Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Core Message #4 - Holly Benner - Redeemer Is a Worshiping Church

Go HERE to hear this great message Holly gave a few weeks ago.

Atheism Leads to Nihilism

If I was an atheist, then I would be a nihilist.

A few years ago I bought and read the book Is Goodness Without God Enough? A Debate on Faith, Secularism, and Ethics. It's a series of essays generated by the debate, in 2001, between theist William Lane Craig and atheist Paul Kurtz.

I see Kurtz as missing Craig's two points, which are:

1) If theism is true, then we have a solid basis for morality.
2) If theism is false, then we do not have a solid basis for morality.

If 2 is true, then atheism does not lead to humanism (as Kurtz thinks), but to nihilism. Craig says: "If theism is false, you've got to ask yourself, Why wouldn't nihilism be true? What proof do you have that nihilism is not the correct remaining alternative?" (44)

If atheism is true it follows that humans are "just animals, and animals have no moral obligations to one another." (32) Craig quotes ethicist Richard Taylor, who invites us to imagine humans who live in a state of nature without any customs or laws, and one of them kills another and takes his property. Taylor writes:

"Such actions, though injurious to their victims, are no more unjust or immoral than they would be if done by one animal to another. A hawk that seizes a fish from the sea kills it, but does not murder it; and another hawk that seizes the fish from the talons of the first takes it, but does not steal it - for none of these things is forbidden. And exactly the same considerations apply to the people we are imagining." (32)

If atheism is true, it's hard for me to see that nihilism is not true.

This is not an argument for either theism or atheism. It is to present a hypothetical situation, with logical entailments. It is to argue against the rationality of moral obligation under atheistic humanism. 

Finally it is not, as Craig so often tells us, to say that an atheist cannot act morally. Craig's point is about moral ontology, not moral behavior or moral epistemology. With these things in mind we can make sense of a statement like this:

Craig: "Thus, if atheism is true, it becomes impossible to condemn war, oppression, or crime as evil. Nor can one praise brotherhood, equality, or love as good. It doesn't matter what you do - for there is no right and wrong; good and evil does not exist." (33)

(See my How One Atheist Lives Without Morality)

When I Have Become Prayer (PrayerLife)

Wall of Herod's Temple, Jerusalem
I woke up praying again today. This is now my common experience. It's as if I cannot not-pray. 

There was a time, a long season of my life, where praying was unnatural to me. I had to force myself to pray. Now what began as forced, disciplined prayer (which is good) has become a way of life (which is better). I see that I am a praying person. 

This morning I read this from one of my worn-out devotional books. Thomas Merton once prayed: God, "let my eyes see nothing but your glory, and let my hands touch nothing that is not for your service. Let my tongue taste no bread that does not strengthen me to praise your great mercy." (From New Seeds of Contemplation. Cited in Merton, Through the Year with Thomas Merton, 55.)

When my entire being has become a prayer, when I am prayer, then shall I know by experience what it is to see sub specie aeternitatis

Easter Week Day 2 - The Cursing of the Fig Tree Is Really About the End of the Temple

Woman praying in Jerusalem


This is Easter Week - the days leading up to Good Friday and the cross. After Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to the shouts of "Save us now!" ("Hosanna!"), he did some radical and revealing things in the city. One of them was His "cursing of the fig tree."


18 Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry.19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!”Immediately the tree withered. 
20 When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked. 
21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”


Jesus and his disciples are walking up Mount Zion, upon which Jerusalem is seated. On top of the mountain is the Temple. The Temple was in full view as they ascended. It's probable that the fig tree was higher up on the road, between Jesus and the Temple. As they walk to the Temple, Jesus see the fig tree ahead.

As He points to the fig tree, he is really pointing to the Temple. The barrenness of the fig tree is a visual analogy for the barrenness of the presence of God within the Temple. God is no longer showing up in the Temple. The religious leaders, instead of welcoming God's presence and introducing people to that presence, shut the door of heaven in people's faces and themeselves do not enter in. (
Matthew 23:13) Their "religion" was rule-based and filled with self-centered pride.  Nothing worse could be said of a religious leader; viz., that they do their religious thing and bar God from the activities.

