Saturday, August 29, 2009

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

Does Anybody Really Care?

That old Chicago tune comes to mind when I read that phrase. I couldn't help but think of it! But I'm showing my age! : )

Another thought came to mind while I was reading James Ussher's, The Annals of the World; that classic survey of world history. In religious prophecy; dating, timing and history are everything. It's fun to read "history" in the Bible then review the history in the Annals.

For example, the Persian rulers Artaxerxes and Darius are mentioned in the Bible as rulers of the Jews and as prominent figures within Daniel's prophecies. Reading the "secular" history along with the biblical places everything in it's actual historical perspective. This is why the Bible has been called the most historically justified book of all time. Actual secular history follows the biblical text, or vice-versa, depending on your approach.

While having a bit of fun with this I came across something that elicited an interesting thought. Ussher relies on Julian Dating. Named after the famous Julius Caesar, JD is less accurate (today) than the famous Gregorian calendar, named after Pope Gregory XIII. In the end it doesn't matter because the Julian adjustments to the calendar makes sense for ancient dates and the Gregorian adjustments make sense for us today. That's why we have both. One could make a fine, enjoyable study of this but it's not the purpose of this blog entry.
When we look at today's date, August 29, 2009; it's Julian equivalent is; 2455072.5, or 2 million 455 thousand, 72.5 days from the beginning of the Julian Period - which started, BTW, in 4713 B.C. ! If my math is correct, this is the year 6722 (or thereabouts) of the Julian Period.
Now, I realize I'm not the first person to think of this (I also realize the futility of it as well). But, God seems to like to work in 7's doesn't He? Aren't we nearing the end of a 7th millennium? Concerning Christians who believe in an actual, literal Second Advent - we seem to be living on borrowed time! It makes you think, doesn't it?
Here is a Julian Dating Converter if you wish to convert a modern day calendar date.
The Observer

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Introducing A New Web Site - Prophecy Truth

Pastor Doug Bachelor of Amazing Facts has created a new web site pertaining to world events and prophecy. It's called; Bible Prophecy Truth . Here is an excerpt from one of it's subjects:

A New World Order?

"The list of men searching for the elusive all-controlling, one-world government goes on: Charlemagne, Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm, and, of course, Stalin, Hitler, and Mao. All of these famous (and infamous) men watched coldly as their grand schemes failed. And even the League of Nations, United Nations, and European Economic Community have all done their part in attempting to establish their own modified versions of the new world order. But we see how even these peacetime organizations fail miserably at bringing people together!"

... "The Bible speaks of a beautiful city called the New Jerusalem, which will be God’s headquarters. It is described in Revelation 21 and 22. The picture these chapters paint is mind-boggling! First, the city is huge. It stands 375 miles on each side! (If placed on this earth, New Jerusalem would cover most of North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland, and parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky!)"

... give the site a visit, I think you'll like it!

The Observer

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Voice of the Martyrs Prayer Bulletin

Girl Witnesses Killing
Date: August 12, 2009
Country: Nigeria

A 13-year-old Nigerian Christian has told Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) sources she was forced to watch her pastor's murder by militants of the radical Islamist group, Boko Haram.

On July 26, Mary was in church with her pastor, his brother and an older Christian woman when a group of 50 militants stormed the church. She and her pastor hid as the group killed the pastor's brother and dragged the older woman out of the room. Upon discovering them, the militants cut off the pastor's hand as he held onto Mary. Then they used machetes to hack him to death before setting him on fire. The young girl and the woman were dragged to Boko Haram's compound in Maiduguri, and placed in a room with about 100 Christian women and girls. They were all asked to renounce their faith or face continued imprisonment, while Christian men were given the choice of renouncing their faith or dying. After four days, Mary managed to escape with a few others when military forces attacked the compound.

Please Pray!

Boko Haram seeks the imposition of Shariah law throughout all 36 states of Nigeria. Reports state their leader, Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf, was killed by Nigerian security forces on July 30. Please pray God will foil the wicked plans of this terrorist group so they will come to nothing. Pray God will strengthen and comfort Boko Haram's victims and their families and help them to stand firm in the face of adversity.

VOM supports hundreds of Nigerian pastors who have been persecuted but still live to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our ministry also offers food, clothing and medical aid to Nigerian Christians who are attacked by Muslim extremists.

Note: the girl's story was collaborated by evidence and other witnesses. VOM, Voice of the Martyrs, is a well-established, respected, international support group for Christian Martyrs - Tiger

The Observer

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tales from the Christian Dark Side

Jim Fletcher
Posted: August 2

Last week I opined that the Christian book industry should overlay its business model with the Spirit of God – an unusual topic for a column on publishing, but it is my conviction. The industry's failure to do so is a prime reason it's floundering.

When the Christian book world allows authors and publishers into the mix, even when they espouse heretical concepts, it is sowing the seeds for the Christian publishing industry's collapse. In other words, if theological integrity is not maintained, failure is sure to follow.

