Archive for January, 2016

Hurricane Ike.JPG

A decimated ash tree in my backyard, courtesy of Hurricane Ike.  September, 2008.


“For this afternoon, a high wind warning is in effect,” said the radio announcer. “Whatever,” I thought to myself and soon forgot the comment as I drove to church that Sunday morning. The date was September 14, 2008, and I was about to get a lesson in preparedness that I have not forgotten in over seven years since that time.

Driving home, it was a pretty typical late summer/early fall day in Cincinnati. I seem to recall that it was partly sunny and generally fairly pleasant outside. When I arrived home, my family and I ate lunch. And then things got interesting. Seemingly out of nowhere, strong winds began gusting from the south. As the gusts turned into sustained high winds and the tops of the trees in my back yard bent over so as to almost touch the ground, I remembered the high wind warning on the radio from that morning. Whatever indeed. After several minutes of this, the winds vanished just as rapidly as they had appeared. It was as if a hurricane had just blown through the area, which, as I later found out, is pretty much what actually what happened.

Now if you know anything about where Cincinnati is located – we’re about 550 miles inland from the Atlantic coast – you’d know that folks in this part of the country don’t really expect to see hurricanes. Ever. And yet the sustained winds that came through the area that day were over 70 miles an hour, meeting the definition of a hurricane. As it turned out, the high winds were the remnants of Hurricane Ike, a category 4 hurricane, which had struck the gulf coast of Texas a day before. After making landfall, the remnants of the storm headed northeast. Aided by what the meteorologists call a “shortwave trough,” the winds intensified, once again reaching hurricane levels as they roared through the Ohio Valley, causing massive damage to many major metropolitan areas in the region.

At my house, the winds knocked out power almost immediately. Power outages themselves aren’t uncommon as a result of storms. But this outage was to last four days, they longest by far such outage I’ve personally experienced. A large Ash tree in our back yard was snapped in two and had to be taken down. Just up the street, a neighbor was severely injured when a tree fell on her. I drove around in my car to see what things looked like, and was shocked to find out that the power was out for miles in every direction. Much to the surprise of everyone, all of greater Cincinnati was effectively was shut down by this one windstorm.

I realize that compared to natural disasters some people have endured, my story doesn’t rank as particularly noteworthy. The house didn’t sustain any damage. And the biggest inconvenience was having to stumble around at night by the dim light of a kerosene lamp. That, and the food in the freezer going bad. But all this it did get me to thinking. I came to realize that many of the things that I took for granted – the so-called “grid,” items such as electric power, phone service, running water, readily available food and fuel – could disappear in a moment.

At the same time and about 600 miles to the east, another disaster was unfolding. The 2008 financial crisis was in full swing that fall. I remember it quite well as at the time I was working as a telephone representative for a large, nationally known financial services company. Every day I’d get panicked calls from 401(k) investors asking about their balances. I’ll never forget one call. After quoting an account balance to a lady, I was greeted with stunned silence. Finally she said, “I just lost $30,000.” Tough times those.

That fall was quite a wake-up call to me. Almost simultaneously I had witnessed the failure of both the “grid” and the financial system. Perhaps my latent assumptions that things would always work the way they were supposed to were not really warranted.


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statue of liberty

Statue of Liberty scene from Planet of the Apes.

Civilizational collapse. The very words make the reader sit up and take notice. When I hear them, I tend to think of the barbarian hordes – some of whom, for all I know, may have been my ancestors – sacking Rome. But civilizational collapse is not just about ancient history. For it has been the contention of this blog that we in the West in the early 21st century are living through a civilizational collapse in real time. The West, the civilization born out of the 16th century Protestant Reformation, is in real danger of disappearing altogether. Given birth by the widespread preaching of, and belief in, the Gospel of justification by belief alone in the 16th century, the West has undergone steep decline over the past one hundred plus years.


In our own time, there are very few individuals left who hold fast to the two principle doctrines of the Reformation, sola scriptura (the Bible alone is the sole authority for Christian doctrine and practice), and sola fide (salvation is by belief alone). Since Western Civilization was the by-product of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it would stand to reason that when the people of the West reject that Gospel, that the civilization built upon it would fall. And this is exactly what we see happening all around us. Public morals, respect for individual liberty and private property, not to mention the finances of entire nations all are in steep decline.

