You can’t always trust “Christian Authors.”

Below is an excerpt from the opening of the article “10 Signs The Christian Authors You’re Following Are (Subtly) Teaching Unbiblical Ideas” by Natasha Crain.

I highly recommend you visit her blog and read the whole article.

My friend, Alisa Childers, recently wrote a review of the bestselling book, Girl, Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis. It started a firestorm of online discussion about what makes someone a “Christian” author, what responsibility a self-identified Christian author has in promoting ideas consistent with biblical faith, and what harm there can be for Christians reading books that contain nonbiblical ideas.

I personally haven’t read the book, so I’m not going to comment on it specifically. But I will say I was extremely disappointed and saddened to see the kinds of comments supporters of the book wrote:

“It wasn’t meant to be a devotional.”

“She’s not teaching theology.”

“Our job is not to seek people out and hate them.”

“Stop competing! Just imagine what the non-Christians think about the McJudgies! We need to focus inward because the project within ourself is the most important work we will accomplish. Don’t use your blog to bring someone down.”

Unfortunately, such comments are representative of the lack of discernment common in the church today. If Alisa fairly characterized the claims of Hollis’s book, Hollis is promoting ideas that conflict with a biblical worldview. And when there is a concern that millions of women are consuming content from a Christian author that can lead them to embrace unbiblical ideas, we should be raising a warning flag and calling out for discernment in the body of Christ.

It’s not about being a “McJudgey.”

It’s about discerning biblical truth from non-truth…something the Bible consistently tells us to do.

Continue reading here.

The Best and Worst of Times

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity…”

The words of Charles Dickens, in A Tale of Two Cities, were written in 1859. This well-known start to a fiction book was 160 years ahead of its time, and should be republished as a work of non-fiction.

Each generation can only imagine what life was like to previous generations or centuries of human life and culture. The statement “in the good ol’ days” is trite at best and disingenuous at worst.

I highly doubt that many would really desire to go back to the days of sharecropping, or child labor, or segregation, or lack of human rights. So, what is it that is actually meant when people speak of those days of yesteryear?

Too often, the “good ol’ days” are helped along with whimsical movies like Bing Crosby in “White Christmas”, Judy Garland in “Meet Me in St. Louis,” or Michael J Fox in “Back to the Future” or a host of other movies portraying a false reality of what life was like. Life was not easy and EVERY generation has faced difficult times.

For example, my British grandparents easily remembered what life was like during World War II and the years of food rationing. Years of being forced to plant your own garden, or raise rabbits for meat, or riding a bike to work because there was no gas/petrol for average civilians. I never heard either of them wish they could return to those days.

My parents were born in two different countries and raised on two different continents. Their lives were not easy and I rarely ever heard stories from their growing up years. They met during the days of the Vietnam War, married, and started a family. Segregation was still a reality, war demonstrations were an every week occurrence, governments were in a shambles, and troops were dying by the hundreds. I never heard either of them wish they could return to those days.

During my early years, I remember eating the same meal over and over because we did not have much. Going to a restaurant was a once-a-year treat on your birthday and gifts around the Christmas tree were normally slim pickings until the box arrived from a grandmother who always added a book, British chocolates, a hand-knitted sweater, and a few other items. Both parents had to work doing something in order to feed and clothe us, but they never complained.

Today, I have five children. Three are adults, while two are still at home. I also have a grandson. I do not want them to have to go through what my wife and I faced in our growing up years, or even in the early years of our marriage, but that does not mean that I fear what the future holds.

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The news media hourly projects the stark naked truth of Dicken’s words. 2018 is the best of times, but it is also the worst of times. 2018 is the age of wisdom, but it is also the age of great foolishness. 2018 is the epoch of belief, but it is sadly also the epoch of incredulity.

How have we arrived at this juncture in human history? It is certain that we cannot go back to the “good ol’ days” and even if we could we would have a harsh lesson to learn. We are exactly where we are supposed to be. We must take the opportunity to face the times we are in with an equal measure of faith and understanding.

