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Archive for March, 2010

You wanna know why this man is smiling? He just signed a bill that gives unprecedented power to the Federal Government over the lives and health of the American people while exempting himself and his friends from being forced to participate in it. It’s a pretty sweet deal, if you know what I mean.

Here’s how it works: The new legislation exempts the President, his cabinet, and special congressional staff members, from participating in the new government-run plan so that they can continue to have their own private plan which provides full coverage without any of the restrictions or limitations the rest of us will have to endure — you knew about this, right?

Connie Hair gives us the skinny:

President Barack Obama signed the Senate health care bill into law yesterday that will exempt the President, his cabinet secretaries and special congressional staff members from participation in the new government-run health care “exchanges.”

Rank-and-file House and Senate staffers will be forced out of the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan (FEHBP) and into the restricted federal health insurance exchanges, but not the leadership or committee congressional staff or the federal civil service bureaucrats who will be making your health care decisions for you. . . .

The bill was amended behind closed doors by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) back in December to exclude all congressional committee and leadership staff from the horrors of the health care “exchange.” The President, Vice-President, cabinet members, thousands of Obama administration staff and an unknown number of czars will all remain in the FEHBP. . .

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-Okla.) attempted to offer a floor amendment in December that would have nullified Reid’s covert carve-out, but Reid blocked a vote on the amendment. . . .

Grassley said the motivation for his amendments is simple: public officials who make the laws or lead efforts to have laws changed should live under those laws.

“It’s only fair and logical that top administration officials, who fought so hard for passage of this overhaul of America’s health care system, experience it themselves,” Grassley said. “If it’s as good as promised, they’ll know it first-hand. If there are problems, they’ll be able to really understand them, as they should.”

Right, but having to suffer the consequences of their horrifically stupid laws is not why our new “compassionate” politicians are in this business. They love to try political experiments on the rest of us but only after they first make sure that if things go wrong, they are completely protected from any harmful consequences.

This is what passes for “courageous leadership” in Washington.

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If you’ve been reading the critiques of the monstrous legislative disaster that occurred Sunday night, it’s time to consider a positive alternative and I’m happy to pass along Ann Coulter’s suggestion “My Healthcare Plan.”

Here, Ms. Coulter presents an idea that most modern politicians apparently have never heard of: why not let the market determine insurance premiums? Now there’s something fresh and new, eh? It’s outstanding for its simplicity, clarity, and efficiency — not to mention the fact that it will actually work!

Which of course insures that no one in Washington would ever take it seriously.

Here’s Ann’s plan (I thought about just summarizing it, but it’s too good not to read in full):

“Liberals keep complaining that Republicans don’t have a plan for reforming health care in America. I have a plan!

It’s a one-page bill creating a free market in health insurance. Let’s all pause here for a moment so liberals can Google the term “free market.”

Nearly every problem with health care in this country — apart from trial lawyers and out-of-date magazines in doctors’ waiting rooms — would be solved by my plan.

In the first sentence, Congress will amend the McCarran-Ferguson Act to allow interstate competition in health insurance.

We can’t have a free market in health insurance until Congress eliminates the antitrust exemption protecting health insurance companies from competition. If Democrats really wanted to punish insurance companies, which they manifestly do not, they’d make insurers compete.

The very next sentence of my bill provides that the exclusive regulator of insurance companies will be the state where the company’s home office is. Every insurance company in the country would incorporate in the state with the fewest government mandates, just as most corporations are based in Delaware today.

That’s the only way to bypass idiotic state mandates, requiring all insurance plans offered in the state to cover, for example, the Zone Diet, sex-change operations, and whatever it is that poor Heidi Montag has done to herself this week.

President Obama says we need national health care because Natoma Canfield of Ohio had to drop her insurance when she couldn’t afford the $6,700 premiums, and now she’s got cancer.

Much as I admire Obama’s use of terminally ill human beings as political props, let me point out here that perhaps Natoma could have afforded insurance had she not been required by Ohio’s state insurance mandates to purchase a plan that covers infertility treatments and unlimited OB/GYN visits, among other things.

It sounds like Natoma could have used a plan that covered only the basics — you know, things like cancer. (more…)

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The Song of Songs

We’re looking forward to having Dr. Peter Leithart teaching in the Bucer Institute Spring “Special Session” this Saturday.

