Lawlessness: The Spirit of the Age

Lawlessness: The Spirit of the Age

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It’s easy to condemn David and Kathy, but realize—you are not unlike them!

Meet David Stocker and his wife, Kathy Witterick, the Canadian parents who think they are raising a “genderless” child.

I say think, because in reality the gender of their baby is readily observable, as obvious as the rays of sun that beam through the window and announce the arrival of each day. Nevertheless, David and Kathy refuse to disclose, even to close friends, the sex of 4-month-old Storm. “We’ve decided not to share Storm’s sex for now,” the couple wrote in an e-mail to friends when Storm was born, as a “tribute to freedom and choice in the place of limitation …” (emphasis mine).

By not revealing the gender of her baby, Witterick writes, “I am saying to the world, ‘Please can you just let Storm discover for him/herself what s(he) wants to be?!”

Sadly, baby Storm isn’t their only child. David and Kathy have two other children, both boys, both of whom are in the process of “deciding” their gender. Five-year-old Jazz wears his long hair in braids, sports a sparkly pink earring and has a favorite pink dress, which he loves because it “really poofs out at the bottom.” Kio, his 2-year-old brother, is apparently gravitating toward being a “girl” too. When the boys go out in public, their father blithely admits, “Jazz and now Kio are almost exclusively assumed to be girls.”

To this couple, nature’s laws determining gender are irrelevant—the sex of their children is a matter of choice, not biology.

Unsurprisingly, this family lives a lifestyle defined largely by rejecting laws and standards. Rather than send the children to school, for example, Kathy has decided to practice unschooling, an educational philosophy that advocates learning driven by the child’s curiosity. There are no report cards, no homework, no textbooks and no tests.

To Kathy and her husband, their attempt to raise genderless children is a mark of freedom.

To most people, however, such a decision marks the blatant rejection of a basic and obvious law of nature.

Since this story broke a few weeks ago, a groundswell of anger has built toward David and Kathy. Across the world, parents, child psychologists and behavioral experts have criticized and sharply rebuked the couple for imposing their radical, liberal views on their children, and for sabotaging the future emotional and psychological health of Jazz, Kio and Storm. This criticism, of course, has merit.

But consider. Isn’t their decision to raise a “genderless” child the product of our culture of lawlessness? Their decision is an extreme example of a mindset that most of humanity—perhaps including you—subscribes to!

In our age, moral relativism—the belief that deciding right from wrong is a matter of personal choice—prevails. There is no absolute authority recognized in morality; no clear, widely accepted standard of human conduct and behavior. True freedom, we are told continually, can only be achieved by unshackling ourselves from traditional standards of human behavior and living what is essentially a lawless lifestyle.

Of course, there are laws that—like the rays of the sun that tell us it is day, or the physical features that tell us the sex of a newborn baby—reveal the truth. Through the pages of the Bible, God outlines a multitude of wonderful and explicit laws—laws that tell us how to have successful marriages and relationships, how to raise stable and happy families, how to manage our finances, how to establish successful governments and systems of education, commerce and health. In many instances, God’s laws governing human conduct are even manifest in the material creation.

But like David and Kathy, how often do you reject those laws and choose to live lawlessly?

Consider homosexuality, a practice that, as the Apostle Paul wrote, is exposed even in the physical realm, by nature, as unnatural and aberrant (Romans 1:26-27). Yet much like David and Kathy rejecting the law of biology, and the obvious physical features identifying the gender of baby Storm, countless millions reject the law and even the physical evidence condemning homosexuality, and choose to embrace this unnatural, lawless, lifestyle.

The attempt to raise a genderless child is shocking, and probably a little more extreme than we are accustomed to seeing. From God’s perspective, however, it is a heinous though entirely unsurprising product of the more pervasivescourge of lawlessness besieging humanity!

When it comes to the issue of lawlessness, one of the most important questions we can consider is, Where did mankind’s abhorrence to law come from? Put simply, man’s tendency to reject law is the result of his mind being influenced by the devil, the evil spiritual being the Apostle Paul says is the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). God did not create this devil. Rather, he came about as a result of a specific action, which you can read about in Ezekiel 28. Here, we learn that the great archangel Lucifer was “perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” The moment “iniquity”—which means lawlessness—was found in Lucifer, he became Satan, the enemy of God.

From this moment, lawlessness became the defining characteristic of the devil—and today it is the defining characteristic of the world he rules!

