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Monday, May 21, 2007

Open Letter to the Editor of the Journal of Student Ministries

In reference to: Mr. Penner, When I read the first issue of this journal, I was excited to see a differently styled and interesting publication directed toward Youth Ministers. Even in that first issue though, there were little red flags popping up. I addressed those in a letter to the Journal, which never saw the light of day nor a response. As each subsequent issue has arrived, those little red flags have become huge banners blotting out the sun (or Son, which ever you prefer). With this latest issue and the article entitled “The Irritating Truth”, you have successfully proven that there remains no discerning spirit within your publication and all precepts of Biblical integrity have seemingly been thrown to the wind amidst your proud, red banners. As such, I am compelled to cancel my subscription and ask for a refund of the remaining amount paid. This article on illegal immigration is one of the worst written, worst documented and worst twisting of Scripture that I have read anywhere, including in your pages, (which has had quite a few contenders over the months). And worst of all, you presented it with no alternate view expressed. Essentially saying that if you support any law that requires any prerequisite for any person from any nation to enter this country and enjoy full rights of citizenship, you are bound for the burning fires of Hell. Let’s begin with the Scriptures that Mr. Fletcher posited as undeniable proof that we Jesus, Himself, wants us to cease being a country called the United States of America. First, I can’t see anywhere in any of these verses where ILLEGAL immigration is mentioned or even eluded to. These passages are all speaking of the mistreatment of foreigners within a country. I ask who is advocating cheating or murdering foreigners who are in the USA? No one. Mr. Fletcher is trying to suggest that having a requirement to enter the USA is paramount to stealing from and murdering these people. Wow. Additionally, equating the “aliens” referred to in these passages with illegal aliens in the United States is one of the worst misapplications of Scripture I have ever seen. It’s apples and oranges at it’s best. Mr. Fletcher also quotes a few passages about justice. My question is, what is just and who gets to decide? Later on Mr. Fletcher makes a comment that God is more interested in justice for the poor and downtrodden than for the rich. Again, wow. He has just made God the worst kind of cosmic Robin Hood. News flash for Mr. Fletcher, God is concerned about justice period, whether that falls on the side of the rich or the poor. Scripture is clear about that. (Leviticus 19:15; Job 34:12; Isaiah 11:1-4) He goes on to quote Proverbs 31:8-9 which doesn’t mention aliens at all, not even the unrelated kind that the previous passages referred to. It tells us to stand up for the rights of the needy and destitute. What are the rights of illegal immigrants in the U.S.? Well, they have basic human rights that all but the unborn have in this country (I would be curious to see where Mr. Fletcher stands on that issue, but I digress). But that is not what Mr. Fletcher is implying by inclusion of this passage. I don’t think it is. Is he saying that it is the right of every illegal alien to be a full fledged American, no questions asked? Where does it say that in Scripture? He finally ends his mutilation of the Holy Scriptures by quoting from Ezekiel 47. This is an isolated incident in the history of Israel. And Mr. Fletcher seems to forget that God referred to these very same people as “detestable” in chapter 44, not allowing them to even enter the future Temple. The Israelites were reprimanded by God for allowing these people into the land at all. Even so, is Mr. Fletcher really suggesting that the United States divvy up all the land in the country equally among all people who live here whether American or not? And who gets the portions that were to be set aside for God? The Church? Which church? Mr. Fletcher’s Church? The whole thing is ridiculous. Mr. Fletcher then dives into the absurd, declaring, among other things, that the USA is directly to blame for the failure of other countries to prosper (it has nothing to do with government corruption, Socialism, and Communism apparently), that Christians, as a whole, were pro-racism, pro-slavery (despite the fact that Christians were THE driving force behind the elimination of these evils in American society, inasmuch as they have been eliminated), it is un-Christian to expect people to obey the laws of a nation, and the “pièce de résistance”, America’s borders are closed to LEGAL immigration. Finally, Mr. Fletcher’s twisting of Scripture in his use of the story of Jesus and the adulterer found in John 8 is something Satan would be proud of. It is so asinine that I really can’t even comment on it. He ends by claiming that Jesus and Scripture demand open borders in America. In the end, I am not so much concerned that Mr. Fletcher believes and writes this sort of tripe but I am amazed that you printed it. And all along I thought I was a Christian...I guess I was wrong. I hope there is room in Mr. Fletcher’s heaven for me...come to think of it, there should be since God demands that we open citizenship to everyone regardless, I would expect no less of Him. If that is the case, heaven isn’t going to be much different that earth, is it? That’s a bit of a let down. Please, cancel my subscription and refund the remaining amount. Thank you. Nyk Edinger

Thursday, May 10, 2007

War Is Not The Answer

   I saw that bumper sticker yesterday and again today.  "War is not the answer".  Of course, I have seen it a hundred times before and it always did ring a sour note in my mind but I guess I never really thought much about it.  Yesterday, while I was continuing on my journey after seeing it, I was able to put some thought to it.  Why did it seem like such an odd statement to me?    First, the logical thought for me at least, was that if war is not the answer, peace must be.  Peace is the opposite of war, right?  But that didn't make sense.  "Peace is the answer."  That statement doesn't make sense.  Peace is not the opposite of war.  War is an action, whereas peace is a state of being.  Someone could certainly be at peace and at war simultaniously.  Regardless, peace is not the opposite of war, negotiation and compromise is the opposite of war.  So were the makers or bearers of the bumper sticker meaning to tell me that compromise is the answer?  Maybe.  But that begs the question...what IS the question?   If we are talking about war, and a war that presumably (since we are in the U.S.A.) the United States in involved in, then, maybe the question is this; "How can we defeat tyrrany and oppression?"  If that is the question, then what is the answer?    Well, we can count out peace because peace is a state of being free of tyrrany and oppression not a means of defeating it.  I think that is a fair definition for the sake of this argument.  So peace is the goal or the desired end result of the answer, not the answer itself.  So with peace being out of the equation, what is left?  Compromise and war. Let me ask a rhetorical question.  Has there ever been a tyrranical and  oppressive regime defeated by compromising with them?  I went through, in my mind, the major, oppressive regimes of the last two thousand years and there seems to be a common theme to their demise... and it's not negotiation and compromise.  It's war.  Maybe there is one out there somewhere but it would certainly be an exception not the rule.    Can you negotiate with evil and ever win?  No.  Every compromise  that good makes with evil results in evil winning.  The only method  that has ever proven to be effective throughout history in defeating evil has been forcebly removing power from those who  govern with an evil hand.      Turns out, if I have the question right, then war IS the answer.  But  we must be dedicated to victory and a proper execution of that  war.  I can hear a bunch of voices rising in unison, demanding to know  how a Christian can think war is the answer.  My first suggestion is to  really read your Bible, in context.  God seemed to think that war was  the answer to many questions throughout the history of Israel.  He  did try negotiation with Egypt but only to prove it wouldn't work and to show blameless the supernatural war He then inflicted  upon them for not surrendering.  And even in the New Testament,  there were many members of government and the military that became  followers of Christ and never did a request of them be made to stop attending to their jobs.  A military person in the Roman Empire was  not a peace keeper.  He was a warrior.  You would think if war were  such a huge offense against God, something would have been mentioned.  You see, God understands evil and  understands what is required to defeat it.  War.  It will be that  way until the final blow in the final battle of the final war and the  warrior serving that blow will be Jesus, Himself.      So talk all you want but when the time comes to pick up that gun  and defend good and freedom, I hope each of you will be willing to do it.   I will be.     If you want peace, win the war.  It really is that simple. 


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