Sunday, 27 September 2015

Mormonism: The Rest of the (Secret) Story

Have you ever had Mormon missionaries come to your door? I think most of us have encountered them proselytizing our neighbourhoods a time or two. If nothing else, one has to admit that they're persistent and driven. But are they being entirely truthful when they come knocking, or is there more to the story that they deliberately leave out of their presentation? And if there is, then is it not logical to assume that there is also a measure of deceit and/or secrecy woven into their mantra? And if that is so, it begs the question of whether or not they can really be trusted.

Someone shared the following video on Facebook recently which makes the claim that Mormon missionaries actually hide the truth about what they really believe, and which asked the question, "What would it look like if the missionaries were actually honest about what they believe?"

As you watch you may be tempted to think that these are some pretty outlandish claims on the (secret) teachings of mormonism, and you would be right. However, do yourself a favour and don't just blindly take my word for it, or the word of the producers of this video cartoon; research it for yourself. If you do, you'll find that there is a plethora of material to convince even the biggest skeptic that these things are in fact true.

So without further ado, here's "Mormon Secrets: What the Missionaries Don't Tell."

Other related posts that may be of interest you:

Unveiling Grace: Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?

A Friend's Journey Out of Mormonism

The Mormon Creed Examined

Photo Source: Unknown (via Facebook)

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Baby or Fetus? Does Government Department Decide?

On a recent out of town business trip, I went for lunch with an old friend who happened to live in that town, and we decided on a little local bar as our eatery of choice. We had a good lunch and as always, nice time of fellowship.

While there we noticed a little poster on the wall that depicted a pregnant woman with the following message:

 “Warning: Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause birth defects and brain damage to your baby.”

It was sponsored by the AGLC (Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission) and apparently mandated to be displayed in all bar rooms and drinking establishments in the province in an effort to reduce the risks of FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder). All in all, a good message that needs to be heard. Like drinking and driving, FASD is completely preventable.

However, as we thought about that message, we also found ourselves thinking of another message that another branch of government also regularly espouses, namely the apparent refusal of healthcare to identify the unborn baby as a “baby” at all. They seem to prefer the term “fetus.” Could it be that the reason they do so is because to label the unborn as a “baby” would be problematic for the pro-abortionists? And since it’s the medical field that performs abortions, well, draw your own conclusions. It’s a potential hot potato to say the least.

The irony, though, is that here we have two branches of government; one is medical, and the other is non-medical. One’s mandate is to promote health and wellness and the healing of the sick, but yet it refuses to call the unborn a “baby.” The other deals with regulating two elements in society that often physically and/or mentally destroys health and wellness of her citizens (alcohol and gambling), yet in its official publications calls the unborn a “baby,” and not just a “fetus.”

As we thought about this still further, it occurred to us that the terms governments use, “baby” or “fetus,” seem to depend in large part on the message they want to convey to the public. If the message is that it’s perfectly OK and acceptable to abort the unborn at any stage of pregnancy, then they will have to refrain from calling the unborn a “baby.” To do so would simply leave too much of a bad taste in society’s mouth if they thought that the government had legalized the abortion, and thus by default murder, of babies. The term “fetus” tends to de-humanize the unborn, removing much of that sting, and as such makes the whole thing more socially acceptable.

In the same way, the message of the AGLC’s poster is to reduce the risk of side effects from alcohol consumption by pregnant women upon their unborn. If they had simply chosen to say, “Warning: Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause birth defects and brain damage to your fetus,” it would have carried much less of a punch and not conveyed the same urgency in its message. In such a case they might as well have said, “Go ahead and drink, ladies; it’s just a fetus, a mass of tissue. After all, if there’s a problem, you can always abort it later on.” In such a hypothetical poster, the true message they wanted to convey would be lost, and the government would probably have been better off not putting forth any advertising, because then if nothing else, at least they would have saved some taxpayer dollars.

While in some ways we might be tempted to blame governments and others with political agendas for often propagandizing this whole unborn debate in one way or another, the real question is, what message does government want us to hear? Ultimately the language and terminology they use will reflect that message.

That was an interesting discussion that day. Early in our lunch hour my friend mentioned this strange dichotomy to the waitress as she poured our coffee, and for the rest of our time there that day, every time she passed that poster, she seemed to pause and reflect on the government’s somewhat ironic message in the bar room in which she worked. Maybe she never thought of an unborn as a “baby” before. Maybe our discussion sparked a little rethinking in her mind as well. It certainly did in us.


Sunday, 6 September 2015

The Ornamental Christian: Forgotten What We're For?

"Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven" (Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 16:17; NIV).

We found the following little nugget in an old worn paperback devotional by Watchman Nee. It blessed us and so we decided to share it here for your meditation.

"The church's foundation is not only Christ but the knowledge of Christ. The tragedy today is that many of us in the churches - indeed many so-called churches - lack such foundation. We do not know Him. To us He is a theoretical or doctrinal Christ, not a revealed Christ. But theory will not prevail against hell, which is what Jesus declares His church is to do. Have we perhaps forgotten what we are for? Visiting Western homes I have sometimes seen a beautiful porcelain plate, not put to use on the table, but wired and hung up to the wall as a treasured ornament. Many, it seems to me, think of the Church like that, as something to be admired for the perfection of its form. But no, God's Church is for use, not decoration. An appearance of life may seem to suffice when conditions are favourable, but when the gates of hell come out against us, we know well enough that what we each need above all is a God-given vision of His Son. It is first-hand knowledge that counts in the hour of testing."

Have we become simply ornamental Christians, on display like a fancy plate? Have we forgotten what we are really for? I hope not. Something to think about. Peace.

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons
Quote Source: Watchman Nee

Oh Me of "Little" Faith

Have you ever tried to picture the scene? Peter sees Jesus walking on the water and bids Jesus to ask him to come out onto the water. Jesus does so, Peter begins to walk on the water, but seeing the turmoil around him, takes his eyes off the Lord and begins to sink. Then, if that were not bad enough, Jesus says to him, "You of little faith." Ouch! Let's pick up the story:

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

"Lord, if it is you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."

"Come," he said.

Then Peter got out of the boat, walked on the water and came towards Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." (Matthew 14: 22-33; NIV).

How would you describe your faith? Huge? Medium? Or like Peter's at that moment, Little? If yours is the "huge" variety, I'm happy for you. Mine, on the other hand, is unfortunately too often too little. There are days when, despite my intentions to do otherwise, I too have taken my eyes off the Lord and planted them squarely on the problems and turmoil around me. There are days where it seems like I'm only pulling off a 2% at best when it comes to my Christian walk. If it wasn't for the grace of God, I would have sunk long ago without the hand of the Lord reaching down to lift me up yet again.

And therein is one of the key hopes and promises of the Christian faith: God's acceptance of me, even with my often doubting "little" faith, is not dependant upon my efforts or huge faith. I can still cry out to Him, "Lord, save me!" and see His hand reach down beneath my waves of turmoil to pull me back into the boat again. When it seems like there's no way out, Jesus is the way! Hallelujah! I guess that's why they call it grace.

Can you relate? Feel like you're sinking? If so, call on Him, even if you only have a doubting "little" 2% faith right now. Look up and watch for His hand to pull you back into the boat. Peace and blessings, my friend.

1st Photo Source: Unknown (via Facebook)
2nd Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons