Comes A Horseman?

Scott’s Blog 10/09/08

Comes A Horseman!

This week on Scott Richards Live we have received a number of questions about the current economic chaos that has seemingly hit out of nowhere with a devastating impact.

To cut to the chase – Is this a prophetically significant event?

The short answer? Not immediately.

But quite possibly imminently.

Here’s what I mean.

As briefly as a month ago the notion of major mortgage and insurance companies being the recipients of $70 billion bail outs from the federal government and the Dow plunging below 9000 was almost unimaginable.

And yet the financial house of cards built on high risk people being given unrealistically high loans has been blown away.

And the impact of this collapse not only illustrates what greed and corruption can do to our economy, but also highlights another fascinating reality.

The interdependent, global economic system that seemed farfetched back in the 80’s is an undeniable reality in 2008.

IT WAS a day of desperate global action, unprecedented in both scale and cost, intended to stymie the international devastation being wrought by the financial crisis.

As the London stock market steeled itself to open again following days of vicious battering, Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, rose to stake the future of the country and the Cabinet on an audacious £500 billion banking bail-out.

And barely had the City begun to digest the hugely complex and unorthodox scheme when it was sent reeling again by an unscheduled interest rate cut – mirrored across the world – by the Monetary Policy Committee. It was the first such co-ordinated approach since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 – yet another indicator, had one been needed, of the gravity of the situation.

The half percentage point drop was immediately passed on to millions of borrowers, with leading high-street banks cutting their mortgages.

The government’s scheme, a three-part plan which takes in short, medium and long-term measures, was welcomed by business leaders and analysts.

David Kern, adviser to the British Chamber of Commerce, said: “The government has taken a radical step, but it is one we welcome.” http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/latestnews/-New-World-Order.4573452.jp

What is most significant about this is that various international monetary regulators, including our Federal Reserve Bank acted simultaneously to try to head off this crisis.

Governments, including our own, have taken the radical step of nationalizing a major portion of the mortgage business.

And history shows us that what a government takes under control it is very unlikely to relinquish.

The prophetic significance?

This may be a preview of another financial crisis that will set the stage for a “radical step, but one the world will welcome”.

Noted prophecy commentator Dr. Mark Hitchcock offers this insight.

But the most interesting foreign fallout from the financial crisis was this statement from China. “The world urgently needs to create a diversified currency and financial system and fair and just financial order that is not dependent on the United States.” The Chinese are suggesting that the world’s financial market needs more oversight and “diversified currency.” While no one on earth knows what the final fallout will be from this economic crisis, all the uncertainty and chaos could eventually lead to some form of universal currency and global financial system that will be strictly overseen by some centralized power.

This is exactly what the Bible predicts in Revelation13 where one man, the coming Antichrist, is able to ultimately take control of the world’s economy. In Revelation 6:5-6, the third horseman of the apocalypse, the black horse, reveals that in the end times a financial earthquake will bring on runaway inflation that will plunge the world into a widespread famine. That crisis will probably be the springboard for the Antichrist to seize control of the world economy. What we see today is certainly a frightening foreshadow of what’s coming. The rider on the black horse may be getting ready to mount up. http://www.prophecyhotline.com/

T

he bottom line? This economic earthquake will probably subside and business as usual will prevail.

The next shake up may be more permanent.

Popcorn Philosophy

Scott’s Blog 10/07/08

Popcorn Philosophy

 

Where do you go when you want some insight into the deepest issues of life?

It used to be a lounge at a college student union.

Or a cool espresso shop.

Now, things have changed.

We have cable television programs where we can see the big questions discussed.

Well, maybe not discussed.

Most of the time these presentations degenerate into two people either trying to shout the other down, or a display of such reasonable, well nuanced points like “You’re ugly and your mom dresses you funny!”

So how do you get your point across without losing your voice?

Seems like there is a new way around these full throated insult fests – make a movie!

Controversial left leaning documentary maker Michael Moore pioneered the popularity of this approach with his decidedly snarky works “Michael and Me”, “Farenheit 911” and “Sicko”.

Now, the advantage of making such a film is that you have complete control over the finished product.

Opposing point of view makes you look silly?

Leave it on the cutting room floor.

Experts who disagree might ask you questions you can’t answer?

Line up a list of the bizarre and extreme and poorly informed so you can look like you are the voice of reason.

By making a film you can make yourself look like an intellectual Rocky Balboa taking thirty seconds to KO Barney Fife.

The latest practitioner of this less than honorable art?

Wanna be philosopher and comedian Bill Maher and his cinematic offering “Religulous”.

Syndicated talk show host and noted movie critic Michael Medved offers this evaluation of three fundamental (Can I use that word?) flaws in Maher’s foray into cinema.

 

First, and most obviously, Maher selects easy and vulnerable targets for his sneering assaults on God and Jesus. He never chooses to interview formidable religious intellects, like author Dinesh D’Souza, or theologian Al Mohler, or evangelist Ravi Zacarias. Instead he focuses on oddballs like the portly proprietor of a religious curios shop, or the surfer dude who plays Jesus in those theme park crucifixions, or the sleazy, pompadoured Latino evangelist who claims he’s the reincarnated Christ. On the rare occasions that the movie shows him in conversation with a serious thinker (such as Dr. Francis Collins of the Human Genome Project) the interchange is edited to avoid substance and to highlight Maher’s insulting zingers.

Second, the movie concentrates its fire on Christianity in its various forms while giving a free pass to the most dangerous elements of radical Islam. Islamic fanatics and jihadists obviously passed up the chance to talk with Bill Maher (or, perhaps Maher wisely made scant attempt to talk with them), so the only Muslims he encounters look harmless and clueless—like the pair of nerdy middle-aged guys trying to start a gay encounter group for the Islamic community in Amsterdam. Only at the end of the film does Maher make significant reference to Islamo-Nazi terror, and he does so to warn of an alleged world-ending threat from religion in general – conflating the dangers of Islam, Christianity and Judaism (Hinduism and Buddhism are all but ignored) as if each of the Abrahamic faiths counted as equally menacing. A frightening montage cuts together images of burning buildings on 9/11 and Osama bin Laden, with footage of Pope Benedict, President Bush and devout Jews in prayer.

Finally, Maher scrupulously avoids any honest examination of his own spiritual state or pursuit of happiness. At one point, he interacts with his mother and derisively recalls his Catholic upbringing, but there’s no hint as to whether his anti-religious path has led him to enlightenment and satisfaction or merely to bitter loneliness. Since Maher has established himself as a famous and rich comedian, we’re obviously meant to assume that he’s achieved some sort of happiness or fulfillment. But he never reflects on his own lack of a wife, children or family, or his comments elsewhere about his enthusiastic indulgence in drugs and hookers. A bit of honest self-examination might have helped shape a far richer, more provocative film, by undermining Maher’s pose of smug superiority in encountering religious people whose lives, by conventional standards,  count as far more “together” and rewarding than his disconnected and decadent celebrity existence. http://townhall.com/blog/g/ffe78649-7c90-404b-bb75-fde20817cee0If your definition of deep thinking is sarcasm, sweeping generalizations, straw man arguments and liberal use of vulgarities then “Religulous” may be your cup of tea.

The most ironic thing about “Religulous” is that Maher is absolutely certain that absolute certainty about God is the greatest threat to humanity.

I wonder if he would apply that same standard to those who are absolutely certain religion is the problem?

As Michael Medved summed up:

Maher’s concluding fire-and-brimstone sermon (there is no other phrase) flatly declares that the world would find itself greatly and profoundly improved if every form of faith simply disappeared and humanity learned to live in the pure, cold, blinding sunlight of materialist reason.

To follow up on that concept, perhaps Maher’s next project could feature visits to those favored areas of the planet where religion has already vanished, thanks to the efforts of enlightened and determined leaders. North Korea or Cuba might provide ideal places to begin such a tour, and we can only wish Bill Maher luck in negotiating permission from such benevolent and religion-free governments. http://townhall.com/blog/g/ffe78649-7c90-404b-bb75-fde20817cee0I think the Bible says it most succinctly:

The fool has said in his heart,“There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1)

They Couldn’t Say it If It Wasn’t True?

Scott’s Blog 10/06/08
They Couldn’t Say it If It Wasn’t True?

