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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

A sister, a wife: Lingering patriarchy in the Newer and Improveder NIV

It is well known that the major impetus behind the latest two revisions of the New International Version was egalitarian. Egalitarianism has gradually taken over most denominations, even those among whose major distinctions against sister denominations was their greater reluctance to embrace it.
Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas[that is, Peter]? --1 Corinthians 9:5 NNIV
Now, there's a major problem with this verse for egalitarians: it's written from a patriarchal perspective, and the CBT has done nothing to soften that blow, as much as it is in their power to do so.

One well-known Bible scholar, Eldon J. Epp, has gone so far as to write an entire book promoting the idea that among the early apostles were women, specifically one named Junia. But what happens when we try to plug her name into this verse?

Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Junia?
Oops. The CBT sure missed that one in their global search-and-replace. Their puzzling reluctance* to ever use the gender-sensitive word 'spouse' really got them in trouble here. Furthermore, even the very phrase 'take a wife' reeks of patriarchy.

Look for a global search-and-replace of 'spouse' for 'wife' in the next NIV update. But while they're at it, they may as well replace 'husband' too, just to be fair.

*All the more puzzling because, at a recent event hosted by an equal-opportunity seminary where one of the professors is a member of the CBT, a professor was heard to ask a the male half of a married couple, "Is that your spouse sitting next to you?"

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Beware of Cragslist late responders!

Inasmuch as my readers often arrive at this blog desiring that something they had heard either be confirmed or debunked (and it seems to usually be the latter), I offer this latest entry as a warning to those who sell items on Craigslist.

Craigslist, like fire, can either serve or destroy. Probably the most successful Craigslist users are those in search of something; it seems like most scams prey on those offering a product or service. This has been my experience. Some months ago I put an item for sale--let's call it a Gadget--on Craigslist. I got one phone call the first week, then nothing. My listing rapidly dropped to the bottom of the page and it was unlikely that I would hear from any more prospective customers. Then, after a couple weeks of silence, a steady trickle of emails started appearing in my inbox. They all had the same features:

1. Subject line--it was lifted directly from the listing. Gadget - $250 (Pokeyville)
2. Sender's email--always a gmail account with a made-up-looking prefix like jffbo42p or pdly6doo.
3. Text--always something vague, never mentioning the item or the price, such as:
"Do you still have it available for sale?"

After I respond, the second email is equally programmed but still vague as to any details. It goes something like this:
Glad you still have it! Hope it's in good condition like you have stated in the post, I want you to remove the craigslist advert and consider it sold to me. The price is fine. I would have love to come pick it up and pay you cash but am out of town. I don't want to miss out of this deal so am willing to cut you a certified check as payment. I'll have a pickup agent come to your location after you've cashed the check. I need the following information:
Full Name:
Address:
City:
State:
Postal Code:
Cell Phone:
Last Asking Price:

I need all this right now so that I can forward it to my secretary to mail out the payment to you ASAP.
Okay, by now alarm bells should be going off. The prospective buyer has provided nothing but randomly generated information (sometimes even using a different gmail address for the second response), but wants to know way more information on me than I will ever give out to a random person. My second email always says, "Sorry, cash only," and that ends the conversation.

So, here are thing things to watch for:
1. An email address that doesn't carry any information you could use to identify the person
2. Nothing in the body of the email to specify the item you are selling
3. Urgency/willingness to pay extra/desire to use an agent on the part of the buyer

If you see these red flags, DON'T give out any information not already in the listing.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

In which Kin Selection Theory is unsupported by real-world evidence

One of the pillars of Darwinian Theology is the doctrine that every organism is driven by a compulsion to pass on its own genes to a future generation. Now, meiosis means that only half of the parent's genes can ever be passed on at any given time. Famous evolutionist J B S Haldane alluded to this when he was asked if he would give his life to save his drowning brother. He is supposed to have said: "No, but I would to save two brothers, or eight cousins."

But what human realistically could be expected to make such a calculation? By this line of reasoning, the discovery that a pregnancy consists of twin fetuses would suffice to change any parent's mind against getting an abortion, when in fact we know that multiple pregnancies are even more likely to bring up the question of termination to those who hadn't otherwise considered it. And this report is just one of many to that could be offered in refutation the doctrine:
Eight-year-old Tyler Doohan will be laid to rest on Wednesday as the most honored of honorary firefighters, saluted by his local fire company as one of its own who made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty. . . . Tyler then heard calls for help and realized that his disabled grandfather and step-great-grandfather were still inside. Tyler had a particular bond with the grandfather, who was the kind of guy who was always quick to assist a neighbor or to help somebody in need even though he did not have all that much himself. The grandfather, 54-year-old Steven Smith, had lost part of a leg and got around in a wheelchair or on crutches.
So: a pre-pubescent organism risked, and as a result lost, his future ability to procreate in a rather ill-fated attempt to save the life of his grandfather, who was not only past the point of procreation, but even of the sort of organism that is typically selected for culling. Why would he do such a thing? There is no Darwinian explanation for his motivation, but it is exactly the same motivation behind the attempt of a father to save the life of his son--or a grandfather to save the life of his grandson. The evolutionary explanation is nothing but the hopeful figment of an unbeliever's imagination, and posts like this one show that even some evolutionists see Kin Selection Theory as simply a case of wishful thinking: a hypothesis in search of actual evidence.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Probably the last Indiana Revival Report

There have been several phases of Revive Indiana, the first two of which have been pretty well covered in this blog.

One: Elkhart County area, one week extended to 52 days, with a month off, then one week more.

Two: The Seven Stars: one, two, or three weeks of meetings in six other counties throughout the northern two-thirds of the state, extending over the next three months.

Three: The Nineteen Rays: more localized outreaches to various other communities across the state, spearheaded by locally trained and sent leaders, as well as the new locally supported Time to Revive full-time missionaries; still ongoing, more than a year later.

Remember me saying that Revive Indiana was the first Time to Revive outreach to be named after an entire state--and the first that broke out of the original target area to spread across the state? Well, all TTR outreaches that were initiated after Revive Indiana have followed the same pattern: Revive Florida (which spread to two other counties), Revive Ohio (now spreading to its third county), and now, for next year, Revive Texas. Now, TTR has gone back and renamed all their earlier outreaches, including the original Dallas event which is now gearing up for round two next year, to incorporate the name of the state and the city. Just look at this list of recent outreaches released by TTR:

reviveARIZONA :: Sedona
reviveFLORIDA :: Sarasota
reviveINDIANA :: Jasper County
reviveMICHIGAN :: Flint
reviveMINNESOTA :: Twin Cities
reviveMISSISSIPPI :: Tupelo
reviveOHIO :: Darke County
reviveTX :: Dallas-Fort Worth
reviveWASHINGTON :: Seattle

Revive Indiana continues to stand out as a turning point in the movement that is Time to Revive, serving as the model for all future outreaches. And Indianans, more than those of any previous revival, still travel to every new venue providing a jump start to the local outreaches, returning home pumped up to continue what started there.

But what are the lingering results in Indiana? There is still an increased level of cooperation among churches (although some have backtracked on their involvement), but Elkhart itself remains a murder capital, with recent triple and double homicides making the news.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Timo's Trial

Things are happening pretty fast on the Miller Kidnapping Case, so I'm starting another post here for information on Timo's trial as it comes in. Word is that Timo is in Buffalo awaiting a pretrial hearing, and we will let you know how that goes as soon as we can. The prosecution may look on this as an opportunity to add to Ken and Philip's prison time by trying to put them on the stand against Timo. This, of course, would be only for spite, as they already have plenty enough evidence against him--he was first arrested for this crime over five years ago.

Timo's detention hearing was scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on October 12--then bumped to that time on the 14th. Carl Swartzentruber sent in this report: “God was very good to us, and he did answer prayers in the court hearing. The judge was very friendly and gracious. The decision was to not ask for pre-trial release for now. Jeff Conrad, Timo’s lawyer, talked to Timo about this and Timo agreed. At this point they are going to pursue a plea-agreement and negotiations are ongoing. Timo was in good spirits. He looked in good health and good condition all the way around. He was very happy to see us all there and came out with a big smile on his face. It was good to see him again as well. The judge also asked that Timo be moved to a prison closer to Lancaster County for Jeff Conrad’s sake. That was interesting and very gracious. We just felt like God was there and blessed. There was a good spirit in the whole proceeding. Now we need to pray for the ongoing negotiations so that God works everything out the way he wants it.”

A website has now been set up to collect donations for the expenses associated with Timo's legal process. Of all things, it was false charges of child pornography that got Timo whisked off a Managuan street in thrown in the dungeon. What a case of projection.

“We probably couldn't have extradited you. But that doesn't mean we couldn't get you. When we really want somebody, we work with our friends, in whatever country we happen to be. A few phone calls, a little back-and-forth, tit for tat. We get them to cancel your immigration status, and next thing you know, you're being deported.”  --American officer David Foster in Straight Flush by Ben Mezrich

UPDATE NOVEMBER 30
Timo had his day in court, and Carl has sent in another report:

"The hearing today went very well overall with good spirit among everyone involved. Timo's day had started at 3am when he was taken from the prison to go to the courthouse, but in spite of a tired body he was in good spirits as well. The early part of the day was spent in private discussion among the attorneys and Timo. During that time, Timo had a special opportunity for some very positive personal interaction with the lead prosecutor and expressed his love and goodwill for him and his desire for the well being of his soul.  It was a rather touching moment for Timo.  

"When the status hearing began the judge was informed by the prosecution lawyers that they had reached a plea agreement. The judge was favorable to that and suggested that they could hold the plea hearing later in the afternoon rather than scheduling it for another time. They recessed while the court addressed another case on the docket and then Timo's case was recalled and they proceeded with the plea hearing.  The judge was very gracious and took time to explain everything thoroughly.  Timo pled guilty to one of the two charges against him and the other charge was dismissed.  A reduced sentence was recommended and the judge set March 23 for the sentencing date when he will finally rule on the sentence.  He has guidelines to follow in sentencing but has discretion in following them as well. That should become a fresh matter of prayer.  Timo will remain in prison while he awaits sentencing.  

"There were approximately 60 people from several surrounding states who attended the court hearing in support of Timo.  It was very encouraging for Timo to see that support and it was impressive to the court staff as well.  They had opportunity to pray together in the courthouse hallway and sing together on the courthouse steps.  There was goodwill and a good spirit all around. . ."

