JUSTICE JOSEPH STORY served on the U. S. Supreme
from 1811 until his death in 1845. Among his many writings
was his monumental Commentaries on the Constitution of
the United States, first published in 1833. From that major
work is this statement which should never be overlooked,
particularly in times of national crisis, such as we face today:
"Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a
noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and
blood of their ancestors; and capacity, if wisely improved,
and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity
all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of
liberty, property, religion, and independence."
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UNDERSTANDING TODAY'S NEWS TERMINOLOGY
DEMANDS UNDERSTANDING THE ACTUAL
WORDS BEING COMMONLY USED
Consider a word we use several times every day: "Evangelical."
Various of the Barna Reports (The Barna Group,Ventura, CA,
again Christian, with belief in the Bible as accurate throughout,
and with responsibility to evangelize others, as qualifications,
among others, included in such a definition. Without delving
deeper into the theological aspects, that seems to be an
acceptable definition. But the term "Evangelical" is often
abused, and used incorrectly.
Consider, for example, a Protestant denomination with the
word "Evangelical" in its official name: the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The denomination
has recorded substantial membership losses for the past 17
consecutive years (since 1992), and now has only 4.6 million
members. Yet its presiding bishop has just stated that the
Bible does not have the last word on homosexuality, saying,
"the understanding we have of homosexuality today does
not seem to be reflected at all in the context of the biblical
writers." His conclusion is that Lutherans should consider
more modern views on sexual orientation. His views have
prevailed, and in August, the ELCA lifted its previous ban
on partnered gay and lesbian clergy. Two observations:
(1) the bishop's proposals don't seem to be doing much
for the denomination's membership, and (2) the term
"Evangelical" is certainly misused in the group's name.
Or in another instance, a prominent mega-church pastor in
Southern California, often referred to as an Evangelical leader,
has recently announced that he opposes California legislation
which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and
thus outlaws same-sex "marriages." By taking this stand he
has embraced an aspect of life Christians throughout history
and the world have rejected as against Biblical teaching. Thus
in this situation the term "Evangelical" is obviously misused
and misplaced. The point is, you cannot pick and choose
which part of the Bible you prefer to accept and believe.
There is no "skyline of sins" in God's eyes . . . the whole
Bible is eternally true, or it isn't.
Concerned about such abuses in the use of the term, many
true Evangelical Christians have suggested that another term
is needed to represent born again Christian believers who
fulfill the additional qualifications suggested in the Barna
report referred to above. But bearing in mind its historical
context and purpose under such leaders as Carl Henry and
Clyde Taylor, it does not seem to make sense to abandon
the very meaningful term "Evangelical," just because of
some abuses by "pseudo-Evangelicals."
But last week we began a discussion of "Worldview,"
and here is another widely used term and one which is also
subject to misuse and misinterpretation. What might be a
"standard" definition could read like this: "A worldview is a
theory of the world, used for living in the world." Or in a
slightly more expanded version: "A world view is a mental
model of reality — a framework of ideas & attitudes about
the world, ourselves, and life, a comprehensive system of
beliefs — with answers for a wide range of questions."
In recent years, “Worldview” has become a frequent topic
for discussion within the Evangelical Christian movement in
America. The driving force is the growing concern among
Evangelicals about the deterioration of our nation's basic moral
standards -- the increase in abortions ... the move toward
legalizing same-sex "marriage" ... the forced removal of such
religious icons as the Ten Commandments from public places
... the banning of prayer or any reference to God in our schools
... the use of "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas"
... the adoption of "hate crimes" legislation to restrict Bible
references to social ills ... etc....etc.
And as this concern increased, there developed a need for a
new term, and thus we have "Biblical Worldview," which
brings God's Word to focus on contemporary problems.
While the term “Biblical Worldview” might suggest something
new to some -- perhaps even to many -- Christians, it is really
just a new name for an old subject. A true Biblical Worldview
has to start from what the Bible says and not just echo the
traditional cultural religious beliefs. The definition can be very
complex, but essentially is based on the Christian's realization
that the meaning of life (“the whole duty of man”) is to fear
God and keep His commandments ... that the Bible is God's
Word, totally and eternally true ... that God created the universe
and remains actively involved in caring for it today; that this
earthly life is not all there is, and by faith, he understands and
believes the fact of eternal life, which is offered in Jesus Christ,
his living hope... and although the world and its inhabitants are
in turmoil, God has decisively intervened through Jesus' death
on the cross to deal with these conditions, and that Jesus will
return to complete the redemption of His own, and to be with
them for all eternity.
A Biblical Worldview, based on a proper understanding of
the history of the world, as revealed in the Bible, is what
every Christian needs, and must have. Right now, in the
Global Climate discussions taking place in Copenhagen ...
in the ongoing wars sparked by Muslim terrorism ... in the
continuing threat of rogue nations developing weapons of
mass destruction ... in the increased partisan politics and
the trends toward socialism in our own nation ... in all of
the problems confronting the world today, a sound Biblical
Worldview should play a decisive role. And if not now, then
surely on Nov. 2, 2010, our next national election day, now
just 321 days away.
As Chuck Colson wrote in his book, The Faith, "This is the
challenge for the church today. There has never been a time
when the transformation brought about by Christian faith
has been so greatly needed."
The "First Family's" interesting approach to Christmas.
White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers (the one who
didn't check on gate crashers at the first Obama state dinner)
told a gathering of former Social Secretaries that the Obamas
planned a "non religious Christmas," and did not intend to put
the Nativity scene on display; a long time East Room tradition.
That story made its way into the New York Times ... internal
discussions took place ... and in the end tradition overcame
Political Correctness, and the Nativity scene is back in its
traditional location in the East Room.