The Bible reminds us “faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).” My faith gives me courage to face each new day. I cannot fear what I do not know will happen for there is no certainty of a new day. Tomorrow, my family could be planning my funeral and I will have given my day over to fears that did not come to fruition. My faith reminds me that there is only One Person who knows the future and how all things will transpire. This is where understanding comes into the picture.

My understanding of human history is predicated on the truth that all that mankind has accomplished is built on the back of all who have gone before. I recognize that there have been some very dismal times in human history where murder, mayhem, war, and disease were a daily part of one’s existence. I am thankful I do not live in one of those eras. I also understand that we can learn from our mistakes and we can teach our children to rise up and strive to do better than we did. We cannot make them do this, but the way history will play out for them can be changed for it has not yet arrived. The 21st century is not certain as to how politics, society, or culture will be represented in the history books of the future.

What we see today is a reflection of what Dickens saw as he continued, “It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…”

My prayer is that we will not give up hope, for we know the God who holds the future. That hope gives me encouragement and does not leave me in the winter of despair. With that hope, I know that I yet have everything before me as compared to those who have nothing before them.

“Only one life. It will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment 2

February 9, 2017

B. What contentment is opposed to

But what, then, it will be asked, is this quietness of spirit opposed to?

1. It is opposed to murmuring and repining at the hand of God, as the discontented Israelites often did. If we cannot bear this either in our children or servants, much less can God bear it in us.

2. To vexing and fretting, which is a degree beyond murmuring.

3. To tumultuousness of spirit, when the thoughts run distractingly and work in a confused manner, so that the affections are like the unruly multitude in the Acts, who did not know for what purpose they had come together. The Lord expects you to be silent under His rod, and, as was said in Acts 19: 36, “Ye ought to be quiet and to do nothing rashly.”

4. It is opposed to an unsettled and unstable spirit, whereby the heart is distracted from the present duty that God requires in our several relationships—towards God, others, and ourselves. We should prize duty more highly than to be distracted by every trivial occasion.

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5. It is opposed to distracting, heart-consuming cares. A gracious heart so esteems its union with Christ and the work that God sets it about, that it will not willingly suffer anything to come in to choke it or deaden it. A Christian is desirous that the Word of God should take such full possession as to divide between soul and spirit (Heb 4: 12), but he would not allow the fear and noise of evil tidings to take such a hold in his soul as to make a division and struggling there, like the twins in Rebekah’s womb (Gen 25:22).

– by Jeremiah Burroughs

The Visitor is available to download for free today.

imageWhat happens when someone travels into the past to deliver an urgent message about the future, but ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Would those unintended recipients of the future warning be able to stop any of the atrocities of the 20th Century (including the assassination of President Kennedy)? Or, in spite of man’s ability to travel through time, would God’s sovereignty demand that the horrible events of history’s past can never be changed?

The Visitor, by J.L. Pattison, is a short story best described as part science fiction, part history, part time travel, and part mystery. With a tablespoon of politics, a pinch of dystopia, and a dash of conspiracy, this tale will take you on an entertaining ride with a climactic ending that will leave you in contemplation long after you’ve put it down.

Here’s what others are saying about The Visitor:

– “I appreciated the conflict between the sovereignty of God and time travel. I have often wondered what would happen if time travel were possible. This story reminded [me] of the rich man and Lazarus from the Gospel of Luke, especially Father Abraham’s words ‘If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.’ Or in this case, traveled back through time.”  Javier L. Taylor (5 Stars)

– “A new talent to watch. . . . If the Twilight Zone still existed, this short story would be an episode, it is that good. . . . Rod Serling himself would be proud.” PapaPhilly (5 Stars)

– “Possibly the best short story I have [ever] read!” Anne (5 Stars)

– “I guarantee you will be old before you forget this book.” Mark Escalera (5 Stars)

– “Very thought provoking.” Laura McGowen (4 Stars)

– “The author has crafted an excellent short story that captures your imagination and draws you in with its characters. . . . Well done.” Chris Hohnholz (5 Stars)

– “Reads like a suspenseful Twilight Zone episode . . . . If you are a fan of the Twilight Zone this book is for you.” John Cavallone (5 Stars)

