Daily Archives: May 10, 2013

Book review: What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Qur’an by James R. White

The Domain for Truth

James White Quran

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

One of the best Christian introductory work to Islam that I read and much more academically rigorous than most. For those familiar with the author James White, he is a Christian apologist who has debated and written on many issues over the past decades. Since the mid-2000s, James White started focusing a lot on Islam, beginning with his debut debate with the foremost Islamic apologist Shabir Ally in 2006 at BIOLA university. White was led to specialize in Islam largely because of his love for the persecuted Church today, many of whom live in Islamic land. The thing that stood out to me in this work is White’s familiarity with Arabic and careful interaction with the primary sources. It’s not just the Qur’an but he is able to engage in “Hadith Science.” He does all this while also balancing his work with an awareness of the…

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America’s Roads Have Been Turned Into A Revenue Generating Surveillance Grid

What do speed traps, parking tickets, toll roads, speed cameras and red light cameras all have in common? They are all major revenue sources for state and local governments. All over America today there are state and local governments that are drowning in debt. Many have chosen to use “traffic enforcement” as a way to raise desperately needed revenue. According to the National Motorist Association, issuing speeding tickets raises somewhere between 4.5 billion and 6 billion dollars in the United States each year. And the average price of a speeding ticket just keeps going up. Today, the national average is about $150, but in many jurisdictions it is far higher. For example, more than 16 million traffic tickets are issued in the state of California each year, and the average fine is approximately $250. If you are wealthy that may not be much of a problem, but if you are a family that is barely scraping by every month that can be a major financial setback. Meanwhile, America’s roads are also being systematically transformed into a surveillance grid. The number of cameras watching our roads is absolutely exploding, and automated license plate readers are capturing hundreds of millions of data points on all of us. As you drive down the highway, a police vehicle coming up behind you can instantly read your license plate and pull up a whole host of information about you. This happened to me a few years ago. I had pulled on to a very crowded highway in Virginia and within less than a minute a cop car had scanned me and was pulling me over because one of my stickers had expired. But these automated license plate readers are being used for far more than just traffic enforcement now. For example, officials in Washington D.C. are now using automated license plate readers to track the movements of every single vehicle that enters the city. They know when you enter Washington, and they know when you leave. So where is all of this headed? Do we really want to live in a “Big Brother” society where the government constantly tracks all of our movements? (Read More….)

Theology, Human Rights and America’s Future: Lessons From India

When traveling in India several years ago, I was deeply moved by that country’s grinding and pervasive poverty. In urban regions and also in the agricultural countryside, millions of Indians lead lives of material desperation.

In the cities, the impoverished languish on sidewalks used by wealthy entrepreneurs. This juxtaposition was painful to see, so I asked an Indian colleague about how his countrymen could ignore the desperately poor in their midst. This was, perhaps, a tactless question, but it is hard to watch children living in filth and degradation, day after day, and not wonder what is being done.

My friend responded that under the Indian Constitution, caste discrimination is outlawed, but in their hearts, Hindu Indians look at someone in great need and think, “He’s getting what he deserves.”

This is the practical outworking of a theological conviction – in this instance, karma.

For hundreds of millions of Hindus in India, karma means that one’s lot in his current life, however sordid, is what he has earned from his conduct in an earlier one. This is why most of the country’s roughly 300 million Dalits, or “untouchables,” are doomed to lives of brokenness from birth: Seen as virtual sub-humans, they exist only for the most filthy and unprofitable tasks and are spurned by their fellow citizens as unworthy of compassion.


Generation J(obless): A Quarter Of The Planet’s Youth Is Neither Working Nor Studying

The Economist estimates that the world’s population of NEETs (not in employment, education, or training) is a stunning 290 million – or around one-quarter of the world’s youth.

Sadly, many of the ’employed’ young have only informal and intermittent jobs. In rich countries more than a third, on average, are on temporary contracts which make it hard to gain skills. Young people have long had a raw deal in the labour market.

Two things make the problem more pressing now. The financial crisis and its aftermath had an unusually big effect on them. Many employers sack the newest hires first, so a recession raises youth joblessness disproportionately. The number of young people out of work in the OECD is almost a third higher than in 2007. Second, the emerging economies that have the largest and fastest-growing populations of young people also have the worst-run labour markets.


Do Not Be Surprised… This ‘n’ That 10 May 2013

I have to thank everyone for sticking with Do Not Be Surprised even as the frequency and regularity of posts has dwindled in recent weeks. This is usually a particularly busy time of year for me and this year is proving to be even more overwhelming. Combine that with a rather annoying case of writer’s block and you have one frustrated blogger (me). I’m hopeful that things will pick up soon, though, so don’t go away! You never know what the summer may bring!

Speaking of summer, I have the strangest desire to go to the zoo. Either I’m reverting to my childhood, or I’ve been called to one of those divine playdates like Beth Moore and I just haven’t learned to properly discern the voice of God.

Well, the zoo is fun but no doubt it will be even more delightful to enjoy your week in review (kind of):

  • Joel Osteen demonstrates what I have labeled “Journey Theology.” If you don’t get it, go here.
  • Is it wrong that I don’t think we should be wasting millions and millions of dollars developing an antibiotic for this?
  • Perry Noble, Rick Warren, Joel Osteen and others are warning about fake Facebook pages using their names and likenesses to run money scams. Please tell me that I don’t need to point out the intense irony of this.
  • Leading spiritual formation proponent Dallas Willard died this week. His fellow contemplative (and perhaps even more doctrinally dangerous) friend, Richard Foster, wrote this about Willard.
  • Please bring back the hymnal!
  • Dan Phillips ponders James MacDonald’s most recent blog outburst.
  • Look, if people would just stop shopping at Abercrombie & Fitch, they’d go out of business and then we could all stop complaining about them. Seriously, who wants to shop in a store that reeks of cologne and is blasting music louder than an Easter Sunday at Newspring Church?
  • Here’s an update on the Wycliffe “Son of God” translation controversy.
  • The results of religious compromise.
  • Who limits the atonement: Calvinists or Arminians?
  • Occupy Portland worshiped a golden calf in the streets to illustrate their cause. I think it’s safe to say that this little routine did not help their cause. At all.
  • When we hate what we love.
  • Why pray if God already knows everything?
  • Do you have $60 that you don’t know what to do with? You could always sign up to be a ‘Vertical Church Band Insider.’ Because who wouldn’t want to fork over perfectly good cash to help Harvest Bible Chapel’s rock band create more unnecessary contemporary Christian music? If you ask me, it sounds like a really wise way to steward the resources God has given you.


A breach of apostasy in post-modern churches

The time clock is ticking, and we are looking at end-times prophecy being fulfilled before our eyes. If you aren’t “into” prophecy matters in your faith, you are not alone. Many evangelical churches have abandoned prophecy altogether, and in fact are teaching a very different view of end times than what the Bible speaks of.  Today we’re going to draw a parallel between the seeker-driven, kingdom-now focus many post-modern churches teach to those stodgy old teachings of the Bible’s prophets.

With us today is Mary Danielsen, a watcher and reporter on today’s headlines. We’re going to talk about these news events, and there’s something else we need to talk with Mary about: One of the signs of a church becoming emergent is the changing views regarding Israel’s role in Bible prophecy. We shared an eye-opening article this week titled, “Calvary Chapel Breached about the growing concerns that a Calvary Chapel church in California is teaming up with leaders of a pro-Palestinian agenda including Lynne Hybels  (wife of Willow Creek, Bill Hybels and co-partner with Jim Wallis). Obviously this movement is of huge concern to Calvary Chapels around the nation. Mary is part of a solid Bible-teaching CC here in Wisconsin and later will share some thoughts about that. She shares this on her The Things to Come blog.


Further Implications of Calvary Chapel North Coast Event – Lynne Hybels Presence Shows Serious Move Toward Apostasy

Yesterday, we posted an article titled “Calvary Chapel Breached” by journalist Jim Fletcher. The article focused on a Calvary Chapel church (North Coast) in California and its invitation of a Palestinian man named Sami Awad. Fletcher’s article showed the implications of this invitation by Calvary Chapel and how this indicates the further move toward apostasy in the church today. One of the signs of a church becoming emergent is the changing views regarding Israel’s role in Bible prophecy. We have documented for years the growing hostility toward Israel by emergent figures. Our follow up today is going to focus on another person who will be at the Discipleship and Training event at North Coast Calvary Chape on May 10th – Lynne Hybels  (wife of Willow Creek, Bill Hybels) – and the implications of her being there.

First of all, back in 2006, Chuck Smith, the founder of the Calvary Chapel movement, made a clear and concise statement that Calvary Chapel would not tolerate churches within their “fellowship” that promoted the emerging church or contemplative spirituality. While Chuck Smith’s own son was ousted for his emergent views, other Calvary Chapel pastors have been allowed to remain in the movement even when they were promoting emerging/contemplative views or people. What North Coast Calvary Chapel is doing is a case in point.

To bring Lynne Hybels into a Calvary Chapel event is making a huge statement by Calvary Chapel. Hybels is very connected to the Marxist- leaning, liberal machine of Jim Wallis’ SoJourners. She is a regular writer for SoJourners magazine and shows her affinity with Wallis in the things she writes. Therefore, we are going to post an article that was written ( by someone within the Calvary Chapel movement) a few years ago, which shows the clear direction of SoJourners (and thus Lynne Hybels). This is not guilt by loose association but rather guilt by promotion or proxy. And make no mistake about it, Jim Wallis and SoJourners are NOT for Israel or the Jews. It is an anti-Christ spirit that reigns in the world today. As Warren B. Smith has pointed out in his book, False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care?, the “new” spirituality leaders believe the “era of the single Savior is over.”


Lessons from Cleveland

Like people who refuse to give up on the loved one they’ve lost. Like Amanda Berry’s mom, who refused to believe it was hopeless. She just kept her daughter’s picture and story in front of people…and prayed relentlessly. Amanda’s mom didn’t live to see her prayers answered – but we all did.

A lot of us have an “Amanda.” Someone who, for one reason or another, seems hopelessly gone. Emotionally. Spiritually. Physically.

But the celebration in Cleveland shouts, “Never stop fighting for that person you love.”

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The insanity of the Gosnell baby-murder trial

In this strange parallel world, the same killing of a baby that in the real world outrages us and results in prosecution, prison and possibly execution (or lifetime confinement in a high-security psychiatric lockup for the criminally insane) is mysteriously transformed into a “medical procedure” and “constitutional right,” provided for and fiercely defended by a multi-billion-dollar industry. And funded by taxpayers.

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