Monday, October 31, 2016

well, it's about time! (satire)

DC Talk Issues Formal Apology For ‘Nu Thang’


Yes, I was fine back in the day. Not the best of days. Not the days of the best of music. Remember, Christian CCM from the 90's, this is how fans of New Kids on the Block felt, too.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Erased: An Intriguing Time-Travel Preventing Murders Mystery

This review appeared at Speculative Faith, with a few changes.

I usually don't consider time travel stories among my favorites, though there are some exceptions. My favorite Discworld story is “Night Watch”, where Sam Vimes goes back to a time when Ankh-Morpork was a boiling pot of revolution. My reasons for abandoning “Doctor Who” are mostly that the series has abandoned me by pushing their social crusade—in a real sense, “Torchwood” is the reason I no longer like “Doctor Who”.

All of that to say, while I didn't start watching “Erased” because it had a time travel element in it, that element didn't drive me off, and in the context of this story it worked very well.

Summary
Satoru Fujinuma is a man in his late 20s struggling to break into the world of manga artists. Occasionally, he'll experience what he calls “revivals”, where his life will rewind itself for a few seconds or a few minutes. He's aware when this happens, and uses this time to try to prevent something bad from happening, such as in the first episode when he prevents a runaway truck from hitting a boy crossing the street. When he comes home one night to find that his mother has been murdered, he experiences a very drastic “revival”, one that sends him back to a few days before his 11th birthday. This was the winter one of his classmates, a girl named Kayo Hinazuki, went missing, and her body wasn't found until after the snows melted. His return to the past is also just before she goes missing, and thinking there may be a connection between his mother's murder and the death of his classmate and other children in the area at that same time, he tries to prevent Kayo from getting killed.

The time travel element of the “revivals” is intriguing. Satoru still possesses the mind and memories of his 29 year old self, but he's in his 10 year old body. This does cause some amusing situations, and some problems, too. For example, his older self has forgotten where he and his friends had their “secret hideout”.

But it also allows him to see things that his younger self had missed. When he notices a bruise on Kayo's leg, and then reads a composition she wrote about wanting to be alone on an island, he realizes that even before she was killed, bad things were happening to her. So his attempts to save her life also end up being attempts to get her out of an abusive home.

Btw it's the name of Kayo's composition, “Boku Dake ga Inai Machi”, that is the Japanese title of the anime and the manga it's based off of. The translations I've seen of this title go something like this, “The Town Where I Am Missing”.

Finding New Mistakes to Make
I'll try to avoid too much that might be spoiler material, but what comes next might fit that category for some people, so be warned.

Satoru's first attempt to change the past failed, and he got booted back to the present into the middle of the same predicament he had left. He does discovers that he had been able to make a few small changes, but nothing significant. Then, when he gets another chance, he is able to keep some things from happening, but makes other mistakes that are costly to him.

I'd guess I'm not the only person who's ever wanted to jump back in time a few minutes or a few hours and redo something. I've thought it would be helpful, though, really, I'd likely just be trading one set of mistakes for another. I'd probably spend most of my redos exploring new and creative ways to really and monumentally mess things up.

Mother and Child
One thing that's evident early in that story is that the relationship between Satoru and his mother is strained. The reasons seem to range from his own lack of success to some things that happened during the kidnapping spree when he was a child.

One of the things I liked during the series was seeing his view of his mother change. Returning to the past after seeing her dead reminds him of many of the good things they'd had that he'd forgotten about. It's good to see them on good terms. And I'll not spoil the last part of the story, except that it shows her love for her son in a particularly strong way.

On the other hand, there is another mother-child relationship that is very much worse. Some of the series' most disturbing scenes involve what Kayo's mother does to her, and how she tries to cover it up. The contrast between the two mothers is most clearly shown when Satoru's mother allows Kayo into their home while Satoru is trying to hide her, particularly the breakfast scene. I'll just mention it here, but let you watch it for yourself, if you wish.

God of Second Chances?
I remember something from when I was a kid. It was Sunday mornings, and sometimes there would be these church services on television. On one of them, there was a man who often sang a song with lyrics which were something like “Our God is the God of a second chance”.

That's not the last time I've heard such an idea. It seems to be fairly popular. But is it true?

Because the truth is, the revivals of “Erased” are fictions. We don't get replays or rewinds, we don't get to go back to the last saved moment, the past will always be the past and never again be the present. The things we did wrong yesterday will always be done and be wrong.

