Shadows of Reality

In Book 7 of Plato’s Republic, the old sage tells us to imagine people chained from childhood inside an underground den, or cave.

They’re forced to face the walls so they cannot turn their heads. Behind them, a fire is burning to provide a dim light. Between the prisoners and the fire, objects pass along a walkway, casting their shadow along the jagged walls. Of course, they cannot see the objects, so the distorted shadows are the only reality the prisoners know.

I recently visited Linville Caverns in the Blue Ridge Mountains to gain a sense of what Plato meant. As my tour group stood inside the cavern deep under the mountain, the guide told the story of Civil War deserters who lived in the cave until smoke rising from the mountain gave them away. “Here is where they built their fire,” he said, pointing to an indention in the rock separating two large passageways. “You can still see the discoloration from the smoke on the ceiling.”

I paused to imagine the myriad of shadowy figures dancing across the cavern walls in the firelight those men might’ve seen.

The shadows they saw on the walls, and to Plato’s point, were distortions of reality.

Plato then asks us to imagine one of the prisoners escaping the cave and seeing the outside world for the very first time. Having been enlightened by the sun shining on all objects, this person would see objects as they really are, not as the distorted shadows he knew inside the cave.

With his new sense of reality, he experiences a dramatic paradigm shift. “I must go back and tell the others!” But when he goes back to explain, they cannot understand him, for they don’t have the conceptual framework to understand him. His words are meaningless babble to them. For them, the shadows are reality.

In his pity, he knows he should be their guardian. He feels an obligation to do what is best for them, although they might object. So, he takes it upon himself to be their philosopher-king.

The philosopher-king, says Plato, is the rightful ruler of the people, for he has attained knowledge of the Good. Attaining knowledge of the “Good,” he adds, is the most important thing any philosopher can do, for with it comes true knowledge and without it, we’re left with only opinions.

When I study Plato, I can’t help but think of the origins of philosophy in the Garden of Eden. Remember how the serpent tricked Eve into tasting the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil? “If you’ll just eat it,” he said, “you won’t die, and besides, you’ll be enlightened and god-like, knowing Good and Evil.”

Since then, every philosopher has tried to explain the Good. The egoists say Good is what benefits the self; utilitarians say Good is what benefits the greatest number of people; hedonists say Good is what brings you pleasure; relativists say Good is determined by culture, a group, or individuals; humanists say Good is found without God.

I guess that’s why Jesus cut to the chase and said, “Why do you call me ‘Good’? No one is Good except God alone.” (Mark 10:18 ESV)

Unfortunately, some of our political leaders seem to be acting out Plato’s cave analogy. They behave as if we the people are chained to the walls of some sort of cave while they belittle us and call us deplorables, clingers, and nationalists.

Having eaten the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil themselves, these progressive politicians have taken God’s Good and turned it on its head. What we know from God’s revelation as Good, they call evil, and what God calls evil, they call Good.

They exchange the Light of Good with the Shadows of Evil.

Whether it’s climate change, gun control, immigration, sanctuary cities, justice, abortion, gender confusion, or population control, progressives consistently insist upon the Marxist doctrine of turning everything we know about reality and morality upside down.

Like Plato’s philosopher-kings, these progressive politicians insist their way is the true way to Good. For them, it is the only sustainable way.

It reminds me of the prophet’s warning: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20 NIV)

Will you join me in prayer for our nation?

He Left the 99 to Find the 1

I recently wrote about leaving the 99 to visit a friend in need. Two weeks after that visit, I returned to my friend. Binding wounds takes time. Ministering takes time. It also takes initiative to go.

As I prepared to return home Sunday morning, my friend startled me with urgency in his voice: “I’m going to need your help!”

“Of course,” “How can I help you?” I suspected he might have been battling the thoughts in his mind.

“The cows got out.”

Suddenly, “leaving the ninety-nine to find the one” took on a new meaning.

I’d asked God to minister to me during my trip. Predictably, He saved one of the most impactful lessons for last.

Mending Fences

A powerful, overnight thunderstorm drove away the two cows. We quickly spotted the point of escape: a weak part of the fence. This was lesson one: When the storm rages, we often abandon our abode in Christ by following the weaknesses in our minds. We stray through common temptations or erroneous thoughts.

Ezekiel 33:4 says, “The weak you have not strengthened . . .”

A good rancher keeps good fences. How often do we check our own fences? Are we secure in God’s truth? Do we know our own weaknesses? Do we share our weaknesses with our friends so we might strengthen one another?

Will You Wander into the Swamp?

