Category Archives: Religious Freedom

50th Anniversary of Apollo 8 – NASA & Creationism

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Lunar Earthrise Apollo 8

Earth as seen from the Apollo 8 spacecraft on 24 December 1968.

(This is how the astronauts actually saw it!)

Did you know that 50 years ago on Christmas Eve the Apollo 8 crew read from the Book of Genesis, chapter 1? They were orbiting the moon in 1968 and took photos of the earth as they cleared the horizon of the moon’s dark side. They not only read scripture verses from the Bible, they also gave a prayer for peace on earth.

Madalyn M. O’hair sued NASA and lost. There is nothing in the constitution to prevent people in space from sharing passages of the Bible or Praying publicly. A creation story, told not as myth, was presented from people who accept God as Creator. Clearly, the foundation of creationist views of the world were accepted as true and presented from NASA personnel.

Everyone knows that NASA has virtually accepted the creation story of evolution. Creationists and Creationism are under attack at NASA and academia. People who speak publicly about their biblical beliefs and the lack of science behind evolution are targeted for dismissal. This has occurred many times in the past and it is a sad commentary about people who claim to pursue all avenues of exploration in science and space.

The fact that in 1968, NASA astronauts prayed in orbit around the moon, read Bible verses, and later upon landing on the moon a year later had Holy Communion, is a fact that the record of history has established. Again, it is sad that people who believe in evolution claim their religious freedom while they deny the religious freedoms others have. In other words, religious and political atheists who seek to secularize American society and government do not have priority over those they disagree with or those that disagree with them. The separation of church and state means everyone is free to have their views without government compulsion or penalty. To establish one set of religious views as the only acceptable science (aka, evolution) over other views is a violation of the No Establishment clause of the U.S. First Amendment.

Most Americans believe in God and trust in His Divine leadership throughout their lives. The Apollo 8 astronauts were no exception. Using a KJV Bible provided by the Gideons, the 3 NASA astronauts orbiting the moon on Christmas Eve 50 years ago, read from Genesis 1:1-10. Let’s read what they had to say 50 years ago and pray with them their prayer for peace on the good earth.

William Anders

(He took the photo above and noted its orientation)

We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you.

1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

 James Lovell

1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

1:7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

 Frank Borman

1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

1:10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas – and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.

Frank Borman also prayed the following prayer on the Apollo 8 mission. Again, let’s add our Amen!

Give us, O God, the vision which can see thy love in the world in spite of human failure. Give us the faith to trust thy goodness in spite of our ignorance and weakness. Give us the knowledge that we may continue to pray with understanding hearts, and show us what each one of us can do to set forth the coming of the day of universal peace. Amen.

Happy Anniversary Apollo 8. And Merry Christmas America. Jesus still loves us and we celebrate His birthday on Christmas Day. Happy birthday to the Prince of Peace.

In God We Trust

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Kim Hand Shake

The national motto of the United States is “in God we trust”. The nation of North Korea, however, has Mr. Kim as their object of veneration. A state cult is based upon Mr. Kim, which for some time has prevented religious freedom from flourishing in that nation. If Mr. Kim wants his nation to blossom, religious freedom has to be a part of the society and culture of North Korea. In God We Trust has to be the national motto of North Korea.

I applaud the efforts of Mr. Kim to reach out to the leadership of South Korea. He has reached out to the people of Korea in an attempt to unite the people of the peninsula as one. This is a vision of his grandfather; although he attempted to use communism as the means of unity. Mr. Kim, in rescuing the vision of his great-great grandfather, can still unite the Korean people based upon religious freedom.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is what his family once stood for. Uniting the people of north and south begins with a spiritual unity. This unification of the people of Korea based upon a common faith in Jesus Christ will open all doors for society, community, economy, and polity. The work that Mr. Kim has ahead of him is spiritual, which can only be accomplished by the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Mr. Kim has to reach his hand out to God if he wants to succeed.

