Sunday, May 26, 2013

THIS SITE HAS BEEN MOVED

This blog has been moved to a location.  To access Royal Hamel's new blog which is now part of his new website please go to www.royalhamel.com by clicking here

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Is Christianity Just as Violent as Islam?

In the face of Muslim terrorism we often hear the claim that followers of Christ are just as prone to acts of violence as are some of the followers of Islam. In fact many on the left routinely invoke this kind of comparison. And by making the two religions equivalent on this point they artfully slander Christianity and obscure the facts about Islam.

How refreshing then to hear the comments of Bill Maher, who though a leftist himself, has thrown away the rose colored glasses. He is one of the few in the national media who is able to clearly see the difference and is willing to confront the woeful ignorance that is shared by so many.

Check out his brilliant and colorful comments here.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Help Stop Sexual Slavery Now

Slavery all over the world is at epic levels. There is a new movement among Christians to battle against this insidious evil that most of us thought had died out long ago. Sex slavery is one of the most prevalent forms of this vile traffic in people.  Innocent young women and children are either sold, tricked or directly abducted and forced to service men in the flesh pots around the world. It is an evil business and I for one want to shine a light on this ugly trade that destroys innocent lives. Check out the video clip below detailing how one organization is fighting this evil trade in people. Help stop sexual slavery now.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

He is Risen--He is Risen Indeed!


Don't Forget: Jesus beat death and rose again


Not long ago, I was lamenting with an older friend of mine about the aches and pains that go along with this thing called aging. Near the end of this animated conversation, he laughingly said that these pains may be a nuisance, but they beat the heck out of dying, because we know that nobody ever comes back.

Momentarily stunned, I simply blurted out, “No, that’s not true.”
Puzzled, he asked what I meant.
“There is one who came back,” I said. “Jesus rose from the dead.”
A pained look settled over his face and he grudgingly admitted I was right — if I believe in that sort of thing.
Now, in deference to my friend, I certainly understand why it’s hard to believe in the resurrection. After all, in normal human experience everyone meets up with the Grim Reaper sooner or later; and normally they stay dead. So the claim that Jesus actually died and then rose from death is a stupendous claim. It wasn’t easy at first for the early disciples to accept either.
At the empty tomb on Easter morning, Mary at first thought Jesus was the gardener. Later on, Thomas, the apostle, didn’t accept the eyewitness reports of the others. He insisted that he had to see the body himself, and put his hands in Jesus’ wounds before he could believe. But, according to the Bible, Jesus over a period of some 40 days appeared numerous times to his followers, at one time showing himself to more than 500 people.
Some may wonder why the resurrection is so important for Christians. Let’s explore briefly what would have happened if Jesus had not risen from the dead. First of all, the morning of the third day would have been very ordinary. Mary and the other followers would have found nothing but a sealed tomb with a dead body requiring preparation for final burial. Mary would not have encountered the Risen Christ and Jesus later on that same day could not have appeared to the apostles in the upper room. The presence of an ordinary dead body would have confirmed that Jesus was nothing special ... just another Galilean prophet in a long line of prophets. There would not have been one iota of rejoicing or happiness or inspiration in the lives of his followers.
A permanently dead Jesus could not have ascended to the Father in heaven where he now sits in the place of authority and power. He would have been in no position to send the gift of the Holy Spirit upon the church whose purpose was to give power for witness. Without this power, there would have been no going forth to speak and preach of a Risen Christ. The fearful disciples would have stayed safely behind locked doors.
If Jesus had stayed permanently in the grave he could never have appeared to Paul when the apostle was travelling to Damascus to persecute the Christians. This Paul, dramatically converted to the Christian way by Christ himself, was to become the main missionary of Christianity in his time and the major writer of the New Testament.
I could go on and on. If Jesus had not risen from the grave, there would be today no Christian faith as we understand it. The unhappy, fearful little group of followers would have quickly scattered and faded from history. But they didn’t scatter, they worshipped a Risen Jesus and the rest is history.
One of the greatest practical and immediate benefits of the resurrection of Jesus is how it affects our own view of death as Christians. In very blunt terms, Jesus went through the dark tunnel of death. But he did so as Pathfinder and as Victor for he came out on the other side. His death and resurrection is a model for every follower of Christ. He fought death hand to hand and killed death. The scripture puts it well, “Where O death is your victory? Where O death is your sting?”
Recently my own faith was put to the test. I found myself on a hospital gurney with a heart racing at 190 beats a minute in an irregular pattern. Perhaps I was not in any ultimate danger, but when it’s a heart issue, I always start thinking this could be the moment. I testify that in those moments when I contemplated that the end might be near, there was for me an amazingly wonderful solace in the truth of the Resurrection. Jesus beat death. In Him and by Him, I too shall beat that ancient enemy! He is risen — He is risen indeed!
Published in the Guelph Mercury, March 30, 2013
Royal Hamel is ordained with the Alliance Church and the author of Unmuzzle Your Inner Sheep (Word Alive Press) available soon in bookstores. He can be reached at watchman2003@sympatico.ca.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The following letter was published by Guelph's student newspaper, The Ontarion, on Feb. 7, 2013