Although I can understand the point trying to be made, I'm not sure it's a point that's true. The truth is, there are no second chances. God doesn't give us chances to redo what we did wrong yesterday, or even five minutes ago.

God isn't the God of second chances. It's more accurate to say that Christ is our only chance. As Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, but by me”.

King David could not undo his adultery and murder, he could only confess his sins to God and ask for mercy. “ Have mercy on my, O God, according to your loving kindness. According to your great compassion, blot out my transgressions...Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight...Wash me thoroughly from my iniquites, and cleanse me from my sins.”

God doesn't give us rewinds, but he has redeemed those who are His.

Conclusion
Erased” is a very engaging series. The time travel element is done intelligently, and the story is told in a way that does well in increasing the tension and the stakes. There are some disturbing scenes where ugliness is shown, but also ones where kindness is well displayed, too. I can give it a strong recommendation.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Loren Cunningham twists Psalm 2



The part transcribed here begins at 4:36

Now we become through Jesus, according to Romans chapter 2 verse 29, as well as Romans 9, Romans 11, and other portions of scripture, we become through Christ sons of Abraham, which means we take on the Abraham covenant. What I'm saying through all of this, you actually can rule this world if you will through Jesus Christ, because we become through Jesus Christ sons of God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ, to rule and reign with Christ. In Psalms chapter 2 verse 8, God says to us, “Ask of me, and I will surely give the nations as thine inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as thy possession”. But Jesus showed us how. In Matthew chapter 5, verse 5, “the meek shall inherit the earth”. So it's not through the ways the world would do it, the ways Satan would do it, but it's through Jesus Christ in the ways he would do it. How did he do it? “The meek shall inherit the earth”. He became a servant to all, and in the process he gained it all.

Ok, so, let's look at Psalm 2

Why do the nations rageand the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves,and the rulers take counsel together,against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,
3 “Let us burst their bonds apartand cast away their cords from us.”
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;the Lord holds them in derision.
5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6 “As for me, I have set my Kingon Zion, my holy hill.”
7 I will tell of the decree:The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;today I have begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,and the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of ironand dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”
10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear,and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,for his wrath is quickly kindled.Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

If that context isn't enough to show that Cunningham is trying to pull a fast one, let's go further. This Psalm is referenced in Hebrews 1

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. 5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”?

And the parts that's referenced in Hebrews is in the same part of the Psalm that Cunningham references, but where Hebrews clearly shows that this psalm is referring to Christ, Cunningham tries to somehow make it refer to us.

But let's go on, Revelation 19 mention who will rule with a rod of iron.

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

There's also a reference in Revelation 12.

Now, there is one reference in Revelation 2, what Jesus says to the church at Thyatira, which does say that those who overcome will have authority over the nations, and will rule them with a rod of iron. But there is something in Revelation 20 that this seems to refer to.

4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

Another place to consider is II Timothy 2

11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us;  
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.

There is the promise in the Bible when the saints will have authority on earth, but that time will come when Christ returns. It isn't the church's job to try to take over the world, to try to somehow make the world christianized to such a degree that Christ will return.


It's pretty clear, Psalm 2:8 is not God talking to us, but to His Son, to Christ. Cunningham again proves he has no business teaching like this.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

lunacy in the church II

Fake glory clouds, fake angel feathers, fake demon fighting. When the church is such a sick joke, is it any wonder the world finds itself in the handbasket to Hell?


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Loren Cunningham's twisting of Jeremiah 27:5



I guess it could be said that I should have started at the beginning of this video in looking at what Cunningham says in this video. Maybe, but what came in those earlier posts was what drew my attention first, but I'll go back and catch a few things from the beginning, and hopefully that'll help, too, because it's pretty clear Cunningham is just making stuff up and not really dealing with what any passage is saying.

This transcription begins at the beginning of the video.

