My Newswithviews Column, May 18 (‘The Evidence of Things Not Seen’)

Hebrews 11:1–7 Bible Study Summary: Warren Camp | Hearty Boys

If you’ve noticed that it’s almost impossible to reach a meeting of the minds with someone who believes in socialism (or many other isms), it’s not because you’re doing it wrong. You’ve come up against that person’s religious faith. He can deny he has any “religion” till he’s blue in the face; but false religions count, too.

‘The Evidence of Things Not Seen’

Do we give up on Christianity because some college professor worships her reflection in a mirror? Because Bill Nye the Bull**** Guy says we should?

This fallen world is a hard school; but the Teacher does know what He’s doing.

‘It’s a Miracle!’ (Loaves and Fishes, Anyone?)

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Here’s some of that good news some of us were looking for.

At a church in Connecticut, has there been a miracle? The bishop has asked the Vatican to investigate (

This happened in March. They were taking communion and ran way short of communion wafers. And then, inexplicably, they had more than enough. Nobody knew where it came from.  Somehow the host had multiplied itself.

Jesus did that twice, only on a much bigger scale. The prophet Elisha did it once (2 Kings 4:42-44).

They’ve got plenty of people who saw the miracle at St. Thomas Roman Catholic Church, on March 5, but no one’s sure how to prove they saw it. The miracle left no hard evidence. That’s true of many miracles. “I was blind, but now I see”–how do you prove that Jesus did that?

Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Read the whole chapter. Without faith, there’s no such thing as proof.

‘I Am a Pilgrim’

No hymn requests today as yet, no likes, no comments–almost feels like CNN. So I’ll have to come up with something…

Here’s one I hadn’t heard before–I Am a Pilgrim, sung by Doc Watson with Jeff Little on the piano. The lyrics bring Hebrews 11 to mind. And as many times as he’s performed these hymns, you can see they haven’t grown stale for him.

Please Don’t Lose Heart!

Ancient "City Of Giants" Just Uncovered In Ethiopia

When Moses sent out spies to reconnoiter the Promised Land (see the Book of Numbers), they came back to him with grim reports.

“We’re finished! Game over, man! Those cities are giants’ cities, and the people living there are giants! We’re like grasshoppers, compared to them. They’ll crush us! Oh, why couldn’t we have stayed in Egypt? Why has the Lord done this to us?” And so on and so on. It was a total loss of heart, a total failure of trust; and God decided not to let that generation enter the Promised Land.

Only Caleb and Joshua were spared; for among the dozen spies, they alone trusted God and urged Israel to take his inheritance.

God does not like despair to take root among His people. He doesn’t like it when they don’t trust Him. It is as if they are saying to Him, “You can’t do what you said you’d do!” It’s insulting.

I hear more and more of it, these days. Especially since the “Election” of 2020. A lot of “We’re screwed, the bad guys win, no way out, things’ll never be good again!” Yes, I hear a lot of that.

My editor thinks I’m a pessimist. Sheesh! I’m Mary Sunshine, compared to some. Yes, things are bad! Yes, we are very badly up against it!

But at the same time, our God is an awesome God, who made the heavens and the earth: the judge of all the earth, who will always do right. Through much tribulation we enter His Kingdom, Paul warned us. And so did Jesus Christ Himself: in the world, He told us, we will have tribulation.

But our tribulating doesn’t go on forever, it doesn’t go on without God’s notice–and compared to certain other times in history, we have very little to cry about. We have not faced Nero.

May God forgive us for losing heart, for giving in to defeat; may He strengthen us, breathe spirit into us, fight for us, defend us, avenge us, and conquer for us.

We can at least stop talking as if we were already swallowed up by the ungodly.

Hebrews Chapter 11–read it more often! We all need it.


Heroes… By Faith

Heroes have been much on my mind today; maybe because yesterday I read Hebrews 11, “the faith chapter.” This discusses some of the heroes of the Bible–Abel, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and many more. Their heroic actions, famous and well-remembered, were of all different kinds. But they had one thing in common: they were all done “by faith.”

I keep this in mind when I write my books. The plot calls for many heroic acts, to be performed by many characters. And they are all performed “by faith.” Because these are not superhuman, not silly superheroes: but ordinary people, men and women, boys and girls, who do what must be done because they believe God’s word and try their best to obey. Without faith, they couldn’t do these things.

But there is another kind of heroism, also by faith, but not very often recognized. Writers especially almost never get to know how readers are affected by their writings; but then that’s true for all of us. You may have done something that produced great good for someone else without your knowing it; even without that other person realizing it was you. Our actions and our words spread out like ripples on a pond, and we have no way of knowing whom or what those ripples touch, with what effect.

