Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Victorious Birth

Christmas teaches us that God always overcomes evil. It's usually the resurrection of Jesus that gets associated with "victory" but Jesus’ entry into our world was also a victorious event. Consider just a few of the events surrounding the first Christmas.

Caesar Augustus was one of Rome’s most successful leaders. He ruled from 27 B.C. to 14 A.D. Somewhere around year 0 (people who study these things quibble over the exact year), he issued a taxation decree to insure the power and perpetuity of the Roman empire. Little did he know that by so doing, he guaranteed the end of the Roman empire and all other earthly kingdoms. While trying to financially boost the strength of his domestic and foreign policies, he was being used by God to fulfill ancient prophecy. Micah said around 700 B.C. that Israel’s everlasting ruler would come from Bethlehem. Joseph and Mary, however, lived in the city of Nazareth. If Jesus was born there, he could not have been the Messiah. But Augustus’ taxation decree got Joseph and Mary to the city of Bethlehem.

King Herod was Augustus’ appointee for the region of Jerusalem. When he heard the news of a prophesied king being born, he issued a decree to kill all newborn males up to two years of age. That evil decree got Joseph and Mary moving again, this time down to Egypt, out of Herod’s jurisdiction where they stayed until his death. Around 725 B.C. God spoke to the prophet Hosea, telling him that He would call His Son out of Egypt. Had Joseph and Mary sought refuge in any other region, Jesus could not have been God’s Son. But through the decrees of two selfish and oppressive rulers, God brought forth an everlasting ruler who will soon establish His eternal kingdom.

So remember, in the evils that you face, God is working to bring a beautiful picture of love, hope and victory. Don’t get so preoccupied by all the stuff that is going wrong that you lose sight of our God who works behind the scenes of human history, but whose will always triumphs.

The worst evil humanity has ever faced is our own sin. It alienates us from our God. Our character does not allow us to change and there is nothing we can do to hide our sin. God’s character does not allow Him to forget about our sin. He must judge it in His holy wrath. This is a terrible predicament, but Christmas fixes the problem. Jesus is our bridge. His death on the cross allows us to change our nature and allows God to declare us righteous. Praise Jesus! He is our peace.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Thanksgiving Meditation

I’m technologically challenged. I’ve learned to live without my laptop (though some days/weeks it’s hard), so if I am to post anything regarding Thanksgiving, it will have to be today…right now…while I have accessed to my desktop computer.

One of my favorite things is to relish in the history of American Thanksgiving. I like to revisit the times when “thanksgiving” meant focusing on God and thanking Him for His blessings—not just a holiday with food and family. I’m not sure I really want to replace the Albert family football game with a three hour sermon “in ye meeting house” like those early Pilgrims did. But I do think we forget how seriously our former countrymen took thanksgiving occasions.

Consider, for instance, the town council of Charlestown, Massachusetts. The were having a rough time getting established in 1676, but on June 20 of that year, they convened a meeting to determine how they could best express their gratitude to God for the blessings they were experiencing. By unanimous vote, they instructed their clerk, Edward Rawson, to proclaim June 29 as a day of thanksgiving. It was the first time a governing body in America issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation. Here is what they said:
"The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgements he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard; reserving many of our Towns from Desolation Threatened, and attempted by the Enemy, and giving us especially of late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages against them, without such Disadvantage to ourselves as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed, It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions:
The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour, many Particulars of which mercy might be Instanced, but we doubt not those who are sensible of God's Afflictions, have been as diligent to espy him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold us as a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth commend it to the Respective Ministers, Elders and people of this Jurisdiction; Solemnly and seriously to keep the same Beseeching that being persuaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and souls as a living and acceptable Service unto God by Jesus Christ."

The Continental Congress on November 1, 1777 issued a proclamation, stating within it that “…it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for Benefits received…”

The next year the Continental Congress set “…the 30th day of December next, to be observed as a day of public thanksgiving and praise, that all the people may, with united hearts, on that day, express a just sense of his unmerited favors; particularly in that it hath pleased him, by his overruling providence, to support us in a just and necessary war, for the defense of our rights and liberties…”

The following year (1789) they “…recommended to the several states, to appoint Thursday, the 9th of December next, to be a day of public and solemn thanksgiving to Almighty God for his mercies, and of prayer for the continuance of his favor and protection to these United States…”

In modern times, it has been our Presidents, more than our Congresses, that have offered proclamations inviting Americans to give thanks to God.

George Washington started the tradition writing: “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor…” and in responding to the request of Congress for a national day of thanksgiving, Washington stated:
I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

Lincoln, as the 16th President asked Americans to “set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens…”

Eloquent words of thanks to God are pretty well relegated to the past. President Bush’s proclamation failed to call us to give our thanks to God for His blessings. In pluralistic America, many don’t want to be too precise in acknowledging the exact source of our prosperity and freedom.

So let us revive an old tradition; that of praising and thanking God for His manifold blessing upon our country. Let us gratefully acknowledge His gifts to these United States of America.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Thought from Psalm 103

Bless the LORD, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

6 The LORD executes righteousness
And justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the children of Israel.
8 The LORD is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
9 He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children,
So the LORD pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.*
17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children's children,
18 To such as keep His covenant,
And to those who remember His commandments to do them.

19 The LORD has established His throne in heaven,
And His kingdom rules over all.

20 Bless the LORD, you His angels,
Who excel in strength, who do His word,
Heeding the voice of His word.
21 Bless the LORD, all you His hosts,
You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
22 Bless the LORD, all His works,
In all places of His dominion.

Bless the LORD, O my soul!

This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving Psalms. Though the word “thanks” is not used, the psalm certainly reveals many reasons why we should be grateful to God. Foremost among them, is that He does not remember our sins. Through His Son Jesus, He has removed my transgressions from me. I will bless the Lord for this kind act!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Battle of Agincourt, Shakespeare and Missouri’s Clone-to-Kill Amendment 2

If you haven’t yet heard, Amendment 2 was approved by Missourians. As of this writing, the Secretary of State has listed the results of 3672 of Missouri’s 3734 precincts. The amendment received 1,059,202 yes votes (51.1%) and 1,013,850 no votes (48.9%).

So unless those remaining 62 precincts are extremely lopsided, we lost.

Nearly 200 years after the famous Battle of Agincourt, where King Henry V battled the French near the port city of Calais, William Shakespeare in 1599 put poetic eloquence into the mouth of King Henry in a rousing speech that has become known in drama circles as St. Crispen’s Day Speech.

King Harry had recaptured several cities in Northwestern France that once had been in English possession. His military campaign weakened his troop strength because of the distance from England and disease. The English were blocked from escape by overwhelming French numbers near the field of Agincourt. Their prospects bleak and morale low, here is the speech Shakespeare put into the lips of King Henry V:

St. Crispen's Day Speech
William Shakespeare, 1599

[Enter the King]

WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING. What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

We have now a band of brothers--pastors and laypeople who have “spilled their blood” in a noble battle. It didn’t work out for us quite like it did for the English on St. Crispen’s day. But we fought valiantly. Already, political scientists across Missouri are scratching their heads, wondering how this election came so close considering the vast sums of money Mr. Stowers poured into the campaign. Statistically, we should have been trounced. We weren’t. We were motivated only by truth and love for our fellow man. There were no promises of profits awaiting us, only ridicule that we would be so cold-hearted as to oppose cures for suffering and sick people.

I am happy and proud to have fought this battle alongside of such wonderful, precious, courageous and stalwart people.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


"Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual--or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country."

[Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1907), Vol. IV, p. 256, in the Boston Gazette on April 16, 1781.]

For more quotes on voting and the political process visit the Wallbuilders website .

Monday, November 06, 2006

A Multi-headed Beast

I don’t know if it was a compliment or a slam when Connie Farrow, spokeswoman for the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, recently told David Lieb of the Associated Press “Our opponents are a multi-headed beast, and we've yet to see all of its [sic] faces."

