Fundamentalist Christianity vs . Fundamentalist Islam; What difference does it make?

Fundamentalist Christianity vs . Fundamentalist Islam; What difference does it make?
A few years ago when Rosie was on “the View” she made the following statement: “Fundamentalist Christianity and Fundamentalist Islam: There is NO difference!”
Now I am a fundamentalist Christian. I was not always one, nor did I know what it meant. Reading through the Bible (I always loved old Christian music and playing a record of a cantata of J.S. Bach over and over one night I realized he knew something I do not know, I must find out what that is) I started to read the Gospel of Matthew. Nothing moved me until chapter 27: 62 -65 Now on the next day, the day after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, 63 and said, “Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am to rise again.’ 64 Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.”

That was when it hit me. I believed in God, but like the Pharisees I made sure Jesus was not risen, certainly not bodily. I liked the concept, but refused to accept the reality. What convinced me was the honesty in the language “that deceiver”, referring to the Lord Jesus. The Pharisees could only have said that if they in some way believed but refused to accept the claim he was to rise again. In a flash I saw my problem: If Jesus is not risen I miss out on Christianity.
The other thing that made me believe the Bible to be true was the Dead Sea Scrolls. As a child I had been told the book of Isaiah had been written after Christ. There was no other way to explain the many prophesies other than to say it had been modified after the birth of Christ. Then they found a complete scroll of Isaiah written at least 140 B.C. This convinced me the whole bible is true.
These are the five pillars of Christian Fundamentalism:
• The inerrancy of the Bible in the original languages
• The literal nature of the Biblical accounts, especially in regard to Christ’s miracles
• The Virgin Birth of Christ
• The substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross
• The bodily resurrection and physical return of Christ
That is it. That defines  Christian Fundamentalism.

These are the five pillars of Islam:

  1. Shahadah: declaring there is no god except God, and Muhammad is God’s Messenger
  2. Salat: ritual prayer five times a day at precise times determined by local sun time, not standard time, facing Mecca.
  3. Zakat: giving 2.5% of one’s wealth to the poor and needy yearly, 1/8th of which must go to Jihad (Struggle or Holy War)
  4. Sawm: fasting and self-control during the holy month of Ramadan, which occur 11 days earlier every year, making 103 Ramadans/century.
  5. Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime  if one is able.

Islamic fundamentalism may be best defined by what they do not believe in:
• Freedom from religious police.
• Equality issues between men and women.
• Separation of religion and state.
• Freedom of speech.
• Freedom of religion.

But Islamic Fundamentalists do believe:

Death to apostates.

Death (fatwa) to anyone insulting the Prophet.

Death to the Jews.

Death to Christians that do not acknowledge the superiority of Islam and Muhammad and do not pay the protection tax.

Death to converts to Christianity.

Sharia law is supreme to all other laws, and shall be practiced in all Islamic countries.

Islam is the religion of peace, and peace will come when the whole world is under Islam.

They believe the Bible is corrupted but the Quran is true to the last letter.

They believe the accounts of the Old Testament (the Book) when they do not conflict with the Quran.
They do believe in the virgin birth of Christ. (We can agree about something).
They do NOT believe Christ died on the Cross (it only seemed so unto the Jews), no substitutionary atonement exists. That is why the cross is so offensive to Muslims.
They believe Christ was directly translated to God, but since he never died he could not have been resurrected.
They believe Christ will return again and tell all Muhammad is greater, and that all crosses must be destroyed.
They believe Jesus was a Muslim (as was Moses and Abraham).

How do you become a Muslim convert?

Recite the Shahada in front of witnesses.

It is to be noted that President Obama has recited publicly the Shahada with a perfect Arab accent.

Therefore he is a Muslim to all Muslims.

 

 The Muslim Brotherhood’s slogan:  “Allah is its goal, the Prophet is the model, the Qur’an its constitution, jihad its path, and death for the sake of Allah its most sublime belief.”

 

 

 

 

What is salvation, and is water baptism essential for salvation?

What is salvation, and is water baptism essential for salvation?

Someone posed the question: The mantra of many believers in Christ is “Water baptism is important, however, it is not essential for any ones salvation.”