UPDATE MARCH 1
Timo's wife and children have been provided a home in Lancaster County, PA which is still quite a ways from the Youngstown, OH prison where he has settled down for the time being. This is his address:

Timo Miller 78268083
North East Ohio Correctional Center
2240 Hubbard Road
Youngstown, Ohio 44505

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Living in the Underground Church

I'm beginning another post on the topic of the month, but this will be very general, with lessons learned drawn from a variety of situations.

I've been watching a film produced by the underground Russian Baptist Church a full generation ago, at the very height of persecution, but less than a decade before it ended. When this video was recently shown to believers in Mongolia (where the church emerged only after the fall of Communism), this was their recorded response: 
They looked at the faces in that video and saw people who had genuinely given themselves to Christ in the face of the great risk of prison camps and torture. They commented that such real conviction was entirely different from the sort of 'Christianity' seen in Mongolia, where nominal adherence to Christianity and easy believism has been spread by missionaries and now by Mongolians who are encouraged by missionaries to travel the world and sow the same seed where-ever. The Mongolians who saw the video felt highly embarrassed that the character of Christendom in Mongolia is completely different from those shown on the film who wholly dedicated themselves to Christ in spite of the tremendous danger and cost. 
We in the West have much to learn from these saints, now mostly living in our midst, who can still tell us how their faith was able to thrive despite living their entire lives under incremental state opposition. For example, their leader since 1965, Gennadi Kryuchkov, went into hiding in lieu of sure imprisonment--and, for an incredible twenty years, lived in a totalitarian country tantalizingly beyond the reach of the mighty KGB, who were so frustrated in their vain attempts to bring him to ground that one of them said it almost made a believer of him. His fugitive status outlasted the KGB itself, as he led the church that entire time from behind a curtain of invisibility until he at last emerged triumphant. In fact, in an incredibly bold move, he even emerged briefly after 19 years to address a national conference, only to disappear again while the communist regime concluded its death throes.

I'd like to quote the opening paragraph of Gennadi's obituary (posted in The Guardian), and I trust my readers will see the parallels to recent show trials in the American Northeast:
It was past midnight at the end of the second day of the trial of Russian Baptist pastors Gennadi Kryuchkov and Georgi Vins. Having been denied his request for seven supporting witnesses and a proper defence counsel, Kryuchkov exercised his right to a "final address", using the dock virtually as a pulpit. "I'm happy to stand before you as a Christian ... Those brethren who are in prisons and camps are suffering, not for having broken Soviet law, but for having been faithful to God and his church. They suffer for Christ, who called them to a new life. Among them are reformed criminals."

Developing . . .

Friday, 7 October 2016

What is Transgender? A Societal Answer

Earlier I started a series on the topic of Transgender, starting with the Linguistic definition, followed here by the Societal Definition, and culminating, I believe, in a Legal Definition (whenever the latter is finally settled).

I don't recommend any of my readers listen to this video, due to the foul language (the relevant parts at least are subtitled), but I will sum up its content in one sentence: As of October 2016 in Ontario, it only takes one hour to go from being a woman with a female photo identity card to a woman with a male photo identity card--issued by the government no less. It's much easier than changing one's name; many women spend as long just changing their clothes.  She probably needed more documentation to prove her new address than her new gender identity.

Now, think about that for just a minute. Women have been changing their last names for many centuries--far longer than Western civilization has existed on these shores--but it's not even been the span of a single lifetime since they could change their gender, and now it can be done in less than an hour, with no physical exam, no court hearing, no sworn statement, not even any witnesses present? It's even easier than getting legally married!

Now, this is not all entirely new. Homosexual behaviour was so common in first century Western Civilization that the Apostle Paul included it several times in various lists of sins. We even get our word 'lesbian' from the behaviour common to female inhabitants of ancient Lesbos Island in Greece. What is new is the legal fiction that male and female are social, rather than biological, constructs.

Allowing one's feelings to trump biological reality is at once a social, and a legal, decision. During a time in which a majority of people are reluctant to start calling a woman 'he' just because she identifies as male, it soon becomes a legal matter. As was pointed out in the uncensored video, a law is pending in Canada which will make it a crime punishable by jail to call a woman--who calls herself a man--by female pronouns. Thus, at least for a time, the legal and social definitions are hopelessly intertwined.

But the groundswell of murmuring will simply not be legislated away. Witness the grumbling by female athletes at this year's Olympics over the  IAAF's decision not to disqualify athletes from competing as women, even if they have characteristically male testosterone levels--which means that by the next Olympics, female competitors who aren't doping up on testosterone won't stand a chance of winning, at least not against a Russian athlete.

The societal definition of transgender in Western civilization is certainly in flux, more so than it has been since the fall of Rome. But everything eventually trends toward the mean, so the current societal ambivalence will eventually give way to biological reality. In the meanwhile, buckle your seat-belts: we are in for a wild ride.

Friday, 30 September 2016

The Plight of the Righteous Defendant: the case of the Miller Kidnapping Trials

In my previous post, I promised to provide another post on the Miller Kidnapping Case, in which I would  share more than the bare facts of the trial.

Here it is.

I first of all refer my readers to a post from 2007, which I ended as follows:
 When what used to be considered wrong becomes lawful, sooner or later what used to be considered right becomes unlawful.

It's happening. 
This truism is no better exemplified than in the Miller Kidnapping Case, which is--contrary to the federal government's claims--all about a girl being kidnapped from her mother. Well, yes, that is what the government says it's all about, but they have the wrong mother in mind.

Janet Jenkins is not Isabella's mother, nor has she ever been. She did not conceive her, did not nurture her either in her womb or at her breast, did not give birth to her, did not sign her birth certificate, was never even named on her passport application. Lisa Miller is the only mother Isabella has ever had or known, and this kidnapping has always been about Janet using the full force and power of the United States Government to steal a child away from its mother through the legal fiction of declared parenthood. Now that we've clarified that, we can continue with our evaluation of the trial.

So far the parties to this case have decided to go with jury trials. This is usually good business for the lawyers, as jury trials always take a lot longer then bench trials. But it's not usually very good business for the defendants, as we can see from the very recent results of some celebrated trials in Baltimore. I quote:
Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams acquitted Rice in a bench trial. Williams also has acquitted Officers Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson in separate bench trials. Officer William Porter's trial ended in a hung jury in December.
Notice that the one defendant who put himself at the mercy of a jury barely escaped, while those who put themselves directly at the mercy of a judge were all acquitted. There's a reason for why this could happen, and it's called voir dire. That's the legal name for the process by which the prosecutor systematically excludes everyone from the jury who might be counted on to acquit. Since this process isn't perfectly predictable, and prosecutors don't always know exactly what questions to ask every time, every once and a while a rogue juror slips through to throw a spanner in the works. But in most cases the prosecutor ends up with exactly the jury he wants--and needs--to secure a conviction.

Mr. Grimshaw was convicted in a bench trial back in 2007, but it wasn't his point to be acquitted. He wanted to preach holiness in the courtroom, and not having a jury to preach it to detracted very little from his goal. Now, there has been some open mention of the gospel in the Miller proceedings, but usually by a witness, and only tangentially by an attorney; never by the defendant in a closing statement to which the opposition cannot easily object. In a trial where conviction is pretty much a foregone conclusion, a righteous defendant forfeits a powerful pulpit by exercising his right to silence, and I hope that future righteous defendants--and there will be many--will take heed to the new way of doing things, and take their lead from Mr. Grimshaw, not Mr. Zodhiates.

The lawyers carefully hired by Philip Zodhiates mostly fell into the trap of trotting out their usual tricks, and I have to say to his credit that Prosecutor Paul van de Graaf easily ripped them to shreds before the jury (when the judge himself wasn't, after dismissing the jury yet again, reprimanding the defence for even attempting them). Yes, the prosecutor used some tricks of his own, but with such class and style that none of them even met with immediate objection. Even the perfunctory motions to acquit for lack of a case, duly offered by every defence attorney since time immemorial, showed, in this case, a disconnect with the reality that the defence did not dispute the facts that had been presented by the prosecution. This is what happens with defence lawyers who have made a career of trying whatever tricks they can to win acquittal for someone who is actually guilty of evildoing. But people need to learn a new way of doing trials in this new world where wrong has become right, and the sooner the better.

What this will require is a new breed of lawyers. I was most impressed in this trial, at least on the defence side, by the performance of David Boyd. He's been cited as "a rising star" by the legal profession and, once he has his own law firm and doesn't have to toe the line drawn by the old school, I can see him excelling at the new reality. For example, from the time the prosecution rested until the closing arguments had ended, the only motion floated by the defence that was even entertained by the judge (other than a few of the many objections being sustained, as could have been expected) was Mr. Boyd's claim of a legal falsehood in Mr. Van de Graaf's closing argument.

Mr. Van de Graaf had to demonstrate to the jury that Mr. Zodhiates, although never having set foot in Vermont in the commission of his crime, was still bound by the decisions of Judge Cohen in the Vermont family court. He dismissed all the legal decisions in Virginia--nineteen in all, extending from 2004 all the way to 2010, after the facts on the ground had already rendered them moot--as having no bearing on the case. They were "a dream, a wish, even a prayer."

But after all the arguments were over and the jury had been sent home for the day, Mr. Boyd pointed out to Judge Arcara that Lisa Miller's case against the state of Vermont had been referred [as the Constitution stipulates it should] to the Supreme Court, and had that august body ruled her bound to the the laws of the state in which Isabella lived, rather than the state in which Janet Jenkins had been ruled to be Isabella's parent, it would in fact had rendered all six Vermont decisions inapplicable. Had the Supreme Court not declined to hear the case (poised as it was to overthrow all bans to parental claims such as Janet Jenkins asserted, like the one in question in Virginia), this trial may well never have happened. The judge was caught off guard by Mr. Boyd's citation of USC 1204 and its case law stipulation that only the laws of the state of residence are to apply in international kidnapping cases, and agreed to consider including that information in his charge to the jury--for all the good it may have done, as we have seen. But it does show the wisdom of hiring someone who closely followed the prior trial, where this argument was previously made.

