opinion in Bostock v. Clayton County which ruled that a ban on sex discrimination in employment included sexual orientation and gender identity. The decision means that a funeral home cannot require male employees to dress like males or ban male employees from wearing dresses.

    Gorsuch was born in Denver, Colorado. He is married with two daughters. He was raised Catholic and attended Catholic schools, including the Society of Jesus’ prestigious Georgetown Preparatory School in Maryland. He and his wife, a British citizen, were married at an Anglican church in England and they attend an Episcopalian church in Boulder, Colorado., where he has taught at the University of Colorado. His late uncle, John P. Gorsuch, was an Episcopal priest.

    Associate Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh

    Kavanaugh was born in Washington, D.C., and is a graduate of Yale Law School. Like Gorsuch, he was a law clerk for Justice Anthony Kennedy, and like Gorsuch, he attended the Jesuits’ Georgetown Preparatory School.

    Kavanaugh has served as legal counsel to President George W. Bush and also as an Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary for the president, his biography on the Supreme Court website says.

    President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh to fill the seat of Justice Kennedy, who retired in June 2018.

    “A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must interpret statutes as written, and a judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent,” Kavanaugh said in his White House speech accepting the nomination.

    “I will tell each senator that I revere the Constitution. I believe that an independent judiciary is the crown jewel of our constitutional republic,” he continued. “If confirmed by the Senate, I will keep an open mind in every case, and I will always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United States and of the American rule of law.”

    Kavanaugh taught constitutional law for more than a decade at Harvard Law School. His acceptance speech noted that he had been hired by law school dean Elena Kagan, herself named to the Supreme Court by President Obama.

    As a federal judge, Kavanaugh wrote a decision that prevented a pregnant undocumented minor in federal custody from receiving an abortion. The decision was overturned by a higher court.

    Kavanaugh said he is “part of the vibrant Catholic community in the D.C. area,” adding, “the members of that community disagree about many things, but we are united by a commitment to serve.”

    Kavanaugh had been a consistent volunteer at Catholic Charities, helping to serve food to the homeless several times a year.

    Monsignor John Enzler, CEO and president of Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Washington, is a longtime friend. Kavanaugh in childhood would assist the priest at Mass as an altar boy.

    Kavanaugh is a married father of two and has served as a basketball coach for his two daughters’ basketball team.

    Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh speaks before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27, 2018. YouTube screenshot via CBS News
    Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh speaks before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27, 2018. YouTube screenshot via CBS News

    His Senate confirmation hearings in 2018 were rocked by decades-old sexual harassment allegations which Kavanaugh angrily denied. Two different pro-abortion rights groups also tried to disrupt the confirmation hearings.

    Kavanaugh’s wife Ashley, who also served in the Bush White House, is town manager of Chevy Chase Section Five, the incorporated Maryland village where the Kavanaughs live.

    Protests of the Supreme Court’s looming decision on abortion seem to have inspired a credible threat to Kavanaugh’s life. Nicholas John Roske of Simi Valley, Calif. was charged with attempted murder of a Supreme Court justice after the 26-year-old was arrested near Kavanaugh’s home early morning of June 8. He allegedly was armed and had planned to kill the justice and himself, but then abandoned his plan and reported himself to authorities after a phone call with his sister.

    Roske was reportedly angry about the prospect that Roe v. Wade would be overturned and about the wide availability of guns in light of the mass shooting at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school.

    Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett

    Barrett, nominated by President Trump to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2020, is the second Catholic woman to serve on the court.  

    Barrett was born in New Orleans and is the eldest of seven siblings. She and her husband have seven children, including two adopted from Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Her father, Mike Coney, has served as a deacon in the New Orleans archdiocese for 40 years.

    She is a graduate of Notre Dame Law School and taught classes there for years before becoming a professor there in 2010.

    Amy Coney Barrett. Photo courtesy of the Notre Dame Law School.
    Amy Coney Barrett. Photo courtesy of the Notre Dame Law School.

