• 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.

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The Alinsky Factor

Quoting Jim Geraghty:

“As a tool for understanding the thinking of Obama, [Saul] Alinsky’s most famous book, Rules for Radicals, is simultaneously edifying and worrisome. Some passages make Machiavelli’s Prince read like a Sesame Street picture book on manners. After Obama took office, the pundit class found itself debating the ideology and sensibility of the new president — an indication of how scarcely the media had bothered to examine him beforehand. But after 100 days, few observers can say that Obama hasn’t surprised them with at least one call. … Obama is a pragmatist, but a pragmatist as understood by Alinsky: One who applies pragmatism to achieving and keeping power . . . Ideology does not have the final say in Obama’s decision-making; an Alinskyite’s core principle is to take any action that expands his power and to avoid any action that risks his power. As conservatives size up their new foe, they ought to remember: It’s not about liberalism. It’s about power. Obama will jettison anything that costs him power, and do anything that enhances it…. It’s not about the policies or the politics, and it’s certainly not about the principles. It’s about power, and it has been for a long time.”

Our Dependence On Christ

Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards

Quoting Jonathan Edwards:

There is an absolute and universal dependence of the redeemed on God. The nature and contrivance of our redemption is such, that the redeemed are in every thing directly, immediately, and entirely dependent on God: they are dependent on him for all, and are dependent on him every way.

The several ways wherein the dependence of one being may be upon another for its good, and wherein the redeemed of Jesus Christ depend on God for all their good, are these, viz., that they have all their good of him, and that they have all through him, and that they have all in him: that he is the cause and original whence all their good comes, therein it is of him; and that he is the medium by which it is obtained and conveyed, therein they have it through him; and that he is that good itself that is given and conveyed, therein it is in him.

Now those that are redeemed by Jesus Christ do, in all these respects, very directly and entirely depend on God for their all.

Elementary Thoughts: Rebellion – Part 10


According to Proverbs 22:6, “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.” One of the major principalproblems in our culture, however, is that most adults seem to have genuine difficulty determining the way in which their own lives should go much less trying to communicate a sense of direction to their children. Very few people seem to hold a consistent set of values. Most simply adopt whatever seems to work best for them at the moment.

By inconsistent values, however, I do not mean the hodgepodge of beliefs that most Americans pick up and drop according to popular fads and what happens to feel good at the time. I do not want you to think that if, somehow, you could systematize these values into a consistent philosophical approach to life you would have the answer to all of your problems. What I want to point out is that, overall, most Americans no longer possess values which are consistent with God’s values as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. Until we can impart values from our own lives to our children which are consistent with God’s values, we will be unable to prevent our children from falling into the snares of disaster. (The End?)

President George W. Bush’s Words To The People Of Iran

George-W-Bush“To the people of Iran: You are rich in culture and talent. You have a right to live under a government that listens to your wishes, respects your talents, and allows you to build better lives for your families. Unfortunately, your government denies you these opportunities, and threatens the peace and stability of your neighbors. So we call on the regime in Tehran to heed your will, and to make itself accountable to you. The day will come when the people of Iran have a government that embraces liberty and justice, and Iran joins the community of free nations. And when that good day comes, you will have no better friend than the United States of America.” (President George W. Bush, January 13, 2008)

Weakness Invites Aggression

reagan-at-durenberger-rallyQuoting President Ronald Reagan:

“We maintain our strength in order to deter and defend against aggression — to preserve freedom and peace. Since the dawn of the atomic age, we’ve sought to reduce the risk of war by maintaining a strong deterrent and by seeking genuine arms control. ‘Deterrence’ means simply this: making sure any adversary who thinks about attacking the United States, or our allies, or our vital interests, concludes that the risks to him outweigh any potential gains. Once he understands that, he won’t attack. We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression.”

Principle Or Pragmatism?

rcsproulFrom: The Pen of R. C. Sproul

I was chairing the board of a Christian institution of learning as we dealt with a question of the propriety of the teaching of one of the professors. The task of the board was to guard the purity of the doctrine of the institution. The motion was made to suspend the professor for a brief period of time in order to give him an opportunity to amend his views. As chairman, I did not vote, but the motion carried by a vote of eight to two.

During the discussion, one of the men who voted against the resolution asked this question: “Can’t we deal with this question in a more pragmatic way?” Another board member responded by saying, “No, it is our responsibility to act not according to pragmatism but according to principle.” The motion to suspend was passed by a margin of eight-to-two. The pragmatist who was outvoted, instead of submitting to the vote or bringing in a minority report, went around the board and did everything in his power to have the board’s decision overthrown. Accomplishing this, his next move was to see to it that board members with whom he disagreed were ousted from the board. Through Machiavellian machinations of corruption, this pragmatist was able to succeed. In his wake, he left the demolition of a strategically important institution of Christian learning.

What is pragmatism? Pragmatism is the only philosophy native to America. Pragmatism eschews any hope of discovering ultimate truth. It is skeptical with respect to objective principles of righteousness and defines truth as “that which works.” In this philosophy, the end always justifies the means. The driving force behind decisions within the scope of pragmatism is the force of expediency.

We remember in the days of the trial of Jesus of Nazareth, two of the important players were Caiaphas and Pontius Pilate. Both men made their decisions to have Jesus executed on the basis of expediency (Mark 15:15; John 11:45–53). Caiaphas and Pontius Pilate were pragmatists with a vengeance.

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to have lunch with a ranking senator of the United States Congress. During our discussion, I raised an ethical issue that the Senate faced at that time and asked him why the Senate didn’t act on that particular issue. He replied that he agreed with me that the Senate certainly should act on it, but he added that they could not do it that year because it was an election year. I moved to my second question and asked about another issue that needed the Senate’s attention. Again he agreed that it should be addressed, but not that particular year because it was an election year.

After we got to the sixth or seventh question where the mantra was repeated again (“not this year because it’s an election year”), I looked at the senator and asked, “Is there anybody up here on Capitol Hill who thinks about the next generation instead of the next election?” I guess it was too idealistic of me to think that our nation’s leaders would be a bit more concerned for the welfare of the nation than for their own political war chest. No nation (or Christian institution, for that matter) can survive when its leaders are driven by a spirit of pragmatism or make their decisions according to political expediency.

Read more. . . .

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