Turn with me to Jeremiah chapter 27 and verse 5. It says in God's Word, “I have made the earth, the men and the beast that are on the face of the earth by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and I will give it to the one who is pleasing in my sight”. Now God is saying, first of all, that he made the world. Because he made it, he has ownership of it. And he's not talking just a part of it, he says it's his. And he goes on to say, “I will give it to the one who is pleasing in my sight”. We note that in this particular portion, Jeremiah is talking to the children of Israel, and he was saying to them as a warning that God is giving charge and giving dominion over to Nebuchanezzar against them. Now this was strange for the people of Israel, because they knew the Abrahamic covenant. You'll find it in Genesis chapter 12, where in verse 1, “Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from the your country, from your relatives, and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you. I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great. So you shall be a blessing. And I bless those that bless you, and the one that curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed”. Now the children of Israel, they all love the first half of that covenant. Gods says “I will bless you”. But it was the second part that they wanted to forget, “So that you may bless all the families of the earth”. And they were clinging to the first, the promise, without the condition. And here God is saying, “I'm going to turn this over to Nebuchanezzar, and I'm going to turn you over to Nebuchanezzar”. And God uses even the unrighteous governments to chastise the righteous, or his people, and this was the case here.

So, Cunningham points us to Jeremiah 27, and whereas he takes one verse out of context and tries to build up the story around it without reference to the context, let's add the context.

In the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD. 2 Thus the LORD said to me: “Make yourself straps and yoke-bars, and put them on your neck. 3 Send word to the king of Edom, the king of Moab, the king of the sons of Ammon, the king of Tyre, and the king of Sidon by the hand of the envoys who have come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah. 4 Give them this charge for their masters: ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: This is what you shall say to your masters: 5 “It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me. 6 Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and I have given him also the beasts of the field to serve him. 7 All the nations shall serve him and his son and his grandson, until the time of his own land comes. Then many nations and great kings shall make him their slave.

8 “‘“But if any nation or kingdom will not serve this Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, I will punish that nation with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence, declares the LORD, until I have consumed it by his hand. 9 So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your fortune-tellers, or your sorcerers, who are saying to you, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon.’ 10 For it is a lie that they are prophesying to you, with the result that you will be removed far from your land, and I will drive you out, and you will perish. 11 But any nation that will bring its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him, I will leave on its own land, to work it and dwell there, declares the LORD.”’”

12 To Zedekiah king of Judah I spoke in like manner: “Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people and live. 13 Why will you and your people die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, as the LORD has spoken concerning any nation that will not serve the king of Babylon? 14 Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are saying to you, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon,’ for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you. 15 I have not sent them, declares the LORD, but they are prophesying falsely in my name, with the result that I will drive you out and you will perish, you and the prophets who are prophesying to you.”

16 Then I spoke to the priests and to all this people, saying, “Thus says the LORD: Do not listen to the words of your prophets who are prophesying to you, saying, ‘Behold, the vessels of the LORD's house will now shortly be brought back from Babylon,’ for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you. 17 Do not listen to them; serve the king of Babylon and live. Why should this city become a desolation? 18 If they are prophets, and if the word of the LORD is with them, then let them intercede with the LORD of hosts, that the vessels that are left in the house of the LORD, in the house of the king of Judah, and in Jerusalem may not go to Babylon. 19 For thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the pillars, the sea, the stands, and the rest of the vessels that are left in this city, 20 which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon did not take away, when he took into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem— 21 thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning the vessels that are left in the house of the LORD, in the house of the king of Judah, and in Jerusalem: 22 They shall be carried to Babylon and remain there until the day when I visit them, declares the LORD. Then I will bring them back and restore them to this place.”

So, what would be my problems with what Cunningham says about verse 5?

First, look at the people and places to whom Jeremiah is delivering this prophecy. “2 Thus the LORD said to me: “Make yourself straps and yoke-bars, and put them on your neck. 3 Send word to the king of Edom, the king of Moab, the king of the sons of Ammon, the king of Tyre, and the king of Sidon by the hand of the envoys who have come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah.” Cunningham says “ We note that in this particular portion, Jeremiah is talking to the children of Israel...”, but at this point in Jeremiah 27, the prophet isn't talking to the children of Israel at all. Starting in v 12, we get Jeremiah addressing the king of Israel, and then later the priests and people, but before that his words are directed toward the kings of 5 other nations: Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon.

Next, there is Cunningham's contention that this judgment is coming on Israel because they like the first part of the Abrahamic covenant about God blessing them, but didn't like the other part of the covenant about blessing the other nations of the world.


