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70 Responses

  1. Jim says:

    From the torture link:

    “First, this discussion is often couched in consequentialist language. That is, the end justifies the means. Both Senate Democrats and CIA representatives have focused on whether the torture methods produced results, including the the killing of Osama bin Laden. But if torture is an intrinsically evil act, then no good results can justify its use. To torture a concrete person, a concrete body, in order to preserve the abstract value of human life, dignity and freedom is incoherent. What we are doing directly undermines what we say we value.

    Of all people, Christians can afford not to be consequentialists. The doctrine of the resurrection is an affirmation that faithfulness to God trumps mere survival. If the choice is between doing evil and suffering evil, the latter is clearly to be preferred, because death is not the end of the story.”

  2. dswoager says:

    Unless I missed something I wasn’t aware that J Mac had enough integrity left to sell out.

  3. Jim says:

    I’d use stronger, more definitive language in the second paragraph. Replace “can afford not”, with “are not”. Replace “clearly to be preferred”, with “the standard for believers”.

    Good article, tho.

  4. dswoager says:

    I agree that torture is evil, but I think that leaves us with a question that needs answered.

    As followers of Christ, would we still be interrogating suspected terrorists for information, and assuming that we would, how what does a Christ-like interrogation look like?

    What tools would be in the toolbox of the Christian interrogator?

  5. Kevin H says:

    The torture debate has been one of interest for me because it’s one where I’m torn and undecided. For a Christian, torture should never be used as an act of revenge (as tempting as it may be in some scenarios that we may imagine or even happen in real life). However, I also think of situations like the horrific killings in the Pakastani school earlier today. If I had someone detained who had knowledge of what was going to happen leading up to these attacks, I can’t imagine myself NOT doing whatever I had to in order extract information to put a stop to the attacks and save those hundreds of children.

  6. Kevin H says:

    The religious freedom and American history link is accidentally linked to the previous link.

  7. Kevin H says:

    And following up with dswoager’s comment, at what point is it no longer torture and only interrogation? Is any kind of interrogation okay, or is that also deemed completely unacceptable? How do you draw that line if interrogation is deemed okay? I don’t have answers at this point. I’m just throwing out questions.

  8. Jim says:

    I don’t think that we should expect the CIA or soldiers to act like Christians. We should expect them to act like Americans. 9/11 gave the evil among us free reign in a number of ways.

  9. Michael says:

    Thanks, Kevin…fixed it.
    That’s my libertarian link for Jim… 🙂

  10. Jim says:

    2 days in a row, Michael. You’re in the Christmas spirit!

  11. Kevin H says:

    But Jim, what if the CIA agents or soldiers are Christians? If they were to commit any kind of act deemed as “torture”, would they be acting right as Americans but wrong as Christians?

  12. Michael says:

    Evidently, Christians are more approving of torture than non religious Americans…

  13. Jim says:


    I think that they would be acting wrongly as both.

  14. Jim says:

    In my #8, the “evil among us” meant American sociopaths like Dick Cheney.

  15. Kevin H says:

    Okay, thanks Jim. I misunderstood your comment about Americans.

  16. London says:

    This list of links inspired a thought in me. I have been staying up way too late reading articles about politics, protests, child abductions, police coruption, ISIS, Ukraine, etc and its making me soul sick.
    I was craving stories of goodness and hope.
    Your list made me realize that this is the first year in quite a while that I haven’t been following some sort of Advent practice on line or in a booklet.
    I need to change that.

  17. Michael says:


    You might like the staying awake for Advent link…

  18. I completely agree with John McCain on the subject of torture.

    The first book in Challies top ten is by Matt Papa, who is a worship leader here in North Carolina. He’s a good musician, and always seemed like a good guy. I had no clue he’d written a book. I’ll have to check it out at some point.

    The article on Whitefield is a fun read.

    The Bob Jones stuff is sad.

  19. Oh No says:

    I wonder what would have happened if the CIA had not be able to get information from the enemy? At least those who endured water boarding still have their heads. I guess it comes down to how torture is defined.

  20. Oh No says:

    I’m not convinced that the CIA’s means of trying to get information was anything like what John McCain endured.

  21. Oh No says:

    If all these same critics would have been around in the 1940’s, we probably would have lost WWII.

  22. RajunCajun says:

    “The dance of the dirty, rotten , sinners…” article by Key Life. Is Key Life’s beliefs consistent with the Free Grace theology? Michael, is this link provided as an expression of your view?

  23. Michael says:


    Steve Brown is the head at Key Life and he is Reformed with a particular emphasis on the grace of God.
    Neither Steve or myself would be advocates of ‘free grace” theology.
    This link, (like all the links I post) is for the purpose of bringing people to deeper thought and conversation.
    Theological positions are far too deep and complex and nuanced to be summarized in a blog article.

  24. London says:

    Yes. That’s the one that got me thinking I need to change what I’m spending time viewing

  25. Em says:

    “Theological positions are far too deep and complex and nuanced to be summarized in a blog article” … i’ve come to realize the truth of that statement as i read here over the years… non-the-less, i’ve also come to realize that they are the still points in our spinning…

    BTW – if i want to order Tulian’s book (not the free devotional) from Amazon, how do i be sure that i’ve linked to Amazon from here?

  26. Jim says:

    Oh No,

    Much to FDR’s dismay, isolationism ruled the US from WW1 until Pearl Harbor, which is why he let it happen. The bomb was created for Berlin, but was used unnecessarily in Japan to justify the existence of the program, and to scare the Soviets. I’d recommend the study of history.

  27. dswoager says:

    The torture issue keeps bringing the Jack Nicholson monologue from A Few Good Men to mind.

  28. Michael says:


    Thank you…just click on the ad on the left hand side of the page.

  29. papiaslogia says:

    I would rather have one tortured terrorist than to have one more innocent life lost to terror.

    Or drop a single bomb and save an estimated million American lives.

    Remember who started both conflicts.

  30. Em says:

    WWII – i was born in 1936 and went thru my childhood in Southern California immersed in, not winning the war for the good of the world, but keeping the battle off of our shores…

    did FDR set up Pearl Harbor? were our ships gathered there as intentional sitting ducks? there was a lot going on and the Japanese were pretty close to control of the Pacific – Australia was having a heck of a time with a real threat at their doorstep… before concluding that FDR set us up for the attack on Pearl Harbor it would behoove one to really study what Japan had accomplished up to that point in time… some idiot (IMV) said that the ships in the harbor had been chained together so that they couldn’t leave… it is standard to raft ships together when there isn’t enough docking space… what might have happened is that someone in our navy saw the threat, couldn’t move Washington and put our carriers out to sea so that we wouldn’t lose everything we had – such as it was – it is – IMV – silly to think dumpster-diving historians-so-called trying to make a splash or with an ax to grind know the truth

    the bomb was created for Berlin? i suspect the bomb was created because we were aware that we weren’t the only ones who were working on such a thing … was it necessary to drop it on Japan? no, we would have eventually defeated them at a much bigger cost in human life, but not nearly as dramatic – that’s what we were told and it makes sense to me … like the internment camps, it wasn’t as simple as the idealists want to paint it

    sorry about the rant… i’m old enough to see that historians-so-called can really mess up trying to clarify what wasn’t a simple scenario at all … i suspect Church history carries similar baggage – dunno, tho, do i

  31. Em says:

    thanks, Michael… it works now – for some reason it didn’t earlier… old computer on dial-up is probably the problem

  32. Oh No says:


    I majored in history and teach it! Perhaps you should re-read what I said. BTW, I don’t disagree with a thing you said in your #27. If you think for one moment that information was not obtained from captured enemy DURING the war, then you better study history!

  33. Oh No says:


    FDR new that the only way the US would enter the war would have to come by an attack by the enemy.

  34. Em says:

    “FDR new that the only way the US would enter the war …..”
    so… ? … that fact was probably known by all Americans in positions of responsibility… what i disagree with is the assertion by some that the man caused the attack on Pearl Harbor… could he have prevented it is another question… what was going on in the inner workings of the USN? i suspect that the top brass (military) were not all on the same page…

    history is your game and i’m not equipped to argue, but it doesn’t set right with me when those who dig into the past are too adamant about what they find there… all parts of a very complex tapestry – history doesn’t line up like ducklings following mom to the pond IMHO

  35. Oh No says:


    There are those who believe that FDR had knowledge of Japanese codes that were deciphered that spoke of some attack that would be taking place. Everything that I have read cannot directly pinpoint FDR to knowing that Pearl Harbor would be the place of the attack. Speculation leads many to believe he did.

  36. Is anyone surprised that those whose belief system includes eternal torment would not be squeamish about a little torture? I mean the Inquisition was by those who thought pay me now was better than pay me later. They justified torturing people to death.

  37. Every time we advocate the torture of a guilty person we justify the torture of innocents on the part of our enemies.

    Torture is not a value we hold.

  38. I believe in eternal torment, but think torture is awful. Not sure there is a correlation there.

  39. Steve Wright says:

    The torture discussion is the issue du jour of the moment. No different than prior debates about whether a Christian could be a soldier, or police officer and kill someone, or for that matter whether he could work undercover or in some capacity that involved telling falsehoods in order to achieve a positive goal – like catching child predators online by pretending to be a teenager.

  40. Oh No says:

    Ok, then we just need to say please.

  41. RajunCajun says:

    “This link, (like all the links I post) is for the purpose of bringing people to deeper thought and conversation.”

    Thanks for the green light…….I think that (1) this article, (2) the link to the original website within this article, and (3) the Key Life website are promoting Free Grace theology (your description of Steve Brown notwithstanding). I understand that they are trying to remove legalism from the Christian psyche, but they (IMO) continue to overlook the fact that faith (which is the means of grace) without works is dead. Key Life’s teachings on “Scandalous Freedom” (their term) and “Free Grace” are one in the same as far as I can tell.

  42. Em says:

    Oh No, wouldn’t it have been logical to expect Japan to strike our major military installation? why is it so egregious to some to believe that FDR had information along that line of logic i wonder? what could he have done? i do believe that i have heard that those in command of that base were too complacent – to put it mildly… and then there’s the communications thing – it moved slower back then..
    you know what bugs me… so much of our food was rationed during the war years and we were eating rabbit and Spam because we thought all our beef was going to our soldiers and all the while i suspect we were sending it to Russia… 🙂

    speaking of rabbit – i’ve indulged in too much rabbit trailing here on Michael’s website today…

  43. Em says:

    are physical torture and mental torture equally forbidden?
    the bottom line question we have to answer is – IMV – if your child is kidnapped or in imminent danger of mayhem and you have in your custody the person who can give you the information to save your child, would you say, “oh well, my child is going to die, but it is my burden to bear the death of my child since you, Mr. Bad Guy have chosen not to tell me what i need to know.”

    the bad guys are killing an awful lot of children – what kind of higher ground and service to god is that anyway? the O.T. has many references to what it is in store for these cretins (not sure what a cretin is exactly… maybe they’re less than cretins)

  44. brian says:

    Good for James McDonald I hope he makes major bank on it and keeps growing the business. This should really help him gain a much larger market and I hope he can leverage that to become an even bigger earner.

  45. My family came to America for religious freedom on the Mayflower,

    I believe that 911 was an inside job by the Bush family.

    Dr Judy Wood has 3 difficult degrees and 35 years experience ,she deserves to be heard . If your willing to listen to the same 911 story for over a decade ,you should be willing to hear all new evidence backed up by a 500 page book that has never been challenged or redacted .

    That alone should tell you she is the real deal and is a true patriot who is demonized but never discussed by 9/11 community.
    Just hear her out:

  46. Michael says:


    If you already believe that, then why bother asking?
    After 20 odd years I probably know what Steve believes better than he does at times…and he’s solidly Reformed and not in the “free grace” camp…and neither am I.

  47. Ok…the link is being sabotaged. I tried twice to post it.

    Go to youtube and look for :
    Dr Judy Wood : Evidence of breakthrough energy technology on 9/11

  48. Whoa! what happened…LOL

    Both links attempts are now working. Truly sorry for that.