There was a time when most people assumed that telling the truth was one of the most important values in our culture.
Even if we heard something outlandish, the general reaction was, “They couldn’t say it if it wasn’t true.”
And so we dutifully nodded as PBS specials told us that molecules to man by random mutation was a proven fact. After all, our development as embryos recreates our progression from fish to lizard to mammal to man.
And that the latest sugar crusted oat-like product was really good for you.
And that wearing the right sneaker could make us run faster and jump higher.
But then we discovered that those text book drawings showing that our development as embryos were faked by a turn of the 19th century evolutionary zealot.
And the Choco-Sugar-Wackies we ate for breakfast were causing us to pass out before lunch.
And the shoes? Well, in the end, they were only slightly more performance enhancing than your basic penny loafer.
We realized that we had been fooled – taken in by people we assumed were telling the truth.
One of the most valuable survival skills we need to develop living in the age of hype is the fine art of discernment.
Just because we see it on TV, read it in print, or (heaven forbid) catch it on the internet, don’t make it so.
News outlets like the Associated Press that once proudly aimed for objectivity and fairness in every story, now openly practice what is known as “advocacy journalism”.
The thinking goes like this, “Human beings are biased. Since biased human beings write our stories, we cannot expect objectivity. Therefore we encourage reporters to allow their own point of view to be represented freely in their dispatches.”
 Not only do they admit their reporting is biased, they act as if that is a good thing. And if you suggest that actually striving for objectivity might make for more accurate reporting – you are the one with the bias problem.
The same mentality has now crept even into into the text books that supposedly represent a factual view of history to our children.

 

BRAVE NEW SCHOOLS
‘Jesus was a Palestinian,’ claims U.S. history text
Study: American public school books have ‘same inaccuracies’ as Arab texts

A new study reveals that if Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wanted to criticize the nation of Israel before the United Nations, he could use American public school textbooks to do so.
“It is shocking to find the kind of misinformation we discovered in American textbooks and supplemental materials being used by schools in every state in the country,” said Dr. Gary Tobin, president of the Institute for Jewish & Community Research and a co-author of the study.
“Elected officials at every level should investigate how these offensive passages are creeping into our textbooks. Presenting false information in the classroom undermines the very foundation of the American educational system,” he said.
Tobin teamed with insititute research associate Dennis Ybarra for the study, titled, “The Trouble with Textbooks: Distorting History and Religion.” The five-year effort, which looked at 28 prominent history, geography and social studies textbooks, reveals American public school students are being loaded up with indoctrination about Christianity, Judaism, Islam and the Middle East, to the cost of Christianity and Judaism and the benefit of Islam.
The study also supports other assessments of U.S. texts on which WND has reported.
 According to an earlier report from the American Textbook Council, history textbooks throughout the U.S. schooling system promote Islam.
The new study by the IJCR found more than 500 erroneous passages in the books, including one textbook that charged that early Jewish civilization contributed little to the arts and sciences.
An excerpt from “World Civilizations,” published by Thomson Wadsworth, for example, said, “Excepting the Old Testament’s poetry, the Jews produced very little of note in any of the art forms … There is no record of any important [early] Jewish contributions to the sciences.”
The level of outrageousness grew: “Christianity was started by a young Palestinian named Jesus,” claims “The World,” published by Scott Foresman.
“The textbooks tend to be critical of Jews and Israel, disrespectful about Christianity, and rather than represent Islam in an objective way, tend to glorify it,” said co-author Ybarra. “To teach children, for instance, that Jesus was a Palestinian and de-emphasize his Jewishness does a disservice to Christians and Jews as well as anyone who cares about historical accuracy.”
The institute analyzes issues such as racial and religious identity, philanthropy and higher education. Its full report is available at TroubleWithTextbooks.org, where all 28 books that came under its review are listed.
The authors found textbooks that stated or suggested:
  • Jesus was a “Palestinian,” not a Jew. 

  • The Arab nations never attacked Israel. Arab-Israeli wars “just broke out,” or Israel started them 

  • Arabs nations want peace, but Israel does not 

  • Israel expelled all Palestinian refugees 

  • Israel put the Palestinians in refugee camps in Arab lands, not Arab governments 

  • Palestinian terrorism is nonexistent or minimal 

  • Israel is not a victim of terrorism, or terrorism against Israel is justified 

  • U.S. support of Israel causes terrorism, including 9/11 

  • The intifadas were children’s revolts not involving adults or terrorism

They also found that Judaism and Christianity are treated as matters of believing, while Islam is treated as a matter of fact. In the glossary of “World History: Continuity and Change,” the Ten Commandments are described as, “Moral laws Moses claimed to have received from the Hebrew God Yahweh on Mount Sinai.” But the same glossary states as fact the Quran is a, “Holy Book of Islam containing revelations received by Muhammad from God.” http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=76671
It is clear from the examples sited above that any parent who believes his or her children are getting the facts about even the basics of Western Civilization from an objective historical perspective better wake up and smell the coffee.
Even the class room is swimming in bias in our days.
 Knowing the truth well enough to spot errors is not just something for scholars.
And the same is true in our walk with God.
Running under the assumption that something is true Biblically because “I heard it in church” or “I saw it on Christian media” is a recipe for disaster.
Paul gave us some on target advice in his letter to the church at Thessalonica.

 
When something seems amiss in a spiritual message ask yourself:
– Where does it say that in the Bible?
– Are there clear passages in Scripture that contradict this message?
– Is respectful questioning of those in authority based upon a shared commitment to God’s truth encouraged or discouraged?
Just as in the class room or the cable TV commercial, even what so called authorities and experts in the church say may not really be so.
Let’s make sure we love God’s truth enough to seek it, stand for it and accept no substitutes for it in these dark days.

Test all things; hold fast what is good. (I Thessalonians 5:21)

 

They Couldn’t Say it If It Wasn’t True?

Presidential Politics and the Pulpit

Scott’s Blog 10/02/08

Presidential Politics and the Pulpit

Imagine taking your usual seat at your usual worship service at the usual time next Sunday.

But then, the unusual happens.

The pastor asks the ushers to come forward and pass out voter guides.

He then makes an impassioned plea for support of a presidential candidate, going so far as to say that “No Christian in their right mind could possibly support … John McCain.”

Or, “Anyone who knows their Bible couldn’t vote for Barak Obama.”

Would you support that use of a Sunday sermon? Or would you find yourself looking for a new church?

Many believers may find themselves in just that kind of situation if a move from a conservative leaning legal advocacy group gets their way.

The Alliance Defense Fund has launched an effort to remove the threat of churches losing tax exempt status if they endorse political candidates. http://www.alliancedefensefund.org/news/story.aspx?cid=4690Should churches wade in on behalf of specific candidates and issues?

Christian political columnist Cal Thomas offers a couple of on target points of caution.

The first obstacle is what Scripture teaches about a Christian’s relationship to the state. In one of the best-known passages, Paul the Apostle writes, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.” (Romans 13:1) Is defying the law, no matter what political motivations were behind it, submitting to such authority, or opposing it?
Obstacle number two has to do with the reason people attend worship services. It is not, or should not be, in order to pledge allegiance to a party, candidate or earthly agenda. One can spend inordinate amounts of time on that subject simply by watching cable TV, or listening to talk radio, or reading the newspapers. No matter how hard they try to protect the gospel from corruption, ministers who focus on politics and politicians as a means of redemption must minimize their ultimate calling and message. The road to redemption does not run through Washington, D.C. Politicians can’t redeem themselves from the temptations of Washington. What makes anyone think they can redeem the rest of us? http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/thomas093008.php3

 

 

One undeniable truth we enjoy daily on Scott Richards Live is how relevant and relatable the message of the Bible is to even the most modern and contemporary issues. Certainly where the Bible speaks we should speak on the issues of the day.

But the moment we cross the line and endorse individual candidates we invite both division and distraction from our primary purpose as a church – to win as many people as possible to Christ.

This certainly was front and center in Paul’s set of priorities.

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.(I Corinthians 9:19-23)
 

 

It is significant to note that although Jesus lived in Roman occupied Israel, He never wasted teaching time railing against Caesar.

Paul was certainly the target of politically motivated persecution, but he never advocated insurrection against the powers that were.