This approach to Christmas is not something new for the
Obamas. Some time ago in an interview with People magazine
he disclosed that he and his wife do not give Christmas gifts
to their children, saying that they "want to teach some limits."
That practice, plus planning to not display the Nativity scene,
has been compared to the New Testament account of there
being no room for Jesus at the inn -- in this case there was
an intent to symbolically keep Jesus out of the White House.
One cannot help but compare the Obama's observance of the
Muslim holy month of Ramadan with a White House dinner
attended by Cabinet members, Congressional leaders, officials
from the diplomatic community and representatives from a
wide range of countries and religious faiths. Speaking on that
occasion, Mr. Obama lauded Muslim contributions to American
culture, and spoke of the "dynamism and diversity" of the
Islamic community, stating that "Islam is part of America."
But that was the Muslim celebration of Ramadan; this is the
Christian celebration of Christmas.
Approaching the end of one year as president, how do
the polls of American opinion rate Obama? Expressed most
simply, the answer is: "Not very well." But he is setting new
records. The Daily Gallup Poll Daily reported that public
approval of Obama's performance as president had fallen to
47% -- the lowest rating for any US president at the one year
mark in his first term in more than 70 years. Other ratings by
media outlets like CNN and FOX also report figures below
50%. The Rasmussen daily polls have recorded his approval
rating index in double-digit negative numbers for several weeks
-- most recently at new lows of -16 and -19. His cohorts in
Congress don't even fare as well -- Nancy Pelosi's numbers
for last week were Positive 33%, Negative 57%. For Harry
Reid they were Positive 25%, Negative 47%. For Congress
as a whole, Positive 29%, Negative 63%. And yet together
they continue to make decisions and adopt legislations which
are contrary to the clearly expressed opinions of the American
people -- the people they are supposed to represent. Nov. 2,
2010 can't come soon enough!
Two opinions of Los Angeles' lesbian bishop: Recently
it was announced that the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles
had elected an openly lesbian priest as Suffragan Bishop,
the first openly homosexual to be elected as bishop since
Vicki Gene Robinson was elected in New Hampshire in 2003.
Expressing her opinion of her election, Mary D. Glasspool
said, "I'm very excited about the future of the whole
Episcopal Church and I see the Diocese of Los Angeles
leading the way into that future." The Archbishop of
Canterbury, Rowan Williams, head of the world-wide
Anglican communion, expressed a slightly less enthusiastic
view: "The election of Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of
Los Angeles as suffragan bishop elect raises very serious
questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its place
in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as
a whole." The election is not yet complete; it has to be
confirmed, or could be rejected, by diocesan bishops and
diocesan standing committees. In either case, there appear
to be further problems for the American Episcopal church.
Already liberal Anglican and Episcopal members have taken
action demanding Dr. Williams retract his statement which
expressed concern over the choice of a lesbian as bishop.
Every day in our research we find "one liners," and our
readers write to say they enjoy them; so here are a few more:
“Compared to some of the giants of history who have
received this prize . . .my accomplishments are slight.”
(Barack Obama, on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize)
"President Obama keeps talking about the jobs his
administration is 'creating' but there are more people
unemployed now than before he took office. How can there
be more unemployment after so many jobs have been
'created?'" (Thomas Sowell, Syndicated Columnist)
"Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and
when to reap, we should soon want bread."
"By and large, American Islamics make little or no effort
to assimilate into our culture. In fact, as we've seen in one
honor killing after another, they've brought the worst of
their "peaceful" religion to our shores." -- Burt Prelutsky
Others are saying . . . and unfortunately, their comments
represent the views of the majority of the American people:
Michael Goodwin, in the New York Post: "Perhaps it was
inevitable. A man who voted 'present' 130 times in the Illinois
Legislature couldn't possibly morph into a savvy and decisive
leader of the free world in such a short time. Yet even the
pessimists among us are alarmed by the cloud of uncertainty
and confusion hanging over the White House. Less than a year
on the job, President Obama seems to have run out of both
charm and ideas."
Dave Eberhart, on the Nobel Peace Prize awards: "Newly
minted Nobel Laureate Barack Obama has stirred up some
bad feelings in Oslo, Norway, by opting out of a round of
events traditionally attended by the prizewinner — not the
least of which is lunch with the King of Norway." (It's a
pity -- he could have demonstrated his bowing. skills.)
Edward I. Koch, former Mayor of NYC: "I believe the land
war in Afghanistan is unwinnable. Indeed, if we by any
definition were to win in Afghanistan, it would be a pyrrhic
victory, since Afghanistan really does not matter anymore.
The real threat is nuclear-armed Pakistan, where the
Taliban and al-Qaida are seeking dominance ... and cross
the border with impunity. I don’t believe that the Pakistani
army will ever root out the Taliban and al-Qaida, which
are perceived as allies against India, the enemy with which
Pakistan has already fought three wars."
Floyd & Mary Beth Brown: "Our commander-in-chief isn't
living up to his campaign promise of presidential access
and transparency. Obama hasn't held a formal press
conference since July 22... Since that time, Obama has
avoided off-the-cuff question and answer sessions, preferring
to rely on his teleprompter for scripted remarks... This is all
shocking given the hyperbole that was spewed during the
campaign from the media, who referred to Obama as the
And as always, we offer a Founding Father's quote;
their thoughts, expressed when our nation was young, are
still perfectly applicable today.
"When the representative body have lost the confidence of
their constituents, when they have notoriously made sale of
their most valuable rights, when they have assumed to
themselves powers which the people never put into their
hands, then indeed their continuing in office becomes
dangerous to the State, and calls for an exercise of the
power of dissolution." -- Thomas Jefferson, 1774