In the case of the Temple, God himself exited. How sad and worthless this is, since what people need is God and His manifest "with-us" presence.

When Jesus curses the barren fig tree and talks about "this mountain" being thrown into the sea, he's not referring to just any mountain, but to Mount Zion. Some people talk about a faith that can move mountains and use this passage as an example, but Jesus was really talking about a new kind of faith that would exist 
without the Temple. The Temple, where God had showed up for hundreds of years, was going down, never to be inhabited by God again. The day was near when true worship will not happen on this mountain or any mountain. Thus, "this mountain" (Mt Zion) can be cast into the sea.

Later, as Jesus and his disciples are walking down Mount Zion from the Temple area, 
his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked.“Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” (Matthew 24:1-2)

With the Temple now God-less, where will God manifest Himself? The answer, as the disciples will realize on the Day of Pentecost, is that the dwelling place of God will be 
in His people, both individually and corporately. The great, revolutionary new truth of Jesus in this story is that if you are a Jesus-follower then you are a temple of the presence of God. You are, as Richard Foster has written, a "portable sanctuary."

You host the presence of God.


1. Consider ways in which you will welcome God's presence in your life today, ways in which you will welcome his presence.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Easter Week #1 - Jesus Comes to "Hosanna" Us

Image result for johnpiippo israel
Ancient Korazin, Israel
SCRIPTURE READINGMark 11:1-11; Matthew 21:4-5

1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2 saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks you, 'Why are you doing this?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.' "

[Matthew 21:4-5 adds these verses:
4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
 5 "Say to the Daughter of Zion,
      'See, your king comes to you,
   gentle and riding on a donkey,
      on a colt, the foal of a donkey.' " 

Back to Mark...

4 They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5 some people standing there asked, "What are you doing, untying that colt?" 6 They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. 7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields.
9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
   "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
 10 "Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!"
   "Hosanna in the highest!"


When the people saw Jesus and began shouting “Hosanna!,” they were calling out to Jesus “Save us!” “Rescue us!” Hosanna! is a Hebrew word (hoshi`ah-na) that had become a greeting or shout of praise, but it actually meant "Save!" or "Help!" Not surprisingly, this word was used by needy people to address the king (cf. 2 Sam 14:4; 2 Kings 6:26).

The palm branches are kingly things. They were waved as symbols of a victorious ruler. 

This word “Hosanna” has the sense of immediacy. It has an urgency about it - “Please save us, and do it now!” I see desperation in the eyes of the people as they cry out "Hosanna!"

When Jesus rode in his upside-down Kingdom-way on a donkey (not a war horse) into Jerusalem there was desperation in the air. The Jewish citizens of Jerusalem were under the heavy yoke of the Roman Empire. They had heard about Jesus. The  rumor was that he claimed to be a king. So when word got out that Jesus was coming into Jerusalem  on a donkey, he was greeted as royalty.

As shouts of “Blessed is the King of Israel!” are heard, clearly the people see in Jesus the answer to their nationalistic, messianic hopes. Earlier a crowd had wanted to make Jesus king (6:15), and now this crowd is recognizing him as king in the city of the great King. Here is the ancient dream of a Davidic ruler who would come and liberate Israel, establishing peace and subduing the Gentiles.

The way Jesus entered Jerusalem was a deliberate, prophetic “Zechariah 9:9 act” on his part. Zech. 9:9 reads: Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt. 

Jesus comes into Jerusalem in a kingly way, and the people respond in a kingly fashion. The imagery is regal, even messianic, though it is a humble Messiah who makes his entrance. As the people spread their garments (NIV: their cloaks) on the road, a "red carpet" of sorts is produced.