Working for the Coalition, I know Ms. Farrow is accustomed to seeing only the face of Jim Stowers (and maybe his wife Virginia) who has bankrolled virtually the entire cost of promoting Amendment 2 (nearly $30 million). Ms. Farrow is right for a change. Amendment 2 is so riddled with deceptions, immoralities and inconsistencies that there are a host of opponents, ranging all the way from traditional Christians like the Missouri Baptist Convention, to liberal feminists like Hands Off My Ovaries.

But I think to see the beast Ms. Farrow should locate a looking glass.

It is the Coalition’s amendment that bears beastly qualities. Opponents of Amendment 2 seek to protect human life, not clone it to kill it to research it to manipulate it to profit from it. It is not beastly for persons with diseases and injuries to oppose a proposal that potentially might offer them cures. It is sacrificial and honorable for them to oppose it. They rightly see the immorality of destroying human life to supposedly benefit human life and they are willing to suffer with their diseases rather than see human life degraded into a research commodity.

Neither is it beastly to protect women. We are already rushing to protect women who might find themselves in difficult financial circumstances and become lured into giving their bodies to researchers for promises of money. Risks of egg harvesting are present and given the astronomical need for female eggs to accomplish the needed research, the statistical numbers of women who will face health problems is alarming. Rather the beast is on the other side—viewing real women with names and faces and life stories as mere egg donors to be enticed into extraction by the promise of dollars.

And what beastly quality is exhibited by protecting Missouri taxpayers from having to fund this immoral practice? Or preserving the legislative process, allowing for reconsideration and even oversight of public spending? What beastly attribute is exuded by preserving 45 sections of the Missouri Constitution (3 of which are within the Bill of Rights), sections which may well be changed, repealed or modified if Amendment 2 is approved?

We are multi-headed to be sure. But we are no beast. Join me tomorrow in slaying the real beast facing Missouri and vote NO on Amendment 2.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Christian Persecution is Real

One of the often overlooked stories on the war in Iraq against terrorism is the persecution of Christians there. We often forget that fundamental rights we cherish so much in America aren’t even close to a reality in other parts of the world. Even the New York times recently published an article chronicling the abuses of Christians in Iraq. I hate to publish my conservative cynicism, but if the Times is writing about something I care about, you know things must be bad.

Compass Direct chronicled one brutal example—the kidnapping of Boulos Iskander, a 59 year old Syrian Orthodox priest. He was snatched from the streets of Mosul on Monday, October 9 while shopping for car parts at area mechanic shops. His Muslim captors made demands of ransom and that the priest’s church distance itself from Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks about Islam in his lecture in Germany last month. Those requests were complied with but his kidnappers killed him anyway. His body was discovered last Thursday, his head, arms and legs having been severed from his torso.

The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church will soon be here, but it is never too soon to pray. Christians throughout the world are paying a high price to follow Jesus.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Great Quote & A Great Reminder

E.M. Bounds, the great Methodist pastor/author, in his book Power Through Prayer, writes in chapter 4 (Tendencies to be Avoided):

It is impossible for the preacher to keep his spirit in harmony with the divine nature of his high calling without much prayer. That the preacher by dint of duty and laborious fidelity to the work and routine of the ministry can keep himself in trim and fitness is a serious mistake. Even sermon-making, incessant and taxing as an art, as a duty, as a work, or as a pleasure, will engross and harden, will estrange the heart, by neglect of prayer, from God. The scientist loses God in nature. The preacher may lose God in his sermon.

Some very powerful words to think about. I intend not to lose God.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

“Get out of Iraq!”

It’s the mantra of the left and seems to be picking up steam. I have to confess, it’s down in the depths of my heart too. Let’s get our troops home. I want this war over for several reasons:

I don’t like my soldiers being in harm’s way. I’ve heard the cutesy clichés such as “It’s more dangerous on a US interstate than in Iraq” or “More Americans die per capita by murder in our cities than soldiers die in Iraq” or some other semantically contrived comparison. But bottom line, we don’t intentionally subject our citizens to this harm. The longer our soldiers are in Iraq, the greater a chance of violence being done to Americans.

I don’t like them being away from their families. Kids have to go to bed without a dad or go off to school without a mom and spouses have to carry the load of civilian life…of family life, alone. This is one of the worst consequences of the war. American families are broken up because someone is overseas.

I don’t like my government spending millions and millions of dollars on wartime costs. The costs, whenever I see them from time to time in an obscure report, are mind-boggling.

But there’s something I don’t like that tops of all those. I don’t like my homeland being attacked. I don’t like innocent civilians living within the United States of America in fear. I don’t like 3,000 Americans being obliterated in one day. I don’t like children being vulnerable. And that’s what our President and so many others in America don’t like either. That’s why we took the war to them. Terrorists have declared war on America. We will fight them here or we will fight them where they live. I prefer the latter.

We must support this war. Only united support by Americans can hasten the war’s end. Bringing our troops home is one thing. Finishing the job that must be finished is quite another.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Great News!

After following so many polls over the past year, this is the first one that indicated we (my side opposing stem cell research) are ahead. This one was done by the Joplin Globe.


Poll Results
Would you vote for a candidate that favors the use of stem cells in medical research?

1. Yes. Stem cell research is needed to cure disease and improve the quality of human life. 36.59%
2. No. Stem cell research is immoral and could lead to human cloning. 51.22%
3. Maybe, it depends on the candidates other positions. 12.20%
4. I don't plan to vote at all. False%

41 votes counted.

This poll is not scientific and reflects the opinions of only those Internet users who have chosen to participate. The results cannot be assumed to represent the opinions of Internet users in general, nor the public as a whole.


Oh rats! The fine print reads “41 votes counted.” Not very scientific or reliable. But what poll is? I’ll take whatever encouragement there is.

We still have our work cut out for us, convincing fellow Missourians that embryonic stem cell research is immoral. Let’s get to it.

Go here for more information.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Coalition gets big bucks

The Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures recently passed the $16 million mark in contributions. What most people don’t realize is that 96% of this came from Jim & Virginia Stowers of the Stowers Institute in Kansas City. The Institute will make millions if Amendment 2 is approved.

The Coalition has been spending a ton of money. I can’t help but chuckle when I think of driving my Hyundai to a speaking event, grabbing a Big Mac along the way. And others (on our side) are just like me. No airplane tickets, consultant fees or Panera bread reimbursements.

Ultimately, it isn’t about money, it’s about truth. Amendment 2 will legalize killing human embryos for scientific experimentation. Come on, Missouri, we can do better. Tell your friends to vote NO on Amendment 2.

P.S. Did you know Amendment 2 is almost 2,000 words long, occupying 5 pages of text? It's one of the most sweeping changes in the history of our state constitution. Read the full text here.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sherwood Baptist Church has gone into the movie making business. Their newest release (and evidently their second film) is called Facing the Giants. From viewing the trailer on the film's website, I'd pay money to see it and encourage others to do so as well.

The really interesting twist in this story is that the Motion Picture Association of America gave the movie a PG rating. Did these Christians slip in a little foul language, trying to make the coach or another character seem more realistic? Nope. Did they show a little cleavage on some cheerleaders, hoping to entice some Junior High boys into buying a ticket? Wrong again. It seems the MPAA gave the film the PG rating instead of a G rating because it is a Christian film.

Kris Fuhr, vice president for marketing at Provident Films, which is owned by Sony Pictures, told Baptist Press that the MPAA "decided that the movie was heavily laden with messages from one religion and that this might offend people from other religions."

So, Jesus talk now ranks with profanity and nudity. Welcome to 21st century, post-modern America.

P.S. Try to see the show.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Missouri and the No Clone Zone

Cellular Engineering Technologies, based at the University of Iowa’s Oakdale Research Park, has given us yet another reason to vote NO on Missouri’s Amendment 2. Last week, researchers publicized their discovery of a method to isolate stem cells from human fat tissue, converting those cells into neurons lost in Parkinson’s disease. And who knew liposuction could be so beneficial?

