LSH Annual – 2011

It’s time for another frivolity break, so let’s board our time bubble and head over to the 31st Century for another adventure with the Legion of Super-Heroes in…

Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #1: Here I Am
Writer: Paul Levitz, Penciler: Keith Giffen
DC Comics, February 2011

3 Stars


On the planet Orando (homeworld of Sensor Girl/Princess Projectra), a desperate young woman, Falyce, flees her tormentors and stumbles into the abode of the Emerald Eye of Elkron, which transforms her into the Emerald Empress. With the aid of the powerful Eye, she quickly subjugates the entire planet.

Lightning Lass and Shrinking Violet are passing Orando in their spacecruiser, but the powerful Eye draws the ship down to the planet and the Empress takes them prisoner. Back at Legion headquarters in Metropolis, Gates, Sensor Girl, and Sun Boy receive data indicating their comrades’ ship has crashed. They set out for Orando, but the Empress is expecting them. A series of battles ensue as the Empress and Legionnaires both attempt to gain the upper hand. As part of a calculated plan, Violet shrinks to molecular size, enters the Eye, and proceeds to its core, and then rapidly enlarges, shattering the Eye. Falyce is freed from the domination of the Eye, but is seriously traumatized. As the rest of the Legionnaires return to Earth, Sensor Girl remains on Orando to nurse Falyce and the planet back to health. Meanwhile, the Eye restores itself and escapes Orando to a destination unknown.


DC published yearly “annuals” for its comic franchises including the Legion. This 45-page special issue features this “one-off” story that has only a slight connection to the 2010-2013 “older Legion” plotline. Long-time LSH fans know the first Emerald Empress, Sarya of Venegar, first appeared in Adventure Comics #352 way back in January 1967 as a member of the Fatal Five. Falyce was actually the third Emerald Empress in Legion lore.

Nope, this wasn’t a particularly good story and Giffen’s pencils are mediocre as usual (he was the Legion’s regular artist in the 1980s), however, it was fun to visit again with the Emerald Empress and the Eye. There are cameo appearances by Cosmic Boy, Dawnstar, and Dream Girl.

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #164

Today, in our ongoing “Truth from Arkansas” series, we’re featuring two new sermons from the brethren down under.

First, we have Pastor Roger Copeland of Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana, preaching from Romans 11:33-36 on “The Imponderables of God.”

Next, we have Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City preaching from Romans 9:30-33 on “Nothing More Than Faith.”

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

Pastor Roger Copeland – The Imponderables of God

Pastor Cody Andrews – Nothing More Than Faith

Reformanda Initiative Podcast #9: Why Vatican II is essential for understanding present-day Roman Catholicism

Welcome to the ninth installment of our weekly Reformanda Initiative podcast series! I’m excited to present the ministry of Dr. Leonardo De Chirico and his associates at Reformanda Initiative as they examine Roman Catholic theology in order to inform and equip evangelicals.

Season 1, Episode 9: Why Vatican II is essential for understanding present-day Roman Catholicism

Show Notes

Listen as we describe the role of church councils and specifically the importance of Vatican II. What happened exactly at Vatican II? Why is it arguably the most significant of all the Church councils? Why is it essential to understanding present-day Roman Catholicism and Catholic theology?

My Comments

Pope John XXIII aka Angelo Roncalli convened the Second Vatican Council in 1962. The unofficial theme of the council was aggiornamento, the Italian word for “bringing up to date.” The purpose of the council was to adapt the RCC to the modern world. Many Protestants hailed the council for the conciliatory language of some of its documents. The RCC did change some of its window dressings at Vatican II, especially regarding its approach toward Protestants and other religionists, but the church did not change any of its core doctrines. Vatican II steered the RCC from militant doctrinalism towards doctrine-soft pastoralism and has found its fulfilment in progressive pope Francis. Sixty-years after the council, conservative Catholics criticize the council as a betrayal of the RCC, while undiscerning, ecumenical-leaning evangelicals hail it as the dawn of a Catholic-Protestant rapprochement. In this podcast, the Reformanda Initiative guys introduce their audience to the Second Vatican Council (along with some basic information on church councils in general). This is just an overview, the next two podcasts will present more detail. As the RI team points out, it’s impossible to understand today’s RCC without understanding VC2. The RI guys correctly point out that some people are misguidedly attracted to the RCC because of its dusty antiquity. Many evangelical pastors unwisely neglect referencing church history and the Reformation, as if evangelicalism is a phenomenon without a past.

