Tag Archives: Bill Elliff

Wheaton College stands up to Obama administration

I have never been to Wheaton College but I feel close to it. My favorite teacher in highschool, Mark Brink, was a graduate of Wheaton (Billy Graham also attended) and I got to hear about it. Also Bill Elliff who was my pastor at First Baptist Little Rock told me a very interesting story about Wheaton. He said he got to jump in a car in 1970 to take a trip to Wheaton to hear a fellow from Europe speak and when he got there a short fellow with a funny beard named Francis Schaeffer spoke about abortion and infanticide and other subjects he was not aware of.

Of course, if you know anything about this blog then you know that Francis Schaeffer was one of my heroes. It is no surprise at all to me that Wheaton College is taking the steps they are below.

Jennifer Marshall

July 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Wheaton College, an evangelical institution, filed a lawsuit against the HHS mandate today, joining Catholic University of America in opposing the rule’s coercive trampling on religious liberty. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is representing Wheaton College in the school’s complaint. Left to right: John Garvey, President of Catholic University of America; William P. Mumma, President of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty; Philip Ryken, President of Wheaton College.

Wheaton College, a leading evangelical postsecondary educational institution, has joined the chorus of organizations suing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) over its mandate requiring nearly all insurance plans to cover abortion drugs and contraception.

“Wheaton College and other distinctively Christian institutions are faced with a clear and present threat to our religious liberty,” said Dr. Philip Ryken, president of Wheaton College, in an announcement today that the evangelical institution has joined a lawsuit with the Catholic University of America (CUA) against the anti-conscience mandate. “Our first president, the abolitionist Jonathan Blanchard, believed it was imperative to act in defense of freedom. In bringing this suit, we act in defense of freedom again.”

Wheaton College is the fourth Protestant college to file suit against the HHS mandate (and, full disclosure, this author’s alma mater). The Illinois institution joins Colorado Christian University, Geneva College, and Louisiana College. In total, more than 50 institutions are participating in more than 20 lawsuits. These plaintiffs include Catholic hospitals, religious schools serving inner city children, and ministries providing hospice care and assistance to the developmentally disabled.

The HHS mandate lawsuits take on added significance since the Supreme Court ruling in late June that allowed Obamacare to stand. The mandate goes into effect on August 1. After that, as employers renew their health plans in the coming year, they will have to comply with the HHS mandate’s coercive requirement to cover abortion drugs, contraception, and sterilization—regardless of religious or moral objections.

As Ryken noted, the narrow religious exemption included in the final rule effectively only applies to churches and will provide no protection for countless religious employers that hold moral objections to the mandated services. In the case of Wheaton, coverage of abortion drugs would violate the commitment to protecting unborn life stated in the school’s “community covenant,” which is signed by faculty, staff, and students.

Throughout the spring, the Administration touted a so-called “accommodation” to the rule for non-exempt institutions. But that accommodation is nothing more than concept and holds no force of law. Moreover, the college views the rumored accommodation as a “shell game that does not resolve the moral issue that we have,” Ryken explained today.

Damage to religious liberty remains the fundamental problem, and the HHS policy sets an alarming new precedent, as Ryken explained: “The mandate, by providing an exemption for churches, but not for other religious institutions like Christian colleges, is in effect to create two classes of religious institutions in the U.S.: those that have full protection for their religious freedom and those who don’t.”

That serious challenge explains the evangelical-Catholic alliance among the plaintiffs, as Ryken noted in a press briefing with CUA President John Garvey today:

Wheaton College is a distinctively Protestant institution, in our hiring practices, in our theology, but we have a respect for Roman Catholic institutions and, in this case, we recognize that we have common cause with the Catholic University of America and other Catholic institutions in defending religious liberty. We’re, in fact, co-belligerents in this fight against government action. I think the fact that evangelicals and Catholics are coming together on this issue ought to be a sign to all Americans that something really significant in terms of religious liberty is at stake.

All Americans benefit from religious liberty, and we should all be prepared to defend it. Today’s news of Wheaton joining the legal challenge should call attention to the seriousness of the HHS mandate’s threat to religious freedom specifically and the potential for future collisions with conscience under centralized health care policy like that embodied in Obamacare.

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Francis Schaeffer pictured below:

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Carl Sagan versus RC Sproul

At the end of this post is a message by RC Sproul in which he discusses Sagan.