It’s naive to think searching for the lost will always be a walk through a pristine prairie pasture. Sometimes those we seek wander into treacherous places- places we’d normally avoid.

When I think of a north Florida swamp, I think gators, snakes, ‘skeeters, and soaked sneakers. I can’t explain why anyone would want to live next to a Florida swamp, but that’s where we were.

We’d spent the previous day clearing briers, vines, small trees, and other nuisance undergrowth from the swamp. We labored, sweat, and bled. Guess where we found those cows? Yep. They’d wandered deep into that thickly vegetated swamp.

Years ago I’d underlined Ezekiel 33:6 in my Bible: “My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.” In the margins I wrote, “I will. Send me.”

That weekend, God sent me to seek and search for the lost- not just a couple of lost cows, but lost people too.

That’s lesson two: Sometimes we must be willing to leave our comfort zone and venture out into the unknown. Sometimes we must go into places we’d normally avoid. But the lost are in those places. We’ll sweat, bleed, and soil our feet, but there are people out there who need us to be the hands, feet, and voice of our Shepherd.

That’s what Christ did for us on the cross. The thorns that pierced us were nothing compared to the crown of thorns pressed into our Savior’s head. The blood we shed was nothing compared to the amount of blood Jesus gave as he took the vicious beating and piercing for us.

Isaiah 53:5-6 says, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was pierced for our iniquities, the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

Our Savior-Shepherd shed His blood for me. He shed His blood for you. And He suffered for the one astray deep in the swamps of life.

Let’s go find them and bring them back.

Solitude with God

There are times when I crave solitude with God. If you’re reading this, I trust you know that feeling.

Creating Solitude with God

St. Anselm, the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093-1109, felt it too:

“Come now, little man! flee for a while from your tasks, hide yourself for a little space from the turmoil of your thoughts. Come, cast aside your burdensome cares, and put away your laborious pursuits. For a little while give your time to God, and rest in Him for a little. Enter the inner chamber of your mind, shut out all things save God and whatever may aid you in seeking God; and having barred the door of your chamber, seek Him. Speak now, O my heart, O my whole heart, speak now and say to your God: My face hath sought Thee: Thy face, O Lord, will I seek . . .”

This weekend I finally got away to a place where I could be completely alone and have some unobstructed God time.

Yet I almost missed it. Life has a way of keeping me super-busy. Between my full-time jobs as a professor and parent, taking care of older relatives and working on a book, my time is stretched pretty thin.

Nevertheless, God knew I needed this time, and God compelled me to go anyway.

God Invites Us to Spend Time with Him

I admit, I was quite amazed when I recognized how God orchestrated this whole trip. I couldn’t help thinking about Esther’s story. Although God’s name is never mentioned in her story, His actions behind the scenes are evident.

Similarly, Elijah knew it was time to leave when the water dried up and the raven stopped coming around to bring him food. Likewise, when my shower’s tub cracked, I needed to find a place to shower for a few days while my bathroom underwent some emergency remodeling.

That led me to visit an old friend who needed me just as much as I needed him. It wasn’t long before we both realized God called this meeting.

Jesus explains how this works in John 6:44: “No one,” he says, “can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. . .”

God Renews Our Minds

What Anselm’s inner chamber of the mind is to him, the beach is to me. There’s something about being alone in nature, with just the sights and sounds of the gentle waves massaging pure white sand, that calms and renews my mind.

Navarre Beach, Florida, December 2019

As we started walking along the beach, I suggested we walk separately to spend time alone in prayer and reflection. For four miles down and back I walked with God. My friend did the same.

You know what really blows my mind? That craving in my soul to connect with God originated with God’s desire to connect with me.

How amazing it is to know the Creator of the universe invited two old friends to reunite and step inside His throne room! Psalm 15 says, “Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?” That day, we were both there- not because we barged in, but because God called us to Himself.

Knowing God is Key to Solving Climate Crisis

Knowing God is key to solving the climate crisis. If we want to know what God is like, we need to go the primary source.

Knowing God: A Lesson from Job

The book of Job is counted among the books of Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon as wisdom literature. But why? The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and Job’s story is an epic poem that revolves around the knowledge of God.

As Christians, we’re attuned to the covenant idea of blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. Ironically, this was where Job’s friends spoke wrongly about God. And that angered God. Whereas Job’s friends understood the concept of cause and effect, blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience, God is not confined to such a manipulative mechanical construct. They knew some things about Him, but they did not know Him.

The modern church has the same problem. Too many Christians know about God, but don’t know God.