How does the Christian face an environment such as this? In the US, at any rate, there are many active preppers, individuals who believe in taking steps to protect themselves in the event the current economic and political order should suffer a significant breakdown. I happen to be one of those people.

As a rule, preppers are considered to be a bit of a fringe group and are often dismissed as paranoid wearers of tin-foil hats . But that in itself does not prove them wrong. Just looking at the finances of the Western nations should be enough to put anyone in prepper mode. As I detailed in last week’s post, the financial system and economy of the US are in a very precarious position and may well be poised for an imminent collapse. Take the recent comments of noted investor Jim Rogers, who said that in 2016, “everything is going to get smashed,” as a result of the relentless counterproductive policies pursued by the governments and central banks of the world. “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, But the simple pass on and are punished,” says Proverbs. And what are preppers but those who foresee trouble coming and seek to take measures to protect themselves? Given the current state of affairs, far from being paranoid, it seems as though the preppers on the ones showing good sense, while those who deny the gathering storm facing the West and pretend everything is awesome are simpletons whistling past the graveyard.


Prepping started to get big in the US in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Over the ensuring years, many helpful books have been written on the subject of prepping, and many excellent resources available on the internet that address this issue. It is not the aim of this post to repeat what others already have said, and said better than this author could. No, the aim of this post is to look at what the Bible has to say about prepping. Not so much from the standpoint of “buy this” or “make sure you have enough of that,” but rather from the standpoint of how God works in history, the grace he shows to his people even in the worst of times, and reflect on general principles that we can take from individual cases in Scripture where people were faced with the destruction of their civilization. In particular, I would like to focus on the example of Noah, a man who can fairly be described as history’s preeminent prepper.

God is Not Mocked

Back in the late 90s, the minister of my church said to me in private conversation that if the then new, state-level laws legalizing homosexual marriage were allowed to stand, then God would owe an apology to Sodom and Gomorrah. Strong words, those. Little did we know at the time that, not only would the existing laws in support of gay marriage be allowed to stand, but that gay marriage would one day be declared the law of the land, as occurred in June 2015 with the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges.

And what shall we say about a nation that so openly mocks the law of God. It is common for Americans to say “God bless America.” But really, why should he? After the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, the minister of my current church commented, quite correctly, that America has now placed itself further outside the [preceptive] will of God than at any other time in its history. It seems to me that, considering just the gay marriage issue alone, God would have much more reason to visit destruction on America rather than bless it.

Some may suppose that because hellfire and brimstone did not immediately descend from the heavens and consume the Supreme Court building along with those justices who voted in favor of gay marriage, arrogantly supposing as they did, that they can set aside the eternal law of God, that nothing bad will follow as a result of Obergefell v. Hodges. But I wouldn’t be so sure of that. As the Apostle Paul makes clear, God is not mocked. While it is true that we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, it is also true that judgment can come in this life. And Sodom and Gomorrah stand as stark witnesses to the proposition that God will not forever put up with a civilization that so flagrantly mocks his law.

But the sudden and dramatic overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah is not the only Biblical example of God visiting destruction on a civilization due to its gross sinfulness. The destruction of the Canaanites was a consequence of their sinfulness. “But in the fourth generation they [Abraham’s descendents] shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Genesis 15:16), were God’s words to Abraham. God destroyed the Tower of Babel and scattered the people, confusing their language, due to their disobedience.

The experience of Israel in the promised land ended in a similar fashion. Even before Israel entered Canaan, God laid out for the stipulations of his covenant. If the people obeyed, they would receive blessing. If they did not, curses and destruction would follow. As Scripture tells us, Israel was eventually given over to conquerors due to the unfaithfulness of the people. The writer of Chronicles puts it this way,

And the LORD God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till there was no remedy (2 Chronicles 36:23).

The Old Testament also reports the destruction of the destroyers of Israel and Judah. Both Assyria and Babylon were judged for their iniquities and overthrown.

Civilization-wide judgment is not limited to the Old Testament either. It is also found in the New. In the Olivet discourse, Jesus predicted the judgment that God would visit on Jerusalem in A.D. 70. In Revelation we are shown the coming destruction of Mystery Babylon the Great, the Antichrist system of the papacy, for its many sins.

The deluge

The Deluge by John Martin, 1834.


The End of the World As He Knew It

Relative to the subject of this study, I would like to end this brief review of God’s civilizational judgments by discussing his destruction of the world at the time of Noah. Back in the 80s, R.E.M. had a hit song titled It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine). Despite the rather depressive sounding name, it’s actually a pretty catchy tune. And the title really does capture the experience of Noah. After all, here was a man who had never so much as seen rain, being told by God that the world would be destroyed in a flood. Everything would be wiped away.

And why is it that God decided to end all human life save eight people? He doesn’t leave it to our imagination, but rather expressly tells us it was due to the exceeding wickedness of man.

Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them” (Genesis 6:5-7).

I would like to draw the reader’s attention to two aspects of this passage. First, note well that the destruction of the antediluvian [pre-flood] world was brought about by God. Sometimes people speak of God permitting this or that disaster to occur. But as Gordon Clark argues in God & Evil: The Problem Solved, permission makes no sense in a universe created by, and completely under the control of, God. God himself says, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth,” so it is hardly slander to state that God brought about the destruction. But what is more, the wickedness of man that prompted God to destroy the earth was not some unplanned or unforeseen eventuality, but God caused men to act as they did. God was not the author of their sin, for the wicked men themselves thought and performed evil themselves. But God was the ultimate cause of their doing so.

Second, although God is the ultimate cause of the sinfulness of the antediluvian world, he is not responsible for the sin, those who commit the sin are. God is not responsible for the simple reason that whatever God does is right and good. There is no one to whom he must give account. Put another way, God is Ex Lex, above the law. As sovereign of the universe, it is his prerogative both to will men to be reprobate and to punish them for it.


In his address to the Athenians on Mars Hill, Paul stated the end to which God established nations. Said Paul,

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us (Acts 17:26, 27).

The intended result of his establishing nations, is that the people seek for him. But when nations fail to do this, and when they, in fact, do quite the opposite, wearying themselves to do evil, it should come as no surprise that God would bring them to an end. And this he has done many times in history, as the Bible makes clear.

It is my contention that Western Civilization has just about run its course. Beginning in earnest in the 19th century, the people of the West first rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the chickens are now coming home to roost. It appears that tough times lay ahead.

I do not write these things as a pessimist. Rather, I believe Christians have every reason to be optimistic about the future. We have the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing. That said, this does not mean we will not suffer along with everyone else should it turn out that I am right about what the future holds.

As Christians, we are not called to look upon the world with rose colored glasses. We are called to see it in light of the Word of God and to heed its warnings.

Seige of Jerusalem

Detail from the Arch of Titus in Rome showing a scene from the triumphal parade celebrating the Roman general Titus’ sack of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. 


In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus warned his hearers to flee to the mountains when they saw Jerusalem surrounded by armies. It would be interesting to know how many took him at his word and got out of town before general Vespasian showed up outside the city walls with his legions.

As Christians, let us be as the prudent man of Proverbs and prepare ourselves for the evil that appears to be coming our way. In so doing, not only will we preserve our lives and the lives of our loved ones, but also position ourselves to speak the truth of the Gospel to a world in desperate need of hearing it.

To be continued

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Obama_2016 SOTU

President Barak Obama delivers his State of the Union address to Congress, January 12, 2016.

“Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction,” or at least that’s what President Obama would have Americans believe based on his remarks in his State of the Union address last week. Yes, according to the president, everything is awesome. And anyone who thinks otherwise is simply, to quote a Vice President from a few decades back, a nattering nabob of negativism.


But is everything as rosy as Obama would have us believe? The following points would suggest otherwise:

