Thursday, October 24, 2013

How would an EMP attack affect The Villages?

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) generated either by a solar coronal mass ejection (CME, aka “solar flare”) or a high altitude nuclear detonation via an enemy attack over a portion of the United States will create havoc.  The three primary variables that affect the impact on any specific area are:

  • Size of the nuclear device or intensity of the CME
  • Geographic location of the nuclear detonation or target of the CME
  • Altitude of the nuclear detonation.

Most combinations of the above variables will destroy much of the electrical infrastructure and electronic components within hundreds of miles of the central point of the origination of the pulse.  Everything from electrical generating stations, to high voltage transmission lines to local transformer substations, to water plant electronics, to communications systems including the internet, phone service, both land lines and cell, banking, and commerce of all sorts would be crippled or destroyed for weeks or months.

Two scenarios of how an EMP could impact the region of north central Florida between Ocala and Leesburg along the I-70 and US441 corridors are provided below:

Scenario one:  A high altitude nuclear blast over the northeast United States that destroys most of the electrical infrastructure north of the Carolinas and westward to Ohio. 

Scenario two:  A high altitude nuclear blast over central Georgia that destroys most of the electrical infrastructure throughout north and central Florida.

HERE is a website where you can model the area impacted by various types of EMP generating nuclear detonations over the United States.

Either scenario is possible given existing technology of both missiles and nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran or North Korea.  For example, available missiles possessed by either nation launched from a freighter in the middle of the night from 100 miles off the east coast of the United States would need to travel less than 600 miles to significantly penetrate our border and achieve needed altitude to produce widespread effect.  For example, several Iranian Shahab missiles have a range exceeding 1,000 miles.  The location of many nuclear weapons in the world are not accounted for, even if North Korea or Iran do not yet possess their own creations.

Here are the conditions to expect in the aforementioned region of Central Florida:

Scenario one:  The electrical infrastructure and electronic devices are not impacted.  However, massive infrastructure failures throughout the northeast covering 8 to 15 states might have a cascading effect on our local systems. 

Day 1:  Power outages lasting at least several days, but will likely be restored in nearby grids.  Water systems shut down for several days.  Communications for retail credit card and banking transactions down.  Most phone service disrupted.  Runs on food and water sources begin.   People resort to using cash.

What you should do first  if minimally prepared:  Get cash.  Banks will close early.  Credit will be non-existent.  Stock up on essentials:  canned goods, water.

Week 1:  Power gradually restored but disconnected from the NE grid.  Communications outside of region cut off.  Refugees from points north begin to drift south.  Food supplies begin to run short in grocery stores.  Gasoline shortages begin.  Signs of civil unrest increase.  Shortage of essential medications begin to be felt.  Less prepared people especially from adjacent areas would descend on The Villages to scavenge scarce resources.  Residents form alliances to share resources and create defenses.  Bartering begins displacing the use of cash.

Month 1:  Mass immigration from impacted areas in the NE begin to overwhelm the local population and crippled infrastructure.  Food shortages severe and widespread.  Civil unrest is epidemic and widespread.  Widespread death from lack of essential medications and civil unrest.  Bartering is primary means of commerce.

Beyond:  Depends on speed of recovery of the areas in the northeast impacted by the EMP.

Scenario two:  The electrical infrastructure and electronic devices in the immediate region ARE destroyed. 

Day 1:  No power, no communications, no banking, trade significantly crippled due to no use of credit machines.  Only cash is used.  Most motor vehicles not operational.  Public water supplies switch to emergency power if emergency power systems are not destroyed.  Initial uncertainty; later panic by many. 

What you should do first if minimally prepared:  Procure rain barrels from Home Depot, Lowes, Tractor Supply; stock up on water, canned goods, medicines.   It may be too late to get cash.  Stock up on highly barterable items:  Food, ammo, water (some recommend cigarettes and booze to take advantage of people’s addictions and bad habits – but as for me, no.)

