Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Signs of the Times - They Just Keeping Exploding

I just wanted to begin this week's blog with a follow-up to last week's writings which focused on the rise of robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI).  This week, Jan Markell, in an article titled, "We Are Summoning Up Demons," and published at the Olive Tree Views website (, writes of the troubling threat of AI.  Let me just share a couple of paragraphs from Jan's article.

"We're all aware of the biblical prophecy found in Daniel 12:4 that knowledge will increase in the last days.  But machines smarter than people?  Surely God would never allow that to happen.  He created mankind in His image and He didn't create them to be superseded by computer chips. That is not stopping man from trying!

"In 1948 there was a milestone event as it concerns 'signs of the times.'  That was the re-birth of Israel 70 years ago.  Are we in the generation of a more current sign that could involve end-time technology, the 'image of the beast,' 'mark of the beast', etc?  Could this wave of technology be as relevant as the stirring of the dry bones?  We look at that 1948 happening in a rear-view mirror.  Technology is a 21st century fulfillment. 

"Young people are particularly drawn to artificial intelligence.  Some will tell you that they can get an answer more quickly from Google or Alexa than they can from God.  Who needs God in an age of artificial intelligence?  Who needs an invisible God?  And Google or Alexa may tell you what you want to hear in Technicolor, 3-D, and instantaneously!"

Friends, science-fiction is no longer fiction; it is becoming a reality.  Will God allow His creation to be governed by artificial intelligence and robots?  We certainly see some evidence of robotic activity, especially with the description of the image of the beast as described in Revelation 13.  But, I do believe we are getting closer to that point where the coming of the Lord is very near.

I had been watching the movement of a bill through the Senate known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S. 2311).  The house had approved a similar bill earlier this fall.  The purpose of the bill was to ban abortions after five-months when research showed that an unborn child was capable of experiencing pain.  It just would seem that this would be the right thing to do - to give protection to an unborn child when he/she reached that stage of development when they were capable of feeling pain.  But that was not the thinking of the United States Senate who last week voted 51-46 against sending this bill to the floor of the Senate for a vote.  There was a need for 60 votes in order to overturn a possible filibuster.  According to the Family Research Council's report, "The Senate's failure to pass the bill keeps the United States in league with only seven other nations in the world, including China, North Korea, and Vietnam, that perform elective abortions after five months.  President Trump, who addressed attendees of this year's March for Life, expressed disappointment with the outcome of the Senate vote.  'We must defend those who cannot defend themselves.  I urge the Senate to reconsider its decision and pass legislation that will celebrate, cherish, and protect life,' he said in a statement released by the White House."  You can read the entire article at

And so the wanton slaughter of unborn children continues.  It appears that the hearts of so many of our leaders are hardened toward the unborn.  I believe that someday they will stand before the judgment bar of God and have to give an accounting for the murder of these innocent babies.  America has sold its soul for convenience.  It is for that reason that God's judgment will fall upon this land.

Finally, I want to share with you another article from the folks at Family Research Council.  This article is titled, "Atheist Group Seeks Bible Study 'Secrets'".  You can find the article at  "The latest dust-up over the mention of religion in the public square involves Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, whose big crime is attending a Bible study with other members of President Trump's cabinet.  The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF), whose feathers are ruffled over this, is purportedly concerned about staffers being 'coerced' into the Bible study, or public funds being spent on it.  Secretary Carson got that out of the way up front, writing on his Facebook page: 'First of all, taxpayer funds are not used to support the ministry, ... And secondly, no staff are involved in the Bible study.'  He continued: 'I refuse to be intimidated by anti-religious groups into relinquishing my spirituality or religious beliefs [...] One of the principles of our nation's founding is freedom of religion.  I will not stop being a Christian while in service to this country [...]  In fact, it is my faith that helps me serve the nation even better.'  Secretary Carson also drew a lesson from the history of the Cold War between the U.S. and former Soviet Union: 'Joseph Stalin, the Russian tyrant who said the United States could be destroyed from within by eroding three things: our patriotism, our morality, and our spirituality [...]  These things are currently under severe attack.  We the people must decide who we are and what we stand for.'  Amen."

