Tonight I had the chance to read a pre-release copy of The Prince’s Poison Cup (now available directly from Ligonier Ministries). In this wonderfully illustrated fifty-eight page children’s book, a grandfather tells his granddaughter a story that mirrors man’s fall in the Garden of Eden and Christ’s redeeming work at Calvary. The context for the story is the illness of a man’s granddaughter. She has to drink medicine to get well. The girl naturally asks why the medicine tastes so bad. And that results in her grandfather recounting the story of the prince and the poison cup. The prince is Jesus; the poison cup is the wrath of God which He drank in full on behalf of all who would ever trust in Him. But the grandfather first provides an allegorical retelling of man’s fall:
At first, the King’s subjects enjoyed spending time with Him so much that they didn’t even go close to the fountain. They loved the King and wanted to please Him. But they began to get curious. They wondered why He didn’t want them to drink the water of the fountain, which looked so pure and refreshing.
One day a stranger in a long black cloak appeared in the park. The people didn’t know it, but the stranger was the King’s archenemy. He told the people that the water in the fountain wasn’t bad at all. He said that if they would try it, the water would do wonderful things for them. It would make them as great as the King Himself.
By now the people were very curious about the water. It didn’t seem fair that the King wouldn’t let them drink from the fountain. So they decided to try it. The stranger filled a cup with the water from the fountain and gave it to the people, and they drank it.
That first sentence, I think, gives a helpful perspective for children (and adults) to maintain: Satisfaction in God dulls sinful and curious interests.
In addition to a warm, engaging story, this book is also beautifully illustrated by Justin Gerard. Gerard has partnered with Sproul on other books such as The Lightlings (which I previously introduced). I highly recommend The Prince’s Poison Cup, particularly for children 3-8.
Daniel Henninger makes the case. Excerpt:
The goal of Sen. Obama and the modern, “progressive” Democratic Party is to move the U.S. in the direction of Western Europe, the so-called German model and its “social market economy.” Under this notion, business is highly regulated, as it would be in the next Congress under Democratic House committee chairmen Markey, Frank and Waxman. Business is allowed to create “wealth” so long as its utility is not primarily to create new jobs or economic growth but to support a deep welfare system.
The political planets are aligned to make this achievable. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, prominent Democrats, European leaders in France and Germany and more U.S. newspaper articles than one can count have said that the crisis proves the need to permanently tame the American “free-market” model. P.O.W. Alan Greenspan is broadcasting confessions. The question is: Are the American people of a mind to throw in the towel on the system that got them here?
Read the whole thing.
Thomas Sowell is a brilliant, articulate thinker who can also write powerfully for those of us who are not economically sophisticated. This article is fantastically clear and straightforward. Excerpts:
“The power to tax is the power to destroy.”
It is not the money that is taxed away that is destroyed. What is destroyed is the wealth that does not get produced in the first place, because high taxes make its production not worthwhile.
Economists have trouble determining how many people are affected by a tax increase because those affected extend far beyond those who write the checks to pay the government.
Taxes on businesses can get passed along to consumers, in whole or in part, even though it is only the business that writes the check to the government.
Payroll taxes or government-mandated employee benefits may be paid for directly by the employer, but these costs reduce the value of an employee to the employer. If these costs add up to $10,000, for example, employers bidding for labor may bid $10,000 less in salary than they would have otherwise.
As in other cases, who writes the checks does not tell you who really pays the costs, since the worker is now $10,000 worse off.
Now, it’s very interesting that in the Bible it’s always the immoral person that gets the Gospel before the moral person. It’s the prostitute who understands grace; it’s the Pharisee who doesn’t. It’s the unrighteous younger brother who gets it before the self-righteous older brother. Tim’s book points this out well.
There is, however, another (perhaps more subtle) side to self-righteousness that younger brother types need to be careful of. There’s an equally dangerous form of self-righteousness that plagues the unconventional, the liberal, and the non-religious types. We anti-legalists can become just as guilty of legalism in the opposite direction. What do I mean?
It’s simple: we can become self-righteous against those who are self-righteous. Many younger evangelicals today are reacting to their parents’ conservative, buttoned-down, rule-keeping flavor of “older brother religion” with a type of liberal, untucked, rule-breaking flavor of “younger brother irreligion” which screams, ”That’s right, I know I don’t have it all together and you think you do; I know I’m not good and you think you are. That makes me better than you.” See the irony?
In other words, they’re proud that they’re not self-righteous!
For more background, see this post and Tim Strickland’s comment.
Dr. R.C. Sproul gave an excellent message on principles of voting. In fact, I heard it a couple weeks ago and it has been stuck in my head ever since. The Ligonier team has made the audio and text of the message freely available. Check them out before you vote.
This message will also air nationwide next Monday on their Renewing Your Mind broadcast. Find your local station here.
A fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal examines how men and women share decision-making leverage in marriage and whether there is any dependency on their relative earning power. The upshot:
The general consensus of sociologists is that, whereas a woman’s marital satisfaction is dependent on a combination of economic, emotional and psychological realities, a man’s marital satisfaction is most determined by one factor: how happy his wife is. When she is happy, he is. Working within this framework, most husbands are unwilling to dig in their heels on any issue unless they have a tremendous incentive to do so.
Tim Keller’s latest book, The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith, is now available. The origin of this short, convicting, and compelling book is a sermon Pastor Keller gave a few years ago on Luke 15:11-32.
I read a pre-release copy of this book a few months ago and found it to be simply outstanding. Here’s the nub of it: There are basically two ways of abandoning God. The first is the way of the younger brother–reckless abandon to all of God’s moral authority, an unbridled launch into debauchery and licentious living. The second is the way of the older brother. On the surface, it looks diametrically opposite: fastidious pursuit of God’s external standards, but not from an internal, heart-felt love for and enjoyment of God. No, the older brother (like the younger brother) simply wants to use and control the Father. He loves God for the sake of the goodies he hopes God will give him. The older brother seeks to bribe God: If I obey You, then You owe me. The older brother does not recognize his need for mercy.
Jesus, says Keller, addresses this parable to the older brothers: the scribes and the Pharisees. The parable is “an extended look at the soul of the elder brother, and climaxes with a powerful plea for him to change his heart.” Check it out.
Related: Interview with Tim Keller on The Prodigal God
Pastor Rick Warren gives strong public support to Proposition 8, a very important measure on the ballot in California this November 4 to preserve the historic definition of marriage. Proposition 8 reads: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California.” Warren gave this video endorsement (it seems) to his congregation:
HT: Maggie Gallagher
Contrary to Senator Obama’s bold inaccuracy at the Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency, abortion rates have in fact been drastically reduced over the last twenty years. And contrary to popular opinion, pro-life legislators (and Presidents) really do make a big difference. Michael J. New, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Alabama and a Visiting Fellow at the Witherspoon Institute of Princeton, New Jersey writes a helpful review which argues:
During the past 35 years, the pro-life movement has made real progress. The number of abortions has fallen in 12 out of the past 14 years and the total number of abortions has declined by 21 percent since 1990. These gains are largely due to pro-life political victories at the federal level in the 1980s and at the state level in the 1990s which have made it easier to pass pro-life legislation.