Now, do proponents of Amendment 2 seriously want to put human embryos on the same moral level as fat? I fear some do. And that’s what is so frightening about this measure. It is reflective of a cultural that has so little value for human life.

We don’t need embryonic stem cell research. If the time, attention and money that is being poured into this political movement were being poured into adult stem cell research, we would be much farther down the road of healing than we are. Bravo to medical researchers who are doing this moral and ethical research, yielding results that are both positive and real.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Red Light Cameras and Big Brother

My local metropolis is Columbia, Missouri. Last week, Columbia’s city council voted to pursue using cameras at traffic intersections to ticket cars running through red lights. Columbia became Missouri’s fourth city to do so, following the lead of the St. Louis suburbs of Arnold and Florissiant and the big city of Springfield. Nationally, 110 cities in 20 states have red light camera programs. The plan is designed that once a traffic signal changes to red, any cars entering the intersection will be photographed. The license plate will then be traced and the owner ticketed.

I love this progressive intrusion of government into the lives of private citizens. This move will increase government’s power and its ability to control our lives. Cameras have been installed all over Columbia and most other towns throughout the United States. Presumably, these cameras were to help with traffic flow, not traffic control. They were supposed to alert municipalities of any irregularities, high peak traffic, etc, et al, baloney. The Columbia city council approved cameras at only 5 intersections. Can I make a prophecy? About 6 months after the launch of the “pilot” program, red light cameras will be at every intersection with cameras.

National data isn’t overwhelming. Statistics seem to indicate that right angle crashes do decrease with the program, but that rear end crashes increase. I would assume there are fewer serious injuries from rear end collisions than with t-bone crashes. Traffic statistics from the Columbia Police Department reveal some 10,000 traffic accidents reported since January 2004. Of those, only 404 were a result of traffic signal or sign violations. No one knows how many of those were violations caused by running a red light. So again, without conclusive evidence of the need, government bureaucracy has still voted to extend itself and increase its powers to monitor the lives of its citizens.
The Bible reveals that anti-Christ, the end-time world leader, will have enormous power. With the increase of technology, it isn’t hard to understand how he will accomplish his sway over mankind.

The Federal Highway Administration has had a “Stop on Red Week” for over ten years to raise awareness of the dangers of running red lights.

A 58 question telephone survey done in the summer of 1999 of over 5,000 respondents revealed that the typical red light runner is younger, is driving alone, has no children, and is in a rush to work or school in the morning hours on weekdays. If a parent, they most likely have children less than 20-years-old. They are employed in jobs requiring less education (i.e., blue collar, lower technology), or are unemployed; are more than two miles from home and are more likely to have been ticketed for red light running (although, the rate of receiving tickets is low); and are NOT necessarily frustrated.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Illiteracy of American History

A few short years ago, some of our nation’s most esteemed colleges and universities decided to take a look at how well their students knew American history. The results were alarming.

For instance, only 34% rightly identified George Washington as the leader of America’s revolutionary soldiers at the Battle of Yorktown. Only 22% knew that the phrase “government of the people, by the people and for the people” was from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. And only 23% of those elite students correctly identified James Madison as “the father of the Constitution.”
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni bemoaned: “How did seniors from our nation’s top colleges and universities do? They flunked. Four out of five — 81% — of seniors from the top 55 colleges and universities in the United States received a grade of D or F. They could not identify Valley Forge, or words from the Gettysburg Address, or even the basic principles of the U.S. Constitution.”

And far worse than not recognizing the trivia of our heritage—names, dates, documents, etc., is the failure to recognize the concepts of America. In a survey commissioned by Columbia University’s law school, over two-thirds of those polled believed the maxim “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” was or could have been penned by our founding fathers. Actually, the phrase is from the radical communist, Karl Marx.

The American Council’s report summarized: “Our future leaders are graduating with an alarming ignorance of their heritage – a kind of collective amnesia -- and a profound historical illiteracy which bodes ill for the future of the republic.”

The Bible often calls us to remember. The fourth commandment exhorts us to “remember the Sabbath day” (Exodus 20:8). We partake the Lord’s Supper because Jesus said “do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). The psalmist said “I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old” (Psalm 77:11).

I believe one of the reasons modern Americans are reluctant to study and know American history is because it points us to God. No knowledgeable person can deny our founders had a thoroughly Christian world-view. Talking about the founders of America necessarily requires us to talk about God, and that’s a conversation many, especially in elite academia, avoid like the plague. Also, American history requires a Providential understanding. There are too many “miracles” in our nation’s legacy to deny—to use a term our founders were so fond of—“the hand of Providence.” America’s successes cannot be interpreted as a string of coincidences, but can only be understood from a vantage point of God’s governing hand.

Isaiah 51:1 says “Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek the LORD: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug.” This Independence Day, let’s take a renewed look at how we have arrived at this point. And let’s give thanks to God for carving out a unique story. We are doubly blessed. We are Christians and we are Americans.

Thomas Jefferson said it well: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” Our liberties as Americans will not survive in ignorance. Nor will our liberties as Christians. Let’s be vigilant to remind ourselves of the great spiritual and national legacy we have.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hank Waters and Stem Cells

Hank Waters is the editor of my local newspaper—the Columbia Daily Tribune. In his editorial of this past Sunday, he wrote about the Coalition for Lifesaving Cures rally in Jefferson City. In it, he made several surprising and troubling statements.

First, Waters wrote “Let us freely admit that the procedure used to produce human stem cells for research is cloning, but not in any way part of a process for creating human babies.” The first part of the sentence was the most surprising because the pro-amendment 2 advocates, including supposedly “un-bias” media persons like Waters, have taken every precaution to give a wide berth between the amendment’s language and cloning. Waters was definitely going off the script. Such honesty isn’t suppose to happen it Missouri’s current climate of propaganda and medical hype.

So, to hear Waters “freely admit that the procedure used to produce human stem cells for research is cloning” is quite a breakthrough. It is what my side has been saying all along and it’s what every thinking person in Missouri knows. So it gives me a wee bit of hope that supporters of Amendment 2 are at least coming back to some degree of honesty and reality. Missouri’s Amendment 2 WILL legalize cloning. Even liberal supporters like Waters are finally agreeing with the truth.

The second part of Waters sentence is confusing. Does he want to draw a dis-connect between human stem cells and human babies? That’s very popular in the propagandistic lying machine of the pro-amendment 2 crowd (which I will now start calling PA2). Their mantra is that this isn’t human. They say it is a glob of cells in a Petri dish that suddenly became human if and only if they are implanted into a woman’s uterus. Is Waters advancing that position? It seems so. That position is ludicrous because of two reasons. First, we would need to know what is cloned. Obviously, it is human, so how could the stem cells be anything but human stem cells. Of course, they are not ‘advanced’ stem cells. That’s why we call them embryonic. It’s a title we use to describe a human being in a certain phase of development.

That brings us to the second reason it would be so ludicrous to argue that “produc[ing] human stem cells for research is cloning, but not in any way part of a process for creating human babies.” PA2 folks are using a descriptive term of humanity to now say the human is not human. Because they are against allowing a human embryo to be given the right environment to develop further, they say the embryo isn’t human. That logic really causes me to think of scrambled eggs. Could you imagine them being consistent? They’d have to say, “Look, a newborn really isn’t human if left outside on the doorstep in the middle of Missouri’s winter.” They’d defend it by saying “the newborn baby needs the right environment of warmth and milk, and because we refuse to give that newborn baby that environment, she is not human.” Most of us would be rescuing the baby from the cold and calling the police at that point. But that is exactly the argument being made by the PA2 crowd.

Let me state it again just so you don’t miss it. Their position is that a cloned human embryo needs an environment beyond a Petri dish to continue its developmental journey into a fully developed human; they will deprive that human embryo of his needed environment; therefore, the human embryo is not human. Wow! Which award do you give out—the brainless logic award or the cold, heartless morality award? Please realize denying humanity to the embryo because it has been deprived of a needed environment can easily be extended to other phases of human development. That is why we must engage our state in this issue.

