Archive for July 2016

First Amendment Freedoms under Stress

Jul 30th, 2016 | By

Perhaps the most important rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights (the Constitution’s first Ten Amendments) are two of the four listed in the First Amendment—the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion (“the free exercise” of religious beliefs and conscience). Both of these precious freedoms are under significant stress today and in fact are threatened by the realities of this Postmodern, post-Christian era in which we live. Both need rigorous defense and protection, and, according to the Constitution, it is the state that is to offer the foremost protection of these two rights. Let’s examine the nature of this stress.



Genesis 20:1-21:17

Jul 28th, 2016 | By

Dr. Eckman discusses how Abraham’s falsehood with Abimelech & his restoration demonstrates the grace of God; and the awaited birth of Isaac leads to conflict in Abraham’s home.



The Strategy of the Pro-Life Movement

Jul 23rd, 2016 | By

This June, the US Supreme Court ended its year with a series of important decisions. Perhaps most important was the Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision (handed down on 27 June 2016) which tested the state of Texas’s attempt to further regulate abortion clinic requirements. The Court ruled 5-3 that Texas cannot place restrictions on the delivery of abortion services that create an undue burden for women seeking an abortion. The Texas law required abortion providers to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers and to upgrade their building, safety, parking, and staffing to meet the standards of a hospital room. The Court’s decision deemed these requirements unnecessary and expensive as well as an attempt to limit abortion access rather than provide safety to women.



Genesis 19:11-20:4

Jul 21st, 2016 | By

Genesis 19 focuses on destruction & deliverance: God owed nothing to Lot, but showed His grace by getting him & his family out of Sodom.



Genesis 18:15-19:11

Jul 21st, 2016 | By

The judgment of Sodom & Gomorrah: when a society defies God’s laws & order, wickedness, evil, & greed will result, and those who partake will face God’s wrath.



A World in Crisis and World Leadership in Crisis

Jul 16th, 2016 | By

As mentioned in a previous Issues (2 July 2016), the world order set in place after World War II is coming apart. In the Middle East, nation states are disappearing, replaced by ancient tribalism and clan loyalties rooted deep in the region’s history. The benefits of open borders with lower tariffs and growing international trade are being challenged by a narrow nationalism, a dangerous isolationism and a short-sighted introversion. Islamic terrorism is fostering bloody rivalries between Sunnis and Shiites, rendering the nation states created after World War I irrelevant and dangerous. All aspects of the old order. . .are under siege with little or no public trust in that order.



Genesis 17:1-18:14

Jul 11th, 2016 | By

The Lord reaffirms His covenant with Abraham, teaching us today that we are responsible to walk in obedience before Him, no matter how difficult.



Israel, “Progressive” Politics and Growing Anti-Semitism

Jul 9th, 2016 | By

As I have reported in past editions of Issues, Israel faces the ongoing absurdity of the BDS movement—the efforts by western governments and individual citizens to “boycott, divest and sanction” (BDS) Israel. At the end of 2015, the European Union (EU) adopted rules that wine coming from Israel, some of which is produced in the West Bank, must be labeled “Product of the West Bank (Israeli settlement).” This effort to boycott or sanction Israel for its policies in the West Bank has been growing in the EU, which exports heavily from Israel.



The Demise of the Postwar Order

Jul 2nd, 2016 | By

At the end of World War II, the United States and its victorious allies constructed an entire new world order based on military and financial treaties and alliances that were to promote the goals of global peace, security and economic prosperity. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank were the institutions created to foster these postwar goals. Intense nationalism and high protective tariffs (taxes on imported goods) were seen as the enemies of this new order and these institutions were designed to balance nationalism with globalization and tariffs with a penchant for free trade.