growing strong together

marmsky January 2018 (13)

devotional post # 2260

Numbers 3:14-17

Num 3:14 And Yahveh spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, and this is what he said,
Num 3:15 “Muster the sons of Levi, by fathers’ houses and by clans; every male from a month old and upward you will muster.”
Num 3:16 So Moses mustered them according to the Yahveh’s word, as he was commanded.
Num 3:17 And these were the sons of Levi by their names: Gershon and Kohath and Merari.

growing strong together

The names of Levi’s three sons mentioned here are significant, particularly when seen together. Gershon (Hebrew, Gershom) means “foreigner.” Kohath (Hebrew, Kehat) means “gathered.” Merari, which (like the name Miriam, or Mary) means “bitter,” — but connotes strength.

So, the Levites, God’s special forces army, obediently gathered together (like strands on a rope) as foreigners among their own people, and drew strength from the struggles they faced.

When we do this church thing, it often involves struggle and hardship. We are called to love one another when often we do not even like each other. But God wants to manifest his strength in us — together.

LORD, we surrender to your will. Make us strong as a single diverse body in Christ.

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Douglas Wilson’s Letter From Moscow (On the Image of God)

The Image of God and Life Between the Sexes

Douglas Wilson

INTRODUCTION:

People of course disagree about things, and one of the biggest things they differ on is the meaning and magnitude of their disagreements. One man’s adiaphora is another man’s summum bonum, one man’s mox nix is another man’s—oh I don’t know— buttterfly’s boots. I hope I am making myself clear.

Let me start over.

Unbelievers have grown so accustomed to their patterns of sexual license that they have come to regard the pattern of faithful monogamy among believers as just one more weird choice in a world full of weird choices. And—recognizing the differences between us—they (charitably, or so they think) want to relegate the importance of this particular difference to the museum of quaint religious opinions. Certainly we differ, they say soothingly, but surely, shouldn’t we be able to agree that it is no big deal? They allow that we can live this way if we want, but any hint from us that they ought to be doing so as well brings out all heir ire, not to mention the lawsuits.

A CENTRAL THING:

Now because we Christians understand that the two sexes coming together in a particular way bears the image of God, the response from us always has to be—no, this is necessarily a big deal. It is central, a true fundamental article of the faith. You can have true Christian churches that don’t baptize the right way. You can have real Christian churches that sing the wrong kind of songs. You can have genuine Christian churches that have adopted unedifying forms of church government. But you can’t have Christian churches that have the wrong God. And biblical marriage is one of the creationally-established and central confessions of faith concerning the nature of God.

But not all Christians get this, and here is how the drift works. Christian leaders who temporize about these things will often do so in two steps. The first step is to agree with the unbelievers about the relative unimportance of the difference while maintaining the standard itself “as it is practiced in our faith community.” The second step comes later, and is to capitulate completely once it is plain that the first set of compromises has gotten us into a position where the only way we can now survive is by avoiding martyrdom. But the biblical standard is that the only way we can survive is by being willing for martyrdom. The only ones who find their lives are the ones who lose them for His sake. There is a way of holding on to “just the gospel” that loses you “just the gospel.” And there is a way of letting go of your life, your position, your influence, all of which you wanted to use “for the gospel,” that actually doesn’t lose anything about the gospel, but rather profoundly illustrates it.

Voddie has tagged this problem before. You can tell if this kind of compromise is going on if a minister reluctantly addresses the sin of homosexuality, and is at great pains to tell you first that he has some dear gay friends, despite his differences with them, and how important it is for all of us to show real compassion to the LGBTQ community, thereby avoiding the temptation (apparently a pressing one) of becoming Westboro Baptists. In the nineteenth century, out on the frontier, I can warrant you that no sermon on cattle rustling ever began this way. “Some of my dearest friends have been known to facilitate his neighbor’s herd to choose to self-identify as Rocking R cattle instead of just the plain old R cattle. Now these friends know that we have passionate differences—but they also know that I am there for them.”

The same goes for horse thieves. Probably no sermons like that for the horse thief community.

POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE:

In order to understand all this it is important to note that the scriptural sexual ethic does not originate as a bundle of taboos—it is not a negative ethic in the first instance. It is not prohibitive at the foundational level. The biblical sexual ethic is an invitation to a wedding, not a “no trespassing” sign.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen. 1:27).