I, for one, am grateful that some of our nation's leadership are in the Word and on their knees for our nation.  We would do well to follow their example.  The article concludes with a strong statement that should awaken us from our slumber: "But the larger issue and more important issue at play here is that some people and groups simply can't stand the idea of a visible Christian presence in our country.  They oppose any public display of Christianity or prayer, offering various attempts to legally justify their opposition, most often that such displays 'establish' a religion (they don't).  Their ultimate goal is to either drive Christians from government or at minimum force them to hide their faith so that the net result is the same - government devoid of godly men and women."

Friends, I don't have to tell you that our country is under attack.  Its moral structure is nearly destroyed.  Its foundation of patriotism has been assaulted and the history of our nation is now being rewritten thus making the intent of those who came here so many years ago for freedoms that they were missing in Europe being seen as something evil, not something beneficial.  And, its spiritual foundation has also been attacked with Christians being vilified by the main stream media and the liberal left.  It is time for us to hold strong to what we believe.  This is why I teach two apologetics classes at my church.  This is why our church teaches its young people the reality of a Christian worldview.  They need a foundation - we all need a foundation. 

As the darkness of our culture intensifies, how we need the light of truth to shine more brightly. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

When Is Science Fiction Not So Science Fiction?

Some of us are old enough to remember watching science-fiction movies when we were kids growing up.  In those movies robots would take over the world - and it was usually in a very negative way.  But, a few remaining humans would come to the rescue and save the world.

Well, I thought of some of those movies as I read an article that was sent to me a few days ago.  It was written by the Head of Daimier Benz, one of the largest auto manufacturers in the world.  The title of the article is "Artificial Intelligence (AI) is Changing the World at an Exponential Rate."  Allow me to share just a few of the thoughts from this article. 

"In a recent interview, the Head of Daimier  Benz (Mercedes Benz) said their competitors are no longer other car companies, but Tesla (obviously), and now Google, Apple, Amazon 'et al' are.  Software will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years.  Uber is just a software tool, they don't own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world.  Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don't own any properties. 

"Artificial Intelligence: Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world.  In the U.S., young lawyers already can't get jobs.  Because of IBM Watson, you can get legal advice (so far for more or less basic stuff) within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans.  So, if you study law, stop immediately.  There will be 90% less lawyers in the future, only specialists will remain.

"Watson already helps nurses diagnosing cancer, 4 times more accurate than human nurses.  Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans.  In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans."  That last sentence shocked me.  When a computer becomes more intelligent than a human, have we crossed that threshold where machines now are in charge of the world? 

"Health innovations: The Tricorder X price will be announced this year.  There are companies who will build a medical device (called the 'Tricoder' from Star Trek) that works with your phone, which takes your retina scan, your blood sample, and you can breath into it.  It then analyses 54 biomarkers that will identify nearly any disease.  It will be cheap, so in a few years everyone on this planet will have access to world class medical analysis, nearly for free.  Goodbye, medical establishment. 

"3D printing: The price of the cheapest 3D printer came down from $18,000 to $400 within 10 years.  In the same time, it became 100 times faster.  All major shoe companies have already started 3D printing shoes.  Some common spare airplane parts are already 3D printed in remote airports.  The space station now has a printer that eliminates the need for the large amount of spare parts they used to keep in the past.  At the end of this year, new smart phones will have 3D scanning possibilities.  You can then 3D scan your feet and print your perfect shoes at home.  In China, they already 3D printed and built a complete 6-story office building.  By 2027, 10% of everything that's being produced will be 3D printed."  Wow! 

The writer continues, "Work: 70-80% of jobs will disappear in the next 20 years.  There will be a lot of new jobs, but it is not clear if there will be enough new jobs in such a small time."

Friends, this is the world in which we are now living.  We are on the very edge of a world that will pride itself in being "de-personalized."  I no longer need a face-to-face with my personal physician because a computer will analyze my condition and recommend a prescription for me.  I will not even have to travel to a local pharmacy because Amazon will deliver that prescription right to my front door via a drone.  I no longer have to go to the grocery store.  I merely log in, place my order, and a drone will drop my purchases off at my front door.  I can do all my classes through a smart phone so I will not need to attend a real school.  In the end we will all become like little hermits, each confined to his/her own cave. 

But, is this what we really want?  The Bible describes the need for relationships.  The purpose of the local church is to cultivate personal relationships.  Discipleship involves personal relationships.  Jesus Christ wants to enter into a personal relationship with you.  A depersonalized world is not something that God orchestrates.  Yet we seem to be moving in that direction.  I ask myself this question: "When will God say, 'Enough is enough!'"  When will we have crossed that line drawn in the sand by God?  And just where is that line?  Those are questions for which I have no answer.  But I am wondering if we are not approaching the point where those at Babel were before God stepped in to confuse their languages. 

