Monday, December 11, 2017

100 years ago: British forces capture Jerusalem

As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it. Isaiah 31:5

On December 11, 1917, British Army General Sir Edmund Allenby marched into Jerusalem through the Jaffa Gate and declared martial law, two days after Hussein al-Husayni, the Ottoman Mayor of Jerusalem, surrendered to British troops, ending 400 years of Ottoman Empire rule of the city. General Allenby was reportedly a Bible-believing Christian, prayed that his forces would be able to take Jerusalem without damaging any holy places, and marched into the city rather than entering on horseback, as an expression of his respect for Jerusalem's status as a city revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. I can't verify it, but it has been reported that General Allenby claimed that Isaiah 31:5 was being fulfilled on that very day, with the Lord using British Royal Flying Corps planes to defend and preserve Jerusalem.

The British capture of Jerusalem was another event leading to the establishment of the modern state of Israel. A disproportionate number of the major events before and after the establishment of modern Israel have occurred in years ending in "7;" I don't believe that to be prophetically significant, but I find it interesting, and it helps one to memorize a timeline of events:

1897: Theodor Herzl, the founder of the modern Zionist movement, convened the first Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, which concluded by adopting a program to pursue the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.

1917 (November): British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour issued the Balfour Declaration, stating the British government's support for the establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine.

1917 (December): General Sir Edmund Allenby led British forces in the capture of Jerusalem, ending 400 years of Ottoman rule of the city, and beginning 30 years of British rule, most of that time under a League of Nations Mandate.

1947: The United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 181, partitioning Palestine into Jewish and Arab states by October 1, 1948.

1967: Israeli forces inflicted a stunning defeat on Egyptian forces in the Six-Day War and took control of old Jerusalem.

1977: Egyptian President Anwar Sadat accepted Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin's invitation to come to Jerusalem and address the Knesset, and severed relations with other Arab countries that weren't willing to join him in pursuing peaceful relations with Israel.

2017: U.S. President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem to be Israel's capital, and announced that the United States will soon move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

75 years ago: Federal Council of Churches proposes a North American Council of Churches

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. II Timothy 3:5

On December 10, 1942, the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, meeting in Cleveland, approved a plan for the establishment of a North American Council of Churches to include Canada. That never came about, but in 1948, mainline Protestant churches from both the United States and Canada were among those that came together to form the World Council of Churches. In 1950, the Federal Council of Churches became the National Council of Churches. The WCC and NCC were apostate at the time of their creation, and they're more apostate now, as a glance at their websites will show. As the word of God tells us, "from such turn away."

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Pope Francis wants the English translation of the Lord's Prayer changed

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Matthew 6:9-13

As reported by Maham Abedi of Global News, December 8, 2017 (link in original):

Pope Francis says the words in the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ — one of the most well-known prayers in Christianity — need to be tweaked.

In an interview on an Italian TV show Wednesday, he explained that he thinks the current English translation isn’t completely accurate. The pontiff explained that the translation, which asks God “lead us not into temptation,” doesn’t work because Satan — not God — leads to sin.

“A father does not do that, a father helps you to get up immediately. It’s Satan who leads us into temptation, that’s his department,” he said during the interview.

That’s why he wants the Roman Catholic Church to consider changing the words to “do not let us fall into temptation.”

The prayer’s translations are from the Latin vulgate, which was translated from ancient Greek, which was, in turn, translated from Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus.

Liturgical translations are usually done by local Churches in co-ordination with the Vatican.
As reported by Harriet Sherwood and agency in the English newspaper The Guardian, December 8, 2017 (link in original):

...The 80-year-old also highlighted that the Catholic church in France had adapted the prayer, and uses the phrase “do not let us fall into temptation” instead.

The two versions of the Lord’s Prayer most commonly used in England both say “lead us not into temptation”.

“I’m not aware of any plans to change the translation in the English-speaking world but you can certainly see the logic of doing so,” said Austen Ivereigh, the pope’s biographer.

“It is not God who tempts us into sin but the enemy of human nature. But tradition and familiarity are also important factors in weighing up any decision to modify a translation.”

The Rev Ian Paul, an Anglican theologian, said the pope’s comments would make traditionalists nervous.

“The word in question is peirasmos [from New Testament Greek] which means both to tempt and to be tested. So on one level the pope has a point. But he’s also stepping into a theological debate about the nature of evil.

“In terms of church culture, people learn this prayer by heart as children. If you tweak the translation, you risk disrupting the pattern of communal prayer. You fiddle with it at your peril.”

The Lord’s Prayer, which is memorised by millions of Christians across the world, appears in the Bible.
It speaks volumes about the state of Biblical illiteracy in England these days that a newspaper has to state that the Lord's Prayer is found in the Bible.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump declares Jerusalem to be Israel's capital

Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it...
...In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem...
... In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
Zechariah 12:2-3, 6, 8-9

During the 1979 Canadian federal election campaign, Progressive Conservative Party leader Joe Clark, Leader of the Opposition, promised, if his party formed the government, to move Canada's embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It was widely believed that Mr. Clark made that promise in order to boost the chances of PC candidate Ron Atkey in the Toronto riding of St. Paul's. If that was the idea, it worked; Mr. Atkey was elected, and the Progressive Conservatives won a plurality of seats in the House of Commons, ending 16 years of Liberal Party government, the last 11 years under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Mr. Clark became Prime Minister of a minority government, and Mr. Atkey was named Minister of Employment and Immigration. Mr. Clark failed to keep his promise, and within nine months, the government had fallen, and another election had resulted in Mr. Trudeau being returned to power with a majority of seats in the House of Commons. Mr. Atkey was among the PC MPs who lost their seats, and he never returned to active politics.

U.S. President Donald Trump has acknowledged reality by declaring Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel, and has promised to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Let's watch and see if he keeps his promise, and what results from his words and actions on the subject.

As reported by Matthew Lee and Bradley Klapper of Associated Press, December 7, 2017:

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump shattered decades of unwavering U.S. neutrality on Jerusalem Wednesday, declaring the sorely divided holy city as Israel’s capital and sparking frustrated Palestinians to cry out that he had destroyed already-fragile Mideast hopes for peace.

Defying dire, worldwide warnings, Trump insisted that after repeated peace failures it was past time for a new approach, starting with what he said was his decision merely based on reality to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government. He also said the United States would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, though he set no timetable.

“We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past,” Trump said, brushing aside the appeals for caution from around the world.

Harsh objections came from a wide array of presidents and prime ministers. From the Middle East to Europe and beyond, leaders cautioned Trump that any sudden change on an issue as sensitive as Jerusalem not only risks blowing up the new Arab-Israeli peace initiative led by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, but could lead to new violence in the region.

No government beyond Israel spoke up in praise of Trump or suggested it would follow his lead.

Israelis and Palestinians reacted in starkly different terms. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Trump’s announcement as an “important step toward peace,” and Israeli opposition leaders echoed his praise. But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Trump’s shift serves extremist groups that want religious war and signals U.S. withdrawal from being a peace mediator. Protesters in Gaza burned American and Israeli flags.

Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a powerfully symbolic statement about a city that houses many of the world’s holiest sites. Trump cited several: the Western Wall that surrounded the Jews’ ancient Temple, the Stations of the Cross that depict Jesus along his crucifixion path, the al-Asqa Mosque where Muslims say their Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.

And there are major ramifications over who should control the territory. The United States has never endorsed the Jewish state’s claim of sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem and has seen the city’s future as indelibly linked to the “deal of the century” between Israel and the Palestinians that Trump believes he can reach. Beyond Kushner, Trump has dispatched other top emissaries to the region in recent months in hopes of advancing new negotiations.

Trump said he wasn’t delivering any verdict about where an Israeli-Palestinian border should lie. Instead, he described his Jerusalem declaration as recognizing the reality that most of Israel’s government already operates from the city, and he suggested the U.S. ally should be rewarded for creating a successful democracy where “people of all faiths are free to live and worship.”