    Barrett was a law clerk for the late Justice Antonin Scalia and credits him as a major influence, though she has also emphasized that she would rule on cases as she sees fit. Even justices with the same judicial approach do not necessarily agree on application, she told her Senate confirmation hearings in October 2020.

    She said the legal approach of “originalism” means “that I interpret the Constitution as a law … and that I interpret its text as text, and I understand it to have the meaning that it had at the time people ratified it. So that meaning doesn’t change over time and it’s not up to me to update it or infuse my own policy views into it.”

    President Trump had previously nominated Barrett to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Her September 2017 confirmation hearings included some scrutiny of her Catholic faith. 

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., drew attention for one particular comment to her: “And I think in your case, professor, when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern.”

    Barrett insisted that as a judge, she would honor binding precedents, and would not let her religious beliefs inappropriately alter her judicial decisions.

    She is a member of the ecumenical charismatic group People of Praise, which has an estimated 2,000 adult members. The group has priest members in two dioceses and it operates several schools. Her membership in the group was the subject of some scrutiny by the media during her confirmation process. Some have called the group a “cult” and criticized its former practice of referring to husbands and wives as “heads” and “handmaidens,” both scriptural references.

    Some context about the group came from Bishop Peter Smith, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Portland and part of a group of priests associated with People of Praise. He told CNA in July 2018 that the group was one of many lay charismatic movements that emerged in the Church after the Second Vatican Council. It sought to provide an opportunity for Catholic families to live their faith more intentionally.

    While most People of Praise members are Catholic, the group is officially ecumenical; people from a variety of Christian denominations can join. Members of the group are free to attend the church of their choosing, including Catholic parishes, Smith explained.

    Barrett has reflected on how Catholic faith can interact with the American judicial system. In 1998 the future Supreme Court justice co-authored an article with law professor John Garvey on the possibility of Catholic judges recusing themselves in capital cases, due to the Church’s teaching on the death penalty.

  • Abortion in America

    Today, June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson. The ruling overturned the prior decision, by a vote of 6-3. It also overturned the previous decision, by a vote of 5-4, of Roe v. Wade (1973), which legalized abortion nationwide 49 years ago. It also overturned the prior decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This means the legality of an abortion will now be determined by each state.

    Only 5 Justices voted to overturn Roe. Chief Justice John Roberts dissented. Once again Roberts betrays his supposed conservative pedigree! He also was the deciding vote in the case which legalized homosexual “marriage.” So disappointing. He is truly a conservative in name only!

    Here is the background and particulars of the rulings:

    1. What was the case about?

    The case, known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, involved a 2018 Mississippi law restricting most abortions after 15 weeks. “Dobbs” stands for Thomas E. Dobbs, who serves as the state health officer of the Mississippi State Department of Health. Jackson Women’s Health Organization provides abortion in Jackson, Mississippi, and is the only abortion clinic in that state.

    The case centered on the question of “Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional,” or whether states can ban abortion before a fetus can survive outside the womb. The case challenges two landmark abortion cases that Mississippi calls “egregiously wrong”: Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

    2. Why did the case challenge Roe and Casey?

    In Roe v. Wade, the court ruled that states could not ban abortion before viability, which the court determined to be 24 to 28 weeks into pregnancy. Nearly 20 years later, the court upheld Roe in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The 1992 ruling said that while states could regulate pre-viability abortions, they could not enforce an “undue burden,” defined by the court as “a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus.”

    Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act, the subject of the Dobbs case, bans abortion weeks before the point of viability.

    “Under the Constitution, may a State prohibit elective abortions before viability? Yes,” Mississippi argues in its brief. “Why? Because nothing in constitutional text, structure, history, or tradition supports a right to abortion.”

    3. Who argued the case before the court?

    Three people spoke before the justices in December 2021. Scott G. Stewart, the solicitor general of Mississippi, was given 35 minutes to represent the state. For Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Julie Rikelman, litigation director of the Center for Reproductive Rights, was given 20 minutes. U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar had 15 minutes to argue in support of Jackson Women’s Health Organization.  