The leader of Egypt once refused to allow the people of Israel to leave and worship God according to God’s leadership. Instead, Pharaoh saw himself as a god and was the center of the Egyptian national cult. This prevented Pharaoh from being the great leader of Egypt. His leadership should have allowed the Israelites to briefly leave their homes to worship God and come back as they said they would. Fear led the Pharaoh to persecute the Israelites, which led to his own death and the permanent separation of the Israelis from Egypt.

God extends his hand to the leader of North Korea and wants to bless this people. Religious freedom is the means by which Mr. Kim can reach out his hand and open the doors of heaven for his people. This connection with God, for the benefit of the North Korean people, is a first step to the full restoration of the Korean people, both north and south.

Contraception is Not a Civil Right

© Original content written by James R. CarlsonImage result for contraception in court

The States of Pennsylvania, California, Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Virginia are teaming up to sue the Trump administration’s policy on defunding contraception. They are claiming that the burden to pay for these services will fall upon them if the federal government does not pay for them. The trouble, however, is not a lack of funding but a lack of perspective. The government should not facilitate contraception at any level, which is what these State’s Attorneys General are asking for; contraception is not a Civil Right.

According to constitutional principles, the government is supposed to provide for Civil Rights. Civil Rights are those areas of responsibility where the government should facilitate what We the People cannot do on our own. The right to vote has no meaning if the government doesn’t facilitate a polling place where we can register our vote; this is something we cannot do on our own. Contraception, although not illegal, is not something the Constitution says the government should facilitate. Again, contraception is not a Civil Right.

Civil liberties are the joint responsibility of the People and the government. People facilitate their own liberties whereas the government protects them by law. Contraception is a freedom that people have in America that is protected by the law but that does not mean it is something the law should facilitate. These State’s Attorneys General are not approaching this issue correctly as they are defending civil liberties in terms of civil rights. There is no legal foundation for their complaint as such.

Let’s review the issue of the Separation of Church and State. Ideally, the government should be based upon the second tablet of the Ten Commandments and not both tablets (please see earlier blogs on this subject). As such we have religious freedoms (first tablet) and civil freedoms (second table), which may also be called civil liberties. According to the original Christian rationalist perspective of separation, the government is to base law upon moral principles (even Biblical ones). And where there is no right to do what is wrong, there is a right to do what is right.

Unfortunately, the culture wars of our nation are perverting the judgment of our Courts to extend the idea of civil liberties into areas of immoral behavior. The ACLU has championed the notion of immorality as a civil liberty for decades. Yet, they do not support the idea of the freedom to do what is right. Those who bake cakes are penalized for following their conscience when it comes to moral issues. The people who follow morality and righteous lifestyles are penalized for doing so.

The patriots back in 1776 stood for the right of self-determination or the right of self-government. However, that was not in the modern context where people argue for the freedom to do what is wrong. They were standing for the freedom to do what is right! What does the government have to say with people who are already doing what they’re supposed to do in the eyes of God?! Standing up for what is right, doing what is right, is what self-governance is all about!

Clearly the culture wars will continue without abatement and the left wing of society who rationalize away mores and morality will find a way to convince the Courts to share their dogma. However, we are losing our freedoms to do what is right and follow our conscience before God. This is what religious freedom was once all about. Now, with atheism and secularism dominating the Courts, we are in jeopardy of losing these freedoms and liberties.

Although recent court cases have decided in favor of those arguing for religious freedom, this is a case more for civil freedoms and liberties not religious freedoms. Now, civil liberties (freedoms) are being opposed by false claims of civil rights. People should be free, have liberty, to do what is right. The culture wars will continue until we get this right.

Modern Health Care – Medicine Without Charity

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Charity Care

The profession of medicine has developed over many centuries with the growth of science and religion providing a foundation for modern medical miracles. The ancient ideas of medicine have been replaced by more empirical methods that diagnose illnesses and treat patients with practical remedies. And the idea of medicine as a charity stems from the idea of the Love (charity) of God for the benefit of one’s fellow man. With a misguided application of false charity by the government in the realm of medicine, the idea of charity in medicine is slowly being discarded in favor of big business. This has created a situation where the public health is threatened and the true ministry of medicine is all but lost.

