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Monday, April 21, 2008

A Time to Kill - A Real Life Scenario

The best selling book, A Time to Kill, by John Grisham, which was later adapted as a movie, is the story about a father’s trial for the premeditated murder of the two men who violently raped his 10 year old daughter and dumped her in a nearby river. If I stopped here, many of you would probably agree that the rapists earned that unauthorized death sentence from Carl Lee Haily, the father character in the book. However, in Grisham’s masterful way of storytelling, this is not an open-shut case: the rapists were white supremacists, the little girl and her father were black and the crime took place in Canton, Mississippi, one of the most racist cities in America. I won’t spoil it for those who have not read the book or seen the movie, but of all the book titles that I have seen, this may be the most perfect – A Time to Kill.

Most civilized people will agree that there are certain crimes that defy justification. In other words, society will sympathize with a man who steals a sandwich because he is hungry, but will have no sympathy for a child molester, a murderer or someone who brutally assaults a senior citizen. I remember abruptly turning off an Oprah program during a show about a man who raped a beautiful 10 year old girl and then poured acid on her face. Although she survived, the acid tore the flesh from her face and not only left the little girl emotionally impaired but physically scarred as well. After the numerous plastic surgeries to repair the damage, the best description that I can give is that her face looked like that of a cabbage patch doll.

For the first time in my life, I felt the urge to murder.

There is no crime that is more vile than sexually molesting a little child, except for the possible exception of genocide, and if genocide is worse, it is only worse by an ounce or two. Sexually molesting a young child has got to be close to what the Catholics call a mortal sin. In fact, it may be closer to an unforgivable sin: Jesus remarked once when referring to offending little children - But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea (Matthew 18:6). This is a heavy judgement coming from the man whose mercy endures to all generations.

My motivation for this article stems from a conversation with a good friend last week who told me that he was horrified to discover that the live-in boyfriend of a friend of his and his wife was arrested on charges of aggravate indecent assault, two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of corruption of minors in connection with the assault of two young girls in his home. I understand that this alleged pedophile has two children by his girlfriend, but it is unclear if the girls that were molested are his. However, it does not matter if the children are his or not, whether a man molests his own daughters or a neighbor’s, it is still a despicable crime that warrants a severe penalty.

There are certain human activities that I cannot fathom; and if this suggests a self righteous attitude, then I do not apologize. But I cannot imagine a grown man lying with a little girl as he would a grown woman. The only thing I can consider is that he struggles with his own sense of manhood and never allowed himself to grow-up. And I’ve often wondered if such men suffer from an infantile sex organ. However, even if there is some Freudian explanation for a pedophile, it is still beyond my comprehension and does not minimize society's disdain for such activity.

These cases confirm the need to talk with one’s children about child molesters. However, I believe that we live in a sick world anytime you have to introduce such mature subjects to children. As the father of a 12 year old boy, I go to the Family Watchdog website every so often to make sure I am aware of any pedophiles that may be near my home and my son's school. And I urge all families to visit this site at least once per month. A friend of mine had a pedophile move in right next to him years ago, and he put his house up for sale a few days after he discovered it. That was an extreme decision, but how comfortable would you be knowing that a convicted child rapist lived next door?

It is the world that we live in, and the only thing that will make it better, is prayer. I solicit your prayers for the young lady and her children who I spoke of earlier.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Book Reveiw - The Final Move Beyond Iraq

I am often charged with being too critical on preachers/teachers, and perhaps I am, but I am cautious about the critiques that I render, because the Bible holds me to the same standard that I apply to others when being judgmental:

1. Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4. Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye (Matthew 7:1-5).

Clearly, the Bible does not expect us to judge anyone; however, we are admonished to study the Scriptures for ourselves to make certain that our faith is founded on the Word of Almighty God. We have a great example of this systematic Bible study with the saints at Berea who studied consistently to make sure that what they were taught was in fact the truth – These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so (Acts 17:11).

