Tuesday, August 28, 2012

States' Rights and Nullification

For many years, American political activists have focused on trying to reform Washington. This is not surprising, given that every year thousands of unconstitutional laws are passed which glorify perversion, bring America closer to becoming a totalitarian police state, sink the nation further into unpayable debt and progressively strip historic liberties from the states.
 
Despite the efforts of thousands of activists and a few godly lawmakers to change the direction the American national government is heading, it has become apparent that the system is, humanly speaking, beyond all hope. The leviathan of federal government has simply become so corrupt that all efforts to bring sanity inevitably run aground.
 
Such is the bleak picture of contemporary American politics. Yet it is out of this very bleakness that a breakthrough is happening of historic importance.
 
7 states have nullified federal gun laws and regulations
in their states.
Instead of trying to reform Washington, many states have simply decided to ignore the laws the federal government is vomiting forth. They have realized that the corrupt federal government is rather like the devil who can only work if he has out consent.
 
But can a state like Idaho, Virginia, Tennessee, Arizona, etc., really decide to just disobey unconstitutional laws coming out of the nation’s capital? You bet they can. In his article ‘We Refuse’, Michael Boldin points out that
    25 states have passed laws and resolutions nullifying the Real ID act – stopping it dead in its tracks in most of the country.
    7 states have passed Firearms Freedom Acts – nullifying some federal gun laws and regulations in their states.
    14 states have now passed laws nullifying unconstitutional federal laws on marijuana.
    3 states have already passed Health Care Freedom Acts to ban federal health care mandates in their states.
    Other states are considering nullification laws on cap and trade, the misuse of state national guard troops, monetary policy and much more.
But isn’t this just rebellion? Do the American states really have the authority to nullify unconstitutional federal laws? According to a literal interpretation of the Constitution’s 10th Amendment, the answer is yes: states do have the authority to do this. But first, it may be helpful to give a brief history lesson.

Keep reading...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sophistry in Ancient Athens

The ancient city of Athens didn’t have a police force. Thus, if somebody committed a crime against you – if, for example, they embezzled your money or stole your property – the only way you could achieve justice was by taking them to court.
 
Ancient Athens also didn’t have any lawyers. Thus, anyone who found himself in court had to be prepared to argue the case himself.
 
One thing that ancient Athens did possess was plenty of unscrupulous characters. Many of these less-than principled folk discovered that if you were clever enough you could persuade the court to agree with you even if you were in the wrong (especially if your opponent was not very bright).
 
In the latter half of the fifth century BC, a group of teachers arose in Athens called Sophists. The Sophists claimed to be able to teach students how to prove impossible propositions, such as that nothing exists or that motion is impossible.

New Saints and Scoundrels Resources


Saints and Scoundrels interview with Robin Phillips for the Trinity Talk podcast

Matthew Sims' review for 'Grace For Sinners'

Download of Saints and Scoundrels promotional flier

Download the Table of Contents, Introduction and the opening of a sample chapter

Preview the opening pages on Amazon

Purchase Saints and Scoundrels at Canon Press 

Purchase Saints and Scoundrels at Amazon.com

Purchase Saints and Scoundrels at Amazon.co.uk
 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Labor Pains

The National Education Association  

by Terrell Clemmons, guest blogger

Background:
In 1857, the National Teachers Association (NTA) organized in Philadelphia with forty-three members. In 1870, it absorbed three smaller associations of educators and became the National Education Association (NEA). In 1867, the NTA had successfully lobbied Congress to establish a federal Department of Education, but the agency was soon demoted to a minor bureau in the Department of the Interior. Public schools continued to be the responsibility of states and local school boards until 1979, when the NEA finally succeeded in gaining centralized control of education with the creation of the U. S. Department of Education under President Jimmy Carter.