  49. Jean says:

    The problem for us mere humans in trying to evaluate the value of torture is that we don’t have the field of view that God has. God overcame evil with good. That is kingdom value. We might think looking out one week, one month, one year or ten years that torturing some bad guys might save a whole lot of innocent victims. But we don’t see all the permutations of our actions. We see a little of that in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Christians have to either go all in with God’s judgment or “be like God” as Adam chose. Jesus came not only as an atonement, but also to show us how an authentic human being actually lives and by what values. He is our leader and we are his followers.

  50. Em says:

    “My family came to America for religious freedom on the Mayflower,”

    all of them?

  51. I just got home from work. I block everyone’s Facebook in the office so I couldn’t see this.

    “The evangelical catholic heritage in Lutheranism…”

    I don’t get the link title compared to it opening to your Calvin’s Corner FB page. Help me here – was it a topic in the program? I didn’t see it listed.

  52. “I believe that 911 was an inside job by the Bush family.”

    You really think Laura Bush was involved with this?

  53. Jean says:

    MLD, it’s the first link in Linkathon.

  54. I know – but it opens to Calvin’s Corner. How are the 2 linked together? Was there a discussion of Lutheranism on CCorner? if it was, it wasn’t listed in the topics.

  55. Jean says:

    I see what you mean. Maybe a broken link.

  56. Michael says:

    My mistake…I made a couple this time. I’ll fix it/

  57. Michael says:


  58. Em says:

    it is an old saw, i know… but where there is an obvious and simple answer, don’t look for a complicated one… the 2 jets on 911 were carrying their maximum load of jet fuel – it didn’t all vaporize on impact and it didn’t end up in puddles in the street… logic says that it flowed down thru those buildings igniting fires of incredibly intense heat – hot enough to melt steel… genius or luck? dunno, but it wasn’t a Bush project

  59. Em says:

    kinda wish i hadn’t responded to davidsurfer51 … oh well, … sorry Michael

  60. ( |o )====::: says:

    Christians who torture?

    “And not to put too fine a point on it, but nonviolence was
    kind of Jesus’ trademark—kind of his big thing. To not follow
    that part of it is like joining Greenpeace and hating whales.
    There’s interpreting, and then there’s just ignoring. It’s just
    ignoring if you’re for torture—as are more Evangelical Christians
    than any other religion. You’re supposed to look at that
    figure of Christ on the Cross and think, “how could a man suffer
    like that and forgive?” …

    Read more:

  61. Steve Wright says:

    God overcame evil with good.
    Moving off the torture discussion…I for one think putting a bullet between the eyes of a killer is a “good”….also known as justice. Who had more success, the Jews who offered no resistance to Hitler, or the Allies who killed his army. Who overcame evil…or was defeating Hitler not a “good” and should he have been allowed to take over all of Europe as the Christians layed down their weapons?

    And God is going to be doing a whole lot of that one day (eliminating unrepentant sinners)…and everything He does is good.

  62. Oh No says:

    #46 = Lunacy

    Watching the video = Torture

  63. Anybody ever stumbled upon this site :

    Pretty good, searchable articles on Church history.

  64. Joe says:

    Bush was behind 9-11 ?

    And Big foot still roams the outback of the canadian wilderness riding on a unicorn.

  65. Joe says:

    @ Mld. Of course Laura Bush was behind 9-11. You didnt watch the experts, who where interviewed on youtube? The experts went on to explain it was in fact Laura Bush who piloted the plane that hit east tower! She parachuted out of the plane before inpact. And to think this was an attack by Saudi nationals who served under Bin Laden.

  66. Dan from Georgia says:

    #46: Dr Judy Wood has 3 difficult degrees and 35 years experience ,she deserves to be heard .

    No, she DOESN’T deserve to be heard.

  67. Daniel says:

    At comment #30,

    Interesting that you say “who started all of this.”

    Well, some (many) of us believe that the US started all of this by interfering in the actions of sovereign states for decades. At some point, folks over there decided they’d had enough and decided to (finally) respond.

    One perfect example of this is Iran. The vast majority of Americans think that the trouble with Iran started in the fall of 1979. The truth of the matter is that the trouble with Iran started in the 1950’s when the US decided to overthrow the govt of Iran.

  68. Francisco Nunez says:

    The George Whitefield article was very good. May the Lord allow us to preach the good news to a dying world like Whitefield preached it.

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