– “There is an allusion to the tension between the sovereignty of God and the outworking of history in relation to time travel. I find that to be an interesting thought experiment. Finally, there’s a big nod given to Neil Postman and his vision of the American future given in Amusing Ourselves to Death . . . . The weaving of an interesting fictional narrative with theology, history, political commentary, media ecology, science fiction . . . in such a short space is impressive.” Heath Cross (5 Stars)

– “I love that it moved quickly and touched on so many interesting points and . . . had such an unpredictable ending.” Bernard Ruiz (5 Stars)

– “It was amazing and scary at the same time. The Vistor left me breathless.” Michelle Bledsoe (5 Stars)

– ” I found this to be a new concept for this genre and actually left me pondering what I would change if I could go back and warn others. Overall, a very thoughtful and entertaining read. The writing and pace was perfect . . . . I found this very enjoyable and thought provoking . . . .” Jenaca (5 Stars)

– “The plot is compelling – I imagine Rod Sterling could adapt it quite nicely for an episode of the Twilight Zone.” Jay Eldred (4 Stars)

– “The Visitor . . . [is] . . . a truism that big things come in small packages.” Chad (5 Stars)

– “Very well written in a manner that kept me riveted to the end.” Paul Bayne (5 Stars)

“This story left me with so many questions, and theories. Not about the plot or the characters, but about humans and their choice of not seeing what’s right in front of their eyes.” Laura (5 Stars)

“I really enjoyed this book! . . . I didn’t want the story to be over. It had great depth and character development for such a short story. There were several thought provoking themes woven into the story line that hung in my head for several days after reading [it]. . . . I look forward to reading more from this author.” Kayci (4 Stars)

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If you’re ready to read a unique tale that is also family friendly, then download The Visitor today at Amazon.com.

Even if you don’t own a Kindle, you can still read The Visitor by downloading the free Kindle reading app to your tablet, phone or PC here

Book recommendation: “Escape from the World Trade Center” by Leslie Haskin.

I fully understand that this will be a very controversial post (perhaps the most controversial post in DefCon’s history) and I’ve even been reluctant to post it (opting to leave it sitting in pending drafts for quite awhile). But even if it causes some to cease their readership of this blog, the truth needs to be told.

For almost a year now I’ve been revisiting the events of 9/11/01, without prejudice or preconceived notions, and I have come away shocked with what I have discovered. The more I look into the events of that day the more I am convinced that we have not been told everything about what occurred on that September morning almost eleven years ago.

So when this short book written by  professing Christian Leslie Haskin (detailing her escape from one of the three WTC towers that fell on September 11, 2001) became available for free on Kindle (from the longer book Between Heaven and Ground Zero), I download it. I was curious to read a survivor’s account of that day to see if it corroborated more with the government’s official version of the events of that day, or instead, with that of the mounting evidence pointing to a conspiracy of the magnitude never before seen in this country.

In this book, Haskin tells of her upbringing in a Christian home, her eventual turning from the faith, and how the events of September 11, 2001 brought her back to her faith in God. Haskin has written a few other books and she’s been a guest speaker around the country (and has even appeared on The 700 Club). But it was the details of her escape from WTC Tower One that I was most interested in and she did not fail to deliver. What I read in her account contradicts the official version of what happened on that day, and corroborates the evidence pointed to by conspiracy theorist’s (term not used pejoratively) to prove that not everything we’ve been told to believe about 9/11 is true.

As for the book itself, I found that the placement of Scripture throughout it seemed to be sporadic and random and it became somewhat distracting. Oftentimes the verses cited were completely out of context with the storyline. I also did not find the writing to be as polished as it could have been, as the jumping back and forth between 9/11 and other events in her past didn’t flow well to me and seemed somewhat disjointed. And the overuse of ellipses was very taxing, offering an unprofessional appearance and tone to her writing.

I also wouldn’t recommend this book on the grounds of theological meatiness as it is weak on doctrinal distinctions. I understand that this book is not meant to be a theological tome, but with the profuse employment of Scripture throughout it I would have hoped for a little more solidness in the biblical message she was trying to convey, instead of the man-centered, Hallmark card flavor it carried.

You can read more reviews of the book here where others had similar criticisms about the book.