We’ve recently seen how veteran’s health care has diminished when it comes to what is considered a treatable health problem. Given the limited resources provided by socialized medicine for veterans (government run health care), and the increasing number of veterans demanding health care without an equal increase in health care providers, the more the higher the thresholds will become before a person can be treated by doctors. It is simple math; you simply cannot do more with limited resources.

The idea of government run medicine treating people’s illnesses is as old as the progressive movement in the 1930’s. As a social gospel, the idea of charitable medicine stems from the idea of government run charities serving the public health; a proposal that is beyond constitutional boundaries. The old idea of the separation of church and state once prevented states from taxing people for charitable contributions to fund public ministries. Whereas the government was not supposed to be in the business of tax funded charities or ministries, that has turned around through the New Deal and now the government is funding national charities to aid in the business of medicine. This, however, has backfired and is not providing any real charitable support for people.

The idea of getting government out of religion in the 18th century was to help religion flourish without government intrusion. Keeping the government out of people’s religious decisions and the charitable contributions they might make helped to make people more likely to be charitable with their giving. The idea of charitable medicine being applied to the health of the poor was a Christian goal throughout the United States in the 19th century. That goal, however, has been high jacked by progressives in the 20th century who seek to fund government charities for health care at the expense of killing real charity.

The medical profession itself used to require its doctors to provide free health care to people for a period of time each year (one month per se). When Medicare and Medicaid came along in the 1960s, the free care that was provided by doctors was being paid by the government through tax payer dollars. The care provided by doctors to the poor didn’t change, only the money distributed to them; doctors were being paid for their charity. Now, medicine is big business and the idea of charity without taxation in the realm of medicine is all but lost. Medical charity has suffered at the hands of forced charity by state funding through taxation; again, a violation of the separation of church and state.

Not only has real charity gone down, but the cost of health care has gone up due to the idea of funding medicine by government charity; again, paid by taxpayers without any free will giving or freedom to not give. Now, the cost of medicine has skyrocketed. Hospitals, once funded by the government, charge more for their health care due to the fact that they are required by law to support the poor and indigent. Go to a lab at a hospital and to one at a private facility and the hospital will charge more for the same procedure to cover their charitable costs to other patients. Hospitals are not providing more charity, they are simply passing the cost onto the average consumer.

While the threshold for health care is raising for veterans across the country, it is lowering for the rest of the country. New standards are requiring people to get colonoscopies, high blood pressure medicine, and other procedures and medicines that raise the potential income of doctors, pharmacies, and the medical industry. A key business practice in marketing any product or service is to show how that product or service can be used for other needs. Providing new medical standards that lower the threshold for the level of health care one needs means more money for big business and charity is nowhere to be found.

The growth of medicine as a big business in America is directly related to the lack of real Christian charity in the ministry of medicine and the advent of a pseudo-Christian ministry of government run health care. Real charity is lost in government run medicine. Standards are lowered for those who suffer under socialized medicine, the idea of charity by medical professionals is now being funded by taxpayer dollars, and the rise of big business is creating reduced standards of health care to increase profit margins. Medical care needs to return to its foundations of providing for the needs of people regardless of the cost; for the benefit of the patient and not the stock holder. To do this, we must first get big government out of the big business of medicine so that charity through medicine can flourish again in America.

PRK’s Leader – A Great Leader

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Kim Jong Un

Kim Jong Un is the Leader of the People of North Korea. He inherited this role from his father and grand-father. He also inherited an uneasy truce between the United States and North Korea. After the end of the Cold War, relations between the U.S. and Korea have grown more heated. With a new Leader, the people of Korea have a great opportunity for freedom. Kim Jong Un, has the opportunity to provide for the people of Korea, religious freedom. In providing for the People’s freedom to worship God, the Leader of North Korea will become more than just a Leader for his People, he will become a Great Leader.

Greatness is not bestowed upon oneself, by others, or by great deeds. Greatness is bestowed upon others by God and by history. Great men do not intend to be great; they pursue great principles in their lives and greatness follows. The work of any man is never considered great until after some deed is done; greatness is bestowed not in advance of some great work but afterwards; not as a means to achieve greatness but as a recognition of merit employed.

The record of history is full of examples of leaders who promote religious freedom and those who do not. Those leaders who promote the freedom of people to worship God are recorded in history as great leaders. Those leaders who prevent the freedom of people to worship God are considered evil dictators in history. The decisions of leaders are their own but God will promote those leaders who let people worship him. In this leaders may choose the path to greatness or ruin.

God is not absent in any country. God will open the doors to freedom to any people. The desire of God is in the heart of the people of any country. Religious freedom is a basic liberty for all people everywhere. Any Leader who opens the doors of religious freedom for their people will find God working on their side. God will promote the Leader who pursues religious freedom. And God will make any Leader a Great Leader if they serve the people with liberty.

Please Pray for Kim Jong Un and the People of Korea

God in heaven, show favor to Kim Jong Un and the People of Korea like you did to Moses and the People of Israel when they were in Egypt. Release them from the bondage of oppression and allow them to walk with you and worship you in peace. Bless the People, Bless the land, Bless the Leader of this great people in North Korea. Please show Kim Jong Un your grace and grant him the requests of his heart. With great reverence and respect, please open the doors for religious freedom for the People of Korea. And with your hand upon Kim Jong Un, grant that one day he too will become a Great Leader of the Korean People. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!

The Church – Tax Free Without Freedom

© Original content written by James R. Carlson


The limits placed on the modern American Church by the IRS, limiting the political speech and activity that comes from within the Church, is an example of a violation of the separation of Church and State. Separation, as a principle, should limit the State not the Church. When the Church accepts a tax-exempt status through the IRS 501-C3 laws, they mute their voice in the public arena. I recommend that the American Church throw off the constraints of their 501-C3 tax exemptions (and associated political restrictions), pay income taxes, and return to the political marketplace of ideas. The only way we can we preserve our freedoms is to use them.

Legally, the Church can perform some political activity under a 501-C3 or C4 status (see your Church’s tax attorney). The ability the Church already has, however, is limited by the threat of lawsuit that costs so much money. This occurs because religious atheists and secularists use the government (judiciary) and the threat of a law suit to stifle the Church. Each Church has to weigh in a balance the decision of using the legally allowed amount of political activity under a tax-exempt status while facing a constant threat from those who want to change our nation’s religious character by limiting the voice of the Church.

The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior (MLK Jr.) began his political movement for liberty from within the Church. The Black community had no access to the political community at large before the Civil Rights movement led by Dr. King and others. As a Reverend, King was familiar with the fact that the only politics available to the Black community was in the Church halls. That’s why you still see politicians like Bill and Hillary Clinton showing up in Black Churches to make an appeal for their candidacy for public office. This is an example we should all follow.

Removing a religious group from political activity is familiar within the context of Nazi Germany. The Jews were made to wear symbols of their religion (yellow Star of David) and live in a ghetto. The lawsuits that atheists bring against the Church for using their voice in politics is like the night of broken glass (Kristallnacht) and forcing Churches to remain silent on political matters is like putting them into political ghettos.

The Church under Nazi Germany was not allowed to speak against the political authority of the Nazi party. In fact, a campaign to silence the German Church in WWII led to the increased murder of Jews and others during the holocaust. Where is the American Church today in voicing an opposition to the murder of 55 million babies in this country? The Church cannot afford to stand on the sidelines and allow the government to continue down a path of destruction unabated.

The American people continue to voice their God given conscience in society, politics, and government yet the politicized judiciary, who is familiar with the desires of the atheist religious political agenda, dismisses the Will of The People and the Will of God on subjects such as gay marriage. The Church needs to step forward and renounce the political tyranny that is spreading over our land just like it did in Nazi Germany. What is wrong with people exercising their God given right to do what is right in the sight of God?

