Seeing Red

The following post is from a young lady whose blog I follow. She writes from the heart of a believer who has traveled a very difficult road with her Master.

This is a subject we should all be more cognizant of – especially men. God made man and woman – made them equal – made them different – for His express purposes. Pro-Creation, the making of a another human being created in the image of our Triune God, is, as she states so well, uniquely feminine. Yes, both husband and wife are required. But, the carrying of that innocent, vulnerable person until they are ready to live outside the womb – that responsibility falls to the woman. And women, since Creation, have masterfully and lovingly carried out that responsibility.

That innate desire of a woman to “mother” is to be celebrated – not berated.

BBB’s confession herein is heart-wrenching – but it is where life is – and our Master walks through this with her!

*sigh* This post is going to be difficult to write. The saying goes, never judge a person until you walk a mile in their shoes…or something like that. And I’ve learned over the years that as much as I hate those cliched little nuggets, they actually hold a lot of truth. Stand the test of […]

via Seeing RED  — BeautyBeyondBones

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Remember When?

I believe God gave us a memory for many reasons.

Me and Aaron20003

Everyone’s life is a story that could, and maybe should be told. However, not everyone takes the time to review and learn from their life. Many believe life is like an uncontrolled roller coaster; you just take it as it comes with no concern as to where it has been. In reality, God has a purpose, planned out for us from before time. When we find that purpose, and pursue it, is when we will be most satisfied.

God has a purpose, planned out for us from before time.

“Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we, who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us, may be greatly encouraged.” [Hebrews 6:17-18 NIV]

I believe God gave us a memory for many reasons. Perhaps the most important, to a follower of the Master, is to recall each and every time He intervened in our lives in an ‘other than every day’ happening. We see this in the way He taught the ancient Jews to remember those special events. He did so in two ways.

One way was to have them build an altar at a geographical location where He had intervened to rescue them, or show them something new in their lives. A second way was that God set aside ‘Holy Days,’ annual celebrations designed to remember Him and something specific He did for them, e.g. Passover, Firstfruits, etc.

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” [Proverbs 16:9 NIV]

My wife and I can look back through the years and remember where God acted through certain extraordinary times or events, to take us into a deeper relationship with Him. We like to say we have built an altar there, at each of those points. One reason for that, we believe, is so that when we encounter something new that bodes of danger, uncertainty or fear, we can look to those altars, recall those previous times and events, and remember how God intervened in our life. Thus we will be reassured of His Trustworthiness to ‘”never leave us or forsake us.”

We know, we have complete assurance, that He will either

  1. walk with us through the new challenge,
  2. lift us out of the challenge, or
  3. take us home to be with Him.

Now that’s a win/win/win.

Hemingway Meets King Solomon – 2

Good Without God! Really!?! (Part VII)

Ernest_Hemingway in KenyaMany years ago I saw a video presentation by a PhD psychologist/psychiatrist from Colorado, named Morris Massey. He had conducted a study regarding how workers, at different levels within an organization, responded to different situations. I have never forgotten his basic premise, with which, I can say today, I still concur.

The presentation was entitled “You Are What You Were When.” The primary point, as I recall, is that the first 10 years of your life set in concrete many parameters regarding how you will develop your adult lifestyle and how you will respond to various extraordinary situations with which you are confronted.

The time period and culture in which we live, the belief, or lack of belief in God, our family dynamics-parents or none, national and international events all play a part in shaping us to be who we are.

Young Ernest Hemingway, born in 1899, grew up in a burgeoning world, where the USA was just beginning to find its place as a world leader. It was a time of peace and prosperity. However, he led a conflicted childhood, with a father who was a country doctor, avid outdoorsman, and a stern disciplinarian easily applying corporal punishment. He was apathetic toward the things of God. An overbearing mother, although religious, created great trauma in the unusual and quirky way she treated her children. He developed an intense hatred of his mother. More than likely his lust for adventure and accomplishing great feats stemmed from a need to prove he was a man.

Solomon, the child of King David and Bathsheba, grew up in the years of David’s kingdom when times were really good. However, David failed miserably as a father. The warrior king who led his men through for years, was a passive dad, drifting in his ability to maintain a close relationship with God or any relationship with his children. Solomon must have absorbed a great love for God as a child and young adult. But, he was surrounded with great wealth in a royal family. More importantly, his father clearly loved and lusted after many women while he ignored the deep problems boiling over with his children.

So, it seems these early years had the predicted effect as Hemingway and Solomon moved into adulthood. There is no doubt Hemingway was a man of action, a great journalist and novelist; but, a poor husband and absent father. There were four suicides in his family: his father, Clarence, siblings Ursula and Leicester, and granddaughter Margaux. In addition, his youngest son, Gregory, living as a transsexual named Gloria, died of likely unnatural causes in 2001.

