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Monday, March 25, 2019

The Real Earth Day, March 25

Christ the Redeemer | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
For centuries, Christians have seen March 25 as a holy day for three reasons.

Around 200 A.D. Tertullian calculated that March 25, 29 A.D. was the original day of Jesus’ crucifixion. Then, a rabbinic tradition that prophets died on the day of their conception made it the date of the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary. Third, March 25 was also considered the first day of spring and the day when Adam was created.

Whether these dates are historically accurate, I will leave for others to dispute. Here, I only want to devote a few words to reflect on the beautiful symmetry of this supposed coincidence of events. It paints onto the same canvass the very day when 1) God formed man from the dust of the earth, 2) He formed the New Man in the womb of the Virgin, and 3) thirty year later, buried Him back into the earth to await His resurrection.

This confluence of three streams connects man and the earth in profound ways. Indeed, the New Testament witness already points toward this connection. In one of the earliest Christian creeds St. Paul says, “I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

Note that Jesus’ burial in the earth is explicitly confessed. It is no accident that both the Nicene and the Apostolic Creeds include an explicit reference to the burial. This is in keeping with Jesus’ own emphasis. Prior to His passion, He told his disciples, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).

Jesus dies to take away the sin of the world. He is buried to bring forth much fruit. By cleansing the world of sin, He renews not only those people who believe in Him, but the earth itself. God's redemption of humanity is also God's redemption of His entire creation.

Both Peter and Paul integrate this theme into their theology. St. Paul wrote, "…the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now" (Romans 8:22). Peter, likewise, teaches that Good Friday means, “…we are waiting for a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13).

March 25 is the true and Christian “Earth Day.” It stands in sharp contrast to the secular earth day that was established in 1970.

Today’s eco-religion has, as its central tenet, that humans are the scourge of the earth. It preaches that the earth will only be saved by minimizing man's footprint on the planet. This neopagan religion does everything it can to limit the number of human beings on the earth.

Robert Zubrin, in his excellently researched book, Merchants of Despair, documents this anti-humanistic religion from its “founding prophet,” Thomas Malthus, through Darwin and the bloody 20th century, to Paul Ehrlich’s “population bomb” and the modern green movement.

All of these prophets of doom railed against the biblical mandate for human beings to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). They taught mankind to “…labor with pill and scalpel and syringe to make himself fewer,” as Malcolm Muggeridge once put it. Toward the world, they follow Jean-Jacques Rousseau in rejecting the beneficial work of man. Efforts to protect populations from malaria are opposed overseas while effective means to prevent wildfires are denied in America’s backyard. In every case, anti-humanists prefer to let cultivated land revert to wilderness.

This ostensible love for nature does not translate into any love for the God who created nature. It is especially hostile to the one species created in God’s image. Antipathy for human beings culminates in rejection of the suffering, death and burial of the true Man, Jesus Christ, for the renewal and redemption of all creation.

Christianity confesses the opposite. Starting with the biblical account of creation, God’s creation of Adam was for the earth’s benefit. While the world was created wild and uncultivated, it was not intended to stay that way. God planted a garden (Greek: paradise) and put mankind there to extend it across the whole planet.

Still to this day, as Zubrin documents in his opening chapter, population growth does not impoverish the earth, but enriches it. Historically, as the population grows so does the global standard of living and gross domestic product. Both are fueled by the exponential increase in technology that only humans bring to the planet.

But as much as the birth of children is a blessing for the planet, Jesus’ own conception was the greatest blessing of all! That’s because the salvation of the planet does not depend upon sinful humanity, but upon the Man who is God Incarnate.

The earth is saved not by minimizing this Man’s impact on the world but by maximizing it. The greatest seed that was ever planted in the earth was the body of Jesus. Since it burst out of the grave three days later, the entire earth is being renewed. Even now, as we await the new heaven and the new earth, the greatest thing that can happen to the planet is for the Body of Christ to spread His word and influence across the planet.

