The Ethics of Righteous Video Sting Operations

Some Bible stories are inconvenient.

So let me tell you right at the beginning what I think of the ethics of video sting operations (like the #PPSellsBabyParts story from last week). After telling you what I think about it, I want to lay out a biblical case for it. The story caught Planned Parenthood by surprise, along with a bunch of people in the moderate middle whose reaction was "wait . . . what?" That being the case, Planned Parenthood's first responses have been pretty lame, and have actually made things worse for them. Apologizing for the "tone" of the comments, as the head of Planned Parenthood did, is like Dylann Roof apologizing for jaywalking on the way to the church in Charleston. I hope they don't have time to collect themselves, and I hear there may be more videos ready to drop that might keep them on their heels. And if they are kept busy, and if the current climate is sustained for any length of time at all, every Christian should be pressing for the defunding of Planned Parenthood. The ways you … [Read more...]

Review: Intended for Pleasure: Sex Technique and Sexual Fulfillment in Christian Marriage

Intended for Pleasure: Sex Technique and Sexual Fulfillment in Christian Marriage by Ed Wheat My rating: 4 of 5 stars I read this many years ago, and have been giving it away in my pre-marital counseling, also for many years. I recently decided I ought to read it again, and was pleased to see that the book had weathered the years well. There are parts that are a bit too "medically sounding," but there is a lot of good info here for young couples. I guess I will continue giving it away. View all my reviews … [Read more...]

Review: The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions by Arthur Bennett My rating: 3 of 5 stars Good. First read it in 2002. Listened to an audio version of it narrated by Max McLean in 2015. That was good too. McLean's reading is good, although it sometimes borders on creepy. The Puritans represented are really solid. Their prayers sometimes veered into the predictably puritanical introspection, but there were many glorious stretches where they were doing nothing of the kind. There were many edifying phrases. View all my reviews … [Read more...]

501(c) That?

The beak is to peck your eyes out.

One of our responsibilities in these troubled times is to look at the cultural chess board while taking care to think three moves ahead. We need to look at our current conflicts in the light of the year of our Lord 2022. Those who do not anticipate the future are doomed to go through it, as Santayana didn't quite say. I have already written that Christians need to make the current battle a battle over our right and responsibility to speak the truth. If we start to trim our discourse to make their hypocritical commitments to free speech less obviously hypocritical, we will quickly find ourselves in the next phase of battle, which will be over taxes, tax exempt status, 501(c)3 organizations, and so on. The next battle will be about defunding the Church. And I would rather fight over defending the truth than I would over defunding it. Of course, if we get there I will be happy to fight there, but all things considered, I prefer my goal line stands on the seven-yard line instead … [Read more...]

Surveying the Text/Nahum

Introduction: We know virtually nothing about Nahum, other than that this prophet was a magnificent poet. We have his name, this short masterpiece from him, and the fact that he was probably from Judah, from a town called Elkosh. He prophesied after the fall of Thebes (3:8) in Egypt (664-663 B.C.) but prior to the fall of Nineveh in 612 B.C. The Text: “The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; And he knoweth them that trust in him. But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies” (Nahum 1:7–8). Summary of the Text: The book is a series of fierce taunts and denunciations of Nineveh, that great city of the Assyrians. These denunciations alternate with various reassurances and promises for Judah. After the attribution, the book begins with a triumphant hymn to God the Warrior (1:2-8), which serves as the introduction to the first great oracle (1:9-2:2). This whole thing is an acrostic poem. Nahum … [Read more...]

Images We Must Have

Just as it is false to say that the tabernacle in the wilderness had no artistic representations of spiritual things, so also it is false to say that new covenant church has no portrayals in it. From blue pomegranates to cherubim covering the mercy seat, the tabernacle contained such images. But they were prohibited from making certain representations, and whenever the Israelites were faithful, they guarded that empty space above the mercy seat with a jealous and fierce love. In a similar way, new covenant worship is filled with icons—but as committed Protestants, we insist that the icons have to be given to us, assigned to us. For example, this church has hundreds of icons in it—you all are created in the image of God, and this is in fact an image of God. Moreover, Christ is faithfully portrayed in the preaching of the gospel (Gal. 3:1), or in the reading of Scripture (Rev. 1:16). Such portrayals must occur in Christian churches, which means God has decreed that the image of God in … [Read more...]