So we carry on by faith. We try to do what’s right. We try to please God. There are acts of goodness that we do on purpose, but also acts we don’t do with any expectation of good. God can use our actions and our words in unexpected ways, ways that would surprise us if we ever saw the result.

It would be good for us to keep this in mind. We might never have an opportunity to save a life, but we can touch a life. Only God sees everything. We can’t; we have to proceed by faith–“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Verse 1).

When the Book of Life is opened, there will be surprises in it.

‘Reoriented Towards God’

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Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus

Today’s Chalcedon editorial gives us an answer to the world’s craziness.

The answer is “Faith,” which takes us out of ourselves and makes God the center of our lives. Examples are listed in Hebrews 11, one of my favorite chapters in the Bible: “the faith Hall of Fame.”

All power comes from the Lord, not man, not man’s institutions. Faith must shape our lives and works; and God is always looking for faithful men and women to accomplish His work in the world. As His servants, that’s why we’re here.

By Request, ‘By Faith’

Susan asked for this–By Faith, by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, sung by Keith and Kristyn Getty: a hymn that picks up where Hebrews 11 leaves off.

“Walk by faith and not by sight”–it would be a good thing, to know how to do this. Prayer will be part of that answer, I think.

Do We Really, Truly Need Another Superhero Movie?

Captain Marvel Poster

I noticed the Captain Marvel promotional items at the supermarket yesterday, heralding the impending release of “one of the most anticipated”–by who?–“movies of 2019,” which is expected to “rescue the box office from the worst February in years.”

Captain Marvel isn’t a man anymore. They killed off the original Captain Marvel and now it’s a woman named Carol, “one of the universe’s most powerful heroes.” The universe? Gee. And her task is to save Earth from being destroyed in a “galactic war.”

Ah, fanabla. The nearest galaxy to our own Milky Way is the Andromeda Galaxy, a mere 2.5 million light years away. For the college-educated, that means that if you traveled at the speed of light, it would take you two and a half million years to get there. So really, the prospect of any kind of intergalactic unpleasantness is not on the cards. Does nobody know these things anymore?

“Entertainment” is a passive but powerful form of self-education. An uncritical consumption of superhero comic-book movies can’t possibly be good for you. Besides which, the whole idea is inexpressibly boring.

Y’know, there is such a thing as a real hero: someone to be admired for his or her greatness of character, to say nothing of achievements. Someone who stands up to evil and won’t back down. And it is possible to create fictional heroes who demonstrate goodness, courage, faith, integrity, and all the other virtues. We watched a movie-length Endeavor episode the other night that displayed and celebrated genuine heroism–ordinary men going up against evil, fighting off the powerful temptation to join it and get rich, putting their lives on the line against it… and winning! And they did all that because they were police officers and that was what it was their duty to do: they carried out a public trust, cost them what it may. What a splendid thing that was to see!

And of course history, and especially the Bible, is full of heroes. Hebrews Chapter 11 celebrates godly heroes–Abel, Moses, Abraham. “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens” (verses 32-34).

Now that turns me on! And all without a single superhero in the list.

Faith and Reason

Image result for images of happy winston churchill

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…    –Hebrews 11:1

As I continue to read about Winston Churchill, I encounter many attempts to claim him as an atheist, or at least an agnostic: certainly not a believing Christian. Most of these claims rest on the argument, “Oh, he had too much trust in reason to be a believer!”

For “trust” read faith. As in, he had too much faith to have any faith.

Thing is, you can’t get away from faith. It’s part of you, and you have to put it somewhere. Even an atheist has faith. He just withholds it from God and puts it somewhere else.

Why not put our faith in reason?

First, reason is the gift of God. He put it there, and means for us to use it.

But second, because reason is upset and misdirected by so many things. By prejudice, misinformation, incomplete knowledge, lies, and wishful thinking, just to name a few. We can train ourselves to reason better than we do, but can never train ourselves away from being human (despite the best efforts of secular humanists in that direction). Human reason is inadequate; it cannot stand alone. It’s a good thing, but it’s not everything.

And third, there are things that we hope for, and there are things that we cannot see–and those things are real. We can’t even approach them without faith. Probably can’t even talk about them.

Even a communist has faith, no matter how strenuously he denies it.


‘These Are They Who Have Come Out of Great Tribulation’

Foolish, isn’t it, to oppose the singing of God’s praise and the preaching of the cross against the mighty powers of a fallen world? But God likes that kind of foolishness, and uses it all the time: see I Corinthians 1.

The Gaither Vocal Band, with Ernie Haas, sings These Are They Whom Have Come Out of Great Tribulation: this is Revelation 7:14, with echoes of Hebrews 11.

I am reminded again of King Alfred’s words: “For the Lord is our defense, Jesu defend us!”