Dear Editor:

Re: Sugar Coated Relationships, January 31, 2013

I was appalled to hear of a university professor here in Guelph  pushing the notion that prostitution for students is no big deal. She argues that giving sex for money has existed, “throughout the history of human relationships.”  But stealing, lying, killing, raping, etc. have also been around for quite some time, so the longevity argument for prostitution is not particularly compelling.

Dr. Ruth Neustifter defends the idea of students prostituting themselves for tuition because after all it’s “nothing new” and not something “necessarily negative.”  She goes on to support the practice because after all, even though it is sex work,”that doesn’t make it good or bad.” I find these comments absolutely appalling.

Way to go professor—you have turned thousands of years of history on its head.  Has it not been the norm for most of recorded history to discourage girls from prostitution? Tragically in our endarkened age respecting all things sexual we seem to be going in the other direction.  But allow me to pose this simple question, “Would you encourage your daughters to work as prostitutes to pay for tuition?” And if not, how dare you encourage young women who are someone else’s daughters to step into this degrading and enslaving lifestyle in order to earn a few dollars.

As an evangelical minister I recently heard from a former sex trade worker who spoke at one of our meetings in Guelph. Her story is one of enslavement, victimization, and brutality. Katrina (I share her name with her permission) was formerly a sex-trade worker who escaped the snares of prostitution and now openly shares her story to protect the vulnerable from getting enslaved and to help those who want out. Her story can be accessed at (risingangels.ca) . It is well worth reading.

I long for the day when our universities might once again be places of light and wisdom. If that’s too much to hope for—may they at least be a safe place for our daughters. 

Royal Hamel, Guelph

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Will Christians defend the Jews?

Even as a young boy I read avidly. Born shortly after the Second World War, by the time of my early teens, I found plenty of articles and stories about the war years. And so I became aware at an early age of the appalling holocaust of the Jews at the hands of the Nazi regime.
I remember my revulsion and indignation at this horrific injustice against totally innocent people. I didn’t understand how people could allow such evil to take place. I remember thinking, “If I had been there I would have stood up, I would have tried to protect the Jewish people.”
As the years passed, I discovered to my shame that far too often church people had been among the worst offenders in persecuting the Jews. Indeed, under Hitler a large part of the German Protestant Church accepted the Nazi racist doctrines and allowed the persecution. As an evangelical Christian I am ashamed that Christians throughout history, on many occasions, permitted or joined the persecution of Jewish people.
In many areas of the world today Jewish people live in fear for their safety. There appears to be a growing anti-Semitic trend in many parts of the world. Guy Milliere, in his excellent article, The Full-Blown Return of Anti-Semitism in Europe, documents synagogue burnings, vandalism of cemeteries, anti-Jewish inscriptions on walls, and assaults on Jewish people. He writes that in some cities in Sweden and France the level of persecution has forced Jewish people to flee. On Feb. 6, 2013, The Huff Post headlined an article:Anti-Semitism On the Rise In Europe, according to Anti-Defamation League Report.
Canada is not exempt. Thestar.com reported on Feb. 6, 2013 that Ottawa has been urged to tackle anti-Semitism amidst a startling increase of hate crime. The article stated that Stats Canada released a report in January, 2012 indicating a 42 per cent increase in hate crime in 2009 as compared to 2008. Shockingly, 71 percent of these crimes were motivated by religion and had targeted the Jewish community.
During the time of Hitler’s bloody targeting of the Jews, some Christians stood up and tried to help. Sadly they were not many. Dietrich Bonhoeffer stands as a stellar example of one clergyman who resisted the Nazi regime by attempting to rescue Jews destined for slaughter.
I hold a sombre concern about the response of today’s Evangelical Church if a new holocaust were to threaten the Jewish people. I wonder if Christians and pastors would stand up to an evil power? Would they resist tyranny and defend Jewish lives? I hope they would. I pray they would. But I wonder.
Here is my great concern. Over the last 100 years most evangelical Christians have been programmed to abstain from political involvement. In my own lifetime I have witnessed evangelicals abandon their duty to defend moral principles over and over again—precisely in the area of politics. For example, very few white evangelicals got involved in the civil rights movement of the 1960s that sought to bring justice to black people. And to this day most evangelicals seem to have little concern for the innocent unborn child in the mother’s womb.
I profoundly hope that any renewed persecution of Jewish people would awaken thousands of Christian defenders like Bonhoeffer. Just maybe, Christians in this generation will abhor evil, stand against political tyranny, and fulfill our call to seek justice. I live with that hope. But given our track record—I wonder.
The whole tenor of this article is hypothetical. But in fact the new anti-Semitism is far from hypothetical—it is actually happening on our watch. We who follow Christ must wake up to the times! Let us defend our Jewish friends now, before the storm is fully upon them, not after it is over.