NEA policy is set by a 9,000 member Representative Assembly (RA) which meets every July to elect NEA officers and set the agenda for state and local affiliates. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with 3.2 million members (more than half of America’s public school teachers) paying dues in excess of $377 million/year, the NEA is the single most powerful political force affecting public education today.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Choice Writ Large: The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform


 by Terrell Clemmons, guest blogger


The Genocide Awareness Project
On a couple of sunny fall days last September, in the very week hundreds of pseudo-courageous ‘occupiers’ were gearing up to protest a mishmash of ill-defined quasi-injustices having something to do with banking, a small cadre of genuinely courageous young people placed their convictions and reputations on the line to expose a real injustice having to do with life and death. The Students Choosing Life (SCL) of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) hosted the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP). By the end of the week, according to Larissa R. Hofstra, president of SCL, “the entire campus was talking about abortion,”

That was the intention. GAP is the college campus outreach of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR), a California based ministry dedicated to establishing “prenatal justice and the right to life for the unborn.” CBR pursues that mission primarily through displays of arresting photos showing the grim reality of abortion – blood, body parts, and all. According to its website, “CBR operates on the principle that abortion represents an evil so inexpressible that words fail us when attempting to describe its horror. Until abortion is seen, it will never be understood.”

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Unmasking Obama

On 20 August, 2009, the terrorist Abdel Baset al-Megrahi was released from a Scottish prison. He had been there since 2001 after being convicted for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in which 270 people died.

Appropriately, the Obama administration publicly complained that the Scottish authorities had decided to release this man, also known as the Lockerbie bomber, who had been serving a life sentence on nearly three hundred counts of murder. Given that this was a matter of grave national concern, President Obama complained about it again in July 2010 when Prime Minister David Cameron went on his American visit.

A few days after Cameron’s visit, the Times revealed a secret letter Obama had sent to the Scottish government prior to the release of this mass murderer. It showed that Obama’s outrage had been completely staged. As the Times reported in July 2010, the Obama Administration had written that the conditional release of the Lockerbie bomber was acceptable on “compassionate grounds” provided he was kept in Scotland and not sent back to Libya. Scottish officials understandably interpreted the letter as meaning that US objections to the release were half-hearted.

This is just one example of a pattern of completely inexplicable behaviour that Obama has manifested since he took office in 2009. Love him or hate him, Obama is a mystery that few people have been able to understand.

One man who believes he has uncracked the riddle of Obama is Dinesh D’Souza. His 2010 bestseller, The Roots of Obama’s Rage, and his recent documentary movie 2016: Obama’s America delves deep into Obama’s past to discover the unique motivations behind his anti-American policies. D’Souza essentially unmasks Obama and shows him for what he really is: an anti-colonialist who hates America.

I have summarized D’Souza's arguments in my review of his book at Alfred the Great Society. To read the review, click on the following link:



____________

Read my columns at the Charles Colson Center

Read my writings at Alfred the Great Society

To join my mailing list, send a blank email to robin (at sign) atgsociety.com with “Blog Me” in the subject heading.

Click Here to friend-request me on Facebook and get news feeds every time new articles are added to this blog.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Christophobia in Europe

In The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America, and Politics Without God, George Weigel asks some penetrating questions about the antagonism to Christianity within European public life, including the following question:
Why are so many European public intellectuals “Christophobic,” as international legal scholar J.H.H. Weiler (himself an observant Jew) puts it? Why are crude caricatures of Christianity (the Eucharist mocked on television as a ‘religious snack,’ Christ on the cross depicted as a dispenser of toilet paper) tolerated in European popular culture in a way that similar defamations of Judaism and Islam would never be? Why did so many of Europe’s political leaders insist that the new constitution for Euyrope include a deliberate act of historical amnesia, in which a millennium and a half of Christianity’s contributions to European understandings of human rights and democracy were deliberately ignored – indeed denied?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Population Control

Population Control is becoming an increasingly hot topic. Consider just a few examples:
  • In an interview with the New York Times, Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg alluded to the fact that abortion is all about getting rid of certain types of people that we do not want around: "Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of.
  • Echoing comments made by the Optimum Population Trust in 2007, The London School of Economics suggested that the best way to combat global warming is to reduce the surplus population through contraception and abortion. (Their logic is simple: more people = more polluters.) Similarly, a 2007 report, written by specialist Professor Barry Walters for the Australian medical journal, calls for couples with more than two children to be charged a lifelong tax to offset their extra offspring's carbon dioxide emissions. Parents to be charged $5000 a head for every child after their second, and an annual tax of up to $800. (See Steve Watson's article 'Elite Depopulation Agenda Gains Ground')

