Sunday, August 27, 2017

Moral Status of a Fetus?

Wow!  Listen to the "logic" of the liberal defense of early term abortion...

James Franco and Eliot Michealson discuss with Liz Harmon.

Faith in Absolutely Nothing

I happened upon The Lutheran Hour ( @LutheranHourMinistries ) again this morning and heard Rev. Ken Klaus reciting a sermon on Absolutely Nothing. He spoke of how one day when he was a junior in high school, his grandfather passed away leaving his father as executor of his estate. There was a box of what was important papers. "The greatest number of papers in that box was stock certificates from various companies. The one thing those stocks had in common was this: they had been issued before the stock market crash of 1929." As it turned out, there was one set of stocks from a company which was still in business - and that stock was valued at a couple hundred dollars. Then there was a huge stack of other stocks for which all of the companies had ceased to exist after the stock market crash... the were worth "Absolutely Nothing." Rev. Klaus tells a couple other stories about "Absolutely Nothing" and then gets to his point.  "As a believer, I have absolutely nothing to believe in. Yes, you heard that right. I have absolutely nothing to believe in. Please, allow to me to explain."  Rather than me paraphrasing, allow me to quote the next section verbatim:
                       Nowadays, most believers and unbelievers who have studied history agree that there was a man by the name of Jesus who was crucified under the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate. Most don't have any difficulty with the events after Jesus' death. 
                        Here's what the evangelist Matthew wrote: "The chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and, referring to Jesus they said, 'Sir, we remember how that imposter said while He was still alive, 'After three days I will rise.' Therefore, order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples go and steal Him away and tell the people, 'He's risen from the dead.' The last fraud will be worse than the first.' Pilate said to them, 'You have a guard of soldiers go, make it as secure as you can.' So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard."
                           Those Jewish leaders knew Jesus had promised that He would rise from the dead. They also knew that if the Christ's body disappeared things could get a bit dicey for them. People might believe on Him. They might trust Him. They might even claim He was the promised Messiah. To prevent that, these civic leaders asked for and received the Roman ruler's permission to lock down Jesus' grave. A great stone at the entrance of the grave made it difficult for Jesus' body to be stolen. The guards outside the tomb made any attempt a suicide mission. 
                          A guarded and inaccessible tomb is what the women should have found that Sunday dawn when they went to finish preparing Jesus' body for His final rest. As they progressed to that borrowed grave, they would have had absolutely nothing to comfort them. Their Rabbi, their Friend, their Teacher was dead. Yes, He had talked about repentance, forgiveness, and salvation, but that kind of talk had ended on Friday's cross when a Roman spear had ripped into His heart. They had heard Jesus say "It is finished." They had watched when He breathed His last. All that was left for this sorry funeral procession is for them to pay their final respects to the memories, the hopes, and the dreams of what once had been. Yes, that's the way it should have been. Now, let me tell you the way it really was. 
                         Sometime before the women's arrival, an angel from heaven came down to earth. Fear of his presence threw the armed guards to the ground after which they ran away to report to their bosses. Shortly after, the women arrived and were taken aback to see an angel sitting on the stone. Knowing what was in their hearts, the angel began: "Do not be afraid for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here for He has risen as He said. Come, see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He is also risen from the dead."
                        For the first time that Resurrection Sunday, people poked their heads into Jesus' borrowed tomb. Not long after, two disciples, Peter and John, also ran to Jesus' grave to see if there was any truth to what the ladies had told them. John waited at the entrance to the grave, but Peter raced right on in. John soon joined the big fishermen, and together they looked at-well, there's no other way to say it-they looked at absolutely nothing. Oh sure, the embalming cloths, which had wrapped Jesus' body and face were still there. Yes, they were there, but Jesus was gone. If there had been a traffic cop there that day, he probably would have said, "Move along. Move along. There's absolutely nothing here to see." That cop would have been right. On Resurrection Sunday there was absolutely nothing to see. 
So, Rev. Klaus, using a clever play on words, justifies the sentiment that the Christian Faith is based on "Absolutely Nothing." 

