National Day of Prayer 2015


  The National Day of Prayer (NDP) observance is next week.  Americans have much to pray about these days, but as a nationally sanctioned event the NDP almost ended a few years ago.  Ironically, the secular worldview that would end the event is one of the reasons we shouldn’t. 

 Secularism holds that there is no place for faith in the public arena of ideas or in any government activity.  It attempts to use the doctrine of ‘separation of church and state’ as a gag on the free exercise of religion guaranteed in the First Amendment.  In 2011, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ended a lawsuit against the NDP, ruling that the President is free to make appeals to the public based on many kinds of grounds, including political and religious.  Since the government is not compelling citizens to participate, the NDP is no violation of the First Amendment which prohibits ‘establishment of religion.’ 

 Secularism is a worldview that is now more favored by the courts than the theism worldview.  It seems that the more success secularists have in removing God from schools, politics, government, the military, business, and culture in general, the more immoral and weak our nation becomes, hence our need for prayer.  Our second President, John Adams wrote, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion…Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” 

 Perhaps that’s why our nation’s leaders dating back to the Continental Congress have called for days of prayer especially in times of crisis.  At D-Day, President Roosevelt didn’t call just for a day, “but because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer.”  In 1952, at the urging of Billy Graham the Congress passed a law signed by Harry Truman establishing a NDP on an annual basis.  About it, Ronald Reagan said, “From General Washington’s struggle at Valley Forge to the present, this Nation has fervently sought and received divine guidance.”  In 1988, federal law set the NDP as the first Thursday of May. 

 This year more than ever we need prayer, not just to stem the increasing secularization of our country.  Franklin Graham’s prayer list includes “issues that are causing the very foundation of our country to crumble. Our moral and spiritual roots are eroding, the economy is misleading, family life is disintegrating, and political forces are at unprecedented odds. There seem to be very few leaders who will take a stand for God and for His Word.”  To his list, I add the threat of radical, militant ideology that seeks ‘death to America.’ 

 If you agree that America needs prayer, please locate the NDP service in your community, and join with other Americans in a centuries-old tradition to pray for our country.  May God bless America! 

God’s Not Dead

God's Not Dead

 If you haven’t seen the movie God’s Not Dead (2014), here’s my version of a review, more a summary of the key dialogue. 

 The plot develops around college student Josh Wheaton who accepts a challenge from his philosophy professor to prove the existence of God. His arguments are from cosmology, evolution, evil, and morality. 

 Wheaton begins with the Big Bang and this from Nobel-winning scientist Steven Weinberg: “In three minutes, 98% of the matter that is or will be was produced.” Yet for 2500 years most scientists agreed with Aristotle that the universe always existed. Belgian astronomer Lemaitre said that the entire universe jumping into existence in a trillionth of a second out of nothingness and in an intense flash of light is how he would expect the universe to respond if God were to actually utter the command, “Let there be light.” So for 2500 years the Bible had it right and science had it wrong. 

 A fellow student quoted Richard Dawkins, “If you tell me God created the universe, I have the right to ask, who created God?” Wheaton countered, “If the universe created you, then who created the universe?” His point is that both theist and atheist have to answer the question of first cause. If you do not allow for God, a credible alternative is hard to find. The professor replied with a Stephen Hawkin quote, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. It is not necessary to invoke God to set the universe in motion.” Wheaton again countered that John Lennox, professor of mathematics and philosophy at Oxford, had noted three errors of circular logic in Hawkin’s statement. 

 Turning to evolution, Wheaton pointed to Darwin, who after theorizing that species evolved over long periods of time, famously concluded that “nature does not jump.” Yet if the 3.8 billion years of life (according to evolution) were a 24 hour period, in 90 seconds most major animal groups suddenly appear in their current form. Not only did nature jump, but it made a giant leap, supporting the Biblical account of creation. 

 The arguments from evil and morality are less developed in the movie. But two key points are made: (1) Evil exists in the world because God gave us free will, and God’s solution is to provide a way for us to be free from it forever, and (2) without God, there is no fixed point of morality, so anything could be permissible since there is no reason to be moral. 

 I faced a challenge to my faith in a philosophy class 35 years ago, so this movie rings true. I recommend it especially for college students. Kevin Sorbo (Herdules) plays the professor. Dean Cain (Superman), Willie and Korie Robertson (Duck Dynasty), and News Boys (musicians) all make appearances. The arguments are convincing that God’s not dead! 