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Crimes of the Sonata

According to musicologist Susan McClary, not only is the sonata sexist, misogynistic and imperialistic, but “tonality itself – with its process of instilling expectations and subsequently withholding promised fulfillment until climax – is the principal musical means during the period from 1600 to 1900 for arousing and channeling desire.” As such, McClary interprets the sonata as being rooted in constructions of gender and sexual identity.

Keep reading...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Who Created God?

Who created God? That was a question that Ravi Zacharias was asked when he was being filmed. His answer is fascinating:

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Black Vanguard

by Terrell Clemmons, guest blogger

Lloyd Marcus
Lloyd Marcus fondly recalls a familiar scene from his youth. His father, a hard-working pastor, firefighter, and father of five, would on occasion drive him to a posh neighborhood and point to large homes with stately grounds. “If you get a good education and work hard,” he would say, “this could be yours.”

Decades later, it is clear that the author, singer/songwriter, and prominent Black Conservative leader has adopted his father’s work ethic. Now he is working tirelessly to warn Black Americans and anyone else who’ll listen about the eminent threat to that America.

One particular person of interest has been his 84-year-old father, and the moment Marcus had been hoping for came last week. Marcus mentioned something to his father about the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.  

"Why haven't I heard about what Christians were doing in support of Chick-fil-A?" his father wanted to know.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Snipping the Threads

“The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said that Government's plans
to legalize same-sex ‘marriage’ were 'completely irrational'.”
David Cameron's government has promised to legalize same-sex 'marriage' sometime prior to 2015. This has been a matter of grave concern for the Church of England, which has shown uncharacteristic zeal this summer in setting itself up as the government's worst enemy.

The stand-off between Government and the church on this issue is unprecedented since the time of the Reformation nearly 500 years ago.

Series on Nominalism

Ockham's Razor was a tool of the
Nominalists
I've been publishing some articles with the Colson Centre dealing with the debates between the medieval nominalists and realists, looking at the relevance these debates have for issues in contemporary culture.

Throughout this series I hope to show that these seemingly archaic philosophical distinctions are actually of profound practical significance for how we understand our world today, in everything from sex to food.

To read these articles, click on the following links:


Friday, August 03, 2012

Why Catholics can be saved even if they trust in their works for salvation

Martin Luther taught that we are
justified by faith alone,
not by faith plus works
I frequently run into the idea that Roman Catholics can’t be saved unless they trust wholly in Christ for salvation. If a Roman Catholic is trusting in Christ plus works, then he can’t be saved.

I have tried to refute this idea in my article ‘Are members of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches Christians?’ and in Step 3 of my article ‘Sola Fide: The Ecumenical Doctrine.’

In the latter article I quote Douglas Wilson who makes an important contribution to this question by pointing out that justification by faith can work even in someone who doesn't have a correct theology of justification by faith.
"…justification by faith is not accomplished by affirming or believing in justification by faith. Believing the doctrine of justification by faith alone as a way of being justified is a fine way of actually denying the doctrine of justification by faith alone. We are not saved by works — ethical or theological. We are not saved because we got better than a ninety on the ethics quiz, or over a ninety-five on the justification section of the theology exam."

Now certainly, if Sola Fide (the doctrine that we are justified by faith alone and not by faith plus works) is true, then to deny it is to lack perfect faith. Yet can any one of us really claim to have perfect faith? Evangelicals frequently hold meetings where someone will testify that they learned to make Christ Lord of some new area of their life. Well, what does that mean other than that such a person realized by God’s grace they were trusting themselves, and not Christ, in some important area of their life? The person had imperfect faith, but that does not mean they had no faith at all. Similarly, in matters relating to salvation, even staunch five-point-its-all-by-grace Calvinists can fall into the trap of unconsciously trusting in themselves rather than Jesus. But this lack of perfect faith does not mean that the person in question cannot be saved. As the judicious Hooker put it in A Learned Discourse on Justification,

They be not all faithless that are either weak in assenting to the truth or stiff in maintaining things any way opposite to the truth of Christian doctrine. But as many as hold the foundation which is precious, although they hold it but weakly and as it were by a slender thread, although they frame many base and unsuitable things upon it, things that cannot abide the trial of the fire, yet shall they pass the fiery trial and be saved, who indeed have builded themselves upon the rock which is the foundation of the Church.