Season 1, Episode 9: Why Vatican II is essential for understanding present-day Roman Catholicism
Featuring Leonardo De Chirico, Reid Karr, and Clay Kannard
December 13, 2019 – 36 minutes

Next week: Season 1, Episode 10: Wrestling with the contradictions of Vatican II

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 11/26/22

A congregant of an evangelical church in South Dakota recently called out Pastor Adam Weber (photo above) for wearing skin-tight “skinny jeans” when he preached. I can relate to this one. From 2015 to early-2020, my wife and I attended a Rochester mega-church that had several suburban satellite branches. The lead pastor left in 2016 and was replaced by a young man who was on a mission to make himself and the church more “culturally relevant.” His Sunday attire gradually devolved into hoodies and skinny jeans with the requisite holes in the knees, all topped off with a $100 swag haircut. It was ridiculous. We once brought an unsaved guest to the church and the first thing out of the person’s mouth when we got back to the car was, “Man, that pastor’s jeans were tight!” The church switched to streaming services online in March 2020 because of COVID, but we even stopped watching the virtual service because of the skinny jeans “controversy” as well as a host of other problems that we decided we could no longer tolerate. I began working weekends in January 2021, but we continued watching sermon videos from solid pastors. I retired on October 31st and last weekend we visited a local church and were quite pleased. The fact that the pastor wore loose khakis was a plus among many more important plusses. More on our new church in an upcoming post.

Pope Francis is favorable to several of the progressive changes being advanced by the German Catholic Synodale Weg (Synodal Path), but he must also appease conservatives who are already discontented with his reforms and are waiting for a reason to propose schism.

Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy split in 1054 after the patriarch of Constantinople, Michael Cerularius, refused to accept the primacy of the bishop of Rome and was subsequently excommunicated by the RCC. In trying to convince Michael of his primacy and authority, pope Leo IX referenced the “Donation of Constantine,” a fraudulent document forged in the 8th century purporting to show Roman Emperor Constantine’s bestowal of authority to the bishop of Rome over the four principal eastern sees. Lorenzo Valla, an Italian Catholic priest, proved the “Donation” was a forgery in 1439-1440. The history of the RCC is riddled with examples of heresy, fraud, and corruption. Modern popes have been making regular overtures to the EO patriarchs. Some form of a reunion is a forgone conclusion.

Last weekend, the city of Buffalo, New York was buried under six feet of white stuff in a late-autumn snow storm off of Lake Erie. Buffalo Catholic bishop, Michael Fisher, issued a dispensation allowing Buffalo Catholics to skip mass last Sunday without incurring mortal sin. The irony that’s not to be missed is that while Fisher was busy issuing a snow dispensation, the state-appointed, former-FBI official, Kathleen McChesney, was looking over his shoulder, making sure Fisher and the diocese were/are complying with New York State’s mandated requirements guarding Buffalo’s children from pedophile priests and enabling prelates.

Catholics are celebrating YouTuber and self-proclaimed “evangelical apologist,” Cameron Bertuzzi’s recent “conversion” to Roman Catholicism. While 38YO Bertuzzi has an admittedly large YouTube following (156K subscribers), his knowledge of the Bible and church history has been demonstrated to be severely limited. I’ll have more to say about Bertuzzi in an upcoming post.

Conservative Catholic prelates and priests are applauding the election of archbishop Timothy Broglio as president of the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops. Broglio has a track record of passively-aggressively opposing many of Bergoglio’s reforms

It’s interesting to see this debate over Mariolatry in a secular newspaper. While the worship of Mary is grievous, the RCC’s most serious heresy is its false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Why would a Christian parent/s send their child to a Roman Catholic school where they are sure to be indoctrinated with the RCC’s false gospel? What parent would knowingly lower their child into a snake pit? Of course, we don’t know if the mother in question is genuinely saved.

“Meeting the Protestant Response,” #26: “Baptism is not the cause of salvation but rather follows it.”

Thanks for joining us today as we continue to examine and respond to Catholic apologist, Karlo Broussard’s book, “Meeting the Protestant Response” (2022). This week, Broussard opens his second of three short chapters defending baptismal regeneration, this time using Acts 2:38 as his proof-text:

“And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Catholics present Acts 2:38 as incontrovertible evidence for baptismal regeneration.


Protestant Response #26: “Baptism is not the cause of salvation but rather follows it.”