Now, where does this chapter say anything like that? To put it plainly, it doesn't. Cunningham is just trying to shoehorn his own ideas into this passage.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Shifters: Judgments excerpt



If Grahm Oakroot had not known the meaning behind the memorial, he might have though it to be a place of beauty and tranquility. On the low mound of manicured green, thousands of small white stones were arranged in concentric circles radiating from the top of the mound to the trees near the base of the mound. The stones were interrupted by numerous narrow paths of white stone that meandered among the circles. There was an artistry to it, a combination and unity of elven skill and natural beauty, that was moving even without any knowledge of what the memorial represented.

But for Grahm and any other elven kin who visited this place, there was little peace to be found, and the beauty was merely a disguise. They knew the truth behind this scene. Each of the thousands of stones represented an elven person who had been killed or injured during The Kinslaying.

He walked along a path, his eyes occasionally settling on a stone as he passed it by. There were no names on the stones, because the memorial wasn’t designed to focus the visitor’s attention on a particular person, but to remind them of the overwhelming number of people affected by that great, tragic event. The maimed were not lesser victims then the murdered, the aged no less a loss then the child not yet old enough to crawl. Here, all were remembered, and all were mourned.

And it was overwhelming. One of those stones represented Grahm’s older brother, a guard who had been cut in half. Another represented a cousin and her daughter, a mere child who had learned to walk only months before. And he knew of many others who were represented in this beautiful, dismal memorial. In a sense, the knowledge of those few individuals gave the entire number an almost unbearable weight. The memorial made it easy to think of what those few suffered, and multiply that suffering hundreds of times, or even thousands of times.

He reached the top, and stopped. Few people visited the memorial at any one time. It wasn’t a place his people came to picnic or relax. He saw three individuals and two couples walking along the paths, proceeding slowly and quietly. The only sound he heard was the singing of a bird somewhere among the trees.

One of the individuals, a woman, approached him. For numerous reasons, he breathed in sharply, recognizing her, glad that she had come as she said she would. Even for his people, she was a small woman. When she stood before him, the top of her head did not even reach the top of his shoulders.

“You’ve come.” he said in greeting.

Her downcast face finally looked up at him, and her eyes and face were like a bolt into his heart. How long had he loved The Hummingbird, Aevra Magaelor? For years, since he had been a young man, the child of a worker at her father’s vineyard, and she had still been a young lady, vibrant and curious and ever in motion. Her smiles had been art to him, her laughter music, her voice poetry. He had loved her quietly, almost hopelessly, until he had become a soldier in Dorondora’s army, and he had thought that someday he might have something to offer to his beloved and her family.

“I’ve just come from The Healing Arbor, where I visited Orlyn” Her voice was heavy, weary. The poetry was still there for him, but it was subdued, and spoke more of despair now rather than joy.

“How is she?”
Her sigh was loud and heavy. “She has hidden herself away in the darkness again, refusing to come out.” She shook her head, and sighed again. “I pity what has happened to her, she still struggles to deal with her deformity.”

Orlyn was another person represented in this field, and one that represented a particular cruelty that The Kinslayer had shown in her rampage. The creature had captured the elven woman, but instead of killing her, The Kinslayer had severed her legs at the knees. The fact that she had lived was itself notable, because of the pain and the amount of blood she had lost.

But it was a bittersweet survival.

“We are a people who value beauty.” Grahm said. “Perhaps in an unhealthy way.”

“She is not ugly.” There was some heat in Aevra’s voice.

“I apologize.” But the truth was, Orlyn was now not considered beautiful. It might have been an unfair judgment, but it was still the truth. Feminine beauty was greatly valued among the elves, and it was often determined by a grace in movement and a straight, confident bearing. A woman with physical handicaps and deformities was simply considered unsightly, barely tolerated in everyday life.

“I pity Indrin most.” Aevra said after a moment, the momentary anger replaced by sadness. “The child is in a bad place, unable to help her mother when she’s in one of her moods, and is herself in no small amount of pain. The poor girl tries to be brave when her mother is like this, but…but she shouldn’t need to be that way. Orlyn and…him, they should be there to give their daughter strength.”

 Grahm didn’t know how to answer her. He knew the “him” she was referring to, though his name could no longer be mentioned among their people. Kholar Oreidin, the exile, the traitor, now Thrice-Exiled, his name stricken from any mention in elven culture, his accomplishments annulled, his existence negated. If only it were so easy, but simply declaring it to be so doesn’t mean that he had never been Grahm’s friend, that Grahm had never introduced him to the Magaelors, that he had never married Orlyn, or that he had never fathered their daughter Indrin.