    4. How can Americans hear or read the arguments that were made? 

    The Supreme Court website offers an audio recording and transcripts of the arguments.

    5. What did the Court rule in June?

    The Supreme Court overturned Roe and Casey in a historic 6-3 decision released Friday that brought a sudden and dramatic end to nearly a half-century of nationwide legalized abortion in the U.S. 

    “Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority,” the opinion states. “We now overrule these decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”

    The decision does not ban or criminalize abortion, nor does it recognize an unborn child’s constitutional right to life. But in one stroke, the court’s action sweeps away entrenched legal barriers, created and strictly enforced by the federal judiciary, that for decades have blocked states like Mississippi from heavily restricting or prohibiting the killing of unborn children in the womb.

    The ruling marks a watershed moment for the pro-life movement in the United States, which have painstakingly sought Roe’s reversal since the landmark 7-2 decision was handed down on Jan. 19, 1973.

    6. What happens now?

    In more than a dozen states, abortion is now completely illegal, with a few exceptions, while several other states in the country have passed laws to protect abortion within their borders.

    Abortion has the potential to be a major issue in the November elections in the U.S., but early polling suggests economic problems such as inflation may play more of a role. 

    There have already been attempts in the Senate to pass a codification of Roe v. Wade into federal law, but so far these have failed, with Democrat Joe Manchin joining all the senate Republicans in opposition. Political observers have speculated that even if Democrats abolished the filibuster rule — which requires 60 votes to break a filibuster from the minority — they may still not have enough votes to pass a codification of Roe v. Wade. 

    Plus, there is a chance that, in light of the Dobbs ruling, the Supreme Court could strike down a federal law attempting to codify abortion rights. 

    https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2022/06/24/updated-6-things-to-know-about-roe-v-wade-dobbs-v-jackson-and-the-supreme-court/

    This is a joyful day for all those who cherish life and believe it is a sacred gift from God which ONLY HE has the right to take. Roe vs Wade was overturned today.

    We pray in thanksgiving to God for the historic decision. Let us pray for the safety of the 6 Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of abolishing Roe. Their bravery, commitment to pro-life values, and courage are to be commended. The lunatic leftists have already fomented such hatred against the 6 Justices (and they released their home addresses) that a man tried to murder Justice Kavanaugh at his home.

    The ruling holds drastic ramifications, both immediate and long-term. More than twenty states currently have laws on the books that would effectively ban abortion within their borders upon Roe’s fall. We currently have a Democrat governor in my state of Pennsylvania who promised to veto any legislation making abortion illegal. But we have a Republican majority state legislature and if we can elect a Republican pro-life governor in the next election we can outlaw this heinous practice of abortion!

    Abortion on demand (at all stages of development, including late term) has become the sine qua non of the American Democrat Party. LGBT insanity is making headway, but abortion still rules as the lifeblood of the Democrat platform. Expect the lunatic leftists to foment more rebellion, violence and destruction and general mayhem against those who are pro-life. The current Biden appointed Justice Department head Attorney General Merrick B. Garland has literally done nothing to protect pro-life people who witness at abortion centers, and pro-life centers that assist mothers before and after their babies are born! This man is a devil!! After REPEATED attacks in recent weeks, he has failed to lift a finger.

    We must rebuild a culture which values life, at all stages. A true resurgence of pro-life values, and establishing the pro-life position as a hyper majority viewpoint will only happen if millions of Americans repent, believe the Gospel, and trust in Christ alone as Lord and Savior!! The Christian position is pro-life. Period!! If you claim to be a Christian, yet you are pro-abortion then you aren’t a true believer!

    I rejoice at the countless lives that will be saved by this historic legal decision, yet I weep that it’s taken 65 MILLION unborn lives for this to finally happen. I pray for the day when ALL ABORTIONS are made illegal in all 50 states and that includes all cases of rape, incest, etc.

    I also hope more Americans will see the causal link between feminism and abortion. Nearly every evil of modern society can be linked in some way back to feminism!

