A Pastor’s Tribute to a Warrior

Posted in Military with tags , , , , on March 4, 2014 by Barry Mahler

I Jeff Reynoldsrecently had the sad honor of officiating at the memorial service of former U.S. Navy SEAL Jeff Reynolds, whose untimely and difficult passing was a shock to us all.  The memorial service was unfortunately not recorded, and I have received many requests for copies of the message I delivered in celebration of Jeff’s chosen profession – that of the warrior.  With permission of the Reynolds family, I have done my best to create a transcript of that message as I recall delivering it.  We must never cease to honor our heroes.

Pastor Barry Mahler

 

Today is not an easy day.  But then, as many of you here know only too well, it’s not about easy days.  And it’s not about easy days because in our fallen world people become enthralled with evil ideologies, and when they do they inevitably turn to violence in order to spread those evil ideologies.  And they brutalize, they oppress, they enslave and they kill.

This means that if free and noble people desire to remain free and noble, they must become as good at the issue of violence – or even better at the issue of violence – than those who would oppress or brutalize them.  And so there must arise from their midst the heroes and the warriors – those individuals of unusual valor and commitment who train intensely in the issues of war and combat so that the men, women and children who live behind their backs may do so in peace, safety and freedom.

And in times of extraordinary threat, there must be extraordinary individuals of extraordinary commitment who train to extraordinary lengths in order to overcome that threat so that others may dwell behind their backs in peace, safety and freedom.  This extraordinary commitment is exemplified by those who comprise this nation’s Special Warfare commands and units, and is embodied, of course, by that elite group of men known as U.S. Navy SEALs.

And if a people still has any virtue left in the heart of their nation, they are duty-bound to honor the service and commitment of such individuals, and today we gather to honor the extraordinary service and commitment of U.S. Navy SEAL Jeff Reynolds: a warrior and a hero, and a man who comes from a remarkable family of heroes.

But is a house of worship an appropriate place to honor the ethos (that which drives the heart) of the hero and the warrior?  Yes, and for two very good reasons.  The first reason is logical and historical, for the important Constitutional rights we enjoy here today – chief among them the freedom of religion, the freedom of speech and the freedom of assembly – is a covenant delivered to the American people in blood.  But it is not in the blood of the pastor, not in the blood of the politician, not in the blood of the professor, and not in the blood of the community organizer.  Instead, it is a covenant guaranteed in over two centuries of the noble blood of the American warrior.

So yes, this is an appropriate place to honor that ethos.  And so to all warriors here today – warriors past, warriors present and warriors future – please know that you are appreciated, you are prayed for, and above all, you are most welcome among us.

The second reason is simply this: the noble warrior is a servant of God.  Oh, not like the kamikaze thought he was the reincarnation of the Divine Wind, or like the jihadist thinks he will inherit seventy-two eternal virgins by bringing Allah the blood of infidels, but in a far deeper and more noble way – by defending that which is humanity’s defining characteristic and most precious asset: the image of God.

The first mention of humanity in Scripture was done in conjunction with the first mention of the image of God, when in Genesis 1:26 God said Let us create man in our image, in our likeness.  This makes the image of God the very thing that defines humanity, but what exactly is the image of God?  I believe it is summarized for us in Philippians 4:8, where it speaks of whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.  It is all that stirs the human heart and mind upward toward reason, honor and things dignified.

But this image (all that was true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy) was once lost upon Earth as described in the sixth chapter of Genesis, resulting in the cleansing of the Flood.  And the day those eight remaining people of Noah’s family stepped off of the ark, things changed drastically, for there was now going to be a sheriff in town!  Not a new sheriff, mind you, but a first sheriff, for on that day God imposed law upon Earth for the very first time, and through that law imposed the institution of human government.  And when God did so in Genesis 9:6, He defined the purpose of human government – and of the law which is its basis – as being that of honoring the image of God and of protecting that image from extinction.

This has wonderful implications for the peace officer and also the military, for since God gave us the idea of the necessity of law, He also gave us the necessity of the lawman to see that the idea of law is followed and upheld.  What this means is that the peace officer is every bit the servant of God that the pastor or minister is, provided the law he or she serves is just and noble.  And there is no more noble a body of law than that U.S. Constitution to which the peace officer pledges his or her ultimate fidelity, and which in its wisdom and depth and beauty enshrines those just ideas that allow the image of God to flourish.

Furthermore, since the military is simply the idea of law enforcement on a grander scale, this means that the warrior is every bit the servant of God that the pastor or minister is, provided the cause served is just and noble.  And here we must remind ourselves of the oath we once took, for whether that of enlistment or of commissioning, that oath contained this common phrase: to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.  It was not an oath to defend the United States.  It was not an oath to defend a man.  It was not an oath to defend a political party, and it was not an oath to defend a piece of land.  It was an oath to defend the defining document of this nation, and thereby to defend the principles therein.

But ultimately you know a tree by its fruit, and so let’s examine some of the fruit of the U.S. military.  Seventy years ago many of our men and boys headed west and – at a tremendous cost in blood, limb and life – freed the entire Pacific theater from the oppression of imperial Japan.  At the same time, others headed east and did the same in Africa and Western Europe, freeing those peoples from the scourge of the Nazis and fascists.  Now we understand that we had help from some stalwart allies in the cause, of course, but it is also understood that we were the prime mover in the effort.  And after having accomplished this monumental feat, the U.S. military had a tremendous portion of this planet under its control, and the potential for empire was truly staggering.