Can you envision Jesus saying that?

To answer the question properly one first have to determine the true nature of God, Man, Salvation and Baptism, in that order. I will try to use only Scripture to present best case, as I understand it.

First: Who is GOD?

Genesis 1:1-3 King James Version (KJV)

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

This tells about the triune nature of God. There was a beginning. God precedes the beginning of time, which means God existed before creation of time and space. Since we are bound in time and space we cannot comprehend anything outside time and space, so I leave it at that. God exists in three persons, God the Father and Creator, God the Son which is the Word (John 1:1), the Word of God being the active ingredient in Creation, and God the Holy Spirit that moved upon the face of the waters. This defines the triune nature of God.

Second, the nature of Man (male and female created He them).

Genesis 2:And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Man was formed out of the dust of the ground, and God breathed into him the breath of life, he became a living soul.

Man consists of three parts, they all work together to form the complete person, body soul and spirit. When God said in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die, what did He mean? Adam lived a long time after he ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God referred to spiritual death. The day we eat of the forbidden fruit the Spirit dies, but the body and soul keeps on ticking until physical death.

Now we are ready to tackle the concept of Salvation.

Like God and Man, there are three aspects of Salvation, Salvation of the Body, Salvation of the Soul, and salvation of the Spirit. And there are the tenses: past, present and future.

John 3: 1-6 (KJV) tells about two births:

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Born again is literally from Greek “born from above”, which signifies spiritual birth. Born of water and of the Spirit signifies natural birth after the water breaks and spiritual birth, which comes from God.

When does salvation come?

Past tense:   Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Present tense: Philippians2:12  Terefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,

Future tense: Hebrews 1:14

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

 

Salvation of the Spirit from the penalty of Sin: 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

 

Salvation of the soul from the Power of Sin:1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV)

Though you have not seen him (Jesus), you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Salvation of the body from the presence of sin: Romans 8:23

 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.

Now we are ready to tackle Baptism and its role in salvation.

Matthew 3:11 states: “I (John) baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Like God, man and salvation is threefold, so can baptism be seen as threefold as the previous verse states.

1 Corinthians 12:13 For we were all baptized by one Spiritso as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

Acts 10:47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”

1 Corinthians 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (As close to baptism by fire I can get)

The correspondence here is Holy Spirit Baptism corresponds to Salvation of the Spirit, eternally secure once enacted;

Water Baptism corresponds to Salvation of the Soul, an act of obedience to His command and a witness to the people.

Baptism by Fire then corresponds to the Salvation of the Body, yet to be performed for us living.

There is one more aspect of salvation: Luke 11:37 When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. 38 But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal.

39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

The word translated wash here is the Greek word baptize so Jesus answered in a way that water baptism is not the important thing, it is the ceremonial aspect of cleansing, but it is the attitude towards God that counts.

To sum up: Ephesians 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

To sum it up:

One God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

One Man: Body, Soul and Spirit.

One Salvation: Salvation of the Spirit, Salvation of the Soul, and Salvation of the Body.

One Baptism: Baptism with the Holy Spirit, Baptism with Water, and Baptism with Fire.

And one more thing: Salvation is accepted by faith, executed in time by love, and our final redemption is our hope and anchor.

So to answer the question posed in the beginning: Jesus said to the repenting robber on the cross: “I tell you the truth: Today you shall be with me in paradise.” No time or need for water baptism there.

Freedom of Worship vs. Freedom of Religion. At this point, what difference does it make? The case of Meriam Yehya Ibrahim.

Is ‘Freedom of Worship’ Religion?
Confusion? Yes, more than a smidgen.
Both Barry and Hillary
make Freedom auxiliary.
The first of five freedoms: Religion.

The First Amendment has two clauses about Freedom of Religion. The first part is known as the Establishment Clause, and the second as the Free Exercise Clause. The Establishment Clause prohibits Government from passing laws that establishes an official religion or preferring one religion over another. The courts have interpreted the establishment clause to mean “separation of church and state”. The Free Exercise Clause prohibits Government from interfering with a person’s practice of his or her religion. However, courts have ruled that religious actions and rituals can be limited by civil and federal laws. Religious freedom is an absolute right, and includes the right to practice any religion of one’s choice, or no religion at all, and to do this without government interference, including the right to change one’s religion.