There were four co-conspirators indicted in this case; so far, we have only seen the trials of half of them. I trust the others will find my admonitions helpful in the future, whether immediate or distant.

And I do believe there will be at least one more post on this topic, regarding the sort of evidence that came up in the first two trials, and what it says about the investigative powers of the federal government.

Oh, one more thing: at a subsequent trial, it would be interesting to see if anyone is allowed to offer testimony in support of "affirmative defense under this section that . . . the defendant was fleeing an incidence or pattern of domestic violence."

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Kidnapping Trial Updates

It's been a frustrating wait for more information in the Miller kidnapping trial, but word has finally come in from a reporter on the scene.

Since so little information has come out about the Zodhiates trial, perhaps we should start by setting the scene. Unusual for a kidnapping trial, there are five attorneys on the case: two for the prosecution and three for the defence. One factor ramping up the legal fees is that the defendant and all the defence witnesses are from the Shenandoah Valley (a point repeatedly brought up by the defence). Two attorneys are local; one on each side. But the odd thing about the other three is that they are from Burlington, Vermont. Now, why would a defendant from Virginia being tried in the Western District of New York hire a team of lawyers from a Vermont firm? Well it turns out that the lead prosecutor, Paul J. Van de Graaf, Chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Vermont, is very familiar with this case: he prosecuted Ken Miller back in 2012. The two Vermont lawyers hired by the defence--Robert B. Hemley and David A. Boyd--are with Gravel and Shea, a Burlington firm that may have provided local talent in the earlier trial. Michael D. DiGiacomo and James W. Grable are the local talent for this trial, but in the main it is a case of Van de Graaf v. Hemley. 

Day Six
Today the prosecution rested, and the defence had its turn. Philip Zodhaites' s defence team has chosen to go after the prosecution's bizarre portrayal of him as a rabid anti-gay crusader, devoting their examination time to a series of friends and coworkers who all agreed that Philip hasn't a hateful bone in his body. It took some work, but Judge Arcara agreed to at least allow the defence to query witnesses as to general and specific opinions of the defendant's reputation as being a) law-abiding and b) generous to anyone in need, irregardless of their race, colour, or creed. The other questions raised were how hard Response Unlimited worked to turn over emails subpoenaed under Janet Jenkins' s civil suit (which is stayed pending the outcome of this case, but has apparently provided useful discovery for the prosecution), and whether there was any indication in any email recovered from RU's email server that the Miller custody case was  still pending at the time of the alleged crime (every indication is that it was).

The lawyers spent about as much time offering objections to this line of questioning (the prosecution) or to the court sustaining them (the defence) as they did actually questioning the defence witnesses. That notwithstanding, the 18-man jury (actually 11 men and 7 women) may have the case as early as Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Timo Miller (whom the government still regards as a co-conspirator), in a move right out of the CIA playbook, has been secretly rendered to a prison on US soil.

Day Seven
Today the defence also rested--so much for claims that the trial would last two weeks. Had it not been for Judge Arcara dismissing early so he could attend a judges' meeting, it would have already gone to the jury.
This morning the prosecutor encountered a rather prepared witness. He's asked each of the defence witnesses about their refusal to talk to the federal investigator, but Cindy Erkel wasn't about to let him frame the debate. In fact, she had a riposte ready to parry his every attack. The cross-examination went something like this, with the prosecutor's initial questions having been met with pretty much the same noncommittal responses from the previous defence witnesses (the goal is always to lead the jury to believe that no one knows the real Philip Zodhaites, the dark evil criminal; thus none of the witnesses to his generous and non-discriminatory nature are to be believed):
Q: Is Philip Zodhiates your friend?
A: Yes.
Q: There are different kinds of friends, good and otherwise. Would you say that Mr. Zodhiates is a good friend?
A: Yes.
Q: But by good, you usually mean intimate. Someone you share secrets with.
A: Right.
Q: More than just a neighbor, then.
A: Right.
Q: But you don't talk to him every day?
A: No.
Q: You don't see him every week?
A: I don't see ANYONE at a weekly gathering. I don't have ANY friends of the sort you are describing.
Q: You've already talked to the defence attorneys, haven't you? [he can't ask about what they discussed due to attorney-client privilege]
A: Yes.
Q: Did [the federal investigator] call to talk with you?
A: Yes, I told him I would be quite willing to talk to him when I got to New York [to testify].
Q Did you tell him you wanted to get back to your busy life?
A: It was a very pleasant conversation. He used the word 'attempt'.
Q: But you told him you were too busy to talk to him, so you never called him back?
A: It was not because I was too busy to talk to him. I declined because he used the word 'attempt', and I told him that.
Q. ANSWER THE QUESTION! Did you attempt to call him back?
A: It never occurred to me to call him back.




Day Eight
Thursday morning started out with Judge Arcara reading his 130-page Charge to the Jury. It took him longer to read it than either of the Summaries lasted. Then then jury went into deliberation, returning a verdict of "guilty" on both charges--to no one's great surprise. The judge had so construed the presentation of evidence, and so scrupulously prevented the defence from going into the jury's right to judge the law as well as the facts, that there was no other likely outcome. Like many trials, this one had already been won in voir dire, when anyone who strongly believed in the government's responsibility to protect an innocent child from a sexual predator was excluded from the jury.

My post-trial commentary will follow in another post, but since this post is a major portal for visits to this blog, I will continue to add dated updates as appropriate.

UPDATE Oct 10
Another blog has picked up on this report, so I'll address here some of the questions raised there.

 1. Yes, Timo Miller was officially 'deported' from Nicaragua. But it was no less than a classic rendering operation. He was held for two months without benefit of habeas corpus or any charges filed, so clearly it was a behind-the-scenes operation with the US Government pulling the strings. Why it took so long to transfer him directly to a US prison, nobody who knows is willing to say, at least not by using an usecured server.

2. Yes, bribery has been going on, but not by the Mennonites in Nicaragua. They report that an extensive intelligence network has identified former church members, who have been recruited to infiltrate back into the churches in an attempt to locate the Miller fugitives. Even current Mennonites who are disgruntled for whatever reason have been tracked down and offered the same deal. Nobody in Nicaragua would have the money, means, or motive to carry out an operation of this scale.

3. The defense was severely limited by Judge Arcara as to what they could claim, who they could interview, and what questions they could ask.

4. The prosecution's duty to prove intent on the part of Philip Zodhiates was fully met, on the grounds that intent to violate an order which one knew in advance would later become effective counted, and by subpoenaing emails by all three of the arrested co-conspirators, content was found to adequately show that the parties had reason to know that what they were doing would not meet with US Government approval. Especially damning was the January 2009 email by Philip to Lisa's lawyer, indicating that 'if no legal solution' was available, he had another option he'd like to offer them.

5. Lisa is still at large, and apparently intends to remain that way at least until 2020. It must be extremely frustrating to the feds that they can't find her, after letting her slip out of their sights as soon as they arrested Timo. Isabella has spent most of what she can remember of her life in Central America, so there's no need to pity her; she's home with her mother, and if she didn't prefer that to any alternative, I'm sure we'd have heard of it by now.

UPDATE JAN 30, 2017
Judge Arcara was supposed to sentence Philip Zodhiates today; as is usually the case, this action was postponed to a later date.

UPDATE MARCH 23, 2017
The sentencing was rescheduled to align with Timo Miller's sentencing. You can read about the results of both of these hearings here.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Thinking about the future

Looking at an examination of the implications of Moore's Law, in which the map becomes the territory, we see that it is a human tendency to achieve exactly what has been expected, until the free market comes into play--than progress can actually be accelerated. In the absence of the free market, progress slows back down at once.

The very idea of having a government Department of Innovation is thus pseudoscientific.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Can a mathematical formula improve my chances of winning the lottery? and other relevant questions

I've written before under the labels of greed and deception, but my topic today is specifically on Jared Wilson the lottery winner. Run a search on that character string, and you are likely to find that the first few hits--even those claiming to review the program--are nothing more than links back to the infomercial that first introduced me to Jared. In other words, this is a highly sophisticated scam; even searching on 'Lotto Destroyer Scam' takes you back to the exact same site. Someone has gone to a tremendous amount of work to part you and your $147.

So the question: Does it Work? still needs to be addressed. Which I will now do, as a public service and without any requests for remuneration.

First of all, you need to know that there is no such person as Jared Wilson who won the lottery six times. That's just a hook to get you to the website, where you go on to read that 'Jared' actually wins the lotto at least once a month.

Stop right there. If he's pulling in so many thousands of dollars in lotto winnings, why would he share his secret with you, even if you pay him $147? If his system is guaranteed to turn you into a winner (as he says it is), then why isn't he charging at least $50,000 for it, to forestall his future loss in winnings as the pot is further diluted every time someone else starts claiming a regular share of it?

One thing we know, 'Jared' isn't the mathematician that he claims to be, or he would have realized this.  Instead, 'Jared' is a shrewd psychologist, one who well understands The Gamblers Fallacy and knows 'he' can make way more more money by selling a scam than by playing the numbers.

We also know that 'Jared' has a lot of legal insight, as 'he' is running a scam that won't work for the majority of people that use it. Were his product actually refundable, you can bet he wouldn't stay in business for long. Obviously the process of getting one's money back is about as easy as winning the lottery without using the system. They know way more about keeping your money than you do about getting it back.

One more thing. 'Jared' obviously worked hard to sound like an American, but there's just a enough broken English in his copy to reveal an overseas connection. Not to mention the total disconnect in logic that a Pakistani gas station owner would be mad at him for winning the lottery five times! I guess 'Jared' expects you not to know that whoever sells a winning ticket gets paid right along with the purchaser.

So, yes, you read it here. Jared Wilson (or whatever he's calling himself this week) and the entire Lottery Destroyer is nothing more than a scheme to part you and your money. Lotteries don't hate him, they love him--he's bringing in a lot more business as people throw good money after bad before finally realizing that they were duped.

Oh, and those people who do win back-to-back lotteries? There's a reason for their success, and it's a simple mathematical formula: use your million in winnings to buy another million tickets, and you're statistically guaranteed to win again. Sadly, most lotto winners use their winnings to keep right on playing--such is the nature of an addiction.

Want to get rich, and stay rich? Then don't buy lottery tickets or lotto winning schemes; sell them instead.