Money has taken root in the American Church as the central means of doing good deeds for others. The left wing social gospel Church has even advocated government run charity by taxation, which is a violation of the separation of Church and State (aka Madison’s “Remonstrance against Religious Assessments”). Whether in the Church or in the State, money is not the means of the Church’s ministry. The Spirit of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the means of the Church’s success. Losing some money that is paid in taxes does no mean losing the ministry God has given to the Church. It may be time for the Church to lose some money to win some battles of conscience.

Building the Kingdom of God does not necessarily mean the Church has to succeed in building God’s kingdom on the earth. The Church is not supposed to go forth and conquer as Islam does. The State is supposed to cooperate with the Church to share God’s moral truths with society but the State is not supposed to be a vehicle whereby the Gospel is presented. The United States is unique in that it was founded upon Christian principles for the praise and glory of God. We are losing our nation as atheists who want to dismiss God and His judgements of moral truths are gaining an influence in the media and other political avenues. The Church has to compete for the hearts and minds of society if our nation will continue as it began.

The Church can and should begin to compete in the political arena by putting out yard signs on the Church lawn during an election. Candidates wanting an endorsement from individual Churches should appear before the members of the congregation and answer tough questions on issues that are of concern to God’s people. Certainly, this opens a potential door for political strife in the Church but having candidates pass the scrutiny of various congregations for their endorsement of their campaigns requires candidate to observe God’s morals.

Vote ProLife

Years ago the Church was at the center of town. Now the town hall is the center of the city. Years ago the steeple of the Church was the highest emblem on top of the city landscape. Now the radio or television broadcast tower looms over the city and the community. And as the media has grown increasingly disrespectful of God’s moral teachings, the Church needs to reenter the political arena to help shape the vision of a moral government for a moral society.

Certainly one thing is clear. Jesus is the Head of the Church. His eyes are as a flame of fire and his countenance is as a bolt of lightning; only Jesus walks among the seven golden candlesticks. No one can order the path of the Church apart from Him. I recommend that individual Churches prayerfully consider abandoning the tax free status they’ve enjoyed and begin a new ministry to the nation of the United States of America within individual congregations. The Church has been called the conscience of the nation. Let that conscience speak louder than ever before.

Hidden Treasures of the Declaration of Independence – Part 1o4

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

Declaration 1

Hidden truths can be found in the Declaration of Independence, priceless principles that are almost lost to a modern generation. It is a document with clues to our nation’s foundation that are not as obvious to us as they were to 18th century Americans. As a recent movie, National Treasure, popularized fictional mysteries that were secretly inscribed on the back of this unique document, more stunning discoveries await those who patiently look for hidden treasures available on the front of the Declaration of Independence, treasures that lay hidden in plain sight.

Legitimate Claims

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

The Declaration was a document meant to secure the independence of America not by rebellion but by legal principle. The idea of the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God is an appeal to transcendent principles of law, which identify God as the foundation of their national integrity.

Religious Freedom

Hidden beneath the claims of the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God is an old principle of religious freedom that was derived from the Christian religion. The separation of Church and State was an idea that came from Separatist Christians of England like the Pilgrims and their teachers such as Roger Williams. To gather the meaning of religious freedom, hidden in the Declaration, let’s review the history of this principle from the early days of the American colonies.

Roger Williams was a Separatist not a Puritan, just like the Pilgrims. He taught that the Church of New England should separate from the Church of England; Williams later went south to teach in the congregation of Separatists living at Plymouth. His phrase, “the wall separating the garden of the church from the wilderness of the world,” was a phrase that Thomas Jefferson, the original author of the Declaration, used in explaining religious freedom in 1802. When writing to the Baptists in Danbury, Connecticut, Jefferson was aware of the fact that Williams helped the Baptists establish their first Church in North America and they loved him. Quoting Williams when writing to the Baptists only made sense.

