An Open Letter to David Platt

David,

I don’t know enough about the “Heaven Is For Real kind of books” to be as negative about them as you are, but neither do I know enough about them to be positive either.  I’ve always been far more interested in the Bible…as you clearly seem to be as well.

On that point, at 4:20 you conclude this clip by saying:

“Let’s minimize the thoughts of man and magnify – trust – let’s bank our lives and our understanding of the future on the truth of God.  At the same time, let’s lay aside our traditions and submit to God’s word.  So none of us wants to believe things about heaven, hell, and the end of the world just because we grew up hearing certain things taught.  There’s too much at stake in our lives and others’ lives for that.”

Assuming you are sincere, David, I invite you to read The Biblical Case for Everyone Is Going to Heaven and Whatever Became of Jesus Christ? The Biblical Case for the Second Coming as Accomplished Fact.  Both books prefer the truth of God’s word on these subjects to the traditions of men that we Evangelicals have been taught.

Mike

The five-year-old brother who was willing to save his older sister Liz

…[A] little girl named Liz…was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her five-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her younger brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. He hesitated for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes, I’ll do it if it will save her.”

As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister, and smiled, as they all did, seeing the colour returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away?” The little boy had misunderstood the doctor. He thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her…

“..and a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6).

This story found in a post at Substitution | Alpha.

“Men have forgotten God” – Alexander Solzhenitsyn

The quote you see in the title above comes from a speech by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.  Before I give you the fuller quote, however, I want to give you some context.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Templeton Prize on May 10, 1983 when he was 64 years old.  (He died in 2008.)  “The Templeton Prize honors a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.”  (more on the prize, its purpose, and its history).  It was on the occasion of this award, that Solzhenitsyn gave the speech from which the quote above came.  Here’s the brief bio clip provided by the Templeton Foundation (taken from this list of honorees):

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s struggle for open expression made him one of the world’s most respected men. Under the repressive Soviet regime, he held firm in his beliefs and shared his worldview through powerful writings and devastating critiques of Russian Communism. His works renewed vitality in the Orthodox tradition and evidenced a profound spirituality.

Solzhenitsyn’s lecture that day was alternately titled “Men Have Forgotten God” or “Godless: The First Step to the Gulag.”  He began his address thusly:

More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”

Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”

Solzhenitsyn was one of the most courageous and amazing men of the 20th Century.  I think it was in the early 1970’s that he first came to widespread attention in America. (I was in my 20’s and not yet a committed Christian, and knew of him – so his fame was by no means limited to religious circles.)  In the midst of the Cold War, you could hardly believe that a Russian was saying the things he was saying…and getting away with it!

He had been imprisoned in a Soviet labor camp for years, yet you can read the entire speech from which this quote came and never know about his personal trials. He was not self-absorbed, which is a trait which is even less typical of leaders now than it was then. Though he spoke out against the evils of communism, he also pointed out the decadence of Western culture.  Americans celebrated his criticisms of Russia but, sad to say, never took to heart what he warned about America.

When the world ignores men like this, they leave themselves hardly anyone else worth listening to.

The links below will take you to the full speech.

(10 min read; 2,604 words)

“Men Have Forgotten God” – The Templeton Address.

(The same complete text at an alternate site)

WR003 – Week in Review – for the week ending April 25, 2014

The audio quality of this file is atrocious.  I apologize.  I know now what I did wrong and plan to be back to standard sound quality next week.  Again, I’m sorry.  I’m short on time to re-record so that I thought going ahead and sending it was the better choice.  If it turns out I’m wrong because it’s too hard to listen to, please let me know.  Thanks.

Segments:

I. Time magazine’s cover article for this week (starts 00:00)

Time: Barbara Brown Taylor Faces the Darkness (subscription required)

Al Mohler on the Barbara Brown Taylor article (audio and outline / transcript)

II. Matthew Vines’ “God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships” (starts at 17:39)

Matthew Vines’ March 2012 video (1:07:19) and transcript

Al Mohler on Matthew Vines’ book (article / podcast and outline / e-book response to Matthew Vine’s book)

III. Persecuted believers in Uzbekistan (starts at 39:31)

Open Doors brief on believers in Uzbekistan

Total length is 46:00.

Ontario Law Society bans graduates of Christian university from practicing law

In a sign of things to come in the U.S., “The Law Society of Upper Canada has voted 28 to 21 against the accreditation of Trinity Western University’s proposed new law school in B.C.”  The reason?  “Trinity Western University students must sign a strict Christian covenant governing behaviour, including abstaining from sexual intimacy ‘that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman’.”

In other words, the law school won’t be accredited because it fails to support “same-sex marriage.”

Christians who are tired of resisting the LBGT agenda and want to just avoid the discussion don’t understand that silence will not be acceptable.  Neither will tolerance.  No, what’s going to be required of Christians is acceptance, affirmation, and support of “gay marriage” – or else painful consequences will be imposed.

Make up your minds to stand firm for the Lord who stood firm for you.  We are commanded to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).  Without His righteousness, there is no kingdom.

(1 min read; 282 words)

Ontario Law Society bans graduates of Christian university from practicing law | Wintery Knight.

During My Maintenance Delays (and at all other times), Give Me Jesus

Though some may think this is a “flash mob,” it is actually something a little different.  This AirTran flight was grounded for a maintenance delay when a college choir director (Indiana Wesleyan University – a Christian college) saw an opportunity to lead the students on board in a musical meditation that might take the other passengers’ minds off their troubles.

It appears that the flight attendant may have been particularly touched and appreciative.