The same could be said for membership in multi-level marketing schemes, as they work pretty much the same way. But at least you get a hopefully useful product for your pains.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Aslan is on the move!


After one hundred years of always winter and never Christmas (as unlikely as such a situation is to conceive, without total starvation), things seemed as grim as they could get. Of the four humans sent into Narnia for some unknown purpose, one had already defected to the White Witch, and the other three were being hunted for their very lives. The beaver's home had been raided and his comrades turned to stone. How much worse could it get? Yet it was being whispered that despite all the bad tidings, a fundamental shift was taking place: Aslan was on the move!

Things are pretty discouraging right now on the front of religious liberty in the Western Hemisphere.  Whispers come at us from every direction. Whispers of Ken Miller being threatened with more hard time for refusing to testify against Philip. Whispers of Timo Miller being dragged off his bicycle on a Nicaraguan street into a waiting van and hauled off to who-know-where--perhaps the notorious Chipote Prison? Whispers of Interpol being involved, but no one willing to confirm anything officially. It's looking pretty grim.

Aslan is on the move. Yes, there is yet no outward evidence of it--only those whose undying loyalty he holds can sense it. But as the cycles of time wheel around to line up in their ultimate configuration, the current regime under which the whole world groans is developing unseen cracks. It's going down.

At first it may only look like a thaw, but Spring is coming; nothing can hold it back.

Take heart. Stand firm. Aslan is on the move.

UPDATE August 17: To those of you, especially in Nicaragua, coming here for an update on Timo Miller, I'm not going to be sharing everything I know. You probably have access to pretty much the same sources I do, and things are too up in the air to be drawing any conclusions from the data that is available. The main point is that while we may not know what is going on, God does. I will say I expect that when the kidnapping trial opens in Buffalo in the coming weeks, Timo will be present.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Another look at Loving v. Virginia

Today, in honor of Loving Day (which would have been celebrated yesterday, but for the modern habit of moving the observance of all holidays to Monday), The White Man will revisit the case which brought it about: Richard Perry Loving, Mildred Jeter Loving v. Virginia.
Right off the bat, there's a problem: look at the photo of the famous couple, described everywhere as being of separate races:




Note that whilst they are described as "white" and "black" respectively, it is evident that they have the same skin tone just by comparing where their bodies touch. Mildred Jeter, at the time Richard Loving impregnated her, was basically as white as he was. What she had, and he hadn't, was verified African and Native American Ancestry, in addition to the majority European ancestry that they both shared; and under the law then current in Virginia, their entire lives must needs conform to that almost invisible distinction.

This is very important: had it not been that all Virginians were already divided, first by convention and then by law, into discrete categories of Pure European and Not Pure European, there never would have been a case. Mildred's European ancestry, despite contributing the majority of her genome, counted for nothing, admixed as it was with the blood of supressed races. Thus the whole foundation of the Racial Integrity Act, which Loving v. Virginia overturned, was a distinct theology of racial purity which deliberately sought to ignore the reality of the racial mixing plainly evident just by looking at the co-defendants.  It is the height of hypocrisy that none of Mildred's European ancestors were ever prosecuted for raping their African slaves, yet her lawful husband was prosecuted for sleeping with her, with her full consent. It was a law that had no chance of surviving in a righteous nation.

Loving v. Virginia was long thought to be the culmination of Supreme Court decisions that invalidated laws meant to prevent fornication and adultery; but these were to resume under a new court after a 20-year hiatus. So rare was homosexuality in the mid-1960's, it's unlikely that anyone at the time would have been able to predict that in her own lifetime (and she only lived another four decades), Mildred Loving would be able to point out, to widespread acclaim, that by filing suit against the state that denied the validity of the one-flesh relationship she shared with her husband, she was laying the grounds for the invalidation of all laws that denied equal treatment in the eyes of the law to people of the same sex who cohabited in the same way she and Richard had.

Ironically, the eight years since Mildred Loving's death have still failed to eliminate the classification into which she is always placed, now usually referred to as "African-American," but recent months have seen the proliferation of people who are still pigeonholed by race, but left free to change their gender at will. Thus Virginia's Act could yet stand, with modern Lovings fully evading its force merely by claiming to be of the same sex. The bizarre twisting of reality gets ever worse: race is as immutable as ever, but it is sex that is now malleable to the will of the person claiming it.

Backing up to the Racial Integrity Act, we see that it was specifically written to criminalize relationships such as that of the Lovings, which under common law had never been illegal:

"This bill aims at correcting a condition which only the more thoughtful people of Virginia know the existence of.
 It is estimated that there are in the State from 10,000 to 20,000, possibly more, near white people, who are known to possess an intermixture of colored blood, in some cases to a slight extent it is true, but still enough to prevent them from being white.
 In the past it has been possible for these people to declare themselves as white, or even to have the Court so declare them. Then they have demanded the admittance of their children in the white schools, and in not a few cases have intermarried with white people.
 In many counties they exist as distinct colonies holding themselves aloof from Negroes, but not being admitted by the white people as of their race.
 In any large gathering or school of colored people, especially in the cities, many will be observed who are scarcely distinguishable as colored.
 These persons, however, are not white in reality, nor by the new definition of this law, that a white person is one with no trace of the blood of another race, except that a person with one-sixteenth of the American Indian, if there is no other race mixture, may be classed as white. "

It is obvious on its face that this law was designed to reserve special rights and privileges to those with no discernible trace of non-European heritage (a loophole having been inserted to allow white people to claim descent from the famous princess Pocahontas).  This approach had already been roundly condemned by Justice White in his McLaughlin v. Florida decision earlier in the decade:

"That a general evil will be partially corrected may at times, and without more, serve to justify the limited application of a criminal law; but legislative discretion to employ the piecemeal approach stops short of permitting a State to narrow statutory coverage to focus on a racial group."

It is quite ironic that the Racial Integrity Act, a product of the American Eugenics Movement, is now so roundly condemned by everyone from Supreme Court Justices on down, whilst the other major achievement of that movement--the suppression of the black race by sterilization and abortion--is still celebrated as a major victory for women, its crowning victory, Roe v. Wade, having been handed down by the same court that overruled the decision of Pace v. Alabama.

Under the Racial Integrity Act, the sanctity of Mildred Loving's bedroom could be invaded by officers hoping to catch her in the act of sleeping with her husband. Under Obergefell v. Hodges, which cited Loving v. Virginia as precedent, the sanctity of her daughter's bathroom stall can now be invaded by any sexual predator claiming to share her gender.

This, we are told, is progress.

One more thing: Obergefell v. Hodges effectively replaced 'race' with 'gender' in evaluating whether any law since Loving v. Virginia can be held to provide equal treatment under the law. Just imagine all the implications of doing this to Associate Justice Potter Stewart's concurring opinion, in which he stated that "it is simply not possible for a state law to be valid under our Constitution which makes the criminality of an act depend upon the race of the actor."

The first result of this ruling being applied in such manner is that no state will be able to continue regulating the depiction nor the exhibition of any part of the human mammary gland (nor will Facebook, or eventually any other interactive website). Better get used to it; it's coming.

And it will be hailed as progress.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

My encounter with Donn Ketcham

I say, what a week. About a thousand people have accessed this blog in the past two days following the publication of a Christianity Today article on Donn Ketcham. For only the second time, albinism is the second most popular topic here. So it's only appropriate that I write a little further on the topic, including an account of my own encounter with the good doctor.

But first, an examination of the recently released  ABWE and Donn Ketcham Investigations Final Report. My comments will be interspersed, in italics.

Analysis indicates that there existed, and in some cases exist today, typically unspoken beliefs and attitudes within ABWE that were revealed through the investigation by way of documents and interviews – beliefs and attitudes that contributed to missionary family and ABWE administrative lack of awareness, lack of responsiveness, and poor decision-making regarding policy violations and abuse behaviors and events. The root causes of significant impact include:

1. There existed a prevailing attitude toward authority in evangelical circles, primarily that there was a "spirituality" standard that required unquestioning compliance with authority. This attitude prevented the development of a healthy system of checks and balances and openness to corrective actions. Critical thinking skills were suspended.

This is a prevalent problem in evangelical circles that have been influenced by Bill Gothard or the Patriarchy movement. But, on the mission field, it goes back way further than that--it probably originated in a military mindset.

2. There existed a focus on ministry as being the top priority. Individual needs and voices tended to be dismissed in the service of the "greater good", i.e. ministry and the spread of the Gospel.


There is also a warped sense of priorities: the work must go on, even if the worker is tainted by sin. Yet, nationals are held to a higher standard, and can be summarily dismissed if under suspicion of moral failure.

3. There existed a prevailing attitude about the status of women in the work place. Especially in the historical time period under investigation women were considered "support" personnel. As such, their opinions and observations carried less weight and were easier to dismiss and ignore. Because women were considered of lesser value, it was easier to "send them home" and/or remove them from the mission, i.e. Donn Ketcham’s lovers over the decades.

 This is a good point; it is almost always MEN who are kept on in spite of moral failure; single women are much more expendable.

4. There existed a prevailing attitude toward children relative to the ministry and to adults. Ministry activities were more important than child needs. Children were not to interfere with or block the "ministry". In fact, children were "sacrificed" so that the ministry would not be "discredited." This, in part, led to blaming a child for what was, in truth, the responsibility of an adult. This also led to children not speaking up about what was happening to them. The children saw much that the adults missed.

5. There existed a prevailing belief that missionaries are "more spiritual" than the average Christian, and because of their "sacrifices" are "entitled." This creates a vulnerability to and blindness about wrongful (and even criminal) behaviors, i.e. a tolerance of Donn Ketcham using inappropriate sexual joking and bragging about his sexual exploits with National women.


Missionaries are thought of as more spiritual, due to their biblical training and being in "Full-time Christian Service." There is also the Baptist focus on right theology over right living.

6. There existed a class system of value and importance on the field. A doctor was considered more important than others, which led to a sense of subservience and obedience on the part of the victims and observers who might have otherwise spoken out regarding Donn Ketcham’s abusive behaviors. This class system impacted the Donn Ketcham family as well.

7. There existed an idealization of Donn Ketcham, a doctor, whose charisma garnered many dollars for ABWE and blinded many people to his true character, i.e."How could such a wonderful man who did so much for the Ministry be that bad? was an oft reported sentiment." For example:

a. He became a demigod in the mission. Donn Ketcham contributed to his persona by presenting himself as a strong spiritual leader, preaching, speaking, and leading Bible studies. He often instructed and condemned others on the very sins he was and had been committing for decades.

b. A result of the idealization is that other decision-makers set aside their own opinions and capacities and deferred to Donn Ketcham, including ABWE administrators who were in positions of authority over Donn Ketcham.

8. There existed a customization of ABWE Principles and Practices and consequences for violation of those Principles and Practices for Donn Ketcham while the organization strictly enforced the Principles and Practices and violation consequences for other mission personnel. For example:

a. Donn Ketcham’s paramours were removed from the field in spite of their pleas to return, while Donn Ketcham was allowed to return.

b. One missionary family was sent home and required to attend 2 years of counseling followed by a period of observation for issues related to parenting a high-needs child. Donn Ketcham, on the other hand, was sent to Chittagong (a discipline that was not strictly enforced) and required to complete a recommended possible 30 sessions of counseling, of which he
only completed 17, for outright violation of ABWE’s code of behavior. Of note, the missionary family’s requirements for counseling were at Donn Ketcham’s insistence.

c. Counselors selected in the Donn Ketcham matter failed due to inadequate training and experience, a lack of professional certification and licensure, conflict of interest, accepting assignments outside of scope of expertise, and ethics violations as to working with the perpetrator and his victim/survivor.

9. There existed a conflict between administering ABWE as a faith-based entity (grace, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, etc.) versus a corporate/business entity (with protective policies and procedures in place, governance checks and balances, etc.). For example:

a. This confusion allowed compassion and forgiveness to block appropriate legal and administrative actions. Equally, it allowed organizational concerns (i.e. financial, the need for doctors) to repeatedly block appropriate responses to victim/survivors.

b. This confusion resulted in ABWE not reporting to authorities Donn Ketcham’s pedophilia as it became known to the organization over decades.

c. This confusion and lack of following corporate principles and practices in place, resulted in multiple affairs and the sexual and emotional abuse of both adult women and children.

d. This confusion allowed "forgiveness" (a faith-based concept) to be used in the service of corporate avoidance of tough issues, i.e. Donn Ketcham’s preferential treatment, a child being blamed for the sexual abuse perpetrated by Donn Ketcham in order to protect Donn Ketcham’s wife, Donn Ketcham continuing in a leadership role even while home for discipline, and a misleading confession avoiding the truth of child sexual abuse being presented with no supervision by ABWE.

e. This confusion contributed to ABWE’s failure to seek out or use appropriate professional and legal counsel for Donn Ketcham when the organization was aware of and had worked with such professionals in matters affecting other ABWE missionaries.

10. There existed a difficulty with logistics in that time period which resulted in a lack of timely communication between Bangladesh and the U.S. headquarters and vice versa.

a. This isolation tends to make people cling tighter to what is familiar, hence the development of "we’re all family" (aunts and uncles). Such a family sense makes it more difficult for people to have perspective, to ask for
information, to critique inappropriate actions, and to see reality, i.e. many still refer to the 13-14 year old missionary kid (MK) victim/survivor as a "consenting (implied) adult".

b. Such an isolated community also creates a "tribal knowledge" where facts are assumed, truth is unintentionally distorted (i.e. time frames, ages) – all of which lead to difficulty "connecting the dots" when abuse happens.

11. There existed a culture of naiveté, due in large part to the underlying mistaken belief that "abuse doesn’t happen in Christian circles."

a. This created an environment in which behavior that would activate a censorship response in most circles was dismissed or ignored.

b. Children’s fears (and in some cases terror) of physical exams with Donn Ketcham was ignored.

c. This attitude also prevented acquisition and dissemination of information about abuse, abuse behaviors, grooming behaviors, and symptoms displayed by abused victims. With no one educated about abuse, or aware that it is a possibility in ANY environment, the mission compound became a fertile field for a manipulator and abuser.

d. Naiveté also made it easy for Donn Ketcham to find, prey on, and intimidate victims and potential witnesses.


A final comment: I wonder if one reason why ABWE leadership was so willing to overlook Donn's sin was that they were blinded by their own guilt in the same areas. An example of this which has come to light is that of  R. C. Sproul Jr.

Okay, now for my encounter with Dr. Ketcham.

It is interesting now to think back to October 1987 and realize that at the time Donn Ketcham spoke in a missions conference I attended, he was already under counseling from ABWE for the very sort of behaviour for which he was not long  afterward expelled. Yet, there he was preaching as an official representative of ABWE. And I must say, he was a very good preacher--I still remember that his subject was Gideon. There was nothing in his persona as a preacher to indicate the darkness that was even then consuming his soul. Nor, I expect, was any big announcement made from that same pulpit 2 years later announcing the fall of that famous preacher. No, such smug announcements were always reserved for the guy from the other theological camp.

UPDATE MAY 2017: As of this February, Donn Ketcham has finally been brought to trial for sexual molestation. According to the charges, he did continue his deviant behaviour after returning to his Michigan practice, and a now-adult former pediatric patient has come forward with criminal allegations of abuse in 1999--just shy of the statute of limitations.




Monday, 2 May 2016

What is a transgender? A linguistic answer

Chances are you are arriving at this blog as the result of an internet search. This isn't surprising, as the concept of transgender has exploded upon the public consciousness of the western world rather recently, and many people are confused as to just what transgender means or is. As a scholar who has been following this topic for several decades, it is incumbent upon me to make things as plain as possible--as I did for my series of posts on albinism, which continue to enlighten thousands every year.

Let's start with a contemporary definition, taken from the first hit on a Google search:

Transgender: denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender.

So, right off we see that transgender is unconventional. From the same source, that word is defined:

Unconventional: not based on or conforming to what is generally done or believed.

So, transgender is something unusual, not ordinary. In fact, it doesn't even fit into a conventional belief system. To sum it up, transgender is a new way of looking at the world that conflicts with what has previously been done and believed. Let's go back a bit and see how earlier dictionaries defined it:

According to Google Ngram, the word was first coined at the dawn of the 20th century. But one will look in vain for even a mention of the word in any dictionary before the close of that century. It isn't found in my Funk & Wagnell's Unabridged Dictionary of 1929 (updated 1959), nor my Websters Collegiate Dictionary of 1983 (updated 1991; published citations of the word doubled in the following year). Popular usage of the word itself is younger than the majority of people claiming that it describes them. Instead, one will have to look elsewhere for a word that describes the actions and beliefs now codified in the word transgender: transvestite.

It first appears in Google Ingram in 1897, but the word, and the behaviour it connotes, were so new in 1929 that Funk & Wagnells didn't include it. It remained so obscure that even thirty years of updates failed to add it to the lexicon. By 1983, however, Websters includes the word, dating its origin to ca. 1922, and defines it as:

Transvestite: A person . . . who adopts the dress and often the behavior typical of the opposite sex esp. for purposes of emotional or sexual gratification.

This is exactly the definition of a transgender. Only the label has changed, and this transfer was not complete until the dawn of this century.

Why the change in label? It certainly isn't because 'transvestite' is no longer a useful word. Look through photos of those claiming to be trangender women (often abbreviated as 'trans woman') and you will see that virtually 100% have long hair. Why? Because although there is no longer any cultural expectation that a woman not shear her locks, long hair is still culturally associated with the female sex, and those desperate to present themselves as women universally subvert this cultural norm to their own purposes.

Likewise, dresses. "Trans women" are much more likely to appear in public wearing a dress then are women themselves. Again, it is all part of a desperate ploy to appear feminine using any cultural device available to them.

So far, we are only speaking of transvestites--a word composed of elements that refer to regulating one's public appearance to match that of the opposite sex. But transgender goes beyond that; it claims to have effected an actual transference from one sex to the other. In this, it co-ops another word that adequately describes what happens in nature when certain species make the transition from a phenotypical female to phenotypical male, or vice versa: transsexual, the usage of which, along with 'transvestite', began its decline at the dawn of this century. 'Transgender' has replaced them both, and thus suffers from an inbuilt ambiguity: is a transgender someone who has actually taken steps to transition from one sexual identity to another, or merely one who wishes to?

This inbuilt ambiguity is at the very heart of the controversy currently raging over whether or not transgenders should be able to use the public restroom of their choosing. The definition with which I began this post indicates that the wordsmiths desire it to be both: A person need nothing more than an inner desire to gain access to the toilets, locker rooms, and showers of either designation. Remember that: this is not about transsexuals, or even transvestites. Bathroom Bills which give transgenders access give access to anyone based on nothing more than his or her claim to be transgender. By definition, nothing more can be required of them.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

A review of The Demands of Christian Citizenship, a sermon by Adrian Rogers

I recently heard a sermon by the late Southern Baptist President Adrian Rogers, on The Demands of Christian Citizenship. Now, I like Adrian Rogers, and appreciate a lot about the man and his ministry. But some of what he teaches in this sermon concerns me, inasmuch as it calls into question my Christian credentials; there are demands in the sermon that I have no intention of meeting (although, as it happens, in an earlier life I actually did things to have met them fully). I've written elsewhere on how I would now differ from the Baptist view on such things (although there was a time in my life when I didn't), so in this post I'll only be briefly critiquing the main points of his sermon, which follow. I think there were six in the audio sermon, but no online source seems to list more than four--this is a compilation of the five I can remember (I think the sixth may have been Protect the Government, which see under my posts on warfare).

As Christian citizens, the Word of God directs us to these responsibilities to our country:

1. Pray for government 1 Timothy 2:1-3
Well, of course I can't dispute this, being a man, and given that Paul would that all men lift holy hands in prayer for those in authority, that we may live quiet and peaceable lives in all piety and integrity. I can only thank Dr. Rogers for encouraging me on to more frequent and fervent prayer.

2. Pay for government. Romans 13:1-7
Again, this is something for which I needed encouragement. It does get a little complicated, though, given that the government's desire is to pay me. So his argument begins to break down when faced with modern reality. He says, "simply no loophole when it comes to paying taxes. Jesus did it, so must we."  But in paying his taxes, Jesus himself said that as sons of the king, we really didn't have to. Sounds like a major loophole to me! So, no net benefit to me from this point.