Writes Broussard, “(Evangelical apologist) Ron Rhodes bases this argument on a particular reading of the Greek preposition eis, translated as ‘for’ [regarding the “for” in Acts 2:38, “…for the forgiveness of your sins” – Tom]. Rhodes rightly points out that eis ‘can indicate causality (‘in order to attain’) or a result (‘because of’)’. An example of this causal sense is, ‘I’m going to the office for (in order to get) my paycheck.’ An example of the resultant sense is, ‘I’m taking an aspirin for (because of) my headache.’ Rhodes asserts that in Acts 2:38 eis is used in the resultant sense: Peter is not saying, ‘Repent and be baptized in order to attain the forgiveness of sins’ but rather, ‘Repent, and be baptized because you’ve been forgiven.’ Rather than baptism being a cause of salvation, it’s something we do once we’re saved” (author’s emphases).

Broussard’s response

Broussard’s response is lengthy and multifold, so I will summarize using bullets:

  • Broussard dismisses an interpretation of eis in Acts 2:38 in the resultant sense as an arbitrary manipulation that flouts context. Broussard notes that Protestants appeal to Acts 10:47 (see Acts 10:44-48 for the wider context), which describes the sequence of 1) Cornelius and his gathered relatives and close friends hear the Gospel from Peter, 2) the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they manifest the gift of languages, and 3) they were subsequently baptized. Broussard argues that “someone can reasonably interpret this reception of the Holy Spirit not as an instance of salvation, but simply as a visible confirmation that membership in God’s family is extended to the Gentiles.” Broussard concedes that the interpretation of Cornelius and the Gentiles receiving salvation prior to baptism is the more probable one, but categorizes it as an “exceptional case” required for the circumstances. Broussard concedes that “the necessity of baptism is not absolute,” that “God can administer the graces of baptism without the sacrament.” [This is Jesuitical sophistry at its most guileful. – Tom]
  • Broussard cites other passages in the Bible and early Christian writings to demonstrate that “baptism is an instrumental cause of the forgiveness of sins”:
    • Acts 22:16 – “Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.”
    • Romans 6:3-4 – “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
    • Quotes from the Letter of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas
  • Broussard argues that Acts 2:38 taken in context with v. 37 reveals “the natural reading of the text is that the forgiveness of sins occurs with (author’s emphasis) the reception of baptism.”
  • Broussard claims the resultant interpretation “entails unnecessary mental gymnastics” and is “a strained reading to say the least.”

My response

Ron Rhodes’ interpretation of eis in Acts 2:38 as “because of” in the resultant sense is absolutely correct. Baptism follows salvation and is a believer’s public testimony of their identification with Jesus Christ in His death, burial. and resurrection. As the New Testament makes clear repeatedly, salvation is solely through “belief” (pisteuō: to put one’s faith in, to trust in) in Jesus Christ as Savior by faith alone. Baptism is important and was commanded by Christ, but the physical waters of baptism impart nothing.

Broussard acknowledges that the sequence of events in Acts 10:44-48 contradicts his baptism=salvation position, but in his painfully torturous eisegesis he dismisses the passage as a divine “exception.”

Notice how Broussard conveniently omits referencing Acts 2:41, only three verses removed from his proof-text:

“So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.”

Receiving/trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior results in salvation, which is followed by believer’s baptism.

We needn’t jump through hoops to examine all of Broussard’s secondary proof-texts for the sake of this installment, but let’s take a look at the seemingly problematic (for Protestants) Acts 22:16 – “Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.” Grammatically, the phrase, “calling on his name,” precedes “Rise and be baptized,” showing that baptism follows salvation. Broussard’s secondary proof-text actually refutes his argument.

Broussard dismisses Rhodes’ correct interpretation of Acts 2:38 as entailing “unnecessary mental gymnastics” and a “strained reading,” but let’s turn the lens around and evaluate the Roman Catholic church’s insistence that baptism is absolutely essential for salvation while also dichotomously teaching that all unbaptized, non-Catholic religionists – Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jews, etc. – and even atheists are also able to merit salvation! The mental gymnastics involved in believing and defending such self-refuting, incongruent, religious schizophrenia are beyond impossible.

Undiscerning evangelicals who believe Roman Catholics hold to the same gospel must stop the self-delusion and take Catholics such as Karlo Broussard at their word.

Next week: Protestant response #27: “The order of salvation in the New Testament is repentance, faith, and then baptism.

Throwback Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving!

For this week’s Throwback Thursday installment, I’m republishing this short post from previous years about something that never gets old; being grateful to the Lord for His bountiful blessings!

