Go Padres! NL Wild Card Series begins tonight

Yup, the COVID-19 pandemic has played absolute havoc here in America and around the world. The nation began to hunker down in mid-March as the virus spread. Quarantine restrictions were imposed inconsistently as government officials in the various regions of the country weighed the public health risk versus economic health. Businesses have cut back or closed altogether and millions of people have been laid off or terminated. The death toll continues to rise despite those who imprudently call the pandemic a hoax: 206,000 deaths have been attributed to C-19 in the U.S.A. to date. If the pandemic wasn’t bad enough, we also had the BLM protests accompanied by looting and destruction in many cities.

Amidst those kinds of significant and challenging circumstances, professional sports were/are hardly a priority, but many hoped the pro leagues could put together some type of package, if only to bring a little “normalcy” back to the very chaotic situation.

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association hammered out a plan for a shortened, 60-game season and play began back on July 24th in empty stadiums.

I was optimistic for my San Diego Padres. Free agent pickup, Manny Machado, definitely didn’t live up to his hype in 2019, but Padres fans were hopeful he would return to form as one of MLB’s premier players. Fernando Tatis Jr. was on his way to the 2019 NL Rookie of the Year, until an injury felled him in August. And I was once again hopeful that previous free agent pickups, Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers, would finally get their heads on straight.

The abbreviated season and expanded playoff format meant just about every team had a shot if they could sustain a few hot streaks. Well my friends, the Padres put together quite a season and finished 37-23, the third-best record in MLB behind only the L.A. Dodger$ and the Tampa Bay Rays. Tatis SS was a shoe-in for NL MVP until he slowed down in August. However, Machado 3B stepped it up with a back-end NL MVP performance. Hosmer 1B played very well and many fans are thinking about Myers RF for Comeback Player of the Year for his excellent season. Rookie Jake Cronenworth 2B was a delightful surprise for the first 30 games, although he cooled off. After a slow start, Jurickson Profar LF settled in and finished the season as the hottest hitter on the roster. Young Trent Grisham did a nice job at CF. Big bat, Mitch Moreland 1B, was a late-season acquisition for the DH slot, but hasn’t lived up to expectations.

Starting pitchers, Dinelson Lamet and Zach Davies had excellent seasons, although Garrett Richards and especially projected-ace, Chris Paddack, disappointed. The Padres acquired Cleveland Indians ace, Mike Clevinger, in late August to shore up the rotation.

With their impressive 37-23 record and their 2nd-place finish behind the Dodger$ in the NL West, the Padres earned the 4th seed in the playoffs and will face the 5th seed St. Louis Cardinals in a best-of-three series beginning tonight, 5 p.m. ET.

The last time the Padres were in the playoffs was…hold onto your hats…2006. The biggest concern for the Padres going into the series will be the recent nagging injuries to Lamet (biceps) and Clevinger (elbow).

If Lamet and/or Clevinger can’t pitch, the Padres would need a huge break. Can the big bats (Machado, Tatis, Myers, Hosmer) and the relief staff rise to the occasion?

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday sermon series, #51

It’s Two-fer-Tuesday, my friends, which means two new sermons from the brethren down in Arkansas.

First, we have Pastor Roger Copeland of Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana, preaching from Numbers 21:4-9 on “Look and Live.”

Next, we have Wayne Sewell substituting for Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City preaching from Ruth 1:6 on “Homecoming.”

Both of these sermons were delivered on Sunday, September 13th.

Pastor Roger Copeland – Look and Live


Brother Wayne Sewell – Homecoming

High-tech scammer

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
By John Carreyrou
Random House, 2018, 541 pp.

5 Stars

Elizabeth Holmes was a very bright, chemical engineering major at Stanford University. She dropped out of college in March, 2004 at the age of 20 because she had an amazing idea: to develop a compact blood analysis machine that could run hundreds of tests with only a few drops of blood drawn from a single finger prick.

Elizabeth Holmes

Holmes founded the Theranos corporation in Silicon Valley to turn her dream into reality. She leveraged her youthful good looks and confident demeanor (which included a feigned deep, authoritative voice) to attract a bevy of big-name investors eager to get in on the ground floor of another high-tech start-up success. Holmes accomplished her dual dreams of becoming famous and a billionaire (on paper). There was just one small problem. Her idea wasn’t viable. Try as they might, Holmes’ team of scientists could not get reliable test results from a few drops of blood. Behind closed doors, Theranos actually used large blood analyzers built by competitors to test the blood samples that were sent to them. Holmes kept the truth from investors and regulatory agencies as long as possible, but whistle blowers confided in John Carreyrou, a suspicious investigative reporter working for the Wall Street Journal, who broke the story in 2015. Holmes denied the allegations, but mounting scrutiny eventually forced the shutdown of Theranos in 2018. Holmes was indicted on charges of fraud and awaits trial in March 2021 (the trial date has been rescheduled several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Recent filings indicate her lawyers may attempt a “mental illness” defense.