Job lived far beyond what most people could count as a righteous life. Yet God allowed him to be cursed. Was this fair? Should he have just cursed God and died as his wife suggested?

As Job’s story unfolds, we discover the main idea of the epic isn’t about who God chooses to bless or curse, but is about knowing who God is. We also discover God is angry with Job’s friends because they said things about God that were not true. That should make every well-meaning Christian pause for reflection.

Mankind’s original sin involved believing things about God that were not true. Notice how Satan manipulated the knowledge of God. First, he caused doubt about God’s logic: “Did God really say . . . ?” Then Satan contradicted God’s words: “Surely you will not die.” Finally, Satan convinced Adam and Eve they could determine for themselves what is Good or Evil: “You can be godlike, knowing Good and Evil.” They were deceitful words; they misrepresented God, and they had unimaginable consequences.

Job’s story warns us against saying anything that is not true about God. Mankind is not like God; our ways are not God’s ways and our thoughts are not His thoughts. What seems logical to man may be contrary to God.

Knowing God is particularly relevant for what may be the biggest global issue the world has ever faced: man-caused climate change.

Population Control

In 1991, the French underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau was interviewed by the UNESCO Courier for an issue themed mankind’s impact on the environment. Cousteau believed Earth’s biggest problem was human overpopulation. The human population, he thought, was like cancer to the world’s resources. “Our society is geared to increasingly useless consumption. It’s a vicious circle which I compare to a cancer.”

Cousteau calculated the world’s population should be maintained at a maximum of 700 million. That 700 million cap, he believed, would ensure everyone could enjoy the lifestyle of the typical American living in the mid-1980s. At the time, Earth’s population was 4 billion.

“It’s terrible to say this,” Cousteau said. “World population must be stabilized and to do that we must eliminate 350,000 people per day. This is so horrible to contemplate that we shouldn’t even say it. But the general situation in which we are involved is lamentable.”

Cousteau discussed his findings with an acquaintance at the University of Southern California. His acquaintance had done a similar study and concluded Cousteau’s numbers were generous, considering his sustainable population estimate was much lower.

Cousteau didn’t reveal his acquaintance’s estimate, but the Georgia Guidestones, anonymously erected on a rural farm in Georgia in 1980, calls for a world population limit of 500 million. Like Cousteau, the Georgia Guidestones also likens humanity to cancer on the Earth: “Be not a cancer on the Earth- leave room for nature- leave room for nature.” 

Georgia Guidestones

If you aren’t alarmed yet, consider many of our younger generations are convinced human interaction on the environment could result in an apocalyptic demise for humanity.

More plainly, many of our young people believe obedience to God’s command to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and use it is unsustainable- the cause of our own demise. Worse, they believe population control is vital to averting a global disaster. Among Christians, population control tactics such as abortion are being normalized. The church must take a decisive stand now. Too many young Christians believe the lie Earth is already overpopulated.

What Seems Logical to Man May Be Contrary to God

Did God really say in Genesis 1:26, “be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and use it”? Yes, He did.

Therefore, it’s a dangerous thing for Christians to promote population control. As the climate debate intensifies and the world grows more contentious against God, let’s step back and heed the lesson of Job: Speak only what is right about God.

The Truth About Climate Change

How should Christians approach climate change and population control issues?

The Bible has a lot to say about these issues. We know the earth was cursed as part of the Fall. We also know enmity was established between the seed of the woman and Satan. From this curse, Satan has attacked children ever since. Cain killed Abel, Pharaoh killed the Hebrew children when Moses was a child, Herod killed all the male children two years and younger, pagan deities required child sacrifice, Hitler exterminated millions of Jews, and today Planned Parenthood is a globalized baby-killing network funded greatly by American taxpayers. The enmity between Satan and the seed of the woman has only intensified through time.

It’s time for the church to acknowledge humanity’s actions are leading to an apocalyptic climate and population disaster. Isaiah 24 is a sharp warning from God about a dreadful coming judgment upon the world. A careful reading of the chapter reveals the earth mourns and fades away; it languishes; it is defiled because of its inhabitants. As a result, the earth “shall be like the shaking of an olive tree,” and “the earth is violently broken, the earth is split open, the earth is shaken exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall totter like a hut; its transgression shall be heavy upon it, and it will fall, and not rise again.”

What have we done? Did our carbon emissions cause this? Will a Green New Deal or a globalized government save us? No! God says, “The earth is defiled under its inhabitants because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, and broken the everlasting covenant. We’ve abandoned God’s natural order and created a new one- one that replaces God and redefines Good and Evil.