Our sexual ethic is positive. It is grounded first in the doctrine of creation. God made the material universe, and all of it was very good. Matter is good—God likes it. He invented it. The fact that we have bodies, always a source of consternation to the more spiritually minded, was His idea. Not only so, but we were directly created—Adam from the dust of the ground, and Eve from the rib of Adam—as sexual beings. Sex was His idea. God invented it, and He approves of it. Our sexual organs were fashioned by Him, crafted by Him, and teleologically directed by Him. And not only did God create the world, doing so in this particular way, He also did so while insuring that His fingerprints would be found here.

He painted this world, and when He was done with His painting, He signed it.

That signature, that image, that token was a clear statement of His absolute ownership and lordship over all things. He signed what He had done, and that signature was the creation of mankind as male and female, and thereby in the image of God. Male and female, man and woman—this is one of the central places we must look if we are to remember—as we must remember—that the triune God created the world. Not surprisingly, for those who would not have the triune God rule over them, this is the emblem that they must eradicate.

So the way of a man with a maid is mysterious, and primal, and it runs all the way back to the creation. Mankind, as male and female, was created in the image of God. The Fall did not, as is popularly assumed, have anything to do with sexual disobedience. Adam and Eve did not fall sexually. They fell away from a perfect sexuality. They marred a sexual image; they did not attain to a sexual image.

So the biblical sexual ethic is a positive one. Because our world fell into sin and rebellion, many positive things, this one included, were corrupted, and degraded, and polluted. And it has been the assigned role of faithful believers to stand against these corruptions in every way we can. But when we stand against these distortions, we are doing so in defense of something that is precious, and that glory is right at the center of our faith.

Darwin was entirely wrong. We did not evolve from any primordial goo, and so our sexual ethic did not originate because we were trying to navigate our way out of the turmoil caused by alpha apes and their harems. That is not where sexual reticence originated.

So our modern rebellions in the sexual arena are quite different from the sneaking and fudging of earlier times. When a man committed adultery many generations ago, he was disobeying but not trying to redefine. It is like the difference between a thief and a socialist. A thief recognizes the boundaries of property, he just doesn’t respect them when it comes to his own personal behavior. The socialist wants to abolish all such distinctions—in effect, he wants to “steal the world.” This makes, incidentally, the socialist into an individual who is much further gone. In the same way, there have been many in the past who in a general way supported the ideas of honor and fidelity in marriage, but who were willing to sneak a little on the side. They were hypocrites and sinners. But what we are dealing with now is an all-out assault on the very idea of marriage. That is why the current battle over marriage is theological, and the revolution is being conducted by revolutionaries.

To return to the idea of the painting, our generation is trying to blot out the painter’s signature on His creation, and then trying to repaint the whole thing. Once His name is smudged out, and marriage is no longer defined as “one man, one women, one lifetime,” the sky is the limit. We can have polyamorous relationships, open marriages, sex with robots, bestiality, digital sex using a web page, sex with organs that are not sex organs, and so on. We can hump the world if we want. This painting is now ours—or so we fancy in the midst of this current cultural mushroom dream.

As Kinsey once put it, “The only unnatural sex act is that which you cannot perform.” And since we all know that raping toddlers is something that can be performed . . .

A LONG GAME:

The devil is playing the long game, and he is seeking to undo the great accomplishments of the early ecumenical councils, principally Nicaea. He is attacking the symbol of our God as embodied in the Creed by attacking the image of our God as embodied in the marriage covenant. There is no way to lose the cohesion of that statement from Genesis and simultaneously retain any cohesion whatever from Nicaea. And also—although both are true—the image of God that He crafted is senior to the ecumenical statement that we crafted.

Mark it well. The battle we are currently in is at least as momentous for the future of the Christian faith as the early battles at Nicea and Chalcedon were. And this is why Christian leaders who temporize on this issue are playing a really dangerous game.

Because we believe God created the world, and embedded His intelligent design throughout all of it, down to the last quark, and because we believe the capstone of that design was the fixing of His image in mankind, male and female, and because we believe this image to be a self-revelation, it follows necessarily that sex is ultimately meaningful.

Sex signifies. Sex means something in the outside world. Sex means something to the outside world.  Sex means something to the outside world. Sex is not limited to the orgasmic experiences of the participant/s. The meaning of sex is not private, and is not meaningless. The experience of it is, but the meaning of sexual relations is as fixed as anything in the cosmos.