This President clearly sees religion as a key part of foreign affairs, especially when the Muslim world is involved. He is ultra-careful to not offend followers of Islam. We already know the administration has rejected the term “radical Islam” or any similar language and refuses to admit religion plays a major role in terrorism.

This new terminology of “freedom of worship” might be given as a sign to Muslim nations and places with Christian persecution like China that they are not going to crack down on religious persecution for minority religions in those countries. That could explain why Obama first used the term after a radical Muslim killed Americans at Ft. Hood. And it could also explain why he used the term “freedom of worship in speeches in China and Japan.

In my opinion Obama’s goal is to accommodate some aspects of Sharia law in this country. The State Department’s goal is to make this country sign the UNITED NATIONS Convention on the Rights of the Child. This convention is signed by 194 countries but not US and Somalia. While looking good on paper the effect of this convention is that the State (Remember “separation of Church and State”) has superior claim on the children, not the parents.

gabriel-wani-meriam-yehya-ibrahimMeriam Yehya Ibrahim is in jail, together with her 20 month old son, also in jail with her, since the Sudanese government does not allow her U.S.Citizen husband to have custody of her son. She is also 8 month pregnant and is sentenced to death by hanging as soon as the baby is delivered. Her crime? She is a Christian and refuses to renounce her faith, and for that she has to die according to Sharia law as it is practiced in Sudan. Can’t you be a Christian in Sudan? Yes, but her father was a Muslim and therefore she must be too according to Sharia law. The fact that he abandoned his family when she was six years old and since then has been raised by her Ethiopian Christian mother, the Christian faith being the only faith she knows is beside the point. So now she is in jail awaiting her execution as soon as her baby is delivered. The Sudanese cannot execute her now, that would mean to take the life of an innocent child, and only western decadent progressives would allow such an inhumane act as abortion.

Her husband is a Christian and a U.S. Citizen. He is legally married to her, and is the father of her 20 month old son and her yet to be born child. She is a Sudanese Citizen and subject to Sharia law. If she converts to Islam, her marriage is considered illegal and the children will go to Ibrahim’s father, the one that abandoned her when she was six years old. She cannot marry him again since he is a Christian and Muslim women can only marry Muslim men ( but Muslim men can marry Christian women according to Sharia law).

The Sudanese court ruled Ibrahim is an apostate who left Islam since she considers herself a Christian despite her father’s Islamic faith. She was sentenced to death and was also sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery after the court refused to recognize her marriage with Daniel Wani, an American Citizen. And, her children cannot have the father’s name since he is a Christian, according to Sharia law.

Last week, her attorney Mubarak filed an appeal based on Sudanese adoption of international law. He said he has high hopes for the court of appeals.

“There may be positive results,” he stated.

What has the State Department done so far? Nothing, except a few empty words.

Last week, multiple U.S. lawmakers pressed President Obama to grant Ibrahim asylum. Also last week, a group of bipartisan senators condemned Ibrahim’s sentence and urged Sudan to respect religious freedom.

Amnesty International launched an online petition demanding Ibrahim’s release that has garnered 660,467 signature so far.

Link http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/stopexecution-sudan

Update 5/27:  Meriam gave birth to her second child, a daughter five days ago while shackled to the floor inside the filthy Sudan prison. She will be allowed to nurse her child until weaned. Then they will hang her according to Sharia Law.

Freedom of Worship or Freedom of Religion? What difference at this point does it make? A Limerick.

Is ‘Freedom of Worship’ Religion?
Confusion? Yes, more than a smidgen.
Both Barry and Hillary
make Freedom auxiliary.
The first of five freedoms: Religion.

This country was founded by people of faith. What type of faith depended to some extent on where they settled. Quakers, Mennonites, Amish, Moravians, Swedenborgians, Presbyterians, Dutch Reformed, Baptists, Lutherans and Presbyterians to name a few settled in Pennsylvania, the champion province for freedom of Religion. Other provinces, such as Virginia and Maryland were founded by Anglicans and Catholics. And of course the Puritans landed on Cape Cod. Most of them had one thing in common, faith, so when the constitution was formed they agreed that the faith issue should be free from meddling by Congress, both to the establishment of religion, and to prohibit the free exercise thereof.