These are indeed very interesting days.  Yet, I believe they are also very deadly days.  As I shared with a group of men early this morning, I am so grateful that God is in control.  Nothing is happening without His permissive hand being upon it.  And it will all lead to the celebration of the return of the King.  Hallelujah!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Are You a "Bad Guy?"

Do you ever feel like you are the bad guy?  No, you don't wear a black hat.  No, you do not threaten your children.  In fact, you treat your children with love and are an encouragement to them.  You pay your taxes - not always without grumbling, but you pay them nonetheless.  You respect your neighbor's property.  You respect those in authority over you.  Yet, somehow you get the feeling that you are the bad guy? 

Well, according to some "experts" if you are a white, Anglo-Saxon, heterosexual male, then you are the bad guy.  I had one of the men in my Wednesday morning Leadership-Discipleship Group share the following article with me.  It was titled, "Ohio State course reprimands while heterosexual masculinity."  The article was written by Amanda Tidwell.  It was published by "The College Fix."  Allow me to share some excerpts from the article:

"A class taught this spring at Ohio State University will review a parade of reasons why white heterosexual masculinity is allegedly problematic, tackling the topic from the constructs of racial issues, bullying, pop culture, societal expectations and much more, according to its syllabus. 

"The course, 'Be a Man!  Masculinities, Race and Nation,' includes a variety of readings to that end, including its required textbook, "Dude, You're a Fag!" by C.J. Pascoe, which analyzes masculinity as not only a gendered process, but sexual one."  (Other books were cited as being used, but I am embarrassed to even list those titles). 

"The course is ultimately presented as a study in 'feminist masculinity' that seeks to explain how ideas about masculinity 'simultaneously harm yet privilege' men, the syllabus states.  It also aims to explain how 'beliefs regarding masculinity serve to justify certain kinds of violence by men against others, and violence against particular groups of men.' 

"The course was created and is taught by Jonathan Branfman.  Branfman is a doctoral candidate in Ohio State's Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and a recent recipient of a 2017-18 Presidential Fellowship, the most prestigious award given to students by the OSU Graduate School, according to the department's website. 

"Branfman is also author of the new children's book 'You Be You!" intended for 7- to 12-year-olds that gives parents a 'simple and accessible way' to introduce children to gender and sexual identity 'in hopes of decreasing stigmas associated with the LGBTQ community,' the Lantern campus newspaper reports."

Okay, at least according to one professor at Ohio State University, I am a "bad guy" because I am a white heterosexual male.  That "badness" has nothing to do with who I am as a person.  It has nothing to do with what I believe about anything.  If I take this course will I be enabled to get over my "badness?" 

Allow me to share a second article, written by Todd Starnes this past January 10.  It can be found at  "Students at Florida Gulf Coast University can take all sorts of enriching classes - from gender studies to social justice.  But a class on white racism is causing all sorts of campus chaos and charges of reverse racism.  The university calls it 'White Racism.'  But I call it, 'Blame the White Man 101.'

The class, taught  by Professor Ted Thornhill, 'will interrogate the concept of race; examine the racist ideologies, laws, policies, and practices that have operated for hundreds of years to maintain white racial domination over those racialized as non-white.'  The New York Daily News reports students will also have the opportunity 'to discuss ways to challenge white racism and white supremacy toward promoting an anti-racist society where whiteness is not tied to greater life chances.'"

It seems to me that the premise behind this class is that it is "bad" to be white.  I read of another university professor who challenges her students to imagine that they were not white - what would they be thinking?  But, I have to admit that it is hard for me to do that because I am white.  I am a male.  I am a heterosexual male.  And, to make the problem even more intense, I am a conservative, Bible-believing Christian.  According to many, I am the classic example of the "perfect bad guy." 

Friends, it seems to be that we are bordered on the edges of insanity these days.  You see, whether a person is good or bad is not dependent upon his skin color.  It is not dependent upon a person's gender.  According to the Bible a person's ultimate goodness or badness is totally dependent upon that person's relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  The prophet Isaiah says that all our good deeds are as filthy rags before the holiness of God (Isaiah 64:6).  The Apostle Paul says that our salvation is not dependent upon our good works (Ephesians 2:8-9). 

