A Christian parent wants nothing more than this:

For his or her children to love God.

We know that the greatest gift we can give our children is the opportunity to have faith in God through Jesus Christ. So it can be gut-wrenching to watch a child rebel against this, and a test of our patience and endurance as we allow the process to happen (trusting in God’s grace), instead of forcing it to happen.

Trey, our six-year-old, has struggled so far with the whole “God-thing.” He knows that Mommy and Daddy “love Jesus” and that it’s a very real and important thing to us. But he has not liked Sunday School classes or a lot of the Christian stuff we do. When we have times when we sit down and talk about Jesus or read a Bible story, Trey would usually harrumph and pout and sometimes get down-right angry. This has been very stressful on Linda, because the twins (Joel and Kaira) seem so much more open to God than Trey. Linda has been wonderful in her endurance through this trying time, she continues to show grace and love even when Trey's words and actions can deeply irritate and even hurt her.

But we continued to pray (especially Linda, who made it a daily priority). The only thing that softens a heart that's hard to God is God's divine love--we can't do this, only God can do this. God's grace replaces a heart of stone with a spiritually awakened heart (Ezekiel 36:26).

Anyway, lately we have seen a turn-around in Trey’s attitude. He told Linda that he wants to get Daddy “The Passion of the Christ DVD.” When Linda asked him why, he replied, “Because Daddy loves Jesus.”

Then one day, he said to Linda (kind of out of the blue), “You know what Mommy? I think everybody in this house loves God.” Linda couldn’t believe her ears. “Everybody, Trey?” “Yea, everybody.” “You too?” “Yea, me too.” Linda cheered and danced around and gave him a big hug, and he had the biggest grin on his face—that kind of grin that proudly says, “I did the right thing, and I’m glad!”

Then this last Sunday, Trey decided he wanted to sit with us in the main worship service at church. In his sermon, the pastor at the church we’ve been attending on Sunday mornings, Greg Nettle, told a story about his 6-year-old daughter. At Thanksgiving, the members of his family were all saying what they were thankful for, and Tabitha said she was thankful for Jesus. Greg said, “Oh! How it warms a parent’s heart when they hear their child say something like that. I guess when they’re around parents who love Jesus, it kind of rubs off on their children.”

Right at that moment, Trey turned to Linda and me and gave this look—a half smile, half “See? What did I tell you?” look—that will be the most treasured image in my mind for years to come. He then turned and looked intently at the preacher, while Linda and I tried not to be too disruptive with our laughter.

We were laughing for two reasons—(1) simply because Trey’s look was just so hilarious, and (2) because Trey’s actually getting it! We are laughing with a deep, deep joy.

Thank you, God, for your grace. We look forward to the continued journey of faith (both the ups and the downs) with these children!


What if Democrats Were Pro-Life?

For many evangelicals, abortion remains the central issue in our society. And we vote accordingly. Many of us voted for Bush mainly because of his pro-life stance. The Republican Party did a masterful job of claiming the pro-life issue, and Christians responded in kind.

What would happen if Democrats changed their tune on abortion? A group called Democrats for Life claims that if the Democratic Party altered its pro-abortion rights stance, it would help Democrats win future elections. Kristin Day, Executive Director of Democrats for Life said, "I think we really need to look at our strong pro-abortion stance and really come out and say that we want to truly make abortion rare."

But Jenny Backus, a spokeswoman at the Democratic National Committee has said Day is out of touch with the party's position: "We're proudly pro-choice. It doesn't mean you're for or against abortion. It means that you believe people should have the choice."

But the anti-abortion Democrats say that it comes down to two choices — Democrats either have to be more tolerant of anti-abortion Democrats or they have to accept more Republican victories in future elections.

I find it very interesting that the new Senate Minority Leader for the Democratic Party, Harry Reid, has voted mostly pro-life!

For more from the "donkey's mouth" on this, read this editorial by Kristen Day published in National Review:
A Pro-Choice Party No More:
If every vote counts, why does the Democratic party ignore pro-life Democrats?


Stem Cells can help the paralyzed stand up and walk!

According to Dennis Byrne, writing in the Chicago Tribune, stem cells can help the paralyzed stand up and walk. "On Thanksgiving Day, a South Korean woman, Hwang Mi-Soon, paralyzed for 20 years after a spinal-cord injury, rose from her wheelchair and, tearfully and with the help of a walker, took a few steps."

"Why didn't Hwang make the front page of every American newspaper?" Byrne asks. "It's because the stem cells used in Hwang's therapy were from umbilical-cord blood instead of embryos." Because the media has pushed so hard for embryonic stem-cell research, they weren't too interested in a medical cure that didn't cross ethical boundaries.

"Adult and cord stem cells hold as much, if not more, promise as the embryonic types. For years, [they have] been used to treat leukemia. The good news about adult and cord stem-cell advances flows so steadily, it's hard to imagine how a journalist with any news judgment could ignore it."

source: ctmag weblog

See the google search for where this story was reported


The Myth We've Been Told About the Faith of Our Founding Fathers

Some ill-informed people have perpetuated the myth that America's Founding Fathers were all evangelical Christians.