God has written it all down, and He did so with indelible celestial ink.
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they will be mine

marmsky January 2018 (12)devotional post # 2259

Numbers 3:11-13

Num 3:11 And Yahveh spoke to Moses, and this is what he said,
Num 3:12 “I (you will notice) have purchased the Levites from among the people of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the uterus among the people of Israel. The Levites will be mine,
Num 3:13 because all the firstborn are mine. On the day that I killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I consecrated for my own all the firstborn in Israel, both of man and of animal. They will be mine: I am Yahveh.”

they will be mine

The Levites were chosen to represent the firstborn of all the other tribes, and were drafted as the special forces army to protect and serve the whole nation, and to defend the holiness of God’s tabernacle. Each of the firstborn males of the other tribes was to have a replacement designated among the Levites.

You have also been redeemed, not by a Levite, but by Christ (Gal. 3:13; 1 Peter 1:18). When you go about your daily life, know that the eternal life you will live belongs to God, because it was purchased by the death of his righteous Son.

HOLY SPIRIT, show us how to live as your redeemed ones.

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Daily Meditation

Ready For Work Or Sacrifice

For me to live is Christ.  Philippians 1:21

Charles H. Spurgeon

The believer did not always live to Christ. He began to do so when God the Holy Spirit convinced him of sin, and when by grace he was brought to see the dying Saviour making a propitiation for his guilt. From the moment of the new and celestial birth the man begins to live to Christ. Jesus is to believers the one pearl of great price, for whom we are willing to part with all that we have. He has so completely won our love, that it beats alone for him; to his glory we would live, and in defence of his gospel we would die; he is the pattern of our life, and the model after which we would sculpture our character.

Paul’s words mean more than most men think; they imply that the aim and end of his life was Christ–nay, his life itself was Jesus. In the words of an ancient saint, he did eat, and drink, and sleep eternal life. Jesus was his very breath, the soul of his soul, the heart of his heart, the life of his life. Can you say, as a professing Christian, that you live up to this idea? Can you honestly say that for you to live is Christ? Your business–are you doing it for Christ? Is it not done for self- aggrandizement and for family advantage? Do you ask, “Is that a mean reason?” For the Christian it is. He professes to live for Christ; how can he live for another object without committing a spiritual adultery?

Many there are who carry out this principle in some measure; but who is there that dare say that he hath lived wholly for Christ as the apostle did? Yet, this alone is the true life of a Christian–its source, its sustenance, its fashion, its end, all gathered up in one word–Christ Jesus. Lord, accept me; I here present myself, praying to live only in thee and to thee. Let me be as the bullock which stands between the plough and the altar, to work or to be sacrificed; and let my motto be, “Ready for either.”
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A Shooting Star

The Deconstruction of Thomas Paine

The late eighteenth century has been called the decades of revolutions.  In the course of that particular season we are treated to a luminary, Thomas Paine rising brightly in the eastern sky only rapidly to become a burning, falling star in the west.

Paine had played an active role in the American Revolution.  He advocated strongly the merits and justice of the American colonies against the belligerence of England.  He based his argument upon the ground of universal human rights in the abstract.  He took his arguments and assertions to England itself and called for a similar revolt against the lords and the monarchy.  Whilst he found many supporters, there were not nearly enough to produce a revolution.

Then events in France undid his arguments and appeals.  The French Revolution, which Paine supported ardently, turned bloody and people saw first hand what radical revolution sanctioned by appeals to abstract human rights and inflamed with violence could accomplish.  It was not a pretty sight.  Paine’s popularity in England evaporated.

. . . the gruesome “September Massacres” of 1792 (in France), when hundreds of men, women and children were butchered in the streets and prisons of Paris as suspected traitors, the execution of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette in 1793, the escalating Terror, war and economic disaster mocked Paine’s confidence that “they order these things better in France.”  He himself, at first feted in Paris, was imprisoned and sentenced to the guillotine–a fate he narrowly escaped due to a change of government.  [Robert Tombs, The English and Their History (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2015), p.387]

Suddenly the abstractions of Paine’s Rights of Man had come face to face with human depravity at its worst and Paine, overnight, was exposed as little more than a deluded fanatic.   The effect upon England was substantial.

These years fixed English “memory” of revolution, elaborated in nineteenth-century history and literature–especially in Carlyle’s vivid and tragic History (1837) and Dickens’s Tale of Two Cities (1859) which emphasized the contrast between the Terror and English peace and security.  . . .  The future English consensus that emerged over the next generation concerning the French Revolution, and by extension political change in general, was ambivalent: opposed to tyranny, in favour of moderate reforms, but hostile to violence. [Ibid.]