3. Praise government. 1 Peter 2:17
Well, he does have some biblical precedent for this: Paul respectfully addressed Agrippa, and Peter did tell us to honor the king. I would have to admit that this point still needs emphasis, in a digital age where it is so easy to post satirical criticism of one's president or legislator. Definitely, that's not honouring the king. And he does balance this point out with the next one, so I'll grade this point as being well worth hearing as often as is needed for it to sink in.

4. Preach to government. Ephesians 4:15
He gives the example of John the Baptist, who was respectful enough in delivery to gain Herod's hearing, but hardline enough to get executed for the message itself. So, another good point to go along with the previous one--rebuke when necessary, but still in a respectful way that doesn't detract from the message. So far, I'm finding a lot to appreciate and apply from this sermon.

5. Participate in government. 1 Peter 2:12
Here is where Dr. Rogers makes a gigantic leap, both in hermeneutic and logic. Nowhere in the Bible are Christians actually commanded, or even recommended, to participate in government--so he has to quote Daniel Webster rather than Scripture for this point. Jesus certainly never participated in government (he fled when they would make him king), nor did any of the apostles. Government figures in Christian Scripture are generally the bad guys, to be respected or rebuked, even rewarded, but never to be joined in their governance. Furthermore, he says nothing of the alien, the felon, even the citizen lacking a social security number or otherwise disenfranchised for exercising his religions beliefs--none of whom are able to participate in government even at the lowest level of voting. So while I vehemently part ways with Dr. Rogers on this point, I propose that by diligently carrying out the first four duties, a Christian has fully discharged his responsibility to participate in government, and no civic limits apply to any of these.

So, a good sermon overall--just ignore his final point, and strive to apply the first four. That should keep you busy enough

Friday, 11 March 2016

Ken Miller Update

Ken Miller has, like the dangerous criminal the US Government believes him to be, been ordered to a Medium Security federal prison (but in his home state rather than in the state he was tried). He begins his 2 year minimum terms on March 22nd, 2016. You can send him letters of encouragement at:
Pastor Ken Miller
FCI Petersburg Medium 
1060 River Rd. 
Hopewell, VA 23860

UPDATE:
The good news is that at the last minute he was reassigned to minimum security. And, of course, no prisoner can receive mail by name, just by number. Here is the corrected contact information:

FCC Petersburg Low
Kenneth L Miller 08464-082
P.O. Box 1000
Petersburg, VA 23804

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Faith

I have a couple of stories to tell this morning—one from the world of the Bible, which you already know well, so I won’t spend much time on it—and one from our own world, which you’ve probably never heard. Then I’ll tie them together with the song we just sang, and leave you with something you can take home with you.
In 1981 a baby girl was born to the Moceanu family. This couple had been gymnasts in Romania, a country famous in the 1970’s for its world-class female gymnasts. But the oppressive Communist government in Romania made the whole country like one big prison, and they wanted to make a life for themselves elsewhere. So they had left Romania and moved to America. Life was looking good for them when their first child turned out to be a daughter. They named her Dominique, and decided to give her every opportunity to excel as a gymnast.
As soon as Dominique was able to stand up, they started her training, putting her little hands around a clothesline to see how long she could hang from it. By the time she was four years old, she was already competing, and by the time she was six, she was winning gymnastic contests around the country. They knew she was great.
Then something terrible happened—at least they thought it was terrible. Mrs. Moceanu gave birth to a second child—another daughter—but something had gone wrong, and she was born with no legs. This child, surely, had no hope of following in her parents’ footsteps. This child had no place in a family of world-class gymnasts. Mr. Moceanu’s decision was firm, and it was irrevocable: without ever giving his wife a chance to hold her baby in her arms, he insisted on putting her up for adoption. They would try again, and sure enough, two years later they had another daughter. Little Dominique never realized that she had two sisters—the little cripple was never spoken of again.
Without the distraction of a disabled daughter, the Moceanus poured themselves into Dominique. She got the best gymnastic schools, the best coaches. They even moved to a different state to put her under the tutelage of a pair of Romanian coaches who took only the best as their pupils. Dominique won again and again, until at the age of 14 she reached the pinnacle of success as a gymnast—an Olympic medal. She was still young enough, there was no reason why she shouldn’t be able to continue completing all the way to the next Olympics, four years later, and maybe beyond, if her body held out that long.
But what about her disabled sister—the one she didn’t even know she had? Well, in fact, she didn’t have a disabled sister. The little girl with no legs had been adopted by the Brickers, a couple who already had three sons, and decided to give her a chance to be part of a normal family. They named her Jennifer, and determined to never tell her that she was disabled. They never allowed her to say “I can’t.” She learned to crawl at the normal age, and by the time others were toddling around on their legs, she was crawling circles around them using just her arms and hands. The Brickers got her a bicycle that she could pedal with her hands, and taught her that anything others did with their feet, she would just do with her hands. But what did she want to do, more than anything else? She wanted to be a gymnast, just like her hero, the famous medal-winning Dominque Moceanu.
Dominique, meanwhile, ran into some trouble. The intense schedule of training and competing had stressed her young body to the point of almost crippling her. Again and again she fell down during her performances, and the chance of winning another Olympic medal seemed more and more elusive. Still, she kept on, refusing to give up. But one thing she could not endure was the pressure from her father, who constantly demanded that she be perfect. Her best was never good enough for him, and finally, at the age of seventeen, she gave up trying. She sued for emancipation, testifying in court what a horrible man her father was. The court granted her independence, and Mr. Moceanu, the man who rejected a disabled daughter in secret, found himself publicly rejected by a daughter he had driven to the point of disability.
But his other daughter wasn’t crippled. Her loving parents never let her think of herself as disabled. Once she made the decision to become a gymnast, they supported her all the way. And, incredibly, she started to succeed—winning contests against other gymnasts who did have legs. She specialized in tumbling, and without any legs to get in her way, she was able to leap somersaults around the other gymnasts. One day, when she was the age at which her sister Dominique had rejected their parents, she decided she wanted to find out more about them. What sort of family had she come from, she wondered. So she decided to ask her mother.
I can tell you, Mrs. Bricker responded, but you’d better sit down first. “Mom, I’m always sitting down. You sit down.” So she sat down and gently told her adopted daughter, Your parents were the Moceanus. Dominique is your biological sister.” As the truth began to sink in that Dominique, her hero, was her sister, she realized that her parents must have rejected her because they thought she would never be able to be a gymnast like her sister. Then the irony hit her—Dominique, at the tender age of twenty-three, was already in decline as a professional gymnast. Repeated injuries to her legs had caused her to miss the previous Olympics—in fact, because of her the Olympic committee had decided not to allow any more gymnasts to compete at such a young age. The Moceanus had rejected the daughter who didn’t have any legs to get injured—didn’t have any legs to get in her way to success as a professional gymnast—and along the way had lost their golden girl, the one who showed so much promise—but rejected them. The daughter they didn’t want was happy, confident, and successful—while the daughter they wanted now didn’t want them.
Now, this is all about faith. The Book of Hebrews says that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. We just sang about faith being there in the place of the evidence—it’s even better than that. Faith IS the evidence. When little Jennifer was born, there was no evidence that she would become a professional gymnast. But faith could have seen that it didn’t matter. Faith could have seen that Jennifer could do anything she set her heart on—even if that was becoming the only professional gymnast in the world with no legs. The Moceanus didn’t have that faith—but the Brickers did.
Now, I’m ready to tie this in with a story we’re all familiar with: Joseph. Joseph had dreams that his brothers would all bow down to him, and when he told his brothers about it, they didn’t like it. Now, faith would have seen this as a sign from God—a sign that Joseph had been chosen for something very special. But his brothers didn’t have that faith. His father didn’t even have that faith. The Mideanites, who purchased him for a paltry twenty pieces of silver, didn’t have that faith. Potifar, who threw him in prison on false charges, didn’t have that faith. But Joseph did. All through those years of struggle and setback, he never gave up his faith. If God had said he was going to be raised to such prominence that even his older brothers would bow down before him, then it was going to happen. He didn’t see any evidence that it was going to happen, but he didn’t need evidence. Faith was there in the place of evidence. His faith was his evidence.
Who else had faith in Joseph? Well, Pharaoh did. With Joseph just one good shower and a haircut away from a filthy prison cell, Pharaoh looked at him with eyes of faith and said, Here, Joseph, take my ring. Go to my closet and pick out the best clothes. Take my extra chariot and go do the job that only you can do—don’t let anyone in the kingdom stop you. When Joseph’s own father didn’t think he was fit to rule a country, Pharaoh, who had just met him ten minutes earlier, did. Joseph’s brothers, who scoffed at his dreams, fell down at his feet and gave him the honor God had told him, all those years earlier, that he would receive from them. And God did use him to do great things, just as He had promised when no one else but Joseph had the faith to believe it.
I think we all need to be reminded from time to time how important faith is. I know I need to—this sermon was for me. And the writer of Hebrews must have thought so to--he devoted an entire chapter to the subject. You see, we live in a sight-centered world- a world based on evidence. A world that looks at a baby girl with no legs and comes to the logical conclusion that there’s no future for her as a gymnast. A world that can’t see the promises of God, and in its blindness, not only doesn’t gain the blessings that await them through faith, but loses out on what God has already given it. Joseph lived in such a world, but he didn’t have his eyes on what was around him—his focus was on what awaited him.
Now, none of us know what is ahead of us in this life. We may experience success, we may have failure—there will be some of both in everything we do. But our number one goal is find out what God’s promise is for us, and to achieve it—never saying ‘I can’t.’ The whole eleventh chapter of Hebrews is devoted to one example after another of people who didn’t have evidence of God’s promise, but did have faith. And yet listen to this: These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
These all DIED IN FAITH! The ultimate promise of God for each one of them was eternal life, and even with all the setbacks they faced in life, they never lost hope of that promise. They knew that even if they lost their homes, their liberties, even their lives—they would never lose God’s promise of eternal life. Their faith WAS the evidence of what was to come.
Many people in this world won’t believe in what they can’t see—and scoff at those who do. They don’t have faith in the promises of God—or in the judgments of God. And there’s a perfect example in the Bible of what happens to someone who doesn’t believe in the judgments of God’
1Ki 2:36-46 And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Build thee an house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and go not forth thence any whither. For it shall be, that on the day thou goest out, and passest over the brook Kidron, thou shalt know for certain that thou shalt surely die: thy blood shall be upon thine own head. And Shimei said unto the king, The saying is good: as my lord the king hath said, so will thy servant do. And Shimei dwelt in Jerusalem many days. And it came to pass at the end of three years, that two of the servants of Shimei ran away unto Achish son of Maachah king of Gath. And they told Shimei, saying, Behold, thy servants be in Gath. And Shimei arose, and saddled his ass, and went to Gath to Achish to seek his servants: and Shimei went, and brought his servants from Gath. And it was told Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath, and was come again. And the king sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Did I not make thee to swear by the LORD, and protested unto thee, saying, Know for a certain, on the day thou goest out, and walkest abroad any whither, that thou shalt surely die? and thou saidst unto me, The word that I have heard is good. Why then hast thou not kept the oath of the LORD, and the commandment that I have charged thee with? The king said moreover to Shimei, Thou knowest all the wickedness which thine heart is privy to, that thou didst to David my father: therefore the LORD shall return thy wickedness upon thine own head; And king Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD for ever. So the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; which went out, and fell upon him, that he died. And the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.