I wonder how Ohio State University and Florida Gulf Coast University would react if someone were to ask them about a class on "The Final Solution to Man's Ultimate Problem - Sin."  I am guessing there would not be any takers.   

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Life Has Value Because of God

Last week I received an article, written by Todd Starnes, that aroused my anger once again.  The article was published at Townhall and was titled, "Shocking! College Student Argues in Favor of Killing Newborn Babies."  (

Allow me to share a portion of this article with you.  "From the University of Tennessee-Knoxville comes word of a shocking video of a student arguing in favor of infanticide - killing babies up to two-years-old.  The video was filmed by Students for Life of America on the campus of Tennessee's flagship taxpayer-funded university.  'The idea that someone could support infanticide is incredibly disturbing.  Yet, it reflects the kinds of attitudes our staff members and students can face on a daily basis on high school and college campuses,' Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins said. 

"Brenna Lewis, SLA's Appalachian regional coordinator, recorded one of the encounters in early December with a young man who said he had no problem with aborting two-year old babies.  'The face of the matter is without communication, we have no way of knowing if you are sentient or not,' the unidentified student said.  'It's no different than this tree.  It's alive, but is it sentient?  I don't know.  I cannot communicate with it.'

"But what if the baby is two-years old?  'Can the two year old talk to me?  In some instances I'm fairly certain that is,' the student said.  'But generally speaking the child still has the inability to communicate.  And until we determine that as such at what point does sentience become an issue.  We can't really debate whether or not that is the situation or not.'"

Now, as shocking as that thought is, here is what really angered me.  "In 2015 the Washington Times reported on a controversy surrounding a statement allegedly written by a Princeton University professor on his faculty page: 'Newborn human babies have no sense of their own existence over time.  So killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living.  That doesn't mean that it is not almost always a terrible thing to do.  It is, but that is because most infants are loved and cherished by their parents, and to kill an infant is usually to do a great wrong to its parents."

The prevailing philosophy behind such thoughts is utilitarianism.  Life has value only if it can contribute to the betterment and advancement of society.  If we legally allow for the murder of a child within the womb because it has insignificance, then why not the murder of a child who, aside from the love he/she might receive from his/her parents and other extended family, certainly has communicated no significance to the larger social structure.  He cannot communicate with clarity of speech.  She cannot create.  Why should the precious resources of earth be used to feed and cloth someone who has yet to contribute anything productive to society?  This is the heartbeat of utilitarianism. 

But, why stop there?  What about those who are elderly and can no longer contribute to society as they once did?  Why should they be allowed to continue to live?  Perhaps we should allow for their murder as well.  Why should we continue to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide medical treatment or nursing care for someone who is just a "has-been" and can no longer be productive?  If all we have is the spirit of utilitarianism, then those questions must be answered in the affirmative. 

But, babies do have value.  Two-year olds do have value.  Those in the nursing homes across America do have value.  They have value in the eyes of God.  There was and is a special purpose for their being here.  This month where we remember one of the worst decisions the United States Supreme Court has ever made - Roe v. Wad, in January 1973.  We remember a certain passage of Scripture that reinforces the value of all in the eyes of God.  It is Psalm 139:13-16 where we read these words: "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My name was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

What an incredible text!  You and I have been wonderfully made by God.  Perfect we are not!  Some of us have poor eyesight.  Some of us have poor hearing.  Some of us have congenital diseases that prevent a normalcy of life.  But, you are as God has designed you to be!  You are special.  And God has a purpose for you.  Sometimes we know that purpose.  Samson knew what his purpose was.  The man born blind discovered what his purpose was.  You will discover what your purpose is.  God created you to be more than a mere servant of society.  God created you to be an instrument to receive God's blessings and an instrument through whom God's blessings can flow to others. 

Jesus spoke of our significance when He said, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart form the will of your Father.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows" (Matthew 10:29-31).  I am so special that God knows the number of hairs on my head!  By the way, He has to subtract a few from that count each morning.  But if God is concerned about your hairs, don't you think that He is also very concerned about every aspect of who you are?  Of course He is! 