  • The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) just experienced the worst opening week in its history. During the first two weeks of trading in 2016, the market has declined by 4%.
  • The Labor Force Participation Rate – this the total number of people who are either employed or actively looking for work divided by the total working age population – is at lows not seen in nearly 40 years, going back to a time when women were just entering the workforce in large numbers.
  • The Baltic Dry Index – a shipping and trade index measuring the changes in the cost to transport raw materials by – is at record low levels and continuing to sink rapidly. These low and rapidly declining readings – the index has dropped 19% just since the first of the year – indicate a sharp drop in international shipping, implying a significant drop in international trade and a global economic slow-down. According to this article, the index has hit new record lows for the past nine days straight.
  • According to FactCheck.org, the number of Food Stamp recipients grew by 45% for the period from 1/9/2009 – 1/9/2015.
  • Breitbart reports that, “American’s middle class has shrunk by almost 20% since the 1970s and is now a minority of the population in the United States.”
  • In connection with a shrinking middle class, income distribution has become significantly skewed toward the top of society. This video give a good breakdown of just how unequal incomes have become in the US. Among its findings: 40% of the wealth of the country is held by 1% of the population, those in the top 1% own 50% of value of the stock and bonds markets. Taken together with a shrinking middle class, it appears that the US is coming to resemble more a feudal society than the healthy middle class nation most of us grew up in.
  • US federal government debt has exploded in recent years. When Obama entered office in January 2009, the debt stood at a frightening $10.6 trillion. According to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, the debt was $18.1 trillion in January 2015 and is projected to grow to $19.1 trillion a year from now when Obama leaves office. To put it another way, it took the US 236 years to amass $10.6 trillion of debt, but by the time he leaves office next year, Obama will have presided over a near doubling of this amount. According to Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff, “Our country is broke. It’s not broke in 75 years of 50 years or 25 years or 10 years. It’s broke today.”

Considering only the bullet points above, it would appear that precarious is about the kindest word one could use to describe the economic condition of the US. To say we’re headed off an economic cliff likely would be closer to the mark.

So how did we get here? How did a nation founded by the Puritans and committed to the principles of civil and economic liberty end up a bloated, socialist over extended empire suffocating under the largest debt edifice in the history of mankind? Although a full answer to that question is beyond the scope of a single blog post, the short answer is that the American people have, to borrow what Isaiah said about the people of Judah, turned away backwards from God and from his law. We have rejected the truth and embraced the lie, and now the chickens are coming how to roost.

In this post, I would like to look specifically at three economic lies that are held by nearly all academic economists, politicians and their enablers in the media: central banking, fiat currency and Keynesian economics. Any one of these by itself is dangerous to the health of a nation. Taken together, they are a sort of perfect storm, guaranteed to bring economic destruction to any nation whose leaders embrace them.


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Our “Benefactors”


Over 100 women and girls claimed they were sexually assaulted in the main square of Cologne, Germany during New Year’s Eve festivities.  For the most part, the attackers were reported to have been North African or Middle Eastern in appearance and likely refugees.      

When Jesus rebuked his disciples for arguing about who was the greatest, he made a brilliant contrast between the sort of leadership approved by the world and the sort that finds favor with the world.


All the world, it seems, loves a dictator. As Christ put it, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors’ ” (Luke 22:25). The Greek word translated “benefactors” is euergetes, which just so happened to be a title taken by many kings in antiquity. For example, a third century BC king of Egypt went by the name Ptolemy III Euergetes. Not believing in the Christian principle of doing his good works in private, apparently he wanted everyone to know what a great guy he was.

It seems to me that we have many such individuals in politics today. Not that they take the title “benefactor,” but when you consider their words and their actions, they make it clear that they are eager to be seen in this light.

I was prompted to think about this while considering the mass sexual assaults carried out in Cologne, Germany on New Year’s Eve. Ever eager to play the champions of humanitarianism, German chancellor Angela Merkel and others in her government went out of their way to welcome large numbers of middle-eastern refugees to the country, only to find out that some of them hold a decidedly unchristian view of women

These “benefactors” seem to have boundless compassion on peoples of other nations, all the while holding their own citizens in contempt. For not only have the German people been subjected to the most outrageous sort of criminality, but they are forced to pay for the privilege as well. All those refugees, you see, they come at a cost. And that cost is born by the German taxpayers. As the website of Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Interior explains,

If the asylum application is accepted, persons granted asylum status and those granted refugee status receive a temporary residence permit and are given the same status as Germans within the social insurance system. They are entitled to social welfare, child benefits, child-raising benefits, integration allowances and language courses as well as other forms of integration assistance.

This sort of thing has the sounds compassionate, but in truth it represents nothing more than the German government stealing money from pockets of its own citizens and giving the loot to foreign refugees, some of whom have utter contempt for the hands that are forced to feed them.