Part of the problem here is that the reformed doctrine of “justification per fidem propter Christum” (justification by faith on account of Christ) has morphed into its parody “justification propter fidem per Christum,” (justification on account of faith through Christ). While the difference is subtle, the second actually leads to a denial of the historic Protestant doctrine, as Douglas Wilson showed in the quotation above.

Certainly if Sola Fide is true, then to deny it is to lack perfect faith, but is this the same as lacking true faith? The father of the boy with seizures in Mark 9 expressed faith in Jesus’ power to help his son, yet in the same breath he confessed to struggling with unbelief (Mark 9:24). Even in the best of us, our faith is faulting and imperfect, tinged with a pride in our own self-righteousness.

Sola Fide affirms that if a person is saved, it is only because of Christ and His finished work, mediated to us through our faith, and that all other things are irrelevant. The ‘all other things’ include imperfections in and misunderstand about faith itself. The Protestant who really believes Sola Fide is thus released from having to assume that the efficacy of a person’s faith is dependent on a person having a correct theology about faith.

The same point can be made by way of analogy. A person can die of microbiological poisoning without believing in microbiology, as was the case until comparatively recently in human history. Likewise, a person can experience the results of living on a heliocentric planet without believing in Heliocentrism, as is still the case for some primitive peoples. Similarly, a person can be saved by faith alone without believing in justification by faith alone, as everyone agrees is the case with children and mentally handicapped individuals.

If we can get this simple fact straight, there are enormous implications for the ecumenical agenda. The Protestant is released from having to assume that the efficacy of a person’s faith is based on that person having to agree with his theology of justification. This releases Protestants to rejoice in the faith of those (such as Roman Catholics) who hold to a different theology of faith. It can enable there to be common ground between those who affirm Sola Fide and those who do not since it shows that Roman Catholics can be saved even if they trust in their works for salvation (assuming they are trusting in Christ as well).

To study more about this important subject, see my articles ‘Are members of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches Christians?’ and in Step 3 of my article ‘Sola Fide: The Ecumenical Doctrine.


____________

Read my columns at the Charles Colson Center

Read my writings at Alfred the Great Society

To join my mailing list, send a blank email to robin (at sign) atgsociety.com with “Blog Me” in the subject heading.

Click Here to friend-request me on Facebook and get news feeds every time new articles are added to this blog.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

"Now, will you leave my house?"

by Terrell Clemmons, guest blogger

Chelsea was home alone, minding her own business one afternoon, when she heard the family dogs barking in the back yard. They barked from time to time – that wasn’t unusual, but this time they were snarling. Something was up.

She emerged from her upstairs bedroom to hear strange voices coming from downstairs.

A third-year college student home on break, Chelsea had learned a thing or two about gathering her wits and summoning self-control. Although her heart was racing in her chest, she stepped carefully and quietly down the hall just far enough to peek over the banister.

Two strange men stood in the family room. They were talking to one another, obviously unaware of her presence. She observed carefully for a long moment and noted that they were not armed. Then she blurted out, “Will you please leave my house?”

They looked up, startled. But they made no move to leave.

Chelsea went calmly but quickly to her father’s bedroom closet and opened his gun safe. She grabbed a pistol – it wasn’t loaded, but the men downstairs didn’t need to know that – and returned, gun in hand, to the same spot overlooking the family room.

They were still there and gave no indication that they planned to leave. She held up the gun, pointed it in their direction, and said, “Now, will you leave my house?”


Buy Essential Oils at Discounted Prices!