For many years, the Christian Booksellers' Association has allowed vendors who do not have a Christian worldview to display at conventions. Many dozens of books with heretical themes have now flooded into the stores around the country. Few in power seem to care, because if "The Shack" is being sold down the street at a big-box retailer, then, well, we have to sell it, too.

The resulting change at CBA events is astonishing.

For example, two weeks ago at the International Christian Retail Show in Denver, Zondervan had its usual, large presence. The Grand Rapids-based publisher produces a large number of mainstream titles each year and is perhaps best known for its Bibles. What many "average" Christians do not know is that for 20 years, Zondervan has been owned by the gigantic New York house, Harper Collins.

When a Christian publisher is bought out by a large secular company, it is not possible for the formerly Christian-owned entity to decide for itself just how Christian it will be. Profit and loss become the all-consuming drivers.

At Zondervan, for every Anne Graham Lotz, there are 10 others who practice a center-left Christianity. Gary Burge, the Wheaton professor who routinely criticizes Israel and champions the allegedly downtrodden Palestinians, has little in common with conservative readers.

The same issue is at stake with other Zondervan authors like Rob Bell and Brian McLaren, both of whom seek to redefine Christianity away from its biblically orthodox foundation.

At ICRS, I happened by the large Zondervan booth and noticed that HarperOne, an imprint of Harper Collins, was connected to the Zondervan space. HarperOne publishes a wide range of books on spirituality. They are as comfortable publishing the Dalai Lama as they are Billy Graham.

HarperOne has a richly pluralistic stable of authors, including the mystic Thomas Merton, John Dominic Crossan, John Shelby Spong and Omid Safi ("Memories of Muhammad").

Let me show you an example of a connection between unorthodox Christians and the evangelical world:

Several years ago, Zondervan published the "NIV Men's Study
Bible." In that book, editors had inserted some remarks of Merton's as a "devotional."

Merton, the Catholic-Buddhist who died in 1968, stated: "Sin is the refusal of spiritual life."

No, it isn't.

If sin is the refusal of spiritual life, then there have been billions of sinless people throughout history, an idea completely at odds with Christianity.

Another example of the business model directing Christian publishers is the runaway success of Rick Warren's "Purpose-Driven Life." When a book hits those kinds of numbers (what is it now, 30 million sold?), there is no possibility that author will never write another book. What actually happens is that editorial boards sit around and come up with new themes, new gimmicks. That's why you see "journals" and "workbooks" that spin off hot sellers like "Your Best Life Now."

[I consider Rick Warren to be a Non-Christian. Joel Osteen also - Tiger]

The new ancillary products aren't released necessarily because they are useful to consumers. They are merely product, something to be sold. The publishers latch onto a hot theme and then milk more profits from consumers.

Profit and revenue become the agenda. But do we worship God or mammon?

This syncretic approach is diluting biblical truth in America.

Unfortunately, another element in the pipeline, the bookstores, are just as guilty.

It fascinates me that Christian book stores are struggling mightily to stay open, yet they almost contemptuously sideline large markets. For example, a few days ago, I visited with the head of a large ministry focused on apologetics.

This person told me, "Our constituency doesn't want books on marriage relationships, or how to raise kids – those things that fill the shelves of stores today. Instead, they want what we are offering."

This ministry has 150,000 names on its database.

It is interesting to me, then, that many stores do not cater to these people. The question is, why?

Why would stores marginalize a large affinity group out there? The answer must be that there is a general dislike of truly conservative biblical views among the mainstream in the Christian book industry.

For many stores, if a publisher makes an effort to promote conservative books and comes up with initiatives to really help the store push that product, the reply is more often than not a polite "drop dead." Instead, the goal is to put another floor display of Rick Warren books in the store.

And speaking again of Warren, he is a prime example of where mainstream Christianity is heading: pluralism. Warren, who chatted cheerily with the Syrian killer Bashar Assad a few years ago and recently spoke at an Islamic conference, is part of the new breed of Christian leaders who freely fellowship with unbelievers.

Several years ago at a convention, I was talking with a salesman for a CBA publisher. He told me that a few weeks before, he had presented product to buyers at two separate Christian store chains.

One buyer told him she thought the Bible was nothing more than myth; the other openly challenged the idea that Adam and Eve were real people.

Needless to say, people are free to believe what they want to believe. But Christian buyers, one would think, should reflect traditional Christian views.

These are some of the reasons that Christian retail stands on the brink of real heartbreak, as stores close and publishers downsize.

Because CBA has no mechanism to research the motives of authors and publishers – and not only has no desire to do so, but is colluding with syncretic elements – it is losing its power.

As I've said before, as these outlets try to pay the light bill and prepare to shiver in the dark void, there are alternate book sources ready and eager to supply the millions of American Christians who revere the Word of God. WND and Lighthouse Trails, for example, are growing by leaps and bounds, as God-fearing Americans prepare to face profound changes in our culture.
The Observer