“Will you walk with me?” Grahm finally managed to say.

“I do not want to walk.” Aevra replied, and a bit of life came to her serious face. “I want to know what I can do to pay back the Kinslayer and the Thrice-Exiled.”

That’s what Grahm feared this meeting would be about. “Very well. The truth is, we still have no idea where Kelizza Tanufiel is. She has disappeared. And Kholar…”

“Do not speak that name!” Aevra’s voice was loud and sharp.

“My apologies. He is…there are many rumors about him, and it is difficult to tell truth from fiction. We have simply not been able to learn where he is as of yet.”

“How many years has it been?” Aevra said, her face now twisting as she tried to not weep. “We have…we have waited, and waited, for any kind of justice, or vengeance, or retribution. Every time I look at my sister, or remember poor Tassra, I think about the nightmare that attacked us, and the man who did Orlyn more harm then any aberrant creature ever could. She bears the shame of his exile, and she has nowhere to hide from our people, like he apparently does. No one has forgotten whose wife she was, and no one has forgotten who Indrin’s father was. They both live with that burden, and it is crushing them both. I want there to be a day when I can tell them that those who have hurt them so badly have paid for what they did.”

She managed to control herself, and for a moment her face took on a look of anger, perhaps even hatred, before resetting into a stony calm. “I have never been a fighter, and know little about using normal weapons. But these times have made demands on all of us, and I now have the means to do more than just look on and wait for our justice to be carried out.” As she was speaking, she started pulling up the sleeve to her right arm, and showed Grahm the mark that now surrounded her wrist.

It was not a normal tattoo. It was in the shape of several jagged black and yellow lines, like bolts of lightning, but it was not set in her skin like ink or dye. Even in the moment she showed it to him, he saw one bolt lash out, splitting into two forks, then retreat back up to her wrist.

“What have you done?” Grahm's concern for his friend turned into a sick fear. He knew what that mark represented.

“What I've had to do.”

“What did you...What did you give up, in order to...”

“To gain this power?” Her laugh was barely a whisper, and filled with scorn and pain. “You know that The Marked must sacrifice something in order to gain such powers, do you, now?”

“What was it?”

Aevra was silent for a long moment, then simply shrugged. “It is not important. I am not here to cry on your shoulder about what I have lost. I am here to make use of what I have gained. We Marked may be looked down upon, but we are also needed when you find and attack the shapeshifters. We know they are weak against lightning, and that is a power I and a few others possess. You need me, and I will fight with your people.”

In what was already the worst few minutes of his life, this last bit of news still shook Grahm. “I cannot allow that.”

“You have no choice, and I will not be treated like a child by you, Grahm Oakroot. I have this power, and I will use it. I will be there when we find The Kinslayer, and I will laugh as she is slain by our team. I will be there when you find The Thrice-Exiled, and when we have slain him, and I finally be able to tell my sister that her tormentor has found justice.”

Sunday, October 9, 2016

a look at faith healing tricks

This show is very interesting. Brown trains a guy to pretty effectively act like a faith healer, showing him the tricks faith healers use to fake healings. For example, the leg lengthening trick is quite popular still, even though it has been shown to be a fraud many times.

There is some language in this show, and of course the whole thing is about tricking people with the fake faith healer's performance.


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Loren Cunningham's mocking of the Bible


There is something else about the part I transcribed from this video that bugs me.
The Bible is clear to say that all of the earth and the fullness thereof is mine, saith the Lord. He says also that the silver and the gold is mine, saith the Lord. But how does it end up in the devil's pocket? There's gotta be a reason. It's because we as Christians are not ruling in the power of Christ as we are intended to do. Now I would like to make a very clear application on this in practical terms. The Lord said “Occupy until I come”. When an occupation army comes in, what do they do? They don't run up in the hills and hide out. They take over! They take over, if necessary, in the schools, so that no philosophy will be taught that is counter to their particular position. They also take over the banks and the wealth of the nation. They take over the, if necessary, even the churches, to make sure nothing is said that will not go against what they are trying to do. They take over, of course, the military, and all the other aspects of life that they need to control. They take over. Now Jesus said “Occupy until...” And there is certainly a view that says that we, the body of Christ, are really under the hand of Satan in this world and we're going to squeak out and maybe slip out in such a way that nobody will notice because we're so weak when it happens. But I don't believe that. I believe God is wanting a glorious church, a strong church, to go out and triumph. And I like to put it in a way that maybe even in the exaggeration you'll get the impact a little better, that if we work hard enough, sure, there will be an Antichrist, because the Bible says so, but he can hold his international convention in a phone booth. You see, instead of trying to picture the greatness of the Antichrist and what Satan is going to do, let's see the greatness of Jesus through His church according to what we do in faith ruling and reigning with Christ.
It's where he's talking about the Antichrist. "And I like to put it in a way that maybe even in the exaggeration you'll get the impact a little better, that if we work hard enough, sure, there will be an Antichrist, because the Bible says so, but he can hold his international convention in a phone booth.  You see, instead of trying to picture the greatness of the Antichrist and what Satan is going to do, let's see the greatness of Jesus through His church according to what we do in faith ruling and reigning with Christ."