When it comes to David and Kathy, it is easy to self-righteously condemn this couple for making such a despicable decision. But while the notion of raising a genderless child ought to invoke sadness and disgust, we must remember: In God’s eyes, every man cut off from Him and under the influence of the lawless devil is lawless just as this couple is!

Truly, to the contrite and reflective person, such lawless behavior is a shocking and sobering glimpse into his own heart. Moreover, it might also stir the mind to seek to learn more about the origins of this destructive culture of lawlessness, how to overcome it, and how to find and enjoy true freedom within the law.

If this is the case for you, then don’t hesitate—go right now and read the second chapter of our free book Mystery of the Ages.

The Battle for OPEC

The Battle for OPEC

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It’s a battle that will affect a lot more than just your pocketbook.

The markets were shocked on Wednesday as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries unexpectedly announced it would not increase oil production. Oil prices spiked 2 percent on the news. Brokers scrambled to match sellers with buyers who had been sitting on the sidelines in hopes of an announcement of increased supplies.

With Libya in turmoil, most traders had expected opec to boost supply to make up the difference. But apparently, many opec nations are not too happy with the West’s invasion of Libya—and may be taking the opportunity to show their displeasure.

According to Dow Jones Newswires, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, Algeria, Angola and Libya all voted against increasing supplies. Opposing the Iran-led bloc were Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Nigeria and Ecuador.

Reports suggest the opec meeting was potentially the most divisive in recent history. The Saudi oil minister called it “one of the worst meetings we have ever had.”

But the meeting was about more than one group of oil-rich countries wanting to stick it to the West slightly more than another group. The split opec vote is characteristic of the whole Middle East region.

Increasingly, the Middle East is divided into two opposing camps: one led by Iran and another led by Saudi Arabia.

Iran, which currently holds the opec presidency, is using its power to push for higher oil prices and show Muslims across the region that it is not afraid to stand up to European powers—even if they are bombing Libya. Characterizing the more “moderate” Arab states as stooges of the West is part of Iran’s effort to feed popular anger in those Arab countries that oppose its leadership.

The Saudi-led camp is an alliance of convenience, made up of countries united not only in their hatred for Israel but in their mutual fear of Iran. Because of Iran’s rising power, the Saudi-led camp is turning to Europe for protection. Thus these countries have a motivation to keep oil prices within a reasonable price range. Also, many of these countries have supported Europe’s campaign to remove Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi.

Tensions are escalating in the Middle East. You can see it in Libya. You can see it in Bahrain. And you can feel it in your pocketbook. But where is it all ultimately leading? To find out, read The King of the South and “Why Iran Can Afford to Be So Bold.”

China Tops U.S. as World’s Largest Energy Consumer

China Tops U.S. as World’s Largest Energy Consumer

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A new report says that China is now the world’s biggest energy user—knocking the United States from a position it has probably held since the early 1900s.

China moved to top position in 2010 with 20.3 percent of global usage, according to the report authored by oil company BP. The U.S. came in second at 19 percent. Russia was a distant third at 5.5 percent.

Total energy use includes energy derived from oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear and renewable energy.

China’s energy usage grew by 11.2 percent during 2010. America’s usage grew by 3.7 percent.

The findings show a major flaw in America’s push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by limiting carbon emissions in America. Carbon tax laws put American companies at a competitive disadvantage with companies overseas. And when the cost of business rises too much, they just relocate to other more friendly environments overseas. Many energy-intensive businesses have already relocated elsewhere. China is now by far the largest user of coal-powered electricity, which is the most inexpensive form of energy generation. It has so many coal-fired power plants that it consumes a whopping 48 percent of global coal production.

The findings also show just how fast China is becoming an economic superpower. One decade ago, China was nowhere near America, in terms of energy usage. But over the past decade, China has become a manufacturing powerhouse.

Yet as fast as China is industrializing, it is still far behind America in terms of oil consumption. America consumes 21 percent of global oil production, while China consumes 10.6 percent. However, if trends continue, and China’s 1 billion-plus population keeps “Americanizing,” it will not be long before China is the world’s largest oil user too.

For a biblical perspective of what the rise of China means for the world, read He Was Right.

The Self-Righteousness of Job

Job was the most righteous man of his day—perfect and upright, the Bible says. The problem was, Job knew he was righteous—and this made him horribly self-righteous. His sin was and is today the most difficult sin there is to see.