Dr. Leithart will be giving four lectures on the Song of Solomon.

If you’re in the area, please plan to join us.

Everything begins at 9:00 a.m. in the historic Jackson House. See you there!

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Good stuff galore

There’s lots of good stuff over at Auburn Avenue Media and thanks to Jarrod Richey it’s all ready for downloading. Here are some of the lectures you won’t want to miss:

and there’s lots more where these came from. Go over and check it out.

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[ok, I know it's boring and everyone is tired of this topic, but I had to respond to another false accusation. Forgive me, but I just couldn't help myself]

I’ve been accused (again) of believing that those who are decretally elect can lose their election and also of saying that one can (somehow) become decretally elect during his lifetime, depending upon his faithfulness. Now, I know this sounds crazy. And it sounds crazy because it is (just recall that God’s decrees are fixed and determined before the foundation of the world and it’s pretty easy to see that anyone who affirms such a thing is in a mental state that is beyond imbecilic). But that doesn’t stop theology professors at serious seminaries and pastors who are esteemed for their theological acumen from making such a charge. And, when I deny that I hold the position they’re accusing me of, they respond with the cold, hard evidence – the proof is in writing, they say, and it can’t be denied. Here it is in all its self-evident glory:

The elect are those who are faithful in Christ Jesus. If they later reject the Savior, they are no longer elect — they are cut off from the Elect One and thus, lose their elect standing. But their falling away doesn’t negate the reality of their standing prior to their apostasy. They were really and truly the elect of God because of their relationship with Christ. (Steven Wilkins, The Auburn Avenue Theology Pros & Cons Debating the Federal Vision page 261, lines 292–295)

Well, there you go Wilkins – you’re an imbecile (by your own admission) and need to stay as far away from theology as you can possibly get.

Ok, and I happen to be quite happy to leave the serious theology to those who are far more adept and qualified – but I always thought it was sort of a rule required by the 9th commandment that we try to understand one another’s statements in context. Is that so?

I’ve always assumed it was and that is why I had no qualms about writing what I wrote on page 261 of The Auburn Avenue Theology Pros & Cons. I didn’t have any idea anyone would twist my words on page 261 in such a way as to ignore what I said a few lines before on page 260 where I affirm the historic Reformed definition of election and seek to distinguish what I’m talking about in the paper from this historic doctrine (which, by the way, I fully embrace and believe to be totally biblical). Here’s what I said prior to the “horrifying lines” that were quoted by my accuser:

It has been the common practice in Reformed circles to use the term “elect” to refer only to those who are predestined to eternal salvation. Since God has ordained all things “whatsoever comes to pass” (Ephesians 1:11), He has certainly predestined the number of all who will be saved at the last day. This number is fixed and settled, not one of these will be lost. The Lord will accomplish all His holy will. But the term “elect” (or “chosen”) as it is used in the Scriptures most often refers to those in covenant union with Christ who is the elect One. (Steven Wilkins, The Auburn Avenue Theology Pros & Cons: Debating the Federal Vision, page 260, lines 240-245, emphasis mine).

Now, you may disagree with the position I try to set forth in the paper. That’s understandable and I was all set for disagreement. What I was not ready for was the accusation that I was denying the historic doctrine of decretal election. I thought I had made it sufficiently clear that I was not dealing with that and I thought any serious reader, making a serious effort to understand what I was saying would not misunderstand. It never entered my mind that fellow Reformed ministers and teachers (of all people) would try to twist what I was saying and misrepresent it. Was this a foolish assumption?

Apparently.

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More weird creatures

Scientists are looking into the waters under the polar ice cap in Antarctica . . . and finding some pretty unusual creatures there. Here are a few of them:

Chaenocephalus aceratus fish are highly adapted to life the cold waters of Antarctica’s continental shelf. Their blood is filled with anti-freeze, but no red blood cells.

This is the sea pig also called a sea cucumber or Holothuroid. They are important in processing the sediment.

This is a “Feather Star” — Feather stars are very mobile as both adults and larvae. They eat phytoplankton.

This is called a “Basket Star” or Gorganocephalus. As it is posed here, it is able to filter feed on food floating by in the water above the seabed.