Ernest, himself, seemed to be on a slippery slope of life from the time he learned of his father’s suicide. The world system evaluates success differently than does a Holy God. But, even with his success as a writer his life was spinning out of control with freak accidents, womanizing, substance abuse and apparent mental illness. By age 60 he was nearly unable to write anything. His own suicide could have been predicted by reading his novels and articles, and listening to him. He was predisposed to the subject of death, comparing the death of his wild game and sport fish to that of man; even intimating he wrote to keep from killing himself. He took his own life on July 2, 1961, with a double-barreled shotgun.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

The book of Ecclesiastes, coupled with 1 Kings, shows how Solomon drifted from God in his adult years. And with that, he allowed the nation of Israel to drift into full blown apostasy. In addition, like his father, he neglected his children, a fact that led to the split in the kingdom between the 10 tribes in the north and the 2 tribes in the south, after his death. However, Solomon held on to the firm belief in a Sovereign, Almighty God. And he drew back to that in the last years of his life.lonely road

What’s the point? Many are the roads we travel down in life; many the opportunities; many the pitfalls. I am reminded of a poem I heard long ago – the following is just 3 stanzas of it

Only One Life, Twill Soon Be Past (Read the whole POEM)

by C. T. Studd (His life story is worth investigating)

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.”

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Hemingway Meets King Solomon

Good Without God! Really?!? (Part VI)

hemingway-writing2          'The_Visit_of_the_Queen_of_Sheba_to_King_Solomon',_oil_on_canvas_painting_by_Edw

The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, or “the Preacher,” or “the Teacher,” offers the Christian an opportunity to understand the emptiness and despair that those who do not know God grapple with on a daily basis. Those who do not have a saving faith in Christ are faced with a life that will ultimately end and an eternal existence alone, without God. If there is no God, and no salvation, then not only is there no final point to life, but no purpose or direction to it, either.

There are many things in this book which are dark and hard to understand; and some things which men of corrupt minds grab for their own destruction. But there is enough easy and plain to convince us of the meaninglessness of the world, and its utter insufficiency to make us happy. Solomon’s view of God, at this point in his life, is as the unredeemed man in general views God—not relevant to everyday life.

That is the Horizontal View (HV).

Solomon seems to have written to combat the growing secularization of religion in his own day – for which he held principle accountability. But for us, these words of his provide a valid critique of modern secular humanism. Life is short and filled with many enigmas and inequities. Apart from the assurance of future judgment and life after death furnished by the historical facts of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and bodily resurrection, the future after death is dark and obscure.

Ecclesiastes is unique in scripture. There is no other book like it, because it is the only book in the Bible that reflects a human, rather than a divine, point of view. This book is filled with man-centric ideas. And yet it is wholly inspired by God. This fact may be confusing, because many feel that inspiration is a guarantee of truth. That is not necessarily so. Inspiration by the Holy Spirit is a guarantee of accuracy from a particular point of view.

There is little doubt about the theme of Ecclesiastes; it is announced at the beginning (1:2) and at the end (12:8) of the book. It is echoed throughout. The Teacher declared that everything (in the HV) is “meaningless,” or “vanity,” or “useless;” including work, wisdom, righteousness, wealth, prestige, pleasure, youth and vigor, life, and even the future after death.

But right away in its introduction this book is very careful to point out that what it records is not about divine truth. It presents only the human view of life. You’ll find that over and over, throughout the whole course of Ecclesiastes, one phrase is repeated again and again: “under the sun,” “under the sun.” Everything is evaluated according to appearances alone—this is a man’s point of view of reality, the Horizontal View. As such, Ecclesiastes very accurately summarizes what man thinks. The world “under the sun,” apart from God, is frustrating, cruel, unfair, brief, and “utterly meaningless.”

The proof of his theory lies in the fickle nature, and constant revolutions, of all the creatures, and the perpetual flux and reflux they are in: the sun, wind, and water. His thesis of the futility of everything is demonstrated in the ceaseless activity of nature. The sun and the wind are in constant motion but never arrive at any fixed goal or lasting rest. The streams flow into the sea, yet it is never full.

A Leap Into the Modern Era

In 1926, a young, impulsive Ernest Hemingway hemingwaycompleted writing his first novel, in a ‘fact disguised with fiction’ format that set out to illustrate the emptiness of the post WWI generation. The title of the manuscript migrated from Fiesta to The Lost Generation, to its final published title – The Sun Also Rises.