Secondly, Waters wrote of the rally “critics were there, too, saying the new law would legalize human cloning. They should not be allowed to demonize the word.” There’s another WOW statement. Now I realize Hank Waters may easily rank in Missouri’s Top Ten Liberals. Still, it is a remarkable statement. I knew I’d encounter it, I just didn’t think it would be this soon. Did you get it? Regarding cloning, we “should not be allowed to demonize the word.” The paraphrase: Cloning isn’t all that bad. Danforth and Company know Missourians disagree. That’s why they used some 2000 words to complicate this amendment and redefine standard and widely accepted scientific terms. Robin Carnahan knows cloning is bad. That’s why our Secretary of State has deceptively stated the amendment will “ban human cloning or attempted cloning”. And now here’s a prominent Missourian, a newspaper editor of one of our largest cities arguing that cloning isn’t such a bad thing after all. My! How far we’ve already come in a few short months! Waters statement reveals the slippery slope argument. He is ready for cloning. I wonder how many other prominent Missourians are ready for it as well, just reluctant to be as honest about it as Waters. Amendment 2 will legalize cloning but unlike Hank Waters, I’m not ready for that. Cloning should be a “demonized” word because it is a demonized practice.

Third, I found his statement “Today, thousands of organic elements available for creating stem cells are routinely destroyed. To clone them for research is just as legitimately called God’s work as that of the devil” very troubling. Hank Waters is typically very clear and very pointed. You may not agree with him (I typically don’t) but you usually know what he’s said. Here however, I’m even confused. I think he is referring to human embryos created through the in vitro fertilization process. It appears he has combined “cloning” and “in vitro embryos” and if so, notice these troubling elements.

First, he has extended dehumanizing language from cloned human embryos to fertilized human embryos. Embryos created by sperm and egg union in a laboratory dish are only “organic elements” in Waters vocabulary—not human embryos as recognized by science. Second, you do not “clone” embryos created through in vitro fertilization. Cloning is not the same as extracting stem cells. You can harvest embryonic stem cells from a human embryo created through the in vitro process or you can harvest embryonic stem cells from a human embryo created through the Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (cloning) process. Both end the life of the developing human embryo. Third, the idea that “thousands of organic elements…are routinely destroyed” is exaggerated and irrelevant. Most in vitro embryos have not been slated for destruction. Many couples are preserving their embryos and giving them over for adoption to other infertile couples. Also, just because some inmates have been given the death penalty (“slated for destruction”) does not give us the right to use their bodies for medical research. To clone human embryos for the purposes of killing human embryos is horribly immoral.

Let’s help our fellow Missourians to see these things. Currently blinded by promises of cures, our neighbors are friends need help in seeing the total picture. Let’s be faithful to show it.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Gone fishin’ is as much a euphemism for taking a break as it is a statement of reality. Both apply for me. I’m going away for a couple of weeks and intend to do some actual fishing. Fishing will actually play a very limited and miniscule role in my siesta. I hope to start blogging again the week of August 20.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Mel Gibson's Crime

Mel Gibson’s drunken tirade this past weekend drew the ire of many in the media. In no way do I want to be misunderstood as supporting or minimizing racial slurs. Gibson’s admitted anti-semitism should be condemned. However, two things are being missed by the media.

First, Mel Gibson was driving drunk. Sadly, DUI violations are far too common in our society and Gibson’s crime is hardly being mentioned. When he entered his 2006 Lexus LS and started driving home, he truly was a threat to society. The arresting deputy clocked him speeding at 85 mph. Jewish bigotry we can overcome. Drunks behind the wheel of a lethal weapon is truly a threat to society.

Second, Mel Gibson is a family man. Why is he carousing at 2 am in the morning? While several of his seven children are grown, his youngest children (ages 7, 16 and 18) and his wife need his focus and attention. That he is at a bar, stone drunk (his blood/alcohol level test at .12) at 2 am is problematic.

Had Gibson not lashed out with racial slurs, this would be a non-story and I find that a sad commentary on our society.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Cloning Amendment

The Christian community has publicly launched its counter-offensive in Missouri's cloning wars. Vision America organized a rally at Concord Baptist Church on Monday, July 31, of which the Missouri Baptist Convention was glad to help sponsor. Vision America's plan is to encourage pastors to address this issue within their respective congregations.

The Columbian Missourian carried the Associated Press story on the rally and quoted Donn Rubin, chairman of the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures. He's quite a master of misinformation. Questioning why we would bring in non-Missourians to speak to this issue (Keyes and Scarborough), he stated, “These are people who don’t work here, they don’t live here, they don’t vote here and they and their families don’t get health care here. It’s not clear why Missourians should care about what they have to say on these issues.”

Humm...a gander over to Mr. Rubin's propagandistic website and one finds a host of non-Missourians. Rubin and company have tried tirelessly to garner the support of every disease fighting and patient advocacy group in the nation. After pouring a ton of money into this recruiting effort, they've only been able to enlist about 60 organizations from America. To be sure, some are big name organizations. But it's really ironic that Rubin blasts non-Missourians while proudly touting them on his organization's website.

Some of the better known groups Rubin lists on his website include the American Diabetes Association based in Alexandria, Virginia; the Lance Armstrong Foundation based in Austin, Texas; the Christopher Reeve Foundation based in Short Hills, New Jersey. You get the picture.

It's just another example of how proponents such as Rubin will fully embrace hypocrisy and deception to achieve their goal of reducing human embryos to objects of science and research profit.

May God deliver us from their vision for Missouri. To learn more go here.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Mt. Soledad Cross in Judicial Crosshairs

Evidently the only way to save the concrete cross at Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial in San Diego is through Congressional legislation. The cross, was has been present at Mt. Soledad for almost 100 years, was slated for destruction by activist judge Gordon Thompson in May. Judge Thompson has been trying for 15 years to get rid of the historical cross.

Mount Soledad is a prominent landmark in San Diego. According to Wikipedia, the 822-foot-tall hill lies between Interstate 5 to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is mostly within the community of La Jolla where the northern and eastern slopes form a sharp escarpment along the Rose Canyon Fault. The community of Pacific Beach is on the gentler southern slope. Commercial aircraft approaching San Diego from the direction of Los Angeles often use Mt. Soledad as their point to start the downwind leg of their approach to San Diego International Airport.

Just east of the summit of Mt. Soledad is the questionable 29-foot-tall cross (43 feet tall, including the base) which was erected in 1954. A cross has been on the site since 1913. Architect Donald Campbell designed the present latin cross in recessed concrete with a twelve-foot arm spread in 1954. In 1998, after the sale of the cross and the land it stands on to the nonprofit Mount Soledad Memorial Association, the cross was transformed into being the centerpiece of a newly erected Korean War Memorial.

Three different shaped Christian crosses have been constructed since 1913 on city government property at the apex of the Mt. Soledad Natural Park in the Village of La Jolla.

The original cross on Mt. Soledad was erected in 1913 by private citizens of La Jolla and Pacific Beach, but was stolen in 1923 and later in the year of 1923 the wooden cross was affixed back in the ground on Mt. Soledad Natural Park only to be burned down by the Ku Klux Klan.

The second cross was erected in 1934 by a private group of Protestant Christians from La Jolla and Pacific Beach. This sturdier, stucco-over-wood frame cross was blown down by blustery winds in 1952.

The third and current 29-feet tall cross on top of a 14-feet tall stepped platform, and was installed in 1954. It still stands today. A windstorm damaged one of the flimsy constructed cross members in 1955 and the concrete structure had to be repaired.

Evidently, 75% of San Diego’s residents support the cross remaining on their city property, but that hasn’t stopped judges from laying siege to “government of the people.”