He claims this is some kind of exaggeration to make a point, but it's simply mocking.


The truth is, God is the one who has told us things in the Bible about the end times, how difficult those times will be, how evil mankind will be in the last days, and the nature and power of this last ruler. To mock those things, as Cunningham mocks the idea of the Antichrist here, is at best unwise.


This kind of mocking is a common thing I've seen in the writings and speakings of dominionists. Johnny Enlow is extreme in his denunciations of anyone who has a "defeatist" view of the end times, saying they are part of a Leah church that is saved but only tolerated by God, while he and people like himself who want to take over the world are a part of a Rachel church that God is infatuated with. Outside of being extremely creepy, his use of Rachel and Leah is both problematic as a metaphor, and is also a metaphor without any biblical support.

"Defeatist" is the kind of word often used by these dominionists to label and dismiss others, and while Cunningham doesn't use that word in this video, he brings up the idea, "And there is certainly a view that says that we, the body of Christ, are really under the hand of Satan in this world and we're going to squeak out and maybe slip out in such a way that nobody will notice because we're so weak when it happens".


The Gospels record an interesting exchange between Peter and Jesus, for example here in Matthew 16
21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
I don't think even Cunningham would have the gall to call Jesus "defeatist", but it wouldn't be too difficult to see him in Peter's sandles.

Victory for Christians often doesn't look like what the world would call victory.
Romans 831 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The phrase "...we are more than conquerors..." cannot be rightly understood except in the context of "...in all these things...", and "these things" are tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, and sword. And we are more than conquerors when those things happen to us because nothing can "separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord", so even us being more than conquerors is a gift that God gives to us.

Nowhere does the Bible tell the church to go out and conquer the world, to take over nations and societies and impose its will on the whole world. Few visions should be more terrifying to all right-thinking Christians than of a cabal of religious people disguising their ambitions for power behind a cheap facade of christianese ideas and rhetoric. In fact, look at Paul's description in the Romans 8 verses above, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

The day will come when Christ will return, and by all that I've seen in the Bible, it will be a day of conflict. The world didn't welcome Christ at his first coming, and they will greet his second with open rebellion that He will quash. But until then, we are as sheep among wolves, the world will regard us as sheep to be slaughtered, and even in this day many fellow believers are being slaughtered. Remember the words of Jesus recorded in John 15:18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you."

So, the Bible treats the Antichrist in a serious manner, and even Cunningham acknowledges that the Bible says that there will be an Antichrist, but then he mocks and dismisses what the Bible says about it, trying to substitute it for his own made-up dominionist ideas. Not good, YWAM, not good at all.


Friday, October 7, 2016

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Loren Cunningham's dishonest word games

What I've transcribed here begins at the 6:00 mark.

The Bible is clear to say that all of the earth and the fullness thereof is mine, saith the Lord. He says also that the silver and the gold is mine, saith the Lord. But how does it end up in the devil's pocket? There's gotta be a reason. It's because we as Christians are not ruling in the power of Christ as we are intended to do. Now I would like to make a very clear application on this in practical terms. The Lord said “Occupy until I come”. When an occupation army comes in, what do they do? They don't run up in the hills and hide out. They take over! They take over, if necessary, in the schools, so that no philosophy will be taught that is counter to their particular position. They also take over the banks and the wealth of the nation. They take over the, if necessary, even the churches, to make sure nothing is said that will not go against what they are trying to do. They take over, of course, the military, and all the other aspects of life that they need to control. They take over. Now Jesus said “Occupy until...” And there is certainly a view that says that we, the body of Christ, are really under the hand of Satan in this world and we're going to squeak out and maybe slip out in such a way that nobody will notice because we're so weak when it happens. But I don't believe that. I believe God is wanting a glorious church, a strong church, to go out and triumph. And I like to put it in a way that maybe even in the exaggeration you'll get the impact a little better, that if we work hard enough, sure, there will be an Antichrist, because the Bible says so, but he can hold his international convention in a phone booth. You see, instead of trying to picture the greatness of the Antichrist and what Satan is going to do, let's see the greatness of Jesus through His church according to what we do in faith ruling and reigning with Christ.

There is actually some stuff before this that could be good to look at later, but this will do for now.

So, where does Jesus say "Occupy til I come"? It should be considered interesting that Cunningham gives no reference for this phrase, though it's likely not a difficult one to find.

Luke 1911 As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. 12 He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. 13 Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ 14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ 15 When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business. 16 The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ 18 And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ 19 And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ 20 Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ 24 And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ 25 And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ 26 ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 27 But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’”

This is from the ESV, so the translation is a bit different, but the sentence in 13 is also translated as something like"Occupy until I come" in some other translations.

But the ESV is a good translation here, because it gives the proper sense of what the nobleman in the parable said. The word is pragmateuomai, and here is its definition.

to be occupied in anything
to carry on a business
to carry on the business of a banker or a trader

The word "occupy" isn't a bad translation, it's only shenanigans like what Cunningham engages in, taking that phrase out of context and trying to make it mean something it isn't even close to meaning, that spoils "occupy.

So, when Cunningham tries to make "Occupy until I come" mean that the church should act like an occupying army, one can have two reasonable reactions--laugh uproariously at such blatant nonsense and falsehood, because in one sense such shenanigans are worthy only of being laughed at, or feel unease when you realize that Cunningham is saying that the church really should act like a occupying army, taking over banks and schools and even churches.

The dishonesty on full display in this video is so obvious and blatant that Cunningham should lose great amounts of credibility for being either so dishonest or such a doofus. At the least, he showed himself unqualified to be a teacher of any kind by promoting such a wrong interpretation of that phrase.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Discernment

This video clip isn't long, but it's got lots of good stuff in it.


Monday, October 3, 2016

review--Library War

In Library War, it's the Thought Police vs. Militarized Libraries

The Japanese government passed the Media Betterment Act, which allows the government to censor books, magazines, films, and other forms of media it considers to be unacceptable. The Media Betterment Committee enforces this censorship, taking these offensive materials from places like bookstores and disposing of them.

But in a move that speaks either of genius or madness, the government has also passed the Library Freedom Act, allowing libraries to be safe repositories for even banned materials, places where people can go to find any available media, approved or banned.

Several years before this story begins, conflict between the libraries and the Media Betterment Committee turned deadly during the event that became known as the Nightmare of Hino, an incident were Betterment forces attacked library workers and ended up killing 12 people. After that, libraries began to arm themselves and train people in military fashion for times when they are required to fight Betterment soldiers.

Iku Kasahara has joined the Library Force at the Kanto library, for a couple of reasons. First, she's a great reader and doesn't like censorship. Second, she has a crush on the man who once protected her when Betterment tried to take an offensive book away from her, though she can't remember much about him.

Conflicts
Despite how that first part might read, this series keeps a fairly light tone, though there are some intense moments towards the end. There are a few fights between the Betterment and Library forces, but they stay at about the level of The A-Team—lots of shooting, but rarely does anyone get seriously hurt.

The rules of conflict between the two forces can seem rather odd, especially since they aren't well spelled out in the series. For example, one time when Iku and another member of her library force are fleeing from an ambush by Betterment forces, she calls out the Betterment members for using firearms in a place where it was illegal for either side to use them. Another time, it's pointed out that Library Forces can only shoot on library property.

And despite the two sides being in bitter conflict with each other, that doesn't do much to impede their everyday lives. Library members still shop, eat out, go to cafes, and do so without being armed. The evening before the final big fight of the series, a member of the Library Forces encounters someone with the Betterment Forces at a grocery store, and they walk and chat in a not-unfriendly manner before parting to return to their respective groups and prepare for the conflict coming in the morning.


Censorship
A series about a government attempt at censorship is sure to raise some emotions in viewers, even a series as mostly lite-hearted as this one.

