Christianity, Politics, and Religion

May 19, 2022
Babylon 1932
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Babylon,_1932.jpg
Babylon 1932 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Babylon,_1932.jpg


“Two things I don’t talk about are politics and religion.” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this and I don’t know how many times I’ve wondered if anyone could get through a week without talking about something in either area. If they can, they are much more creative than I. This post was born from recent reading in Jeremiah, Wikipedia sources on Christians who hold certain conspiracy theories, and thoughts about the current war in the Ukraine.

My thoughts concerning the title of this article continue to change as life rolls along but I want to share with you where I am right now. Just how does a Christian view the contrasting effects of politics and their beliefs about God in their daily lives? It is a question that could fill an entire book but I’ll attempt to make it short and sweet here using only a few realities in our world.

The first reality is the war in Ukraine. If a Christian wants to hold a position or opinion about a war, they should do what anyone else would do, and that’s to attempt to find out the facts. One would think that, with all of the communication we have these days, this would be an easy task. It is not always the case. Propaganda abounds as each side tries to make its case. In Ukraine’s case, a country has invaded another country and has killed innocent civilians who had no interest in politics except that they wanted to live a free and undisturbed life. Their country has been torn apart by bombs sent by a leader with odd ambitions and have been dropped by those who are willing to follow his orders.

As a Christian, I look at the words of a godly prophet who preceded Jeremiah who said:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

Anyone can make the situation in Ukraine as complicated as they wish but, in light of this Bible passage, a Christian’s support for justice for the innocent is warranted.

A definition of “politics” can easily be found online:

“the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.”

It is obvious to me that justice must play a role in a definition like the one above. Thus, Christians need to be involved in certain aspects of politics.
Jesus was very clear about the civic duty of paying one’s taxes. He was not saying that all having government powers are righteous or just. He knew the book of Jeremiah well, having inspired it, where we find these words against Babylon, no question a political entity, written at the height of its power:


“cut it off, so that there will be nothing dwelling in it, whether man or beast, but it will be a perpetual desolation.”


Jesus knew that the picture of Babylon above would eventually be a reality and, from reading Jeremiah 51, it is obvious that the ruins of Babylon are a result of rebellion against God and His people, a second reality.

God’s people rebelled against Him so he allowed a political solution to help them learn a lesson; Nebuchadnezzar would grow strong and take Israel into captivity. Eventually, the evil in the Babylonian empire would cause them to be destroyed to the degree seen in the photo here at the top. It is a picture of God’s justice. The sovereignty of God is at play here but that is a deep subject for another day.

There are always two sides to a coin. Jesus was very clear on paying taxes but he was silent when asked to defend himself, a third reality. From a human standpoint, it seems that Jesus had every right to defend himself against false accusations of any political nature (which are hard to separate from accusations of a personal nature if one reads the definition of politics above). But, he didn’t. I would submit that we should generally defend ourselves from false accusations because they do neither us nor our accusers any good. In Jesus’ case, his silence was the best thing for all involved including all of humanity. It displays how God’s position as King of King and Lord of Lords is cemented forever. The reason for his silence is explained in Hebrews 2:

But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.

Thus, God’s pronouncement that:
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts”
is true.

The Christian must accept that his/her understanding is limited so his/her wisdom regarding politics and religion and how they should interrelate is limited as well. At the same time, the Christian makes an effort to understand and make the best decisions he/she can in light of God’s Word.

Christians, or anyone else for that matter, will never figure out complete justice in politics or religion. In the end, complete justice will be decided by God. It is something we should ponder seriously but we should never put ourselves in the eventual role of God.

Just go out there and do the best you can, asking for the help of God, of course.

God’s blessings…

Chris Reimers


How One Woman Changed Her World

March 31, 2022
Anne Hillyard meets with William Higgs and Charles Spurgeon Photo Source: http://www.baptist.org.uk

Anne Hillyard was a kind and generous woman. She lived during the Victorian era in England and loved many needy children of the time. She was the widow of an Anglican clergyman and when her husband died she was already self-sufficient and looking for some good way to invest funds that she possessed. It seems that “Mrs. Hillyard had asked a friend to recommend some totally reliable public figure to whom she could entrust her considerable fortune to be used for orphans. The man, though not a particular admirer of the prominent Baptist preacher, nonetheless immediately replied, “Spurgeon.”1 He was, of course, referring to Charles Haddon Spurgeon whose “remarkable ministry in London would last 38 years.”2

Anne Hillyard was “An ‘ordinary’ woman (with) an extraordinary legacy.” One article calls her “a woman the world knows little about, but who became a catalyst of change for thousands of lives.”3 “Born as Anne Field, in Warwickshire, she waited until she was 38 to marry. Her husband, Reverend John William Hillyard, was the Curate of an Anglican Church at Ingestre in Staffordshire. He died just one year after their 1841 marriage.”4

“In 1855, (a decade before Anne met Spurgeon) Charles travelled to meet George Müller, the founder of a famous orphanage in Bristol. At the conclusion of a worship service, Müller invited Spurgeon to say a few words, but he declined because he had ‘been crying all the while.’

“I never heard such a sermon in my life as I saw there.” —Spurgeon (after visiting Mueller’s orphanage)5,6

More than a decade later, this experience would help bring Anne and Charles together to provide a place where young orphans could learn and grow.