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the U.S. District Judge, Gordon Thompson Jr., declared that "It is now time, and perhaps long overdue, for this Court to enforce its initial permanent injunction forbidding the presence of the Mount Soledad Cross on City property.” Such a statement shows the arrogance of the judiciary in many respects. Not only can they invent laws from thin air, but according to Judge Thompson, the judiciary also now has the constitutional power to enforce injunction. I always thought that power belonged to the Executive Branch. Will the courts soon be commanding armies?

This case has been as much about the judiciary’s war on the people’s right to rule themselves as it has been about religious bigotry and discrimination. San Diego’s residents have tried numerous ways to retain the cross, while complying with judicial edicts. Yet, nothing short of obliteration of the cross seems to satiate these robed magistrates.

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders has asked President Bush to exercise the federal government’s right of eminent domain. Yet, the President seems reluctant, so several Representatives introduced federal legislation to protect the citizens of San Diego from judicial tyranny. Wednesday, the House of Representatives intervened, and by an overwhelming and bi-partisan vote of 379-74, they approved a bill that would transfer Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial to the federal government.

The judiciary has a recent, unsatiable appetite for contravening the will of Americans to govern themselves. Their abuses seem to me to be far more grievous than those committed by King George III of England. To paraphrase Judge Thompson’s words, “It is now time, and perhaps long overdue for Americans to enforce their constitutional right to govern themselves, forbidding the presence of unconstitutional rulings from meddling and usurping judges.”

P.S. There are many books on the judiciary’s insane usurpation of their role in American government worth reading. Here’s one by a great Missourian, John Stormer.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

President Bush Vetoes Stem Cell Research Funding

Kudos to our President for exercising his constitutional power of veto on the embryonic stem cell bill. President Bush has saved America from a moral freefall. In an era of confused politicians, it is refreshing to see our President acting from a clear moral conviction.

Two of the goofiest comments this week were from Senators Arlen Specter and Orrin Hatch.

Snarlin’ Arlen, no friend to pro-lifers, continued to maintain his pro-death convictions. Back in 1996, during his presidential run, he stated “I want to take abortion out of politics. I want to keep the Republican Party focused on the vital economic and foreign policy issues -- and leave moral issues such as abortion to the conscience of the individual. I believe abortion is an issue to be decided by women -- not by big government.”

This is the man who gives no thought to the pain and suffering of babies in wombs who die violent, painful deaths. So, it wasn’t surprising that Specter wanted to force Americans who oppose using human embryos for scientific research to fund it.

What was surprising was that Senator Specter became Scientist Specter, butchering basic biological facts in the process. CNN carried a story of his sparring with Senator Sam Brownback on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday program. When pressed by Brownback about when life begins, Specter snorted “"It certainly doesn't start in a laboratory dish. This potential for life on these embryonic stem cells cannot begin to occur unless it's implanted back in a woman. We know for sure, life does not start in a laboratory dish."

There you have it. Life cannot begin in a laboratory dish. During the process of in vitro fertilization, scientists extract eggs from a female donor and fertilize them with male sperm. When that happens, the newly fertilized egg begins cell duplication. All of this happens “in a laboratory dish” (hence the Latin term “in vitro” … “in glass”). But Specter doesn’t think its life. Even with the cloning process known as somatic cell nuclear transfer, once the egg’s 23 chromosome cell nucleus is removed and replaced with the 46 chromosome human cell nucleus and electrically stimulated, the new embryo begins cell division just like the in vitro method. Scientists cannot differentiate the embryos. They both look alike and they both are human.

And Specter further violates basic biology by saying human embryos are merely “potential for life” even when implanted into a woman’s uterus. What was it my grandma use to say? “Oh what tangled webs we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Specter is right at home devaluing human life. His abortion views have conditioned him never to consider human life as human life unless the baby is fully born. Someone who supports babies having their skulls crushed and arms ripped off through abortion will certainly have no trouble supporting the destruction of tiny humans at the earliest stage of development.

The real surprise came from Orrin Hatch. Of course, he had already jumped overboard from the pro-life ship quite some time ago. But his quote to US News & World Report was very striking. First, he continues the political trick of trying to divide pro-life leaders from pro-life grassroots. Then he says, “But with rank and file people, countless have come up to me and said, 'I support you ... your position is very pro-life because you want to help the living as well as the unborn." Yeah right, keeping telling that to yourself Orrin, and you might actually believe it. There may be a few “pro-life” folks who would say such a thing. But thoroughly pro-life people understand this issue very clearly. Of course we want to help the living too. That’s why many are fighting so hard for adult stem cell research. With its miraculously breakthroughs in treating 72 significant diseases and illnesses, we know well this is hardly the time to distract attention and divert funding from a proven method of cures.

True pro-lifers know, on the issue of embryonic stem cell research, the issue is helping the living AT THE EXPENSE OF the unborn. This we will not allow. Any research for cures that destroys one human for the benefit of another is immoral. Senator Hatch wants to prevent he is helping both unborn and living. However, embryonic stem cell research requires the death of the developing human embryo. That is not remotely pro-life.

There is but one choice for Christians who will remain committed to Scripture. If we will defend God’s law of the sanctity of human life, we must oppose embryonic stem cell research.

[For information on Missouri's upcoming vote on a constitutional amendment regarding embryonic stem cell research, go here.]

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Seeing the Real Jesus

In praying through a prayer guide for our youth and their sponsors who are in St. Louis this week, partnering with area metro churches in teaching VBS, I came across this wonderful reminder from 1 John 3:2 “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.” Yep, heaven keeps some secrets. God hasn’t told us everything. He’s revealed only a portion of His plan for us. I know quite a bit of my future in heaven, but God has chosen ‘no comment’ about many other things.

The next verse gives us a small glimpse of our future. “We know that when He appears we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” I can’t wait for that day. I try hard to understand Jesus as He is; I struggle to see Him through the lens of scripture. But I often wonder if I’m seeing Him rightly. I understand well the limitations of personal experiences and the hazards of personal biases. I’m a Missourian, a thorough mid-westerner, Anglo-male, conservative, theologically trained, always-been-in-church, Republican leaning, country-boy-at-heart, etc, etc. At the end of every day and every Bible study and every sermon, there’s a nagging thought at the back of my mind. Have I seen Jesus rightly? Did I tell the truth about God?

I wonder this because I know my handicap. My sin reminds me of my propensity to declare Jesus as I want Him to be, or as I think He is. One day, I won’t have to hope that I’ve seen the real Jesus, I’ll know it! I’ll see my Savior, not as I think He is, but in reality, “as He is.” What a day…glorious day, that will be! How sweet the truth of scripture!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Founding Pastors Weren’t Silent

Just a few weeks ago, we celebrated our nation’s independence.

John Adams was one of the most prominent of our nation’s founders…a passionate patriot and well recognized by historians both contemporary and from antiquity as being one of the most significant leaders of American independence. In fact, one popular modern historian, David McCullough, has written an entire book on John Adams, who served two terms as our nation’s first vice-president and then one term as our second president.

But John Adams himself declared that the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Mayhew and the Rev. Dr. Samuel Cooper were two of the individuals "most conspicuous, the most ardent, and influential" in the "awakening and revival of American principles and feelings" that led to American independence.

The legendary Minutemen were led by the Rev. Jonas Clark and many of those Minutemen were deacons in his church.

The Rev. James Caldwell was a key leader of military forces in New Jersey.

And the Rev. John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg led 300 men from his church against the British as one of Washington's most trusted generals.

Pastor Lemuel Haynes, an African-American pastor, was involved in several major Revolutionary battles and became an ardent admirer of George Washington, regularly preaching sermons on Washington's birthday.

John Witherspoon, the Presbyterian divine from New Jersey, signed the Declaration of Independence.

Jacob Duche, John Mills, William Graham, Azel Roe, John Steele and hundreds of other pastors, did their part to lead their congregation into a righteous war.