For the utilitarian philosopher to say that it is okay to kill a two-year old because she is not sentient certainly is not what Jesus would say.  All life has value.  That utilitarian student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville simply has it wrong.  The Princeton University Professor simply has it wrong.  Jesus Christ has it right.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2018: A Look Into Its Many Questions

The New Year has started with much of the nation in the icy grips of Old Man Winter.  Here in Minnesota, we were greeted with a minus 20 degrees on New Year's Eve morning as we headed off to church.  We are now in week three of subzero nights and single digit highs.  Folks in Dallas are worried about frozen pipes and those on the East Coast are bracing for what meteorologists are calling a "bomb cyclone."  Not sure what it is, but it doesn't sound very good.  Only about 70 days until the official start of spring!

Political unrest is settling over the nation of Iran.  Scenes there today remind us of those that occurred back in 2009.  The economy in Iran is in shambles.  There is a clamoring among the middle class for freedoms from the tyrannical restraints placed upon them by a dictatorial, sharia-driven ayatollah and his administration.  Could this be the beginning of another Arab Spring?  Will the Western world, particularly the United States, sit and watch as they did in 2009, or will they become actively involved in helping those who are desiring a change in Iran?  Can you begin to imagine what the world would be like if there was a regime change in Iran?  Perhaps the entire Middle East would take a deep breath.  If there is a regime change, what would Russia's response be?  We have witnessed a closely-knit relationship between Tehran and Moscow of the past few years.  The situation in Iran could be one of the early seminal moments in 2018.  So, keep you eyes focused upon that region of the world.

The war of words between North Korea and the United States continues into 2018.  So far, North Korea has not launched any missiles.  Yet intelligence sources are declaring that North Korea is developing both chemical and biological weapons that could be attached to a warhead and delivered by a missile.  A recent defector from North Korea was discovered to have antibodies in his system for anthrax, a well-known biological agent.  Just yesterday North Korea issued an invitation to South Korea to have discussions along the border.  How sincere is this invitation?  Is it just a stalling action on the part of North Korea to take international pressure off its weapons program?  How involved will the United States get if such discussions do in fact occur?  And, here is a very interesting question: What will happen in North Korea if there is a regime change in Iran?  Stay tuned as this story about North Korea will be an important one for 2018.

Another area of focus in 2018 will be Europe with its wrestling over how to deal with an immigration crisis that has been created over the past decade or so.  I was just reading this morning that the crime rate in England is at an all-time high and most of it is attributed to the large number of refugees in England.  Last year we witnessed violent scenes in France and in Germany.  Hungary has threatened to build a wall around itself to stop the influx of refugees.  Coupled with that is the increased incidences of anti-Semitism that is flooding Europe.  The stability within Europe is shaky and one wonders at the future of the European Union.  I can assure you that I will be focusing time on Europe this year.

And, of course there is the political climate here in America this year.  Mid-term elections occur in November, but lines are already being drawn.  Current members of both the House and Senate are announcing retirements.  The media is strongly anti-administration.  The #MeToo movement has exposed some of the corruption within the political system.  How influential will that movement be in the upcoming elections?  And the investigations by the Special Counsel and by Congress concerning the 2016 election continue to drag on - seemingly without an end in sight.  Will the impact of the recently passed tax reform legislation influence the attitude of people as elections near?  Will people be swayed by the prolonged media-driven negativity or by the positivity driven by job creations, continued stock-market peaks, and more take-home pay? 

There will be the continued pressure for the acceptance of immoral practices in 2018.  Bathroom usage will be debated in school-board rooms, in legislative chambers, and in courtrooms across America.  Those businesses who take a stand opposing same-sex marriage will soon find that the weight of popular opinion and of legal recourse are against them.  2017 saw the rise of the issue of transgenderism and gender-confusion.  One can only imagine what issue will take center stage in 2018.

And, finally, for those of us who hold to the return of Christ, there is that ultimate question: Will 2018 be the year that the trumpet blows and Jesus returns for His Bride?  Of all the questions to be pondered in 2018, I have to admit this is the most exciting one.  How we pray with the Apostle John, "Come quickly, Lord Jesus."  But we know that, until the trumpet does blow, we have a great work to be done to share with an increasingly spiritually darkened world that there is hope in Christ.  That there is forgiveness in Christ.  That there is love in Christ.  That there is joy in Christ. 

The New Year has arrived.  It is time for followers of Jesus Christ to awaken out of our slumber and to begin to take a stand for Christ and His Kingdom.