Humanity’s True Hope is Knowing God

Humanity’s hope won’t be found in reduced resource production and consumption or population reduction. Our hope lies where it always has been: in knowing God.

What the Bible Says About Climate Change

By Doug Carter

Climate Change and Fossils

I’m fascinated by fossils and what they can tell us about our world. Two weeks ago I traveled to the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville to view the world’s largest fossilized stromatolite cap.

image inside Virginia Museum of Natural History showing a t-rex skeleton overlooking a large stromatolite
Stromatolite at the Virginia Museum of Natural History, Martinsville, Virginia

Stromatolites are masses of algae mixed with sediment and typically form in tidal areas of warm tropical seas. If climate change isn’t real, stromatolites like this one shouldn’t be found in a rock quarry at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

In 2018 I walked across a fossilized coral reef in the Ohio River at Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville, Indiana.

Exposed Fossilized Coral Reef in the Ohio River, Falls of the Ohio State Park, Clarksville, Indiana

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume most people can agree coral reefs should not be found along the Indiana and Kentucky border. It’s too cold and there’s no ocean even imaginatively close by. The only logical explanation of these two fossilized sites is if climate change is real.

Coral Fossils, Falls of the Ohio State Park, Clarksville, Indiana

So how did they get there? Scientists believe the earth’s continents were once connected as a giant supercontinent called Pangaea. As some point, Pangaea was divided as rifts formed to separate what is now North America from Africa. The Atlantic Ocean now fills a giant rift between the two continents.

Does the Bible have anything to say about Pangaea? I believe it does. “In the days of Peleg, the son of Eber, the earth was divided.” (Genesis 10:25; 1 Chronicles 1:19) A second geneaolgical list in Genesis shows in that time period, over approximately 250 years, something catastrophic occurred on earth. The lifespans of Eber and the older generation were approximately 400 or more years, while the lifespans of Peleg and the younger generations was approximately 250 years or less. (Genesis 11:10-26) Could this mark the time of the splitting of Pangaea and be the cause of a mass extinction? Could this be what scientists call the Kellwasser or Hangenbeg events attributed to the demise of the Devonian period?

Devonian-era Tribolite fossil, Falls of the Ohio State Park, Clarksville, Indiana. Nickel for scale.

Climate Change and Government Intervention

Since the 1960’s, we’ve been told man-caused cause climate change is a threat to our existence. Richard Falk’s This Endangered Planet: Prospects and Proposals for Human Survival (1972), was the first time I heard about the devastating potential of man’s impact on our world.

As a seminary student, I encountered the topic again. While browsing the third-floor stacks of the campus library, a report published by the World Bank of the United Nations on how to deal with the environmental crisis caught my eye. Something about the report didn’t seem right. I recall the World Bank calling for government intervention and the creation of an environmental awareness campaign to educate the public about the dangers of man-caused climate change. I sneered with disgust as I re-shelved the report. “Did God create a world He can’t sustain?”

Within years, I recognized the first fruits of the World Bank’s environmental awareness campaign. Sustainable Development efforts popped up around the world. Many of those efforts were great: villages received clean water and power; children gained access to education; medical care expanded. I also heard more about man-caused climate change and how it would affect population. But what I didn’t hear much about until the last several months is the connection between climate change and population reduction.

Erected while the world’s population was approximately 4 billion, the Georgia Guidestones call for the world’s population to be maintained under 500 million people in order to be balanced with nature. We have nearly 7.6 billion people today.

Should We Multiply or Reduce World Population?

The idea of population control is organic to the idea preventing man-caused climate change. If mankind’s production and consumption habits are the source of climate change, it makes sense to limit the number of humans available to produce and consume. It’s simple: less people equals less impact on the environment. It’s one thing to suggest controlling population in areas limited by geography and resource availability, but population reduction involves unparalleled evil.

This is where man-cause climate change theory unravels. If man-caused climate change theory is right, God must be wrong.

From the beginning, God gave mankind the mandate to “fill the earth and have dominion over it.” (Genesis 1:28) Since Adam and Eve didn’t fill the earth, nor did their children, nor their grandchildren we can be certain God’s mandate was given to all humanity.

When sin entered the world, the world became cursed. Part of that curse involved the earth, and part of it involved the establishment of enmity between the serpent, Satan, and the seed of the woman, her children.

Since that time, evil set its heart on destroying children. Cain killed Abel; Pharaoh killed the Hebrew children during Moses’ infancy; Herod killed the male children two years old and younger; we know at least some pagan cultures sacrificed children to idols.