The story is about a group of American and British expatriates who travel from Paris to the Festival of San Fermín in Pamplona, Spain, to watch the running of the bulls and the bullfights. Each of these characters had survived WWI, but were disoriented, directionless. Each of the characters shadowed Hemingway’s actual circle of friends.

This is considered one of the early modernist novels. Modernism is a philosophical movement that, along with cultural trends and changes, arose from wide-scale and far-reaching transformations in Western society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

“Among the factors that shaped Modernism were the development of modern industrial societies and the rapid growth of cities, followed then by the horror of World War I. Modernism also rejected the certainty of Enlightenment thinking, and many modernists rejected religious belief.

“Modernism, in general, includes the activities and creations of those who felt the traditional forms of art, architecture, literature, religious faith, philosophy, social organization, activities of daily life, and even the sciences, were becoming ill-fitted to their tasks and outdated in the new economic, social, and political environment of an emerging fully industrialized world.”   Modernism: from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia

You can see in this simplistic description of Modernism, how this generation came to a worldview much like Solomon’s – that of the HV.

As a result of WWI, the worldwide influenza epidemic and the Russian revolution, the 1920’s saw many young artists and intellectuals wanting to discard everything that the Judeo-Christian worldview, upon which the United States was founded. There was a wide scale shift toward acceptance of the Humanist philosophy.

Hemingway took a myopic view of the life he was living “under the sun.” He was able to write with some honesty of the relationships through which he was moving. The novel included some not-so-obscure anti-Semitism, fornication and adultery, drunkenness, and veiled homosexual tendencies.

Ultimately, the same futility Solomon records is lived out in the relationships chronicled in this novel; everything just revolves or repeats, to no good end – while “the earth abideth forever.” Hence, the title, The Sun Also Rises, was taken from the KJV Bible, Ecclesiastes 1:5. Interesting that it fits so well; someone obviously knew their Bible.

Hemingway never seemed to find rest. His writing was honest and displayed what he desired in life. He was viewed as ‘a man’s man.’ He was constantly seeking that new thrill that might bring satisfaction or contentment, just as Solomon did in his middle adult years. What he found was depression, improperly dealt with, leading to suicide. Solomon, on the other hand, returned to God in his latter years

This one thing we know for sure:

            For the one without Jesus, life on earth is the best you’ll ever experience;

            For the one with saving faith in Jesus, life on earth is the worst you’ll ever experience.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.” [Isaiah 40:28]

The Cross and the Flag

Cross-Wooden-with-Draped-American-Flag

From before the founding of this great country Christians have fought and died in various campaigns, small and large, national and international, to repel enemies, secure freedom and thwart tyranny. The original settlers to the shores of this new world had no specific vision of what this could or would be; they simply sought a place where they could survive away from tyranny, establish a home, support themselves and worship God in freedom. They sought a place where no governing body could demand they worship and think as that government dictated.

Ultimately the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were framed by men who understood the price to be paid for the freedoms they sought, as well as the flag-raising-on-iwo-jima

responsibilities of every individual to protect and keep them.

While there are many and loud cries to the opposite, the records, writings and founding documents are clear that the American colonies were grounded and founded on Christian principles, as a nation where freedom of religion was a cornerstone. Thus, the Bible was and is to be held as a free and clear guide to the society in which we live. Over a period of less than 200 years the USA became the most dominant nation in the world, offering freedom to those who chose to integrate into this society, regardless of race, color or creed.

Unfortunately, the nation has been hijacked by people who disdain Christianity and who hate the idea that there is a God watching over us who does not approve their licentious lifestyle. The ones holding to this will tolerate any thing, except Christianity. They have adopted the humanist manifesto as their guide to life, believing the lie.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Christian who views this country as God’s promised land (perhaps not quite literally, but figuratively). If asked if the US is a Christian nation he would normally reply in the affirmative; as opposed to a nation founded on Christian principles and the Judeo-Christian ethic. This person would readily identify with the Cross of Christ draped with a US flag, as depicted in the illustration, seeing the two symbols as inextricably linked.

That particular depiction of the Cross of Christ is immediately viewed by most American Christians as a symbol of Christian patriotism.

I have made a case, in a previous post, that the church in the US has been infiltrated by humanism. This has never been more obvious than in the past 45 years. That there is “leaven in the dough” goes without saying. Though the amount varies significantly from denomination to denomination, individual to individual, it is obviously there. The evangelical movement was once a stalwart in advancing the cause of a conservative Biblical interpretation. However, as might be expected, as the culture pushed back against the beliefs of the evangelicals, many began to waver in the face of opposition. The most obvious problem has been that only a small percentage of Christians read the Bible or know what the Bible has to say. And, of those who do, there are many who want to disagree with some parts of the text. In so doing it becomes easy to interpret other parts in a way to diminish confrontation with the sin in our society.