    Just to show you how deeply saturated the culture of death is in America, I have read numerous accounts of public officials, celebrities, doctors, and even our President lamenting over the fact that fewer children will be brutally slaughtered. It illustrated that they are Hell-bound reprobates, that Satan is their father, and that God has given them over to a depraved mind.

    Josh Shapiro, the Democratic nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, said he will keep abortion legal if he were to be elected governor. He tweeted “This is a devastating day in America.” President Joe Biden, a lifelong Roman Catholic, condemned the ruling, calling it a “sad day” for America. Imagine how wicked you are to call the saving of precious lives “devastating” and asserting that a day which protects the unborn is a “sad day.” President Biden it was a “sad day” when you were elected. Mr. Shapiro, you will find Hell to be very “devastating” indeed!!!

    Here is the official text of the Supreme Court decision:

    Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (19-1392)

    The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe v. Wade, 410 U. S. 113, and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U. S. 833, are overruled; the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.

    Here are individual PDFs you can download of each Justice’s comments:

  • America: Designed to Fail?

    I’ve come to realize that most modern appliances and electronics are actually designed with the intent that they will fail within a certain calculated time span. Anywhere from 3-7 years for fridges and 10-14 at the maximum. This failure is implicit in the design specifications, materials used, manufacturing processes, and is well known to those in upper management. We as consumers have tolerated this for far too long. Our Zenith color TV we purchased in 1980 lasted for 30 years. It used cathode ray tubes. Modern TVs fail after 3-12 years.

    There used to be pride in having something Made in America. You knew it was durable, built to last for decades, and that the people who made it took pride in their work. Even as recently as the 1980s this was still evident. When globalism started to really gear up towards the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s most US manufacturing was moved overseas where the regulatory climate, tax laws and significantly cheaper foreign labor was. This is why China now has a larger GDP than America. Although our GDP-per-capita is still larger. India also benefited enormously from outsourcing. And places like Vietnam.

    The result is that hardly anything is manufactured in America anymore. From automobiles to PCs, from dining room tables to steel, most of it is now outsourced. Even our drugs are made overseas. Materials and products critical to our infrastructure are no longer available here.

    Contrary to popular opinion (media and academia), globalism has not been good for America. One could argue it’s opened up markets to us, but I’d argue those markets were already opening. It has been at far too high a cost. Too high a cost to the blue collar workforce in America. Too high a cost for the cheaply made, engineered to fail products we are now flooded with. And too much lost revenue to the US economy. Our economic growth in recent years has been between 1-2% while China posted between 3-7% in recent years. Since 2020 our economic growth (as % of GDP) has actually been negative! And with another consecutive quarter of 0 growth, or negative growth, it appears we are already in, or will soon be entering another recession. Globalism also makes one country much more dependent on outside countries for economic growth and stability. This is very bad. Lets look, below, at the past 60 years of economic growth of China and America.

    China
    America

    Another thing that pains me is the spread of America’s worst sins through globalism: hyper-consumerism, hyper-materialism, secular humanism, abortion on demand, LGBT “rights” [sic], fast food like McDonald’s – which pushes unhealthy food on the world, big box retail like Walmart – which destroys local businesses, degenerate rap music, mindless and degenerate Hollywood entertainment, etc. You could say this is soft imperialism.

    If China’s economy goes into a recession it will have far reaching negative consequences for America. As we’ve seen with COVID, the products can’t get from China to America in a timely matter. This was another aspect of globalism, the whole just-in-time (JIT) business model. Where there is a short turnaround time for products reaching America.

    With globalism also came the loss of national sovereignty and a push for economic and trade unions such as the European Union (EU). This represents a severe blow to national autonomy. It is a slow, but steady push towards a one world government, as well as a one world religion such as so-called Chrislam (Christianity + Islam). I believe the Beast system of the future will leverage globalism for the Antichrist.