It was a “widely held misconception” that Anne received a large sum of money from her husband’s estate. In fact, she had an inheritance from an uncle before she got married.7 In 1866, Charles Spurgeon challenged his large congregation stating that we “should be doing more the Lord in this Great city.”8 Soon afterward, Anne sent a letter to Spurgeon expressing her desire to use her money to “establish… an orphanage for the training and educating of orphan boys.”9

When Spurgeon and one of his deacons, William Higgs, “called at her modest home they feared that there had been some mistake.”10 The home she lived in did not appear like the residence of someone who had large amounts of money to give to others. After the meeting, “Anne joined Spurgeon and a group of friends to establish the Stockwell Orphanage. Before its construction, she sold some of her household belongings, even the family silverware, to provide sanctuary to the first four orphan boys.”11

A month later two and a half acres of land was purchased not far from Spurgeon’s church. On September 9, 1867 the first stones of some of the buildings were laid by Charles, Anne, and two others.12 Four thousand were in attendance that day.13 “At the opening ceremony of the Orphanage, Spurgeon said of Anne: “When Mrs. Hillyard’s munificent contribution was first announced in the newspapers, people said it had been given by a duchess, but I say no, it is given by a princess—one of the blood imperial—a daughter of the King of kings. She has given it in the most unostentatious manner, desiring that her name should not be known, and I and my friends have dragged her into the light today contract to her wishes.”14

“Eventually a row of several individual homes, all connected as one continuous building, were erected. Each two-story home housed fourteen orphans and was sponsored by various donors. A dining hall, infirmary, large gymnasium and even a swimming pool were constructed as part of the expansive complex. Eventually a corresponding row of homes were built for orphan girls. The area between the two sets of orphan houses was a grass-covered playing field, edged with flowers and shrubs. 250 boys and 250 girls at a time were housed and received a well-rounded education at the orphan complex.”15,16

“Mrs. Hillyard lived for some years to rejoice in the good work which she had so successfully initiated, and her last words as she died on January 13, 1880, were, “My boys! My boys!”17,18

Charles Spurgeon died in 1892.

Long after Anne and Charles went to be with the Lord the work they started continued:

“When the Second World War had been announced in 1939 the children living at Stockwell orphanage had to be evacuated. The majority of the children were moved to St. David’s in Reigate, Surrey, where the children occupied themselves by looking after the animals there.

“In 1951 the home in Birchington, Kent, was opened and became the new children’s home for Spurgeons. By 1953 all of the children were relocated here. It remained open until 1979, when children were sent to smaller homes or foster families.”19

The ministry still exists and is now called Spurgeons Children’s Charity.20

Anne’s deep devotion to God and His kingdom helped many orphans to receive a good education and to learn about the truths of God and the love of Jesus.

Picture of Stockwell Orphanage
Picture of the entrance to the Stockwell Orphanage (Scroll down)
STOCKWELL ORPHANAGE: QUADRANGLE AND BUILDINGS
Pictures of Stockwell including the swimming pool

——————————

This post was inspired by Pastor Jim Lee (also known as SlimJim) of The Domain for Truth blog. Pastor Jim put up a post about a devotional that states how “Children need to learn the doctrine of the Cross.” Based on a sermon, it is written by Charles Spurgeon in a style that I enjoy. I have yet to find a preacher who can use the English language as well. You can see Pastor Jim’s post HERE and you can get a free copy of the Spurgeon booklet HERE.

I made a comment on his blog and he suggested that my comment was a draft for a post. So, I elaborated a bit on the comment and here is a post relating to my comment.

Chris Reimers

——————————

1 https://vancechristie.com/2018/09/20/a-god-directed-orphan-ministry-charles-spurgeon/
2 https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/blog-entries/who-is-charles-haddon-spurgeon/
3 https://www.baptist.org.uk/Articles/543181/An_ordinary_woman.aspx
4 Ibid.
5 https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/blog-entries/spurgeons-orphanage-how-one-woman-changed-the-world/
6 https://spurgeons.org/the-ordinary-christian-woman-who-left-an-extraordinary-legacy-of-love/
7 https://www.baptist.org.uk/Articles/543181/An_ordinary_woman.aspx
8 https://theaquilareport.com/a-god-directed-orphan-ministry-charles-spurgeon/
9 Ibid.
10 http://www.romans45.org/spurgeon/misc/bio12.htm
11 https://www.baptist.org.uk/Articles/543181/An_ordinary_woman.aspx
12 http://www.childrenshomes.org.uk/Spurgeon/
13 https://books.google.com/books?id=VuczOWOn64wC&pg=PA57&lpg=PA57&dq=On+September+9,+1867+the+first+stones+of+some+of+the+buildings&source=bl&ots=wKYOv1Mz6t&sig=ACfU3U0ZjsjZRec4_-F1qkoJJ8NNZQ5ZUQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi398mlju_2AhWXG80KHRw0AroQ6AF6BAg1EAM#v=onepage&q=On%20September%209%2C%201867%20the%20first%20stones%20of%20some%20of%20the%20buildings&f=false
14 https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/blog-entries/spurgeons-orphanage-how-one-woman-changed-the-world/
15 https://vancechristie.com/2018/09/20/a-god-directed-orphan-ministry-charles-spurgeon/
16 https://boroughphotos.org/lambeth/charles-haddon-spurgeon/
17 http://www.reformedreader.org/rbb/spurgeon/fullerton/bioch12.htm
18 https://spurgeons.org/the-ordinary-christian-woman-who-left-an-extraordinary-legacy-of-love/
19 https://spurgeons.org/about-us/our-heritage/
20 https://spurgeons.org/about-us/


Only One Person Was Immaculately Conceived, Born and Lived Without Sin

December 8, 2021

I think this post is very important for my Catholic friends. Elizabeth has done her research and, with her, I would ask:
“To anyone reading, I would say… if you have not already done so, please read the Bible sincerely and prayerfully, preferably starting in Matthew.”
One of my other blogging friends had parents who were Catholics and when he was cleaning out their home after they died he did not find one Bible.  I found that very sad.
When man adds things to God’s Word problems always follow.  In order to know if things have been added to the Bible, one has to be familiar with the Bible.  Reading it yourself is the only way to do that adequately.