Holmes was quite a character; absolutely driven to be the “next Steve Jobs” and impressing potential investors with her trademark ninja black turtleneck shirts and her affected masculine voice, but with zero credibility. It was all “smoke and mirrors.” As I read this book, I couldn’t help but think about how society worships at the altar of fame, wealth, and attractiveness.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 9/26/20

Earlier this month, I posted about Detroit Catholic priest, Matthew Hood, who was found to have been “invalidly baptized” and thus, invalidly ordained, leading to all types of ramifications and “remediations” (see here). The deacon who had baptized Hood as an infant had used the incantation, “We baptize you…” instead of the correct, “I baptize you…” The Vatican subsequently sent out a memo this summer admonishing all priests and deacons worldwide to use the correct formula, which resulted in another priest, Zachary Boazman, of Oklahoma City discovering that he similarly had been baptized as an infant in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1992 with the incorrect “We baptize you…” incantation used by deacon, Philip Webb. The diocese of Oklahoma City is now scrambling to put “remediations” in place to compensate for the invalid sacraments administered by Boazman after he was invalidly ordained in 2019. The diocese of Ft. Worth is also instituting “remediations” to deal with the invalid baptisms administered by Webb. This legalistic scrambling, like the Keystone Cops, is sadly laughable. In stark contrast to this deepening sacramental rabbit hole crisis is the simple (and yet profound) Good News! of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

Progressive and conservative Catholic clerics continue their internecine tug-of-war regarding the licitness of voting for cafeteria Catholic, Joe Biden.

The semi-secret 2018 Vatican-Beijing Accord is about to expire and pope Francis is scrambling to renew it. Francis pragmatically threw non-state-sanctioned Chinese Catholics under the bus in order to have diplomatic ties with Beijing.

Michigan priest, Paul Graney, defied current politically-correct protocols by comparing BLM to Muslim terrorists in a homily. Refer to the video embedded in this article. The irony is that Graney’s Roman Catholic church has inflicted more spiritual suffering and destruction than Muslim terrorists could ever possibly dream of with its false gospel of salvation via sacramental grace and merit.

Rad-trad Catholics are demanding they be allowed germ-spreading communion on the tongue as moderate priests try to observe COVID-19 precautions. Read my thoughts about this ridiculous “on the tongue” vs. “in the hand” controversy here.

Progressive German Catholic clerics continue to formulate their liberal “reforms” via this “Synodal Path” initiative. These liberal clerics will be pushing for such things as married priests, female deacons and priests, full acceptance of practicing LGBTers, and intercommunion with “Protestants.”

Presidents Trump’s choice to fill the SCOTUS seat vacated by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is Judge Amy Barrett. Barrett belongs to a small, Catholic charismatic cadre, the “People of Praise,” that pushes ecumenism with charismatic evangelicals. Some evangelicals are still profusely praising Ginsburg. Did I miss something? RBG was a staunch defender of the ongoing abortion genocide.

Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #41: “At Home with the Lord”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. With this next chapter, the Catholic apologist continues his arguments defending the existence of Purgatory as he attempts to counter Protestants’ assertion that, immediately after death, genuine Christians will be “At Home with the Lord.”


As we discussed last week (see here), the Roman Catholic church teaches that everyone who dies with venial (small, pardonable) sins on their soul or still has temporal punishment* remaining on their spiritual account must go to Purgatory to be cleansed before they can enter Heaven.

Evangelicals do not believe in Purgatory and often cite 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 to support their position:

“6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”

This passage teaches that born-again Christians can anticipate being with the Lord immediately after death, with no intermediary state. Not so fast, objects the Catholic apologist. Broussard attempts to rebut the evangelical position with two arguments. Fasten your seat belts, my friends, because it doesn’t get any slipperier than this:

(1) Broussard contends that Paul’s mention of the two circumstances, either being in the body or being home with the Lord, doesn’t absolutely preclude a third circumstance. Broussard uses an analogy of being at work and wishing he was home. He asks, “Can we conclude…that if I’m away from work I must automatically be home?” He presents the intervening possibilities of stopping at McDonald’s for a burger or getting tied-up for hours in a traffic jam. Likewise, argues Broussard, being away from the body doesn’t necessarily mean being immediately with the Lord.