    I think we need to focus on supporting and growing nationalism in America, getting behind politicians who put our national interests first, and demanding change, vis a vis our voting. The sad thing is to that both the Republican and Democrat parties have drunk deeply of the poisoned well of globalism. It will take major effort and perseverance to regain our footing. We need to break the gridlock and limited choices of the two-party system. We must reestablish American manufacturing, make sure critical things such as drugs, military hardware, automobiles, clothing, etc. are made here. We need to reeducate voters to value and purchase American goods and services over foreign goods and services. I realize we are more interconnected and more global due to the internet, but countries like China have shown one can maintain national sovereignty, economic growth, manufacturing, and other things while still doing business in global markets. Sadly due to the government in China, which is communist, there is a totalitarian surveillance society straight out of George Orwell’s novel 1984.

    Unlike China, America has been a beacon for freedom and democracy. Religious freedom, no state oppression of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, right to privacy, dissent, etc. These are all absent in China today. America should leverage its democratic God-given rights and freedoms and trade with like-minded people. We need to return to an America First posture. We need to restore patriotism in our nation. We need, most importantly, to repent and turn to Christ alone for our salvation! I believe in American exceptionalism. We were founded as a Christian nation, by Christians, for a Christian populace! America has had a tremendous impact on spreading the Gospel around the world, training pastors, building churches, seminaries and universities, and representing Christ, Who is in us. Sadly America has faltered, and lost her way. 65 million babies have been murdered in America in the past 49 years. God has protected and used America mightily to advance His Kingdom. I believe if America continues on it’s steady path towards atheism, non-Christian religions like Islam, degeneracy, sexual immorality, abortion, LGBT values, then God will remove His divine mantle of protection and America will be utterly destroyed.

    By the way, my Great Aunt Mary Uram’s (my Pap-pap’s sister) General Electric refrigerator (with freezer) that she purchased in 1950 is still running in my sister Tanya’s house! It has been working for 72 years!! America manufacturing and craftsmanship can be second to none!

  • Women in the Early Church

    Background

    Orthodox Metropolitan Kallistos Ware describes his view, on the possible ordination of women in the Orthodox church below:

    Thankfully, most Orthodox oppose the practice and see it absent in church tradition, and the writing of the Church fathers. Kallistos is a theological liberal who has taken up many heresies over the years.

    This video was posted in one of my Facebook groups. It elicited this response:

    Is Alexander correct, and the church has been wrong for 2,000 years? Has there been a vast and deep seated conspiracy to cover up the role of women in the Early Church? Can this be blamed on patriarchy? In my opinion, this feminist view of the Early Church practice is nonsense. Its defenders are forced to employ specious reasoning, inference from silence, and history so revisionist it is intellectually dishonest. If Christ wanted women priests/bishops He would have made one an Apostle. The entire witness of the New Testament and church history is against this ridiculous idea that there were female priests in the Early Church. It’s actually quite laughable!!! No serious student of history would give this view credence. BTW, it should be noted Alexander is a Roman Catholic.

    Frescoes

    Much attention was given to the frescoes, in the Catacombs of Priscilla, underneath the city of Rome. But contrary to what feminists, and those in favor of women being ordained say, the scenes are not depicting what they claim.

    Fabrizio Bisconti, the superintendent of the Vatican’s sacred archaeology commission, said such a reading of the frescoes was pure “fable, a legend.” Bisconti said the scene of the banquet wasn’t a Eucharistic banquet but a funeral banquet. He said that even though women were present they weren’t celebrating Mass.

    Bisconti said the other fresco of the woman with her hands up in prayer was just that — a woman praying.

    “These are readings of the past that are a bit sensationalistic but aren’t trustworthy,” he said.

    Only those who do not know the basics of Early Christian archeology could write such nonsense. These frescoes were known and represented in the books for centuries, but a careless reader could get the impression that it is a novelty due to the recent restoration. In the Roman catacombs (as in the sarcophagi), there are dozens of representations of figures with arms outstretched (women, men, children), and then this fresco has nothing exceptional. Their meaning is simple: it is the deceased preaching in the paradise. If you look to the fresco from the Catacombs of Priscilla you can see in the center the dead woman preaching and in the left there is the woman wedding and in the right her motherhood.