May God bless you in your search for the truth.

Elizabeth Burke's Blog

According to Roman Catholic tradition two people were immaculately conceived: Jesus and Mary, while John the Baptist, it is widely believed, was merely born without sin. However, according to scripture, only Jesus was conceived, born and lived without sin. All other individuals ever born into this world inherited the taint of Adam’s race and consequently needed a Saviour. “And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” (Luke1v46&47)

Really, when we consider the truth or otherwise of any dogma or doctrine declared by mankind in the “Christian” realm, we must return to God’s Word as contained in Holy Scriptures. It is not enough that we listen to a proclamation given by any man (however revered that man may be) and simply believe everything that he declares to be true.

In 1545 Rome decreed that man’s tradition was to be equal in…

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The Latest in Origin of Life Research

December 3, 2021
“Origin of Life” Source: Wellcome Collection

In recent weeks there has been a surprising number of origin of life articles pasted to social media of all types. I tend to notice such things because I am interested in how we got here. One of these articles is seen every month or two and then, BOOM, a bunch of articles can hit at the same time. Some of these articles are written as if our modern scientists are close to figuring it all out.


One of the many articles that popped up lately is entitled, “Redo of a Famous Experiment on the Origins of Life Reveals Critical Detail Missed for Decades.” This article explains nothing new about the origin of life theory. It states:

The prevailing theory now is that on a highly volatile early earth lightning struck mineral rich waters. And that the energy from lighting strikes turned those minerals into the building blocks of life: organic compounds like amino acids. Something we often refer to as the “primordial soup.”

It is the same thing I heard years ago when I was in college. The article describes the famous Miller-Urey experiment of 1952 and suggests “the experiment’s container played an underappreciated role. That perhaps it was also critical to the creation of organic building blocks inside their laboratory life soup.” The “perhaps” isn’t a surprise after reading article after article that doesn’t really seem to get us any closer to knowing the origin of life.

The article, published in the Scientific American a few days ago, is typical of these types of articles. A new and exciting discovery has been made that may perhaps change the course of science as we know it. The reality, however, is that we aren’t any closer to understanding how the primordial soup could have possibly produced a living cell.

In the past several years a scientist who knows a lot about the cell and its makeup has been attempting to educate the public about the problems associated with a simple cell originating in a primordial soup. In the following video, he makes the case that we are no closer to understanding the origin of life than we were in the 1952 experiment. Dr. Tour has made the statement that we may actually be further away from understanding the scientific origins of life because of new knowledge of the cell’s complexity among other things. This is a video that anyone interested in the subject should watch.

If anyone is interested in Dr. James Tour’s credentials, you can find them here.

Today, this was the top item on my Google phone app. It is similar to many of the articles that have been seen on major social media platforms lately.

It begins with “So here is the creation story as told by Science.” It continues with “In the beginning there was an ocean of energy.” At the end we find out that “Nearly 13.8 billion years after it all began we emerged blinking into the light.”
The video is visually striking and very creative. In the 3-minute piece there is no mention of God’s involvement in creation.

Contrast this effort with the first few verses in the Gospel of John:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

These brief explanations are surely something to chew on.

Both descriptions bring up many questions. Where did the ocean of energy come from in the beginning? If such long ages were involved, how can we narrow the time frame to our emergence after 13.8 billion years?
Many Christian theologians identify “the Word” in the Gospel verses as Jesus Christ. Was Jesus there at the beginning with God and was He involved in creation? If the “Word was with God and the Word was God” are there two Gods?

I am no scientist and I would be considered an average theologian at best. At the same time, I enjoy both science and theology. I am always glad to see someone like Dr. Tour come along and question the status quo. Not only does he appear to know what he is talking about, he is likeable. It is unfortunate that only two scientists who disagree with Dr. Tour have been willing to have a public discussion with him even though he has offered to discuss origins with anyone at his own expense.

While I’ve been typing, I see that another interesting science article has popped up. It brings up part of the problem in many of today’s articles dealing with science and theology.

This article is titled:

World’s first living robots can now reproduce, scientists say

Anyone reading the title and neglecting to read the article might get the wrong idea. The same thing happens all of the time with articles about the study of the nature of God and religious belief (theology).

So, how do people figure out what they think about the origin of life?

I suppose it comes down to what one believes is most authoritative. In my case, I believe the Bible to be the greatest authority. I think that the Bible is “living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, even penetrating as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Because of this belief, certainty comes from verses like this:

“And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20

I would hope and expect scientific articles to continue to be published just like I hope theological articles will never cease. Topics related to these two areas of study are important in so many ways. I am interested enough in the claims of some of these articles to read them and consider them. There are many claims made by one Man and his followers that are 2,000 years old. They are unique claims. They are claims that every human being should assess. If God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life, it should get the appropriate attention.