Pastors have always been the key instruments in cultural issues. As a lesson from the Revolution, pastors must search the scriptures regarding Missouri’s proposed constitutional amendment on embryonic stem cell research. I have no doubt that pastors faithful to the sanctity of human life will reach the same conclusions I have regarding the evil of this practice. We must exhort our congregations to engage in this battle. We must do all we can to see an enemy stopped and life protected.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Cloned Embryos Are Human

In a letter to the editor (July 10) of the St. Joseph News-Press entitled “The Debate Continues”, a self-proclaimed member of the mis-named Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures reminded me of the mantra of the pro-death crowd.

He tried to warn “attempts to associate it [the proposed constitutional amendment legalizing cloning] with abortion are misguided…” But then he completed his sentence with “…since abortion is the termination of a pregnancy…”

Oh yeah, that tired, old devilish mantra raised its head again. People holding a pro-death philosophy can’t help themselves. For them, abortion is “termination of a pregnancy”. They never want to focus on the human life—the innocent, beautiful developing baby within the womb. There is only one way a pregnancy can be “terminated” and that is for the baby to be destroyed by some grotesquely violent abortion procedure. But this fellow has learned the mantra well—never talk about the baby.

That’s why I thought it ironic that he used that same logic to make his case for embryonic research being different from abortion. He called developing human embryos “…blastocysts (a microscopic clump of approximately 150 cells)…” Boy, isn’t that familiar? The baby is only a “fetus” or “mass of tissue” and now the embryo is a “blastocyst” or “microscopic clump of cells”. Pro-death advocates always use name-calling and re-labelling. African-Americans, Jews, babies have all been re-labelled to permit the most evil abuses mankind has ever known.

Fundamentally, we are dealing with a HUMAN embryo in the constitutional amendment. Advocates insist the embryo must be killed and not implanted into a mother’s womb and pride themselves thinking that is the moral high ground.

The writer displayed his stark and empty logic. Cloning “with the intention of creating a human being” is immoral. Cloning to kill an embryo is moral. No thank you sir. Intention does not determine morality. Few, if any drunks ever intended to kill someone when they drove their cars into their bodies. Intention isn’t the issue. Facts are. And factually, scientifically, somatic cell nuclear transfer creates a human life.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Has It Come to This?

OK. Blogging has become hard work. I don't know if my passion has waned or if my creative, thoughtful juices have dried up, or if I'm over-whelmed with other things. But in an effort to keep this blog semi-active and not spend time developing my own thoughts, I offer this joke I came across:


A Highway Patrolman pulled a car over and told the driver that because he had been wearing his seat belt, he had just won $5,000 in the statewide safety competition.

"What are you going to do with the money?" asked the policeman.

"Well, I guess I'm going to get a driver's license," he answered.

"Oh, don't listen to him," yelled a woman in the passenger seat. "He's a real smart-mouth when he's been drinking."

This woke up the guy in the back seat who took one look at the cop and moaned, "I knew we wouldn't get far in a stolen car."

At that moment, there was a knock from the trunk and a voice said, in a thick Spanish accent, "Are we over the border yet?"


I do not intend for this to become some cheesy joke shop. Of course, some of you think my postings are both cheesy and a joke.

Oh well.

Monday, July 03, 2006

“We shall not fight alone. God presides over the destinies of nations, and will raise up friends for us. The battle is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave . . . Is life so dear, or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

That famous quote is from Patrick Henry's "War Inevitable, 1775" speech. It’s great to be an American. May God fight with us as we continue to face enemies.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Presbyterians Rival Episcopalians for Heresy

The liberal Presbyterian Church USA had a difficult time recently, staying orthodox to clear scriptural teaching. Like the Episcopal Church, this denomination is in virtual full-speed retreat from scripture’s mandates.

The Presbyterians voted this past week to “receive” a policy paper laden with gender inclusive idolatry to change the language of the Trinity. This will allow individual churches to alter their worship liturgy away from Biblical language of “Father, Son and Holy Spirit”. Presbyterians can now refer to the Trinity as "Mother, Child and Womb" and "Rock, Redeemer, Friend". Other options include "Lover, Beloved, Love", "Creator, Savior, Sanctifier" and "King of Glory, Prince of Peace, Spirit of Love."

The paper was nearly referred back to the committee who proposed it for further study, a parliamentary technique for defeating a proposal. But liberals prevailed with a vote of 282-212, with committee members arguing that Presbyterians should seek "fresh ways to speak of the mystery of the triune God" to "expand the church's vocabulary of praise and wonder."

It's another example that helps put our recent Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting in perspective.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

SBC Debate Tame Compared to Others

I am a part of the Southern Baptist Convention. It’s the nation’s largest Protestant denomination and it’s not without its problems. Last week, some 11,000 messengers gathered in Greensboro to discuss and debate issues relating to our denomination’s future.

First and foremost, we disagreed as to who should be our President. In the past, a small group of influential and esteemed pastors would confer and forward a nomination to the convention. No one knows exactly how many of them confer or who they all are. It is widely perceived they are our denomination’s mega-church pastors of the South. At the forefront would be Dr. Jerry Vines, newly retired pastor of First Baptist, Jacksonville, Florida. The proposed candidate has usually been introduced or announced at his annual Bible conference. We could also surmise the group includes Jack Graham, Steve Gaines, Paige Patterson, Johnny Hunt and a few others. In any event, the group presumed upon the graces of Southern Baptist footsoldiers and nominated Ronnie Floyd, pastor of First Baptist, Springdale, Arkansas. Some hawkish eyes noticed that the church gives only 0.27% to the Cooperative Program and a war was on. An informal coalition of the non-establishment sect and the CP loyalists and the younger leaders launched a counter nomination of Frank Page, pastor of First Baptist, Taylors, South Carolina. Some of those sects, however, became suspicious of innuendos regarding Page’s affiliations with some moderates during the theological battle of the 1980s and launched a third nomination of Jerry Sutton, pastor of Twin Rivers Baptist, Nashville, Tennessee. When the smoke cleared, Page had been surprisingly elected on the first ballot, receiving more votes than the other two candidates combined—a clear majority.

Messengers debated a reinsertion of “10%” as a goal into the Cooperative Program Task Force’s report; we differed on a resolution on alcohol consumption; we had a slight tiff over whether to refer a motion by embattled IMB trustee Wade Burleson to the IMB; and I could list a few others.

However, we did not debate the issue of homosexuality as did the Episcopal Church or the doctrine of the Trinity as did the Presbyterian Church. In spite of our differences, we Southern Baptists share a commitment to the clear truths of God’s Word.

The Episcopal Church (America) is a part of the world-wide Anglican Communion and is (rightly so) in hot water for their unbiblical stance regarding homosexuality. In August of 2003, they ordained Gene Robinson as bishop, an open homosexual who abandoned his family for his lover. The broader and more Biblically insightful Anglican church reprimanded the American branch through the Windsor Report.

This past weekend, Episcopalians were embroiled in whether to honor the broader Anglican call to conform to a more scriptural understanding of homosexuality. They refused to honor that request and elected Katharine Jefferts Schori, a bishop from Nevada, to their denomination’s top spot of presiding bishop. She responded to a question in an interview with CNN whether it was a sin to be homosexual:

"I don't believe so. I believe that God creates us with different gifts. Each of us comes into the world with a different collection of things that challenge us and things that give us joy and allow us to bless the world around us. "Some people come into this world with affections ordered toward other people, and some people come into this world with affections directed at people of their own gender."
Upon her election, the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Anglican Church, Rowan Williams, sent his greetings and wrote: “We are continuing to pray for the General Convention of the Episcopal Church as it confronts a series of exceptionally difficult choices.” But how “exceptionally difficult” is it to embrace the clear Biblical teaching regarding the sin of homosexuality?