Week 1:  Most emergency power systems for public water, hospitals, and other infrastructure fail if not already destroyed.  Runs on banks and grocery stores which run out of food within 2 to 3 days.  Many households are low on food.  Medicines are in short supply.  Civil unrest significantly increases.  Less prepared people especially from adjacent areas would descend on The Villages to scavenge scarce resources.  Residents form alliances to share resources and create defenses.  Cash loses value.  Bartering increases.

Month 1:  Most households are out of food and become scavengers.  People die from civil unrest, starvation, and medicine shortages.  Bartering is primary means of trade.

Beyond:  Depends on extent of infrastructure destruction in other parts of the nation and speed of recovery.

In either scenario, local law enforcement, fire/rescue, civil defense and FEMA-related assistance will be depleted or unavailable at some point within the first week due to the impact on those families.  Military/National Guard assistance may or not be available due to either inoperable vehicles, lack of fuel or shortage of manpower.

The greatest likelihood is that each family will be on their own to survive for the duration that their own preparedness supplies of food, water, medicines, and self-defense will last.  In these scenarios, outside assistance is not likely for weeks or months.

For additional information on the nature and impacts of this kind of disaster, please go to THIS WEBSITE and THIS ONE.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Misled churches in Nazi Germany: Lessons for US?

Many reasons are given for the German population being sucked into the whole Nationalist Socialist Party scheme.  Things all the way from a charismatic leader (Hitler) to  discriminatory feelings (anti-Semitism) to abused doctrine of the state church (Lutheran/Reformed Two Kingdoms) to fear of a threatening nation and ideology (Russia and Communism).  Stoke these feelings of anguish, fear, and hope in a population and the folks will follow you anywhere.  And they did.

We have parallel reasons why an authoritarian government  in the United States is well on its way.  In fact, with some minor changes of actors and circumstances the factors are eerily similar.

Hitler was a charismatic leader.  And so is Obama and who knows who will follow him.

Anti-Semitic feelings were part of Germany’s social fabric since well before Hitler.  Part of the prejudice originated in religious differences, especially the latent belief among some Christians that Jews killed Christ.  But there is a more practical reason, one that hits on pride and pocketbook.  And that is the intellect and success of the Jews in Europe. 

Here is a little background from

When Jews entered into Europe in large numbers during the Middle Ages, "they found themselves living among primitive Western people who were repelled by their superior intelligence and their clever business acumen. There was mutual contempt and hate . . . the two peoples were living geographically alongside each other, but they were immersed in different cultural stages."

This contempt and hate grew and became part of the fabric of the German culture up until much of it (not all) was wrung out by Germany’s defeat in WWII. 

This situation has its parallels in present day United States.  Today we call it pitting one class against another which Obama does very well.  This began in the form of the so-called 1%, i.e. the Occupy Wall Street movement.  Even though the accused 1% may be 50% of our population, this 50% is seen as having an “unfair” advantage over the masses in terms of income, wealth and influence.   It doesn’t matter that this 50% is more responsible, works harder, and is more law abiding.   The “masses” have in fact captured the power structure of the federal government and are using the government to discriminate against the 50% of us they call the 1%.  This is today’s equivalent of the Jews in Germany’s  Hitler era.  Both the Jews of Germany and the “1%” in the US are seen as evil due to the jealousy of the many slackers within the entitlement community.  That is visceral and motivational for the prejudiced.  And both the government in Germany and the government in the United States have taken advantage of that jealousy and gradually developed policies to put the rest of us in our place:  The Jews first, and now conservative Christians.  (Note for those who might take offense:  Conservative Christians and Jews, even those of lower income or receiving aid of some sort, are less likely to develop the jealousy and quest for revenge that comes to the entitled masses so easily.)

Now comes the Church.  Protestantism was by far the primary religion in Germany, double the number of Catholics.  And Lutheranism was by far the largest denomination of Protestants.  That church was funded by the State.  So you can imagine how little separation between church and state there really was, a concept foreign to Germany.

At the same time, the Lutherans and Reformed churches had a pervasive doctrine called “Two Kingdoms.”  The portion of that doctrine used by the State and embraced by the churches was that part of Romans Chapter 13 that says, in its first few verses:

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong.