Here is another such article/video on the subject that popped up on my phone just hours ago. It popped up because I am subscribed to a certain YouTube channel. The introductory screen tells us that “This video was produced in collaboration with a team of 5 PhD scientists.” It has that and the comments about the video are mostly supportive. Even though this video is much more detailed than the “Redo” article, I am not knowledgeable enough of the subject to know how accurate it is. So, I do the same with it as I do with the “Redo of a Famous experiment on the origin of life…” article mentioned earlier in this post. It does not immediately become factual in my mind although I am curious enough to want to know what is being stated so that I can digest it along with other things I read and watch over time.

If you have any comments about the accuracy of this video, please share them with me. Also feel free to express your views on anything else I have written in this post.

God’s blessings…

Chris Reimers




Two New Convictions of Norway in the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in cases concerning child protection (Barnevern) and a similar case from my own “backyard”

November 28, 2021

The 12th and 13th cases in the past three years finding the Norwegian Child Welfare Services guilty of human rights offenses were decided on November 25th. If you would like to see the details of the cases and the statements of the Court, you can find them here and here.

If you would like to see all thirteen decisions and a previous one, you can find them here. I am thankful to Professor Marianne Skanland for compiling this list of cases.

As the number of such cases begin to pile up, it seems that the Norwegian Child Welfare services are oblivious to such proceedings. This response is inexcusable.

I was told by a case worker in Norway years ago that I shouldn’t be so concerned about Norway but should look to the problems within the American Child Protection Services. He was correct that we have similar problems in the U.S. and I have focused on them in more than one post. Here is one important article that focuses on promoters of forced adoption in the U.S. At the same time, American parents seem to have a better chance not to lose their children forever. There is no question we have problems here that need resolution. In my neck of the woods, the CPS appears to attempt reunification of parents with their children in a good percentage of cases. I know that things are not as good in many places in the U.S. And we have had our own strange cases here in Garland County.

One of the strangest Norway style events here involved the Stanley family in January of 2015. You can click on this sentence, taken from one of the reports of the incident, to see the entire story:

“Suddenly the door opened … and there were six or eight of them, came in the door, marched in there,” Hal showed. “Fully armed Sheriff’s and people stood there and said we’re taking the children for 72 hours.”

All of the Stanley children were rightfully returned to the parents eventually.

Here is a report and video from five months after the Stanley children were taken.

This is the video from the report:

What is happening in Norway garnered worldwide protests in 2016. The same types of incidents have created protests in rural Arkansas and in many other places in America. “Childnapping” is happening in the U.S. Sweden, Denmark, and England are just a few of the other countries where this problem has gotten very real to parents who never suspected that their children would be taken from them. This is a “first world” problem that many in Norway argue has become an industry. Thus, the focus on Norway which has sociologists that argue that half of all parents are not able to care for their children as well as the government can.

An interesting new “front” on the war against human rights violations towards families is taking place in Poland. A group called Ordo Iuris Institute for Legal Culture has taken an active role in several social questions, among them helping families against such injustices. It is a Polish Catholic organization and think tank. Not a fan of Catholic theology, I am a big fan of those trying to help others escape the long reach of certain governmental agencies that are in the business of wrecking families.

Ordo luris states in one of it’s publications that:

“…not only parents from Poland are asking for help from our lawyers, but also Poles from Germany, Norway and Great Britain, where the actions of oppressive child welfare offices lead to real tragedies. We cannot allow similar tragedies to take place in Poland as well.”

Here is one of the recent cases published by Ordo luris:


“Apart from co-creating pro-family law, it is equally important to provide comprehensive legal assistance to parents whose children are unjustly taken away. Recently, the quick reaction of Ordo Iuris lawyers led to the return of nine wrongly taken children to their mother, Mrs Ewa Bryła.

The children were placed in foster care, because the probation officer, after four months of supervision, arbitrarily stated that the mother was allegedly unable to raise them. The local Commune Social Welfare Center, which has been supporting the family for two years, did not agree with this opinion. The head of the center emphasized that during the long-term cooperation with the family, he had not noticed any gross irregularities that would authorize state authorities to take the children away from their mother. Its employees pointed out that the separation of the family was extremely harmful to the children and exposed them to breaking family ties with their mother, which are extremely strong.

Also, the doctor looking after the children did not say that they were neglected. On the other hand, the medical staff ensured that minors were guaranteed appropriate care. The local police pointed out that there were no interventions at Ewa’s house, no Blue Card procedure was initiated, and there was no addiction problem. In the family, there was only a problem with meeting the children’s compulsory schooling. However, Ewa, in cooperation with the family assistant and social workers, worked to overcome the emerging difficulties. The mother provided her children with the right conditions, encouraged them to learn, helped with homework and taught them good behavior.


The goal here is to keep people apprised of the issue to a degree that puts this subject beyond the suspicion that this is some conspiracy theory. The problem is real. It does not get the coverage it should because of all of the other societal problems facing us in our times.

Chris Reimers



History of the First Thanksgiving

November 23, 2021

By Rebecca Beatrice Brooks      

The first Thanksgiving was a harvest celebration held by the pilgrims of Plymouth colony in the 17th century.

Many myths surround the first Thanksgiving. Very little is actually known about the event because only two firsthand accounts of the feast were ever written.

The first account is William Bradford’s journal titled Of Plymouth Plantation and the other is a publication written by Edward Winslow titled Mourt’s Relations.

What is known is that the pilgrims held the first Thanksgiving feast to celebrate the successful fall harvest. Celebrating a fall harvest was an English tradition at the time and the pilgrims had much to celebrate.

The 53 pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving were the only colonists to survive the long journey on the Mayflower and the first winter in the New World. Disease and starvation struck down half of the original 102 colonists.