As history shows, the mark of an evil regime is to kill children. We now kill ours before and after they’ve been born, calling it a woman’s right. This is a gross evil that carries dire consequences for our entire nation. For the love of God, it must stop.

The Bible and Climate Change

Nothing ever catches God by surprise, not even this radical, progressive attempt to undermine God’s sovereignty over His creation.

3,000 years ago, the prophet Isaiah predicted man-caused climate change and population reduction. “The earth staggers like a drunken man; it sways like a hut,” he says, and it will be because of mankind. “The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer their guilt; therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left.” (Isaiah 24)

I’m confident mankind will be responsible for the demise of the planet and progressives will get their wish for drastic population reduction. Do I believe we need to eat our babies to prevent the world from ending in eight years? No. Do I believe research suggests rising seas may erase major coastal cities by 2050? Of course not. But I do believe a global catastrophe is inevitable.

The planet’s demise only happens because mankind rebels against God, not because we obey God.

Genuine repentance and a return to God is our only hope for a sustainable future.

Unlocking the Mystery of the Rattlesnake Disk

I became intrigued by archaeology and mysteries as a boy trudging through fields looking for arrowheads with my mother and brother.

Since then I’ve visited Indian mounds throughout the Southeastern US, but none have stirred me quiet like those at Moundville.

Moundville, Alabama, just 13 miles south of Tuscaloosa, is home to more than 20 ancient Indian mounds. Adjacent to the Black Warrior River, this site is considered the second largest Native North American complex behind only Cahokia near St. Louis. It’s also home to some of the most famous Indian relics in the United States, including the Rattlesnake Disk.

The Rattlesnake Disk is one of those enigmatic archaeological finds that appeals to my inner Indiana Jones, and there was only one place where I could see the real thing. I was finally here.

My mind reeled as I entered the tall double doors of Moundville’s Jones Archaeological Museum. Pausing to let my eyes adjust to the dimness, I found myself immersed in an ornate display of ancient relics from a lost civilization. “This,” I whispered to my not-as-enthusiastic son, “is way better than an afternoon in a hundred year-old library!”

Armed with two cameras and a keen interest, I took in as much as I could.

There were mannequins dressed in ceremonial costumes. A young bride sat in a wooden chariot carried on the shoulders of four warriors.

Another display showed a royal family consisting of the chief, his wife, and their son, the heir to the kingdom, meeting with a medicine man holding a round tablet.

I took note of the scenes, but the objects behind them caught my eye.

The Rattlesnake Disk

There it was. I could hardly contain my excitement as my eyes beheld the genuine Rattlesnake Disk. Mounted inside a dimly-lit, double-sided glass wall, the 12-inch diameter Rattlesnake Disk was noticeably larger than other less-decorated disks. One side of the disk contained nothing. The other side contained an open left hand with an eye in the palm. Two rattlesnakes, knotted together on both sides of the hand, surrounded the hand. Both snakes had horns on their head, and both had a ribbon streaming from their upper fangs.

“What could this mean, I wondered?”

The mystery began to unravel across the museum.  Other pottery contained variations of images of the hand symbol.  Other objects contained images of birds that were combined with the snake motif.  It became apparent much of the pottery from Moundville was associated with death and the afterlife. 

The Soul’s Journey

Signs scattered throughout the museum told the tale.  At the time of death, one’s soul was released from the body through a portal in the palm of the hand.

“That makes sense. I can see why they might think that,” I thought, “after all, in some cultures we don’t look people in the eyes because they feel like you’re staring into their soul. The eye is the window to the soul.”

The people of Moundville believed after the soul departs the body it embarks onto the Path of the Souls.  This pathway, they thought, was the Milky Way. 

The soul’s journey across the Milky Way led them to the realm of the dead, which was guarded by the celestial serpent- a rattle-snake figure with wings and horns on its head.

Guardian of the Realm of the Dead- the Winged Serpent

Suddenly I realized the Moundville people shared profound beliefs with other groups of people I studied.  Among the ancient Egyptians, the winged serpent, Wadjet, is depicted on Egyptian reliefs, coffins, and in tombs.

Asian dragons also seem to be types of these winged serpents. 

Could the winged serpent be a shadow of the fallen Satan, the angel who appeared as a serpent in the Garden of Eden and is elsewhere named as the guardian of the dead?

A couple of Bible verses suddenly flashed in my mind. “And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:2 NIV)

“How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit. Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: “Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble.” (Isaiah 14:12-16 NIV)

The Mystery of the Eye in the Hand

I hardly had time to process the mystery of the winged serpent when my attention returned to the eye in the hand.

