Category Archives: Issues

The Legal Principle of Prior Claim–Jesus, Taxes, and God’s Claim on Our Lives

by Peter Ditzel

You may be familiar with Jesus' statement, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." You may also realize, perhaps grudgingly and wondering whether there are any exceptions, that this means you are to pay your taxes. But when we look at this statement more closely and in context, we see that Jesus was addressing far more than taxes. In fact, that was not even the primary point of His response. Jesus was actually answering the Jews with a legal principle they hadn't thought of. It is a principle that applies to every one of us, and it will help us put the focus in our lives right where it belongs.

To put it mildly, the Jewish religious leaders were getting upset and desperate. Jesus had ridden into Jerusalem on two donkeys as the people shouted, “Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest” (Mark 11:9b-10). There could be no mistaking these praises; the people were claiming Jesus as the Messiah. And, just as the Jewish leaders had voiced after Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, they were afraid that this ruckus would cause the Romans to come and “take away both our place and nation” (John 11:48). Unfortunately for them, they were looking in the wrong direction. They feared men instead of God who is over all nations, and who, forty years later, would use the Romans to do exactly what they were afraid of (when the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70).

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Why the Suffering? Answering the age-old question, Why does a loving God allow humans to suffer?

by Peter Ditzel

“Why?” This is the age-old question uttered in anguish and tears after every natural disaster, war, and, as we have seen recently, act of terrorism. “Why?” “Why did it happen to me?” “Why did it happen to my family?” “Why did God let it happen?”

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What Motivated Terry Ratzmann’s Shooting Spree in the Living Church of God?

by Peter Ditzel

On March 12, 2005, 44-year-old Terry Ratzmann walked into the services of the Living Church of God. They were being held in the Sheraton Hotel near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ratzmann stood near the back of the room where he was spotted by 12-year-old Robert Geiger. The boy later described Ratzmann, whom he had known most of his life, as looking enraged, and “his eyes were real dark.” Robert also saw Ratzmann’s gun.

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Q. What is the Christian’s responsibility toward the environment?

by Peter Ditzel

A. Environmental issues can be very controversial. There is a lot of propaganda that we should be skeptical of. Studies on the environment funded by grants from the government and science foundations are very lucrative for scientists, and we must never think that scientists are above being as totally depraved and sinful as anyone else. I have a degree in Environmental Studies, knew many environmental scientists, and remember them spending much of their time brainstorming about how to get grant money. And, although scientists would like us to believe that they approach a problem with neutrality, we should always consider whether a scientist’s conclusion is influenced by his politics. I am not saying that everything you read about various environmental crises is a lie. Nor am I trying to apply a broad brush to environmental scientists that paints them all as money-grubbing con artists. But I am saying that, as with anything, what we read about environmental issues should be viewed with a skeptical eye.

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Q. What does the Bible say about divorce for Christians? When is it allowed?

A. Statistics show that divorce is about as common among Bible-believing Christians as it is among the general populace. For example, a Barna Report for the United States shows that 32 percent of all born again Christians who have been married have experienced at least one divorce while 33 percent of all adults—Christian and non-Christian—who have been married have been divorced. This is alarming. While the remedy to this is complex and includes understanding what the Bible teaches about marriage, knowing what the Bible teaches about divorce can also help. So, in answering this question, my hope is that it will not only give us biblical knowledge (always a good thing) but that it will also cause couples considering divorce to think again and reconsider taking such a drastic action. Because, as we will see, most divorces granted today do not meet God’s criteria and are, in fact, not real divorces at all.

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Voting for the Lesser of Two Evils Is Evil

by Peter Ditzel

May 9, 2008

In George Orwell’s 1984, a novel about a brainwashed populace controlled by a totalitarian government, there is a term called “blackwhite.” It was the ability to accept whatever “truth” the ruling party put out. Orwell described it as, “loyal willingness to say black is white when party discipline demands this. It also means the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know black is white, and forget that one has ever believed the contrary.” Today, we are being asked to believe that evil is good.

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5 October 2011–Virtual Monkeys Type “A Lover’s Complaint”

by Peter Ditzel

A couple of weeks ago, the news reported that a computer programmer named Jesse Anderson announced that he was close to getting virtual monkeys to randomly type Shakespeare’s “A Lover’s Complaint.” This was supposedly an answer to the question, Would an infinite number of monkeys pounding on an infinite number of typewriters be able to produce Shakespeare’s works?

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Unsettled Times

by Peter Ditzel

Have you found yourself a little anxious lately? You’re not alone. With terrorism, serial killings, and a depressed economy at home and the threat of war abroad, nerves are beginning to fray.

We live in what is probably the most unstable time in global politics since World War II. Violence threatens to erupt on many fronts, such as Iran, North Korea, and China; and these fronts are multiplying.

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