Learning to think is a worthwhile pursuit

Feelings and emotions are God-given components or our human nature.  So also are the ability to reason and to think.  Somewhere along the way the former seem to have gained the upper hand in the lives of many with the consequence that truth seeking has been left in the dust.  The following is a thoughtful article by Dr. Everett Piper on the role education should have in righting the situation.  The article appeared in:  The Washington Times as: Bringing light to the dark halls of the ivory tower.  RMF

Bringing light to the dark halls of the ivory tower
(Why children should not be in schools that teach pablum)
By Everett Piper

Wasted College Education
(Illustration by Greg Groesch)

Dr. Everett Piper

Since the release my book, “Not A Day Care: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth,” I have been asked over and over again by the likes of everyone from Pat Robertson and Adam Carolla to Glenn Beck, Dennis Prager, Dana Perino and Jim Dobson: “Okay, Dr. Piper, you’ve identified the problem in our colleges and universities, now what’s the solution?
My answer?
Stop sending your children off to these institutions that teach this pablum. The solution to self-absorption, narcissism, intellectual vacuity and moral nihilism is simple: Stop teaching it.
Adam MacLeod, associate professor of Law at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Ala., stands nearly alone in shining a light in the dark halls of today’s ivory tower. In his recent article, published in The New Boston Post, Mr. MacLeod says this: “I increasingly find that most of [my students] cannot think, don’t know very much, and are enslaved to their appetites and feelings.”

Professor Adam MacLeod

He goes on, “Before I can teach [them] how to reason, I must first teach [them] how to rid [themselves] of unreason Reasoning requires coherence and logic. Most of [us] have been taught to embrace incoherence and illogic. [We] have learned to associate truth with [our] subjective feelings, which are neither true nor false but only [ours], and which are constantly changeful.”
Mr. MacLeod is absolutely right. Education should not be about the propagation of your feelings. The best education is not about pandering to what makes you “feel good” but, rather, it is about confronting you with the facts about what “is good.” Truth should be the goal of an educated people, not emotions, not opinions, and not feelings.
When I officiate commencement at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, I don’t pat you on the back as you graduate and give you a diploma in “opinions.” You don’t earn a degree in “feelings” at OKWU. No, after four years of study at my university, I actually expect you to leave here with at least some measure of truth above and beyond what you had when you started. I actually expect you to learn something. Continue reading

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Wesley’s Wisdom

My favorite media commentator of all time is Wesley Pruden. There is a bed-rock practicality and honesty about his articles which are very appealing to me. And they all contain a pinch of his unique brand of wry humor which invariably makes me chuckle and envy his writing skills. His columns often contain hints of or overt mentions of Scriptural events and principles which are instructive while not being at all preachy. I’ve learned a lot from Mr. Pruden and always look forward to his “Pruden on Politics” commentaries which appear in the Washington Times as did the following article captioned: When the prey becomes the predator.  RMF

When the prey becomes the predator
By Wesley Pruden

Journalist Wesley Pruden

It’s only a matter of time until the female of the species becomes predator, and is caught in the web of what the country preacher called “he’in and she’in,” which has been the favorite game of men and women since Eve disdained perfection in the Garden of Eden.
Adam was a sap, but Eve must have been truly irresistible. Science insists that one day two big clods of cosmic clay banged into each other somewhere out there beyond Pluto, and the evolutionary result a zillion eons later was a heavenly creature with the body of Marlene Dietrich and the face of Hedy Lamarr. Or maybe it was Elizabeth Taylor or Ingrid Bergman. But to actually believe that requires more faith than most mere men can muster.
The man has always been the dumber of the sexes since the time when there were only two, and neither was a gender. Beguiled by feminine beauty, men have never tried very hard to resist the irresistible, and when Eve — it must have been Eve — invented the game of “He’in and She’in” Adam, being the jerk he was, couldn’t wait to break the rules. A man is often still a jerk, but every woman seems to want one.
The only way to deal with the urge to play the game is for the man to keep his distance.

Vice President Mike Pence

Mike Pence, the vice president, was only yesterday roundly mocked for adopting the famous Billy Graham Rule, forbidding his being alone with a woman not his wife, neither dining with her alone nor attending any event where alcohol is served unless his wife is along.
Some of Eve’s progeny, ever eager to take offense whether one is intended or not, took this as an affront to all women, and particularly women looking for work. Feminists complain that the Graham/Pence Rule is a barrier to women advancing the corporate ladder, though a tryst is rarely how the ladder works, and there’s no evidence that a woman has suffered in the workplace for not having had tea for two with the veep.

Katelyn Beaty

Women have always been suspicious of what men do when they are not allowed in the clubhouse. “Offering the Pence Rule as a solution to male predation is like saying ‘I can’t meet with you one-on-one,’ ” writes Katelyn Beaty, an editor of the magazine Christianity Today, in an op-ed essay in The New York Times. “‘Otherwise, I might eventually assault you.’ If that’s the case we have far deeper problems around men and power than any personal conduct rule can solve.”
She has a point, but that’s not all the Pence Rule is meant to solve. Many executives, even newspaper editors who aren’t anybody’s idea of a heartthrob, take subtle precautions against bearers of false witness. Such false witnesses can turn up in the most unexpected places, and women, as fair and wondrous as all of them are, are not immune to bearing such witness.
A certain kind of woman is particularly tempted to offer forbidden fruit to a preacher, perhaps foolishly figuring that he is as close to the divine as she is likely to get, and relishes

Professor Jay W. Richards

the attention she gets in bringing him down, like Delilah with Samson. The Graham/Pence Rule, says Jay Richards, a research professor at Catholic University, is only a reasonable response to the dramatic social changes that have erased boundaries between the sexes over the decades since conventional morality died in the rubble of World War II.
“We now find ourselves trying to kind of create rules after discovering fallout from these dramatic social changes,” he says. “It’s not as if Pence’s rule is written in stone. Different people have different rules that are similar to this. But I know many Christian organizations and Christian ministries have rules more or less like Mike Pence’s in place for all employees.”***
In fact, rules like those put down by Billy Graham and Mike Pence are more likely to have been written in sand, not stone. In certain trades and professions, such as in Hollywood and on newspapers and then in television, behavior has been traditionally freewheeling. Back in the day, every reporter had a bottle of Jack Daniel’s in the lower left-hand drawer of his desk, often the gift of someone thinking of it as an investment, and boys being boys, sometimes invited the girls into the clubhouse.
This summer of fun, if not exactly love, is likely to have a calming effect on the way men and women behave, but the effect is likely to be neither profound nor permanent. The immediate effect is political, and a moral culture is not built on politics. We can take what we can get, and hope for more.
Wesley Pruden is editor in chief emeritus of The Times.

***  The “Billy Graham Rule” used and indeed popularized by Vice President Pence and referenced in this article has long been one of the foundational guardrails for the staff at New Life Christian Church where Shirley and I are members.  At times when I was on staff the rule could seem a bit restrictive and like an extreme measure.  It was even ridiculed at times by members who simply did not think through the wisdom embodied in the rule.  It seems to me that time has validated the value of a policy designed to prevent impropriety or even the appearance thereof.  Truly countless ministries have been destroyed by moral failures involving sexual misconduct.  What a shame.  It is well to remember Jesus’ words: “There is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.”  1 Corinthians 4:5 RMF

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Scratching the Surface

The following blog post by Bob Russell is timely and contains excellent biblical counsel.  The article appeared first at: bobrussell.org  as:  Sex Abuse Allegations Highlight Desperate Need to Restore Biblical Values.  RMF

Sex Abuse Allegations Highlight Desperate Need to Restore Biblical Values

by Bob Russell

Pastor Bob Russell

Early in October allegations of sexual abuse by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein were made public. Since then a plethora of women has been emboldened to publicly share their stories of sexual misconduct. Famous Hollywood actors, professional athletes, successful businessmen, influential politicians, television personalities and even a 93-year-old former president are now facing consequences for claims ranging from sexual harassment to rape.

Time Magazine lists sixty well-known public figures who have been accused of sexual misconduct after Harvey Weinstein. Unbelievable! That’s probably just scratching the surface. Some of the accusations are from incidents that occurred decades ago.

In the wake of the current political unrest, the avalanche of accusations has left most Americans totally unsettled. Can any leader be trusted? How do we know who to believe and who not to believe? Are we supposed to forgive and forget when the character flaws appear so deep that they scar a person’s credibility for life? Continue reading

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Let Jesus Be

The following article by Rebecca Hagelin appeared in the October 30, 2017 edition of the Washington Times as: Leave Jesus as he is. Perhaps you’ll appreciate it as I do.  RMF

Leave Jesus as he is
by Rebecca Hagelin


Rebecca Hagelin

The gentle breezes rustling through the palm trees were matched in melodious beauty by the crash of the waves against the shore.
As if in a symphony, the voices of some 50 worshippers rose in praise to our awesome God as we sang of his goodness at the outdoor service on Little Gasparilla Island.
Erica Emmanuel, the pastor’s wife, led us in Hillsong’s “Oceans”:

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine.

Continue reading

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First Cosmic Observation: Gravitational Waves and Light From the Same Event. (Multi-messinger Astronomy)

It’s a big deal. Not so much perhaps with the way you eat your Wheaties in the morning or balance your checkbook, but in the mysterious world of science which always seems to impact the overall trajectory of our lives it is a major event.  This is fascinating stuff.  I enjoy following the way science bores into the secrets of how God has designed our existence in the universe and marveling at the brilliance of all He has created.  This is just one more step and I love that we live in an age when we can see and learn from so many wondrous revelations and discoveries.  This article is by Nancy Atkinson, one of my favorite writers in the world of astronomy and astrophysics.  It appeared at: www.universetoday.com as: First Cosmic Event Observed in Both Gravitational Waves and Light. Also see: Click HERE.  RMF

by Nancy Atkinson

Artist’s illustration of two merging neutron stars. The narrow beams represent the gamma-ray burst while the rippling spacetime grid indicates the isotropic gravitational waves that characterize the merger. Swirling clouds of material ejected from the merging stars are a possible source of the light that was seen at lower energies. Credit: National Science Foundation/LIGO/Sonoma State University/A. Simonnet

Nancy Atkinson

About 130 million years ago, in a galaxy far away, two neutron stars collided. The cataclysmic crash produced gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of space and time. This event is now the 5th observation of gravitational waves by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory (LIGO) and Virgo collaboration, and the first detected that was not caused by the collision of two black holes.

But this event — called a kilonova — produced something else too: light, across multiple wavelengths.

For the first time in history, an astronomical phenomenon has been first observed through gravitational waves and then seen with telescopes. In an incredibly collaborative effort, over 3,500 astronomers using 100 instruments on over 70 telescopes around the world and in space worked with physicists from the LIGO and Virgo collaboration.

Scientists call this “multimessenger astronomy.”   Continue reading

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The Primacy of Evangelism in the Church’s Mission

I love the church that Jesus established through His redemptive work on the cross.  It is my desire to contribute in a positive way to the church’s growth through the spread of the Gospel message which is the hope of glory.  Certainly there are many facets of the church’s mission but to me none is as important as evangelism, and disciples making disciples in order to accelerate evangelism exponentially.  My regard for evangelism is captured wonderfully by this article by Bob Russell.  It appeared first at: http://www.bobrussell.org  as: The Oft-Repeated Cycle of Church History.

The Oft-Repeated Cycle of Church History
by Bob Russell

Pastor Bob Russell

A decade ago when I was the minister of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, our mission statement read, “We exist to evangelize the lost, edify the saved, minister to the needy and be a conscience in the community.” Experts on effective mission statements insisted it needed to be abbreviated so everyone could grasp it. But I liked that mission statement because it not only articulated our purpose, it stated the order of our priorities.

The primary purpose of the church is evangelism and discipleship. (See Matt. 28:18-20.) One of Satan’s most clever deceptions is to invert our mission and replace the primary with the secondary. Social justice or political influence can easily become more important than the paramount task of evangelism.  Continue reading

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A Defense for Signing the Nashville Statement

The following is a statement by Randy Alcorn, a Christian writer and blogger at: www.epm.org. The article, which appears as: Why I Signed the Nashville Statement: It Speaks the Truth in Love About Human Sexuality,  concerns his signing of the Nashville Statement which you can read at: Click HERE.
This article by Mr. Alcorn explains his rationale for his decision to sign the statement and provides a perspective on the contentious subject which in relatively recent times has become so divisive for Christians and today’s society in general. I wrestle with issues like this and seek God’s grace and “the mind of Christ”  (Philippians 2:5) to give clarity to my understanding.  Irrespective of one’s opinion of the Nashville Statement I praise God that His love is available for all and wish for all to come to a believing faith that seeks to honor God and glorify His name.  RMF 

Why I Signed the Nashville Statement: It Speaks the Truth in Love about the Biblical View of Human Sexuality
Randy Alcorn

Randy Alcorn

If you follow social media and news online, you’ve likely heard about the Nashville Statement, put together by The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Along with several dozen other Christian leaders, I’m one of the initial signatories of this statement, which seeks to provide a Christ-honoring and biblically faithful standard on homosexuality and transgenderism.

When it was posted in late August, unfortunately during Hurricane Harvey (its release was prearranged some time earlier), it caused another kind of cultural and online hurricane. Here are a couple of comments from people on Twitter who expressed disappointment at my signing it:

So disappointed in @randyalcorn for signing #nashvillestatement. He gave me hope of heaven & now he banished me for loving people.

Somehow @randyalcorn believes, from an eternal perspective, that publicly condemning LGBTQIA people who are facing persecution is good.

Redefining God’s Love

I cannot apologize for signing a statement that I believe to be true to Scripture and true to reality. As for the claim that by signing it I “banished” someone “for loving people,” I hardly know what to say. I believe that I truly love people who think and live differently than I do in terms of sexual desires and practices. I also believe God loves them far more than I, or the people who sent these tweets, do.  Continue reading

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