Tax Man Cometh


 With tax day upon us, I’ve figured out how to make both the political left and right happy. Stop paying taxes. 

 The way I figure, if some of us don’t pay taxes the police will be underfunded, so we’ll have to buy more guns to protect our own property. That would make the right happy. And if there’s less money for roads and bridges, then we might burn less fossil fuel in our global warming transportation machines. Which would make the left happy. If the left and right are happy, then we should expect to see a merger of MSNBC and Fox news. 

 Of course this is about as absurd as me having to file over 100 pages just to convince the federal and state governments what taxes I do or don’t owe. I’m glad my accountant gets it. I don’t. 

 One time, I got a letter of inquiry from the government with a big bill for unpaid taxes, penalties and interest. It seems they discovered that I took money from one retirement account and put it in another. So, I wrote them a letter and said, “I took money from one retirement account and put it in another.” They replied, “We got your letter.” Then another reply, “We’re looking into it.” Yet another letter arrived to inform, “What you’re saying makes sense. So we’ll leave you alone about it. For now.” What I know about taxes, I learned playing little league baseball: Even when you think you’re safe, the umpire can call you out! 

 You know, the Bible says some things that I just do not like to hear. Jesus was approached by some haters with a trap disguised as a tax accounting question. He wisely deflected with, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21). He avoided the trap (nice!) but told us to pay up (oh well). 

 Paul elaborates on the idea: “Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom” (Rom. 13:7). You might wonder if all the taxes you pay are really due them. In our democratic republic you can address that, but not by making a unilateral decision what you think you will pay. It’s by voting for whoever supports tax policy you favor. Then hope they actually do. 

 Paul offers another nugget. “Because of (conscience’ sake) you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God” (Rom 13:6). I tell you what let’s do. Let’s just pay our taxes and believe that God has a divine purpose for those that rule over us. We don’t have to trust them, but we can trust Him. 

Unlikely Converts

 A person does not become a Christian in a usual place, service, or prayer. There is no typical convert. In fact, if you get a group of believers together to tell their stories, all would be different and some would seem unlikely. 


Ana Marie Cox

 John Stonestreet (Colson Center for Christian Worldview) was on the radio a while back discussing Ana Marie Cox, a writer, editor, and political pundit. She describes herself as “progressive, feminist, tattooed,” not exactly convert material. Yet she recently ‘came out’ as a Christian in a Daily Beast article. On Morning Joe she explained, “I have grace offered to me no matter who I am or what I’ve done. No matter if I’m liberal or conservative or I’ve bone bad things in the past. It’s not that I think you should believe like I do. I have found something incredibly precious, and it’s too precious not to share with others.” 


Dr. Rosaria Butterfield

 Dr. Rosaria Butterfield, a tenured university professor, was clearly on the far left and quite anti-Christian. After she bashed Promise Keepers in an article, a pastor approached her, encouraging her to look deeper. It was his persistent, engaging way that led her to the Bible. Her friends noticed a change as she considered the words of Jesus. “I fought with everything I had. I did not want this. I did not ask for this,” she admitted. Then one ordinary day, she believed. “The voice of God sang a sanguine love song in the rubble of my world.” Now she has a husband, a Christian pastor, and she’s living a redeemed life. 


Kirsten Powers

 Kirsten Powers is sometimes on a ‘fair and balanced’ cable news channel. Earlier in her life she wavered between atheism and agnosticism. Though stridently irreligious, she broke her personal rule not to date a religious guy, and began attending church with him. She began to think that the evidence favored Christianity. Then she had a memorable dream about Jesus that compelled her to join a home Bible study looking for answers. She became convinced. “Of all people surprised that I became an evangelical Christian, I’m the most surprised. The Hound of Heaven had pursued me and caught me – whether I like it or not,” she confessed. 

 C.S. Lewis tried to remain atheist but, “I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.” Saul was a persecutor of the early church who was changed by Jesus on that Damascus Road. And the list of seemingly improbable converts goes on. 

 But are these really unlikely conversions? Don’t underestimate the power of truth! Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good or good people better; he came to give life, something everyone needs. In that sense, we all start from the same place, so if anyone is an unlikely convert, we all are.