In our modern era, there is simply no excuse for ignorance. We have research tools today that would not have been conceived 50 years ago. One can purchase an audio version of the Bible; one can do research on the Internet or at the local library; one can obtain documentaries from thousands of titles to enhance one’s studies; one can order DVD copies (CD, MP3, audiotape) of sermons for further study; and one can enroll in any of dozens of Bible schools in a large urban center. Although these modern methods of study have become commonplace, studying God's word through the bible with his Spirit as our guide is still the best way to touch the mind of God. Apostle Paul said, 10. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God (I Corinthians 2:10-11).

I recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of my new birth – March 12, 1978. During that period, I have tried to discover the mysteries of God’s Word, and I can joyfully say that He has given me some very powerful revelations. Although there are some biblical subjects that I feel inadequate addressing, God has revealed things to me through his Word that still blows my mind when I consider them. One of the subjects that I believe He has given me a gifted understanding is regarding the end-time and the structure of the anti-Christic system, which is why I was so disappointed when I read Mike Evans’s The Final Move Beyond Iraq, The Final Solution While the World Sleeps.

The Final Move Beyond Iraq is a very popular book with nearly 700 comments on Amazon.com. This book is a failed effort to place the Iraq War in its proper end-time perspective, and it makes the disastrous attempt to lend biblical support to the worst foreign policy decision in American history. As a highly regarded evangelical, what troubles me most about what Evans writes, is that he uses a faulty foundation to build his argument on why America must preemptively strike Iran before she acquires nuclear weapons.

This lunacy is a prescription for the end of days!

Unless Evans is suggesting that the United States nuke Iran and its population off the planet, which he doesn’t appear to be saying to his credit, then a preemptive strike against her would set off a string of terrorist attacks against America that would paralyze our country. Fear would be so pervasive that we would be afraid to drive across bridges; fly; ride trains or buses; shop in malls, grocery stores and other retail establishments; send our children to school; or go to work. The result of an ill-advised preemptive attack against Saddam Hussein, is that America is embroiled in a war that it simply cannot win that will cost trillions of dollars, more than four thousand America lives and at least 60,000 Iraqi lives (they count too).

I’ll give three examples of the fundamental errors in Evans’s book:

First, he discounts the Arab grievances that led to the bombing of 9/11. He claims that nothing America could have done in the Middle East, could justify killing nearly 3,000 innocent people on 9/11. This position has some merit; however, the United States has a history of intervening in Middle Eastern affairs in ways that have injured Arabs and other citizens in that region. I’ll give a few quick examples:

  • We support Israel, which I address separately below.
  • After the overthrow of the Shah in 1979, the US helped engineer the takeover by Saudi Arabia of hundreds of millions of gallons of oil production that belonged to Iran during the Shah’s dictatorship.

One may not agree with Arab grievances, but they’re grievances nonetheless, and in a civilized world, nations should attempt to resolve most of their differences the same way that they charge their citizens to resolve theirs – non-violently.

Second, Evans sees no inconsistencies with American policies that support Israel in spite of the Arab-Israeli conflicts over the last 60 years. One may support our country's policies toward Israel, as I do, but we must concede that that support does not come without a price or an adverse consequence. Almost like serving Jesus and getting your head cut off during times of persecution. There are negative consequences to some decisions we make, and it is dishonest for Evans not to admit this point.

Finally, Evans believes that George Bush’s decision to invade Iraq was absolutely correct, despite overwhelming evidence, even among conservatives, that it is the worst foreign policy disaster in American history. There are dozens of books that have been published over the last 5 years which are very critical of the Bush Administration’s campaign in Iraq, and not so surprisingly, some have been published by conservatives who once worked in the administration.

Evans or any of the other evangelical, prophecy teachers could not possibly defend the basis of his book on its merits. It simply cannot be supported by the facts, and unfortunately, the Evanses of the country are influencing the way that many evangelical, fundamentalists see the world and the end times. And the scary part is that those who embrace Evans’s theology in The Final Move Beyond Iraq, may not recognize the anti-Christ until he gives them his poisoned embrace.