(2) Broussard then reapplies the same argument he presented in the previous chapter, that since God is not restricted by chronological time, the alleged cleansing in Purgatory could possibly take place in a twinkling of an eye and not contradict a face-value interpretation of 2 Corinthians 5:6-8.

Let’s now respond to Broussard.

 (1) Broussard’s hypothesis is so arbitrary, awkward, and artificial that I’m almost speechless. It’s clear to the unbiased reader of 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 that Paul is presenting an either/or exclusivity precluding a third possibility. Scripture teaches repeatedly that after death the unredeemed will go to Hell and those who are trusting in Christ as Savior by faith alone will go to Heaven.

“21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.” – Philippians 1:21-26

In the above passage, the apostle Paul states he is hard pressed to choose between two circumstances, either being in the flesh or with Christ, NOT three circumstances!

(2) Broussard is “grasping at straws” with this fanciful speculation. The Roman Catholic church has historically taught that the cleansing/punishment in Purgatory was according to chronological time. Partial indulgences were meted out in specific increments of time.

Last week, we thoroughly discussed how Purgatory is an integral part of Catholicism’s works-righteousness salvation system despite the lack of a Biblical basis. There’s no need to repeat those arguments again.

*Temporal punishment – According to Roman Catholic doctrine, a temporal punishment is a “punishment for sin that may be expiated in this world or if not sufficiently expiated here will be exacted in full in Purgatory.” Catholicism teaches that while a priest may fully pardon a mortal sin in the confessional, “all of the temporal punishment is not always taken away.” The vast majority of Roman Catholics could not define temporal punishment.

What does the Bible say about Purgatory?

Next up: “Caught Up with the Lord in the Air”

Throwback Thursday: Mary – Another Redeemer?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on February 24, 2016 and has been revised.


Mary – Another Redeemer?
By James R. White
Bethany House, 1998, 164 pages

5 Stars

This book is a short, evangelical response to the groundswell within Roman Catholicism to dogmatically recognize Mary as “Co-Redemptrix,” with Jesus Christ. “Mary – Another Redeemer?,” by evangelical apologist, James R. White, was written during the papacy of Karol Wojtyla, aka John Paul II, who had completely dedicated himself to Mary. Wojtyla’s official Latin papal motto, “Totus tuus sum, Maria,” is translated as “Mary, I am completely yours.” John Paul II was a strong advocate of formally recognizing Mary as Co-Redeemer, but fifteen years after his death, Mary’s supporters are still waiting. As White points out, some of the Catholic hierarchy hesitate to formally proclaim this belief as dogma because they realize it will dampen efforts to gather in the “separated brethren.” Pope Francis has publicly stated that he is not interested in defining the doctrine as binding dogma. Although the doctrine is not yet official, for all intents and purposes Mary is recognized as Christ’s Co-Redeemer within Catholicism.

How did Catholics come to worship Mary as semi-divine and as Co-Redemptrix when there is absolutely no Biblical basis? White briefly reviews the history of the rise of Mariolatry and compares the simple, Biblical view of Mary to the idolatrous Marian extrapolations invented by Rome. It’s somewhat puzzling that White refrains from any mention of the development of Marian worship as an accommodation by the increasingly institutionalized early church to pagan, mother-goddess worship (e.g., Asherah, Isis, Ishtar, Hera, Venus, Pachamama, etc.), which was clearly the case. See “The Virgin: Mary’s Cult and the Re-emergence of the Goddess” by historian, Geoffrey Ashe, for a thorough examination of Mariolatry’s pagan roots.

Evangelicals are amazed and saddened by Rome’s transformation of Mary from a sinner in need of the Savior, as we all are, to the alleged sinless Queen of Heaven, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, Mother of God, Holy Mother, Holy Virgin, Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate. Catholics vehemently protest that they don’t deify and worship Mary, but their practices and attitudes demonstrate otherwise. This book was written as a wake up call to evangelicals who are increasingly embracing Rome, as exemplified by Chuck Colson’s once-influential “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” (ECT) project.

I’m so grateful that I was redeemed by God’s grace through faith in Christ Jesus alone. I pray many Catholics will leave the religious ritualism, legalism, and man-made traditions of their church and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior by faith alone. Christ came to save sinners, not the religious self-righteous who believe they can earn heaven by receiving the Catholic sacraments and by obeying the Ten Commandments. “Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God.” – Galatians 3:11

Biblical perspective on Mary: “As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” – Luke 11:27- 28

The Kindle edition of “Mary – Another Redeemer?” can be ordered from Amazon here.