The Pope, Croatia and the Rising Beast

The Pope, Croatia and the Rising Beast

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The pope officially backed Croatia’s bid to enter the European Union on Saturday. The announcement, which he made while en route to the Croatian capital city of Zagreb, highlights a disturbing Vatican history.

Speaking to reporters, Pope Benedict xvi said: “I think it is logical, just and necessary that [Croatia] enters.”

“Croatia is a nation at the heart of Europe, its history and its culture,” he continued. “From its earliest days, your nation has formed part of Europe, and has contributed, in its unique way, to the spiritual and moral values that for centuries have shaped the daily lives and the personal and national identity of Europe’s sons and daughters.”

The pope then went on to give Croatia a mission. He told the nation of 89 percent Catholics to reverse the tide of secularism washing across the continent. “It seems to me that this aspect could be the very mission of this nation that joins now: to renew a unity within diversity. The European identity is an identity, precisely because of the richness of the different cultures which converge in the Christian faith and in the great Christian values,” he said.

Reinvigorating Europe’s Christian identity will require a “convinced witness and active dynamism aimed at promoting the fundamental moral values that underpin social living and the identity of the old continent,” he said.

But the pope’s enthusiastic support of Croatia belies some disturbing recent history between the Vatican and the breakaway republic. This history is extremely important because it clearly illustrates who is dominating Europe and why it will not lead to peace.

In 1991, Germany recognized the Yugoslav breakaway states of Croatia and Slovenia. Almost immediately, the Vatican likewise recognized these states. Germany and the Vatican did this despite the stated opposition of the United States, Britain, France, most of Europe and the United Nations—and knowing full well that it would mean the outbreak of a full-scale civil war and the disintegration of the nation of Yugoslavia.

Germany and the Vatican were opposed by virtually the whole world—yet they went ahead and ignited a civil war. Why would they do such a thing? It all goes back to World War ii.

The New York Times reported on these events in 1991 with these words: “Germany has stirred troubling historical associations …. Nazi Germany dominated the two Yugoslav regions during World War ii, absorbing Slovenia into the Third Reich and creating a puppet regime in Croatia” (Dec. 16, 1991; emphasis mine throughout).

A December 8 New York Times article from the same year, titled “U.S. Is at Odds With German Backing for Slovenia and Croatia,” explained Germany’s historical ties with the Yugoslav “breakaway” republics:

Germany has long historical ties, both glorious and shameful, to Slovenia and Croatia. Slovenia was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and many people there still identify with the German-speaking world. There has also been German influence in Croatia, and during World War ii,Croatia was ruled by a pro-Nazi regime.This aspect of Croatian history, and the fact that the Tudjman government has refused to disassociate itself from the Croatian fascists who ruled the republic in the 1940s, has made European leaders unwilling to move quickly toward recognition. German public opinion is strongly pro-Croatian and anti-Serbian.

As was the case with Germany, the Vatican too was deeply involved with the Nazi regimes in these regions.

As Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry brought out in 1999, Franjo Tudjman, Croatia’s president at the time of its breakaway from Yugoslavia, was a Nazi sympathizer who refused to disassociate himself from the Croatian Nazis of Hitler’s day. This is a man who has written apologetics for concentration camps and forced extermination. He has publicly stated that his country was right for supporting Hitler. Yet Germany and the Vatican, and eventually the U.S., went on to support him.

“Isn’t it also disturbing that a Croatian leader who will not disassociate himself from the Croatian fascists or Nazis of the 1940scan be a respected leader in a Roman Catholic country?” asked Mr. Flurry. “If these people are good Roman Catholics, how can they still be fascists? Shouldn’t this strike us as rather alarming?”

If people truly understood history—especially German history—they would be alarmed at what has happened to the former Yugoslavia. In that 1999 article, Mr. Flurry continued:

How quickly the world has forgotten that Germany has historically considered it a primary duty to protect the Roman Catholic Church! During the various reigns of the Holy Roman Empire, they have felt it was their duty to enforce the church’s desires—good and bad. That helps us to understand why Germany will stand up against the European Community, the United Nations, the United States, and the entire world!There is something very dark and sinister stirring in Europe. What is now happening in Croatia is only a small sample of what is about to spread over the entire continent! This is the “straw that is going to stir the drink” to unify all of Europe. It will not be long before Europe is reunited as the Holy Roman Empire. It will be led very assertively by Germany.Two republics now have their independence because of Germany and the pope. The whole world would have been against the independence of these two republics had not Germany and the pope spoken out in support of them! That reveals a great deal about the power Germany has today. But more importantly, it projects where Germany and the Vatican are headed in the future!