What happened in Greensboro among Southern Baptists was a struggle. But the struggle was over methodology, not heresy. I too pray for the Episcopal Church, but not as Archbishop Williams does. I pray for their repentance and return to Biblical fidelity.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Miscellaneous Stuff

I've never really cared for blogs that give a two-sentenced entry. But when you're tired, overworked and have so many thoughts swimming through your head you can't sort them out, those two-sentenced entries aren't so bad. They do have the effect of making your blog look current and/or significant. So, to all my loyal readers who faithfully and regularly stop by (Uncle Henry, are you there?), I hope to get back on the blogging trail tomorrow.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

SBC Pastor's Conference--Session One

Call me cynical, but Bible preaching was noticeably absent from Session One of the Pastor's Conference (is this what the conservative resurgence was all about?). The old time Bible preaching like Dr. Rogers and Dr. Vines used to give is definitely old time. Dick Lincoln gave a chat on being open to having a contemporary worship service for lost people. Rick Warren couldn't be here for some reason, but sent in a video. He never even cracked open a Bible, though he gave a few quotes, usually from (you guessed it) the Message "Bible". Johnny Hunt did read from Acts 17, but I never really understood his point (the electricity did go out at the beginning of his sermon).

With Lincoln and Hunt throwing out a couple of barbs against Calvinism, it was a pretty non-inspiring night for this Southern Baptist.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Boundaries between Contending for our Faith & Contextualizing our Faith

I attended a seminar at the Missouri Baptist Convention this past Tuesday. It was led by Southern Baptist missiologist (mission/church growth guru) Ed Stetzer. I’ve read some of Stetzer’s articles (too cheap to buy his books) and he makes some good points. He certainly made some good points Tuesday.

He isn’t your normal church growth guy. Usually, the mantra is “anything goes” with these kinds of gatherings. “Whatever it takes to win the lost” is the theme and conservative guys like me leave feeling really gross. The classic proof text is 1 Corinthians 9: 19-23 (used Tuesday, but hey, it is scripture); “ I have become all things to all men that I might win some.” But Stetzer acknowledged the need to “contend” for the truth. He advocated there are boundaries. That was refreshing to hear from a church growth expert. But the $100,000 question is: “What are the boundaries?”

That’s the rub for cooperative mission work. Most of us would agree the picture above is of a person who’s more than a bit excessive with piercings and tattoos. But how many are too many? At what point did she cross the line? Do I have to have piercings to reach pierced people? This “contextualization” stuff isn’t very easy to figure out. It seems there is an inherent “attack” upon the sufficiency of scripture whenever we go down the “contextualization” path. Language barriers I understand. Beyond that, I get really confused.

Stetzer made a very compelling statement. I’m paraphrasing, but he said the extremes to avoid are “obscurantism and syncretism.” We will either be so irrelevant to culture, we’ll become obscure or we’ll blend in so well we will become one with the world. The gospel is worth considering. And Christians need to consider how it will be presented.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Marriage Amendment Fails

The Advocate, the premiere magazine of homosexuals in America, boldly declares in their current edition where gay marriage is headed. Family advocates had predicted for years polygamy would be the next step. Now, the Advocate agrees.

Today’s vote in the US Senate was particularly disheartening. Senators failed to break a filibuster by a vote of 49-48. Liberal senators opined, lectured and obfuscated. Conservative senators made compelling arguments. At the end of the day, activist judges were given the green light to thwart America’s constitutional government vested in her people.

Clearly, gay marriage and polygamy are on a fast track to become a norm in our country. May God curse America.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Why I Am A Calvinist (part 4)

I am not a fan of Christian “rock music” but in the 80s the band Petra caught my ear. One of the songs they sang was “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits upon the throne…” It took me awhile to realize the song was from Revelation 7:10. The teaching of that verse and other multiple texts is simple. Salvation is God’s business. Without His initiative, mankind would be left to his rebellion.

The text that really grabbed me on this point was Romans 3:10-12. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one; There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God; They have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable; There is none that doeth good. no, not so much as one. “ The statement “there is none that seeks after God” was haunting. So if man was to seek after God, it would be because God did something to cause his seeking.

There are some other texts of scripture that have convinced me, God must intervene with man’s spiritual rebellion. God takes the initiative to seek after sinful man. And I am so glad He does!

I Cor. 2:14: The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged.

Gen. 2:17: But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Rom.5:12: Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned.

2 Cor. 1:9: Yea, we ourselves had the sentence of death within ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead.

Eph. 2:1-3: And you did He make alive, when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins, wherein ye once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the powers of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience; among whom ye also all once lived in the lusts of your flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

Eph. 2:12: Ye were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise having no hope and without God in the world.

Jer. 13:23: Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.

Ps. 51:5: Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; And in sin did my mother conceive me.
John 3:3: Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Job 14:4: Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.

I Cor. 1:18: For the word of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God.

Acts 13:41: Behold, ye despisers, and wonder and perish; For I work a work in your days, A work which ye shall in no wise believe, if one declare it unto you.

Prov. 30:12: There is a generation that are pure in their own eye, And yet are not washed from their filthiness.

John 5:21: For as the Father raiseth the dead and giveth them life, even so the Son also giveth life to whom He will.

John 6:53: Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, ye have not life in yourselves.

John 8:19: They said therefore unto Him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye know neither me, nor my Father; if ye knew me, ye would know my Father also.

Malt. 11:25: I thank thee, 0 Father Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes.

2 Cor. 5:17: If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature.

John 14:16: (And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may be with you forever,) even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive; for it beholdeth Him not, neither knoweth Him; ye know Him; for He abideth with you, and shall be in you.

John 3:19: And this is the judgment, that light is come unto the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Why I Am A Calvinist (part 3)

The stumbling block for many in embracing ‘Calvinism’ is the teaching usually labeled ‘limited atonement.’ It is offensive to many. It was to me as well (and sometimes still is). But when I understood that Jesus’ atonement must necessarily be ‘limited’ in some way or other, I chose the least offensive and the most Biblically supportable.

The two choices for the Christian are clear. Jesus’ atonement is either limited in its application, available and sufficient only for the elect and no one else. Or it is limited in its effect, really saving only when a repenting sinner believes in its power to forgive.

The traditional Arminian position became very distasteful to me as I studied the Scripture and began to understand that Jesus really and truly did something on Calvary’s cross. He did more than just create a possibility of salvation. He truly saved sinners on the cross. If Jesus bore the sins of the entire world (without exception) and if God poured out His wrath on His Son at the cross, then the sins of the entire world are forgiven.

I put it this way. Was sin taken care of at the cross or not? Were my sins forgiven at the cross around 33 AD when Jesus died or were they forgiven in 1972 when I put my trust in Christ? I contend the former. My sins were paid were, forgiven and blotted out when Jesus died. That necessarily means (since the Bible clearly rejects universal salvation) Jesus died only for the elect.

Jesus came, not to enable men to be saved, but to save them:

Luke 19:10 “For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Matthew 1:21 “…and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”

Titus 2:14 “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Jesus, through His death on the cross, reconciled us to God:

Romans 5:10 “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

2 Corinthians 5:18,19 “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”

Colossians 1:20-21 “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.”

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Why I Am A Calvinist (part 2)

I know the OT/NT tension between law and grace. But apart from that, the Bible presents a consistent and coherent picture of God. When I operated under the theological assumption that God gives equal opportunities to everyone, I couldn’t find much OT support. In fact, what I encountered in the OT was exactly the opposite. The OT presents a clear picture of God’s unconditional election.

Consider these three areas:

1. The choosing of Israel as His chosen nation:

• Deuteronomy 6:6,7 “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. 7The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people”

• Deuteronomy 10:14-15 “Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is. 15Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.”

2. The choosing of the Patriarchs:

Abraham over his brothers Nahor and Haran

• Genesis 12:3 “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Isaac over Ishmael

• Genesis 17:18-19 “And Abraham said to God, ‘Oh that Ishmael might live before You!’ Then God said: ‘No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.”

Jacob over Esau

• Genesis 25:23 “And the Lord said to Rebekah, ‘Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger.”

Joseph over his brothers

• Genesis 37:6-7 “Please hear this dream which I have dreamed: There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf.”