I offer the following insights from the excellent book, The Search for Christian America by Mark A. Noll, Nathan O. Hatch, George M. Marsden. These three men are regarded as three of the finest historians on American religious history. And all three of them are evangelical Christians. Noll is Professor of History at Wheaton College, Hatch is President-Elect and Professor of History at Wake Forest University and former Provost and Director of Graduate Studies in History at Notre Dame, and Marsden is Professor of History at Calvin College.

The Faith of the Founding Fathers
It is difficult for modern Americans to recapture the religious spirit of the country’s great early leaders—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and their colleagues. The difficulty arises because these brilliant leaders, surely the most capable generation of statesmen ever to appear in America, were at once genuinely religious but not specifically Christian. Virtually all these great men had a profound belief in ‘the Supreme Judge of the world’ and in ‘the protection of Divine Providence,’ to use the words of the Declaration of Independence. Yet only a few believed in the orthodox teachings of traditional Christianity—that, for example, Christ’s death atoned for sin, that the Bible was a unique revelation from God, or that the miracles recorded in Scripture actually happened.

There were, to be sure, a few founding fathers who affirmed the cardinal tenets of orthodox Christianity…John Witherspoon…Patrick Henry, an evangelical Anglican… (and) John Jay, co-author of the Federalist Papers, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and like Henry, an Anglican of decidedly evangelical sentiments.

Most of the early leaders, however, did not share the Christian convictions of Henry and Jay.
Thomas Jefferson’s views are perhaps best known…the deity of Christ and his resurrection, the Trinity, the divine authority of Scripture—these were the ‘deliria of crazy imaginations.’
Benjamin Franklin…saw Christ primarily as a moral teacher and true religion as an expression of perfectible human nature.

George Washington was a reserved man who did not express his inward feelings easily on any personal matter, least of all religion…A recent biographer, Marcus Cunliffe, sums the matter up well: "It is true that he was a sound Episcopalian, but his religion, though no doubt perfectly sincere, was a social performance…He was a Christian as a Virginia planter understood the term. He seems never to have taken communion; he stood to pray, instead of kneeling; and he did not invariably go to church on Sundays."

The God of the founding fathers was a benevolent deity, not far removed from the God of the eighteenth-century Deists or nineteenth-century Unitarians…They were not, in any traditional sense, Christian. What historian Daniel Boorstin, now Librarian of Congress, once wrote about Jefferson and his friends applies to most of the founders: they had found in God what they most admired in men. (pp. 72-74)

One of the frequent themes (in the history of the United States) is the declaration of Americans that their nation is like a New Israel. From Puritan New England to the popular Christianity of today rings the refrain that America is to be understood not only in the light of Scripture, but especially through the parts of the Old Testament which describes the Hebrews as God’s special people.

For just as long, however, another heritage, going all the way back to Roger Williams, has questioned the America-as-Israel theme…Many Baptists, especially when concerned about the separation of church and state, have followed Williams in this New Testament emphasis. Anabaptists and most Lutherans in America, preserving older Reformation traditions, also have usually refused to seek political manifestations of the Kingdom. Revivalists from a variety of heritages have urged a simple New Testament message of personal salvation while carefully steering clear of any divisive social-political issues.

Even within the more Calvinistic tradition one important nineteenth-century teaching said that America was more like Babylon that like Israel. This was dispensationalism, which eventually spread widely in twentieth-century fundamentalism and Pentecostalism, which specifically repudiated the idea of ‘Christian’ nations or new Israels.

It is remarkable then that, despite so much in America’s theological heritage which repudiates political programs to establish a biblical nation or New Israel, these ideals persist with such power. Especially notable is the fact that these ideals flourish in some traditions where one might not expect them. So we find Jerry Falwell, a Baptist and a dispensationalist, directly repudiated his earlier view that clergy should stay out of politics. Falwell’s change of heart reflects his adoption of Puritan Old Testament models for understanding Christianity and the nation… America is to be brought back to her Christian heritage through political action. ‘It is time,’ proclaims Jerry Falwell, ‘for Americans to come back to the faith of our fathers, to the Bible of our fathers, and to the biblical principles that our fathers used as a premise for this nation’s establishment.’ Tim LaHaye concurs. Christians, he urges, must ‘vote in pro-moral leaders who will return our country to the biblical base upon which it was founded.’
(pp. 124-126)

Here then is the "historical error": It is historically inaccurate and anachronistic to confuse, and virtually to equate, the thinking of the Declaration of Independence with a biblical world view, or with Reformation thinking, or with the idea of a Christian nation. In other words it is wrong to call for a return to "Christian America" on two counts: First, for theological reasons--because since the time of Christ there is no such thing as God's chosen nation; second, for historical reasons, as we have seen--because it is historically incorrect to regard the founding of America and the formulation of the founding documents as being Christian in their origins. Yet this error is one of the most powerful ideas of our day. (p. 130)

Does it really matter if people hold to this mistaken view that America is, or was, or could become a truly Christian nation? Yes, it does matter. It matters because, if we are going to respond effectively to relativistic secularism, then we need to base our response upon reality rather than error. This is not to deny the positive influence that Christianity has indeed had upon the American way of life. Rather, it is to take it all the more seriously so that we may respond to it all the more effectively. (p. 131)