Turning to the New Testament, we see another case of a man unwilling to really believe the truth about the certainty of punishment. It's in the parable of the talents:

Mat 25:24 And the one who received the one talent also coming up, he said, Lord, I knew you, that you are a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter;
Mat 25:25 and being afraid, going away, I hid your talent in the earth. Behold, you have yours.
Mat 25:26 And answering, his lord said to him, Evil and slothful slave! You knew that I reap where I did not sow, and I gather where I did not scatter.
Mat 25:27 Then you ought to have put my silver to the bankers, and coming I would have received my own with interest.
Mat 25:28 Therefore, take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.

You see my friends, it's vitally important that we have faith in God's promises, whether they be for good, or for evil. And God has promised judgment to those who follow a false prophet—or a false prophetess. So be on the alert for such, and steel yourself against falling for their wiles. Don't stick around to argue with them—flee for your lives! John the Apostle is said to have fled naked from a public bath when he saw there one whom he regarded as an enemy of God—lest he be so near as to fall under the punishment which as sure to fall.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The False Prophet and the True Prophet

Well, I'm still not dead, so here is the first in a series of sermons. The other is forthcoming sometime in the next three months.

THE TRUE PROPHET and THE FALSE PROPHET
There are two kinds of prophets we read about in the Bible. The first is the true prophet—everything that he speaks of the Word of the LORD comes to pass.
The second is the false prophet—now, not everything a false prophet says is untrue, because if it was, he wouldn’t truly be a false prophet. Let me demonstrate.
Imagine that in front of you are two doors. They are identical; there is no way of distinguishing one from the other. But you know that only one of these doors leads to life; the other leads to death. In front of each of these doors is a twin, identical to the other; there is no way of distinguishing between them. But you know that one of these twins always lies, and the other one always tells the truth. Suppose that you have to choose which door to go through, but before you do, you are allowed to pick one of the twins-doesn’t matter which, and ask him just one question. Which question could you ask that would be guaranteed to give you the information you need?
***
It is this: Ask either of the twins, “If I asked the other twin which door led to death, which one would he point to?”
If you asked the lying twin, he would lie and say that the truthful twin would point to the door which was actually the door to life—and you would go through that door.
If you asked the truthful twin, he would truthfully say that the lying twin would point to the door which was actually the door to life—and you would go through that door.
Or, you could ask either twin which door the other twin would say was the door to life---the question wouldn’t matter, as long as you always took it the opposite way.
A false prophet who always lied would be so reliable, his prophecy would be as dependable as that of a true prophet—as long as you knew to always take the opposite of what he said. No, a false prophet is much worse than one who always lies—because he mixes lies with the truth, to the extent that you can never know, just by listening to him, which is which.

So, today we are going to hear about a true prophet, whose prophecies all came true—even long after he was dead!
And also a false prophet, who could be depended on to lie some of the time—but not all of the time.

1Ki 12:26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now the kingdom shall return to the house of David!
1Ki 12:27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of Jehovah at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.
1Ki 12:28 And the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold and said to them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Behold your gods, O, Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!
1Ki 12:29 And he set the one in Bethel, and he put the other in Dan.
1Ki 12:30 And this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one, even to Dan.
1Ki 12:31 And he made a house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, who were not the sons of Levi.
1Ki 12:32 And Jeroboam ordered a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like the feast that is in Judah. And he offered on the altar. So he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made. And he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.
1Ki 12:33 And he offered on the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the month which he had devised out of his own heart. And he ordered a feast for the sons of Israel. And he offered on the altar, and burned incense.

The King has started up a new religion---but he’s not calling it a new religion. He’s calling it the old religion. The old religion had fallen into disrepair, and he’s reviving it—or is he? Solomon worshiped other Gods, but Jeroboam claims to be worshiping the true God—but by an ancient means, the golden calf. Here comes the True Prophet, and he’s going to show three ways that he’s God’s man, with God’s message—a message of judgment. His first prophecy won’t be fulfilled for another three hundred years, plus, so God gives him a second prophecy that is fulfilled right on the spot, to prove that the first can be counted on to come true eventually. Along the way, the recipient of the prophecy gets an extra sign, free of charge—and unlike the proverbial woman who only got three wishes, he gets a fourth to undo the effects of the third.

1Ki 13:1 And behold, a man of God came out of Judah, by the Word of Jehovah, to Bethel. And Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense.
1Ki 13:2 And he cried against the altar in the Word of Jehovah and said, O, altar, altar, so says Jehovah. Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name, and on you he shall offer the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and men's bones shall be burned on you.
1Ki 13:3 And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which Jehovah has spoken. Behold, the altar shall be torn apart, and the ashes that are on it shall be poured out.
1Ki 13:4 And it happened when King Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God who had cried against the altar in Bethel, he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him! And his hand, which he put forth against him withered up so that he could not pull it in again to himself.
1Ki 13:5 The altar also was torn apart, and the ashes poured out from the altar according to the sign which the man of God had given by the Word of Jehovah.

Well, the True Prophet sure did make his point. His prophecy would come true, just as he said. Now the king may not want to heed God’s warning, and he may have a hard time believing that the far-off prophecy could ever come true, but he still recognized God’s power in this man and asked him for a favour: he wanted his withered arm restored.

1Ki 13:6 And the king answered and said to the man of God, Touch now the face of Jehovah your God, and pray for me, and my hand may be given back to me again. And the man of God prayed to Jehovah, and the king's hand was given back to him again, and became as at the beginning.
1Ki 13:7 And the king said to the man of God, Come home with me and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward.
1Ki 13:8 And the man of God said to the king, If you will give me half your house, I will not go in with you, nor will I eat bread nor drink water in this place.
1Ki 13:9 For so was it commanded me by the Word of Jehovah, saying, Eat no bread nor drink water, nor return again by the same way that you came.

Now the True Prophet shows himself again to be God’s man on the scene, as he carefully follows God’s specific instructions as to how he should conduct himself while delivering God’s message to King Jeroboam.
1Ki 13:10 And he went another way, and did not return by the way he came to Bethel.
1Ki 13:11 And a certain old prophet was living in Bethel, and his son came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel. The words which he had spoken to the king they also told to their father.
1Ki 13:12 And their father said to them, Where is this man? What way did he go? For his sons had seen what way the man of God, who came from Judah, had gone.
1Ki 13:13 And he said to his sons, Saddle me the ass. And they saddled the ass for him, and he rode on it,
1Ki 13:14 and went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak. And he said to him, Are you the man of God who came from Judah? And he said, I am.

Now, Bethel wasn’t far from Judah—it was actually the first town north of the border between Israel and Judah, only about ten miles from Jerusalem. So the prophet could have made the journey up and back in a single day. But still, that would have been a hard walk, made all the harder by the lack of food and even water—and he was probably taking the long way back. Tired as he was, the prophet did something very unwise—he stopped to rest not very far out of town. Now understand, he wasn’t disobeying God’s direct command. He turned down the king’s meat, and the king’s drink. He headed home by a different way. Unlike Little Red Robin Hood's mother, God had never said, “Don’t stop along the way, or talk to any strangers.” So as far as he was concerned, he was still in obedience. But his sitting down to rest was the first step on a path that led to destruction—and, prophet of God though he was, he never saw it coming.

1Ki 13:15 And he said to him, Come home with me and eat bread.
1Ki 13:16 And he said, I may not return with you nor go in with you, nor will I eat bread or drink water with you in this place.
1Ki 13:17 For a word was to me by the Word of Jehovah, You shall eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that you came.
1Ki 13:18 And he said to him, I am a prophet also as you are. And an angel spoke to me by the Word of Jehovah, saying, Bring him back with you into your house, so that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied to him.

Isn’t this amazing? True prophets may never lie about what’s coming, but neither do they always know what’s ahead. True prophets can sometimes be just as surprised at what happens as anyone else—and they can even be deceived by a false prophet just like anyone else. All it took was what sounded like another Word from The LORD to update the one he had originally received—and boy, would some bread and water sure hit the spot, now that he had worked so hard to obey the Word from God in every detail.

1Ki 13:19 So he went back with him and ate bread in his house, and drank water.

And so it was that the prophet disobeyed God without even realizing he was doing it. But should he have realized it? Yes, without a doubt. The carelessness he had outwardly shown in sitting down on the job revealed an inner carelessness that kept him from realizing the obvious: that in returning to Bethel, he was going directly against the previously revealed Word of God. What had God said, in Deuteronomy thirteen?

