Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Rejecting Reality: How Planned Parenthood And Its Defenders Hide The Truth

In early July, The Center for Medical Progress began to release videos procured after three years of undercover work. They released short teaser videos, long videos from which the short versions were edited, and transcripts. The videos not only showed the calculating, callous way in which key players in Planned Parenthood viewed their clients and the unborn children, they also provided reasons to believe that certain Planned Parenthood clinics were breaking the law in the process of harvesting fetal tissue. 

That's when Planned Parenthood and their defenders began a methodical campaign of  distortion, denial and deception to help people avoid looking at the reality of abortion and the industries that profit from it. One example requires a certain amount of speculation*; the facts supporting the rest of my points are clear enough on their own.

(UPDATE 9/26/15: When a reader offered a rigorous challenge to the veracity of many of my claims (you can read our dialogue in the comments section), I realized I needed to restate some of my points with better clarity and precision. I want to be as committed to truth as I wish Planned Parenthood and the press would be; I hope this update accomplishes that purpose.)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Wayward Pines

“Before I built a wall I’d ask to know what I was walling in, or walling out."   

Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines books have sold in 25 countries including Germany, Brazil, Japan,
Italy, Estonia, Bulgaria, France, Turkey, Spain, Hungary, Holland, Serbia, Taiwan, Czech Republic, Russia, Greece, Portugal, Korea, Poland, Israel, and China. M. Night Shamylan also recently produced a TV series which introduced the story to a much broader audience. The TV show and the book series parted ways around Episode 5; this review will focus on the (much better) books.

The story centers around Ethan, a Secret Service Agent who is very good at what he does - unless it involves staying faithful to his wife, Theresa. He is one of those well-intentioned men that we tend to cheer for even as we cringe. At least he's honest when he describes himself:
"The father of Ben. Husband of Theresa. I live in a neighborhood in Seattle called Queen Anne. I was a Black Hawk helicopter pilot in the second Gulf War. After that, a Secret Service agent. Seven days ago, I came to Wayward Pines—" 
"Those are just facts. They say nothing about your identity, your nature." 
"I love my wife, but I was unfaithful to her… I love my son, but I was rarely around. Just a distant star in his sky… I have good intentions, but…" 
"But what?" 
"But all the time I fail. I hurt the ones I love." 
"I don’t know."
Ethan has been brought to Wayward Pines, a city thousands of years in the future that is the lone human outpost in a world that has gone to hell in an evolutionary hand basket. Though he is there against his will, he realizes it’s a second chance to become the husband and father he never was - if he can survive the reality of the world in and around Wayward Pines. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Are The Blood Moons The Beginning Of The End?

  • In 1976, Pat Robertson predicted that the end would occur in 1982.
  • In 1977, William Branham predicted the Rapture no later than 1977.
  • In 1981, Chuck Smith, the founder of Calvary Chapel, had a "deep conviction" that the world would end that year. 
  • In 1985, Lester Sumrall predicted the end in a book entitled I Predict 1985.
  • In 1988, Edgar Whisenant wrote 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Could Be in 1988 to explain why the Rapture would happen in 1988. He later revised the date to 1989.
  • In 1994, Harold Camping predicted the Rapture would occur on September 6 - then September 29, then October 2, then March 1995.
  • January 1, 2000, was the day Jerry Falwell predicted God would judge the world. This was also the day that Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins at one point claimed would inaugurate global economic chaos, and that the Antichrist would rise to power.
  • In 2000, Ed Dobson published The End: Why Jesus Could Return by A.D. 2000.
  • In 2000, Lester Sumrall tried again with I Predict 2000.
  • In April 2007, Pat Robertson’s book The New Millennium identified the day for Earth's destruction. That day has since passed.
  • May 21, 2011 was Harold Camping next guess for the rapture, with the world ending five months later. When May passed without incident, he claimed it was a spiritual rapture.
Now, John Hagee (Four Blood Moons) and Mark Biltz (Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs)  are leading a movement that claims the blood moons of 2014 and 2015 are pointing to the return of Christ this year in September (possibly) and warning us of the beginning of the tribulation, a war against Israel, or other calamitous events (almost certainly). 

Taking a stance on the blood moons has become an overly contentious issue in Christian circles. Both the proponents and skeptics are having their ability to understand the Bible accurately called into question, and that's a hard pill to swallow.  In recognition of the tension, I must note where we are united as Christians before I go into territory where we are not. 

No matter where we stand on this issue, it is Christ who unites us, not our speculation on things to come. If we disagree, may it be like iron sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17), not clanging cymbals full of harsh noise (1 Corinthians 13). I’m skeptical; I have godly friends whose opinions I respect who are convinced. May we all take Paul’s advice to heart as we test all things, and hold fast to the things that are good (1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21).