What began as a tiny human in the womb of the Virgin will grow into the renewal of the entire universe. That’s why March 25 is the real Earth Day!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Inaugural WPN Conference

Standing together for Marriage


November 10, 2015

What is Marriage? - Everyone is a proponent of marriage equality. But before we can understand how to treat all marriages equally, it is necessary to know what marriage is. Is there an objective way of answering that question? Does it matter? Ryan addresses these questions as he digests the book that he co-authored with Robert P. George and Sherif Girgas.

After Obergefell - Now that Obergefell v. Hodges has opened the door to nation-wide same sex "marriage," what will be the consequences for America? In this presentation, Anderson discusses religious liberty as a concept. Then briefs us on various cases before the courts today.

Four Lessons from the Pro-Life Movement - In his final presentation of the day, Ryan previews a book he is currently writing that discusses how modern marriage defenders can take up the lessons learned from the 42 years of experience in defending human life after Roe v. Wade.



PRESENTER

Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., is the William E. Simon senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, and the founder and editor of Public Discourse, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute of Princeton, New Jersey.

He is the author of When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment and Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, and he is the co-author of What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense and Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination.
Anderson’s research has been cited by two U.S. Supreme Court justices, Justice Samuel Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas, in two Supreme Court cases.

He received his bachelor of arts degree from Princeton University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude, and he received his doctoral degree in political philosophy from the University of Notre Dame. His dissertation was titled: “Neither Liberal Nor Libertarian: A Natural Law Approach to Social Justice and Economic Rights.”

Anderson has made appearances on ABC, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, and Fox News. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, the Harvard Health Policy Review, the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy, the Weekly Standard, and National Review.

He is a member of the James Madison Society at Princeton University, a Fellow of the Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America, and a Visiting Fellow at the Veritas Center at Franciscan University.

Follow him on Twitter at @RyanTAnd and for his latest essays and videos you can follow his public Facebook page.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Audio from the 4th Annual WPN Conference

Standing together for Life

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

10:00 am Dr. William C. Weinrich, Gnosticism--Ancient and Modern: an overview of the Gnostic worldview and gnostic writings concluding with a summary of how this heresy is appearing in modern discourse.

11:25 am Rev. Jonathan G. Lange, WPN, the Pastor in the Public Square: tells the history of the Wyoming Pastor's Network and breaks down the reason for the name. He concludes with some reflections on the pastor in the public square.

1:30 pm Dr. Maureen L. Condic, Embryology 101: presents an overview of the first week of embryonic development, centering on the unanimous scientific conclusion that a new and unique human life begins at the moment of egg-sperm fusion.

2:45 pm Dr. Weinrich, Transhumanism: introduces us to the fascinating and troubling movement which aims to evolve the human species past all bodily limitations.

4:00 pm Dr. Gregory G. Marino, Palliative Care as Pro-Life Strategy: gives an overview on the challenges of palliative care and demonstrates how it is best used to enhance not only the quality, but the length of life.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

9:15 am Dr. Maureen L. Condic, Embryonic Ethics: Explains the details of hormonal contraceptives, cloning, three-parent embryos and gene editing, helping us discern between useful science and unethical human experimentation.

10:50 am Dr. William C. Weinrich, Theology of the Body: gives an overview of the Theology of the Body and its importance for human thriving. He concludes the conference with several points that they Church should be emphasizing today.

  • Note: Files are linked on Dropbox. The opening screen invites you to sign up for an account, but this is not necessary to downloading the files. Simply decline and move to the file.

PRESENTERS

William C. Weinrich, D. Theol. 
is professor of early church and patristic studies at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., where he has taught since 1975. During his tenure at the seminary, he has served as supervisor of the STM program (1986–1989), dean of the graduate school (1989–1995), and academic dean (1995–2006). He also served the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia as rector of its theological school, the Luther Academy, in Riga, Latvia (2007–2010). He served The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod as third vice-president (1998–2001) and as fifth vice-president (2001–2004). He retired at the rank of lieutenant colonel from the Indiana Air National Guard after serving as chaplain (1978–2004).
 
Dr. Weinrich received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Oklahoma (1967; Phi Beta Kappa) and his Master of Divinity degree from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo. (1972). He studied under Bo Reicke and Oscar Cullmann at the University of Basel, Switzerland, receiving the degree of Doctor of Theology in 1977. He edited the volume on Revelation for the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series and translated two ancient Greek commentaries (Oecumenius, Andrew of Caesarea) and four Latin commentaries (Victorinus, Apringius, Caesarius of Arles, Bede) on Revelation for the Ancient Christian Texts series. Dr. Weinrich has published many articles and has lectured frequently for pastors and laity.


Maureen L. Condic, PhD
is an Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah, School of Medicine, with an adjunct appointment in the Department of Pediatrics. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago, her doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley, and postdoctoral training at the University of Minnesota.

Since her appointment at the University of Utah in 1997, Dr. Condic's primary research focus has been the development and regeneration of the nervous system. In 1999, she was awarded the Basil O'Connor Young Investigator Award for her studies of peripheral nervous system development. In 2002, she was named a McKnight Neuroscience of Brain Disorders Investigator, in recognition of her research in the field of spinal cord repair and regeneration. Her current research involves the control of human stem cell potency and differentiation.

In addition to her scientific research, Dr. Condic teaches both graduate and medical students. Her teaching focuses primarily on embryonic development, and she is Director for Human embryology in the University of Utah, School of Medicine’s curriculum. Dr. Condic has a strong commitment to public education and science literacy. She has published and presented seminars nationally and internationally on science policy and bioethics, with recent presentations at Boston University (LaBrecque Lecture in Medical Ethics), The Social Trends Institute, Barcelona, Spain, Princeton University, The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity, Notre Dame University, Belmont Abbey College (Cuthbert Allen lecturer), Vanderbilt University, Human Life International, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, and the Council of the European Union, Kaunas, Lithuania. Dr. Condic currently resides in Salt Lake City with her husband and four children.


Dr. Gregory Marino, DO
Dr. Gregory Marino joined the Welch Cancer Center in Sheridan, WY as its hematology oncology specialist in August 2012. He moved here from Anchorage, Alaska where he had been directing a successful hematology oncology program exclusively for the native populations for the past 11 years. He worked with 229 native Alaskan villages in the 600,000 square miles throughout the state.

Dr. Marino completed medical school in Chicago and his internal medicine residency and hematology/oncology fellowship in San Diego. He is board certified in internal medicine, hematology and medical oncology and he has appointments with eight medical schools. He is passionate about his patients and has special interests in palliative care and medical education.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Third Annual WPN Conference

Gender and Sexuality


November 14, 2017


10:00am Navigating the LGBT Issue with Grace and Truth Based on his book, "Loving My (LGBT) Neighbor, Glenn shows how these do not make up a monolithic community but persons with different characteristics and needs. This informative and sensitive presentation breaks down the letters of the LGBT acronym helping us to love with grace and truth. PowerPoint slides.

1:30pm Marriage as Gospel from Genesis to Revelation Sometimes we become so wrapped up in the cultural jargon of our day that we can lose sight of the forest for the trees. Glenn takes us through the over-arching Biblical narrative beginning with the marriage of Adam and Eve and culminating with the marriage feast of the Lamb. PowerPoint Slides.

3:30pm Manhood as Social Construct In this provocatively titled presentation, Glenn explains how manhood is developed differently than womanhood. From this perspective, he explains the challenges we face today in passing along genuine masculinity to the next generation. PowerPoint slides.

PRESENTER:

Glenn T. Stanton is the director of Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family. He debates and lectures extensively on the issues of gender, sexuality, marriage and parenting at universities and churches around the world.

Stanton also served the George W. Bush administration for many years as a consultant on increasing fatherhood involvement in the Head Start program.

Stanton is the author of eight books on marriage and families and a regular columnist for various blogs. His latest book, “Loving My (LGBT) Neighbor: Being Friends in Grace and Truth,” explores how Christians should interact with gay or lesbian neighbors in a Christ-honoring way. He is also the co-writer of “Irreplaceable” a film seen in theatres nationwide, and the co-author and creator of “The Family Project,” a 12-session small group DVD curriculum produced by Focus on the Family.

Stanton earned bachelor’s degree in philosophy, communication arts and religion and a master’s degree in philosophy, history and religion from the University of West Florida.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

CrossTalk: Blind Bartimaeus sees what the crowd misses

The Healing of the Blind of Jericho, Nicolas Poussin
Lord, have mercy upon us. Christ, have mercy upon us, Lord, have mercy upon us.

These simple words, called the Kyrie, must be ranked among the most politically incorrect parts of Christian worship. It’s mostly lost on us, but the first century denizen of Rome, knew immediately what it meant.

In the ancient world, that’s how you addressed a conquering king if you wanted to keep your head. They didn’t have freedom of speech. People that publicly said, “Caesar is not my emperor,” were likely to be executed.

In last Sunday’s gospel, the blind beggar used these words: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me” (Mark 10:47).  Not only is he implying that Jesus is his real emperor, he even highlights Jesus’ rightful claim to the throne by calling Him “Son of David!

The crowd knew it immediately and they were terrified. Their reaction was swift and to the point. “Many were admonishing him to hush up” (that’s a southerner’s translation of Mark 10:48). The emperor had informants and soldiers everywhere. Not only Bartimaeus, but all of Jericho could get into serious trouble.

But Bartimaeus wasn’t scared. He repeats is even louder! He deliberately wanted to make this confession of Jesus. Blind though he is, he sees better than most.

And while most are seeking to silence Bartimaeus to save their skins, Jesus does just the opposite. He adopts a totally regal posture. He does exactly what the emperor was known to do in his processions.

Standing still, He dispatches curriers. “Summon him,” He says. Then, asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” By this question, He claims all power and authority to do every good.

This is an electric moment! You can feel it in the air. The revolution is beginning in Jericho, 30 miles from the capitol city of Jerusalem. The crowd is large and growing. Soon, Jesus will be entering the city on a royal steed (donkey) and all of Jerusalem will be saying “Hosanna to the Son of David.

When revolution is in the air, you are forced to take a side. You will either kowtow to the rulers and power-brokers of this world, or you publicly renounce their lordship and cry out, “Christ, have mercy upon us!”

To cling to Christ and his word alone is to hate the world and be hated by it. To make peace with the power-brokers of the world is to hate Christ. There is no middle ground.

The blind beggar is the first to see it clearly. He shows us the way. “Lord, have mercy upon us,” is not a whimper. It is a battle cry. To seek the mercy of Christ is an act of defiance against the world.

Early Christians were fed to the lions for saying this. Christians facing ISIS are shot and beheaded for saying this. How much social stigma are you willing to bear to say these words?

I know how much Jesus is willing to pay. By stopping and standing and acting like the Emperor He is, He set his feet on the path to the cross like nothing before. He has just made Himself public enemy number one by helping the beggar.

He is neither ashamed to do it, nor afraid to do it. Here is a cosmic clash between Christ and the devil playing out on a crowded street. And it seems that only Bartimaeus and Jesus know what’s going on.

That’s typical of the Christian life. Ordinary, everyday events have eternal and cosmic significance. Your choices either to resist sin or to cave into it are monumental battles. Your choice to be a public Christian or to blend in with the crowd is an act of defiance or of deference with implications for your children and grandchildren.

May God grant you the vision and courage of blind Bartimaeus.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Sermon: October 14, 2018

Would You Do It?
https://www.dropbox.com/s/fyp129nkcnwp4vz/Proper%2023b.mp3?dl=0
We have found the rich man and he is us.