As a teacher of the Christian religion, Williams borrowed ideas from Calvinism to explain the separation of the 10 Commandments into 2 tablets to explain the separation of Church and State. Commandments 1 -4 were recognized as Man’s duties to God; Commandments 5 – 10 were understood to be Man’s duties to Man. Williams said that the first tablet was not the foundation of civil government so government should not coerce people’s religious convictions. However, the second tablet was the foundation for legitimate government, which is the moral code of the 10 Commandments. The separation of Church and State was never the separation of morals and state and according to a Christian rationalist idea of Church-State separation, laws must be based upon moral principles!

John Cotton, a religious man and governor of New England, said that without fulfilling the requirements of the first tablet, the second tablet could not be fulfilled. Williams reminded Cotton that God gave all people a conscience that would fulfill the things contained in the 10 Commandments. Williams found a resource for our conscience in Romans 2: 11 – 15, which says:

11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another)

[King James Version (KJV)]

God gave the Jewish people the 10 Commandments (the Law) and everyone a conscience. Everyone knows right from wrong even if they don’t have the revealed Law given to Moses by God; God has revealed the principles of morality in the heart of every person and has given us a conscience to know right from wrong. This is known as the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God, based upon Romans 2: 11 – 15.

Thomas Jefferson wrote his Bill for Religious Freedom one year after drafting the Declaration; his Bill for Religious Freedom included many passages that paraphrased the teachings of Roger Williams. Jefferson put the phrase, “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” at the beginning of the Declaration of Independence as a foundation for American separation from Britain. He was certainly familiar with the ideas of religious freedom that Williams taught and about the separation of Church and State that are also drawn from the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”

The nascent principle of religious freedom is one of the hidden truths found in the Declaration of Independence. These and other timeless truths are in America’s founding document just waiting for you to discover.

Christianity, Gnosticism, and Islam

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

The central theme of Christianity is the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross who paid for the penalty of our sins. Jesus died on the Cross and rose from the dead; something no other religious leader has done. This central theme has been corrupted by the Gnostics who downplayed the deity of Jesus Christ and who said that He did not die on the Cross. Borrowing from gnostic texts, the Quran says the same thing. The problem is that modern Islam has borrowed the error of Gnosticism and has missed the forgiveness of sins that God have for us.

God, the Creator, loves the human family. His love is not limited to people from one country or another. His love is perfect and free. Yes, God loves us and although He may not need our love in return, we need His Love in our hearts. God gives His love for free. There is nothing you have to do to earn it.

When Jesus died on the Cross, He paid for the penalty of sin so that we might experience the Love of God in our life. God is righteous and holy. And we cannot know God without the forgiveness of sin. No matter how hard we try, we cannot be good enough. God broke through our weakness to keep His commandments perfectly and gave us a sacrifice for our sins. Jesus was the perfect sinless sacrifice who paid for our sins by His death on the Cross.

History records that a religion developed shortly after Christianity that combined many teachings about Jesus with Neoplatonist ideas. To be a ‘gnostic’ was supposedly to be in the ‘know.’ Gnosis means knowledge. But their knowledge about Jesus was corrupted and they began to tell stories contrary to the record in the Bible.

In the gnostic gospel called the, Second Treatise of the Great Seth, Jesus says,

I did not succumb to them as they had planned. But I was not afflicted at all. Those who were there punished me. And I did not die in reality but in appearance, lest I be put to shame by them because these are my kinsfolk. … It was another, their father, who drank the gall and the vinegar; it was not I. They struck me with the reed; it was another, Simon, who bore the cross on his shoulder. I was another upon whom they placed the crown of thorns.

The religion of Islam began when Mohamed claimed to be a prophet and started to dictate passages to writers who compiled it into the Quran. In surat (Al Nissa), the first surat in the Quran, in verse 157, we read:

And because of them saying we killed Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of Allah. But they killed him not, nor crucified him. But the resemblance of Jesus was put over another man. And they killed that man (the man who was changed to resemble Jesus Christ, according to the Quran). And those who differ there, are full of doubts. They have no certain knowledge. They follow nothing but conjuncture for surely they killed him not, Jesus, son of Mary.