Amazing. And the only one who has been enjoying them for all these thousands of years was God. Till now.

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Patrick’s day

Today is St. Patrick’s day and it’s too bad that today is, in the minds of most, merely a day to drink and wear green. Nobody remembers that Patrick was one of the great missionaries of the Church.

Patrick believed himself called to preach the gospel in Ireland which was filled with pagan Celts. He preached boldly against idolatry and proclaimed the world-embracing, world-transforming grace of God in Jesus.

Here’s a piece of one of his sermons denouncing the worship of the sun:

For that sun that we behold at God’s command, rises daily for us— but it shall never reign, nor shall its splendor continue, but all even that worship it, miserable beings, shall wretchedly come to punishment. But we who believe in and adore the true sun, Jesus Christ, who will never perish, neither shall he “who does His will”— but shall continue forever, — as Christ continues forever, who reigns with God the Father Almighty, and with the Holy Spirit, before the ages, and now, and through all the ages of ages.

He faced danger daily and had to endure great opposition (as his Lorica reminds us), but he was always confident in the eventual victory of the gospel:

For I am greatly a debtor to the God who has bestowed on me such grace that many people through me should be born again to God, and that everywhere clergy should be ordained for a people newly coming to the faith, whom the Lord took from the ends fo the earth, as He had promised of old by His prophets: “To Thee the Gentiles will come and say, As our father made false idols, and there is no profit in them.” And again: I have set Thee to be the light of the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be for salvation unto the utmost part of the earth.” And there I am willing to await the promise of Him who never fails, as He promises in the Gospel: “They shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob;” as we believe that believers shall come from all the world. . . . Therefore it is very necessary to spread out our nets, so that a copious multitude and crowd may be taken for God. . . .

He spread his nets and God blessed his labors.

Patrick’s life serves as a model for us today who are facing an increasingly barbaric and pagan culture. It is not the time to “keep a low profile” — rather it is time boldly to believe the promises of God and stand forth courageously for the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Patrick would say at the close of his life, “I confess to my Lord and I do not blush before Him, because I lie not, from the time that I knew Him in my youth, the love of God and His fear have increased in me; and until now, by the favor of the Lord, ‘I have kept the faith.’”

Amen. So wear some green if you like and have a beer along with it, but remember, the main thing St. Patrick’s day calls us to is keeping the faith.

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May’s miracle

May (Mary) Lemke and her husband, Joe, married in their late forties. May had five healthy children from her first marriage, but they were grown and gone from home by the time she and Joe married. Mary and Joseph adopted an infant (Leslie) who was not yet six months old. Leslie had no eyes (they had been surgically removed soon after birth), he was severely retarded, and had cerebral palsy.

The doctors told May that the baby could not survive. May didn’t believe them. She took him home and began to love and care and pray for him. He didn’t know how to swallow, so Mary pushed food down his throat. He could do none of the things healthy babies do. He was completely unresponsive, made no sounds, did not move. May held Leslie and prayed that God would let him know that he was loved. God answered her prayer.

You need to watch all three parts of this video to hear this remarkable story. Here’s part one:

This program was broadcast on the CBC in 1983. May Lemke died in 1993.

HT: James Johnson

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Here’s what we got goin for this Saturday (March 6) at the Bucer Institute:

Duane Garner will be speaking on “Patriotism or Nationalism?” and “Conspiracy Theories and the Conspirators Who Believe Them”

I’ll be speaking on “America’s Wars” (an analysis of our country’s major wars beginning with the War for Independence and going through Vietnam).

It all begins at 9:00 a.m. It should be fun so plan to join us!

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Not bad

nice job, guys, thanks.

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Preparing my lectures for the Bucer Institute this weekend on “America’s Wars” and seeing again the duplicity, naivete, and outright wickedness of our leaders. Breathtaking. Suffocating.

It would be bad enough if their actions merely cost us money or caused national embarrassment. But their decisions costs the lives of hundreds of thousands of young men and uncounted civilians . . . and that’s not even considering the suffering and oppression endured by thousands in the new “peace-time” world that emerged from the rubble.

War is sometimes absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, most of the wars in which we’ve been engaged have been almost completely unnecessary.

The Lord have mercy upon us.

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