For a list of over 360 books that compare Catholicism to God’s Word see my Books tab here.

Jack Hyles: The Fundamental Man

Jack Frasure Hyles: The Fundamental Man
By Cindy Hyles Schaap
Hyles Publications, 1998, 528 pp.

Having started out at an independent fundamental Baptist (IFB) church as a new Christian back in the early-1980s, I have a continuing interest in the movement and its history.

Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001) was one of the biggest names in the IFB back when I was a new believer, with his First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana (23 miles from Chicago) being one of the largest churches in the nation at the time (15,000 weekly attendance). Hyles became a widely sought-after speaker and IFB pastors across the nation studied and emulated his methods. Hyles was the face of the IFB in the 1980s and 90s.

Cindy Hyles Schaap (photo left) wrote this adulatory tribute to her father three years before his death with Hyles’ full cooperation. God’s Word certainly exhorts us to honor our pastors, but this very handsomely-bound, 538-page, coffee-table book exemplifies the kind of leadership idolatry that’s prevalent within the IFB. Jack Hyles gets 95% of the glory in this book and Jesus Christ gets the scraps. I can imagine the apostle Paul’s reaction if someone tried to memorialize him in a similar fashion.

This lengthy biography presents an incredible amount of the detail from Hyles’ life, from his birth in Italy, Texas, to pastoring several small churches, to his break with the Southern Baptist Convention and his affiliation with John R. Rice and the IFB camp, to moving to Hammond and growing the largest church in America. As one might expect from a biography written by his daughter, this book is unabashedly hagiographical. Hyles most assuredly accomplished much good for the Lord as pastor of FBCH for 42 years, but there were also serious problems:

  • Hyles perpetuated and further popularized a preaching and pastoral style that was marked by arrogance, authoritarianism, intimidation, and bullying. Hyles was an absolute dictator at FBCH. There were very cultish aspects to Hyles’ pastorate at FBCH.
  • Hyles’ crusade to have the largest church in America turned conversions and baptisms into a numbers contest. Disingenuity and numbers-padding abounded.
  • Hyles promoted the popular and misguided notion of America as a Christian nation. His self-professed focus toward the end of his life was to “save America.”
  • Hyles’ arrogance and authoritarianism engendered an attitude of recklessness and entitlement. Scandal caught up with Jack Hyles in 1989, which Cindy Schaap refers to only briefly and without detail. She also circumspectly alludes to the scandal that brought down her brother, David Hyles, who had held a leadership position at FBCH. Cindy Schaap’s husband, Jack Schaap, succeeded Jack Hyles as pastor of FBCH in 2001 and emulated his predecessor’s arrogance and authoritarianism, but he was brought down by scandal in 2012, after which Cindy divorced him.

I enjoyed portions of this book despite its “rose colored glasses” perspective. I especially enjoyed the accounts of Hyles’ associations with John R. Rice, G.B. Vick, Lester Roloff, Bob Jones, Sr., and other prominent figures in the history of the IFB movement. Hyles’ history is a history of the IFB.

See my review of a book that took a much more critical view of Hyles here. One of Hyles’ other daughters, Linda Hyles Murphrey, presented a totally different view of Jack Hyles in this video.

I would recommend this idealized biography only for its revelations with regards to IFB history.

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday sermon series, #50

It’s Two-fer-Tuesday, my friends, which means two new sermons from the brethren down in Arkansas.

First, we have Pastor Roger Copeland of Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana, preaching from Jeremiah 9:23-24 on “Knowing God.”

Next, we have Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City preaching from 2 Corinthians 9:8 on “Blessings.”

Both of these sermons were delivered on Sunday, September 6th.

Pastor Roger Copeland – Knowing God

Pastor Cody Andrews – Blessings

Rochester meat hot sauce: Part 2 and comprehensive ranking

A few weeks back, I introduced another one of Rochester’s delectable contributions to haute cuisine; Rochester meat hot sauce. See here. Just about every local burger joint and hot dog stand in town serves up its own version of the meat hot sauce and you can even buy jars of it at the local grocery stores. Last time, we sampled Momma K’s, Coach Tony’s, and Don’s Original brands. Today, we’re going to try three more varieties: Uncle Timmy’s, Zweigle’s, and Steve T’s.

Uncle Timmy’s: This sauce is very similar in taste and consistency to Coach Tony’s; a very hamburger-y taste, but with a stronger cinnamon accent.

Zweigle’s: Rochester’s maker of the USA’s best hot dogs (see here) offers its own version of meat hot sauce, not in a jar, but a combination of spices in a plastic package. The process involves browning up a pound of fresh ground beef, adding water and the package ingredients, and simmering for half an hour. Voilà! A very tasty meat hot sauce.