The similarities between the gnostic account of Jesus’ death and that of the Quran are nothing more than proof that one came from the other. The false gospel of the Gnostics is repeated in the Quran.

The salvation of mankind comes from the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. The death of Jesus on the Cross provided the full payment of mankind’s sins. By asking Jesus to forgive us, we receive peace with God and through His Spirit, we gain strength to do what is right. The Righteousness of God is the gift that God gives to us for believing in Jesus.

Pray this prayer and ask God to forgive you based upon what Jesus did for us on the Cross.

God of heaven, I believe Jesus Christ died on the Cross for my sins. I believe that He paid for the penalty of my sin, which I admit I have done. I ask for your forgiveness of my sin and thank you for your love. I ask that Jesus become Lord of my life and lead me in my life’s decisions by the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Please bring me closer to you by your Holy Spirit so that I may know you. By your Holy Spirit, please make in me a clean heart, a renewed spirit, and a right mind that I may do those things that are pleasing to you. Thank you God, Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, and now my Father in heaven. Thank you for loving me and forgiving me!


Jesus – The Perfect Liberal and the Perfect Conservative

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

We often view the perspectives of liberalism and conservatism as polar opposites. But what if they were two sides of the same coin? It may be hard for some to see but perhaps we can learn something new from the greatest teacher of all time – Jesus Christ.

Conservatism is often called the philosophy of tradition. At the core of conservative thinking is a belief in a transcendent order of body of natural law (so said Russell Kirk). Morals is at the foundation of conservative thinking.

Liberalism is often considered the philosophy of love. Liberals often aspire to a social gospel and neglect the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the forgiveness of sin – the true Love of God. However, love is a central part of liberalism as liberals seek social justice for all who suffer needlessly in society.

Conservatives are often criticized by liberals for not caring about people whereas liberals are criticized by conservatives for not standing firm on moral principles. The opposition between the two is understandable but the division is a false if we look at the example of Jesus who was confronted with a problem one day.

Religious hypocrites spied out a woman who was committing adultery. They captured her, removed her, and may not have allowed her to put her clothes on when they presented her to Jesus. We may ask of those who found her, how did they know she was committing adultery? Did one of their friends trap her?

Jesus was a teacher (prophet, God, etc.) who taught that love fulfills the Law of Moses. The religious rulers of Israel were threatened by Jesus and wanted to trap him in his words so they could have something to accuse him of. They brought the woman they caught in adultery and put her before him and asked him a hard question.

2 Now early in the morning He [Jesus] came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. 3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” 6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. [John 8:1-6]

Jesus flat out ignored them. Perhaps the first thing we should do with religious hypocrites is to ignore them as well. Jesus not only ignored them, he understood the dilemma they put him in. Jesus was teaching that Love fulfills the Law of Moses. His dilemma was that if he said to forgive her, he would have been following the Law of Love but would have also denied the Law of Moses (the traditional law with moral principles). However, if he said to stone her, then he would have followed the Law of Moses but denied the Law of Love. No matter what Jesus did, if he answered the religious rulers according to their direction, he would have lost and they would have won. So Jesus ignored them. He then answered them according to his perspective and not theirs.

7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” 8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

Jesus also taught to judge not lest we be judged for with the judgement we give we will also be judged by it. Jesus knew that each of those who condemned the woman caught in adultery were also guilty of sin. But the Greek text may actually say, “He who is without [THE SAME] sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” Was Jesus saying that because each of them had already committed adultery they were willing to judge her? In either case, each of the people who had stones, ready to kill her for her sin, dropped them when they considered their own sin.

After they all left, Jesus then confronted the woman who had committed adultery.

10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

No one was left to condemn her. The Old Testament law (Law of Moses) says that if two people are caught in adultery, they are both to be brought out in public and stoned to death. But the religious leaders who tested Jesus did not follow the law; perhaps they were protecting their male friend who also committed adultery with the woman. But the Law of Moses says that if only the woman is accused, she is to drink a mixture of water and dirt and if she gets sick, then she is guilty and should be stoned. But if there was no one to accuse her, then there was no punishment that the Law of Moses could provide for her sin.