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.; Strength to Love (1963)

Abortion and the redefinition of marriage as anything other than one man and one woman are two glaring examples.

God’s extraordinary blessings on this nation are now viewed as ‘entitlements’.

Now, the flag of the United States of America, unfortunately, represents a pluralistic nation that refuses to honor, much less bow a knee to Almighty God. This great flag symbolizes a once great nation that has determined the murder of the unborn is a good thing, a mother’s right, and should be blessed by God, denying the most basic law of God regarding innocent life. This flag represents a nation of lawlessness, where reprobate minds, sitting on the highest court of the land, decide what is legal, based not on the Constitution, but on what the people want. This flag represents a nation that says marriage is defined to be whatever two (or more) individuals want it to be; thus destroying the basic foundation of our society – the family.

“The LORD hates six things; in fact, seven are detestable to Him: arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocentblood, a heart that plots wickedschemes, feet eager to run to evil, a lying witness who gives false testimony, and one who stirs up trouble among brothers.” [Psalm 6:16-19]

But what of the Cross of Jesus Christ. The cross represents one of the most horrific forms of execution ever devised. Jesus, falsely accused and convicted, suffered and died in a public execution on a cross outside of Jerusalem.Christ on the Cross_Rubens But, three days later, He was physically resurrected by the power of Almighty God, and, having conquered death, He finally and forever defeated Satan!

The empty Cross of Jesus Christ represents the sacrifice paid by the Son of God to redeem mankind (bring us back to our original status with Almighty God). It is an ‘immutable’ (unchanging) symbol of the Grace and Mercy of our Eternal, Just and Righteous God.

So, I must object to the profaning of what the Cross is and stands for by a flag that represents a nation becoming bereft of every vestige of that One who died for all mankind!

Help, I’ve Fallen, and I Can’t Get Up

Good Without God! Really?!? (Part V)

Man has, from the very beginning, exercised his will in opposition to God, by seeking to operate outside of God’s Will. In a similar vein, mankind has used the intelligence God gifted them to devise ideas of why they believe God does not even exist and all of creation just happened. Reality? NO! Lunacy? YES!

Man upside down in dirt hole with legs in the air

However, my purpose here is to speak to the end result of that questioning of God – the religion of humanism and how it has crept into the Christian Church, the universal, worldwide body of believers in Jesus Christ. Within the universal Church there are numerous subsets and denominations. Just as the human body is a unified creation, made up of many different but essential elements, so the Body of Christ (the pure and true Church) holds to a set of foundational beliefs that cannot be set aside and still remain part of the Body.

“They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”        [2 Thessalonians 2:10b-12]

Apostasy, as I will discuss it herein, defines the process of falling away from the Christian faith.  It is a revolt against the truth of God’s word by any believer, group or church organization that has “fallen away” from the truths of Christianity as divinely revealed in the Bible.

It is as simple as that! Humanism has been a primary cause of apostasy. The false teachings of humanism began to seep into Christian thought and writings as early as Thomas Aquinas (1226-1274), and followed by the likes of René Descartes, Jeremy Bentham, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, and John Dewey, among many others.

In my early years as an adult in the church I experienced numerous examples of people talking out of both sides of their mouth regarding what they believe and how they put it into practice. One of the primary problems that eroded the foundations of church bodies was failure of individuals to study and know the Word of God. Whether it was simply spiritual laziness, or the distractions of busy lives, or materialism or the explosion of audio and visual mediums of communications, followers of Jesus began to drift away from focus on God’s Word. Many remained faithful to church attendance (it’s a social thing), but created a segregated life of home, work and church. They found it easier to let a pastor or teacher ‘spoon-feed’ them with spiritual truth during a short service on a Sunday, than to acknowledge their personal responsibility to spend time daily exploring God’s Word for the truths He had for them. For example, the difference in a person feeling good because they know there are diamonds in a particular rock formation, versus the one having the tenacity to carefully dig into the rock and extract the diamonds.

Our God is a triune being who, from eternity past and forever, exists in fellowship. He welcomes fellowship with His children. As we grow in our love for Jesus through the Bible and the teaching of the Holy Spirit we find favor with God the Father.

