The pastor who baptized a murderer

Emanuel_African_Methodist_Episcopal_(AME)_Church_CorrectedDylann Roof, who was sentenced to death for murdering nine African-Americans at a Bible study, had been baptized at the age of 2 in the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, an ELCA congregation in Charleston, SC.

The pastor who baptized him, Rev. Richard Graf,  is now in the news, trying to explain the Lutheran doctrine of Baptism and how there is still hope even for this monstrous killer if he turns back to Christ.

Is his explanation adequate?  Does anything else need to be said?

 

Photo of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Charleston [site of the shootings] by Cal Sr from Newport, NC, US [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons [Read more…]

Survey finds 2 million non-citizens illegally registered to vote

8179175517_59499213ce_zA 2013 survey of Hispanics in America found that of the 56% who were here illegally, 13% said they were registered to vote.  If that percentage holds today, that would mean that as many as to 2 million Hispanic non-citizens are on the voting rolls.

The survey did not ask how many actually voted, though for non-citizens registering itself is illegal.  The findings are a mathematical extrapolation, though this is common in this kind of research.

These findings would support the findings of a much-disputed Old Dominion study that concluded that over a million non-citizens voted illegally in the last election.  It also gives credence to President Trump’s claim of widespread voter fraud.

The numbers are significant, though not enough to give Trump the popular vote.  But they refute the claim constantly being made by Democrats, the media, and fact-checkers that there is “no” evidence of illegal voting. [Read more…]

Bringing back the woolly mammoth

A new approach to evangelism

prayer-1143598_640The traditional approach to evangelism, according to Ed Stetzer of Christianity Today, has started with presenting the Gospel to unbelievers.  The new approach, he says, starts with getting them involved with the church.  In the course of their relationships in the community of Christians, they will come to believe.

He sums up the two models this way:  Old:  Believe, Become, Belong.  New:  Belong, Believe, Become.

For more details, read the excerpts and the article linked after the jump.

As a Lutheran, I do see that bringing an unbelieving friend to church is a good way to evangelize that person, since a pastor, by virtue of his call, is going to proclaim the Gospel better than I can.  And yet, the church is a community of Christians, not something non-Christians can fully enter into, even if they wanted to, and I’m not sure they do.

And what makes a non-believer into a believer is the Gospel.  Even if the non-believer becomes, to some measure, a part of the  community and comes to have Christian friends who are good influences, at some point that friend–or the pastor, or someone–is going to have to tell the person about Christ.  (Actually, bring the person to the point of repentance through the Law, so as to make the hearer receptive to the Gospel.)  At that point, the “old” model would seem to reassert itself.

Actually, both models seem inadequate.  Baptism is nowhere mentioned.  Nor is Law, which leads to Gospel.  The very breaking down of the process into steps seems to go against the organic, unique, and varied way the Holy Spirit works.

What do you think about these approaches?

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Are U.S. spies staging a “soft coup” against the Trump administration?

6357759479_0d038eded2_oPresident Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn lost his job because someone leaked records from his phone being monitored, recording him telling the Russian ambassador that sanctions against his country would be eased.  Such phone intercepts are the work of U.S. intelligence agencies or possibly the FBI.  They are top secret.  It’s a crime to release bugging transcripts.  Nevertheless, someone in the intelligence bureaucracy gave them to a reporter.  Something similar evidently happened with the President of the United States, no less, with the leak of phone conversations between Donald Trump and world leaders, such as the embarrassing account of his spat with the Prime Minister of Australia.

Evidently, our national intelligence agency–or at least some individuals that work for it–are working to undermine our elected president and his administration.

Whatever you think of Donald Trump, this is dangerous.  At least two reports have come out on the subject, excerpted and linked after the jump.  Eli Lake calls what happened to Michael Flynn a “political assassination.”  He says that while the FBI might have been tapping his phone as part of the larger investigation of the Russian connection with Trump’s administration, Flynn was planning to reform the intelligence bureaucracy, which would be a motive for trying to get rid of him.  Damon Linker, who opposes both Trump and Flynn, nevertheless is highly concerned about the usurpation of an elected government by our shadowy spy world, accusing it of trying to stage a “soft coup” that is a threat to our democracy. [Read more…]

Trump’s labor secretary pick withdraws

Andrew_Puzder_by_Gage_Skidmore_(cropped)President Trump’s pick for labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, withdrew, after several Republicans in the Senate said they would not vote for him, making his confirmation impossible.  This is Trump’s first setback in putting his cabinet together.

Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which operates the fast food chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.

Though a Trump defeat, Puzder’s failure to get confirmed can be seen as a victory for Trump’s ideas.  Puzder has a history of hiring illegal immigrants, both in his company and in his personal house-keeping.  He has been an advocate for increased immigration and had been a supporter of the “Gang of Eight” style immigration reform with its amnesty provisions.   As labor secretary, he would not seem to embody the interests of the American workers who have been casualties of globalism and who put Trump in office.  See this for a conservative case against his confirmation.

[Read more…]