Steve T’s: Steve T. is the nephew of Nick Tahou (d.1997), the former proprietor of Nick Tahou’s Hots, home of the original Garbage Plate (see here). Steve has his own hots and burgers joint, but isn’t allowed to use the Tahou name, which is trademarked. This sauce is disappointingly bland and has noticeably more grease than any of the other jarred offerings (note the grease sludge at the top of the jar in the above photo). Steve allegedly follows his Uncle’s Nick’s original meat hot sauce recipe, which makes the case for refinement; the first is not always the best.

It was quite an undertaking to eat my way through these six offerings of Rochester meat hot sauce in order to put together this two-part special post, but my readers’ “need to know” comes before my health.

Let’s sum it all up by ranking the six Rochester meat hot sauces that we’ve reviewed, from best to worst:

Zweigle’s: Excellent flavor with a good degree of heat. Has an unfair advantage due to the add-your-own fresh ground hamburger.

Don’s Original: Delicious. Easily the best of the five jarred varieties. Leans towards a chili flavor with its inclusion of tomato puree and a heavy dose of chili powder.

Coach Tony’s: A bit “rough around the edges,” but a decent alternative if you can’t get Zweigle’s or Don’s Original.

Uncle Timmy’s: The strong cinnamon accent drops it just a notch below the very-similar Coach Tony’s.

Momma K’s: Unadventurous. Tastes just like Sloppy Joe sauce. Strictly for small children and adults with delicate palates

Steve T’s: Ach. Very bland and and very greasy. Tastes like liquid lard with a slight hamburger flavor.

Because he claims to use his Uncle Nick Tahou’s recipe, Steve T. boasts that his hot sauce is “Rochester’s Original Meat Sauce.”

All of the Rochester meat hot sauces mentioned above can be conveniently ordered from NY Style Deli via the link below:

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 9/19/20

There’s a bit of a controversy going on over at “Christianity Today” magazine because recently-retired editor, Mark Galli, has “converted” to Roman Catholicism. I’m not surprised. CT has always encouraged ecumenism with Rome, going back to its creation by Carl Henry and Billy Graham in 1956. The evangelical writers of the two articles above, Ed Stetzer and Roger Olson, react to Galli’s conversion with a degree of disapproval while also holding to the hopelessly incongruous view common to all ecumenical evangelicals, that says while Roman Catholicism is totally wrong about the doctrine of justification (how a person is saved), it is somehow still considered to be a Christian entity. Does not compute. How could a genuinely born-again believer swap salvation in Jesus Christ through faith alone for the chains of religious sacramentalism, legalism, and attempting to merit salvation? Impossible! This is a good example of how some who “profess” to be Christians and even hold leadership roles are tares among the wheat. Some people navigate within Christian circles and learn to “talk the talk” (Galli had earned a M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary), but never genuinely trust in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone.

The Roman Catholic church normally requires that all members must attend mass every Sunday under threat of eternal damnation. When the pandemic hit mid-March, the U.S. Catholic bishops each issued “dispensations,” allowing the Catholics in their diocese to miss mass without incurring mortal sin. Now that cases of COVID-19 are declining in some regions of the country, bishops are lifting the dispensations and ordering Catholics back to mass. “Those who deliberately fail to attend Sunday Mass commit a grave sin,” admonished the bishop of Milwaukee in anticipation of lifting his dispensation. How many Catholics will comply with the order to return to Sunday mass? Prior to the pandemic, only 13 percent of Catholics attended mandatory weekly mass, 20 percent attended at least once a month, and 67 percent attended no more than a few times a year if at all.

Catholics were encouraged to watch streaming mass services during the quarantine, although the RCC has always taught that the forgiveness of venial sins and the reception of graces were possible only by attending mass in-person. How many Catholics actually bothered to watch mass online on Sundays? In a recent survey, only 25 percent of young (between ages 18 and 35) Catholics surveyed said they participated “very often” or “somewhat” in mass online or on television during the pandemic.

The day is coming in the United States when the Bible will be categorized as “hate literature.”

After nearly 50 years, Charles Stanley announced that he is stepping down as pastor at First Baptist Church, Atlanta (SBC). I disagreed with Stanley on some issues (he was soft on ecumenism with Rome), but he was one of the very few TBN regulars who preached the genuine Gospel.

Southern Baptists are contemplating changing the name of their convention to “Great Commission Baptists.” SBC pastors who are faithful to the Gospel must also contemplate whether they can remain in an alliance in which Bible-denying liberalism is on the rise.