    The women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.

    1 Corinthians 14:34

    I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

    1 Timothy 2:12

    Patristics

    The following quotations from the Church Fathers constitute a part of the tradition on which the teaching that women can’t be ordained rests.

    Irenaeus

    “Pretending to consecrate cups mixed with wine, and protracting to great length the word of invocation, [Marcus the Gnostic heretic] contrives to give them a purple and reddish color. . . . [H]anding mixed cups to the women, he bids them consecrate these in his presence.

    “When this has been done, he himself produces another cup of much larger size than that which the deluded woman has consecrated, and pouring from the smaller one consecrated by the woman into that which has been brought forward by himself, he at the same time pronounces these words: ‘May that Charis who is before all things and who transcends all knowledge and speech fill your inner man and multiply in you her own knowledge, by sowing the grain of mustard seed in you as in good soil.’

    “Repeating certain other similar words, and thus goading on the wretched woman [to madness], he then appears a worker of wonders when the large cup is seen to have been filled out of the small one, so as even to overflow by what has been obtained from it. By accomplishing several other similar things, he has completely deceived many and drawn them away after him” (Against Heresies 1:13:2 [A.D. 189]).

    Tertullian

    “It is of no concern how diverse be their [the heretics’] views, so long as they conspire to erase the one truth. They are puffed up; all offer knowledge. Before they have finished as catechumens, how thoroughly learned they are! And the heretical women themselves, how shameless are they! They make bold to teach, to debate, to work exorcisms, to undertake cures . . . ” (Demurrer Against the Heretics 41:4–5 [A.D. 200]).

    “It is not permitted for a woman to speak in the church [1 Cor 14:34–35], but neither [is it permitted her] . . . to offer, nor to claim to herself a lot in any manly function, not to say sacerdotal office” (The Veiling of Virgins 9 [A.D. 206]).

    Hippolytus

    “When a widow is to be appointed, she is not to be ordained, but is designated by being named [a widow]. . . . A widow is appointed by words alone, and is then associated with the other widows. Hands are not imposed on her, because she does not offer the oblation and she does not conduct the liturgy. Ordination is for the clergy because of the liturgy; but a widow is appointed for prayer, and prayer is the duty of all” (The Apostolic Tradition 11 [A.D. 215]).

    The Didascalia

    “For it is not to teach that you women . . . are appointed. . . . For he, God the Lord, Jesus Christ our Teacher, sent us, the twelve [apostles], out to teach the [chosen] people and the pagans. But there were female disciples among us: Mary of Magdala, Mary the daughter of Jacob, and the other Mary; he did not, however, send them out with us to teach the people. For, if it had been necessary that women should teach, then our Teacher would have directed them to instruct along with us” (Didascalia 3:6:1–2 [A.D. 225]).

    Firmilian

    “[T]here suddenly arose among us a certain woman, who in a state of ecstasy announced herself as a prophetess and acted as if filled with the Holy Ghost. . . . Through the deceptions and illusions of the demon, this woman had previously set about deluding believers in a variety of ways. Among the means by which she had deluded many was daring to pretend that, through proper invocation, she consecrated bread and performed the Eucharist” (collected in Cyprian’s Letters 74:10 [A.D. 253]).

    Council of Nicaea I

    “Similarly, in regard to the deaconesses, as with all who are enrolled in the register, the same procedure is to be observed. We have made mention of the deaconesses, who have been enrolled in this position, although, not having been in any way ordained, they are certainly to be numbered among the laity” (Canon 19 [A.D. 325]).

    Council of Laodicea

    “[T]he so-called ‘presbyteresses’ or ‘presidentesses’ are not to be ordained in the Church” (Canon 11 [A.D. 360]).