The parts of the Two Kingdoms doctrine the churches downplayed and mostly forgot was the separateness of the Spiritual Domain (the Church) from the Secular Domain (the State) and the need to be “salt and light” in a fallen world. An abusive government is what occurred when the above Romans 13 verses were elevated above all others.  What made it even worse was the Church’s reliance on government funding, causing the Church to be virtually one and the same as the Third Reich.   So, the  Church was not merely separate and silent; it not merely failed to exert itself with Christian boldness to influence the government for Bible-based morality, but the Church partnered with the State, forgetting its own job description.

What is happening with the Church in THIS country?  For starters, the Church has lost its way.  It has succumbed in many denominations, the biggest ones, to a secular world view – jettisoning the orthodox values of Christianity for the secular orthodoxy of the culture and the Federal Government.  The Church has established not merely separation from the State, but a rigid taboo against any attempt to influence the government for Bible-based morality.  In fact, in many respects, a growing number of denominations are actually partnering with the government to either go along with or endorse and promote governmental mandates concerning morality:  abortion, birth control, and gay marriage come to mind.  This is little different than the State Churches of Germany partnering with the Third Reich.

And yet again many churches are abusing the Two Kingdoms doctrine as if “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities…” is the only verse of Scripture.  Churches are silent about government encroachment into the Spiritual Domain.  And we have no Dietrich  Bonhoeffers on the horizon to give us courage. 

The US equivalent of government funding is the church’s tax exempt status.  Many church leaders quash any message that smacks of criticizing or influencing public policy because of their fear of losing their tax exempt status – an overblown fear.  It is likely that church leader fears of losing tax exempt status is conveniently hidden by their over interpretation of their “separation” or two kingdoms doctrine.  They can feel really “Biblical” that way – in a perverted sense.  It is sad the way doctrine can be so easily manipulated into conforming with the culture and government in vogue at the moment.  Is this Biblical adaptation or Biblical unfaithfulness?

And finally, The Threat.  What threat will our government use to rally the masses around an authoritarian Big Brother government?  What will be the US equivalent to the German people’s fear of Russia and Communism?  This is the remaining unknown before our nation lapses full throttle into an oppressive and out of control nation a la Nazi Germany.

Some guesses include Islamic terror (this is popular among conspiracy theorists who still consider 9-11 to be a “false flag” event perpetrated by our government to create a catalyst for enabling government overreach.  This theory is a mixed bag.  We do have a number of blatant losses of liberty due to enhanced national security on one hand.  On the other hand our government denies the threat of Islam.  Strange to say the least.)

Other guesses include a purposeful financial collapse.  This appears more likely given endless federal policies to spend more, increase the debt more, and tax more.

And some others guess it could be a cataclysmic world event that affects our interests, such as a nuclear Iran attacking Israel.

We don’t know what it will be, but most of the pieces are in place that set the stage for our government turning tyrannical.  This will be due in large part to the failure of our churches doing their job of influencing our culture and public policy with Biblical morality, attitudes, and values.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Useless Republicans

Republicans in Congress, especially the so-called ‘moderates’ proved themselves to be as useless as, excuse the expression, “tits on a hog.”

The Cruz’s of the world didn’t fare much better, refusing to “delay” the Senate vote.  So much for “conviction.”  His excuse was it was a lost cause.  Hmmm.

What a waste of time and effort – caving even before the White House was fully tested and put on the spot.  I have NO idea why the Republicans were blamed for the shutdown and being called “obstructionist” when it was clearly the President and liberals in Congress who refused reasonable offers.  The Democrats brinksmanship paid off.  Republican lack of conviction and infighting did not.

The Republican promises to kill Obamacare died this week.  They failed to follow through.  They are exceedingly untrustworthy.  They decided their cause was a waste of time, their efforts were worthless, and their spine resembled jelly.

The Republicans clearly deserve greater condemnation for prematurely throwing in the towel than if they stuck to their alleged convictions.