So, what is the difference between freedom of worship and freedom of religion?

Mark Twain once said: The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.  Words matter.  This is especially true when it comes to the words of our Constitution. Those words are especially cherished. Yet it seems the Obama administration has changed one key word in that foundational document.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s 2010 report revealed grave concern about both President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton substituting the term “freedom of religion” with the term “freedom of worship” in public pronouncements. Why the change?

The First Amendment has two clauses about Freedom of Religion. The first part is known as the Establishment Clause, and the second as the Free Exercise Clause. The Establishment Clause prohibits Government from passing laws that establishes an official religion or preferring one religion over another. The courts have interpreted the establishment clause to mean “separation of church and state”. The Free Exercise Clause prohibits Government from interfering with a person’s practice of his or her religion. However, courts have ruled that religious actions and rituals can be limited by civil and federal laws. Religious freedom is an absolute right, and includes the right to practice any religion of one’s choice, or no religion at all, and to do this without government interference.

November 2009, President Obama used the term “freedom of worship” at the memorial service for the victims of the Ft. Hood shooting. A few days later he did it again in speeches in both Japan and China. In December  former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also used that terminology three times in a speech at Georgetown University and never once used the phrase “freedom of religion”. In January of 2010  Clinton used the “freedom of worship” term four times while addressing senators.

This change in phraseology could well be viewed by human rights defenders and officials in other countries as having concrete policy implications.” – U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s 2010 report.

That’s not an inconsequential change: Freedom of worship means the ability to have church services, which is crucial, but leaves out protection for Christian schools, publications, and Christian compassionate ministries…’Freedom of religion’ means that ministries designed to help prisoners change their lives, or to help the poor enter the workforce, can teach what the Bible teaches. Under ‘freedom of worship,’ these ministries could become illegal, as they are in many parts of the world. This is a development to watch warily. – World Magazine.

This President clearly sees religion as a key part of foreign affairs, especially when the Muslim world is involved. He is ultra-careful to not offend followers of Islam. We already know the administration has rejected the term “radical Islam” or any similar language and refuses to admit religion plays a major role in terrorism.

This new terminology of “freedom of worship” might be given as a sign to Muslim nations and places with Christian persecution like China that they are not going to crack down on religious persecution for minority religions in those countries. That could explain why Obama first used the term after a radical Muslim killed Americans at Ft. Hood. And it could also explain why he used the term in speeches in China and Japan.

In my opinion Obama’s goal is to accommodate some aspects of Sharia law in this country. The State Department’s goal is to make this country sign the UNITED NATIONS Convention on the Rights of the Child. This convention is signed by 194 countries but not US and Somalia. While looking good on paper the effect of this convention is that the State (Remember “separation of Church and State”) has superior claim on the children, not the parents.

We are talking Freedom of religion versus Freedom of worship. Let me illustrate the difference. Many missionaries and ex-pats live in Muslim countries. They enjoy freedom of worship, but not freedom of religion. One of the tenets of the Christian Faith is the obligation, right and privilege to proclaim the Good News. You can worship without fulfilling the great commission, and missionaries in Muslim countries risk their very lives were they to proclaim the Gospel without first being invited to do so. Even in this country some Christians were arrested for handing out Gospels of John outside a Muslim festival in Dearborn, MI. They exercised freedom of religion. Islam does by its very tenets not tolerate freedom of religion, but it does accept freedom of worship as a rule.

Our freedom of religion is at risk. This is a spiritual battle, and it must be fought with spiritual means. Pray! The future of our nation is at risk. Pray! The future of the world is in jeopardy. Pray!

The evolution of evolution. An elusive quest for truth.

The evolution of evolution. An elusive quest for truth.