    Epiphanius of Salamis

    “Certain women there in Arabia [the Collyridians] . . . In an unlawful and basphemous ceremony . . . ordain women, through whom they offer up the sacrifice in the name of Mary. This means that the entire proceeding is godless and sacrilegious, a perversion of the message of the Holy Spirit; in fact, the whole thing is diabolical and a teaching of the impure spirit” (Against Heresies 78:13 [A.D. 377]).

    “It is true that in the Church there is an order of deaconesses, but not for being a priestess, nor for any kind of work of administration, but for the sake of the dignity of the female sex, either at the time of baptism or of examining the sick or suffering, so that the naked body of a female may not be seen by men administering sacred rites, but by the deaconess” (ibid.).

    “From this bishop [James the Just] and the just-named apostles, the succession of bishops and presbyters [priests] in the house of God have been established. Never was a woman called to these. . . . According to the evidence of Scripture, there were, to be sure, the four daughters of the evangelist Philip, who engaged in prophecy, but they were not priestesses” (ibid.).

    “If women were to be charged by God with entering the priesthood or with assuming ecclesiastical office, then in the New Covenant it would have devolved upon no one more than Mary to fulfill a priestly function. She was invested with so great an honor as to be allowed to provide a dwelling in her womb for the heavenly God and King of all things, the Son of God. . . . But he did not find this [the conferring of priesthood on her] good” (ibid., 79:3).

    John Chrysostom

    “[W]hen one is required to preside over the Church and to be entrusted with the care of so many souls, the whole female sex must retire before the magnitude of the task, and the majority of men also, and we must bring forward those who to a large extent surpass all others and soar as much above them in excellence of spirit as Saul overtopped the whole Hebrew nation in bodily stature” (The Priesthood 2:2 [A.D. 387]).

    The Apostolic Constitutions

    “A virgin is not ordained, for we have no such command from the Lord, for this is a state of voluntary trial, not for the reproach of marriage, but on account of leisure for piety” (Apostolic Constitutions 8:24 [A.D. 400]).

    “Appoint, [O Bishop], a deaconess, faithful and holy, for the ministering of women. For sometimes it is not possible to send a deacon into certain houses of women, because of unbelievers. Send a deaconess, because of the thoughts of the petty. A deaconess is of use to us also in many other situations. First of all, in the baptizing of women, a deacon will touch only their forehead with the holy oil, and afterwards the female deacon herself anoints them” (ibid., 3:16).

    “[T]he ‘man is the head of the woman’ [1 Cor. 11:3], and he is originally ordained for the priesthood; it is not just to abrogate the order of the creation and leave the first to come to the last part of the body. For the woman is the body of the man, taken from his side and subject to him, from whom she was separated for the procreation of children. For he says, ‘He shall rule over you’ [Gen. 3:16]. . . . But if in the foregoing constitutions we have not permitted them [women] to teach, how will any one allow them, contrary to nature, to perform the office of the priest? For this is one of the ignorant practices of Gentile atheism, to ordain women priests to the female deities, not one of the constitutions of Christ” (ibid., 3:9).

    “A deaconess does not bless, but neither does she perform anything else that is done by presbyters [priests] and deacons, but she guards the doors and greatly assists the presbyters, for the sake of decorum, when they are baptizing women” (ibid., 8:28).

    Augustine

    “[The Quintillians are heretics who] give women predominance so that these, too, can be honored with the priesthood among them. They say, namely, that Christ revealed himself . . . to Quintilla and Priscilla [two Montanist prophetesses] in the form of a woman” (Heresies 1:17 [A.D. 428]).

  • Reformed Theology: An Introduction

    Here is a set of 12 videos, by Dr. R.C. Sproul, teaching the basics of Reformed Theology. I highly recommend this video series! Dr. Sproul was a gifted communicator, and conveyor of Reformed theology.

    Click image to be taken to the website with the videos.

    Also, if you’re looking for a book, I highly recommend this one, which has the same name as the video series. It’s probably the best modern book to introduce Reformed theology to someone who knows very little about it.

    What is Reformed Theology?: Understanding the Basics
    by R. C. Sproul