Read the rest of this brief history of Thanksgiving here.

I wish you and your family a nice Thanksgiving. There is so much to be thankful for. To God be the glory.

Chris Reimers


Collection of 70 Apologetics’ Illustrations

November 11, 2021

I have been following Pastor Jim’s blog named The Domain for Truth for several years now. He is a defender of the Christian faith as I understand it and the “about” on his blog tells you a little about him:

“His interests include Christian history, military history, apologetics, philosophy, politics and theology. He is a United States Marine Corps veteran, a graduate of UCLA and holds an MDiv and ThM.”

I am posting this for myself as much as for my readers. I want it in a place where I have easy access to it as I haven’t read all of these.

Enjoy.

By the way, Apologetics is not about winning an argument.
Apologetics (from Greek ἀπολογία, “speaking in defense”) is the religious discipline of defending religious doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse. Early Christian writers (c. 120–220) who defended their beliefs against critics and recommended their faith to outsiders were called Christian apologists.

The Domain for Truth

collection_of_apologetics__illustrations

 

Over some years I’ve been slowly writing down illustrations that I thought might be helpful for sermons or evangelism that has apologetics’ thrusts.

Here’s 70 of them arranged topically.  Which one was your favorite?

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What is the Gospel? (In 7 minutes!)

November 7, 2021

https://www.truthforlife.org/thestory/#watch

The most important message for man today is the Gospel message found only in the Bible. Alistair Begg gives a quick synopsis, without all of the large theological terms, of it’s message.

Click on the link above to see these 3 videos:

Life After Lockdown

What is the Gospel?

What is the Story of the Bible?

May God bless your day.

Chris Reimers


The Greatest Commandment and Archeology

July 18, 2021

First I will share the greatest commandment and then I will share how I think archeology can relate to it.

34 But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him: 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment.” 39  -Matthew 22:34-39

Jesus said that we are not only to love God with all our heart and soul, but with ALL OUR MIND. Does it sound like He wanted us to turn off our minds when we consider spiritual things? No, it sounds like using our minds is one of the most important things. As we study the Bible, are we allowed to use our intellect to help us learn? It certainly sounds like it. Not only are we allowed to use our minds, we are supposed to. I believe the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit and, as we read it, the Holy Spirit can help us to understand things we might not understand otherwise. At the same time, we are to use the mind that God has given us to search the scriptures like those whom Paul called “noble-minded” in the city of Berea: “for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

I read many views on this verse particularly noting the different ideas about what the mind represents. The one I liked the most stated: “Our mind is the faculty of understanding, what enables us to imagine and think and reason.”

Archeology is “the study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts and other physical remains.” Any “study” involves thinking and reasoning. Obviously, thinking and reasoning is done with our minds, thus, the connection between the greatest commandment and archeology. As the Bible is a historical book which discusses the past, present, and future, it is subject to archeological review as much as any other book if not more so because of its claims.

In High School, I cut my teeth on a book titled “Evidence that demands a Verdict, Historical Evidences for the Christian Faith” by Josh McDowell. Few titles better describe a book and there is a chapter in the book that is called “The Reliability of the Bible” that has a part called “Confirmation by Archaeology.” It is a relatively short portion of the book but one of the quotes found there is by Millar Burroughs, American biblical scholar, a leading authority on the Dead Sea scrolls and professor emeritus at Yale Divinity School:

“On the whole…archaeological work has unquestionably strengthened confidence in the reliability of the Scriptural record.”

I understand that much of the content of the Bible is questioned in our day including the historic accuracy that it contains. I would be the last person, at this time, to try and explain that we have evidences for everything in scripture. However, I think archaeology is an interesting area where we continue to learn as discoveries are made.

The Associates for Biblical Research track archeological finds that relate to the Bible. Below, I have featured several of the many videos they have made of exciting archeological finds for Christian believers. There is no question that there is disagreement on the intersection of the Bible and archaeology. Here is an article that proves this. It must be noted, however, that Christians have reasonable cause to be excited by the thousands of tangible finds that seem to validate the historicity of the Bible.

Here is the video that inspired this post:

Since I have made the case that the Christian is to use his/her mind, other Bible verses must be mentioned. The Bible puts our intelligence in perspective:

34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? -Romans 11

16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? -1 Corinthians 2

And then there is these verses (two of the most recognized verses of scripture):

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

-Proverbs 3

There will be times when things are not so easy to understand: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I also have been fully known (1 Cor. 13:12).

So, no matter how much we study, and we should wish to be like the “noble-minded” Bereans, we will only know things in part in this life. That is a given. When these times occur, the verses from Proverbs 3 instruct us.

May God bless your study of His Word.

Chris Reimers

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Recent articles about the final video above:

Israeli Archaeologists Find Biblical Name ‘Jerubbaal’ Inked on Pot From Judges Era

Rare ‘book of Judges’-era inscription found in southern Israel


A Miracle in the Norwegian CPS?

June 7, 2021

Was it a miracle? We’ll never know this side of heaven but more than one person said that it was.

The Child Welfare Services of Norway (the Barnevernet) is notorious for taking children from their parents for very little reason whatsoever. The world became aware of the problem when one case created worldwide protests in April of 2016. The pressure put on the Norwegian “Child Protective Services” by worldwide protests had a positive effect and the family involved was eventually reunited. It was a happy ending for one family who moved out of the country to avoid further abuse. What about all of the other families who have had their children stolen from them in Norway?