He was there to rescue them. The people were about to get “hosanna-ed,” “rescued.” But it wasn’t going to look like they thought it should. Jesus is a different kind of King. He’s going to “Hosanna” the world by dying on a cross. 
N.T. Wright writes: “The meaning Jesus attaches to this “triumphal entry” is quite different from the meaning they are wanting to see in it. That, perhaps, is where we can learn most from this story today.”

Jesus does intend to respond to the people’s cries. He has come to seek and save the lost. He has come for people who need help, people who are sick and need a doctor. Yet he’s not coming to be all things to all people. He’s not riding into Jerusalem to conform to the expectations of the crowds of people. He is going to answer in his own way.

The people wanted a prophet. This prophet, Jesus, is going to tell the people that they are under coming judgment. They wanted a Messiah. This one is going to be enthroned on a pagan cross. The crowds wanted to be rescued from evil and oppression. This person Jesus is going to do that, but in a far, far deeper way than they were thinking.

Jesus is going beneath surface evil and into the depths of the human heart. N.T. Wright says: “Precisely because Jesus says ‘yes’ to their desires at the deepest level, he will have to say ‘no’ or ‘wait’ to the desires they are conscious of, and expressed.” (op. cit., 68)

Once you really cry out “Hosanna,” Jesus is going to “hosanna” you more thoroughly than you imagined, maybe more deeply than you wanted. The Hosanna-ing Jesus brings is not a band-aid. This story of Jesus entering Jerusalem  is “an object lesson in the mismatch between our expectations and God’s answer.” (Ib., 69)

The bad news is that the crowds are going to be disappointed. The good news is that their disappointment is on a surface, shallow level. “Deep down, Jesus’ arrival at the great city is indeed the moment when salvation is dawning… The “Hosannas” were justified… they were correct…. but not for the reasons they supposed. To learn this lesson is to take a large step towards wisdom and humility, and towards genuine Christian faith.” (Ib.)


1.    If you are a Jesus-follower, then you have been Hosanna-ed. You called, He answered, and He came to your rescue. Think of how God, in Christ, has been your Rescuer. Make a list of some God-redemptive things in your life.

2.    Christ has not ceased to love you as Redeemer and Rescuer. If there is an area in your life that needs rescue and deliverance, identify it, and cry out “Hosanna, Lord!”

Sunday, March 29, 2015

God Morphs Us From Pride to Humility (PrayerLife)

My friend Timothy Chung, one of the humblest men I know.
Humility is the foundational attitude of spiritual transformation. Pride is the enemy of all change. James 4:6 states: “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Moses, the great leader, “was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3).
Our English word “humility” comes from the Latin humus, which means “earth” or “soil.” Our hearts must be like good soil to receive the things God wants to plant in us. Pride, on the other hand, is hardness. Hardness of the heart is the great barrier to spiritual change. C.S. Lewis thus refers to pride as “the complete anti-god state of mind.”[1] Francis Frangipane calls pride “the armor of darkness.”[2] Are you a humble person, or a proud person? One indicator is how you handle criticism. A humble person doesn’t mind being critiqued, even welcomes constructive criticism if it brings more truth. A proud person doesn’t need any advice, and pride’s counterpart, shame, fears criticism.
Like the hidden pride of Isaiah, we need personal encounters with the Living God to see how undone and needy we are. Thomas Kelly has written: “But what trinkets we have sought after in life, the pursuit of what petty trifles has wasted our years as we have ministered to the enhancement of our little selves. And what needless anguishes we have suffered because our little selves were defeated, were not flattered, were not cozened and petted.”[3]
Humility, says Kelly, rests upon a holy blindedness, like the blindedness of him who looks steadily into the sun. “The God-blinded soul sees naught of self, naught of personal degradation or of personal eminence…”[4] Alan Nelson writes, “Growth in humility is a measure of our growth in the habit of the Godward-directed mind. And he only is near to God who is exceedingly humble.”[5]
Thomas Merton writes:
“A humble man is not disturbed by praise since he is no longer concerned with himself. A man who is not humble cannot accept praise gracefully. One who has not yet learned humility becomes upset and disturbed by praise. He may even lose his patience when people praise him; he is irritated by the sense of his own unworthiness. And if he does not make a fuss about it, at least the things that have been said about him haunt him and obsess his mind. They torment him wherever he goes. At the other extreme is the man who has no humility at all and who devours praise, if he gets any, the way a dog gobbles a chunk of meat… The humble man receives praise the way a clean window takes the light of the sun. The truer and more intense the light is, the less you see of the glass. Humility is the surest sign of strength.”
James 4:6 states that God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. This is one of those great biblical either-or ideas which states that it’s not simply a bad thing to have a proud heart but it is an anti-God thing. If you are proud God is against you. My own understanding of this is that, where there is some area of one’s heart that is hard towards God, God stands in opposition to that area. I’m saying this because I don’t believe any of us are totally free from pride. If that is true than God is opposed to us all. I think the human heart can both have areas that have been conquered by God and are humble and have areas of hardness that are not open to God. In this sense it’s not either proud or humble because I can’t imagine a follower of Jesus claiming to be wholly, perfectly humble.
A.W. Tozer once prayed, “O Christ, make me strong to overcome the desire to be wise and to be reputed wise by others as ignorant as myself. I turn from my wisdom as well as from my folly and flee to You, the wisdom of God and the power of God. Amen.”