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my brothers and sisters in the Lord here at the WordPress blogosphere! May your time today with your family and friends be joyous as we contemplate all of our blessings in Christ Jesus!

JL vs. LSH #6

It’s time once again to take a frivolity break and board our time bubble and journey to the 31st century for the final installment of Legion of Super-Heroes’ six-part adventure with the Justice League as they tag-team the formidable Great Darkness.

Justice League vs. The Legion of Super-Heroes: The Gold Lantern Saga, #6 of 6
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Penciller: Scott Godlewski
DC Comics, September 2022

5 Stars


Vandal Savage walks the streets of a small Western town in the 1870s as the tyrannical sheriff. He enters the town jail and gloats over the shackled Batman, boasting that he had reconfigured time via the Great Darkness and removed the ages of heroes. Suddenly, the combined Justice League and Legion of Super-Heroes appear and confront a startled Vandal Savage. The villain learns he is actually a prisoner inside the Gold Lantern ring, where he has been consigned by the heroes for “quite some time” after they discovered his presence, allowing them to contain the Great Darkness and repair the time stream. The Elders of Oa are observers of the proceedings and sentence Savage to “non-existence.” Mustering what remains of his powers, VS assaults the tandem JL and LSH, but is quickly subdued by Kala Lour, the Gold Lantern.

After the Elders of Oa commission Lour as leader of the new Gold Lantern Corps., the heroes return to Legion Headquarters in Metropolis to celebrate their combined victory over Vandal Savage prior to the JL being sent back to the 21st Century. In the final panel, we see a defeated and humbled Vandal Savage consigned to his Western town and befriended by a gloating Jonah Hex, who had been mistreated by VS earlier.


After enduring five issues of dizzying and sometimes monotonous Great Darkness-induced time ping-pong from Brian Michael Bendis, we get resolution in this satisfying denouement. Good stuff! Great to see the Gold Lantern finally play a prominent part in this lamely-titled, “Gold Lantern Saga.” I enjoyed the sometimes-tense interaction between the JL and LSH teams. Scott Godlewski’s artwork was a cut-above decent. I might even read this series again, something I rarely ever do.

Besides Gold Lantern, other Legionnaires spotted in this issue include Blok, Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Dawn Star, Dr. Fate, Dream Girl, Rose Forrest, Karate Kid, Lightning Lad, Lightning Lass, Mon-El, Monster Boy, Phantom Girl, Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, Timber Wolf, Triplicate Girl, Ultra Boy, Wildfire, and White Witch. Although Element Lad, Matter-Eater Lad, Princess Projectra, Shrinking Violet, Star Boy, Sun Boy, and X-Ray Girl appear on the cover (I had to do some googling to glimpse the complete cover illustration sans lettering), I wasn’t able to spot them in the story for the life of me. That leaves only Invisible Kid and Ferro Lad as M.I.A. Ferro Lad did not make one single appearance in this six-part series.

I enjoyed this JL vs. LSH limited series, but what are DC’s plans for the Legion going forward? It’s difficult to imagine that struggling DC would give the LSH their own book again after the 2019-2021 Bendis-Sook Legion failed to connect with the publisher’s readership. However, we are keeping close tabs on the news that DC is developing both an animated HBO MAX series AND an animated movie featuring the LSH. That’s not speculation. Both projects are continuing to move forward. Several weeks ago, Warner Bros. announced that actors have been cast for the voice-overs for its LSH animated film and then released a trailer with a Blu-ray release date of February 7, 2023 (see below). Perhaps DC would revive a Legion book if the film and cable series generate enough interest? In the meantime, we’ll continue our reviews of the 2010-2013 Legion.

‘Legion of Super-Heroes’ Gets 4K Blu-ray Release Date

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #163

Today, in our ongoing “Truth from Arkansas” series, we’re featuring two new sermons from the brethren down under.

First, we have Pastor Roger Copeland of Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana preaching from Scripture on “What is Death?”

Next, we have Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City preaching from Romans 9:6-29 on “You Have a Choice.”

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

Pastor Roger Copeland – What is Death?

Pastor Cody Andrews – You Have a Choice

Reformanda Initiative Podcast #8: Totus Christus (The Whole Christ) or Solus Christus (Christ Alone)?

Welcome to the eighth installment of our weekly Reformanda Initiative podcast series! I’m excited to present the ministry of Dr. Leonardo De Chirico and his associates at Reformanda Initiative as they examine Roman Catholic theology in order to inform and equip evangelicals.