And at the final meeting of the House during this debacle, the delusional House members gave Boehner a standing ovation in celebration of their collective, useless, and shameful efforts.  “I think he has strengthened his position in leadership,” Representative John Fleming says about Boehner.

You.Have.Got.To.Be.Kidding.  Un.Believable!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Another example of persecution–and it WILL get worse…

Those of us who sincerely express our religious views better have lots of faith, finances, and a good attorney.

A FOX sportscaster was fired because, get this, not because of something vile he said on air – that would probably be OK.  He was fired for statements he made helping out with a friend’s political campaign months ago.  And just what did he say during this months-ago campaign?

"People choose to be gay.  I think it's a choice, I do. Same-sex marriage, if someone chooses to do that, that's done. And God's going to judge each one of us in this room for our actions. And in that case right there, they're going to have to answer to the Lord for their actions."

That’s it.  That’s his politically incorrect statement.  It is Biblically and morally right on the money, but politically incorrect.  And he was fired for it.

Yes, in today’s morally corrupt society, what he said is considered “mean-spirited” and fire-worthy.  For two-thousand years what he said was common knowledge and taken for granted.  The scene has change only in the last few decades.

And the topics of gay marriage and homosexuality are just the tips of the iceberg of topics that will get Christians fired, or the very least, sequestered into a few weeks of sensitivity training, aka reprogramming into mindlessly accepting perverse behaviors and keeping our mouths shut.

And what is particularly disgusting about all this is that many if not most churches are complicit.  It reminds me of the coopting of much of the Lutheran Church by the Nazis in the 30’s and 40’s.  The churches went along with the government doctrine (naively accepting a corrupt interpretation of Scripture – Romans 13) that Christians must obey the state, no matter what.  In our modern case, in addition to following government doctrine, churches are following our corrupt culture as well.

That’s why sermons, instead of teaching the truth of Biblical morality, are reinterpreting Scripture to proclaim what was sin is no longer sin.  And what is now sin is our intolerance of sin – or even just talking about sin.

So now the “faithful remnant”, the minority of us who still hold fast to Biblical morality, have three choices:

  • Convert to immoral secular beliefs
  • Keep our mouths shut (lose our first amendment rights)
  • Be subject to persecution, loss of income, and loss of reputation

This reminds me so much of the three choices of Infidels in Islamic cultures:

  • Convert to Islam
  • Lose civil rights within the culture
  • Beheading

To the western mind, loss of income comes close to beheading.  So the form of beheading is the only real distinction – for now.

Expect things to get worse for conservative (formerly all) Christians.  Persecution will spread from this single issue to expression of belief in the Bible and God.  It is just a matter of time.  The pressures will mount.  The churches are caving.  The hardening of atheistic, unGodly resolve is gaining momentum.  This attitude is the core of public education, it is the prevailing attitude of University leadership, professors, and student culture, it is the public policy of our government and the prevailing editorial policy of the media.

Are even so-called “conservative” churches preaching on this topic?  I haven’t heard it yet.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Should churches encourage and equip Bible-believing Christians to influence public policy?

Christian influence in our nations’ formative centuries, the 1700 and 1800’s was intense and provided the moral foundation for our laws, stability, and ultimate reputation for being not only the land of the free and home of the brave, but of unparalleled economic success.  We were a blessed nation.

Not any more.  Today many churches and denominations have written off any attempt to equip their members to engage in and influence civic affairs.  Aside from  the essential gospel, the balance of topics in most churches are most often addressing such personal matters as fear, anger, relationships, addictions, and how to be happy, as if they were a religious Ann Landers.  (See a prior blog on this topic)

The church has retreated from the public square into a private closet.  And the moral and (greed-created) economic decline bears testimony of this sad state of affairs.  Surprising to me, this is at least as much a doctrinal choice by our churches as it is a fear of losing 501 (c) 3 tax exempt status.

What are the various church/state doctrines that have gained and lost favor in various nations over the years?

Here is a categorization adapted from Norman Geisler’s Systematic Theology" page 1201:

Pure secularism:  Government is secular; there is freedom from all religions, belief in God is discouraged; civil law is based on human experience only; practiced by Communist countries, e.g. China, Cuba, former Soviet Union and with remnants in present day Russia.