Ever since Charles Darwin’s book, “The origin of the species” evolution has been used to justify the social bias de jour, from white supremacy to male supremacy, to evolution of thought, evolution of speech, evolution of social behavior. The argument is: “There is no god, therefore all has congealed by chance, we are all animals anyway.”
In my childhood in Sweden our family lived is a small community where grades 3-6 were taught together in one class. This meant that the teacher did allow a lot of freedom to explore on my own books in the school library. They had not thrown away any old books the last forty years, so I had quite a selection of old textbooks to choose from. Cephalic_index_svgOne in particular caught my eye. It was about anthropology and classification of races by skull index (Cephalic index, see fig). It was originally based on the works of the Swede Anders Retzius (1796-1860). His research was to classify old bone fragments, but his findings were now extrapolated to explain the evolution of man. There were pictures of people of all kinds of races, with the Nordic, blond and blue eyed being the most evolved, and the black race, with some exceptions much closer evolutionary to the apes. Not only that, but since men have 40% larger brain volume on the average than women, men are further evolved and that is the reason women should not vote. Being 9 years old I believed everything, since it was in a book. I especially liked being superior to girls.
The next time evolution was taught it was the standard stuff with the horse’s hoof being a nail; fishes grew legs instead of fins and so on. We also have a lot of rudimentary organs, not only the appendix, but tonsils and tailbones too. Since the organs are rudimentary, we can remove them without impunity, especially tonsils. And this time around in evolutionary teaching dogs can evolve to look quite different, but people are all equal, and girls are as smart as boys (especially the blond Lithuanian girl that later emigrated to Canada. I had to admit she was both cute and smart).

.

gamma-garden-8[5]The third time around, this time in high school biology we tackled some of the hard stuff, mutations being a necessary ingredient for evolution. I read up on radiation gardens, where we can grow superior plants, since we know that at least 10% of mutations are beneficial, just weed out the bad ones and superior plants will emerge.
The radioactive gardens are now but a memory, since it was discovered that nobody could find any positive mutations that way. The closer you got to the source, the worse it got.
It turns out that positive mutations are rare indeed. The ones most commonly found are in viruses, but they are positive only from the virus’s point of view. Survival of the fittest tends to weed out bad mutations, but does nothing to explain the mechanism for speciation creep; it tends to reinforce the speciation boundaries. The genetic code that allows adaptions in species is already there, so when the changed environment occurs, we are changed accordingly. None of the mechanisms we have used to explain evolution holds up to examination. The mathematics is just not there. And a system this complicated and beautiful, where so many parts of it are at a mathematic optimum is not possible to bootstrap. The mathematical probability that this could have occurred by chance is less than the chance of finding the right elementary particle in the known universe. We are left with the humbling fact that we do not know the mechanisms. Yet the textbooks still explain discredited mechanisms as evolutionary facts to yet another generation of kids, thus depriving them of the wonder that there is something beyond themselves, which they can try to grasp. They are left not realizing that there is always one more level of understanding that is beyond them. By not accepting any explanation other than what can be deduced from observation and then presenting them as sufficient facts to explain a mechanism that cannot mathematically have occurred, the scientific community is violating the fundamental rules of scientific exploration. Do not present as fact a mechanism that has no possibility of having occurred by chance.

 

The four chaplains day, Feb. 3, 2014.

Feb. 3 is “Four Chaplains Day” in America by unanimous act of Congress in 1988, under President Reagan. I had never heard of it until pointed out by Rees Lloyd, but their story is truly inspiring, and ought to be taught in school, printed in newspapers, and retold in radio and TV.

On Monday, Feb. 3, at 1 p.m., ceremonies will be held dedicating a permanent plaque at Mt. Soledad National Veterans soledadMemorial honoring the selfless heroism in World War II of the Four Chaplains – Rev. George Fox (Methodist), Rabbi Alexander Goode, Father John P. Washington (Roman Catholic) and Rev. Clark V. Poling (Dutch Reformed).

Times have changed. This is the same Mt. Soledad which cross has been deemed offensive by a Federal Judge in Dec. 2013

The judge said it’s “unconstitutional.”
Todd Starnes at FOX News reported:

A cross atop Mount Soledad in California is an unconstitutional religious display on government land and must come down, a federal judge in San Diego ruled late Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns ordered the cross, which honors veterans, must be removed within 90 days — a decision that could result in the case being sent back to the U.S. Supreme Court. Burns immediately stayed his order pending an expected appeal.