Over the years I have confronted many atheists. Here is one story below:

I really believe Hebrews 4:12 when it asserts:

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

That verse prompted  me in 1992 to start sending a particular cassette tape out to these skeptics. This tape included three messages (“How I know the Bible is the Word of God,” Adrian Rogers, Sept 1972; “The Final Judgement,” Adrian Rogers,Sept 1972; “How to get a pure heart,” Bill Elliff, 1992.)

On Dec 5, 1995 Carl Sagan while suffering from cancer took time to finally answer the 4 letters I had written to him up to that point.(I don’t know if he ever listened to the tapes I had sent him.) Here is his response:

Thanks for your recent letter about evolution and abortion. The correlation is hardly one to one; there are evolutionists who are anti-abortion and anti-evolutionists who are pro-abortion.You argue that God exists because otherwise we could not understand the world in our consciousness. But if you think God is necessary to understand the world, then why do you not ask the next question of where God came from? And if you say “God was always here,” why not say that the universe was always here? On abortion, my views are contained in the enclosed article (Sagan, Carl and Ann Druyan {1990}, “The Question of Abortion,” Parade Magazine, April 22.)

I responded with a two page letter on Jan 10, 1996 and I never heard back again from Dr. Sagan and he died on Dec 20, 1996. His wife Ann Druyan reported that many people of faith reached out to Sagan in last few months of his life, but he never left his agnosticism.

I have read lots of Carl Sagan’s books and written several reviews and papers on his views. I will just leave you with two thoughts.

Sagan observed,”Plainly, there’s something within me that’s ready to believe in life after death…If some good evidence for life after death was announced, I’d be eager to examine it; but it would have to be real scientific data, not mere antedote”(pp 203-204, The DemonHaunted World, 1995).

Sagan said he had taken a look at Old Testament prophecy and it did not impress him because it was too vague. He had taken a look at Christ’s life in the gospels, but said it was unrealistic for God to send a man to communicate for God. Instead, Sagan suggested that God could have written a mathematical formula in the Bible or put a cross in the sky.However, what happens at the conclusion of the movie Contact?  This is Sagan’s last message to the world in the form of the movie that appeared shortly after his death. Dr Arroway (Jodie Foster) who is a young atheistic scientist who meets with an alien and this alien takes the form of Dr. Arroway’s father. The alien tells her that they thought this would make it easier for her. In fact, he meets her on a beach that resembles a beach that she grew up near so she would also be comfortable with the surroundings. Carl Sagan when writing this script chose to put the alien in human form so Dr. Arroway could relate to the alien. Christ chose to take our form and come into our world too and still many make up excuses for not believing.

Lastly, Carl Sagan could not rid himself of the “mannishness of man.” Those who have read Francis Schaeffer’s many books know exactly what I am talking about. We are made in God’s image and we are living in God’s world. Therefore, we can not totally suppress the objective truths of our unique humanity. In my letter of Jan 10, 1996 to Dr. Sagan, I really camped out on this point a long time because I had read Sagan’s  book Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors  and in it  Sagan attempts to  totally debunk the idea that we are any way special. However, what does Dr. Sagan have Dr. Arroway say at the end of the movie Contact when she is testifying before Congress about the alien that  communicated with her? See if you can pick out the one illogical word in her statement: “I was given a vision how tiny, insignificant, rare and precious we all are. We belong to something that is greater than ourselves and none of us are alone.”

Dr Sagan deep down knows that we are special so he could not avoid putting the word “precious” in there. Schaeffer said unbelievers are put in a place of tension when they have to live in the world that God has made because deep down they know they are special because God has put that knowledge in their hearts.We are not the result of survival of the fittest and headed back to the dirt forevermore. This is what Schaeffer calls “taking the roof off” of the unbeliever’s worldview and showing the inconsistency that exists.

In several of my letters I quoted this passage below:

Romans 1:17-22 (Amplified Bible)

17For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith]. As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright shall live and shall live by faith.(A)

18For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative.

19For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them.

20For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification],(B)

21Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and [a]godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened.

22Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves].

Below is a video by RC Sproul that discusses Carl Sagan and the beginning of time.

R.C Sproul: The Psychology Of Atheism – Defending Your Faith Part 25

Published on May 13, 2012

*I do not own this presentation. Used only for education purposes
All rights to Ligonier Ministries. (C) Ligonier Ministries
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Uploaded by on Jan 2, 2012

Introduction: The Primary Philosophical Questions