3. The choosing of Levi as the priestly tribe:

• Deuteronomy 18:5 “For the LORD thy God hath chosen him [Levi] out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the LORD, him and his sons for ever.”

Clearly, God had His own purposes. And lest anyone think it was because God foresaw faith and chose these because they would chose Him, I offer Paul’s argument of God’s choice of Jacob over Esau in Romans 9:11 “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth.”

These OT examples were another reason that compelled me to embrace the “Calvinistic” understanding of God’s salvation. Combined with credible and overwhelming NT verses on this matter, it is pretty clear God does the choosing in matters of salvation.

Critics argue God would be unjust to randomly elect only some persons for salvation in the age of grace (NT). Using that premise (which I personally deny), why was God not unjust for randomly electing only some persons in the age of law (OT)?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Why I Am A Calvinist (part 1)

I don’t really know when, where or how I became a Calvinist. I suppose some preachers would say since I don’t remember the exact date, I am really not a Calvinist.

My parents were (and are still) Arminian leaning (now that I know what that means) so I didn’t get it from them. My home church (I was there for the first 22 years of my life) was also Arminian leaning; my college (William Jewell College) was neo-orthodox and I never heard the terms John Calvin, doctrines of grace, reformed theology there. My seminary (Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) taught me more about Tillich, Schleirmacher, Bultman and Moltmann. Though I can’t be certain, I’m sure I heard of Calvin somewhere in the mix.

For me, it has been a sincere journey of questions about the Bible; of trying to understand better and fully its teachings. There are many reasons why I am a Calvinist, but four really stand out thunderously in my mind and in my theological journey. Those four issues, in no particular order are 1) man’s radical corruption; 2) the OT picture of redemption and salvation history; 3) the nature of Jesus’ atonement; 4) God’s initiative in salvation.

There are several major reasons that have stood out in my mind as being substantial in shaping my theology on this issue. By focusing on these, I am not saying these are the only convincing issues. Rather, I am highlighting that in my mind, they are weighty considerations for embracing this doctrine.

Man’s Radical Corruption

There are a lot of verses that underscore this doctrine but that are not, of themselves, conclusive of this doctrine. For instance:

• Genesis 6:5 “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

• Titus 1:15 “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.”

• John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.”

One can argue that the first verse applies only to the generation of Noah. That assertion cannot be refuted from the text alone. I would concede the verse is primarily historical (speaking about Noah’s generation); but I believe it also offers a general description of mankind in general.

One can argue on the Titus passage that the mind of the unbelieving is defiled, but not totally defiled. The text, on its own, does not allow me to argue ‘total defilement.’ So I have to concede this verse, on its own standing, leaves the door cracked open for the possibility that man is not ‘totally’ corrupted. However, when taken within the larger framework of scripture, its meaning, I believe, is meant to show the ‘total corruption’ of man.

Regarding John 8:44, again the back door is open for someone to textually argue that the verse is not universal. Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees (8:13) and the passage applies only to them. Again, I believe the passage speaks universally of the nature of sin, but it has to be used as an addition to the foundation.

There are however, verses which conclusively advocate man’s radical corruption. Man does not seek righteousness; man is dead spiritually; man is blind; man is a slave to sinful desires and the devil. The primary verse on this issue is:
• Romans 3:10-12 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

This monumental verse is joined by others:

• Romans 8:7-8 “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

• 1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

• Ephesians 2:1-2 “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.”

• John 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin.”

• John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

• John 6:65 “"No man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father."

Further, Matthew 11:27 says, “…no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son wills to reveal to Him.” And John 15:16 states, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide…”

Scripture overwhelmingly teaches my radical corruption, or “total depravity” (to use the dreaded TULIP acronym).

I agree with Martin Luther's assessment: “Here the bottom falls out of all merit, all powers and abilities of reason or the free will men dream of, and it all counts nothing before God. Christ must do and must give everything.”

Thursday, May 25, 2006

What a week!

It’s been a blistering week for me. Personal and ministry issues have demanded an unbelievable amount of my time. Blogging had to be postponed and I knew my regular readership of two would understand.

It was a blistering week for Wade Burleson as well. He’s the trustee of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board who blew the whistle on some shenanigans of the board (secret policy changes). The trustees had their regular meeting this week in Albuquerque.

First, a retiring trustee seemed to allude to Wade as a Texas Longhorn… “a point on both ends and a lot of bull in between.”

Second, Tom Hatley, rotating off as Board Chairman attacked Wade and his blogging. Hatley acted more like czar than chairman. He has arbitrarily kicked Wade off of trustee forums and committees and chided Wade for disclosing material talked about in forum…even when it was talked about publicly previously.

I hope the rest of the trustees will wake up. With such a close election of a new chairman, it seems they are well awake. Still, the establishment’s candidates seem to have achieved victory and when Hatley launched his verbal grenades, no trustee came to Burleson’s defense. Evidently, they were so shocked at the Chairman’s un-Christian behavior that by the time they recovered from their horror, the agenda was moving forward.

Things will not by normal at the IMB’s BoT for quite awhile.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Frank Page Reconsiders

Marty Duren is reporting on his blog that South Carolina pastor, Frank Page, has reconsidered being nominated for president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Early information on Page, is that his church is a strong Cooperative Program supporter. Negatively, he has authored a book, “The Trouble with Tulip” in which he makes some ridiculously disparaging comments to those who have a reformed perspective of salvation.

We should know more soon.

Senator Reid says English as national language is racist

“Dingy Harry” Reid, Democratic Senator from Nevada and the minority’s leader, just doesn’t get it when it comes to America. After last night’s vote in the Senate that overwhelmingly approved (63-34) an amendment to the immigration reform bill that declares English is the national language of the United States, Reid blabbered to the Associated Press: “Although the intent may not be there, I really believe this amendment is racist, I believe it is directed at people who speak Spanish.”

One recent poll found that 84% of Americans want English to be our official language.

One study showed there are 322 languages spoken in the United States, ranging alphabetically from Abnaki to Zuni, and in number of speakers from English (215,423,555) to Kalispel (4). Read that information here.

I’ll take Teddy Roosevelt over Harry Reid any day of the week (and twice on Sunday...isn’t that how the saying goes?) President Roosevelt said, “The one absolute certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, or preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities. We have but one flag. We must also learn one language and that language is English.”

Opponents of official English often refer to articles by Professor Shirley Brice Heath of Stanford University, who asserts that "[i]n rejecting a national language academy, the founding fathers made clear their choice not to designate a national tongue…."

Well, Professor Brice may be overstating the case just a bit. Remember, the founders didn’t think to protect religion either. That shows up as the first amendment in the Bill of Rights. All fifty-five delegates spoke English. Though they were fluent in other languages and some documents of the Revolutionary War were printed in French and German, it is clear they presumed English would dominate America as the nation's unifying language. And, after 1789, researchers cannot find a single example of Congress approving multilingual publications during the time of the founders.

Six years after the Constitution became law, Congress deliberately rejected a request to publish copies of federal laws in German (which gave rise to a pernicious myth that, by one vote, German failed to become our national language). Two years later, Congress rejected another similar request. Their debates referenced the cost of printing in multiple languages and the confusion that might result from problems in translation—concerns as valid today as two hundred years ago.

John Adams said “English is destined to be in the next and succeeding centuries more generally the language of the world than Latin was in the past or French in the present.”

Noah Webster envisioned the same. He wrote in 1786: “A national language is a national tie, and what country wants it more than America?” Webster also wrote: “It must be considered further, that the English is the common root or stock from which our national language will be derived. All others will gradually waste away -and within a century and a half, North America will be peopled with a hundred millions of men, all speaking the same language.”

And in 1811, President James Madison (author of the Constitution) signed the Louisiana Enabling Act, establishing the conditions under which Louisiana could become a state. It required the laws, records, and written proceedings of the new state to be in English.

The founders loved, appreciated and valued the English language. They clearly recognized the threat of bi-lingualism long before American had 322 different languages. We can respect national heritages, but we must have a single, uniting, national language.