But while empire beckoned the troops stay or even advance – and no military in history had ever walked away from such an opportunity – the Constitution bid that they return, for the Constitution was safe.  And so in perhaps the greatest mass act of nobility in military history, they came home, and loved their wives, and raised their children, asking only for enough real estate to bury their dead.

And so from the shores of Normandy and Iwo Jima to the jungles of Vietnam, to the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, to the skies above and across and below the surface of the seas, and in a thousand small and unknown places and ways about which we will never know because of the nature of what many of you do, that noble military – though comprised of fallen and imperfect people – has time and again broken the teeth of evil and has kept the Darkness from covering this earth.

That Darkness fought by the military is the same Darkness fought in the house of worship, for Darkness has but one source.  We are therefore allies and comrades-in-arms, and any legitimate house of worship is a place where the ethos of the hero and the warrior is honored.  Let us never forget that out of all of the great servants of Scripture, only one was honored as a man after God’s own heart: David the warrior.

And we can honor Jeff Reynolds the warrior by continuing on as heroes and warriors who never give an inch to the Darkness.  We can honor Jeff Reynolds the warrior by honoring and encouraging the heroes and warriors in our midst.  And we can honor Jeff Reynolds the warrior by teaching the ethos (the heart) of the hero and warrior to our children and grandchildren so that they might live in freedom and dignity upon Earth.  There is no better or greater legacy for a Navy SEAL than that.

We can also honor Jeff’s life by reminding ourselves of the dangers involved for the hero and the warrior.  A few years ago I had just sent my wife off to work with her coffee in hand (six years in the Navy was definitely not wasted – I learned how to make some good coffee!), and scarcely had a minute passed before she called to tell me that my buddies were at a house around the corner.  I was a chaplain with the Sheriff’s Department then, and so I put on my jacket and walked over to the house where the squad cars had gathered.  There was a Marine who had moved into the neighborhood a few months before – I hadn’t even had the chance to meet him yet – and he had ended his life in his garage the night before.

I stayed there for some hours with one of the deputies, and we both took this one hard.  It was unfortunately not something all that uncommon to see in the law enforcement business, but it just seemed to really affect us.  The Marine’s Gunny eventually showed up, and we were able to learn about this remarkable man.  He had been in the Corps for over twelve years, was very intelligent, spoke at least five languages, was well liked and had thus far had a fine career.  He had already done seven tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was scheduled for his eighth.

Now we don’t know why he took his own life, but I have my suspicions.  When talking with the Gunny, I totaled up all of the time this Marine had spent in the hostile theaters of Iraq and Afghanistan, and it turns out that he had already served more time there than it had taken this nation of ours to prosecute World War II from start to finish.  And all of that time served while facing the most vile kind of enemy.  The kind who fight from behind houses of worship and who cry foul when you fight back.  The kind who use women and children as shields, or who would just as easily blow up women and children without a second thought just for the privilege of killing you.  And all of that time facing the possibility that every doorknob may be booby-trapped, that every rock may be an IED, or that every child may be an IED.  And all of that time being forced to fight under truly hideous rules of engagement imposed by our politicians.  It’s a wonder that anyone is able to keep their sanity under such conditions – and he was scheduled to go back for more.

You see, Al Qaeda and the Taliban never got to my neighbor, but I think that the Darkness eventually did.  As a pastor and a veteran, I beg – I plead – of the hero and the warrior: do not do yourself the disservice of believing that you can peer long and deeply into the heart of Darkness and be unaffected by it.  And you must peer long and deeply into the heart of Darkness in order to fight it, for you must know what you are fighting in order to defeat it.  It will stain you, it will corrupt you, it will steal from you – that’s what it does.  And it will leave you lost and hopeless and broken.

In my post military life I became a pastor.  This shows that God definitely has a sense of humor – and if you’d heard the way I talked for my last two years in the Navy, you’d know just how great that sense of humor is!  And in this post military life I soon noticed that there was a Special Warfare command operating all around me, only the Operators were the most unlikely group of men – they were pastors!

They were pastors who with ferocity battled the Darkness day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year.  Who with ferocity battled the Darkness in prayer, who with ferocity battled the Darkness from their pulpits, who with ferocity battled the Darkness in study and in ministering to the lost and the broken and the hurting and the dejected and the disenfranchised.  And they did so without ever losing their way or their hope, for their foundation was secure and their destination sure.

I surrounded myself with such men – I surround myself with such men to this very day – because you want the best around you when it starts going down.  I once picked a fight with a Navy SEAL, and it was Navy SEAL versus Navy Nuke.  He was gracious and let me live, and didn’t even hurt me very much.  And he gave me a wonderful introduction to the carotid restraint.  Truly impressive and efficient.  You see, my Navy training had me splitting atoms.  I could push the aircraft carrier through the water, I could make your water and electricity and give you steam to launch planes, but combat obviously wasn’t my thing.  Which means that when it came to fighting, you didn’t want the Navy Nuke by your side.  You wanted a Jeff Reynolds.  You wanted the men trained by Jeff Reynolds.  You wanted the Navy SEAL, the Marine, the Ranger and the infantryman.

My point here is simply this: let us help you!  We are some of the pastors in your communities and some of the chaplains in your commands.  You’ll know us by our words and our deeds and our hearts.  We’re not asking for your membership or your attendance.  We’re not even asking you to believe what we believe.  Of course we pray for you in the general sense, but we would love to know you and pray for you by name.  And for your family.  And if anonymity is needed, we can do that too.  What we’re asking is simply the opportunity of relationship, and to allow us to have your backs in the way that we do best, because we live behind your backs in peace, safety and freedom.  That’s something we never forget.

So let’s wrap this up.  I have a confession to make: I love my Commanding Officer.  The one above my wife.  When I was in the Navy, this is a confession I never would’ve made, of course, as my fellow sailors would’ve looked at me funny.  Today, however, with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, it probably wouldn’t be an issue.  But I do love my Commanding Officer.  He is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Great I Am.  He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.  He is Immanuel (which means God With Us), and He is most commonly known as Jesus.

He is a wonderful Savior, an unsurpassed friend and comrade (who will never leave a man behind), and is the finest Commanding Officer I’ve ever had.  He alone can award that campaign ribbon most desired by all the living – the campaign ribbon of eternal life.  It is a simple, dark red ribbon – red with the red of His blood, with which He purchased forgiveness for all humanity.  And He freely awards it to all those who willingly serve under His command.

There is room for all in that command – especially for the hero and the warrior – for just as the Darkness has but one source, so too does the Light served by the warrior as he or she defends all that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

And my Commanding Officer, well, He is the Light of the World.

Pray with me please…

Imagine There’s No Islam

Posted in Islam with tags , , , , , , on August 30, 2013 by Barry Mahler

All ideologies have their rough patches during which horrible or detestable deeds are done in their names, but the fourteen centuries of horrible and detestable deeds done in the name of Islam don’t qualify as a rough patch – they qualify as a definition.  It is therefore high time that the rest of the world disinvite Islam from the table of acceptable ideas on planet Earth.

As Syrian Heart-Eating Rebelcivilized people, we are naturally loathe to ban any ideology from acceptability, but there are times when we simply must do so in order to remain civilized, and World War II gives us two excellent examples of this.  After World War II, the Nazi Party (including its emblems and much of its ideology) was outlawed in Germany, since it was correctly recognized as being responsible for hideous and destructive behavior on a grand scale.  And as a condition of surrender, the Japanese Emperor Hirohito renounced his claim to divinity, which had been a driving force for so much of the devastation caused by Japan before and during the war.  We must not give an ideology a pass simply because it’s a religious ideology.

A tree is recognized by its fruit, and when we taste the fruit of Islam we find it to be regressive, brutal, disingenuous and intolerant, bent solely upon seeing the planet succumb to a one-world caliphate under which all dissent is stifled and is ultimately punishable by death.  When stronger than its neighbors, Islamia has always tended to invade, bringing with it three options: conversion, slavery or death.  When weaker than its neighbors, Islamia has always infiltrated through the Religion of Peace colonization efforts until it reaches critical mass, after which it demands its way by force or subjugation.

Church BurningFurthermore, Islamia is the poorest of national neighbors, for wherever it exists next to non-Islam there is a bloody border which must be guarded unceasingly by those on the other side.  And when that border is breached, all that existed before Islam will be systematically destroyed and dismantled, and it will not go well with those minorities who resist the forced conversion.  How are the Hindus doing is Pakistan, the Zoroastrians doing in Iran, the Christians doing in Syria and Iraq, and the Jews doing in Egypt?

There have been more than 21,500 terror attacks committed in the name of Islam since that fateful day of September 11, 2001, and today in Syria the world is faced with the choice of either supporting the bloody Assad regime or the heart-eating cannibals of Al Qaeda who love flying planes into buildings and blowing kids to pieces.  Meanwhile, in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood is enjoying its version of the Nazi’s Kristallnacht, committing wholesale and virtually unhindered murder, rape, destruction and mayhem upon the Coptic Christian minority.

Human trafficking, pedophilia and child-bride-taking all thrive behind the Islamic Curtain, and black, non-Islamic Africa is being subjected to an astonishing degree of genocide, murder, slavery, rape and dispossession at the hands of Arab and African Muslims, while a silent world and its cameras look the other way.

I will be the first to acknowledge that there are noble Muslims upon Earth, but let us be honest enough to admit that Islam is little more than the MS-13 cartel of the religious world.  It deserves no place at the table of rational ideas, and we had best stand up and take note of this.  Islam does not play well with others, and it will strangle all dissenting ideologies when given the chance.  Fourteen centuries must be allowed to teach us something.  If, that is, we’re still capable of learning.

An Evangelical’s Response to Senator McCain Regarding Immigration

Posted in Borders, Government, Politics with tags , , , , on June 28, 2013 by Barry Mahler

Dear Senator McCain

Last week you appealed to us Evangelicals in your need to garner support for the (supposed) immigration reform bill passed yesterday by your Senate with the help of your smiling vote.  This is my response to your request for aid from us.

John McCainAbove and beyond our fidelity to the United States and her glorious Constitution, we Evangelicals owe our first and most lasting allegiance to the principles of Scripture, including those principles of Scripture dealing with good and appropriate government.  Since your immigration reform bill violates those principles at nearly every turn, please allow me to explain why it doesn’t have the support of this Evangelical pastor, and why your political party is losing us in droves over the notion of appropriate government.

Reason #1: Common sense.  The first rule of triage is to stop the bleeding, which in immigration terms means that any meaningful immigration reform begins with ensuring the immediate cessation of large-scale illegal immigration.  At a bare minimum this would mean securing our southern border before anything else is even attempted or proposed, but your bill does neither.  God is a reasonable Being and I am to have a reasonable faith (Isaiah 1:18), but your bill positively insults my intelligence.

Reason #2: God invented the idea of borders.  When Nimrod’s great experiment in one-world totalitarianism proved detrimental to the survival of human freedom and dignity, Babel Good-byesGod drastically intervened by confusing the languages of humanity.  Earth went from having one language one day to at least seventy languages the next day, and humanity was forever splintered into groups that would in time become separate and sovereign nations.  Language differences were therefore the first borders, and the God we serve instituted those borders.  This means that borders is not a dirty word, but is instead an idea necessary to sustaining human freedom and dignity.  Please see Genesis 10-11 for details.

Reason #3: Israel was given well defined borders.  God gave to Israel very specific borders (Numbers 34:1-12).  We crazy Evangelicals have the audacity to assume that He knew what He was doing when He did so, and so still assume it is a requirement for any sane nation.

Reason #4: Israel protected her borders and her sovereignty.  For some reason, many of the nations bordering Israel liked to test her borders whenever the opportunity to do so arose.  When with God’s blessing she grew strong and wise, Israel secured her borders and protected her sovereignty (2 Samuel 8:6,14; 1 Kings 4:20,21).

Reason #5: A citizen of Israel was peculiar.  Inside the borders of God’s Israel, the people spoke Hebrew (2 Kings 18:26), were equally subject to the Law of Moses (Exodus 12:49; 13:7; Numbers 15:29) and worshipped Jehovah to the exclusion of all other gods (Exodus 20:2-4).  Only converts to these three things were allowed to immigrate (Joshua 2:8-13; 6:23,25; Ruth 1:16,17).

Solomon & ShebaReason #6: Export successful ideas, don’t import failed ideas.  Israel got it right during the early and middle years of Solomon’s reign, and when she did, the world came streaming to her door to marvel at her success (1 Kings 4:34).  This included the Queen of Sheba who, instead of immigrating to Israel, took the knowledge of the Law and Jehovah back with her to her country.  All nations are welcome to give our Constitution and Judeo-Christian culture a try on their soil.  These things aren’t secrets and will work for anyone when tried together.

Reason #7: The New Testament changes none of this.  According to Genesis 9:6, government has the sacred duty of protecting and honoring the image of God in humanity, and that duty will not and cannot change until the sinful nature is extinguished in Revelation 21.  It is the Christian’s duty to make sure government stays on task till then.

With all due respect, Senator McCain, you are failing in this task, and your Republican party is failing miserably with you.  While I consider today’s Democrat Party platform to be truly inspired by Hell, I had yet held out some hope for the Republican Party, but unfortunately the official Republican motto now seems to be Vote for us, we’ll destroy the country more slowly than the Democrats!  How inspiring.

Mene Mene Tekel UpharsinSo no, you do not have this Evangelical pastor’s support (or the support of those within my meager sphere of influence), nor will you or your party likely ever have it again.  I speak with certainty only for myself, but I suspect there are many who share my sentiments.  We’re tired of being treated like a prostitute by you and your once-noble party’s profligate and unscriptural governmental ideologies every time you need a dark favor.  We are legion, and we are leaving.  Please do us a favor and lose our number.

MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

Sincerely

Pastor Barry Mahler

www.nuclearpastor.com

www.ungodthebook.com

The Political Date Rape of Christianity

Posted in Government, Politics with tags , , , , , , on June 14, 2013 by Barry Mahler

Spiking the WineBecause offering an alternative to the failed two-party system we see utterly destroying our constitutional republic is too deep an issue for blogging to handle alone, I have thus far resisted the near-necessity of encouraging Christians to abandon this system.  But now that my book (UNGOD: Unmasking the Dark Image of Hell) is available and outlines for us the Divine blueprint for appropriate human government, I shall hold off no longer.

Let’s begin with the Democrat Party.  Above all, a Christian’s highest allegiance should be to the Word of God, yet millions of professing Christians cast their votes in favor of the Democrat Party despite this progressive, secular, totalitarian, faith-despising party’s absolute hatred for the Scriptures.  How is that so many who claim to love God can routinely cast their votes in favor of a party and its slew of sponsored legislation that clearly contradict God’s stated views on the sanctity of human life in the womb (Exodus 21:22-25; Luke 1:39-45), the sanctity of monogamous heterosexual marriage (Leviticus 18:22; Malachi 2:15; Romans 1:26,27), the danger of multiculturalism (Exodus 20:3), the necessity of national separation and sovereignty (Genesis 10-11; Numbers 34:1-12), and the necessity of an armed citizenry (1 Samuel 14:19-22; Luke 22:36), to name but a few?  The answer is simple: errant compassion.

Decades ago, the secular progressives (the Marxists and their cousins) realized they needed to co-opt the Christian community in order to remake America in their Hellish image.  So they courted Christians and our churches, and while we weren’t paying attention they slipped the mickey of compassionate government into our communion wine.  We’ve been drunk on it ever since, and they’ve been having their way with us because of it, using us to craft Compassionate Governmentand sustain a fiendish, Orwellian-style government that is about to overwhelm and crush us and all things noble.

The Bible makes clear that compassion and human government are two ideas that should not cross paths.  Because of the existence of the sinful nature, God has instituted and given to government a role upon planet Earth, and that role is always stern – never compassionate (which is just one reason why government is designed to be small).  Compassion is a role expected of people, not government, and any charity done through government is therefore illegitimate and dangerous.  The forced redistribution of wealth under the guise of compassionate government openly violates the Tenth Commandment (you shall not covet) and the Eighth Commandment (you shall not steal).  How sad that we should need reminding that governments are meant to uphold the Commandments, not pilfer them.

The Good Samaritan was not a government agent or agency; he was a concerned human being.  Religion (not government) that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after widows and orphans in their distress… (James 1:27a NIV).  Yes, Jesus is compassionate, and so should His followers be.  But He is also the Lawgiver, and we don’t have the right to violate His Law in the name of compassionate government.  Any people who rely on government to accomplish charity are a people with no soul.

Adam-RepublicanNow to the Republican Party.  Whereas the Democrat Party has been guilty of date raping Christianity, the Republican Party has merely descended to the point where they treat Christianity like a prostitute: every two to four years they come our way, pay for the use of our services and, once elected, go back to their now-secular mistress.  Though their noble beginnings were founded by us, today they despise us, are embarrassed by us, and have a vision for government that runs nearly as counter to Scripture as that of the Democrats.  They (and their rising stars) will take us to the same destination as the Democrats, only more slowly.  It’s time to be done with them.

The truth of the matter is that both the Democrats and Republicans rely heavily upon professing Christians in order for their parties to exist and hold power.  What I am proposing is that all Christians withdraw their support from both of these destructive political parties and form a truly Biblical political party built upon a platform of Biblical government (which is basically a return to the purity of the Constitution).  There are so many millions of us that we could politically own the nation within two to three election cycles if this were done well and properly.

Top 10So what would a Biblical government look like?  It would be stern in nature, small in scope, strong on sovereignty and separation, monolingual and monocultural.  Its people would be tremendously free, lightly governed and highly responsible for their lives, their families and their actions.  It would be devoid of compassion and charity, defined roughly by the following ten basic duties of government:

  1. Pass a simple system of laws that honor and protect humanity’s most precious asset – the image of God in us (Genesis 9:6b; Exodus 20:2) – and enforce that system of laws (Genesis 9:5,6).  It should:
    • Ensure capital punishment for murderers (Genesis 9:6), other serious offenders (Leviticus 20) and repeat offenders (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)
    • Fine and/or physically punish minor offenders, after which they are to be set free (Leviticus 6:4,5; Deuteronomy 25:2,3).  There would essentially be no prison system
  2. Maintain an open, fair and free justice system (Exodus 18:21,22; Deuteronomy 19:15)
  3. Quarantine those with dangerous, infectious diseases (Leviticus 13)
  4. Ensure the private ownership of land (Numbers 26:1 – 27:11; Joshua 13-21)
  5. Maintain secure borders against the rest of the world (Joshua 13-19; 2 Samuel 8:6,14)
  6. Maintain a national language (Genesis 11:7-9; 2 Kings 18:26) and culture (Exodus 20:3)
  7. Avenge and protect the blood of its people upon the world stage (1 Samuel 15:2,3)
  8. Maintain its roadways that its people may move about freely (Deuteronomy 19:3)
  9. Mint the coin of the realm (Exodus 30:13)
  10. Tax all of its people an equal percentage of their income to maintain these services (Leviticus 27:30)

All else would be left to the realms of personal freedom and responsibility.

American Christians have sinned by aiding and abetting in the creation and sustenance of a governmental system truly odious to God, and if America falls into serfdom to that system there is a Dark Age sniffing around the corner.  Please consider buying a copy of UNGOD (the proceeds go to charity) and joining the noble cause of reclaiming and restoring to America (and beyond!) the idea of legitimate and appropriate government.

Defend the Image!

Planet Earth, Meet UNGOD

Posted in UNGOD with tags , , , on June 1, 2013 by Barry Mahler

UNGOD CoverAt long last, I finally have the privilege of introducing the book I’ve been promising.  The work of many years, UNGOD: Unmasking the Dark Image of Hell, has finally made it to print, and so please let me take a few minutes of your time to describe what it’s all about.  Rather than launch into a typical book description, though, I think it would be helpful to simply answer the most frequently asked questions about it that I find myself answering these days.  So here goes:

Q: Where did you come up with that title?

A: The subtitle (Unmasking the Dark Image of Hell) really defines the underlying current of the book, which is that of exposing the reality of Evil and what it’s trying to do to our world.  Regarding the main title (UNGOD), Scripture teaches that behind the idea of Evil there is an ancient and malevolent enemy of God and humanity.  Since this evil is best described as the absence of good, so also is our enemy best described as the absence of God, or the “un” of God.  I therefore chose to name him the ungod in order to describe him and his mission, and UNGOD just seemed like an appropriately epic title for the book after that.

Q: What’s up with the spooky image on the cover?

A: Within humanity there exists the capacity to follow the image of God in us upward toward things noble, or to follow the ungod’s image in us downward toward things dark and horrendous.  The cover is Venezuelan graphic artist Alonso Espinoza’s arresting interpretation of those possibilities within humanity.

Q: How long did it take you to write UNGOD?

A: From the first thought to having boxes of books arrive in my office was nearly eight years.  It took six years to physically write UNGOD, about eighteen months to refine it, and then roughly four months for the publishing process with Dog Ear Publishing.

Q: What’s UNGOD about?

A: Here’s the thought that started it all: In the beginning God created man in His image.  Ever since then, the Enemy has been trying to remake us in his own.  By reasoning through the Scriptures, UNGOD follows and defines the image of God in humanity, and in so doing shows us how the ungod is attempting to corrupt that image, shows us how we can fight back against him, and most importantly shows us how we can defeat him.

Q: Why should the image of God be important to us?

A: In Genesis 1:26, the first mention of humanity was done in conjunction with the first mention of the image of God, making the image of God the fundamental fact of human existence.  If we don’t understand what this image was meant to be in us – and what it still can and should be in us – the ungod will corrupt and pollute it into extinction, as has already happened once in human history (Genesis 6:5).

Hands of God and AdamQ: What is the image of God?

A: It’s a daunting task to reduce the concept of the image of God to a sound bite, but if my back were against the wall on this question,  I’d define it as whatever is good, right, noble, true, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).

Q: How does the image of God work?

A: It works much like photographic images work.  For instance, if someone were to study my collection of photographs of my first great dog, Sasha (who died many years ago), that person would come away with the ability to clearly describe her to others.  In the same way, every remarkable aspect of the design and construction of the human being reveals something wonderful about God.  In effect, we were designed as natural advertisements for His existence and what He is like.

Q: Why are all of the main chapters called “battlefields?”

A: Because we (and our planet) are ground zero in the struggle between Good and Evil.  As human beings, we aren’t meant to be pawns in this war, but are rather meant to be participants in it, and will one day give an accounting for our efforts to our Commanding Officer, as would Paul (2 Timothy 4:7,8).  The chapters are therefore called “battlefields” to help us recognize the reality of the war raging all around us.

Q: Why should a Christian read UNGOD?

A: Not only are we Image Bearers by virtue of our humanity, but we are redeemed Image Bearers by virtue of God’s grace, and Jesus our Redeemer is the perfect example of the image of God (Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:3).  This noble theme should therefore drive the very beating of our hearts, and I humbly submit that UNGOD makes this theme clearer and more relevant than anything else out there.

Q: Why should a non-Christian read UNGOD?

A: Although they may not know it, understand it or believe it, every human being still bears the image of God.  This is why no matter where you travel in the world, you will find those whose hearts harbor noble ideas and who yearn for things like freedom, dignity, loyalty, love, compassion and friendship.  Though they may not know its source, all of humanity alike possesses this Image and its noble yearnings, and so all have an equal stake in seeing that it is not made extinct upon Earth.  UNGOD is written is such a way that these issues are made clear to all.

Armor of GodQ: It’s a really serious book, isn’t it?

A: Yes, quite serious.  It’s certainly not “light” reading, and because UNGOD is thought-provoking, challenging and exposes those seductive tentacles of Darkness we all tend to hold dear, I find it best to take it in small doses, much like we do with devotional reading.  That’s why I think the most important page is the Epilogue: A Note on Grace, which ends the book, and I recommend turning there often during the stern trench warfare of the many Battlefields that precede it.  It is truly sobering to come face-to-face with the degree of Darkness entrenched upon Earth, but it must be done.

Q: How can I get a copy of UNGOD?

A: Because UNGOD is self-published, it isn’t yet available in bookstores.  If you’re fortunate enough to be in or near God’s country (Fallbrook, California), you can stop by Calvary Chapel Fallbrook for some copies.  If not, UNGOD is currently available online in hardcover, paperback and e-versions (Nook, Kindle, etc.) at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and may also be purchased directly from Dog Ear Publishing in either hardcover or paperback.  For distributors, please contact Dog Ear Publishing directly for wholesale pricing.  All of this information may be found at www.ungodthebook.com.

Q: What will you do with the money you make from UNGOD?

A: The financial proceeds from UNGOD will go to charity.  I’ve been privileged enough in life to serve as both a pastor and as a member of the U.S. armed forces, and so we’ve created a charity (Old Adobe Publishing, Inc.) that will receive the funds stemming from the sale and representation of UNGOD and direct those funds to military and Christian charities and causes.  For a list of those charities under consideration, please click the OUR CHARITY button on our website (www.ungodthebook.com).

Finally, I’d like to extend a note of much-deserved thanks.  If wealth were measured in the loyalty of friends and family, I must be the richest man on Earth, and nowhere has this been exhibited more than in the long process of bringing UNGOD to the world, and that of preparing me to represent it.  In the spirit of true and honorable giving, all of you have given humbly and in secret, and so I cannot embarrass you with public acknowledgement.  But how much you teach me of Christ!  Sincerely I thank you.  Having said that, there are two I simply must acknowledge: my wife Amparo, whose encouragement is as endless as her love is deep, and my blessed Savior, whose grace is the source for anything of worth or merit in me, and always shall be.

Planet Earth, meet UNGOD.

Defend the Image!

Killing O’Reilly?

Posted in O'Reilly Factor, Social Issues with tags on March 2, 2013 by Barry Mahler

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18 NIV).Bill O'Reilly

In promoting his upcoming book Killing Jesus (his third in the best-selling Killing series), the incredibly successful author and Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has in the clearest and most certain terms possible challenged the reliability of the Bible.  He has done this through open denial of the miraculous within its pages, dismissing into the cozy realm of allegory all supernatural acts he finds objectionable.  As a pastor and a defender of the Scriptures, I must take issue with him for at least a few reasons.

The Culture War.  Mr. O’Reilly prides himself on being a culture warrior, and presumably it is the best of American culture for which he is warring.  Since culture is best described as the shared worship of a people, the former greatness of American culture sprang from the idea of a shared worship of Jehovah among the generations surrounding its Judeo-Christian Founders and Framers.  These were people who believed in the inerrancy of Scripture and the veracity of the miracles of which it gave account, Jonah in the Bellyincluding Creation, the Flood, the creation of Israel, the Ten Commandments, the story of Jonah, the virgin birth of Jesus, the Resurrection, the Ascension and the coming re-creation of all things (Revelation 21:1).

Since the Bible begins with a miracle, is filled with miracles and ends with a miracle, when Mr. O’Reilly discounts the miraculous from the Scriptures, he is undermining that which is essential to truly great and rich American culture.  This means that at best he is guilty of friendly fire in the Culture War, while at worst he is no different than the allegorical Major Nidal Hasan, who turned his weapons on his fellow soldiers at Ft. Hood, Texas in 2009.

Playing both sides.  Mr. O’Reilly has repeatedly claimed to believe in Jesus, and has called himself both a Christian and a Catholic while at the same time crusading against the reliability and believability of Scripture.  This just doesn’t pass the smell test of intellectual honesty.  Years ago I was listening to a secular radio talk show program when a man who identified himself as a practicing gay Christian called into the show with a question.  He never got to his question because the host asked for clarification on how he could be a practicing gay Christian.  After the man stumbled around for a minute, he was admonished with words to this effect: You do not have the option of altering or doubting the sacred texts of a religion.  You can choose to be a Christian and follow the Bible, you can choose to start your own religion in which homosexuality is acceptable, or you can follow no religion One Wayat all.  But you do not have the right to change a religion or its texts to fit your personal belief system or your need to be validated.

Our world is far too full of Christians-In-Name-Only (CINOs), who openly disregard or disqualify those portions of the Bible that give them intellectual discomfort, and who falsely profess to the lordship of Jesus (Matthew 25:31-46).  Such people do great damage to the testimony and cause of Christ, and lead others down their same, broad road to destruction.  Scripture has a warning for the CINO: either get in or get out (Revelation 3:14-16).  And regarding his professed faith, Mr. O’Reilly is showing none of the intellectual honesty he likes to require of guests in his No Spin Zone.

A Dangerous Arrogance.  In the 1990’s we were treated to the Scripture-despising work of the Jesus Seminar, who by voting with their colored beads enlightened the masses by telling us which parts of the Gospels we could believe and which parts we couldn’t.  And what an odd surprise when we found out that most of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John just couldn’t be believed any more – especially since we all know that miracles just don’t occur!  Mr. O’Reilly is simply following in their wayward footsteps, No Miraclesclaiming to be the final authority on what we should and shouldn’t believe in the Bible.  Folly of this magnitude catches up with everyone – it is extremely unwise to stand on the shoulder of a giant and poke him in the eye.

Did God really say? was Hell’s first arrogant hiss upon this planet, and Mr. O’Reilly is beginning to use his remarkable platform as a megaphone with which to magnify that hiss into a roar.  How truly unfortunate, for it will be the ruin of him.

I’ve been a long-time fan of Mr. O’Reilly, and have watched his rise to greatness with a tremendous deal of admiration and respect.  He has done some great things along the way, but he is toying with things way above his pay grade here, and history is strewn with the carcasses of those who have fallen opposing the eternal Word of God.  The Bible will last long past the time when the Killing series and the O’Reilly Factor will have passed from memory, and I hope Mr. O’Reilly comes to his senses and repents before it’s too late – both for the sake of his soul and for how he is killing the good name of O’Reilly.Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

As for me, I shall keep him, his show and his upcoming book in my prayers.  But I can no longer in good conscience support a show or a man who so openly challenges that which is most sacred and fundamental to my faith.  We must be wary of the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Shall Not Be Infringed

Posted in Gun Control, Social Issues with tags , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2013 by Barry Mahler

HOW THE SECOND AMENDMENT REFLECTS BIBLICAL THOUGHT

Second AmendmentIn my previous article, I established the Biblical principle that citizens should be armed for two basic reasons.  The first of these reasons is that we need to be able to protect ourselves in a fallen world against those who would do us harm.  The second of these reasons is that we need to be able to keep government from growing tyrannical, for it will always tend to do so.  In practical terms, what this implies is that Hellish thought and ideology are always behind any movement aimed at disarming a populace, regardless of the intent behind the movement.

Because there exists a malevolent Enemy of our souls, whenever a noble principle is made clear in Scripture, it is a natural and expected thing that Hell will put its full force and influence behind thinking that is exactly opposite, giving rise to the evil (unbiblical) principle on the subject.  But because such a principle is typically too hideous or irrational to be trumpeted clearly and openly, the leaders of Hellish thinking will instead attack the noble principle by degrees until it is so weak that it is effectively destroyed, after which it may be openly supplanted by the evil principle in public discourse or through widespread practice.  Abortion is a perfect example of how this works.

The noble principle is that human life in the womb is sacred and is to be cherished.  The evil principle is therefore that human life in the womb is worthless and meaningless, and may be taken and discarded at will.  But because such a principle was originally too hideous for a decent people to openly embrace, the haters of human life have subtly attacked the sanctity of life in the womb by degrees.  First there was the insistence that abortion be considered acceptable in the case of rape, then of incest, then of the mother’s health, then of possible birth defects, then of financial and social realities, etc.  Once these cracks in the foundation of the noble principle were created and then widened, it wasn’t long until the principle was abandoned altogether, leaving us now in the position where the American womb is the most dangerous place in the world.

This abortion example dovetails nicely with the issue of gun control, for the same tactics are being used under cover of the Left’s feigned indignation at the slaughter of innocent school children in Newtown and elsewhere.  Now I want to be very careful in how I say this – especially because my own heart is still so heavy over the Newtown school massacre – but I don’t for an instant believe this Tiny Babyslaughter truly bothers those on the Left to any marked or lasting degree.  How can they support the slaughter of thirty-five hundred children a day and then claim to be bothered by the slaughter of twenty?  The stark truth is that if Adam Lanza had gone to work for Planned Parenthood, he could still be killing that many children every day, and be considered completely acceptable to the Left for doing so.

Now let us move on to discussion of the noble (Biblical) principle dictating the necessity of the citizenry to bear arms in order to keep tyrannical government at bay.  In order to understand what is at stake we must simply look at Hell’s counter (evil) principle, which is this: Only the government should have weapons.  But because such a principle is at first too irrational for a wise and free people to stomach, the noble principle it seeks to replace is initially attacked by degrees, which in our day comes to us in the guise of the gun control movement.

The first degree used here is that of labeling certain firearms with the ominous-sounding term of assault weapons, which should be immediately recognized as ridiculous and inflammatory.  By nature, all weapons are designed and built for the purpose of assault, and so the term assault weapon is as redundant as is the term wet water.  We must be quite wary here, for the dark genius hidden in the subtleties is often hard to detect.  Perhaps if we frame the Hellish argument from the standpoint of the (fictional) Water Control Lobby it will become more readily apparent: We don’t want to ban private ownership of all water, we just want to ban private ownership of wet water – you can keep all the rest.  Trust us.

The mere acceptance of such a thought forces a crack into the foundation of the noble principle, and this crack is then widened by ever-stricter limitations upon an armed citizenry (style of weapon, size of weapon, look of weapon, number of weapons, magazine capacity, etc.) until the population is finally ready for the full implementation of the evil principle, which in this case is a disarmed populace.  But beware, for Hell always owns a disarmed populace, who for the sake of perceived safety first lose their dignity, then their freedom, and then their lives.  It is far better to be a nation of wolves governed by sheep than to be a nation of sheep governed by wolves.

And so we must now answer the question which Theory of Duhnecessarily arises here: Just how armed should citizens be?  The men of ancient Israel were its army and therefore armed (Numbers 1), and the Jewish citizens of the Persian Empire were apparently as armed as its military (Esther 9:5).  When Jesus recommended that His disciples arm themselves with swords (Luke 22:35-38), he was essentially recommending that they carry the same weapon as the common Roman soldier, who also functioned as a police officer.  Our wise Founders and Framers had the same idea when they simply stated that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed (Second Amendment).  In each case, the noble principle dictates that the free citizen be able to meet and overcome the threat against himself or herself.  So what would this look like in real life?

In my first year as a Sheriff’s chaplain I had an interesting conversation with a seasoned deputy.  As we were riding along responding to calls, he told me that he didn’t understand why people trusted law enforcement so much with their safety.  When I asked what he meant, he told me that once the call to 911 came in, it would routinely be at least ten minutes before a patrol car could get to your home.  And here are the haunting words with which he ended the conversation: Ten minutes is an eternity to have someone in your house.  Hell, one minute is an eternity to have someone in your house.  That statement changed things about my life, my family and my home forever.

In my community, there is generally one patrol unit on duty for every ten thousand or so citizens, and that patrol unit is typically staffed with one brave deputy charged with protecting me and my family from the threats faced by the community.  Here is how he or she is armed (apart from less-lethal options): a loaded and chambered semi-automatic handgun with several high-capacity magazines, a select-fire (fully automatic) AR-15 with several high-capacity magazines, and a loaded 12-gauge shotgun with several rounds of buckshot and slugs in reserve.  If this is the level of personal armament deemed legally necessary for my protection by my local government, it by definition becomes the default position to which I should (or may) be armed in order to protect myself and my family from those same dangers.

Combat MarineFurthermore, this same standard must be applied even when we consider the admirable American military, for we have no assurance that they will always be so admirable and not be pressed into service against us by tyrannical leaders.  Here it seems that the noble principle dictates that the American people at the very least retain the ability to arm themselves to the level of the infantryman in order to forestall or repel such an event (however unlikely that may seem now).  Nor is this principle necessarily against the idea of citizens owning artillery, tanks or aircraft for the same reason.  I can’t imagine owning any of these things, but I can imagine that our government would show its people a great deal more respect if some of us did.

Finally, we must not gloss over the fact that in a fallen world there will be those who occasionally abuse this noble principle to the point of inflicting tragedy, mayhem or terror on others.  It must be understood that when dealing with sinful human beings, perfection is never attainable.  This means that we must choose between living with the (very) painful and relatively small imperfections of the noble principle, or of living with the large and devastating imperfections always realized by a disarmed populace who have followed the evil principle to its inevitable conclusion under the likes of Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot and others.

Hell’s goal is that of seeing the American (and every) people disarmed, and we who understand what is at stake must hold fast to the noble principle of a well-armed citizenry in order to keep this from happening.  Dignity, freedom and life are chief attributes of the image of God in us, and we who worship Him must guard these things as the precious jewels that they are, knowing well that the lapdogs of Hell are ever straining at the leash to destroy them.

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