But in spite of my above cited dissatisfaction, I still highly recommend this book because of the valuable information contained within it as the author details the things she saw, smelled, heard, and felt during her escape from the terror in her tower; things that should cause every American to ask questions without fear of being marginalized with ad hominen attacks pejorative labels like “crazy conspiracy theorists.”

So what is it in Haskin’s book that contradicts the official governmental 9/11 conspiracy theory and instead supports an alternative 9/11 conspiracy theory?

Continue reading

Book recommendation: “How Do You Kill 11 Million People?” by Andy Andrews.

So exactly how did the Nazis get so many people to cooperate with them in marching toward their deaths without resistance?

This book tells you.

This was an eye-opening read and my only criticism is that its extremely short in length. I felt the author could have gone on and provided more examples and more insight, but even for its short length (you can read it in less than an hour), I was still hit by the truths presented in it. 

Watching current events unfold, this book may not only be about history, but it may very well be a warning for what’s about to come to America; and the author does not hold back from suggesting that grave possibility.

Book recommendation: “When a Nation Forgets God: 7 Lessons We Must Learn from Nazi Germany” by Erwin W. Lutzer

This is a fantastic book on the parallels between today’s society in America and that of Nazi Germany.

The author takes a chilling look into the similarities between the life, culture, politics, and mindset of the populace in Nazi Germany and how we are seeing history begin to repeat itself (as it often does) today. 

Here’s the book’s description:

“According to Dr. Lutzer, the German people’s progression from civility to barbarity was not extraordinary yet the Nazi regime will forever serve as an example of brutality and extreme racism run amok. More than a few benchmarks from their transition can be observed in present day American society. This book does not suggest the United States is definitely marching toward authoritarian oblivion, but that we — especially we believers — must take note of these lessons from history and be vigilant in our stand for truth, justice, and righteousness.”

This book serves as not only a history lesson, but as a warning for where we’re headed. Here is a quote from the book:

. . . [L]aws making education in public schools compulsory have historically been found in the most totalitarian of governments where state-sponsored indoctrination was a major goal of the educational system. Although it is still legal to homeschool children in America, we can’t assume that freedom will continue. . . . The children in [Nazi] Germany were subjected to films that presented the Nazis’ view that the Jews were subhuman and that they were an unnecessary burden on society. Darwin’s evolutionary notions were also presented in the classroom to extol the virtues of the Aryan race (the Germans) and that the evolutionary idea of survival of the fittest could be hurried along by the extermination of the weak. Since only the fittest survive it makes good sense that “might makes right.” Hitler asked, “Why can’t we be as cruel as nature?”

And here is another quote from the book:

When Hitler starved children, he called it putting them on a “low-calorie diet.” And the extermination of Jews was called “cleansing the land.” Euthanasia was referred to as “the best of modern therapy.” Children were put to death in “Children’s Specialty Centers.”

Hitler’s cronies seldom said they were going to kill people; even when plans were made to exterminate millions, the leaders spoke only in abstract slogans such as “the final solution.” Sanitized terms were used to camouflage unspeakable crimes. Planned massacres were spoken of in clinical terms to mislead the naïve and to assuage the conscience of the perpetrators.

We do the same, of course. No one speaks of killing preborn infants. Rather, pregnant women are only removing “a product of conception” or a woman is simply “terminating a pregnancy.” Politicians speak of being in favor of “a woman’s right to choose . . .” but they seldom complete the sentence. Somehow to say they are in favor of a woman’s right to choose to kill her preborn infant, is too honest, too clear—we might add, and too chilling.

Homosexual behavior turns out to be nothing more than “an alternate lifestyle.” And adultery is reduced to the more innocuous word: affair. Schools that demean religion and promote immorality are said to be “value free” and laws which deny religious speech are promoted as “the fairness doctrine” or simply promoting “localism.” Historically, horrendous crimes have been committed in the name of liberty.

After reading this book (and previously posting a quote from it), I was informed that the author holds to the idea of easy believeism. I did not see this presented in the book as the author dealt mostly with how history is repeating itself in politics and culture, so the book is safe for consumption in that regard.