This is the appropriate attitude. This kind of humility is the necessary precondition for spiritual transformation. Pride dies, the soft heart prevails, which allows God to shape one’s spirit into greater Christlikeness.
[1] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
[2] Francis Frangipane, The Three Battlegrounds
[3] Thomas Kelly, A Testament of Devotion
[4] Thomas Kelly, A Testament of Devotion, pp. 62-63
[5] Alan Nelson, Broken In the Right Place

Saturday, March 28, 2015

God-dependent People Pray (PrayerLife)

Door, in Monroe, Michigan

The less a person has, the more God-dependent they are. There are exceptions to this, but I find this to be the rule. "It is hard," Jesus said, "for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." And by "kingdom" Jesus meant: the rule, or reign, of God.

It is hard for a rich man to come under the reign of God in their life. For these reasons.
  1. - Material possessions tend to give people the illusion of control.
  2. - If a person has money they have more control over elements and diseases; i.e., they have a roof over their head, food to eat, and access to health care.
  3. - People with lots of stuff spend their lives attending to their stuff - storing it, protecting it, cleaning it, etc. This takes lots of time, leaving less for God.
When material things become burdensome joy decreases. Henri Nouwen discovered this and wrote about it in Gracias! A Latin American Journal. If you are wealthy and joyful for the right reasons (viz., the presence of God ruling in your being), then praise God. But Nouwen found more joy in the poor communities of South America than in the elite halls of Yale where he taught.

When I was traveling and speaking in central India I discovered that people who wanted to receive prayer were numerically greater than what I find in the U.S. The same happened on my Kenya trip. When you have little food, shelter, and money, it is common to turn more to God because there's nowhere else to go.

Weakness breeds dependence. When I am weak then I am strong, for the great Western illusion is that I am fundamentally non-dependent. 

Over time a Jesus-follower's God-dependency should increase. The truth of how we are essentially God-and-other dependent is more clearly seen. The illusion that we are "in control" is broken in us.

And, we pray more. An increasing prayer life is a sign of increased dependency on God. God-dependent people pray.

Friday, March 27, 2015

God vs. Atheism: Which is More Rational?

Peter Kreeft is Professor of Philosophy at Boston College.

Commentaries on Revelation are Wilder than Revelation Itself

Benjamin West, 1796, Detroit Institute of Arts
G. K. Chesterton wrote: "Though St. John the Evangelist saw many strange monsters in his vision, he saw no creatures so wild as one of his own commentators." (Chesterton, Orthodoxy, quoted in G. K. Beale, Revelation: A Shorter Commentary, vii.)