Jeffersonianism:  The government is “just”, based at least on remnants of Christian influence; there is freedom for all religions; belief in God is encouraged; civil law is based on natural law (general revelation); practiced by early United States

Reconstructionism:  Government is religious; the most freedom for a single dominant religion; belief in god (or Allah) is required; civil law is based on Divine law (special, often false, revelation); practiced by Islamic nations like Iran, Saudi Arabia.

These are extreme examples of degrees of religious influence in government.  Of course, the United States today is much closer to the Pure Secularism side than the so-called “Jeffersonianism”.

A more nuanced version of how Christians understand Romans Chapter 13 is adapted from the Life Application Study Bible.  I attached my own labels to their descriptions for quick identification:

Jehovah’s Witness version of Church and State:  The state is so corrupt that Christians should have as little to do with it as possible.  Although they should be good citizens as long as they can do so without compromising their beliefs, they should not pledge allegiance to any country, vote in elections or serve in the military.

Two Kingdoms version of Church and State:  God has given the state authority in certain areas and the church authority in others.  Christians can be loyal to both and can work for either.  They should not, however, confuse the two.  In this view, church and state are concerned with two totally different spheres – the spiritual and the physical – and thus complement each other but do not work together.  Most larger Christian denominations follow this approach.  Some misapply it to the point of discouraging Christian influence in our culture and government.

Christian Dominion version of Church and State:  Christians have a responsibility to influence the state for good.  They do this politically by electing Christian or other high-principled leaders.  They can also do this morally, by serving as an influence for good in society.  In this view, church and state ideally work together for the good of all.   This was the view of our nation’s founding fathers.  Today this view is practiced by a minority of faithful churches but is frowned upon by the majority of denominations and by the society and government at large.

The “Two Kingdoms” as most commonly defined are comprised of spheres or realms of life: One based on Natural Law (secular) and the other based on God’s law (spiritual).  It is understood in the mainstream of Christianity to be the middle ground; the inoffensive moderate approach.  Misapplication has created some problems, however.  One example is an overly aggressive application of the so-called “separation of Church and State” that is applied to prohibit any display of Christian faith in the all-pervasive and growing government run or sponsored programs or facilities.

Natural Law is said to provide an innate “conscience” much like the Pope recently described as the basis for salvation without knowing God or Christ.  This natural law is illuminated by “the light of God.”  Unfortunately, such light becomes exceedingly dim when cultures turn from God.  When the conscience of much of a culture embraces evil and is in rebellion against God, darkness prevails.  When the light of God is dim a “good” conscience by way of Natural Law cannot overcome the original sin inherited by all humanity since Adam and Eve.  Under these conditions, a good Natural Law-induced conscience cannot compete with original sin.  It is not surprising that the concept of  Natural law is not a creation of Christianity or even Judaism but has been ascribed to ancient Hindi, Chinese, and Greek writings. (Geisler page 1202).  Natural law without the light of God, the gospel, and Christian influence is useless for both salvation and a moral government.

It appears to my superficial understanding of these things that many of our Churches are on the wrong track.  They have become unfaithful in promoting God’s truth not only in their own congregations, but within their culture, neighborhoods and nation.  Church leaders and most denominations have gotten their theology infiltrated by doctrines that are opposed to a Christian Biblical cultural mandate.

For example, the Two Kingdoms approach, when misapplied, results in a  “don’t–even-try-to influence-our-culture” extreme as in a book entitled “Civil Government:  God’s Other Kingdom”.  Here is an excerpt of a review of that book (not mine) illustrating the problems that can result when the Two Kingdoms doctrine is carried to extremes:

…At one point in the book the author basically states that "if you become an elected official, you have to check your religion at the door. You cannot use the Bible to persuade others to make law that is in conformance with God's law. You can only argue based on Natural Law."

The problem is that each person's view of Natural Law is relative. Without God's Holy Word we cannot determine whose interpretation of Natural Law is the correct one.