In my studies of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, I encountered numerous variations of the hand and eye symbol, known to them as the ahimsa. For the peoples of India, the ahimsa is the sign of non-violence, non-injury, or peace.  

The eye in the palm appears in Islam, too. Perhaps it was adopted from their Indian neighbors, but for Muslims, the palm and eye symbol is the hamsa, or Hand or Fatima, and is believed to bring people peace and protection.

Similarly, the people of Moundville were seeking a safe, peaceful passage to the realm of the dead, and their hand and eye symbols were an important expression of that belief.

Like the ahimsa and the hamsa, I observed variations of the eye in the hand. One variation in particular blew me away. On one vessel, part of a collection of three pieces recently returned after being stolen forty years ago, a cross appeared inside a hand. Had I visited Moundville when I first wanted to go, I would’ve missed it.

Imagine the mysterious symbol of a cross in a palm- a symbol of a portal into the afterlife- fulfilled by Jesus’ death on the cross when he was nailed through his hands.

Then the full weight of the mystery of the eye in the hand hit me.  Around 700 BC, the prophet Isaiah wrote, But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5 NIV) 

Jesus was pierced in his hands!  The violence he endured brought peace to our souls. The piercing of Jesus’ hands is the portal to our atonement with God! Jesus’ suffering wasn’t just for Christians and Messianic Jews.  Jesus suffered so that anyone, anywhere could have peace in Him. 

Where did Jesus go immediately after his death?  He descended into hades, the realm of the dead, to defeat death!  There, Jesus defeated Satan, the guardian of the realm of the dead, then proved His victory when He rose again and was seen by hundreds of people. 

“I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and hades,” (Revelation 1:18 NIV)

Paul tells us Jesus is the fulfillment of the mysteries kept hidden since the beginning of the world. (Colossians 1:26)  If the Roman centurian could exclaim, “Surely this was the Son of God!” after witnessing the events surrounding Jesus’ crucifixion, doesn’t it seem reasonable that Christ’s death is a signal to people all over the world to look to Him as their Protector in the afterlife?  

That’s the gospel message:  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)

Bernie Sanders Scorns Bible’s Population Mandate

On Wednesday, Bernie Sanders scorned the Bible’s population mandate to fill the earth. 

As progressive politicians push the boundaries of taboo after taboo in their quest to build a “Sustainable” future, mainstream Americans are left wondering where they’re headed.  How morally-low can they go and what drives their thinking? 

Sanders Declares War on Humanity

For Senator Bernie Sanders, at least, nothing is more important than saving the planet from climate change.  To do that, he once suggested declaring a World War II-like scale war on humanity.[1] In his latest attack, Sanders aimed his war against humanity on the human population.

On September 4, 2019, CNN hosted a Presidential Candidate Town Hall which included Sen. Sanders.  During the event, a member of the audience identified as Martha Readyoff, a teacher from New Hampshire, was handed a microphone. “Human population growth has more than doubled in the last fifty years,” she said. “The planet cannot sustain this growth. I realize this is a poisonous topic for politicians, but it is crucial to face.  Empowering women and educating everyone on the need to curb population growth seems a reasonable campaign to enact.[2]” 

She then asked Sen. Sanders, “Would you be courageous enough to address this issue and make it a key feature of a plan to address climate catastrophe?” 

Sanders rose to his feet in response, “Well, Martha, the answer is ‘yes.’”  “The answer has everything to do with the fact that women in the United States of America, by the way, have a right to control their own bodies, and make reproductive decisions.”

Sanders Says Americans Should Fund World Population Control

Sanders then condemned the Mexico City Agreement and suggested American taxpayer money should be used to fund abortions and population control programs around the world.  “And the Mexico City Agreement,” he said, “which denies American aid to those organizations around the world that allow women to have abortions or even get involved in birth control to me is totally absurd.  So I think, especially in poor countries around the world, where women do not necessarily want to have large numbers of babies, and where they can have the opportunity through birth control to control the number of kids they have, something I very, very strongly support.[3]

I wish I could say the conversation between Sanders and Readyoff caught me by surprise.  It didn’t.  Instead, it seemed as if their dialogue was read from a script. 

The Limits to Growth

In 1972, Jorgen Randers and Dennis and Donella Meadows were commissioned by the Club of Rome to write The Limits to Growth. Referencing their computer models to predict human impacts on climate, The Limits to Growth started what is now called the Sustainable Development movement.  Dennis Meadows explained the book’s primary premise is the belief the world is overpopulated and eventually, over-population will cause over-consumption. They offered three possible outcomes:

First, the world could just do nothing and continue to live normally.