The Wings of the Wind attempted to find out why other similar cases in Norway had completely different results. The vast majority of people who had their children taken under very questionable circumstances never got their children back. One American/Norwegian mother who had her child stolen by the Barneveret eight years ago is still wondering if she might see her child before he is 18, or ever. Because of the obvious abuse of power, the Wings of the Wind commented on blogs, posted items, and grew to know many of the good people of Norway who were very upset about the shameful corruption.

The purpose of this post is to show a real example of how children are taken from parents in Norway. So many have bravely tried to expose this evil, like the victims in the following story. In spite of unknown (and known) risks, they told the truth and attempted to help others.

During the worldwide protests of 2016, this blog was in contact with a Norwegian good Samaritan who had welcomed a young mother into her home to help her care for her young child.

The Wings of the Wind was given this true story as it happened in real time and spoke by phone directly to the mother of the child as events were unfolding in Norway. At the time the following exclusive post was printed on this blog, the mother was safely living with the family that had taken her in. The family included a Norwegian pediatric nurse who worked at a neonatal intensive care unit. The article below was first printed here exactly five years ago today.

The June 7, 2016 Article:

THE RISE AND FALL (?) OF THE NORWEGIAN CPS

Written by Margaret Hennum
(Originally written under the pseudonym Elsa Christensen)

Part 1

It is Ascension Day, Thursday the fifth of May, 2016. A mother walks through the gates of Vilde “Home for Mothers,” never to return. She takes her son with her, a boy of about five months. The next days will be the first days that the mother and the baby get to be together without any public surveillance in a governmental institution, surveillance by the CPS.

Mother and child had survived five months away from home, observed day and night in an institution with video surveillance. Their performance of day-to-day tasks had been continuously monitored. In addition, daily notation of facial expressions, mood, and development were recorded. And then there was the IQ testing.

Why was this mother’s freedom to be in a normal social setting taken from her? When she was thirteen years old she was at school with her twelve-year-old sister. The authorities came in with the CPS and forcefully separated the two sisters who tried desperately to hold on to one another. The police also took their three other siblings.

“I was fine when I lived at home,” the mother remembers.

From that day, the five siblings never lived together, nor did they get to live with their parents as youngsters. The siblings were spread out, and the girl of thirteen was forced to live in a CPS institution. The other children in the institution were experimenting with several kinds of drugs. The loss of everything that was familiar to her made her seek consolation in the drugs she was offered. Her addiction followed her the next thirteen years. Then she got pregnant.

The day after giving birth to a son on December 1, 2015, it was explained to the mother that the CPS could help. She was told this because the goal was to remove her child from her. This fact was hidden from the mother.

Proposal of Help #1: Two CPS employees came to see her the day after she gave birth. They told her that the child was going to be moved to a foster home.

Proposal of Help#2: On the same day, the CPS promised the mother that they would not take the child if she agreed to admit herself for observation at the Sudmanske “Home for Mothers” in Bergen, Norway.

The mother accepted the “help;” she had no choice if she wanted to keep her boy. Most people would call this coercion. The CPS called it “voluntary acceptance of help.” After approximately a week in the hospital, the mother and child were moved to Sudmanske.

Proposal of Help #3: About two weeks later, two days before Christmas at midnight, the institution staff met with the mother. Instead of the expected discussion of her progress, she was informed that her son would be taken from her as a part of the third proposal of help. Up to this point, she had been breast feeding the boy.

The mother felt powerless after losing her living child, and she did not know where the CPS had taken him. She knew that the boy was taken from the person he belonged to and was a part of.

Proposal of Help #4: About five weeks after the baby was born, the mother was offered another proposal of help. The little boy would be returned to her immediately if she voluntary admitted herself for observation in the Vilde “Home for Mothers” in Horton, Norway. The coercive “offer” was accepted, the baby boy was returned, and the move was made to Vilde. The Norwegian CPS once again called it a “voluntary acceptance of a proposal for help.”

The Vilde “Mothers’ Home” is approximately 500 kilometers from the mother’s home in Bergen.

After four months of continuous observation at Vilde, the mother ended the fourth help proposal on her own initiative on the fifth of May. (The rest of Margaret’s article is printed at the end of this post.)

After the brave young mother (Nadia) left the “Mother’s Home” on her own, she was given refuge in the home of pediatric nurse Margaret Hennum. She and her son, Caspian, enjoyed six weeks living with the Hennum family.

What happened over the next several months was a nightmare. On June 16th, 2016, just nine days after the article above was posted on this blog, Norwegian authorities came to the Hennum home and took Caspian into custody. The following updates appeared here as the mother shared them with the Wings of the Wind.

June 16, 2016:
NORWAY’S CPS KIDNAPS CHILD…TODAY!!!!!

Caspian

June 17, 2016:
BABY CASPIAN KIDNAPPED IN NORWAY…UPDATE #1

June 20, 2016:
BABY CASPIAN KIDNAPPED IN NORWAY…UPDATE #2

June 24, 2016:
BABY CASPIAN KIDNAPPED IN NORWAY…UPDATE #3

June 24, 2016:
BABY CASPIAN KIDNAPPED IN NORWAY…UPDATE #4

June 27, 2016:
BABY CASPIAN KIDNAPPED IN NORWAY…UPDATE #5

July 6, 2016:
BABY CASPIAN KIDNAPPED IN NORWAY…UPDATE #6

July 12, 2016:
BABY CASPIAN KIDNAPPED IN NORWAY…UPDATE #7

July 23, 2016:
BABY CASPIAN KIDNAPPED IN NORWAY…UPDATE #8

July 30, 2016:
BABY CASPIAN KIDNAPPED IN NORWAY…UPDATE #9

August 6, 2016:
BABY CASPIAN KIDNAPPED IN NORWAY…UPDATE #10

August 8, 2016:
BABY CASPIAN KIDNAPPED IN NORWAY…UPDATE #11

August 14, 2016:
BABY CASPIAN KIDNAPPED IN NORWAY…UPDATE #12

August 20, 2016:
BABY CASPIAN KIDNAPPED IN NORWAY…UPDATE #13

August 26, 2016:
BABY CASPIAN KIDNAPPED IN NORWAY…UPDATE #14

September 3, 2016:
BABY CASPIAN KIDNAPPED IN NORWAY…UPDATE #15

September 6, 2016:
NADIA HAS WON THE CASE…CASPIAN IS COMING HOME!!!!!

September 12, 2016:
CASPIAN IS HOME!!!!!! UPDATE #16

September 24, 2016:
NADIA AND CASPIAN IN VIENNA…UPDATE #17

October 30, 2016:
NADIA AND CASPIAN…UPDATE #18

Some have called Nadia and Caspian’s story a miracle.

Because the outcome of Nadia’s case is pretty rare in Norway, it has been called a miracle by some. I continued to ask Nadia for updates in the years following the return of Caspian. Understandably, as the good mom she is, Nadia did not want to give any details that could put her freedom in jeopardy. Recently, Nadia told the Wings of the Wind that she is now very open about her new life in Poland. The Wings has been following her Facebook page for years and has watched young Caspian grow.

Have there been any improvements in the Norwegian Childcare Services since 2016?

In the last year or so Norway’s Child Welfare Services (Barneveret) has been found guilty of Human Rights abuses at the European Court of Human Rights on several occasions. The ECHR can condemn a country for Human Rights violations but it has no regulatory authority. It appears that nothing concrete has been done to change the abysmal system although good sources say that more Norwegians are aware of the problem and that there are a few good media articles here and there. At the same time, the ungodliness continues. A few of the recent ECHR decisions can be found here.

Among others, there is the more recent story of an American mother who has had her three children taken from her. The Wings of the Wind published posts about Natalya Shutakova’s family here and here.

My opinion is that there has been no real change in Norway. A foundation of true information has been laid and is out there for any who want to know the truth. All one has to do is read one of the ECHR’s reports to know that Human Rights for families is not a priority for a country that is viewed by many as one of the greatest in the world. And the cases at the ECHR are not even the tip of the iceberg. I keep in touch with my Norwegian friends to varying degrees. Some continue to work for change. From where I stand it appears that the Barnevernet propaganda machine throws so much at Norwegian society that even the sanest of voices get drowned out.

Please continue to pray for Norway. So many prayed for Nadia and Caspian. As the years have passed, I have become more aware of similar problems in the West including the USA. Florida has a parent’s rights bill pending. As far as I’m aware all that it needs is the governor’s signature. My guess is that he will sign it. If he does, I am already writing a post to applaud it.

Chris Reimers
A supporter of family life as God created it
Wings of the Wind contributor

Here is the second part of Margaret’s article which contains a glimpse into the world of Norwegian “Child Welfare.”

THE RISE AND FALL (?) OF THE NORWEGIAN CPS

Written by Margaret Hennum
(Originally written under the pseudonym Elsa Christensen)

Part 2

For many decades, up until the 1970’s, children of wanderers such as gypsies, were taken by force from their parents. The CPS was assisted by the police to give these children what the government said they needed: a childhood without parents and siblings. They would be housed in institutions. Between 25% to 33% of gypsy children born between 1900 and 1960 were treated this way. Girls were IQ tested and sterilized. This was also done to some boys. In addition, whole families were interned in labor colonies. There, among other things, they were taught a “regular life characterized by tough discipline.” This was said to be “voluntary,” but clear threats to take away their children gave parents no choice but to except this existence.

“This is our near history. The last labor colony was closed in 1989. The last sterilizing was done in 1964. Later on, the government had to pay compensation for the abuse, and asked for forgiveness for destroying lives.” (Nina E. Tveter)

Does the mindset behind these actions live on?

Twenty-four years after the last forced sterilization in Molde, Norway, and about the same time as they closed Svanviken labor colony in Nordmøre, the social worker Kari Killén wrote a Doctoral Thesis. It was this work that made it possible for CPS to become as it is today.

After a study of only 17 children, Killen shaped the future CPS, a CPS based on measures of the parents’ functions. Killén told the social workers to evaluate “which parents can help children to survive!” (Molde, Norway, 19.02.2009)

The social workers in Norway and Scandinavia took her grand mission very seriously, and the results of their evaluations are catastrophic. The CPS and the police are now forcing 4-5 children each day out of their homes, most of them never to return to their parents. Last year this “protection” of Norwegian children cost the government 20 billion NOK.

The Middle Class Emotional Neglect

Killén, a social worker, is responsible for an important part of the curriculum for people studying to become social workers, and she has been teaching these courses for years. According to Kari Killén, 45% of Norwegian children suffer from emotional neglect. Her thinking is the foundation for the Norwegian CPS today: that 45% of our children will be traumatized by their own parents because of dubious bonding. When this happens, the CPS needs to “assist” people. Killén’s conclusion is based on this assertion: 45% of our children have parents that cannot help them survive without damage!

Killén argues that the percentage is so high because of a new type of neglect that she calls: “The emotional neglect in the middle class.” This is something that only some of the highly educated can understand: some health nurses, doctors and others may discover it from the time of the pregnancy.

Killen says that “Middle Class Emotional Neglect” is hard to discover, and the damage does not show until the child is three to five years old. It becomes particularly obvious in the teen years.

A National Breakdown?

If there is any truth to Killén’s assumption, it would be a sign of a total breakdown of the Norwegian welfare state. Of course, this idea makes no sense and the result of the work that the CPS has done based upon it must be seen as one of the greatest tragedies of our time.

A Forced Stay in a “Home for Mothers”

It wasn’t that long ago that gypsies had the choice between moving to a labor colony, or losing their children and getting sterilized. Today, hundreds of women yearly get the choice between moving to “Homes for Mothers” for observation, or losing their children at once. Just like the gypsies before them, these “choices” are called “voluntary.” We find this enforced in the CPS statistics under the term “help.”

In our culture, women with newborns have traditionally been well cared for. They get help in the house, food served in bed, helpful advice on breast feeding, and care from women that are friends. In the institutions, the women are merely being observed! They are taken away and isolated from their friends and family, people with whom it is natural to share the joy over the baby.

Many women in these institutions tell stories of how they initially got a warm welcome so it was natural to open up and talk about themselves. Then the illegal video surveillance started and there were demands for detailed plans of their daily tasks. The requirement: their plans had to be noted every half hour. Any supervision and guidance came mostly in the form of negative criticism. Monitoring of the voice, facial expressions, hygiene, and lack of initiative were recorded. Finally, the lack of eye contact with the child and other signs of supposed lack of interaction were seriously considered. The things the mothers told about themselves in confidence at the beginning of their stay was written in an “end report” that was unrecognizable to the mothers themselves.

“End reports” on the different mothers are strangely similar. Many mothers are in despair, often there with their first child. They have “let themselves” be institutionalized by force in a desperate hope of getting to keep their baby or of not losing it again. Most of them do not return home with their children.

The mother mentioned earlier in this narrative (we now know that this was Nadia…cr) survived five months under observations just like these. Every time a child was taken, she remembered when her own baby was taken from her at three weeks of age. She cried every time a child disappeared. In her “end report,” her crying was interpreted this way: “the mother is unstable!” She had lost once and was afraid to lose again.

“End reports” from “Home for Mothers”

The “end reports” from “Home for Mothers” are the most depressing literature I have read during my study of the CPS. The heartless lack of concern that make their methods possible are reflected in written observations. A family therapist will deliver these “end reports” to be used by the Council Committee and judges, who need proof for decisions. The “end reports” have a huge impact on the lives of children, parents and whole families.

As noted earlier, the reports are strangely similar. Most things are interpreted in the worst possible way. They are full of symbols, meaning no direct accusations, that describe irrelevant circumstances; circumstances that, if they were relevant, would discredit the parent and strengthen the therapist’s allegations. Just as enlightening as the things in the report are the things that are withheld on purpose.

In the report above of the woman who moved out voluntarily, breast feeding was mentioned as something she wanted to do, but it was not mentioned as something that she actually did. The fact that she was breast feeding the child until the CPS placed the boy with strangers is deliberately withheld! They did not mention that when the mother got her boy back in her arms after two weeks, her breasts were still not completely dry. They withheld the fact that the mother asked the public health nurse and the doctor in “The Mothers Home” if they thought that she could get the milk production back up, so she could continue breast feeding. They told her she couldn’t! Others knew that she could have managed it easily with some help and in a safe environment. A family therapist described the lack of eye contact between mother and child. She didn’t mention that the CPS kept them from developing the natural eye contact that breast feeding gives, and didn’t mention that they had the mother believing that she could never have this “free” eye contact again with the boy. (A baby’s eye sight is sharpest in the distance from the breast to the mothers face.) Another important fact that was held back was that the mother and child that they observed had just been reunited! The baby came from a two week stay in an emotional no-man’s-land (two weeks, in a lifetime of five weeks). The mother was scared and felt that she was in a dangerous situation after having lost her baby, having it back, and then being threatened of losing it again. The family therapist did not mention that the observations were made in the light of this dramatic break in the relationship between the mother and the baby.

Killén teaches that the people who do not have the necessary caring skills, will probably never learn them. This explains why the “Home for Mothers” is the exact opposite of what is normal in the rest of society. The “Home” does not give help when needed. They do nothing to strengthen and support people who are managing the best they can. These “Homes” merely observe and call it “help.” In reality, they are “helping” the child be torn from where it belongs.

The CPS in the Future

We know a lot about some groups of people in the government who would like to control family activity. Recently, a member of the parliament and social committee suggested that the CPS should start to prepare when the woman is pregnant. The CPS seems to listen to this member.

How many groups of people should be deemed unworthy of the parenting role? The gypsies were told clearly in their time to stop giving birth or be sterilized. Many people who have been involved with the CPS say that sterilization would almost have been better because then we would know for sure that there would be no “Child Welfare Services” in Norway’s future.

Time may be short before claims for compensation will come from the survivors who have had their lives ruined by the CPS. It appears that it will be a tough battle. Until then, the CPS will use money from the 20 billion NOK they have at their disposal for a very peculiar purpose: forcing CPS employees into the homes of families to restore the good impression of the CPS! The ones that are coerced to accept “help” become traumatized families in numerous cases. Some may get their children back only after long battles with the CPS. As stated earlier, in many cases, parents never get their children back.

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