The original lawsuit was filed in 2006 by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the Jewish Veterans of the United States of American and several other Southern California residents.

“We support the government paying tribute to those who served bravely in our country’s armed forces,” the ACLU’s Daniel Mach, said in a statement to the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper. “But we should honor all of our heroes under one flag, not just one particular religious symbol.”

Bruce Bailey, president of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association, expressed disappointment in the ruling.

“It is unfortunate that the Ninth Circuit left the judge no choice but to order the tearing down of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross,” Bailey told Fox News. “However, we are grateful for the judge’s stay that gives us an opportunity to fight this all the way to the Supreme Court.”

Now back to the story of the four chaplains:

It was on Feb. 3, 1943, that the troop ship Dorchester, with 900 soldiers and the Four Chaplains aboard, was torpedoed in the dead of night on its way to Greenland. The explosion ripped through the Dorchester from below the water line. Many troops drowned below decks as the Dorchester flooded and swiftly began to sink in the frigid sea.

The Four Chaplains acted to calm and aid the troops, in part by distributing life jackets to those who became separated from their own in the chaos and darkness created by the torpedo blast. When there were no more life jackets, each of the Four Chaplains, knowing that it meant certain death, took off his life jacket and put it on a soldier without one. They continued to help troops into lifeboats, until no room was left.

Then, as surviving soldiers who witnessed it later testified, the Four Chaplains went to their deaths together, their arms linked, praying for the troops and singing hymns, until the Dorchester sank and they disappeared beneath the sea, selflessly sacrificing their lives “so others may live.”  in so doing “they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Revelation 12:11, KJV)300px-Escanaba-Dorchester_rescue

It was and is an awe-inspiring, magnificent act of quiet heroism, of selfless service and sacrifice for others, of faith and love lived, an example to be celebrated, commemorated and emulated, and never to be forgotten. (The Four Chaplains story in more detail is available in this previous column of Rees Lloyd.)

Congress awarded the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross to the Four Chaplains in 1944. The Medal of Honor was proposed but was not awarded due to the requirement that it can only be awarded to combatants. In its stead, Congress later created a Four Chaplains Medal and an unprecedented Congressional Medal of Valor in 1961. The American Legion continues to advocate that an exception be made and the Medal of Honor be awarded to the Four Chaplains.

A measure of how the Four Chaplains are honored and revered by veterans of today is expressed in statements issued by two of America’s greatest living military heroes, to be delivered on their behalf at the ceremonies dedicating a plaque to the Four Chaplains at Mt. Soledad on Feb. 3.

Retired Maj. Gen. Patrick H. Brady, Medal of Honor (Vietnam), considered America’s most decorated living veteran, who has described the generally unknown or ignored humanitarian acts of American troops while in war in Vietnam in his book, “Dead Men Flying: America’s Battlefield Angels” (WND Books), issued this tribute to the Four Chaplains:

“As one who has been honored by many great men up to and including the president of the United States, no honor has been more satisfying than my Humanitarian Award from the chapel of the Four Chaplains. Their legacy of courage and sacrifice is vital for our nation’s survival. Our youth need to know that courage is the key to success in life and that God will give us all we ask for. You can’t use it up – and their faith is the foundation of their courage. Sacrifice is love in action, the source of happiness and our eternal inheritance from the Four Chaplains.”

Retired Adm. Jeremiah A. Denton, seven years and seven months a prisoner of war in Vietnam, later U.S. senator (Alabama) and author of the classic book on the tortures inflicted on American POWs by their communist captors, “When Hell Was In Session” (WND Books), issued this statement on the Four Chaplains:

“The Four Chaplains proved their faith with ultimate sacrifice – not in a flash of combatant action – but with peaceful discernment, humble devotion and extraordinary valor. They lived this life knowing God’s real presence and eternal promise. Blessed with men of this caliber, our nation must do the same.”

These tributes of Gen. Brady and Adm. Denton will be included as other veterans and patriots honor the Four Chaplains at Mt. Soledad, beneath the cross there honoring veterans – which the intolerant secular extremists of the ACLU, which has become the Taliban of American liberal secularism, have been suing to destroy in an abusive and fanatical litigation attack now in its 24th year.

For more information about the Four Chaplains Day ceremonies, which are open to the public, and all are invited to attend and honor the Four Chaplains at Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial, Feb. 3, at 1 p.m., read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/01/four-chaplains-day-dont-expect-the-aclu/#RAEdTVojRzpclswv.99

How do we celebrate Christmas?

How do we celebrate Christmas?

My wife and I came to America many years ago. I came from Sweden, my wife came from Denmark.

The Swedes used to have lutfisk for Christmas Eve Supper, the Danes a pork roast with all the trimmings.

But we both liked to sing our Christmas songs, I sang my Swedish songs, she sang her Danish songs.

Coming to America we learned to love the traditional Christmas Carols, especially those with German, Welsh and Irish origins, not to mention the Negro Spirituals. Christmas music is so beautiful and inspiring. But we were not yet born again followers of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, we just sang them happily anyway walking around the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve after dinner, but before gift giving. Then we came to a vibrant and joyful faith and we started to go to church Christmas Eve where we always ended up singing “Silent Night” to live candles for everybody in the whole congregation. It started at 7 P.M. so we had to eat a little earlier. Our children had settled for Swedish Meatballs with Lingonsylt (Cranberries) and a fruit bowl in which there was one almond. The one who got the almond got the almond gift – usually a tree ornament. After we came to faith there was just one thing missing – Jesus birthday cake. You can see it for yourself here: (In the background is the Advent Candles, all lit with the center light also lit on Christmas Eve)

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It is a normal cake bottom, usually in three layers with say vanilla cream in one layer and maybe apricot jelly in the other. Strawberries, raspberries, or whatever is fine too. It is overlaid with Marzipan and a Rose of Sharon is created on top into which is placed one birthday light. We light the light and sing Happy Birthday Lord Jesus after we come back from church, then we sing more carols around the Christmas tree. Las of all do we share our gifts.

There is no Santa in our Christmas. The Lord Jesus gets the honor. This is the way it should be, at least for us.

 

Thoughts on Rev Billy Graham’s 95th birthday. A Limerick.

The Rev. Billy Graham just celebrated his 95th birthday with a special message. What a life this man had! And God even gave him the grace to give a “final” message on God’s grace, ending with the sinner’s prayer. I watched the moving messages, but then it hit me;  In the form of a Limerick:

You spoke to the billions on earthsarah-palin-billy-graham

How much is a life like that worth?

In God’s eyes it’s the same

As that bum that just came

to the cross. Of God’s grace there’s no dearth.

Picture, right: Sarah Palin congratulates Billy graham on his 95th birthday. Franklin Graham and Todd Palin are the other two.

Early winter in the Arctic, NW passage blocked. Yachts caught. A Limerick.

The winter came fast to the Arctic.

Some yachters’ reaction? Lethargic.

They believed global warming

and ignored every warning.

Their faith beat their judgment – it’s tragic.

News item from Sail – world.com:

http://www.sail-world.com/USA/North-West-Passage-blocked-with-ice%E2%80%94yachts-caught/113788

The Northwest Passage after decades of so-called global warming has a dramatic 60% more Arctic ice this year than at the same time last year. The future dreams of dozens of adventurous sailors are now threatened. A scattering of yachts attempting the legendary Passage are caught by the ice, which has now become blocked at both ends and the transit season may be ending early.

Check the map:

 Alt_North%20West%20Passageshowing%20ice%20blockages1

And the chart:

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In fact, the Arctic has been colder than normal every day this year since May 6:

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The situation is no better in the Antarctic:

 S_stddev_timeseries

It is clear that this year is a year with increasing ice cover. This is yet another sign of the upcoming little ice age, predicted by the behavior of the Sun.

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Prayer at the cross at Mt Nittany. A Limerick.

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Some friends from of old came to pray

how this land, full of sin lost its way.

So we went to the cross

to bemoan the great loss.

GOD answered: “I’m with you alway.”

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Sunset over Mt Nittany, State College Pa. Aug 14 2013

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Sunset over State College.