When Sin Signs a Lease

Drifting away from soundness in the faith is always the result of a peace treaty of some sort. The Bible teaches us that in this world we must always deal with sin outside us in the world and sin within us. In that familiar triad that we call the world, the flesh, and the devil, the first and the third are external to us. The flesh is closer to home. We are tempted to drift in response to suggestions from the world and the devil when we have made some sort of peace treaty, some kind of accommodation with the remnants of sin that we find within us. Our fundamental orientation toward impulses, temptations, urges, or suggestions from within must be adversarial. If it is not adversarial, if you have let a particular sin sign a three-year lease in your heart, then that accommodation within will betray you, and you will find yourself drifting in response to external pressure from the world or the devil. No true Christian has to “deal with” reigning sin within him. To be a slave to sin, … [Read more...]

Spaghetti in the Colander

At least the roof line is straight . . .

Brian Prentiss, pastor of Intown in Portland, tried to get his spaghetti, already well boiled and in the colander, to return to the status of stiff and straight in order to get back into the skinny box. But alas, it doth not go. You can read more about it here. First he pretends that the issue was over whether attendees from across the political spectrum should be able to come to worship God without somebody climbing down their throat. And the answer is that of course they should be able to do that. The issue is not what people think coming through the door. The issue is what the pastor thinks when he stands up to deliver the message. It is what the session believes the teaching of the Bible to be. That's the issue. When people gather to worship God, they come from every direction -- east, west, north and south. They also come from red states and blue states. That is true enough. But as I have argued before, it makes all the difference in the world whether they are coming to … [Read more...]

Ghouls

What will it take before that which is self-evident is treated as self-evident?

By now most of you have seen the video sting of Deborah Nucatola, a high placed operative in Planned Parenthood, discussing PP's brisk trade in fetal body parts. If you haven't, the video is embedded below. That video perfectly captures the insolence of our secularist elites. The fact that she could discuss the sale and distribution of livers, hearts, and baby heads, and do it over wine and salad, has left everyone with a functioning conscience aghast. She looks like a nice lady, and Kermit Gosnell looked like a creepy abortion doctor, and so it just goes to show. The whole thing is vile. The face of evil looks out at America from the mirror -- but we have not yet recognized it. C.S. Lewis described modern evil in this way: “I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of 'Admin.' The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid "dens of crime" that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is … [Read more...]

Effectual Door

"At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Ps. 16: 11) The Basket Case Chronicles #197 “Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia. And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go. For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit” (1 Cor. 16:5–7). Paul’s tentative plan was to pass through Macedonia, which was northern Greece. After that he planned to go down to Achaia, where Corinth was, and spend a bit more time there. He did not want to pass through Corinth briefly, such that he merely saw them “by the way,” but rather wanted to stay with them for a while. If the Lord permitted it, he hoped to spend the winter there with them. It is important to note that even the travel plans of an apostle are surrendered to the providential designs of God. He will do this if the Lord wills it. “But I will tarry at … [Read more...]

No Rock Without a Quarry

"The human mind . . . was made to receive truth into itself, and not to originate it out of itself. The human mind is recipient in nature, and not creative; it beholds truth, but it does not make it . . . The oratorical power of the preacher depends upon his recipiency; upon his contemplation of those ideas and doctrines which the Supreme Mind has communicated to the created and dependent spirit; upon his clearly beholding them, and receiving through this intuition a fund of knowledge, and of force, of which he is naturally destitute" (Shedd, Homiletics and Pastoral Theology, pp. 76-77). … [Read more...]