In following the leadership of the Holy Spirit and not the religious rulers, Jesus was able to both keep the Law of Moses perfectly and apply the Law of Love mercifully. When the woman responded and called Jesus Lord (see Romans 10:8), she received her salvation in Christ Jesus. Jesus forgave her of her sin following the Law of Love. And Jesus also said she must not commit sin any more, following the Law of Morality (and of Moses). The love of God is not without morals, and morality is given by God because he loves us and wants us to have the best life possible.

Jesus showed that one could apply both the law of morals and the law of love at the same time. Jesus forgave the woman but rebuked her sin. We see in Jesus the perfect liberal and the perfect conservative all in one person. Jesus was not only a good teacher, he is the master teacher – Rabboni.

Pray this simple prayer:

God of heaven, I believe in Jesus Christ and what he did for me on the Cross. I believe that he paid for the penalty of my sin, which I admit I have done. I ask for and thank you for your forgiveness of my sin. Please bring me closer to you so that I may know you. By your Holy Spirit, please make in me a clean heart, a renewed spirit, and a right mind that I may do those things that are pleasing to you. Thank you God, Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and now my Father in heaven. Thank you for loving me and for forgiving me!

Holy Holiday – The Reason for the Season

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

In the United States, we take for granted all the gifts God has given to us. We are so wealthy that we forget to stop and thank God for all He has done for us. Perhaps nothing is worse than having a holiday that we do not praise God in. In the effort to keep holidays Holy, let’s put the reason back into the season this Christmas!

When the choir of angels sang, “Glory to the new born King,” they knew what they were saying. “Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.” The birth of Jesus was the beginning of the end of sin’s reign on the earth where every man, woman, and child are subject to the bondage and slavery of sin. “Born that man no more may die, Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth.” We are born to die as a result of our sin but Christ was born that we may no more die an eternal death. While the shepherds in the field heard the angels in the field it remains for us in our high tech generation to listen clearly. “Hark! The herald (a herald is a bunch of angels just like a bunch of sheep is a flock) angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!””.

Christmas is not a biblical celebration but a festival that comes from history. It is a combination of ancient pagan traditions with Christian symbolisms. The Puritans in England once refused to celebrate it. I had become so debauched that it was similar to the debauched pseudo religious celebration of Mardi Gras. Everything devolved into evil appetite and the indulgence of the flesh. In America, we have not gone to that level of absurdity but commercialism has capitalized on the spirit of gift giving and changed it into gift getting.

In our family we limit gift giving to children, small cash gifts to the teens, cards to the adults with some candy, and one large white elephant gift exchange on Christmas day limiting the dollar amount for the one gift. The gift exchange usually occurs before we eat lunch or dinner. And just before we eat, we stop to pray and reflect on the reason for the season giving thanks to God for the reason of the season. This is probably not atypical for most families. I think it is ok to celebrate Christmas by sharing gifts (within reason) but we must always take time to pause and thank God for the great gift he gave us that is commemorated on Christmas. Remember this is Jesus’ birthday. It’s not about the gifts we give and get it is about the great gift God gave us for the forgiveness of sin.

Jesus was probably not born in December but there is no reason why we cannot celebrate Christmas as long as our hearts are pure before the Lord. The entire holiday is established in our shared culture as a reflection on God’s great gift of his Son for the forgiveness of sin. And I do not say we should spend the day in sackcloth and ashes but as we decorate and commemorate this day, we should spend time giving God glory. You never know who of your family and friends needs to remember God’s great Love for them and Christ’s sacrifice for their forgiveness.

I must confess that while I aspire to be like the Puritans with their desire to keep holidays Holy, I will likely go to a movie Christmas night; this has become a new tradition with my friends. I would love to see a movie with a positive Christian theme. If you know of any, please let me know.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays J