• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,396,214 Visits
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,269 other subscribers
  • Recommended Reading

When Privileges Are Granted That Deny The Rights Of Others

gayfistFrom: The Pen of Robin Wilson

Flash-points over same-sex unions are already occurring across the United States. . . . New Mexico’s Human Rights Commission fined a husband-wife photography team more than $6,000 because they declined to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony. In New Jersey, authorities yanked the property tax exemption of a church group that denied requests by two lesbian couples to use the group’s boardwalk pavilion for their commitment ceremonies.

So what should states do to respond to these clashes between same-sex relationships and religious liberty . . . ?

Last month, Connecticut and Vermont became the first states to pass conscience protection for religious dissenters in their same-sex marriage laws. Both states provide that religious groups “shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges to an individual if the request … is related to the solemnization of a marriage or celebration of a marriage.” Both also bar civil suits by people denied such wedding-related services.

Connecticut went even further. In that state, a “religious organization” providing adoption services may continue to place children only with heterosexual married couples as long as it gets no government money. Thus, in Connecticut, unlike in Massachusetts, Catholic Charities will not have to close its doors or face litigation threats.

As important as these exemptions for organizations are, states still weighing same-sex marriage should do better. Wedding advisors, photographers, bakers, caterers and other service providers who prefer to step aside from same-sex ceremonies for religious reasons also need explicit protection.

Some have argued that gay-marriage laws do not need such guarantees because they don’t require religious objectors to do any particular thing. But new laws are interpreted in light of existing statutes, and Vermont and Connecticut — as well as all six states still considering same-sex marriage — have laws on the books prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Because of those laws, many people could have to choose between conscience and livelihood. In Massachusetts, individuals violating the non-discrimination statute can be fined up to $50,000. In Connecticut, business owners can be sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Conscience protections are a thoroughly American idea. Since Colonial times, legislatures have exempted religious minorities from laws inconsistent with their faith. Such exemptions allow Americans with radically different views on moral questions to live in peace and equality in the same society.

Connecticut and Vermont have gone part of the way toward recognizing that the rights of same-sex couples should not come at the expense of the religious people who believe that marriage means a husband and a wife.

Read this entire article. . . .

The author of this web site endorses a Biblical view of marriage and believes that homosexual relations are a sin: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, ESV) “Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.” (1 Timothy 1:8-11, ESV)

They Are Simply Missing Out

Quoting A. N. Wilson:

“When I think about atheist friends, including my father, they seem to me like people who have no ear for music, or who have never been in love. It is not that (as they believe) they have rumbled the tremendous fraud of religion – prophets do that in every generation. Rather, these unbelievers are simply missing out on something that is not difficult to grasp. Perhaps it is too obvious to understand; obvious, as lovers feel it was obvious that they should have come together, or obvious as the final resolution of a fugue.”

Elementary Thoughts: Rebellion – Part 1

principalIsaiah 3:5 speaks of a day when, “People will oppress each other man against man, neighbor against neighbor. The young will rise up against the old … “

It was parent’s night at our church’s Christian school. The program that evening included several seminars. Parents could choose the topic of their particular interest. I had been invited to be one of the speakers and my topic was to be “Rebellion In The Home.” As I waited in the classroom where I would be speaking, I anticipated that maybe twelve people would show up. To my surprise, the room filled and several people had to stand. The expectation of a “rebellious youth” seems to permeate the culture of our time. Wise is the parent who prepares for the crisis before it comes.

As I was preparing to write this article, I happened to watch a television news show in which one of the major topics was a controversial program for rebellious teens. The program consisted of approximately sixty days spent in a wilderness/desert area in which the expected goal was to teach the young men and women self-discipline. The program seemed harsh. It seemed to be based on a mixture of Navy SEAL and Marine boot camp training. Yet, the parents of these youth were desperate enough to spend more than $16,000.00 for their children to participate and hopefully be “cured” of the anti-social and sometimes criminal problems they were experiencing at home. As a society, we seem to be willing to spend unlimited amounts of money for a “quick fix” for problems it took years to create. As the old saying goes, however, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” (Continued tomorrow)

Gun Control Laws Do Not Control Guns

sowellQuoting Thomas Sowell:

“Some of our biggest political fallacies come from accepting words as evidence of realities. …[For example,] ‘gun control’ laws do not control guns. The District of Columbia’s very strong laws against gun ownership have done nothing to stop the high murder rate in Washington. New York had very strong gun control laws decades before London did. But the murder rate in New York has been some multiple of that in London for more than two centuries, regardless of which city had the stronger gun control laws at a given time. Back in 1954, when there were no restrictions on owning shotguns in England and there were far more owners of pistols then than there were decades later, there were only 12 cases of armed robbery in London. By the 1990s, after stringent gun controls laws were imposed, there were well over a thousand armed robberies a year in London. In the late 1990s, after an almost total ban on handguns in England, gun crimes went up another ten percent. The reason — too obvious to be accepted by the intelligentsia — is that law-abiding people became more defenseless against criminals who ignored the law and kept their guns.”

The Way To Heaven

Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards

And an highway shall be and a way, way, it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it.

— Isaiah 35:8

From: The Pen of Jonathan Edwards

Observe in our text the subject spoken, that is, the way to salvation: “An highway shall be there, and a way.” This highway is the common and only way to heaven, for the way to heaven is but one. There is none ever get to heaven except they walk in this way some men don’t get to heaven one way and others another, but it is one highway that is always traveled by those that obtain heaven. It is the same narrow way that Christ tells us of. Some don’t go to heaven in a broad way, and others in a narrow; some in an easy and others in a difficult way; some in a way of self-denial and mortification, and others in a way of enjoyment of their lusts and sinful pleasures; some up hill and others down: but the way to heaven is the same, and it is the highway here spoken of. There is only one highway or common road, and no by-paths that some few go to heaven in, no exceptions from the rest.

If we seek never so diligently, we shall never find out an easier way to heaven than that which Christ has revealed to us. We cannot find a broader way, but if we go to heaven, the way is so narrow that we must rub hard to get along and press forward. The kingdom of heaven must suffer violence; it must be taken by force, or else it never will be taken at all. If we don’t go by the footsteps of the flock, we shall never find the place where Christ feeds, and where he makes his flock to rest at noon.

It appears that the way here spoken of is the way of salvation, by the last verse of the chapter. When speaking of this way, it is said, “the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion,” etc. “Zion” is the common appellation by which, in the Old Testament, the church both militant and triumphant is signified.

In the words observe the holy nature of this way described: first, by the name by which it is called, “the way of holiness”; “and it shall be called the way of holiness.” Secondly, the holiness of those that travel in it, and its purity from those that are unclean, or unholy; “the unclean shall not pass over it.” No wicked person shall ever travel in this way of holiness.

%d bloggers like this: