The Attack of the Gypsy Moth Caterpillars!

We moved into our house here in the suburbs of Rochester, New York way back in 2004. Wow! It certainly doesn’t seem that long ago. Our backyard has a lot of oak trees as many of you well know from my whiny annual “leaf campaign” posts each Fall. In addition to our own oaks, many of our adjoining neighbors’ oaks lean over our property. To say we’re inundated with leaves in the Fall would be a tremendous understatement. When we first looked at the property, we saw the trees as a very appealing asset. My opinion changed 180o immediately after we moved in and the leaves began to fall.

Most of the homes in our tract also have oak trees and we noticed many of the trees had dark rings painted around their trunks. After we moved in, we asked a neighbor what was up with the rings and they said it was a chemical paint that discouraged gypsy moth caterpillars (photo above) from climbing the trunks and proceeding to the branches to eat the leaves. Bands of plastic are also used (photo below). Years passed and we never had a problem with the caterpillars until last year. This year is even worse. When I look up at the leaves on the trees, I see they’ve been ravaged by the insects. Our backyard and even the street that winds through our neighborhood are littered with small scraps of leaves leftover from the insatious caterpillar eating machines. I’ve determined gypsy moth caterpillars aren’t too bright because many scale the house, thinking it’s a tree, only to get stranded on the roof eaves and die.

In regards to gypsy moth caterpillar infestation, Wikipedia states, “If a tree loses more than 50% of its leaves for more than two years in a row, it will certainly be weakened and may not survive.” I’m all for less leaves to clean up in the Fall, but dead trees cost a lot of $$$ to remove. We already have two oaks that have died and need to come down.

This gypsy moth caterpillar infestation brings to mind the locust plague mentioned in Exodus 10:1-18. Of course, our insect problem is nothing compared to what the defiant Egyptians had to deal with. I also think about how calamities come into our lives that we have no control over. For me, there was being laid-off by Kodak after working there for 43 years, the frustratingly-long job search and the daunting challenges at my new company, my wife’s ongoing disability problems, the pandemic, helping my sister with advancing dementia to relocate to a Florida seniors’ facility, and now we’re all headed into a recession with a rise in prices and interest rates and steep drops in our 401Ks, partially caused by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

We like to think we have a great deal of control over our lives with our digital planners and calendars, but it’s a mirage. Calamities come into our lives often very suddenly and unexpectedly in this fallen world. There’s also the inevitable decline of our health and energy as we age. How grateful I am for my Rock, my strong Foundation, Jesus Christ. Many believers have endured far greater challenges than my troubles, where it was all they could do just to “hang on” and trust in God (when it is actually He Who hangs on to us – John 10:29).

I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. – Psalm 18:1-3

Above: Some neighbors wrap plastic bands around their oak trees in an effort to prevent Gypsy Moth caterpillars from climbing the trunks.

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #142

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

First, we have Missionary Adolfo Gonzalez preaching at Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana from Philippians 4:5-7 on “The Peace of God.”

Next, we have Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City preaching from Romans 2:17-24 on “Only Jesus.”

Both of these sermons were delivered on Sunday, June 12th.

Missionary Adolfo Gonzalez – The Peace of God – Sermon begins at 20:00 mark

Pastor Cody Andrews – Only Jesus

Huh?

Above: Former member of the Byrds and full-time tweeter, David Crosby, reacts to the news that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade.

Huh, David? You’re holding to a blatant incongruity. If you believe all have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, what about the pre-born’s right to life? Apologize to all of the women in this country? How about apologizing to the 30 million pre-born baby girls (and 30 million pre-born baby boys) killed in abortions in the U.S. since 1973?

Pro-abortionists must work very hard to ignore and/or deny the blatantly obvious, that a pre-born baby is a living, human being.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 6/25/22

It’s been four months since Vladimir Putin, ordered the invasion of Ukraine. Untold thousands of Ukrainian civilians have been killed, injured, or displaced and cities and towns decimated by the Russian dictator, although pope Francis has still not condemned Putin by name. This interesting article examines Francis’ “Jesuitical casuistry” in the face of systematic mass-murder.

Last Sunday, Catholic parishes across the U.S. held Corpus Christi (Body of Christ) processions, in which priests paraded through local neighborhoods holding large Jesus wafers. The Catholic church teaches its priests turn bread wafers into the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. Last Sunday kicked off a three-year “eucharistic revival” by which the U.S. Catholic bishops will attempt to revitalize the very low regard the majority of Catholics have for the alleged Jesus wafer.

Back in April, I reported that bishop Robert J. McManus of the Catholic diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts formally requested that the Nativity Jesuit Middle School remove its BLM and Gay Pride flags. The administrators refused to comply, so McManus has ruled the school may no longer identify as “Catholic.” This drama will be played out in Catholic schools all over the country.

A special collection is taken up at Catholic parishes on the last Sunday of every June called “Peter’s Pence.” The funds go directly to the RCC’s central administration coffers at the Vatican in Rome, Italy. I wonder if Catholic contributors ever question how much of their money has been diverted to compensating survivors of priest sexual abuse and cover-up.

Leonardo De Chirico has done fantastic work with his Reformanda Initiative and the Rome Scholars and Leaders Network (RSLN).

Catholics are generally stereotyped as opposing abortion, but a recent AP poll found that 64 percent of U.S. Catholics (and 40 percent of Catholic Republicans) agreed that abortion should be legal in most or all cases, almost identical to the 65 percent of all adult Americans who held that view.

Evangelicals shouldn’t consult any Catholic theologians, but there’s a temptation in some egghead evangelical circles to engage in ecumenical intellectual snobbery. Catholic theologians all propagate the RCC’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit.

Pope Francis has taken many swipes at conservative U.S. Catholics who pine for pre-conciliar militantism. When a Catholic disparages Protestantism for its multi-fold denominations, remind the person that conservative Catholic talking heads advise their followers to ignore the progressive pope Francis.

I heard Vice President Kamala Harris identifies as “Baptist.” Hmm. A google check revealed she is a member of the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco, which is affiliated with the “social gospel” American Baptist Churches USA. The ABC USA (once known as the Northern Baptist Convention) went apostate generations ago.

Great news!


Tom’s retirement countdown: 18 more weekends to go!

Responding to “Meeting the Protestant Response,” #5: “The central theme of the passage is the identity of Jesus.”

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 continues with his arguments that Matthew 16:18 is a proof-text for Petrine primacy, the papacy, and the authority of the Roman Catholic church.

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13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter (petros), and on this rock (petra) I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” – Matthew 16:13-19


Protestant response #5: “The central theme of the passage is the identity of Jesus.”

Broussard quotes evangelical apologist, James R. White, to expound upon Protestant response #5: “The confession that Peter gives of the messiahship of Jesus is the central thought of the entire passage. It is the reason for the trip to Caesarea Philippi. Jesus indicates that Peter has just been the recipient of divine revelation. God, in his grace, has given to Peter an insight that does not find its origin in the will of man, but in God the Father himself. The content of that confession is, in fact, divine revelation, immediately impressed upon the soul of Peter. This is the immediate context of verse 18, and to divorce verse 18 from what came before leads to the errant shift in attention from the identity of Christ to the identity of Peter that is found in Roman Catholic exegesis. Certainly we cannot accept the idea, presented in Roman theology, that immediately upon pronouncing the benediction upon Peter’s confession of faith, the focus shifts away from that confession and what it reveals to Peter himself and some office with successors based upon him!” – James R. White, quoted from a debate with Catholic apologist, Robert Sungenis, May 30, 2008.

Broussard’s rebuttal

Broussard answers that there is a shift in focus from Jesus Christ to Peter beginning in verse 17. The pronoun “you” is used in reference to Peter twice in v. 17, twice in v.18, and thrice in v. 19. Given the context of the entire passage, argues Broussard, it’s only reasonable to assume that Jesus is referring to Peter as the rock upon which He will build His church in v. 18.

My rebuttal

James. R. White presented an excellent argument above regarding the focus of vv. 13-17 in context with v. 18, wherein Jesus declared He would build His church upon the truth divinely revealed to Peter, that He was the Messiah/Christ. White is undeniably correct in asserting that Catholics almost completely ignore the context presented in vv. 13-17 in making their case via v. 18 for Petrine primacy. There is certainly a shift in focus beginning in v. 19 where Jesus declares He will give to Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven (important note: Jesus granted these spiritual keys of locking and unlocking, binding and loosing, to ALL of His disciples in Matthew 18:18). Broussard and Catholics self-servingly argue the shift in focus from Jesus to Peter begins in v. 17, while Gospel Christians argue the shift begins with v. 19. Who is right? Last week, we presented conclusive evidence (see here) that Jesus would build His church upon Himself as Christ/Messiah, Son of God, and Savior, NOT upon weak Peter and the corrupt despots in the Vatican who claimed to be Peter’s successors.

Next week: Protestant response #6: “All the apostles are the foundation, not just Peter.”

Throwback Thursday: Billy Graham – Part 2

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on September 21, 2016 and has been revised.

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Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000
By Iain H. Murray
The Banner of Truth Trust, 2000, 342 pp.

5 Stars

For part one of this post, please see here.

German higher biblical criticism came to the U.S. in the later-19th-century and was a swift-spreading cancer in seminaries and mainline Protestant churches. Believing churchmen drew a line in the sand with a series of 90 essays on the basics of the Christian faith, published between 1910 and 1915, and known as “The Fundamentals: A Testimony To The Truth.” Bible Christians rallied around the cherished doctrinal truths, but as mainline liberalism gained wider support, the fundamentalist movement increasingly adopted a circle-the-wagons, bunker mentality.

Billy Graham began his ministry in 1947 as a fundamentalist, but he and others recognized that fundamentalism took the opposite approach to Jesus’ exhortation to be in the world, but not of the world. Graham and like-minded friends (Carl Henry, Harold Ockenga, Edward Carnell, et al.) reasoned they could more effectively reach souls for Christ by cooperating with mainline liberals and religious unbelievers rather than by separating from them. But just as fundamentalism had its unhealthy sectarian extremism, Graham’s “New Evangelicalism” had its own pitfalls. Cooperation works both ways and Graham’s cooperation with unorthodoxy and unbelief led to accommodation, compromise, and eventually, betrayal of the Gospel. Graham sacrificed right doctrine on the altar of numbers, popularity, and ecclesiastical “respectability” and set a precedent for generations of pastors and para-church leaders to come.

In “Evangelicalism Divided,” Iain Murray, a former close assistant to D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, documents the rise and fall of Graham and New Evangelicalism. The larger portion of the book is devoted to circumstances in Britain, which closely mirrored those in the United States. Swimming against the rising tide, Lloyd-Jones called upon evangelicals to break ties with mainline liberalism and religious unbelief. When Graham began organizing crusades in Britain, he asked Lloyd-Jones, the nation’s most notable evangelical, to lend his support. Lloyd-Jones refused due to the many liberal churchmen aka religious unbelievers involved in Graham’s crusades. In opposition to Lloyd-Jones, Britain’s New Evangelicals, led by John Stott and J. I. Packer, rationalized that believers would be far more effective if they worked within the Anglican church. Not surprisingly, Packer would go on to be one of the charter signers of the ECT – Evangelicals and Catholics Together – ecumenical accords. Stott also fully embraced Roman Catholicism as a Christian entity. As for the current state of Anglicanism, is there even one Bible-believing minister within the entire denomination?

Murray may wander a bit, but overall this is an excellent book. There were so many passages I wanted to quote, but where to stop? I would have ended up quoting half the book. For everyone who wonders HOW and WHY Graham and company ended up eventually betraying the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, this book is a sad but necessary eye-opener.

“The reason why the BGEA (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association) decided to co-operate with liberals and other non-evangelicals (such as Roman Catholics – Tom) was never set out in terms of principle. The fact is that the policy was seen as a neccessary expedient designed sincerely for the best end, namely to gain a wider hearing for the gospel. Crusades depended on crowds and in the Graham story there is an almost ever-present concern for maintaining and increasing numbers. ‘Keeping an eye for maximum public impact’ and ‘trying always for the largest possible crowds’ was a settled part of the Billy Graham Association’s strategy.” pp- 58-59.

“We may be small in numbers but since when has the doctrine of the remnant become unpopular among evangelicals? It is one of the most glorious doctrines in the whole Bible. We are not interested in numbers. We are interested in truth and in the living God. ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’ …If we stand for God’s truth we can be sure that God will honour us and bless us.” – a quote from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, p.293.

“Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000” is available at Amazon here.

Catholic Myths

Catholic Myths: A Biblical Examination into the Myths, Rituals, Relics, Superstitions, and Inventions of the Roman Catholic Church
By Charles A. Zonca
Independently published, 2020, 227 pp.

3 Stars

With “Catholic Myths,” author Charles A. Zonca (Word of Victory Tract Ministries) has done a decent job examining many of the mythical elements of Roman Catholic theology (see chapter headings below). The RCC’s doctrines are based more upon the church’s spurious “sacred traditions” than upon the Bible. Many of the traditions have their roots in paganism.

However, there are a couple of problems with this book. 1) Zonca relies heavily upon Alexander Hislop’s “The Two Babylons” (1858) and Ralph Woodrow’s “Babylon Mystery Religion” (1966), which drew directly from the former. Historians have shown that Hislop overreached with some of his postulations regarding Babylonian paganism. Woodrow later reconsidered and disavowed his previous book with the publication of “The Babylon Connection?” in 1997. 2) Zonca is a purveyor of KJV 1611-Onlyism and presses that view.

“Catholic Myths” has a lot of very good, detailed information about popular, superstition-tinged Catholic beliefs and practices that the more academically-inclined evangelical writers like Gregg Allison and Leonardo De Chirico tend to avoid, but the problems mentioned above prevent me from recommending this book as a resource.

An excellent examination of Roman Catholicism as it compares to Biblical Christianity is “The Gospel According to Rome” by James G. McCarthy, available at Amazon here.

Contents

Myths

  • Bible Versions
  • The Rock
  • Apostolic Succession
  • Peter – Bishop of Rome
  • Limbo
  • Purgatory
  • Transubstantiation
  • Sacrifice of the Mass
  • Forgiveness of Sins
  • Mary – Mother of God
  • Assumption
  • Immaculate Conception
  • Mary Worship
  • Worship of Saints
  • Celibacy
  • Priests and Nuns
  • Sainthood Canonization
  • Fasting from Meat
  • Gambling and Drinking
  • Many Ways to Heaven
  • Muslims
  • Chrislam
  • Papal Infallibility
  • Charismatic Movement
  • The Magi

Rituals

  • All Saints Day
  • Holy Stairs in Rome
  • Indulgences
  • Infant Baptism
  • The Host
  • Worship of the Monstrance
  • Pope’s Tiara
  • Mitre
  • Kissing the Pope’s Ring
  • Kissing Statues
  • Priestly Clergy Garments
  • Processions
  • Praying the Rosary
  • Pilgrimages to Shrines
  • Votive Candles
  • Catholic Santería Voodoo Rituals
  • Epiphany Door Blessing Ritual

Relics

  • Relics of Romanism
  • Our Lady of Clearwater
  • The Nun Bun
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe

Superstitions

  • Apparitions
  • Amulets

Good News

  • The Bible – Man’s Only Hope

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #141

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 3:9-20 on “All Are Under Sin.”

Next, we have Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City preaching from Romans 2:1-3 on “God’s Perfect Judgement.”

Both of these sermons were delivered on Sunday, June 5th.

Pastor Roger Copeland – All Are Under Sin – Sermon begins at 19:25 mark

Pastor Cody Andrews – God’s Perfect Judgement – Sermon begins at 25:45 mark

The Legion of Super-Heroes in “Playing Hooky II”

It’s time once again to climb aboard our time bubble and travel to the future for another adventure with those crime-fighting heroes of the 31st Century.

The Legion of Super-Heroes in “Playing Hooky II”
Writer: Paul Levitz, Penciller: Eduardo Pansica
Adventure Comics #519, DC Comics, December 2010

4 Stars

Plot

Chameleon Boy, Invisible Kid, and Shrinking Violet, the Legion’s “espionage squad,” sneak aboard Zaryan’s space cruiser as it orbits the planet Rimbor, hoping to apprehend the smuggler-villain. Invisible Kid inadvertently sets off an alarm and the team must fight off sentry robots. After overcoming the opposition, the team makes its way to the bridge and a battle ensues with Zaryan and his minions. Zaryan escapes once again and vows to defeat the Legion on Earth.

In the meantime, Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl travel in a time bubble back to Smallville in the 20th century. Brainy won’t divulge the purpose of the mission, although he does have a checklist. Superboy joins the quartet and they set off to a) experience some old fashioned weather in a rainstorm and tornado, and b) while in disguise, participate in a barn-raising for Pa Kent with some of the young Smallville locals, culminating in some delicious apple pie baked by Ma Kent. That night, the quintet does some star-gazing, but the serenity is interrupted by a “Brainiac probe,” that had honed in on Superboy’s Kryptonian ship. From historical archives, Brainiac 5 had ascertained that the probe would be arriving at that precise time and he subsequently neutralizes the invader with his superior 31st-century technology. By destroying the probe, Brainiac 5 delays his arch-villain ancestor, Brainiac, from coming to Earth until Kal-El matures from Superboy to Superman and is suitably able to vanquish him.

Comments

It was refreshing to have just a small number Legionnaires to follow in this issue. The Zaryan storyline continues to be pretty simple, but I sense a tragedy coming up next issue with the story ominously titled, “Tragedy.” It was fun seeing the future kids dealing with 20th century bad weather and a rural barn-raising. Levitz did a nice job with that. The “Playing Hooky II” in the title refers to the similarly simple activities of Superboy and the Legion in Adventure Comics #12’s “Playing Hooky” that we reviewed in February. The ending of this issue involving the Brainiac probe was head-scratchingly convoluted for a non-DC regular. Where was Sheldon Cooper when I needed him? Instead, I had to google “Brainiac probe” and find out what that was all about. Pansica’s artwork is excellent in some panels and amateurish in others.

I’m enjoying these “young Legion” issues with their simpler plotlines. The next issue, Adventure #520, is the last in the young Legion series, and then we pick up the “older Legion” plotline where we left off back in January with LSH #7.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 6/18/22

I don’t need to tell you that it’s “Gay Pride Month” since we are all being subjected to the L*** propaganda steamroller ad nauseam via the media and elsewhere. When I log in my time on my computer at work, the first thing I see on my company’s website is a large colorful article endorsing and promulgating Gay Pride Month. We note that the Bible teaches against both homosexuality and pridefulness.

The first article above provides an informative summary of how pope Francis, James Martin, SJ, and other progressives are greasing the skids for full acceptance of practicing L***ers within the RCC. The second article mentions the ongoing efforts of progressive Catholics to canonize Franciscan priest, Mychal Judge, a former NYC firefighters’ chaplain and the first individual to die in the 9/11 attack, as the first openly homosexual saint. Popular Catholic theologian, John Henry Cardinal Newman’s (1801-1891), canonisation was delayed for 130 years due to his controversial relationship with priest, Ambrose St. John, but pope Francis pushed it through in 2019.

No one should be pressured to support the L*** propaganda machine. Society will increasingly demand that Bible Christians acquiesce.

Pseudo-Christian pro-L***ers often use the argument that Jesus Christ never specifically condemned homosexuality, as Catholic Ted Lieu recently pointed out on the floor of the U.S. Capital. This is an argument from the absurd.

“3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” – Matthew 19:3-6

Jesus taught a man/male and woman/female becoming one, not a man and a man or a woman and a woman. Jesus upheld all of Scripture, and the Old Testament (and New Testament) unequivocally identifies homosexuality as sin.

The RCC spends years revising its formulaic incantations. Only God can forgive sins.

Some liberal Catholics are saying “sayonara” to the RCC and encouraging others to do the same after San Francisco archbishop, Salvatore Cordileone, barred abortion supporter, Nancy Pelosi, from receiving the Jesus wafer in her home diocese.

Tomorrow is the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi (“the Body of Christ”), in which Catholics celebrate the alleged transformation of bread wafers into the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. Eating the Jesus wafer supposedly imparts graces that helps the partaker to resist sin in order to merit salvation at the moment of death. The U.S. Catholic bishops ordained a three-year eucharistic revival beginning tomorrow. The aim of the revival is to educate Catholics on proper Jesus wafer doctrine, etiquette, and protocols. A 2019 Pew Research poll showed that only 30% of Catholics believe the consecrated wafer is actually Jesus. A very recent survey revealed that only 34% of Catholics believe the Jesus wafer should be withheld from Catholic politicians like Pelosi and Joe Biden who disagree with church teaching on abortion. Tomorrow, Rochester Catholic bishop, Salvatore R. Matano, will be carrying a large Jesus wafer in a monstrance (gold container with see-through glass) in a procession around Corpus Christi Church at 864 E. Main St. Catholics will line the streets (well, certainly not as many as in years gone by) and bow in worship to the Jesus wafer as it passes by (example photo below).


The alternative to all of the falsities and wranglings within the RCC referred to in the articles above is the genuine Good News! of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.


Tom’s retirement countdown: 19 more weekends to go!