Library War isn't subtle about which side it comes down on—the libraries are the good guys, and the Betterment people are not. In fact, Library War appears at one point in the series on a list of books Betterment is concerned about. Later, Betterment tries to take a book called “The Prophecy” from librarians transporting it from one place to another, and how one library worker describes this book shows it to be a pretty clear reference to Fahrenheit 451.

I'm against censorship, and at least try to go along with the quote “I don't like what you say, but I'll defend your right to say it”, though I'm not sure if that's the exact quote. On the other hand, the self-congratulatory attitude of much of the “Read banned books” paraphernalia that I've seen is nausea-inducing, too.

Freedoms are always difficult things. Freedom of speech is a good thing, but that freedom allows telemarketers to bother us at dinner time, politicians to make promises during campaign seasons that we all know they will never keep, faith healers to claim that God told them something completely looney, and basically for people to disagree with anything anyone else says or thinks.

We don't live in a perfect world, and we are not perfect people. Every good gift comes from God, but we've abused those gifts countless of times over, and freedom of speech and expression is among those gifts that has often been abused. Still, that gift remains precious and valuable.

Given that fallen state of all mankind, even and especially of those in charge of any society, even if censorship could be defended, if it were implemented it would likely only result in the banning of the good while letting the evil run rampant.

Conclusion
On a scale of 5, I've give this series a 3.5. It's above average and enjoyable, while also dealing with some serious issues at times, but the overall light feel tones down what could have been a serious look at the problems of censorship. Still, it a good series, and I can recommend it.

The anime series is based on a manga series, Library Wars: Love and War, and that title reflects how the anime series goes. It has a pretty good balance of both the war aspect, and the romance, too.

I'd guess there could be some confusion about the name. Crunchyroll calls the series Library War, while the manga is Library Wars. I remember seeing that the Japanese language doesn't have plural forms of words like English does, so that may explain the difference in the names.

The anime has 12 episodes on Crunchyroll, with a 13 being an OVA that focuses on Dojo's friend Komaki. The manga has 15 books, which likely means there's more story should there be another season or two for the anime, though I don't know if a further season is planned.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

En Passant excerpt



To put all of those religious ideas in a broad category, they pretty much come down to the idea that we must work, make an effort, to attain something like salvation or betterment. One must “do” things in order to be worthy of earning salvation. The emphasis is on one's works, making oneself righteous, making oneself worthy, becoming holy by one's own efforts.

So far as I know, only one religion stands contra to this. Only in Christianity do we have that idea that, not only is man broken, but man cannot fix himself. It is not enough to try to obey the law, because almost before one has made the decision to try to obey all the points of the law, one has already violated the law countless times, and even after making that commitment, one will still violate the law. Even if one does not know the law God gave to Moses, one would still have actions that one would consider good and evil, and would have already violated those standards many times.

If, as a child, you lied or stole, you violated the law. If you disobeyed your parents, you violated the law. If you were selfish and greedy for something another child had, you violated the law. What works would be enough to make up for such violations? Where has God given a formula that says what things you must do to blot out those sins from your record? Even if you sacrifice a vast herd of cattle and flock of sheep, can doing that make you clean?

This must be understood--all works we consider righteous are nothing more than the vilest of rags. Our best efforts literally stink to high Heaven. We are all guilty, and we cannot make ourselves innocent, we cannot make ourselves clean But where we cannot help ourselves, God has already helped us. God has sent His Son, Christ has sacrificed Himself for our sins. Through repentance and faith in Christ, we can find forgiveness of sins. Salvation is an act of grace from God, not a wage we can earn from Him.

It is that simple, we do not have to perform great acts of contrition and penance. And it is that difficult, for we cannot come to God claiming anything through our own efforts. God owes us nothing except punishment for violating His law. His salvation is a gift.

And it is for this reason that the modern move towards extreme ecumenism becomes not just intellectually unfeasible, but morally evil. There can be no compromise with religions that teach that one may be saved by works, when that is a lie that will only give a person false hope. There can be no compromise with those who say one must be enlightened to find salvation, or must better oneself to become worthy, for there is no enlightenment or insight that can cleanse one sin, and no bettering of oneself that can pay for even the smallest of sins any one of us has committed. In the early days of the church, there was no compromise with those who worshiped the gods of the Greek or Roman pantheon, or even with those who claimed to worship God while denying Christ. The church was not commissioned to play nice with other religions, to give any approval to the notion that people who bowed to other gods were doing right.