Paine died in 1809.  He had returned to the United States. He died in poverty and ignominy.  Only six people attended his funeral.  His obituary in the New York Evening Post said,  “He had lived long, did some good, and much harm.”  Ouch.
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Loving One’s Neighbour Rather Than "Global Mankind"

Poland and Hungary Unite Against Eurocrats

‘We Don’t Want to Live in an Empire’

Jack Montgomery
BreitbartLondon

Poland

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki of Poland have predicted a “year of great battles” with the EU establishment at a summit in Budapest.  “We don’t want to live in an empire. For us, the European Union is still the alliance of free European nations”, declared the veteran Orbán, who has been in office since 2010.

“The EU’s immigration policy is not working. What is more, it is not only not working but it has failed spectacularly,” he said.  “It’s clear that European people don’t want immigration, while some European leaders are still enforcing the failed immigration policy.

“The Hungarian standpoint is that we have to protect the borders [and] migration must be stopped. We shouldn’t bring migrants here, but we should bring the help where it’s needed,” he added, referring to his country’s ‘Hungary Helps’ programme of works to help people in the countries migrants typically originate from, particularly Christian minorities.

Orbán also took the opportunity to thank Morawiecki’s government for providing support for the powerful border defences which were rapidly rolled out to protect Hungary’s frontiers during the migrant crisis, cutting illegal immigration by over 99 per cent.  “Countries must have the right to decide who they are taking and who they do not accept,” stressed the newly-appointed Polish leader, referring to the EU’s ongoing efforts to redistribute migrants across its member-states — including Poland and Hungary — through a system of compulsory quotas.

The pair also welcomed the breakthrough victory of the conservative-nationalist coalition of Sebastian Kurz and Heinz-Christian Strache in Austria, which has pledged to reverse mass migration and tackle radical Islam and could prove a powerful new ally for the Visegrád Four.

“Democracy has been restored in Austria, because the Austrians, who don’t want immigration, elected a government which doesn’t want immigration either,” said the Hungarian leader.  “This will be the case everywhere in Europe. I’m convinced that this is just a question of time,” he added.

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serving the servants

marmsky January 2018 (11)devotional post # 2258

Numbers 3:5-10

Num 3:5 And Yahveh spoke to Moses, and this is what he said,
Num 3:6 “Bring the tribe of Levi near, and set them before Aaron the priest, so they may serve him.
Num 3:7 They will keep guard over him and over the whole assembly at the conference tent, as they serve at the tabernacle.
Num 3:8 They will guard all the furnishings of the conference tent, and keep guard over the sons of Israel as they serve at the tabernacle.
Num 3:9 And you will give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they are totally given to him from among the sons of Israel.
Num 3:10 And you will appoint Aaron and his sons, and they will guard their priesthood. But if any outsider comes near, he will be put to death.”

serving the servants

An entire special forces army was dedicated to protecting and serving the servants of Yahveh at the tabernacle. The connection between the holy God and his people was so important that an entire tribe was set apart to insure that the connection remained. God’s holiness is such that it takes a specially appointed high priest to approach him for the people. But the people’s sinfulness is such that they might even dare to approach him apart from his plan, and must be protected from their own pride.

Christ is our great high priest, the substance who cast a shadow onto this Old Testament event. Who then do the Levites represent? The author of Hebrews said of the angels “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” In God’s economy, an entire army of servants serve and protect his human servants, and defend his holiness.

LORD, thank you for your servants who protect your servants.

 

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“Remove the wicked man from among yourselves” THE TORAH AS A NORMATIVE AUTHORITY IN 1ST CORINTHIANS 5 (part two)

Paul’s polemic against Judaizers in the Galatian correspondence, as well as his insistence in Romans that justification comes by faith (pistis) and not by works of the Torah, has led many interpreters to see Pauline ethics as thoroughly anti-nomian. In a previous post I  challenged this thesis by documenting Paul’s appeal to both the Torah and common rabbinic Halakha in the fifth chapter of Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians

In that post, I examined  1 Corinthians Chapter 5. I  argued that Paul, (a) frames the problem in terms of obedience to the Torah’s commands regarding prohibited sexual relations, (b) responds by invoking the standard Halakha punishment of extirpation, and (c) justifies this by appealing to the Torah’s command to punish such offences. paul

To many, this conclusion seems odd. In the Galatian correspondence Paul engages in a passionate polemic against those who would demand that Gentiles get circumcised and obey the Torah, yet in 1 Corinthians he rebukes a Gentile congregation for violating a commandment in the Torah and appeals to the Torah’s normative authority. How can he do both of these things?

  1. Why does Paul Invoke the Torah?

I think the answer is ascertained by recognising a distinction in Jewish halakha. As early as the book of Jubilees, which was probably written around 200 BC, Jewish interpreters had come to recognise that while the Torah as a whole was given only to Israel, certain commands in the Torah applied to both Jews and Gentiles alike. Jewish exegesis distinguishes between what the Rabbis called the Noahide law and the Mosaic Law. The former are the commands God addresses to all humankind, both Jew and Gentile alike. Jewish tradition teaches that these laws were given first, during the time of Adam, to all Adam’s descendants and then again to Noah. The Mosaic Law, on the other hand, is a covenant between Jews and God. As the Jews are a subset of all people, many of the Noahide laws are repeated in the Mosaic Law. However, Israel is given a body of other laws which are binding on them in virtue of their special relationship to God.

There is evidence that early Christianity recognised this distinction.[1] The book of Acts records the Apostles gathering to discuss whether it was necessary to circumcise Gentile believers and “direct them to observe the Law of Moses.” (15) The decision is recorded as follows in Acts 15:28-29:

“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials:  that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well.”

The Apostles decreed that Gentiles do not have to follow the Mosaic law, however, they are required to abstain from certain commandments in the Torah such as, sexual immorality, idolatry, “bloodshed” and consuming the “meat of strangled animals”. Western manuscripts omit the reference to “meat of strangled animals” and add the “golden rule” to the list. However, both agree that, sexual immorality (porneia), idolatry, and bloodshed were included. These are standard items in lists of the laws of Noah in Jewish halakah.[2]

What’s important is that both Jewish Halakah and the Apostolic decree recognised the commandments prohibiting porneia as part of the Noahide law. Tomson explains:

“The prohibition of certain types of sexual relationships both for Jews and Gentiles is considered fundamental in the various domains of ancient Jewish literature. Pharisaic-Rabbinic tradition includes [porneia] among the three commandments which Jews may never violate, even under threat of death. … According to a tradition as least as ancient as the book of Jubilees (7:20) it was a universal commandment conveyed by Noah to his children. In Rabbinic literature it is associated with the Genesis narrative. Stressing the universal implication of the word ‘man’ the Rabbis explain: ‘How do we know that Noahides are admonished for prohibited sexual relations like Israelites?’ “(Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and) cleaves to his wife” (Gen 2:24) — and not to another’s wife, a male, or a beast.”[3]

It is interesting that Gen 2:24 is the same passage Paul himself uses in 1 Corinthians 6 to ground a prohibition of prohibit “porneia”.  His argument, therefore, reflects this halakhaic tradition.

Consequently, in both early Christianity and in second temple Judaism, the claim that a Gentile was not required to be circumcised and not required to keep the law of Moses, did not entail, and would not have been understood to have entailed, that Gentiles did not have to obey that Halakah relating to commandments in the Torah, which were part of the Noahide law. And it certainly would not have been understood to have meant that Gentiles were not bound by Halakah relating to prohibited sexual relations. The fallacy here is the fallacy of division where one argues that because something is true of the whole its true of all of the parts. This would occur, for example, if someone reasoned that because the All Blacks score multiple tries in a game, it follows that every member of the All Blacks scores multiple tries in a game; or that because a particular wall is fragile and breakable, every single brick that makes up the wall is fragile and breakable. In this instance, the argument is that because the Mosaic law is not binding on Gentiles every single command in the law is not binding on Gentiles.Once the halakhic background distinction is appreciated, Paul’s stance in Corinthians is not inconsistent with that in Galatians.

Conclusion

Paul in 1 Corinthians 5 cites commandments in the Torah as authoritative for the Gentile congregation in Corinth. The problem is that they have disobeyed the Torah’s prohibition of porneia; his solution and justification both involve an appeal to the Torah and standard halakha.

This appeal to the Torah’s normative authority is not inconsistent with Paul’s position; it is affirmed elsewhere in the Pauline corpus that Gentile believers do not have to be circumcised and are free from the law of Moses.  Paul believed that a person did not have to convert to Judaism to become a member of the covenant community, he did, however, believe people had to follow the commandments of God.


[1] See for example, Tomson “Paul and the Jewish Law” also Marcus Bockmuehl Jewish Law in Gentile Churches: Halakhah and the Beginning of Christian Public Ethics (Baker Academic, 2000).