Many pastors, who came up in this environment of apostasy, found that teaching bits and pieces of the Bible, eliminating those areas that were caustic to the culture, would facilitate growth in attendance and membership of their local church.

woman-rejectionThe people who have developed such a lifestyle will eventually pattern a god that fits comfortably into their lives. However, as can be seen in all congregations, they know how to “play church,” how to act and speak the part. It is possible to know someone for years and never grasp the disposition of their spiritual walk. Indeed, many aspire to and gain positions of leadership for the gratification of their ego and/or their desire to rule others.

When confronted with issues that endanger their belief system, they spout out, “Well, I believe God loves all people and would never do ‘such and such.” Or, “I think God would never support that kind of belief or action.” Or, worse yet, “Though there is nothing to support it in the Bible, I am sure Jesus would agree with this.” (See the Post on Pres. Carter) The operative word here is “I”. So to speak, people rip out the parts of the Bible that interfere with their personal beliefs or lifestyle, while building a belief system out of what little remains. You can approach the Bible with a sin-hardened lifestyle, pick out certain passages and try to prove a point. The Bible is either all true, inspired by God, or not.

The late Adrian Rogers (Pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, Memphis, TN) described the ministry of the three persons of God in this way:

  • The ministry of God the Father is to rule the universe!
  • The ministry of Jesus the Son, in conjunction with His Father, is to save mankind!
  • The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to open blind eyes, to bring light, to bring understanding!

The person who has believed in Jesus as the Son of God, and that He died, was buried and rose from the dead, physically, and is alive today, has been redeemed and is a part of the Family of God.

“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” [Ephesians 1:13-14]

It is this Holy Spirit, permanently resident in the believer, who teaches us the Word and provides guidance in the daily pursuit of life. Since this is built on faith in God, the humanist cries foul, and is bent to accept nothing he can’t see or prove by science.

Paul explains why it is different for the non-believer.

“But the natural, non-spiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them (of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them) because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated.” [1 Corinthians 2:14 Amplified Bible)

There is but a remnant in the USA of those who trust God, read, study and follow His Word, and lead a life worthy of the calling placed on them by their Master, Jesus. Large numbers professing Christianity cannot, will not, submit their entire lives to Him. The book of the Revelation, the final book in the Bible, speaks to how that turns out!

Be Careful What You Wish For

520px-The_worship_of_Mammon

Good Without God! Really?!? (Part III)

Through the 20th Century, while Christian adults became more and more numbed to the sinful lifestyles portrayed all around them, their children were taught by those same portrayed lifestyles. And imaginations, the most fertile ground within young people, began to seek further and further into ideas and patterns God strictly forbids. If, as the Humanist believes, there is no God, there is no life after death, and man evolved from slime, then moral relativism rules the day. No one can tell anyone else that one way is better than another.

That became a swirling torrent in our culture. The Christian Worldview was criticized from all angles. On the one hand the Church leadership, in many denominations, began to hedge their bets; they were unwilling to preach the Word in truth and let God be their shield and provider. On the other hand, because Christianity was held in esteem by the majority, personalities from politics, sports, entertainment and business used the label of Christian and/or veiled references to garner further accolades, votes, endorsements, etc. while living out a life that clearly ran counter to the way of the cross; thus advancing a form of “Christian Hedonism.”

And the train just kept rolling, faster and faster. More and more mixing of Humanism into the Church. The seminaries were turning out potential leaders who had rejected some foundational aspects of the Christian faith. But churches welcomed them, never truly vetting their core beliefs. Better pedigrees (PhD’s, ThD’s, and DMin’s), better pulpiteering, or a book published; many times these trumped the man grounded in the Scriptures. Form over Substance!

Jesus said, “It is written: Man must not live onbreadalone but on every word thatcomes from the mouth ofGod.” [Matthew 4:4]

At breakneck speed, from before the beginning of the 20th century, many Christian denominations were not only accepting, but promoting the denigration of Scripture from the truth –that it is God’s Word – to the belief it is a book about God with some historical and moral ideas for discussion. This led to a swirl of cultural problems, including acceptance of divorce, non-married co-habitation, abortion, racism, and today’s big splash – illegally legalizing homosexual marriage. In addition, greed and corruption prevailed in government and business (the end justifies the means).

We no longer understand or accept that we are not to covet what God abhors.

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”” [Jeremiah 17:9-10]

I could go on and on – but, the picture is very clear. Roe v. Wade is only a result of the problem; Obergefell is only a result of the problem.

What’s the problem? A weak-kneed Church riddled with humanist thought, who fear man more than they fear God.

“The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” [Psalm 19:9-11]

The ‘silver lining’ to this tale of woe is this: Since the Church was born over 2000 years ago, in every generation, it has grown in the midst of persecution!

Next: Delineation of the Humanist Manifesto in the light of God’s Word.