(At Redeemer we've begun to preach through The Revelation (The Apocalypse). This Sunday's message is out of Rev. 1:4-8.)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Silence (PrayerLife)

Snowing on 3/26/15 in Monroe

March 26, 2015.

It is snowing, softly and silently. Does a snowflake make a sound when it lights on the ground? How much silence is needed to hear snow fall? Today's silent snow produces silence within me. My heart is quiet before it. This is good. Because...

Without silence there is no hearing. Life without silence would be constant noise, without rest.

Silence is essential to music. Silence is music. There is a sound that silence has. At the end of Handel's "Messiah" there is a pregnant pause, a rest filled with glory. How long will the conductor hold us in this silent place? In the pause we realize that something beautiful is about to be born. The pause, the musical rest, speaks volumes. Silence is hope and expectation. Silence is longing for fulfillment.

Silence is filled with meaning. Timely silence speaks for itself. Swiss philosopher Max Picard writes, "Silence contains everything within itself. It is not waiting for anything; it is always wholly present within itself and it completely fills out the space in which it appears." (Max Picard, The World of Silence, 18)

When he opened the seventh seal, 
there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
Revelation 8:1

Silence speaks where words fail. Without silence there are no words. Heaven's half hour of absolute silence makes me want to speak something, or cry, or beg. Silence in heaven. You can't hear yourself breathing, you can't hear your heartbeat,there's no sound of bodies shifting, no tinnitus, the perfect recording studio where all sound is contained and packed away for the kairos time.

...a time to be silent, and a time to speak... 
Ecclesiastes 3:7

The Handels of this world live in the dialectic of presence and absence. The God of this world speaks a single word - "Shabat!" (Cease!) - and the discerning shut their mouths. 

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; 
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, 
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent
so he did not open his mouth.
Isaiah 53:7

Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.
Mark 14:61

Silence is a healer. In silence, He healed us. Thomas Merton wrote: "The ears with which one hears the message of the Gospel are hidden in a man's heart, and these ears do not hear anything unless they are favored with a certain interior solitude and silence." Merton, Thoughts in Solitude, 13) 

Relationships Class (Redeemer Ministry School)


Sunday evenings, 6-7:30 PM, March 29, April 12, 19, 26, May 3, 10, 17

This course will do two things:

1)   Examine the qualities of healthy relationships (of any kind – friendships, family, work place, marriage), and

2)  Present ways of helping and counseling troubled relationships.

One of the required reading books will be Real Relationships:From Bad to Better and Good to Great, by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott.

You can purchase this book in advance and begin reading it.

Teachers: John & Linda Piippo

Signup will be in our church lobby, or by emailing me (johnpiippo@msn.com) or calling our office (734-242-5277)

The Book of Revelation - This Sunday at Redeemer - Rev. 1:4-8

Gary Wilson pointed me to Albrecht Durer's woodcuts on the Book of Revelation.

This coming Sunday morning, March 29, I will give the second of many messages at Redeemer on the biblical book of Revelation. We have begun to go verse-by-verse through this incredible text until - a year or more later? - we finish it.

This Sunday morning I will set the stage and preach from Rev. 1:4-8, which reads:
To the seven churches in the province of Asia:
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come,and from the seven spirits[a] before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
“Look, he is coming with the clouds,”[b]
    and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
    and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”[c]
So shall it be! Amen.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

My preaching goals include:
  • rightly interpreting the biblical text.
  • understanding the meaning of the text as it was read by the early church.
  • discerning the relevance of Revelation for the times we now live in.

What is this book, The Apocalypse (The Uncovering), about? Ben Withrington writes: 

“A major point of this entire book is that heaven and earth are very close indeed; in fact they are juxtaposed in such a way that heaven is already active in and for earth and will descend to it at the end in the form of the New Jerusalem.” (Witherington, Revelation)

The commentaries I am using to preach Revelation are:

G.K. Beale, Revelation: A Shorter Commentary (only 562 pages)

Grant Osborne, Revelation

George Ladd, Revelation

Robert Mounce, Revelation

Craig Keener, Revelation: The NIV Application Commentary

Ben Witherington, Revelation

I also recommend two books on Revelation that can be read more devotionally:

If you come to Redeemer I recommend you begin reading and re-reading Revelation to become more familiar with it.