Without using God's Word for law you get things like the Pro-death abortion laws. How do you argue against the mom's "choice" to kill her baby from Natural Law. Obviously the abortion doctors and those that support abortion have a warped view of Natural Law, but without using God's Word as a guide to make law, that is what we end up with. That and homosexual marriage, how do you argue against homosexual marriage from natural law and get a result other than what we see in the states that have passed homosexual marriage laws?

This view of not using God's Word to argue for a law to pass also assumes that there are no other Christians in the law making body. It further assumes that all scripture is not ... profitable for ...., for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16) We cannot take away the only sure foundation, God's Word, from law and think we will have good law.

How do you argue against spending money to indoctrinate children into believing that the true God of heaven did not create the world in 6 days, but instead the false religion of evolution that teaches a bunch of stuff happened that breaks all the LAWS of science and can't be reproduced, is the correct belief system of origins? You can't. You can't prove a 6 day creation. So, because we checked our beliefs at the door we accept laws that say "there is no god". God is not please at this. Our nation will not be blessed when we turn our back on God. It is not the unbeliever that is turning their back, but the Christian that checks their faith at the door.

I believe the author needs to rethink his portion about obeying the government also. What if the government is the law breaker (written law, not necessarily a specific portion of God's law). When the government enacts laws which are contrary to the constitution, and try to enforce it, we have a duty to resist the tyranny. For the government then becomes the law breaker, both the constitution and God's law. Under God's Law, the constitution is the highest law of the land for the US governments. The law breaker is the rebel, not the person trying to see the law enforced….

…It is no wonder we are in the state that we are when we have seminary professors teaching the pastors who then teach the congregants they should check their beliefs at the door. Anything goes for law, homosexual marriage, abortion, etc….

While the reviewers terminology is imprecise - for example using the term “God’s Word” instead of “Biblical principles” might offend some purists -he does highlight the dangers in miscommunicating the Two Kingdoms doctrine.  The above review  represents just one reviewer’s opinion (it is the only review of the book on Amazon) but it identifies a danger if the Two Kingdoms approach is interpreted as being a gag order preventing Christian influence in the public square.

While “whose Christianity” and “whose interpretation of the Bible” have been arguments against any Christian influence in the secular realm, we must not use that as an excuse to keep our Christian values to ourselves.  Our culture is showing clear signs of the consequence of our self-imposed restraining order.  Silence is a terrible option.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Why churches have lost their influence and relevance…

It is obvious that in the last several decades in America (and in Europe) the Christian Church has lost its influence and relevance in our culture.  In most instances it has become a theatre to entertain the “faithful”, a social center, a place to come to feel empowered and receive an enhanced self esteem – where what were formerly understood to be sinful behaviors are not only forgiven but celebrated.  It has become a place where one commentator calls a super fun rock band church.  A place of appeasement of the soul.  Instead of “the law and the gospel” it has become “guffaw at the faithful.”

Here is a quick laundry list of what has caused this slide into irrelevance:

  • Political correctness; culture of “not offending anyone”; tolerance as the highest value
  • Catering to lack of faith (don’t insult anyone with God’s miracles)
  • Church growth movement:  Growth is more important than truth
  • Follow the money:  The biggest donors set policy
  • Spiritualizing nearly everything in the Bible; almost nothing is fact
  • Marginalization:  The Church’s self-imposed retreat into a small corner of our culture
  • From counter-cultural to part of the culture; a Kiwanis/Rotary Club/women’s/men’s social club in a permanent building

The great majority of sermons of most churches are basic lessons on “how to behave as a human being and feel better about it”, stuff we all should have learned by 2nd grade but haven’t.  The most relevant connection to our lives sermons can muster  is how to overcome swearing on the golf course – how to overcome anger, impatience, lack of confidence, or fear – all nice topics for a Dale Carnegie course.