“Today we finally acknowledge the obvious,” he said, emphasizing that he wouldn’t follow past presidents who tiptoed around Jerusalem out of diplomatic caution.

U.S. embassies and consulates around the world were put on high alert. Across the Middle East and Europe, they issued warnings to Americans to watch out for violent protests. In Jordan, home to a large Palestinian population, the U.S. said it would close its embassy to the public Thursday and urged children of diplomats there to stay home from school...

...For the first time, Trump did appear to endorse the concept of an independent Palestine existing alongside Israel. Yet even that idea appeared conditional, as he said he’d promote the “two-state solution” if both sides agreed. Netanyahu’s government is dominated by hardliners who oppose Palestinian independence.

Trump made no reference to signing a waiver that officially delays any move of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but the White House confirmed he signed the waiver Wednesday. It means there will be no embassy move for at least another six months. Establishing a Jerusalem embassy was a major campaign promise of Trump’s and one that officials said he focused on in discussions with top advisers in recent weeks.

On Wednesday he focused on his directive to the State Department to begin a process of moving the embassy as required by U.S. law, however many years that might take. After his speech, he signed a proclamation to that effect...
Mr. Trump's move is already serving to reveal divisions among Arabs, as reported by Zeina Karam of Associated Press, December 7, 2017:

Beirut--...Jerusalem, a cherished and combustible landmark, is one of the very few unifying issues in an Arab world plagued by wars and sectarianism. But even the prospect of Trump recognizing it as Israel’s capital became a reason for bickering between the Middle East’s Sunni and Shiite powerhouses, Saudi Arabia and Iran, who are engaged in a catastrophic proxy war for supremacy in the region.

“If half the funds spent by some rulers in the region to encourage terrorism, extremism, sectarianism and incitement against neighbors was spent on liberating Palestine, we wouldn’t be facing today this American egotism,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said in a tweet Wednesday, clearly directed at Saudi Arabia...

...Saudi Arabia, a regional powerhouse that could help the White House push through a Middle East settlement, has voiced strong opposition to Trump’s move, saying it would “provoke sentiments of Muslims throughout the world.”

Trump’s move puts the Sunni nation, whose king holds the title of “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,” in a bind. The kingdom, particularly its powerful crown prince, Mohammad Bin Salman, enjoys close relations with Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner — a relationship that the Saudis need and cannot afford to compromise.

While the Saudis can at least on the surface pressure Trump and distance themselves from Israelis, they will almost certainly continue to cooperate on intelligence sharing regarding Iran.

For its part, Iran will seize upon Trump’s move to show itself the defender of Muslims — and Saudi Arabia cannot be seen as acting any less forceful in its opposition to recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital...

...Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt have invested in good relations with the United States and are at odds with fellow Arab countries over political and religious differences. Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen are mired in wars and conflict, and entire cities have been laid to waste.

Sunni-led Gulf Arab states, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, share with Israel a deep distrust of Shiite power Iran and their relations with Israel have somewhat thawed.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to this Wednesday. While he acknowledged that Israel won’t be able to sign peace treaties with the Arabs without a deal on the Palestinians, he implied that ties have already been established and have plenty of room to grow.

“Peace treaties, no. Everything else below that, yes, and it’s happening,” he said...

...Reflecting opinion in much of the Arab world, two leading Lebanese newspapers issued front page rebukes to Trump over his expected announcement.

The An-Nahar newspaper compared the U.S. president to the late British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, who a century ago famously promised Palestine as a national home to the Jewish People, in what is known as the Balfour declaration.

The paper’s Wednesday headline read: “Trump, Balfour of the century, gifts Jerusalem to Israel.”
Some people, including this blogger, consider equating Donald Trump with Arthur Balfour to be high praise for Mr. Trump. See my post 100 years ago: The Balfour Declaration paves the way for fulfillment of biblical prophecy (November 2, 2017).

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Backlog: Church deacon arrested for murder committed 33 years earlier

...and be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23b

As reported by Sasha Goldstein of the New York Daily News, April 21, 2014:

A 78-year-old disabled church deacon was collared by cops in East Texas for a murder he allegedly committed some 33 years prior in Pennsylvania.

Joseph Lewis Miller fled Harrisburg, Penn., after he gunned down Thomas Waller in a parking lot in January 1981, police said.

The violent felon was on the lam until Monday, when an investigation finally turned up Miller, who used the alias Roy Eugene Eubanks, in Mineola, Texas, a tiny town some 80 miles west of Dallas.

“The murder occurred more than three decades ago, and while this case presented us with a significant challenge, it also exemplifies the dedication, thoroughness and diligence the fugitive task force has toward cold cases,” U.S. Marshal Martin J. Pane said in a news release announcing the collar.

“I am proud of the hard work they displayed. While not an easy case, justice has prevailed.”

Miller was previously convicted of firing a shotgun on a Harrisburg couple in 1959, killing John H. Lumpkins. The ex-con served more than 11 years of a life sentence, but he had his punishment commuted in 1971 by former Pennsylvania Gov. Raymond Shafer, according to the U.S. Marshals.

Miller fled after the alleged murder a decade later and settled in Texas, where he married at least twice, most recently in 2010.

Those in the tiny town know Miller as Roy Eubanks, a former paper plant employee who has collected disability checks for 20 years and walks with a cane, according to the Associated Press.

His wife, Gennell Eubanks, told the AP he had come clean to her about the alleged crime some 30 years ago. The man she knows now has trouble getting around as he struggles with arthritis, his cane and a Pacemaker.

“He said it was an accident and he didn't mean to do that," she told the AP. "He was trying to help his brother."

No criminal record under his assumed — or real — name could be found in the last 33 years, and Mineola residents knew the man as an active and helpful force in the community.

The U.S. Marshals know Miller as a two-time killer.

“It is my sincere hope that the victims’ family and the surviving victim can and will rest easier knowing the alleged perpetrator is now in custody,” Pane said.
I've been unable to find out what happened to Mr. Miller after he was brought back to Pennnsylvania for trial two months later, but this blogger is suspicious of his claim to be a Christian. If he were really born again, why didn't he then turn himself in to the authorities instead of continuing under an assumed name, especially since he may have killed a third person? For an excellent, detailed account of Mr. Miller's life and crimes, see On the Run for 33 Years: How a Harrisburg Killer Fooled a Sleepy Texas Town by John Luciew of Pennlive, April 29, 2014.

Friday, December 1, 2017

70 years ago: Good riddance to Aleister Crowley

On December 1, 1947, British occultist Aleister Crowley died at the age of 72. Mr. Crowley was often referred to as "the wickedest man in the world." He was born into a Christian family, but rejected the faith of his parents and founded the pagan religion of Thelema, proclaiming "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will."

Mr. Crowley believed himself to be the prophet of a new age, the ├ćon of Horus, a time of self-realization. He joined the British esoteric Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 1898 and later joined the German esoteric order Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) and became the leader of its British branch. Those who wish to do so can look up more details on Mr. Crowley, which I don't feel inclined to go into. Mr. Crowley was a drug user and bisexual, and enjoyed flouting traditional morality. He died after several years of failing health, but remains influential from the grave. The Lord Jesus Christ rose from the grave and remains more influential.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

70 years ago: The United Nations votes to partition Palestine

And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee,
And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;
That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.
If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:
And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.
Deuteronomy 30:1-5

On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly voted 33-13 with 10 abstentions, and 1 member absent, in favour of Resolution 181, partitioning Palestine into Jewish and Arab states by October 1, 1948. Six Arab delegations walked out of the session, declaring that they would not be bound by the decision.