What I found a bit disturbing was a couple of things. First off, I used the word "reciting" earlier because I don't believe this sermon to be Rev. Klaus'. He made it sound like this sermon was his own creation - but I heard almost the exact same sermon at Our Lady of Mount Carmel (OLMC) in Phoenix, Az at least ten years ago! I don't recall the exact date - but I do recall it was Easter Sunday and Fr. Bonavitacola had a guest priest celebrating Mass that day and the guest priest also gave this sermon. The point here is, in an open letter to Rev. Klaus, I've heard this sermon before. I recall being a bit offended then too - this priest was preaching that our Faith is built on nothing. I realize he was saying this for shock value, much like Klaus is too, I'm sure, but, it's simply not a true statement.

While it is a somewhat clever play on words - it is simply NOT TRUE! Well, it IS true that on that first Easter morning the women and then Peter and John, found the empty tomb, but the didn't find "Absolutely Nothing!" What the DID find was Jesus' burial cloth - but no Jesus. Also remarkable was the fact that the Roman guard had fled their post. For them to leave their post would mean death to them, for their orders were to stand guard, period, and abandoning their post would result in capital punishment. Their absence is a significant "something." Then, over the next 40 days, Jesus would appear to His Apostles first and then to many others.  That again is not "Absolutely Nothing." We have their testimonies on this. St. Paul too has an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Paul, previously known as Saul, was a persecutor of Christians - doing whatever he could do to destroy the Church which Jesus had built.

This brings us to the key point which Rev. Klaus (and sadly, that guest priest at OLMC) missed completely. The Resurrected Jesus was there, walking and dining with others for 40 days and teaching them how to build His Church. Most of what went on during those 40 days is not recorded in Scripture - but it is clear, Jesus was instructing them. This is far from "Absolutely Nothing." They were to - and DID build His Church.

Now what we have "Absolutely Nothing" to show - for over 1500 years - is a "Lutheran" church! Okay, it is a bit anachronistic to expect a Lutheran church to exist before Martin Luther, but the point is - there was no "church" which held the Protestant beliefs - like "the Five Solas" or "once saved, always saved," no Calvinism or Baptist or Methodist, etc. The FACT is, for over 1000 years after Christ, if you were a true Christian - you were Catholic. In 1054 AD, the Eastern Orthodox split with Catholicism - but Catholicism continued and continues to this day! 

Likewise, in the Lutheran church there is "absolutely nothing" for the forgiveness of sins since their clergy separated from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Forgiveness of sins is a charism given ONLY to the bishops (originally given ONLY to the Apostles, our first bishops).  
John 20:22-23 And with that he breathed on them (The Apostles) and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Thus ONLY those whom the bishop has given faculties can hear confessions and grant absolution. Outside the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church - there is absolutely nothing for the forgiveness of sins.

So, while there is some truth in what Klaus and that guest priest preached - the bottom line is, they missed it "by that much" (to quote Maxwell Smart).
Missing it, even "by that much" can have serious and eternal consequences.

Scott Windsor<<<

You can hear Rev. Klaus' entire sermon here: 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Come Holy Ghost!

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;
Thou, finger of God's hand we own;
Thou, promise of the Father, Thou
Who dost the tongue with power imbue.

Kindle our sense from above,
and make our hearts o'erflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high
the weakness of our flesh supply.

Far from us drive the foe we dread,
and grant us Thy peace instead;
so shall we not, with Thee for guide,
turn from the path of life aside.

Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
the Father and the Son to know;
and Thee, through endless times confessed,
of both the eternal Spirit blest.

Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death, be glory given,
with Thou, O Holy Comforter,
henceforth by all in earth and heaven. Amen.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

On Another Break!

