The Pilgrims' Cautionary Tale

Kate Zernike, writing for the New York Times, finds fault with what she calls “one common telling” of the story of the Pilgrims.That telling – she also calls it an “interpretation” of their experience – has it that they conducted a brief experiment in socialism.The problem for Zernike is that it’s not simply an interpretation or one common telling; it’s what no less an authority than William Bradford documents in Of Plymouth Plantation.Bradford, of course, was governor of Plymouth Colony for 30 years.
It was not the Pilgrims who wanted a communal plantation; it was required by the terms of their agreement with the London Company that financed the colony.  (He who pays the piper calls the tunes, as they say.)  It did not go well.  Here is Bradford in his own words:
“They began to consider how to raise more corn, and obtain a better crop than they had done, so that they might not continue to endure the misery of want. At length after much debate, the Governor with the advice of the chief …

Count Your Blessings

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, we would do well to consider just how vital giving thanks is to the worship of God.  We get a sense of its importance when we read this devastating indictment from the pen of the apostle Paul:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.  For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.  So they are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened (Rom. 1:18-21).
Here we find the root of all sin – a failure to honor God as God (i.e., as the Lord of all) and, consequently, a failure to give him the thanks he is d…

The Spectral Evidence against Brett Kavanaugh

Their “gut reaction” was that her allegations “rang true”
Imagine being charged with a crime you didn’t commit, a crime punishable by death.The only evidence against you is that offered by your accuser, who testifies that he saw you commit the crime.I don’t mean he claims to have seen it in the usual sense, as in with his eyes, but in a preternatural sense, i.e., in a vision.You’re tempted to laugh the matter off.Surely such evidence is inadmissible in a court of law?But to your dismay, the court takes this “evidence” very seriously.Making matters worse, every time you deny your guilt, the accuser claims a recurrence of the vision right then and there in the courtroom.Thus, every denial only multiplies the “evidence” against you.When it’s all is said and done, the jury renders its verdict: guilty as charged...and off to the gallows you go.
Nineteen people were tried, convicted, and hanged for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts on this kind of evidence.[1]The trials began in February 169…

The Absurdity of Killing Jews for Jesus

How can anyone who has ever read the Bible—and claims to believe it—be anti-Semitic, like the wicked young man involved in the synagogue shooting last week in Poway, California?
How much we Gentile believers in Israel’s Messiah owe to the Jews!  How can we not love them and be grateful for them?  Except for the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts, the entire Bible has come to us through Jewish hands.Our Lord Jesus, who said, “Salvation is from the Jews” (Jn. 4:22), was himself (of course!) a Jew.All the apostles were Jews.Most of the early believers were Jews.Our Lord’s brother, Jacob (James), said there were many myriads of Jewish Christians in his day (Acts 21:20). In the later chapters of his letter to the Romans, Paul tells Gentile Christians to bend over backwards in consideration for the Jews, and so live as to make the gospel appealing to them.Is it necessary to say that doesn’t include murdering them?
Paul’s pathos in Romans is palpable:
“I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am n…

Reparations for Slavery?

The idea of reparations for slavery has been around in one form or another since the time of the Civil War.[1]Recently, the subject has received renewed attention as several Democratic candidates for president have announced their support for the idea.  They argue that the legacy of slavery and its attendant evils are largely responsible for the disparities we see today between whites and blacks in terms of their respective educational achievement, household income, net worth, homeownership, unemployment and incarceration rates, etc.For instance, according to studies done by the Pew Research Center in 2015, 36 percent of whites over the age of 25 have at least a bachelor’s degree compared with only 23 percent of blacks.

Whites have a significantly higher household income ($71,300) than blacks ($43,300).

Homeownership is more common for whites than for blacks:72 percent vs. 43 percent. 

The unemployment rate for blacks (as of 2015) was 10.3 percent, more than double for that o…