Jewish Agency leader Hillel Silver hailed the vote as "a turning point in Jewish history." He was right; on May 14, 1948, the state of Israel came into existence.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Bitcoin is not the wealth by which we should live

Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death. Proverbs 11:4

By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life. Proverbs 22:4

Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. Proverbs 23:5

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Matthew 6:19-21

This blogger has always been suspicious of the virtual currency bitcoin. I've never believed the hype about it having no central authority; it didn't invent itself, someone's pulling the strings, and I suspect that a few people at the top will end up making a lot of money at the expense of many people at the bottom. There have already been scandals (see, for example, here and here); crime (see here and here); and even a suspicious reported suicide. A leading bitcoin developer quit his association with the currency in January 2016, calling it a "failed experiment."

The following anecdotes illustrate the transitory nature of worldly wealth in general, and the impalpability of bitcoin in particular. As reported by Alexandra Posadzki in the Toronto newspaper The Globe and Mail, November 10, 2017:

All the while, the price of bitcoins has fluctuated wildly. In late 2013, it climbed more than 400 per cent, from around $180, to almost $1,000 in just over a month. Its recent upward streak has created surprise windfalls for a number of early adopters, including Nathan Wosnack.

In the spring of 2010, Mr. Wosnack was hanging out at his Vancouver office when a friend offered to trade him 10 bitcoins for half a case of Rickard's Honeybrown ale. Bitcoins were trading roughly on par with the U.S. dollar at the time, so Mr. Wosnack agreed. (By today's values, the bitcoins he received for that half-case are worth about $67,000 – surely the most lopsided trade yet.)

He forgot about the bitcoins until almost four years later when he was home sick with the flu and running low on cash. He ran the bitcoin wallet software on his old laptop. It took several hours for the code, which was out of date, to update. At 2 a.m., a pop-up window alerted him that the bitcoins were still there. They were trading at about $900 a pop...

...When Matt Lefebvre first started mining bitcoin in 2010, he had no clue what it was for. By the end of the year the Richmond Hill, Ont. resident had amassed roughly 13,000 bitcoins – the modern-day equivalent of more than $90-million – on a USB stick.

But the following year, Mr. Lefebvre made a disastrous mistake. He accidentally wrote over the data with Windows 8 – "arguably the worst possible operating system since Windows ME," he said.

It has taken him years to get over the loss, while the price of bitcoins has continued to climb.

"I tried literally everything to get the data back," says Mr. Lefebvre, who is now a professional YouTuber who creates videos about technology. He often daydreams about what he would have done with the money. Home ownership is at the top of his list.

"I had a winning lottery ticket, didn't know it was a winning lottery ticket and set it on fire," he said.

There is no recourse for people like Mr. Lefebvre who lose access to their coins, which will likely sit dormant in cyberspace forever. And unfortunately, tales like his are not uncommon. Perhaps the most famous of such stories is that of British resident James Howells, who in 2013 accidentally tossed away a hard drive containing roughly 8,000 bitcoins. Today his virtual fortune – currently worth more than $50-million – sits in a landfill the size of several football fields.

Mr. Howells has visited the landfill but was unable to get permission from the local council to search the site – despite offering them a 10-per-cent cut and having numerous financial backers willing to finance the venture. But the Newport resident has not given up. Bitcoin's rapidly accelerating price in recent months has buoyed his hopes.

"As the price continues to rise, I'm confident I will be given permission to search for the hard drive at some point in the future," he told The Globe and Mail via e-mail. "Even at current prices, the value of the drive is too high for the council to keep ignoring."
I wonder if the man who traded bitcoins for beer in the first anecdote is named Esau (see Genesis 25:29-34). Christian writer Dave Breese, who's now with the Lord, put the matter of wealth into proper perspective (all capitals in original):

What then is true value, the wealth by which we live? Think of this as if life itself depended upon it, because it does. True value, as all but fools must plainly see, is divine favor, THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

The grace of God is that ultimate value from which all other values are derived and without which the idea of possessions is pure fantasy and the hope of gain is a preposterous, dangerous delusion. The equation is simple: a person who does not know the grace of God is infinitely poor, and one who has come into the protection and provision of the grace of God is rich with a wealth beyond the collected possessions of the kings of the earth.
Dave Breese, The Wealth by Which We Live, 1982, p. 20.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

90 years ago: Guy Fawkes Day in Toronto

The following article from page 8 of The Toronto Daily Star, November 8, 1927 offers a glimpse at Toronto and Canada when the city and country were recognizably Canadian. The reader may be surprised to see comments from an Anglican clergyman who was an unabashed Protestant and equated Canadian and British interests. That's what Canada was before it became Trudeaupia, and before the clergy became compromised and feminized. The "present government" mentioned in the article was the Liberal federal government of Prime Minister Mackenzie King. Today Mr. King would be considered so "far right" by the antichrists, perverts, and potheads who inhabit the party and government that currently goes by that name, that he would denied membership and possibly imprisoned.

Rev. F.C. Ward-Whate, priest-vicar of St. Alban's Cathedral, showed himself no respecter of political parties last Saturday night. Both the former leader of the Conservative party, Rt. Hon. Arthur Meighen, and the present government's immigration policy came in for some scathing comment from the venerable Anglican clergyman, when he spoke to 10,000 people assembled for the second annual celebration of Guy Fawkes' day, held by Toronto Orangemen in Riverdale Park.

The priest-vicar of St. Alban's strongly repudiated the attitude of Mr. Meighen as enunciated in his famous Hamilton pseech with respect to Canada's war-time policy. He declared no loyal Orangeman could take such a stand, for the lion's whelps were involved in everything that concerned the British mother lion.

"When Britain is at war, Canada is at war," he said. "When the old lioness roars across the sea, we do not need ballots, we need men to uphold British ideals and traiditons. Every red-blooded Canadian would always be willing to fight for the motherland."

His remarks were greeted by loud cheers from the assembled throng.

"I am afraid we have not taken to heart all the lessons we should have from the gunpowder plot," said Rev. Ward-Whate. "Take the question of immigration. Why should there be 25 Roman Catholic priests and only two Protestant ministers bringing settlers to this country? As Protestants, we should unite and demand that we be given equal representation so that our fair share of Protestant people will come to Canada. We have been altogether to indifferent about this matter, and we should go to the government as one man and see to it that we get the same rights as Roman Catholics."

During the course of the evening, an effigy of Guy Fawkes was committed to the flames, and as the fire burned, a searchlight was turned on the blazing mass so that all could see the fate in store for any who would attempt to blow up the "mother of parliaments." A short but impressive event was the sounding of the Last Post and the Reveille by two buglers, and as the plaintive notes shrilled out over the hushed crowd, this time centering on the trumpeters, who were shown up in bold relief against the dark background of trees and the northern slope of the park.

The gathering was held under the auspices of Armstrong Memorial L.O.L. 3001, with the co-operation of other Toronto judges. Cecil W. Armstrong, past grand secretary, was chairman of the committee in charge.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Toronto subway station posters provide more evidence that Canada Trudeaupia is already under the judgement of God

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:24-32

It's hard to believe that for a long time Toronto was known as "Toronto the Good." That city and the country that still officially goes by the name Canada are increasingly unrecognizable. I believe that the above passage from Romans 1 refers not just to individuals, but to societies. It's increasingly apparent to this blogger that God has given Trudeaupia up to vile affections.

I won't post the photographs of certain posters that can be seen at subway stations in Toronto, but the reader can see them at the TradCatKnight blog post (Pictures) Toronto Just Made God's "Hit List" (October 23, 2017).

At least the posters show politically-correct racial diversity; all that's missing is Prime Minister Pothead, his Liberal caucus, and the New Democratic Party voicing their approval, accompanied by the mainline churches, with the "Conservative" "Opposition" bringing up the rear a few minutes later to echo the applause. I can think of one good thing about such an uncloseted display of faggotry: it supports the contention of people such as this blogger who've maintained all along that the sodomy rights campaign has nothing to do with love, but is entirely about legitimizing perverted sex acts.