On the other hand, we have the likes of Martin Luther and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Luther preached on what was offensive to the corrupt church he was a part of.   He promoted “liberty of conscience” contrary to prior Catholic edicts.  He was not politically correct.  He didn’t tolerate evil, he didn’t follow the money, he didn’t care all that much about church growth or spiritualizing everything in the Bible.  In fact, he was outspoken about the man-made spiritualizing the Catholic Church was deeply engaged in.  But he was instrumental in starting a more faithful, God-honoring church, and guilted the Catholic Church into adopting many needed reforms along the way.

We have Bonhoeffer who preached against the evils of Hitler and his fellow Nazi’s and the crimes against humanity they were committing.  He condemned the German Christian movement that allowed most churches to become a puppet of the Nazi party.  He argued that Christians should not retreat from the world but act within it which was contrary to what fellow Lutheran Martin Luther promoted as a “two spheres” doctrine which separated “the world” from spiritual concerns.  Bonhoeffer raised the first voice for church resistance to Hitler's persecution of Jews, declaring that the church must not simply "bandage the victims under the wheel, but jam the spoke in the wheel itself.”

D. James Kennedy, a prominent Presbyterian minister of the 1970’s through 1990’s was known for highlighting the Christian foundations of the United States and the dire need for a Christian influence in our government and culture.  His efforts were criticized by those who believed that Christian faith should be marginalized into a corner of our culture and not be involved in attempting to influence public policy. 

So much for not retreating from the world.

Christian isolationists have prevailed in our recent culture.  Even leaders of our most conservative denominations have embraced doctrines of cultural surrender in favor of two alternatives approaches:

  1. Teaching the Bible as ancient history with little application to today’s world, or
  2. Teaching the Bible as God’s word for the individual, but not making any application to the world around us, whether it be government policy, the threat of Islam, or declining morality and faithlessness.

Here are a few examples of topics that ought to get a lot more air time in our churches as opposed to the Ann Landers-type sermons we hear most of the time:

  • Persecution of Christians and church burnings in Islamic majority nations, what’s behind it and how it is spreading.
  • The declining influence of Christianity and Biblical morality in America and the coming persecution of faithful Christians within our own land.
  • The dangers of a “tolerate everything” culture where avoidance of offending is more important than the truth.
  • The need to be “salt and light” in our culture by speaking up with kindness to those around us about what Christians believe.
  • Yes, the need to actively influence public policy with Christian ideals.
  • The dangers to our own civilization of immorality promoted by media that impacts birth rates and family-building, including homosexuality, abortion, tax policy, and the general mocking of family life.
  • How Islam is a major threat to our faith and freedoms and not just another religion.  Yes, so-called “cults” are not orthodox and take away potential church goers, but none have promoted supremacism, terror, evil and hatred like Islam does.
  • Competing world views such as humanism, big government as a God-substitute, scientism, and other views that ignore God.

Any one of these topics could be the centerpiece of a multi-part sermon series.  The overarching themes of Law and Gospel could be the foundation of every one of these topics.

So why doesn’t this happen?  Certainly these topics are more relevant to our faith and freedoms than why we shouldn’t cuss on the golf course or why we shouldn’t fear adversity.  Are we that immature as Christians that week after week we have to be told what a three year old is told?  That is Vampire bat outrageous.  Is it the denominational mandates that prohibit anything that might be the least controversial?  Is it the Church bureaucracy or is it the local pastor that’s the problem?  Or is it the weak Christians in the congregations who object to this degree of relevance and demand pabulum?

Whatever the problem is, it needs to be fixed.  Whether God does it through allowing great destruction as he has many times throughout history, or through another Great Awakening or better, the 2nd coming, let it come.  Maranatha.

Here are words from a famous sermon given by Charles G. Finney, December 4, 1873, who is credited with the first Great Awakening:

“Brethren, our preaching will bear its ligitmate fruits.  If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours in a great degree.  If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is reponsible for it.  If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is respnsible for it.  If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it.  If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is respnsible for it.  If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it.  If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it.  Let us not ignore this fact, my dear brethren; but let us lay it to heart, and be thoroughly awake to our responsibility in respect to the morals of this nation.”

I don’t know that any Charles Finneys exist in our nation today.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

What are the most likely SHTF scenarios in Central Florida?

If you think “prepping” is foolishness based on senseless fear-mongering, don’t bother reading any further.

The types of disasters or cataclysmic events that we may face depend on a number of factors:

  • Where we live
  • Where we travel

How well we survive such disasters depend on several other factors:

  • How seriously we take these risks
  • How responsible we are
  • How physically fit and healthy we are
  • How much we rely on others, such as our neighbors or our government
  • How prepared we are
  • How much we trust God

What types of disasters are most likely in Central Florida?

I’ll arbitrarily place these in levels of probability within a 10 year time frame:

70% to 100%

  • Hurricane, Category 3 or less
  • Damaging wind gusts or lightning strikes
  • Power outage lasting up to 4 hours
  • Flooding rains (in low lying areas)

30% to 79%

  • Hurricane, Category 4
  • Power outage lasting up to 24 hours
  • Flooding rains (location dependent)
  • Increase in crime, civil unrest or home invasions
  • Short term food shortages (several days)
  • Short term medicine shortages (a few days)
  • Sewage and garbage disposal disrupted (a day or more )

Less than 30%

  • Hurricane, Category 5
  • Power outage lasting longer than 24 hours, i.e. a week, month or more
  • Devastating lightning strike
  • Sinkhole that affects your property
  • Economic collapse of our nation
  • Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) either solar or nuclear
  • Chemical, nuclear, or biological attack, epidemic or pandemic
  • Significant, widespread, and persistent civil unrest
  • Long term food and water shortages (weeks or months)
  • Long term medicine shortages (weeks or months)
  • Sewage and garbage disposal disputed for weeks or months

Your probability placement of some of these events may differ from mine – this is just a start for your consideration.

This last category is the real nail-biter crunch time that few of us will be adequately prepared for.  Of course if we travel to other parts of the country, a different set of risks will result:  Blizzards, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, forest fires, land/mudslides, terror attacks, and more.

How well we survive any of these disasters depends primarily on how seriously we take these risks, how responsible we choose to be, and how physically and mentally capable we are.  How much do we choose to or are required to rely on others:  Our neighbors, our care givers, our government?  In some scenarios, the government will not be available to help. 

If we are both responsible and choose to take the potential of these risks seriously, we are more likely to take action NOW to prepare for what we believe to be the most likely disastrous events.  We will do our research, make a plan, gradually acquire the necessary food and water supplies, bug out bags, self-defense provisions and survival procedures to ensure our greatest possible level of comfort during a very uncomfortable event.

A big variable is the level of calmness and rationality we can maintain during a major disaster.  Getting scared and going nuts does not help.  Preparation reduces the need for this sort of reaction.  So does our trust in God – that He will keep us safe in His arms after all we can responsibly do ourselves.

Here is one source of preparation advice and motivation among many I have found helpful in preparing for SHTF scenarios.

To end with a high probably event, death from any number of causes is an “event-certain” in the lives of all of us, and within this 10-year time frame for many.  How prepared are you?

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Pope says efforts to convert people to Christianity “solemn nonsense.”

Is Pope Francis unwittingly confirming the 1500’s declaration of the Protestant Reformation that the Papacy is The Anti-Christ?  His most recent interview might lead some to come to that conclusion.

From the Washington Post:

Pope Francis stirs debate yet again with interview with an atheist Italian journalist

By Michelle Boorstein and Elizabeth Tenety, Tuesday, October 1, 6:13 PM

Pope Francis cranked up his charm offensive on the world outside the Vatican on Tuesday, saying in the second widely shared media interview in two weeks that each person “must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them” and calling efforts to convert people to Christianity “solemn nonsense.”

Defenders will suggest that critics have taken his statements out of context.  So, people, exactly what else could he possibly mean by those words?  Tell me.

The Catholic Church teaches that we are all born with “original sin.”  That means that without the saving grace of Jesus Christ, it is impossible for each person, atheists included, to “choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them.”  The “as he conceives them” statement allows for any unGodly act to be “conceived” by our allegedly fallen and flawed nature.  Is this Pope hell bent on changing the foundational principles of Christianity?

Read the entire article HERE.