Those who are watching Germany and the Vatican know that as a result of the current economic crisis, Europe has become a virtual colony of Germany—a modern-day Holy Roman Empire. It may still officially be a secular organization, but if the Vatican has its way, it won’t be for long.

Croatia’s entrance into the European Union would be the culmination of this German-Vatican plot. Germany’s old World War ii ally is about to enter the European Union. The EU will gain 4 million more Roman Catholics. And America’s betrayed World War ii Serbian allies will find themselves in a situation startlingly reminiscent of the 1940s.

Keep Your Word

Keep Your Word

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“But Daddy, you said we would play soccer when you got home from work!”

Guilty.

Trouble is, when I said that, I didn’t know about the unplanned meeting that got me home 20 minutes later than usual. Plus I just didn’t feel like running around at the moment.

Ever happened to you? This is a crucial moment of decision for a dad. And the implications of our choice here might be bigger than we think.

How important is it for a child’s parents to be true to their word? Enormously important, when you consider that in the eyes of a small child, a parent stands in the place of God. We equip our children to understand how dependable, how trustworthy, how consistent God is by how well we exhibit those qualities.

Fathers in particular must give this serious thought as we lead our families.

Imagine the man who wants to take his family on a trip and announces it. The whole family is excited. But as the date of departure nears, obstacles arise—unexpected costs, unforeseen snags. Other things take precedence. The trip doesn’t seem as important. The father cancels the trip.

Commenting on this hypothetical situation in Man of Steel and Velvet, Aubrey Andelin writes, “The lack of follow-through on the part of the father can have a disheartening effect on the family. Not only is there a loss of enriching experiences that could just as well have been had, but the family suffers a certain lack of security, especially if it happens often. They will come to distrust their father’s word. When new plans are presented, there will be doubt concerning the outcome. The family will lack faith that the plans will materialize, and disillusionment will set in” (emphasis mine).

The author concludes, “Considering these doubts, it appears it would be best to follow through even if it may not be quite as prudent as originally thought.”

Obviously, we are human, and unsurpassable obstructions can arise; it is certainly wise to state plans as probabilities rather than absolute promises (James 4:13-15). Nevertheless, the basic point stands. How much does our dependability as fathers and parents influence our children’s faith? The correlation is probably stronger than we would like to admit.

Wouldn’t it be harder for a person to learn to trust God’s Word, if his or her dad never kept his word?

And wouldn’t it be easier to simply believe God, if Dad was always trustworthy?

In some important ways, dependability is a defining characteristic of godly fatherhood.

The very foundation of our faith is God’s dependability. When our heavenly Father makes a promise, it’s as good as done. “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19). We can count on Him to fulfill His every word. We can depend on Him to follow through every time.

James 1:17 says that with our Father, “there is no variation or shadow due to change” (Revised Standard Version).

“I am God, and there is none like me,” He assures us: “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9-10).

“For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29; rsv).

We fathers, we parents, must strive to teach our children this quality of God by living it. When we say we’ll do something, they should be able to count on us to follow through.

It’s tough sometimes. It takes sacrifice (though not nearly as much as God has made for us). But remember the goal: Matthew 5:48. I call it the father’s motto: “[Become] ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

Not only does our success here build a foundation for our children’s faith in God, it gives them a model to emulate. I’ve talked with my children about the importance of keeping your word. If I expect them to follow through with the things they say they will do, I have to make sure I’m setting the example.

One last thought about my promise to play soccer after getting home from work.

I recently attended the wedding of the daughter of one of my good friends. When he spoke at the reception, he brought me to tears as he reminisced about how, just yesterday, this radiant woman in white was his sweet little “pumpkin,” running to greet him when he got home from work.

I still have three of those pumpkins in my house. But, as my friend told me when we spoke afterward, just blink and they’re grown and gone.

“When my kids were growing up,” he said, “I always made sure I made time for them right when I came home from work. Every day, my son would greet me with a ball in his hand. ‘Dad—can we play?’ A lot of times I wouldn’t feel like it. But my wife reminded me, ‘You’d better take the opportunity while you’ve got it.’ So I always did. Even if it was for five minutes, I never told him no.”

Great advice. I know at least three children who deserve to be able to count on their dad like that.