True charity, Christian charity, involves the voluntary giving of one’s own things to another in the name of Christ. Government “charity” means using the power of the state to take one man’s property and transfer it to someone else. It’s what the Bible calls theft. And individuals who hold government office are prohibited from engaging in theft in just the same way as are private citizens.

But hey, running a government “charity’ scam has its upside. After all, if you manage to get really good at it, everyone will call you “benefactor.”

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God and Evil_2

God and Evil: The Problem Solved by Gordon H. Clark (Unicoi, Tennessee: The Trinity Foundation, 91 pages, 2004) $5.00.

Responding to president Bush’s proposal to allow public schools to teach intelligent design along with Darwinism, veteran political commentator Daniel Schorr remarked, “[Bush] might well have reflected that, if this [Hurricane Katrina] was the result of intelligent design, then the designer has something to answer for.” From a Christian perspective, this comment is a bit off the mark. For Christians do no not, or at least ought not, argue for intelligent design. Creationism – the doctrine that God created all things of nothing, by the Word or his power, in the space of six literal days, and all very good – is the proper Biblical stance. Nevertheless, Schorr’s statement certainly does apply to creationism. In fact, Schorr’s argument is really more of a problem of the creationist than it is for the proponent of intelligent design.

Writing in his 2006 book Letter to a Christian Nation, atheist evangelist Sam Harris was even more pointed in his criticism of Christians than was Schorr.

Examples of God’s failure to protect humanity are everywhere to be seen. The city of New Orleans, for instance, was recently destroyed by a hurricane. More than a thousand people dies; tens of thousands lost all their earthly possessions; and nearly a million were displaced. It is safe to say that almost every person living in New Orleans at the moment Hurricane Katrina struck shared your belief in an omnipotent, omniscient, and compassionate God. But what was God doing while Katrina laid waste to their city? Surely He heard the prayers of those elderly men and women who fled the rising waters for the safety of their attics, only to be slowly drowned there. These were people of faith. These were good men and women who had prayed throughout their lives. Do you have the courage to admit the obvious? These poor people died talking to an imaginary friend (52).

From the start, Christians have found themselves confronted with arguments similar to those above and have handled them with various degrees of success. Far too often they have come off as the proverbial fellow who made the mistake of brining a knife to a gun fight. They are unprepared and overmatched. In the opinion of this reviewer, a Christian who and understands and believes Clark’s argument in God and Evil: The Problem Solved (hereafter God and Evil)
will find himself in the happier position of the man who brought a gun to a knife fight. The opposition won’t have a chance.


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2015 year in reviewAnother year of blogging has come and gone. And since New Year’s Day represents a convenient opportunity to reflect on the year past as well as look forward to the one ahead, it seemed good to me to summarize 2015’s postings as well as consider where this blog may be headed in 2016.

But before I get to that, thanks are in order. In the first place, I would like to thank the Lord my God. I have written Lux Lucet since 2009, but it has only been since November 2014 that I committed to a regular weekly writing schedule. Writing takes work. And in truth, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to maintain the frequency and quality of writing that I had in mind. But God has been gracious. He has provided me an abundance of interesting and relevant topics to discuss, the necessary time to research and write, and the stamina to make it happen. If there be anything about this blog at all praiseworthy, truly I must say with the reformers, Soli Deo Gloria.

Second, I would like to that the late Dr. John W. Robbins of the Trinity Foundation. It was eight years ago this month that John proposed to me a writing project that would eventually turn into a book titled Imagining A Vain Thing: The Decline and Fall of Knox Seminary. Up until that time, the biggest writing projects I had undertaken were high school and college term papers. But thanks to John’s help as well as the help of current Trinity Foundation president Tom Juodaitis, I was able to see the project through to its completion. This blog is an outgrowth of my experience working with John. You might even say it’s an extended thank you to him, the man whose work has done so much to inspire me.

Third, I would be remiss if I did not extend a sincere thank you to my readers for their support. Were you to ask me why I blog, habitual joker that I am, I’d probably tell you I’m in it for the money. It has always been my prayer that this blog would be used by God to edify his church. But the nature of blogging is such that it can be quite lonely. You sit at your computer and write and publish, but the question remains, What good is any of this doing? In light of that, it is tremendously encouraging to see that my posts are read. Please know that your clicks, comments and likes are greatly appreciated.


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