Both were more interested in the peoples’ spiritual condition than in public policy.

The moment a church takes a stand for a particular candidate it immediately loses half their audience.

What do we gain if we elect an earthly candidate, but lose the ability to speak to peoples’ souls?

The Appeal of Appeasement

Scott’s Blog 10/01/08

The Appeal of Appeasement

“Can’t we find out what they want?”

“It’s better to talk than not to talk.”

“I’m sure if we see things from their perspective we can see they have a point too.”

“If we can meet them half way, surely we can live in peace.”

In a perfect world, who would ever disagree with this approach to conflict resolution?

The problem is, we don’t live in a perfect world. Or anything close to it.

We have detailed in this space the hard lesson the world learned almost exactly 70 years ago.

At 1:30 am, September 30, 1938 the Munich Pact was signed. Britain and France gave in to Adolf Hitler’s demands for a strategic section of Czechoslovakia called the Sudetenland.

When Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned he declared that he believed the agreement was “peace in our time.”

 

Winston Churchill disagreed. he said, “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You have chosen dishonor and will have war.”

Three years later, when the German Blitz was laying waste to London “Peace in our time” had become a cruel joke.

There is no doubt that the motives of Chamberlain were noble. But when confronted by evil, all compromise, diplomacy and photo opportunities end up doing is ringing the dinner bell.

I couldn’t help but think of the lessons of Munich when I read of a similar attempt at meeting evil half way that happened recently.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert attempted to find middle ground with Hamas, Hezbollah and their Iranian sponsors by declaring that retreat from territory was his country’s only hope for survival.

Olmert pronounces Greater Israel dead

Published: 9/14/2008

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says the idea of “Greater Israel”– the main motto of the Zionist founders of the Israeli regime– is dead.

“‘Greater Israel’ is finished. There is no such thing as that anymore. Whoever talks in those terms is only deluding himself,” the prime minister admitted at a cabinet meeting.

“It doesn’t help Israel. The international community has changed its perspective ahead of the possibility of Israel becoming a bi-national state,” he said.

” I believed that the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean was all ours since in every place there that is excavated, there is evidence of Jewish History. But finally, after a lot of suffering and misgivings, I came to the conclusion that we need to share the land with whom we are residing if we don’t want to become a bi-national state,” Olmert said.

The premier also warned that the clock is “not ticking in Israel’s favor.” http://www.turkishpress.com/news.asp?id=251735

 What was the response to this reasoned exercise in what has come to be known as “realpolitik”?

Nasrallah: ‘We Killed Greater Israel’
(IsraelNN.com) Hizbullah head Hassan Nasrallah gloated on Tuesday night following Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s statement earlier in the week that “There is no more ‘Greater Israel.’” Hizbullah was responsible for “pounding the last nail in the coffin of ‘Greater Israel,’” he said. “The victories of 2000 and 2006 destroyed the dream of a vast Israeli power,” he said, referring to Israel’s retreats from southern Lebanon. “Today, we face ‘Mediocre Israel.’”http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/153113

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejhad was more than happy to endorse Olmert’s comments and take things a step further.

Ahmadinejad: Israel won’t survive in any shape or form

Tags: nuclear, Iran 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lashed out again at Israel on Thursday, saying that it won’t survive in any shape or form.

Speaking to reporters, the hard-line leader smirked at a former mantra of the Israeli right of a Greater Israel that would include Palestinian territories. The idea has since been abandoned, with Israeli consensus now that there will be a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that the idea of a Greater Israel, which includes the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, is a thing of the past, and that anyone who still thinks in this way is delusional. Ahmadinejad said that “while some say the idea of Greater Israel has expired, I say the idea of a Lesser Israel has expired, too.” http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1022398.html

The bottom line?  Try as we might, we can’t make a peace treaty with evil.

And what is true in the realm of geopolitics is also true in our personal lives.

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says:

      “ Awake, you who sleep,
      Arise from the dead,
      And Christ will give you light.” (Ephesians 5:11-14)

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (Romans 8:12-14)

Take it to the bank – If we give evil an inch it will take a mile.

Just as the world learned in Munich, compromise with darkness will only leave us compromised and in darkness.