Second, they proposed a 2% shift in the way we produce goods and services.  This would entail “modifying capitalism,” and “modifying democracy,” but, they said, we must begin immediately.  That was in 1972.  Did world leaders ever begin, or was it begun silently?

Third, they proposed reducing our production and consumption habits by downplaying today’s costs in favor of tomorrow’s future. 

I believe the second and third options hold the keys to understanding a lot of our present woes- not only our woes, but the woes of citizens in other nations throughout the world.

Obama’s Agenda 2030

On September 27, 2015, President Obama signed an agreement with world leaders to create a new path of world leadership under the direction of the United Nations.  Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development vows to leave no citizen behind in its commitment to do whatever it takes to create a sustainable world order before 2030. 

Folks, as of the time of this writing, they’ve only got eleven years to reach their goal.  The next election is critical.

Advancing Towards 2030

Since the signing of Agenda 2030, capitalism, a critical enabler of the American Dream, has come to be regarded by many as a primary enemy of the environment.  We’ve also witnessed the effects of a rogue network of fake news, social media censorship, global citizenship education, manipulated search engine algorithms, character assassinations, and other propaganda tools to modify our behavior and values.  The level of exposed government corruption is unprecedented, yet convictions appear elusive.  Meanwhile, our election process is in despicable disarray, and those who make efforts to verify voters are vilified.  We’re in the midst of a social revolution, and no one is explaining it or telling us where they intend to take us.  But Jorgen Randers offers some clues.   

Socialism for Sustainability

Curiously, Randers predicted during a 2013 television interview that America would soon be a socialist nation.  He also said the U.S. would have the fastest declining economy in the world, partly because of a declining population.[4]  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a Sustainable Development advocate like Bernie Sanders almost secured the previous Democratic presidential nomination.  Nor do I think the growing socialist elements that burst onto the Congressional scene during the last election cycle are coincidences either. 

Reversing the Biblical Perspective on Humanity

Likewise, I don’t believe Sen. Sanders’ vision for America is far removed from Jorgen Randers’ vision.  On March 14, 2012, Randers articulated his vision for the future at the 10th Annual Distinguished Lecture Series in Sustainable Development at Cambridge University.  “If I could persuade you of one thing,” he began, “it should be this: the world is small and fragile and humanity is huge, dangerous and powerful.  This is a total reversal of the biblical perspective on humanity, and the way in which man has thought during most of his presence on Earth.  But this is the perspective we need to take if we’re to be sure that sustainability emerges, or, at least, that the world as we know it survives for a couple of hundred more years.[5]

What Randers admits, but what most people fail to realize, is the true purpose of the UN’s Sustainable Development Agenda is to replace biblical authority.

Readyoff’s question seemed destined to be asked, aged like wine, and uncorked at the right moment.  That moment is now and a new “sustainable” world order by 2030 is the goal. 

Sanders’ Population Control vs. God’s Population Mandate

Will America embrace Sen. Sanders’ population control policy to save the planet, or will we return to our Creator and Sustainer, who gave us the population mandate,

  “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth, and use it.” (Genesis 1:28)

Bernie Sanders has taken his stand to reverse the biblical perspective on humanity.  Where will you stand?

[1] The Club of Rome, “Towards a WW2-Scale Climate Mobilisation,” (September 5, 2019)

[2] CNN, “Presidential Town Hall with Sen. Bernie Sanders,” (September 4, 2019)

[3] CNN, “Presidential Town Hall with Sen. Bernie Sanders,” (September 4, 2019)

[4] Prime News 2013 06 12, “Jorgen Randers Forecast the World in 2052,” (September 5, 2019)

[5] The Future in Practice: The State of Sustainability Leadership, lecture by Jorgen Randers, 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years,  (January 5, 2019)

It’s Official: The Purpose of Teaching is Political

They are not just teaching our children. They are going to indoctrinate them.

By Michael Brown

If you ever wondered if our children’s educational system was politically biased, then look no further than the NEA. It is unashamedly leftist, aggressively for abortion, decidedly pro-LGBT and unapologetically hostile to those who dare challenge the status quo. (Most recently, see here for the NEA’s abortion advocacy.)

Still, we are sometimes blissfully (and even willfully) ignorant of just how politicized our children’s schools can be. But this email, sent to me by a school teacher, the wife of a Facebook friend, will help shock us back to reality. (We’ll call her Sarah.)

Sadly, I have heard an endless stream of similar stories for years now. This is just the freshest in my mind.

Sarah copied a tweet from another teacher, then wrote:

Hello Dr. Brown. This is what has happened to my profession. Please note the rainbow flag and how many likes this received. I can tell you that this not isolated. I’m a K-6 teacher who has taught public school in Florida, Nevada, and California. It is pervasive. I now teach through a public virtual charter school which allows parents more voice. At my last teaching position before I moved to the charter, the principal called a staff meeting where he told us that we would teach LGBTQ “inclusion” beginning in Kindergarten, that he believed one of our Pre-K students may be LGBTQ because for “Dress like a prince or princess day” she wanted to be a prince. Also in this staff meeting he let us know that if a student OR a parent had a problem with us teaching LGBTQ that we should send them to the principal’s office so he could “tell them how they are wrong.” Can you imagine being a Christian Kindergartner being sent to the principal’s office to be bullied into LGBTQ submission? This is why I encourage everyone I speak with to homeschool, or choose an alternative form of schooling if they can.

Yes, this is the kind of pressure Sarah was under teaching in an elementary school. (One first-grade teacher talked to me about the pro-LGBT pressure she was under, explaining that to resist it was to lose her job – teaching first grade!) Can you imagine what the atmosphere is like in high-schools?

The tweet Sarah was referring to was posted by Jed Dearbury and read: “New teachers, I’m sorry if we veteran educators have misguided you about the profession. It’s not about cute classrooms & trendy ideas. It’s political. It’s advocacy. It’s the front line of battle for the future of our nation. Go no further if you’re not ready.”

Related Dearbury tweets included: “If your definition of teacher leadership doesn’t include actively being a voice for marginalized students, it’s past time to rewrite your philosophy.”

And, “If the reason you don’t like to speak up on social justice issues on social media is because this account is your ‘professional educator’ account, Guess what … professional educators should be advocating for social justice because students are counting you to do so.”


In defiance of science

By Robert Knight

For years, the left has claimed to be the party of science, while casting religious conservatives as ignorant, superstitious louts. But evidence is mounting that it’s the other way around, and has been for some time.

After all, who are the ones claiming that we should ignore biology and redefine a man as a woman if he feels like it?

Who still claims, despite graphic ultrasound evidence that a growing human being in a womb is a baby, that because we don’t really know, we can dispose of it?

Continue reading at this article’s source: In defiance of science

Commission on Unalienable Rights Must Acknowledge Differences with UN Rights

The State Department announced today the formation of the Commission on Unalienable Rights.  Secretary of State Michael Pompeo told press President Trump takes seriously the founders’ ideas of individual liberty and constitutional government.  Citing the tendency of democracies to lose sight of the “big picture,” Pompeo’s announcement comes as a beacon of hope to American conservatives and Christians.  But there is already a glaring hole in the plan.

While Pompeo hailed the Commission’s matrix of human rights experts, philosophers, activists, members of both major political parties, and independents of various beliefs, one item seemed out of place:  the Secretary said the Commission will advise on human rights based on our nation’s founding principles and the principles of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Herein lies a problem.  According to the Declaration of Independence and numerous state constitutions, our unalienable rights come from our Creator.  Yet according to Article 29 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, our rights and freedoms are initially agreed upon by a democracy (Art. 29, section 2), but they are ultimately subject to United Nations’ principles and values (Art. 29, section 3).  Essentially, the United Nations intends to supersede the will of the majority if the majority disagrees with the principles of the United Nations. 

Furthermore, the United Nations has aligned itself with a neo-secular humanism called “New Humanism.”  The wide body of information about new humanism indicates religious beliefs are irrelevant- or more specifically, a threat to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development agenda.  As former Director-General of World Wildlife Federation International and Club of Rome member Jorgen Randers stated, “for sustainability to emerge, and for the planet to last a couple of hundred more years, we must have a total reversal of the biblical perspective of humanity.”

Sustainable Development, or more properly titled, “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” is an ambitious plan to gather all nations and each and every citizen into a global community with shared values and rights- rights based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The 2030 Agenda, signed by President Obama in 2015, vows to “leave no one behind” in its quest to build a new world order.

While I applaud the creation of a Commission to protect and promote the unalienable rights of Americans, I’m deeply disturbed about yet another alliance with the United Nations’ anti-biblical 2030 Agenda.  Perhaps the new Commission will recognize the “really big picture” is the fundamental and irreconcilable difference between America’s founding beliefs and the beliefs of those creating the New World Order.

Will we continue to acknowledge our rights come from our Creator, or will we be content to let the United Nations determine our rights?

Click here to let Secretary of State Pompeo know how you feel about the new Commission on Unalienable Rights.