HT: Dracul Van Helsing

Thursday, November 2, 2017

African Christian student is expelled from social work course at British university for expressing a biblical view of sodomy

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:24-32

In the lavender new world of the 21st century, sodomite rights trump everything, including politically-correct visible minority status and conventions on human rights. As reported by Jamie Grierson in the British newspaper The Guardian, October 27, 2017 (link in original):

A devout Christian who was thrown off a university social work course after branding homosexuality a sin on Facebook has lost a high court battle.

Felix Ngole, from Barnsley in south Yorkshire, was removed from a two-year MA course at Sheffield University in February last year after writing what the university called “derogatory” comments about gay and bisexual people.

Ngole, 39, wrote during a debate on Facebook that “the Bible and God identify homosexuality as a sin”, adding that “same-sex marriage is a sin whether we like it or not. It is God’s words and man’s sentiments would not change His words.”

He claimed that he was lawfully expressing a traditional Christian view and complained that university bosses unfairly stopped him completing a postgraduate degree. But after analysing rival claims at a trial in London this month, the deputy high court judge, Rowena Collins Rice, ruled against him.

Ngole said his rights to freedom of speech and thought, enshrined in the European convention on human rights, had been breached. His case was backed by the Christian Legal Centre, part of the campaign group Christian Concern.

But lawyers representing the university argued that he showed “no insight” and said the decision to remove him from the course was fair and proportionate.

They said Ngole had been studying for a professional qualification and university bosses had to consider his “fitness to practise”.

Ngole said he planned to appeal further, adding: “I am very disappointed by this ruling, which supports the university’s decision to bar me from my chosen career because of my Biblical views on sexual ethics.

“I intend to appeal this decision, which clearly intends to restrict me from expressing my Christian faith in public.”

The judge was told Ngole had posted comments during a debate about Kim Davis, a state official in the US state of Kentucky, who refused to register same-sex marriages. Ngole said he had argued that Davis’s position was based on the “Biblical view of same-sex marriage as a sin”. He said he was making a “genuine contribution” to an important public debate and was entitled to express his religious views.

University bosses said he had posted comments on a publicly accessible Facebook page which were “derogatory of gay men and bisexuals”.

Collins Rice said: “Public religious speech has to be looked at in a regulated context from the perspective of a public readership. Social workers have considerable power over the lives of vulnerable service users and trust is a precious professional commodity.”

The judge added: “Universities also have a wide range of interests in and responsibilities for their students – academic, social and pastoral. Where, as Sheffield does, they aspire to be welcoming environments for students from a diverse range of backgrounds, they must expect to be inclusive and supportive of that diversity.”

Officials at the Christian Legal Centre said the decision was wrong and would have a “chilling” effect.

Andrea Williams, the chief executive, said: “The court has ruled that though Mr Ngole is entitled to hold his Biblical views on sexual ethics, he is not entitled to express them. This ruling will have a chilling effect on Christian students up and down the country who will now understand that their personal social media posts may be investigated for political correctness.”
HT: Dracul Van Helsing

90 years ago: St. Stephen's College professor denies Mosaic authorship of the Ten Commandments

I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
Thou shalt have none other gods before me.
Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:
Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee.
Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:
But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.
And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.
Honour thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
Thou shalt not kill.
Neither shalt thou commit adultery.
Neither shalt thou steal.
Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour's.
Deuteronomy 5:6-21

St. Stephen's College at the University of Alberta is affiliated with the thoroughly apostate United Church of Canada. St. Stephen's College opened in 1927, and evidence that apostasy was present there from its earliest days is indicated by the following article, which appeared in the U of A student newspaper The Gateway, Thursday, October 27, 1927, pp. 1, 6 (bold in original):


Dr. Miller addresses large crowd on "Whence the Ten Commandments?"


The first meeting of the Philosophical Society for the term 1927-28 was held Wednesday evening in the Medical Building. Introduced by Prof. E.H. Strickland, President of the Society, Dr. A.D. Miller, of St. Stephen's College, gave an instructive address entitled "Whence the Ten Commandments?"

Dr. Miller opened his address with a few remarks upon the views taken of the Ten Commandments at various times in Jewish history. Originally designed, perhaps, to serve as a monitor for a people too dull to live by spiritual principles, they subsequently became, in the hands of a priestly caste, the nucleus of an extremely holy law most rigidly enforced. Jesus endeavoured to maintain their full value, but with a spiritual background, but Paul's tendency was to take from their laws their commanding place in religion. In modern times the Ten Commandments have often been charged with failing to hold their places in everyday life because of the complexity of modern conditions. But perhaps some simple code, such as the Ten Commandments, set up, not as a rigidly enforced law, but as a desirable example to be emulated and followed, is still greatly to be desired.

Several Sources

Dr. Miller explained that his method of approach to the origin of the Ten Commandments was through literary-historical criticism. Over a century of careful and thorough Biblical research on these lines has established that not only was Moses not their author, but that several sources in different ages contributed to the growth both in form and spirit.

There were four of these sources, as a critical study of the first six books of the bible reveals, and it is of interest that all four documents mention two stone tablets as having been used to convey the message. Archaeological investigations in the Sinai peninsula confirm the great antiquity of Hebrew writing in stone.

But any complete harmony amongst these documents is impossible. In making a claim for divine authorship for her law Israel was merely following the practice of all ancient peoples; pleasing their deity.

There is a serious discrepancy between the Commandments as set forth by the earlier writers, and the Commandments as we know them today, in the form derived from Deuteronomy 5. The ritualistic worship of deity was, in the earlier documents, present almost to the exclusion of moral advice. Numerous examples taken from one of the earliest of these documents show the writer to have been quite incapable of producing a code of laws such as the Ten Commandments in the form of which we know them.

Somewhat later in the history of Israel, about the eighth century B.C., an era of general peace and prosperity resulted in the decline of the middle class so that only the very rich and very poor remained.

In such circumstances arose a line of prophets, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and Micah, who were in the sphere of religion verifiable revolutionists, insisting that ceremonial be abolished. They apparently persuaded King Hezekiah to undertake certain reforms in that direction, but in the next reign a return to the old forms completely abolished these, and it seemed that all the teachings of the prophets would be lost.

The Origin

Here, perhaps, is the origin of our modern Ten Commandments. Some disciple of these prophets, wishing to save the fruits of their labours, embodied their teachings in ten short, concise, and clearly understandable phrases of moral and not ceremonial import, which have come down to us with but little change. In this code occurs the mention of the "Sabbath Day." This name is found in no earlier documents, and we may conclude that the decalogue in which it is used did not exist at the time of the earlier documents. This later code occurs in Deuteronomy 5 and its revision by a priest-editor in Exodus 20.

Dr. Miller concluded his talk by returning to the point made in his introduction, that "The Ten Commandments were intended only as a suggestive guide to the person who wishes his life to be motivated by good-will."
Dr. A.D. Miller expressed the liberal views that were common among mainline "Christian" scholars at the time, and which are still believed in such circles today. The 1920s was a time when battles were going on in seminaries and denominations between fundamentalists (those who believed the Bible was the word of God, and contended for the Christian faith) and modernists (those who didn't believe the Bible was the word of God, but merely the best word of men about God). The Presbyterian scholar J. Gresham Machen, one of the great contenders for the Christian faith at the time, wrote the book Christianity and Liberalism (1923), in which he argued that Christianity and Liberalism are in fact different religions; the book is well worth reading, and still relevant.

In typical modernistic fashion, Dr. Miller--who was affiliated with a church and college that was ostensibly Christian--argues against the legitimacy of the textbook of his own professed religion. His last comment is laughable. As the old saying goes, they're the Ten Commandments, not the Ten Suggestions. And it must be a weak deity indeed who only gives suggestions.