I am excited about taking a long, deep look at this incredible biblical book and what God is going to say to us and do in our church family!

(Note: these sermons will also be online, so you can listen to them and follow along if this is for you.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Support Karla Mendoza

Karla Mendoza, who is an active part of our Redeemer family, is going for a 3-month internship to International House of Prayer in Kansas City.

Her story is below.

You can support her by going HERE.

When I was a little girl, I remember once hearing that the most unappreciated people in the church were intercessors, and although I wasn't sure of what that meant, I made the decision to never become one those, but Jesus is funny, you know.

Forward to about 4 years ago, and I found myself craving the very Presence of God, which was always accessible to me, but somehow became stronger when I interceded for my brothers and sisters. Sometimes, I was praying for my actual sister, but many times I found myself praying for the persecuted Church, for the women and men caught in human trafficking, for the children without a home, and even for the church in America.

Through intercession, my heart was open to so many people, because I didn't see them through a political stand, or what the world said about them, or even through my own eyes, but through the eyes of the Creator, who is so madly in love with them.

In this season, I'm feeling called to spend three months at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City by being a part of the Fire in the Night internship, where I will be interceding through the night hours for our communities, for the His children who know Him, but also and most definitely for the ones who do not. I have no idea how I'm getting there, but I know that He will provide if this is the place where I'm supposed to be.

Please partner with me as I take on this new adventure with Him.

Tuition, board and room: $2,200
Airfare: $500
Other expenses: $300

If you'd like to know more please don't hesitate to contact me!
Thank you so much in advance! :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Why Millennials Left Church, and Are Coming Back

See Erin Lane's article in the Washington Post - "Why so many young Christians are leaving their churches - and coming back again." (It will also explain the mobius strip.)

The good news is that churches can cut the hype, put away the stage lights and the fog machines and the coffee bars and go back to the Bible and let it speak for itself, as it is.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Collective IQ of Atheism is Rapidly Decreasing

I liked atheist philosopher Michael Ruse the moment he said he was embarrassed to be an atheist because of Richard Dawkins. Ruse continues in this spirit in "Why God Is a Moral Issue." Ruse writes: The 'New Atheists' "are self-confident to a degree that seems designed to irritate. And they have an ignorance of anything beyond their fields to an extent remarkable even in modern academia." Correct. And, they have spawned even more ignorant offspring.

But then Ruse writes that, in his opinion, "in parts of the world where people are allowed and encouraged to take these things seriously and to think them through, people increasingly find that they can do without the God factor. It is in places where one is being indoctrinated from childhood and bullied in adulthood that people continue with God belief."

But...  almost none of the atheists I have encountered can be said to have "thought things through." They are like mini-Dawkinses who display this "remarkable ignorance." 

Ruse continues: "There is also a feeling that when people are given the chance to decide for themselves and still stay religious it is for the wrong reasons." Well, again, almost all the atheists I know are atheists for the wrong reasons (see, e.g., Paul Vitz here), or on the basis of irrational reasoning. Why would Ruse think that people mostly "take these things seriously" and "think things through?" (I am defining "thinking" as "critical thinking," the kind we teach in my logic classes.)

The collective IQ of atheism is rapidly decreasing. Needed: atheistic universities to train Dawkins' converts how to think. How embarrassing to think oneself now a "bright" when one cannot even use modus tollens and its inferential siblings.

And, "indoctrination" cuts both ways, as Dawkins' offspring prove. Ruse himself seems too Dawkinsian when he writes: It is hard not to see the hand of religion in things like this [Charlie Hebdo, e.g.] and to regret that people can be thus motivated to be so cruel to their fellow human beings. The sadism of shooting someone in the back so they will never walk again because they are a Catholic not a Protestant — or any such variation — is nauseating."