Deu 13:3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For Jehovah your God is testing you to know whether you love Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

God was testing this true prophet—not to see if he was a true prophet; that had already been demonstrated when he healed the king. God was testing to see if he loved Him with all his heart and soul, or if he’d be willing to sell it all for a table spread with food and drink. And He was using a false prophet to test him. Why? Because the true prophet couldn’t have been fooled by anyone less. He was so used to hearing and following the Word of God that he had forgotten that there is an enemy who excels at imitating the Word of God so well that only a very cautious person would be able to tell the difference. How do you know to distinguish which is the door to life, and which is the door to death? The only way to know is by taking into account the existence of the liar, and his tendency to lie. Satan is a liar, and the father of lies. You can count on him to lie every time he gets the chance—but you have to really watch it, because so many times, his lies sound like the truth. Just look at how he tempted Jesus:

Mat 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit up into the wilderness, to be tempted by the Devil.
Mat 4:2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterwards hungry.
Mat 4:3 And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If You are the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
Mat 4:4 But He answered and said, It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God."
Mat 4:5 Then the Devil took Him up into the holy city and set Him upon a pinnacle of the Temple.
Mat 4:6 And he said to Him, If you are the Son of God, cast yourself down. For it is written, "He shall give His angels charge concerning You, and in their hands they shall bear You up, lest at any time You dash Your foot against a stone."
Mat 4:7 Jesus said to him, It is written again, "You shall not tempt the Lord your God."
Mat 4:8 Again, the Devil took Him up into a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
Mat 4:9 And he said to Him, All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.
Mat 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, Go, Satan! For it is written, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve."
Mat 4:11 Then the Devil left him. And behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

So Jesus also had traveled to where God led him to go, and had gone without meat or drink according to the command of God. So what did the Devil tempt him with? Food. Now, in all three of these temptations, the devil spoke the truth: Jesus was the Son of God, he could turn stones into bread, He was the Son of God, he could jump safely off the peak of the temple. Jesus never told Satan that he was lying, or that he didn’t really have rule over the kingdoms of the world—he just kept coming back to the Word of God to show that Satan wasn’t really giving the true picture. And so God used Satan himself to prove that Jesus really did love him over food, over fame, and over earthly power and glory. Jesus passed the test because he was able to see Satan for the liar that he was, even when what he said was technically true.

So, back to the true prophet and the false prophet. How do we know this old man is a false prophet? Well, it’s easy—it says right here, that he lied about what an Angel of God had said. True prophets may become careless, they may even be deceived, but they never, ever, lie about the Word of the Lord.

1Ki 13:20 And it happened as they sat at the table, the Word of Jehovah came to the prophet whom he had brought back.
1Ki 13:21 And it proclaimed to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, So says Jehovah, Because you have not obeyed the mouth of Jehovah and have not kept the command which Jehovah your God commanded you,
1Ki 13:22 but came back and have eaten bread and have drunk water in the place which He said to you, You shall not eat bread nor drink water, your body shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.

A great clamor,” says Dr. Kennicott, “has been raised against this part of the history, on account of God’s denouncing sentence on the true prophet by the mouth of the false prophet: but if we examine with attention the original words here, they will be found to signify either he who brought him back; or, whom he had brought back; for the very same words, אשר השיבו asher heshibo, occur again in 1Ki_13:23, where they are now translated, whom he had brought back; and where they cannot be translated otherwise. This being the case, we are at liberty to consider the word of the Lord as delivered to the true prophet thus brought back; and then the sentence is pronounced by God himself, calling to him out of heaven, as in Gen_22:11. And that this doom was thus pronounced by God, not by the false prophet, we are assured in 1Ki_13:26 : ‘The Lord hath delivered him unto the lion, according to the word of the Lord which He spake unto him.’ Josephus expressly asserts that the sentence was declared by God to the true prophet.” The Arabic asserts the same.

So, God Himself intervenes to show the true prophet that he had failed the test, and that he would pay for it with his life. Now look at what happens: the two men carry on as if God had never spoken. The reaction of the True Prophet to God’s prophecy is no different than that of the False Prophet! They both sit around finishing up the meal!

1Ki 13:23 And after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, it happened that he saddled the ass for him, for the prophet whom he had brought back.

The False Prophet maybe feels a little guilty. Here he has just been responsible for this man’s death sentence—so the least he can do is give him a ride home in comfort: he loans him the use of one of his donkeys. And even though he is no longer so hungry, or thirsty, or tired, the True Prophet accepts the offer. It’s as if he knows his prophetic career is over, so he may as well ride of into the sunset in comfort. Where is the anguish of King Jeroboam, who pleaded for God to reverse the catastrophe of his withered arm? Where is the pleading of Esau, who begged to get back his stolen blessing? We see none of that—just a man who knows that God has spoken, who realizes too late that he allowed himself to be deceived and has no one but himself to blame for his fate—a man who quietly goes out to meet it unprotesting—may the will of the LORD be done to his servant. A true prophet to the very end, he never doubted the Word of the LORD.

Who else have we seen with that attitude—well, it was another True Prophet, the Apostle Paul, in Acts twenty-one. Paul had done something foolish, we might say—after repudiating the power of the Law of Moses over the believer, he had gone back under the Law and taken a vow. Nothing sinful about this—God never said to stop taking vows, or not to get your head shaved—but it was unwise. Paul should have fled from The Law the way the young prophet should have fled from Bethel. But he didn’t, and all his attempts to obey the Law were only to backfire on him and lead to his arrest and imprisonment. Paul even knew this would happen, for God repeatedly sent true prophets to him to warn him that if he returned to Jerusalem, he would never leave the city as a free man. Paul knew it, but he kept going anyway. “The will of the LORD be done,” he said—even if it meant his death. And he carried right on as if he’d never heard the warning.

Acts 21 And entering the house of Philip the evangelist, he being of the seven, we stayed with him.
Act 21:9 And there were four virgin daughters to this one, who prophesied.
Act 21:10 And as we stayed more days, a certain prophet from Judea named Agabus came down.
Act 21:11 And coming to us, and taking Paul's belt, and binding his hands and feet, he said, The Holy Spirit says these things: So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man whose belt this is, and will deliver him into the hands of the nations.
Act 21:12 And when we heard these things, both we and those of the place begged him not to go up to Jerusalem.
Act 21:13 Then Paul answered, What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
Act 21:14 And he not being persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.

Well, God’s prophecies all came true for Paul, just as they had for the young prophet in our story today.

1Ki 13:24 And he left, and a lion met him by the way and killed him. And his dead body was thrown in the highway, and the ass stood by it, and the lion also stood by the body.
1Ki 13:25 And behold, men passed by and saw the body thrown in the way, and the lion standing by the body. And they came and told it in the city where the old prophet lived.
1Ki 13:26 And when the prophet who brought him back from the way heard, he said, It is the man of God who did not obey the Word of Jehovah. And Jehovah has delivered him to the lion, which has torn him and killed him, according to the Word of Jehovah which He spoke to him.
1Ki 13:27 And he spoke to his sons, saying, Saddle the ass for me. And they saddled it.
1Ki 13:28 And he went and found his body thrown in the way, and the ass and the lion standing by the body. The lion had not eaten the body nor torn the ass.

Here is yet one more sign from God that even in death, this is a true prophet, who never lies. The lion was clearly not just out looking for some lunch, but had been sent from God and would not leave his post until the final detail of God’s latest prophecy came true, that this young man would never be buried in his family tomb.

1Ki 13:29 And the prophet took up the dead body of the man of God, and laid it on the ass and brought it back. And the prophet came to the city to mourn and to bury him.
1Ki 13:30 And he laid his body in his own grave. And they mourned over him, saying, Alas, my brother!
1Ki 13:31 And it happened after he had buried him, he spoke to his sons, saying, When I am dead, then bury me in the tomb in which the man of God is buried. Lay my bones beside his bones,
1Ki 13:32 for the saying which he cried by the Word of Jehovah against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass.

Here we have the False Prophet speaking the truth—although it’s not his truth, but just a repetition of what the True Prophet had already said. But he believed it—not only because of the fulfilled prophecy from the prophet himself, but now because of the prophecy from the Mouth of God which he had heard himself—in fact, he set out to fulfill it himself. God had said that the prophet would never be buried in his family tomb—and to make sure that happened, the False Prophet buried him in his own tomb, and raised up a monument to it—a monument that was still there, over 300 years later, when a son of David, King Josiah by name, began ransacking the surrounding tombs to use to desecrate King Jeroboam’s altar, just as the young prophet had predicted. When he saw the monument, he said, “Let it alone. Let no one move his bones.” And so it was that the bones of the False Prophet were protected from being desecrated, along with the bones of the True Prophet. The False Prophet had faith—faith that the final prophecy would someday be fulfilled, and in that faith he took the steps to protect his own bones from desecration when all would be fulfilled.

Okay, here we are today. We have the Word of God—which we know we can trust, because it has proven always to be true. It says some things about the future that we can trust just as well, even if we don’t know when they will take place. And one of those things we are told is that in the last days, False Prophets will abound—that they will not only prophecy falsely in Christ’s name, but that even the elect will be in danger of being deceived.

Mat 24:23 Then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ! Or, There! Do not believe it.
Mat 24:24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders; so much so that, if it were possible, they would deceive even the elect.
Mat 24:25 Behold, I have told you beforehand.

We don’t dare sit down to rest, my people. God has warned us of these false prophets, warned us of their signs and wonders, warned us of their power to deceive. We must not become careless like the young prophet did. We must not be tempted to stray from the path by offers of meat, or drink, or an easy ride. We must press on until we’re all the way home, and leave Satan’s agents to their own destruction. We must take into account Satan’s tendency to lie, and be on our guard for it—never believe a prophet who says, “Well, I must have been mistaken. I thought I was hearing from the LORD, but I must not have." FALSE PROPHET ALERT! A true prophet may be careless, he may be unwise, he may even be deceived—but he NEVER, NEVER makes a prediction in the name of the Lord that does not come true, exactly as he predicted it. A true prophet just can’t, even when his life depends upon it. False prophets, however, do. They have to. They will. And they’ll always have an excuse for it. Stand a true prophet next to a false prophet, and no matter which one you ask, you’ll always get the same answer to the question, “If I were to ask that man next to you if he’s a false prophet, would he answer in the affirmative?” No matter which one you ask, the answer will always be “No.”

What were our Lord’s words to the church of Thyatira?

R
ev 2:20 But I have a few things against you because you allow that woman Jezebel to teach, she saying herself to be a prophetess, and to cause My servants to go astray, and to commit fornication, and to eat idol-sacrifices.
Rev 2:21 And I gave her time that she might repent of her fornication, and she did not repent.
Rev 2:22 Behold, I am throwing her into a bed, and those who commit adultery with her into great affliction, unless they repent of their deeds.
Rev 2:23 And I will kill her children with death. And all the churches will know that I am He who searches the reins and hearts, and I will give to every one of you according to your works.

We have been warned. We MUST heed that warning—our life depends upon it.