The reader will notice that Dr. Miller doesn't ascribe divine authorship or inspiration to the Ten Commandments. In his view, the ancient Hebrews were just like any other ancient people, obeying their [tribal] deity. His method of criticism is that which uses the documentary hypothesis--often also referred to as the JEDP theory--which denies Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch in favour of a variety of authors over a long period of time, with a "redactor" (editor) credited wherever the theory breaks down in light of the evidence.

The liberal theories on the origin and authorship of the Bible came from Germany, and this blogger doesn't believe it's a coincidence that the country that came up with liberal methods of biblical "scholarship" ended up slaughtering millions of Jews a few decades later. The latter had its roots in the former; if God didn't inspire the authorship of the Bible and Moses didn't write the books attributed to him, then the logical conclusion is that the Jews are falsely claiming to be God's chosen people.

In contrast to Dr. Miller, the Lord Jesus Christ definitely named Moses as the author of the Pentateuch; see, for example, Matthew 8:4, 19:8; Mark 1:44, 10:3, 12:26; Luke 5:14, 16:29, 31, 20:37, 44; John 5:45-46, 7:19, 22-23. The epistles, similarly, contain numerous references to Moses as the author of the Pentateuch. When it comes to the Ten Commandments, the Lord Jesus Christ said the following in Mark 7:10a:

For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother;

I'll take the word of the Lord and the apostles over that of Dr. A.D. Miller any day. I certainly don't believe that the Qur'an is the word of God, but even the Qur'an correctly credits Moses as the author of the books that bear his name. See, for example, Surah 2:53, 87; 3:84; 6:91, 154; 7:144-145; 11:110; 17:2; 23:49; 25:35; 28:43; 32:23; 40:53; 41:45; 53:36; 87:18-19. (To look up these passages in English, go to The Noble Quran.)

For information on the liberal approach to the Bible, see the following entries at the apologetics site Bible Questions Answered:

What is the documentary hypothesis?

What is the JEDP Theory?

What are redaction criticism and higher criticism?

What is source criticism?

What is form criticism?

For further reading (that can be understood by non-scholars) on the documentary hypothesis, form criticism, and the reliability of the Bible, I recommend Evidence That Demands a Verdict (1972, 1979) and, especially, More Evidence That Demands a Verdict (1975, 1981) by Josh McDowell.

To see what St. Stephen's College is up to now, see my post United Church of Canada-affiliated St. Stephen's College offers courses in Wicca, mindfulness, and Jungian psychology (April 3, 2017).

100 years ago: The Balfour Declaration paves the way for fulfillment of biblical prophecy

And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee,
And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;
That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.
If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:
And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.
Deuteronomy 30:1-5

On November 2, 1917, U.K. Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour wrote a letter to Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild, who was a prominent member of Britain's Jewish community. The letter, intended for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, was published in The Times on November 9, and became known as the Balfour Declaration:

Foreign Office
November 2nd, 1917
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.
"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Yours sincerely,
Arthur James Balfour

The Balfour Declaration helped to pave the way for an increase in the number of Jews returning to the land of their ancestors--then known as Palestine, helping to fulfill the prophecy in Deuteronomy cited above, and eventually leading to the establishment of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

20 years ago: Good riddance to Anton LaVey

On October 29, 1997, Anton Szandor LaVey, who founded the Church of Satan in 1966 and published The Satanic Bible in 1969, died at the age of 67. Mr. LaVey, born Howard Stanton Levey, was mainly a con man and a showman, and often seemed to do things in order to generate publicity; many aspects of his biography that he claimed for himself have apparently been proven untrue. Anton LaVey was already largely forgotten by the time of his death, and with the further passage of time, I suspect he will increasingly be regarded as a footnote character in the culture of the 1960s.

The book Selling Satan: The Tragic History of Mike Warnke (1993) by Mike Hertenstein and Jon Trott contains an appendix titled Reality is a Sometime Thing: A Strange Evening with Anton LaVey. As part of the research for their book, Messrs. Hertenstein and Trott were dinner guests circa 1991-1992 at the home of Mr. LaVey and his longtime companion Blanche Barton, and provided the following commentary on Mr. LaVey:

If our quest had been to discover the "real" Anton LaVey, here at last he was: a human being on the edge of eternity, grasping after immortality and significance. he seemed very much alone and quite deluded...

...the interplay between Anton LaVey's barricaded Kingdom of Evil and the rest of the world was full of contradictions. The Satanic Bible, which purported to be a celebration of will, was actually a celebration of LaVey's will, full of "oughts" and "shoulds" that any real nonconformist would have thrown out the window. The Black Pope, hater of humanity--who has praised such isolated "joys" as masturbation--worries about being forgotten, his own icon smashed by time. One had to wonder if perhaps LaVey's entire masquerade was just one long whistle past the graveyard, an attempt to tame evil and take the sting out of death by reducing them to mere objects of "kitsch." But the last laugh was coming.

Jon shook the iron gate--Blanche had insisted we make sure it was locked behind us. We waved to her on the porch and she pulled the front door shut, securing the black house from the violent world of homicidal nuts that LaVey, with his bubble gum nihilism, had helped to create. As we headed down California Street toward our car, my partner and I felt a great sadness for Anton LaVey. It was clear that his chain-link fence against the darkness wasn't going to hold out for much longer.

50 years ago: Churches' call to keep up with the modern world sound suspiciously like what you hear from the Church Growth Movement today

In 1967 Canada was still an ostensibly "Christian" nation, as least as far as the culture was concerned. The biggest mainline Protestant denominations--the United Church of Canada, and the Anglican Church of Canada--were just a couple of years past their peaks in membership, and although already on the road to apostasy, were still influential in Canadian society. National mainline church assemblies still received national media coverage.

The following articles--two concerning the national synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, and two on a Roman Catholic congress on theological renewal--are notable for reporting urgings from speakers and church leaders to keep up with the times. This is the same sort of message that "evangelical" churches have been hearing from the Church Growth Movement for the last 25-30 years or so: things have changed so much that the old ways must be done away with, and we must keep in step with the modern world. The mainline churches' attempts to be relevant and in step with the times have had the ironic and unintended result of continuing declines in membership and continuing irrelevance. As the old saying goes, I'd rather be part of a church that's 500 years behind the times and doesn't care than one that's 5 minutes behind the times and is constantly scrambling to catch up.

The following Canadian Press report was published in The Edmonton Journal, August 22, 1967:

Ottawa (CP) - The world is increasingly more skeptical about the Christian Church but the church is trying hard to adjust to the demands of modern times.

This was the view expressed Monday at a news conference on the eve of the 10-day general synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, in effect the national church's parliament.

The church's proposed union with the United Church of Canada is to be a major topic at the synod. The proposed union could drive some Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church, it was suggested Monday.

"Every church feels we're all shook up," said Most Rev. Howard H. Clark, Archbishop of Rupert's Land and Primate of All Canada.

The church had fallen behind the rapid developments in the world because it "hasn't been concerned with first things." It had had a "pretty facade over life."

But despite its apparent slowness to deal with modern problems the church is "making a tremendous effort to adjust to the 20th century," said Rt. Rev. G.P. Gower, Bishop of New Westminster, who with Bishop H.R. Hunt of Toronto, joined the primate at the conference.

Young people, the primate said, have "never been so serious" and were "much more interested in the basic questions of life" than were his generation.

"The world is increasingly skeptical of churches," Archbishop Clark said. "But I have never seen so many young people concerned for...the value of life."

Bishop Gower said he thinks the Christian religion has been a "whipping boy" but "I think the tide is turning." Even in university circles there was a growing understanding of the church.

The primate said he expects it will be at least 10 years before union of Anglicans with the United Church of Canada becomes a reality.

He said there have been misgivings in his church about union and that there is the possibility that some Anglicans will want to join the Roman Catholic Church rather than worship under a union church.

The union question is expected to be the subject of lively debate at the synod sessions starting formally today at Saint Paul University, a Roman Catholic institution formed in 1965 that houses the theology and canon law faculties that formally were under the University of Ottawa.
As reported by Canadian Press and published in The Edmonton Journal, August 25, 1967:

Ottawa (CP) - Christian missionaries are still operating as in the heyday of the British Empire, the general synod of the Anglican Church of Canada was told Thursday.

Rt. Rev. R.S. Dean, executive officer of the Anglican communion on leave from the Canadian diocese of Cariboo, said the church must face the challenge of the modern world.

"The whole world and the whole church are in the grip of revolution and there is nothing that can hold it back," Bishop Dean said as the synod began an assessment of its missionary work.

He called for a complete reassessment of the church's missionary function and a greater attempt to meet the "fluid situation" in the world today.

The 10-day synod, which Wednesday adopted a new canon permitting re-marriage in the church of divorced persons, was warned not to preoccupy itself with "canons which box us in when God is unboxed."

The church should stress its worship because that is "what really holds the church together."

Bishop Dean was named executive officer two years ago for a five-year term. His headquarters are in London, England...

...Bishop Dean later called for abolition of the synod's upper house and criticized procedures he said were unrealistic.

"Let's live in the real world and not the Alice in Wonderland world," he urged the more than 250 synod delegates.

The synod has two houses. The upper house comprises the bishops and archbishops of the churches of 28 dioceses as well as retired bishops who are not engaged in secular work.

The sessions of the lower house--members are clergy and lay delegates--are open, but when the bishops meet alone, their deliberations are closed.
The union between the Anglican and United churches never did come about, despite a serious effort to accomplish it in the late 1960s-early '70s. It hardly matters; the vestments and titles may be slightly different, but the apostasy is about the same.

The young people whom Archbishop Clark praises for their seriousness are now the aging Baby Boomers. As boomer Michael Medved said, it was the first generation that had to find a reason to go to work. The things that Archbishop Clark said about the Baby Boomers are the same things that are being said in "evangelical" churches about the Millennials today.

It's an indication of how times have changed that one of the steps the Anglican Church of Canada took in 1967 to keep up with the times was to allow divorced people to get remarried in the church. Since then, the Anglican and other mainline churches have gone in a continuous downward direction: allowing divorced and remarried men to become leaders; putting women in positions of leadership; opening fellowship to non-practicing, and then practicing sodomites and lesbians, and those of the latest alphabet perversion; putting such perverts in positions of leadership; and recognizing and then performing "marriages" of such perverts. Thus do the mainline "Protestant" churches keep up with the modern world.

"Evangelical" denominations such as the Christian & Missionary Alliance are a few decades behind the mainline churches, but they're heading in the same direction, and if they're heading in the same direction, they're going to end up in the same place.

At the same time the Anglican Church of Canada general synod was taking place in Ottawa, a Roman Catholic congress on theological renewal was being held in Toronto . As reported by Canadian Press and published in The Edmonton Journal, August 22, 1967:

Toronto (CP) - As societies and civilizations change and develop, problems of living as Christians also change and develop, a Roman Catholic expert on moral theology said Monday.

He was speaking to delegates to an international conference on renewal of the church.

Enda McDonagh, 37, professor of moral theology at St. Patrick's College in Maynooth, Ireland said:

"Today the problems and possibilities of common worship with other Christians, of mixed marriage, of living in various pluralist societies, of the bomb, of population and segregation and so on have replaced earlier and different problems. They pose new questions...and demand new answers in which the basic God-man and man-man relationship revealed in Christ is maintained."

The right answers must be based on the inherited wisdom of previous generations, yet be "new answers for new people with new problems."

"This is the task of the whole Christian community, to provide these answers by using all the resources of the community. Every member of the community has an obligation to contribute to arriving at these answers."

It is the task of the church, he suggested, "to provide a unifying service in the community, to articulate authoritatively and in some instances definitely the community understanding and pronounce it in genuine continuity with the historic."

Rev. Etienne Gilson, 83-year-old founder of the Pontifical Institute on Medieval Studies, told a congress conference that new proofs of the existence of God will continue to be discovered "as long as human understandings will spontaneously form in themselves, and realize as meaningful, that notion of a supreme being."

More than 2,000 invited delegates are participating in the congress, the centennial project of Canadain bishops. Another 3,000 persons are watching some of the proceedings on closed-circuit television in two halls.

Renewal of the Christian church--if renewal means "bringing things up to date"--can only be accomplished after a renewal in theology, Rev. Bernard Lonergan told the congress.

The 63-year-old Jesuit teacher from Toronto's Regis College said theology began to lose its touch in the 17th century when dogmatic theology emerged. It was a theology which emphasized the certainties of faith, and in which the search for an intelligent understanding of faith was minimized.
As reported by Canadian Press and published in The Edmonton Journal, August 25, 1967:

Toronto - A Canadian minister and a priest challenged a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church Thursday to open the church to public scrutiny.

The challenge came near the end of a congress on the theology of church renewal, which brought 44 of the world's leading theologians to Toronto for five days.

Earlier a woman philosopher from England, told the Congress that Roman Catholic Church handling of sexuality amounts to a set of rules and "a lot of slush about love and family life."

Franz Cardinal Koenig, 62-year-old Archbishop of Vienna and a church liberal, had said in the last speech heard by 2,000 invited delegates that the church must become "more transparent," that it must open itself to communication with its people and with the world.

Rev. A.C. Forrest, editor of the United Church Observer and member of a five-man panel which commented on the cardinal's address, said he was troubled by a reference to "transparency and partial transparency" and would like it explained.

Rev. Raymond Durocher of the Canadian Register, a Catholic newspaper, said: " The message of God was transparent on the cross at Calvary."

He asked why the church is not as fully transparent.

"That is not alone the task of the church," the cardinal replied. "It is the task of the journalist to probe and to make transparent."

It was on that note of questioning that the congress on the theology of renewal of the church ended after speakers from 15 countries had tried to fulfill its purpose of coping "with some of the serious problems of contemporary religious thinking" and to create in North Americans a greater interest in theology.

The congress, organized by the Institute for Medieval Studies, a Roman Catholic research organization at the University of Toronto, was the centennial project of the conference of Canadian bishops.

Earlier Thursday the discussion on the church's attitude to sex was led by Elizabeth Anscombe, a married Catholic laywoman and a fellow of Somerville College, Oxford, England.

The church, when it talks of sexuality, says: "Outside marriage, sexual acts are excluded; within marriage, spouses may always uses their rights...over one another's bodies."

To make such a teaching "less negative, even heartless," the church talks of marriage as a sacrament and a vocation.

"We enter upon marriage to please ourselves, not as people entering upon a vocation."

It is possible that the church's teaching on contraception will remain unrevoked and unamended, said Miss Anscombe, wife of English philosopher Peter Geach.

"It would then become a dead letter like the teaching...on usury."

Rev. Bernard Haring, a German theologian based in Rome, said in a separate paper on the family that the fundamental problems of marriage change as the world situation changes.

"The canonically legal approach to the question of marital rights must be reconsidered in the light of the contemporary social background," he said.

There is a conviction in all structures of modern life that "life does not regulate itself; man has to do it, using all his insights, energies and skills." This is a consideration that must be made toward birth control, he said.

40 years ago: Former Archbishop of Canterbury proposes the Pope as head of a unified church

The movement to undo the Reformation and unite all professing Christian churches has been underway for a long time. The ecumenists and syncretists are never quite able to get everything they want, perhaps because if they did it would upset the prophetic timetable, which is controlled by God, and which will be fulfilled according to His schedule. Eventually there will be a movement of all religions united against the Lord Jesus Christ, which He will destroy with the brightness of His coming. Submitted for your approval, the following article, as it appeared in The Edmonton Journal, August 8, 1977:

Melbourne, Australia (Reuter)--Former archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Michael Ramsey proposed today that the Pope should be the leader of any united church of Anglicans and Roman Catholics.

Dr. Ramsey said during the last 20 years there has been great growth in the relations between the two churches.

"My idea of the goal is the Anglican communion not absorbed into the Roman Catholic church but in communion with it," Dr. Ramsey said in an interview with The Age newspaper.

"In this union the Pope would be accepted not as infallible but as president bishop," he said.

Dr. Ramsey, 73, who retired three years ago as archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Anglican church, is in Melbourne to attend the centenary of Trinity College Theological Hall at Melbourne University.

When he was archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Ramsey met Pope Paul in Rome in 1966 and their discussions led to the formation of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, which has worked on the theological basis for reunion of the two churches.

Dr. Ramsey said the commission had done remarkable work. "They have gone behind the familiar controversies and they indicate a real hope for unity," he said.

But there is now developing an inevitable resistance from both churches and the ecumenical movement might be headed for a "go-slow," he said.

Dr. Ramsey said it is shameful that there still are divisions among Christians. "It is wrong that Christendom should be divided into bodies which are sometimes competing and estranged," he said.

Dr. Ramsey's suggestion that the Pope should lead a unified church was rejected by spokesmen for both the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches in Australia.

The Anglican church's spokesman here, Rev. Allan Nicholls, said Australian Anglicans still are very conscious of the 16th century Reformation which led to the formation of the Anglican church.

"This proposal by Dr. Ramsey is completely unacceptable to us and I don't believe it would be acceptable to the Roman Catholic church either," he said.

The Roman Catholic church spokesman, Bishop Clancy, agreed, saying the Pope's infallibility is not properly understood by Anglicans.

"Infallibility of the Pope isn't something we trade," Bishop Clancy said.
That this move toward Anglican-Roman Catholic union had been going on for some time is indicated by the following Canadian Press report, which appeared in The Edmonton Journal on September 5, 1967:

London (CP) - A modest degree of progress was reported Monday by a commission of Anglican and Roman Catholic theologians working toward unity between the two churches.

After a week of private talks at a secluded country manor, the 24-member international committee--which included two Canadians--found three fields for immediate action.

But it also found its discussions pointed up several "crucial" areas of disagreement.

The positive recommendations of the commission, after its second meeting since being set up last year by the Vatican and the Archbishop of Canterbury:

. Possible joint use of churches and other buildings by the two faiths.

. The "urgent need" to work for common texts in those prayers and formulas --such as the Lord's Prayer and the Apostles' Creed--which are common to both churches.

. Greater collaboration in education for the ministry.

The "crucial" points of differences listed in an announcement issued at Westminster Abbey included the divergent attitudes of the two churches toward individual interpretation of the scriptures, the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal primacy and infallibility, different dogmatic views on the Virgin Mary and the Roman Catholic's lack of recognition of the Anglican priesthood.

On the question of papal primacy, Dr. John Moorman, Anglican bishop of Ripon and co-chairman of the commission, said the sessions had not greatly changed the traditional attitudes of both sides.

"But on this and on other subjects generally the attitude was one of frank and open discussion and not that of two teams glaring at each other," he told a news conference.

He also said he did not think much progress had been made in discussing the dogmas concerning Mary. Further guidance would be needed on this and other "crucial" matters.

The Roman Catholic co-chairman--Bishop Charles Helmsing of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri--said he did not look for immediate general action toward the exchange of pulpits among clergymen of the two churches. Because of past tensions, may regions would find this "shocking."

It would have to be left to local authorities for a long time.

Canadians on the commission are Rev. John Keating, secretary of the English section of the Canadian Catholic Bishops' Commission on Ecumenism, and Rev. Eugene R. Fairweather of Trinity College, Toronto, an Anglican.

Next meeting of the commission will be held in December. It is expected to be in Italy.
Dr. Ramsey's words and actions illustrate the willingness of "Christian" leaders to ignore and/or repudiate the teachings of their own churches and the vows that they took when they assumed their offices. The distinctive teachings of the Church of England can be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, which were finalized in 1571 and included in the Book of Common Prayer. Several of the articles express rejection of the doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic Church:

From Article XIX. Of the Church.:
As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred; so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith.

XXI. Of the Authority of General Councils.
General Councils may not be gathered together without the commandment and will of Princes. And when they be gathered together, (forasmuch as they be an assembly of men, whereof all be not governed with the Spirit and Word of God,) they may err, and sometimes have erred, even in things pertaining unto God. Wherefore things ordained by them as necessary to salvation have neither strength nor authority, unless it may be declared that they be taken out of holy Scripture.

XXII. Of Purgatory.
The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Reliques, and also invocation of Saints, is a fond thing vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God.

XXXI. Of the one Oblation of Christ finished upon the Cross.
The Offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the Priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits.

From Article XXXVII. Of the Civil Magistrates.:
The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this Realm of England.

500 years later, the Reformation in Europe is all but dead

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther reportedly posted his 95 Theses on the door of All Saints' Church in Wittenberg, Saxony, beginning the Protestant Reformation. 500 years later, the Reformation has almost completely died; the Roman Catholic Church has never given up trying to squelch the flame, while the Protestant churches have apostatized. As reported by Harriet Sherwood in the English newspaper The Guardian, August 31, 2017 (links in original):

Five centuries after the Reformation triggered a series of long and bloody religious wars across Europe, modern-day Protestants and Catholics believe they have more in common theologically than they do differences, and most would be willing to accept each other as neighbours and family members.

“Theological differences that split western Christianity in the 1500s have diminished to a degree that might have shocked Christians in past centuries,” says a report by the Washington-based Pew Research Center.

The study does note a geographical divide in western Europe, with predominantly Protestant countries in the north and Catholic countries mainly in the south.

The Reformation’s fuse was lit when Martin Luther, a German monk, nailed his 95 theses to the door of a church in Wittenberg on 31 October 1517. The document, written in Latin, fundamentally challenged the authority of the Roman Catholic church.

Luther’s move was part of a backlash against increasing corruption and in particular the highly profitable sale of indulgences, promoted as fast-track tickets to heaven. Luther declared that when it came to “justification” – avoiding hell, and gaining admission to heaven – salvation was a matter between an individual and God.

Swiftly translated into German and other European languages, Luther’s ideas spread across the continent within weeks, triggering religious, political, intellectual and cultural upheaval.

In recent decades there has been a slow rapprochement between the Catholic and Protestant traditions, with greater cooperation and dialogue, encouraged by Pope Francis, although there are still pockets of sectarianism. Last year, leaders of the Catholic and main Protestant churches in Germany issued a joint text calling for a “healing of memories” of past divisions.

Protestants are the majority in five western European countries and Catholics are the biggest group in nine, with a broadly north-south divide, according to the Pew study. Luther’s home country, Germany, is still predominantly Catholic, with a 42% share of the population, compared with 28% Protestant and 24% unaffiliated.

The UK breakdown is 54% Protestant, 17% Catholic and 24% unaffiliated, while Ireland is 75% Catholic, 5% Protestant and 14% unaffiliated. Finland is the most Protestant country, with 73% of the population, and is recorded as having 0% Catholics. Italy is the most Catholic country, at 78%, and is 1% Protestant.

Only in the Netherlands do the unaffiliated make up the largest group, with 48% of the population, compared with 20% Catholic and 18% Protestant.

In all the countries, only small proportions of Catholics and Protestants pray daily, attend services weekly or say religion is very important in their lives.

Across the board, 58% of Protestants and 50% of Catholics in western Europe say the two traditions are religiously more similar than different. But 26% and 34% respectively say the differences outweigh the similarities.

Roughly nine out of 10 or more Protestants and Catholics say they are willing to accept members of the other tradition as neighbours. Large majorities of both groups say they would be willing to accept each other into their families.

Germany is the most tolerant country, with 98% of Protestants and 97% of Catholics willing to accept the other into their families. Portugal and Spain are the least tolerant, with less than 80% of their predominantly Catholic populations willing to accept Protestants as family members.

Pew also records a reconciliation between the two traditions on a key theological issue: whether eternal salvation is attained solely through faith, as Luther believed, or through a combination of faith and good works.

In every country bar one, majorities or pluralities of Catholics and Protestants say both faith and good works are needed for salvation. The exception is Norway, where 51% of Protestants say salvation comes through faith alone.

• This article was amended on 5 September 2017. An earlier version said research by the Pew Research Center showed 48% of people in Germany were Catholic. This has been corrected to 42%.

And now--robot priests

Robot clergy might be acceptable for a religion that consists of empty ritual, but not for a true faith in the living God. As reported by Samuel Gibbs in the British newspaper The Guardian, August 23, 2017 (links in original):

In Japan robots can serve as companions, helpers for the elderly, entertainment bots and even sexual partners, but now SoftBank’s humanoid robot Pepper has put itself up for hire as a Buddhist priest for funerals.

Taking the German blessing bot’s idea and running with it, Pepper’s new code will let it chant sutras in a computerised voice while tapping a drum, providing a cheaper alternative to a human priest to see your loved ones off into the eternal sleep.

The robot was on display on Wednesday at a funeral industry fair, the Life Ending Industry Expo, in Tokyo, shown off by plastic molding maker Nissei Eco.

With the average cost of a funeral in Japan reaching in excess of £20,000, according to data from Japan’s Consumer Association in 2008, and human priests costing £1,700, Nissei Eco is looking to undercut the market with Pepper available for just £350 per funeral.

With Japan’s population ageing and shrinking, many Buddhist priests receive less financial support from their communities, prompting some to find part-time work outside their temple duties, said Michio Inamura, Nissei’s executive adviser, who suggested Pepper could step in when a human wasn’t available.

Would-be funeral arrangers have the option to deck Pepper out in the robe of a Buddhist monk and can even live-stream the ceremony to those who can’t attend the funeral in person.

Buddhist priest Tetsugi Matsuo said he came to the expo to see if Pepper could “impart the ‘heart’ aspect to a machine because I believe that the ‘heart’ is the foundation of religion”.

Pepper has yet to be hired to conduct a funeral, but with robots slowly creeping into most facets of life it seem inevitable they will be involved in its end in one form or another.
A related earlier item, as reported by Harriet Sherwood in The Guardian, May 30, 2017 (links in original):

Five hundred years after revolutionary printing presses spread news of Martin Luther’s radical call for church reform across Europe, technology is again challenging religious tradition in the small German town of Wittenberg.

A robot priest that delivers blessings in five languages and beams light from its hands has been unveiled as part of an exhibition to mark the anniversary of the start of the Reformation, a Europe-wide religious, political and cultural upheaval sparked when Luther nailed his 95 theses to a church door in the town.

Half a millennium later, the robot, called BlessU-2, is intended to trigger debate about the future of the church and the potential of artificial intelligence.

“We wanted people to consider if it is possible to be blessed by a machine, or if a human being is needed,” Stephan Krebs of the Protestant church in Hesse and Nassau, which is behind the initiative, told the Guardian.

The robot has a touchscreen chest, two arms and a head. For the past 10 days it has offered blessings in a choice of German, English, French, Spanish or Polish. Worshippers can choose between a male or female voice.

The robot raises its arms, flashes lights, recites a biblical verse and says: “God bless and protect you.” If requested, it will provide a printout of its words. A backup robot is available in case of breakdown.

“The idea is to provoke debate,” said Krebs. “People from the street are curious, amused and interested. They are really taken with it, and are very positive. But inside the church some people think we want to replace human pastors with machines. Those that are church-oriented are more critical.”

Krebs and his colleagues are collecting responses for further analysis but he did not anticipate robots presenting a solution to a Europe-wide shortage of priests. A robot “could never substitute for pastoral care”, he said. “We don’t want to robotise our church work, but see if we can bring a theological perspective to a machine.”

The Wittenberg exhibition commemorates the anniversary of political and religious convulsions across Europe in the 16th century, resulting in the greatest schism in western Christianity and a string of religious wars.

Luther’s theses, written in Latin, fundamentally challenged the authority and elitism of the Roman Catholic church.

BlessU-2 is not the first robot to penetrate the world of faith. Last year, a Buddhist temple on the edge of Beijing developed a robot monk that could chant mantras and and explain basic tenets of the religion.

The latest in idolatry: the worship of artificial intelligence

The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.
They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not;
They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths.
They that make them are like unto them: so is every one that trusteth in them.
Psalms 135:15-18 (also Psalms 115:4-8)

And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
Revelation 13:11-15

As reported by Glenn McDonald of Seeker, October 3, 2017 (links in original):

You might soon be able — if you’re so inclined — to join a bonefide church worshiping an artificially intelligent god.

Former Google and Uber engineer Anthony Levandowski, according to a recent Backchannel profile, filed paperwork with the state of California in 2015 to establish Way of the Future, a nonprofit religious corporation dedicated to worshiping AI. The church's mission, according to paperwork obtained by Backchannel, is “to develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on artificial intelligence and through understanding and worship of the Godhead contribute to the betterment of society.”

The documents show Levandowski is CEO and President of Way of the Future. Presumably there was no option for High Priest.

Author and religious studies scholar Candi Cann, who teaches comparative religion at Baylor University, said Levandowski's spiritual initiative isn't necessarily that odd from a historical perspective.

“It strikes me that Levandowski's idea reads like a quintessential American religion,” Cann told Seeker. “LDS [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] and Scientology are both distinctly American traditions that focus on very forward thinking religious viewpoints. LDS discusses other planets and extra-terrestrial life. Scientology has an emphasis on therapy and a psychological worldview, which is quite modern and forward thinking.”

The concept of worshiping artificial intelligence even has a certain resonance with a major world religion, Cann said.

“From a comparative religion perspective, I think it feels the most like Hinduism, in which there are avatars of deities found on Earth,” she said. “In this way, I think AI can reflect the best of humans back to us, which are, in turn, worshiped.”

Levandowski is accused of stealing proprietary documents when he was an engineer at Google and taking them to his own self-driving vehicle start-up, which was later acquired by Uber for $680 million. Uber denies knowledge of Levandowski’s alleged theft or that Google technology made it into its vehicle technology. Waymo, Google’s self-driving vehicle spin-off, filed suit against Levandowski in February. Uber fired him in May, claiming he was not cooperating with the company’s legal work.

Levendowski’s pitch for an AI church comes amid apocalyptic warnings from tech and science luminaries like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking to the dangers of artificial intelligence. Musk suggested a few years back that he's investing heavily in artificial intelligence largely to keep an eye on AI, which he views as an existential threat to humanity.

“With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon,” the founder of Tesla and SpaceX said. “In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water.... It’s like — yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon. It didn't work out.”

A former friend and colleague of Levandowski quoted by Backchannel provides some insights to the would-be church leader's views on robots and artificial intelligence.

“He had this very weird motivation about robots taking over the world — like actually taking over, in a military sense,” an unidentified engineer and former friend told the publication. “It was like [he wanted] to be able to control the world, and robots were the way to do that.”

Baylor’s Cann noted that it's important to keep in mind that any speculation about Levandowski’s motivation for Way of the Future is based on a mission statement from only one document.

“For me, this is more like a new paradigm out of which new religious practices could emerge,” Cann told Seeker. “It doesn't seem like a religion as much as a religious worldview. Along those lines, secularism is a religious worldview.”