This Masters program has really had me tied up - not much time for apologetics! During the last week of my last session we took a trip to Western NY then to Boston then to NYC...  that was a challenge to get everything done while "on vacation."  We did have a great time though!

School starts back up on Thursday, Aug 17! 

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Back But Almost NOT!

Well, today marks the final day of the Spring Semester for me!  I have a break for a few weeks, so hope to get back into the swing of some apologetics!
I also mentioned, "Almost NOT!" in the title. and that is because a week ago last Friday I found myself in the cardiac cath lab at the hospital where I work!  Backing up a bit...  I'm a bit overweight and want to start an exercise program to get back into shape - but in recent years, especially recent months, I've noticed I "run out of gas" way too quickly. So, not wanting to literally kill myself to try to get back into shape, I schedule an appointment with a cardiologist associate (and friend, who happens to be a Greek Orthodox Christian) for Thursday, April 20th. Well, on Monday, April 17th I was just carrying a laptop computer (a rather heavy one, as laptops go, but still - a laptop) from one side of the hospital to the other (where my office is located) and about halfway there I started wondering if I would make it all the way to my desk!  I pressed on and made it, but sat in my chair and had to "recover" for about 10-15 minutes before going back to work.

So, later that same day - my wife and I met with another doctor friend of ours and I told them about what I had experienced - they both said, "You're not really waiting until Thursday for your appointment, are you?"  I said, "I guess not!" My wife and I went straight to the cardiologist office and they worked me in for an EKG - it was normal. He scheduled me for an echo and a stress echo on Wednesday, changed my meds a little and gave me a prescription for nitro to carry with me at all times. Well, the echo was fine - but for the stress echo, I could not last the 6 minutes on the treadmill they wanted from me, and the images from the stress echo were not conclusive enough.
Then comes my Thursday, April 20th appointment. My doctor explained that my heart was in great shape!  I have an ejection factor of 75%, which I guess is very good!  However, based upon my symptoms - he was 99% sure I had a blockage. He said, "I have time for you in the cath lab for tomorrow at 1:45 - well, I knew something was up, but I was not expecting to go into a cath procedure the next day!
Friday morning, I went to work as normal (didn't want to just sit around thinking about it all day) I got off at 11am and my son (one who is still in the Navy) came into town, and we went to the local parish - where I tracked down a priest who heard my confession, gave me communion and anointed me.  Surgery went fine and my doctor found a 90-95% blockage in the LAD artery (Left Anterior Descending) and they immediately inserted two stents.

The following video is not of my heart, but the blockage is the same amount and in the same spot, so my video likely doesn't look much different (still trying to see if I can get a copy of that).

I stayed overnight, went home the next morning. Everyone was saying how much better I'd feel after the procedure - to be honest, I didn't feel any different - not immediately.
Then, last Thursday, I had parked my car at the bottom of a fairly large hill on our hospital property - but I went in through a lower door and took the elevator back up to the second floor, same elevation as my office at the top of that hill. After work, I was in a hurry to get home to meet someone - and I raced off to my car.  I got to my car and realized, "Dang, I left my keys back at my desk!" I did not have time to go the elevator way, I looked at the hill and said to myself, "Well, here's the first test of the cath/stent procedure!" I climbed the hill with no trouble!  Then last Saturday my son graduated from Grand Canyon University - we sat near the top, and I avoided the escalator, taking the stairs - NO PROBLEM!  After graduation we walked, nearly a mile, back to the parking garage and then I walked up the stairs to the 4th level - not stopping even once!  A week or so earlier, I would have stopped at every level to catch my breath!  OK, I AM feeling MUCH better than I did prior to the operation!
Anyway, God wasn't quite ready for me yet, and sent me a wake-up call and a second chance!  Several people mentioned, including my doctor, that I narrowly averted "the widow maker."

Accendat in nobis Dominus ignem sui amoris, et flammam aeternae caritatis. Amen.