[2] The list reflects Gen 9:1-5: “And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man.”
Here God addresses Noah and his sons (i.e. the whole human race) he permits them to eat any kind of food, showing that. the kosher food laws are not binding on Gentiles antecedent to the Noahic covenant. However, the shedding of human blood (bloodshed), the eating of an animal with “lifeblood still in” (strangled animals) and the duty to be fruitful and multiply”, and hence to procreate (relating to sexual morality), does hold prior to the giving of the Torah.

[3] Thomson “Paul and the Jewish Law” 99.

 

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Daily Meditation

Being Unveiled

C. S. Lewis

We are always completely, and therefore equally, known to God. That is our destiny whether we like it or not.

But though this knowledge never varies, the quality of our being known can. A school of thought holds that ‘freedom is willed necessity’. Never mind if they are right or not. I want this idea only as an analogy. Ordinarily, to be known by God is to be, for this purpose, in the category of things. We are, like earthworms, cabbages, and nebulae, objects of Divine knowledge.

But when we (a) become aware of the fact—the present fact, not the generalization—and (b) assent with all our will to be so known, then we treat ourselves, in relation to God, not as things but as persons. We have unveiled. Not that any veil could have baffled His sight. The change is in us. The passive changes to the active. Instead of merely being known, we show, we tell, we offer ourselves to view.

From Letters to MalcolmLetters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer. Copyright © 1964, 1963 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1992, 1991 by Arthur Owen Barfield. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
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Dishonest UNICEF

A Front Organization For the Left

Lindsay Mitchell writes a blog covering the perversions of New Zealand’s welfare state.  She recently had the temerity to make some critical observations about UNICEF.  At this point we must issue a warning.  Mitchell’s subject matter, coupled with her critical mien, draw us very close to what can only be called heresy according to present received wisdom.  

We acknowledge that UNICEF is the United Kingdom’s secular version of the Anglican Church.  More accurate may be the observation that UNICEF is the Anglican Church’s “welfare” arm.  The thing flows out to the colonies.

Mitchell approaches being labelled a heretic because of her sarcasm towards UNICEF.  She points out that in June 2017 (that is, a mere six months ago) UNICEF launched the following jeremiad:

New Zealand has performed poorly in a global report card on children’s well-being, and Kiwi kids will continue to miss out unless there is a massive upheaval in how children’s best interests are served, says child rights organisation UNICEF NZ.

Child poverty, child poverty, child poverty.  New Zealand was failing badly.  The implication was the gummint was evil.  It was run by neo-liberals (whatever that sobriquet may mean).  The vulnerable were on the scrapheap.

Now, six month’s later, UNICEF is singing from a different song sheet:

 Babies born in New Zealand have access to high levels of care, education and medical assistance, which is reflected in their long life-spans.  [Stuff]

Further:

Unicef NZ executive director Vivien Maidaborn said socially, Kiwis seemed to honour what it means to care for a baby.   “There is a social expectation in New Zealand that babies will be born well, named immediately, and the family will have access to support,” she said.

“All of those things add up to babies surviving their first days, then their first month, first year and so on. At our best, the families are supported, the women get space to bond with the baby, and increasingly so do dads.”  Maidaborn said New Zealand offered primary health services that supported women from early in their pregnancy, right through to early childhood.  

“They get the help they need … and there are baby checks, so there is quite a lot of information about each baby from birth, so intervention can be targeted early,” she said.  Babies born in New Zealand have access to high levels of care, education and medical assistance, which is reflected in their long life-spans.”

What on earth, we hear you ask, caused such a radical change in six months?  When it comes to children the country has moved from “poor performance” to a country where children “get the help they need.”

The only substantial change we can think of has been the election of a Labour Government at the end of 2017.  Overnight,

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day

Oh, yes I can make it now the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is that rainbow I’ve been praying for
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day
Look all around, there’s nothing but blue skies
Look straight ahead, there’s nothing but blue skies

UNICEF–a secular front for the Left, a fervid supporter of socialism, a fearsome opponent of neo-liberalism (whatever it may be), and profoundly dishonest.  Some spleneticals might even accuse UNICEF of gross hypocrisy.

Vivien Maidaborn, executive director of Unicef NZ.
Vivien Maidaborn, executive director of Unicef NZ.
ROSS GIBLIN/STUF  

UNICEF would seem to be a front organization for darker interests and powers.  It is after all an agency of the United Nations.  We have never given it a dime–an act of neglect (or rebellion), which to this day we consider a duty of Christian stewardship.
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