Season 1, Episode 8: Totus Christus (The Whole Christ) or Solus Christus (Christ Alone)?

Show Notes

Solus Christus (Christ Alone) versus Totus Christus (the Whole Christ). If one wants to capture the difference between the evangelical faith and Roman Catholicism, here it is. On the one hand, the evangelical stress on the uniqueness of Jesus’s person (the God-man) and His atoning work; on the other, the Roman Catholic insistence on the organic relationship between Christ and the Church.

My Comments

As with two previous podcasts, this installment focuses on a derivative of one of the RCC’s two basic theological constructs, the Christ-Church Interconnection. Scripture refers to Jesus Christ as being the Head of the body of believers, the church (Ephesians 5:23, etc.). However, “early church father,” Augustine, advanced the concept of Totus Christus, the Whole Christ, which posited that the church was mystically united with Christ to a degree that was not warranted by Scripture. The developing Roman Catholic church latched on to Totus Christus and advanced the concept even further by illegitimately claiming for itself the prerogatives and offices of Jesus Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King. The Reformanda Initiative guys break it all down.

Season 1, Episode 8: Totus Christus (The Whole Christ) or Solus Christus (Christ Alone)?
Featuring Leonardo De Chirico, Reid Karr, and Clay Kannard
November 28, 2019 – 38 minutes

Next week: Season 1, Episode 9: Why Vatican II is essential for understanding present-day Roman Catholicism

2022 Leaf Campaign Comes to an End

The 2022 Leaf Campaign kicked off back on October 26th. At the time that I posted my first update on November 6th I had dragged a total of 25 tarps of leaves to the curb. Let’s summarize my progress since then:

  • November 7 – 7 tarpfulls
  • November 8 – 3 tarps
  • November 9 – 4 tarps
  • November 10 – 2 tarps
  • November 11 – 2 tarps
  • November 12 – 4 tarps
  • November 14 – 2 tarps
  • November 15 – 1 tarp – The last three days of the campaign included carefully extracting the leaves from the pachysandra patches alongside the house and from the front garden using my metal leaf rake and by hand. It’s grueling and painstaking work.

So, in addition to the 25 tarpfulls I hauled to the curb previously, I hauled another 25 tarps from Nov. 7 to Nov. 15 for a total of 50 tarps this campaign. Phew! I’m happy to announce that the 2022 Leaf Campaign is officially over! Some observations:

It was a short campaign. The leaves began falling a bit early this year and the trees were totally bare by November 14th. The last stubborn leaves of the season typically hang on to the oaks until the last week of November into the first week of December. I’m guessing some of this premature leaf-fall is due to changing climate patterns.

It was a dry campaign. There wasn’t much rain nor was there any snow to compete with this year. Dry leaves meant more leaves per tarp. Dragging dry leaves on dry ground is the optimal. The snow thankfully held off until the evening of November 15th, just hours after the campaign was completed.

It was a “lighter” campaign. Last year, I recorded 70 tarpfulls largely because of the very wet conditions. Wet leaves mean less leaves per tarp. But I usually average around 60 tarpfulls per year. Why only 50 tarps this year? 1) As I mentioned, the unusually dry conditions allowed me to haul more leaves in less trips. 2) This past summer’s gypsy moth caterpillar infestation reduced the amount of leaf mass. 3) Two of the smaller oaks in our backyard had died and were leafless. Both trees were removed on October 3rd.

It was a focused campaign. I retired from L3Harris on October 31st, which meant that I could focus exclusively on the leaves after that date.

Overall, it was a great campaign. I’m usually physically worn-down and threatening to sell this “leaf-trap” and buy a condo at the conclusion of a campaign, but this year I’m in good shape. The conditions mentioned above helped out a lot. As usual, I’m very grateful for my Husqvarna 350BT 50cc backpack leafblower. Once again, the blower played a major role in the campaign as it has every year since 2016. Retiring can be a jarring change for some. The leaf campaign provided a “soft landing” transition from the grind of employment to leisurely retirement. I climbed up on the roof twice during the campaign to clear the leaves out of the gutters with an electric blower. That’s a risky proposition, especially as I get older. I’ll need to investigate possible options, including the installation of leaf guards on the gutters.

Above: My massive, snow-covered leaf pile on November 16th AM – just a few hours before it was removed by our town’s highway department.
Above: That’s our town’s highway crew removing my humongous leaf pile on November 16th PM. Check out the towering oaks in the background.