Just as nauseating as irreligious regimes trying to stamp out religion, right?   

THE PURSUIT 2015 - Youth Conference - April 2-4

For many years, we have been involved with Catch the Fire’s Freshwind youth conference in Toronto, to which we have taken our students, and in recent years, have hosted the conference at our church via live webcast. This year, we are hosting our own conference, the first annual Pursuit youth conference. We are excited to welcome all 6-12th grade students for an awesome weekend. Trevor Robinson (our Youth Pastor) and the Redeemer Youth Ministries’ team are leading the conference, as well as hosting several local speakers (details below). The conference will begin on Thursday evening, April 2, and end on Saturday night, April 4.
Our mission and goals for the weekend will be outlined at our parent meeting (March 26 @ 6 P.M.). We encourage all local parents to attend—bring a smile and plenty of questions. If you miss it, here is a brief summary:

We are committed to encouraging relationships with Jesus through a community and atmosphere focused on Him. Our hope is for our youth to experience God’s loving presence in a way that powerfully transforms their hearts and lives.
Any student (grade 6-12) is invited to attend the evening services (THUR/FRI/SAT), free of charge. They will run from 7 P.M. until 10 P.M.You do not need to register for the evening services.
Redeemer students are staying overnight Thursday and Friday to keep our focus on community. We are providing breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which is covered in the tuition of $25. We have modest sleeping accommodations. See the suggested packing list and schedule on the backside for more information. Make sure to register and get your payment in early.
All other students (local or out of state) who wish to attend the full conference must register and may apply for our sleeping accommodations. We have limited space and cannot guarantee a spot for everyone. After completing your registration, we will contact you within one week. If we are unable to accommodate your student(s), you may seek out other local accommodations (we will be glad to help you find a hotel). We cannot chaperon your student(s) at a hotel nor provide transportation to or from it. However, we will provide lunch and dinner (covered in a reduced $15 tuition for the weekend) so that your student(s) can stay within our building throughout the day. Local parents may drop their student(s) off in the morning and pick them up in the evening (details will be emailed). Additionally, we understand that out-of-state parents may want to pick up their student(s) from the conference earlier on Saturday. Please arrange this with us before the conference.
Registration is due on Monday, March 23. You will receive a confirmation email within one week of registering that will contain your parent permission form and any other relevant information. Register online here: http://goo.gl/forms/tNW7jc8E4M
Payment ($25/student) is due on Thursday, March 26, by cash or check payable to Redeemer Fellowship Church (put “Youth Conference” in the memo). Out-of-state students may mail their payment and parent permission form to the church—address below. We must receive your payment, via mail or otherwise, by the due date. If you are unable to meet this deadline, please contact us and bring your payment with you on the day of the conference.

The church's address is:
Redeemer Fellowship Church
5305 Evergreen Drive
Monroe Charter Township, MI 48161

Trevor Robinson
Trevor has worked in youth ministry for 10 years and has been the youth pastor at Redeemer Fellowship Church for 2 years. He earned an associate's degree from Monroe County Community College. He has also led the youth ministry of Holy Spirit Renewal Ministries’ Green Lake Conference since June 2013. Trevor has been one of the drummers for Redeemer's worship team for 12 years and is a life-long member of the church.

Jason Horton
Jason is a 21-year-old revivalist from Toledo, Ohio. Currently employed as a stabilization advocate at Cherry Street Mission Ministries, he works with the impoverished of downtown Toledo as well as in North Toledo with Gideon House Ministries. In April, Jason will be transitioning out of ministry to the homeless to work full time at Gideon House.

Joel Junior ("JJ") Beaucejour
Joel, a son of God most high, is a man who walks with the Lord. He is a visionary and catalyst, desiring for all peoples and nations to walk out their purpose and calling. A cosmopolitan, Joel believes that the world with all of its systems, economies and cultures, is to be touched by the ever-increasing kingdom of God. Joel lives a naturally supernatural prophetic lifestyle with a passion for souls, releasing the kingdom and good news of Jesus.