Published in The Guelph Mercury, Feb. 9, 2013
Royal Hamel is a freelance journalist and the author of Unmuzzle Your Inner Sheep (Word Alive Press), available in bookstores in early April, 2013.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Has Christmas Lost its Lustre?




For many people Christmas is perceived as a bother and a chore.  To be sure we once lived in a country that was overtly Christian but now we are all heavily secularized.  I suspect that many who will read this column do not see the lustre in the Christmas story even if they once did. Perhaps for a majority, the Nativity and all its trappings is merely a faint and distant light. 

Now for sure merchants love Christmas. Usually a third or more of retail profits come because of Jesus and the manger. Or did I get that wrong?  Perhaps I should say because of Santa and his sleigh full of gifts bought from these same retailers.   But some merchants and administrators are beginning to wonder if they can finally jettison the heavy cargo of the Nativity. Witness what the managing team of the Stone Road Mall tried to do only a few weeks ago—they attempted to off-load Jesus, Mary and the whole scene.  Some others as well would like to get away from the word Christmas completely, and just focus on the “happy holiday” aspect. With each passing Christmas season we are increasingly waging the Christmas “wars”—some want this season to be wholly secular, while others like me want to retain its spiritual meaning.

But beyond the merchants, what about you who are presently reading this article?  Do you see the historical story of Jesus’ birth in a manger as a wonderful truth? Do you pause, as shepherds once did, to worship King Jesus with awe?  Or is the whole scene simply ho hum to the point of boredom?
Why have so many lost the wonder and the awe surrounding the Nativity?   Why are so many disillusioned with Christmas?  I would like to suggest six possibilities:

1)      You may have been spiritually wounded and confused by a pagan god in a red suit, big belly and long white beard who comes bearing gifts.
2)      You may be one of those unlucky people who have been conned into thinking the historic birth is nothing but myth. Isn’t it ironic that an atheist group in New York City has a billboard urging people to “Keep the Merry, Dump the Myth?” Yes, they want you to dump the historical Jesus and embrace Santa.  Please don’t believe the lie. The truth is out there.  Refind the lustre.  Dump Santa instead.
3)      You may be a name only Christian who shows up at church on Christmas and Easter. Trust me, I’m not blaming you. There’s a really good chance your mom and dad reared you to think that Jesus and his teaching didn’t matter.  Since the apple usually falls close to the tree, you may loosely call yourselves a Christian, but in your heart of hearts you don’t have the foggiest notion of what it means to follow Christ. Sadly, you have been inoculated against experiencing the real thing.  How can you perceive the lustre for the first time? Embrace Jesus.
4)       You may have had a sincere belief in the past because you saw the light and the glory around the baby called Jesus. But somewhere, sometime, someone in the church profoundly hurt you and you turned away. You concluded falsely that it was all humbug.  And not really knowing what you were doing you threw out the bathwater. Tragically you chucked out the true God-who-came-in-flesh at the same time. No wonder the lustre is gone.
5)      You may see no lustre around the Baby in the manger for you have willed to follow light that is no light at all. Jesus warned that this would happen to some, “...Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” See and embrace the ancient lustre—love not the darkness, love light.
6)      You may be one of those persons who truly believes in the historical baby Jesus who was indeed born of a virgin. You know in your heart it is true. You know that it happened as described in the ancient trustworthy texts but somehow the intellectual knowledge of the truth has never made it to your heart and your spirit.  You are not one who rejects the glorious shining of this true Baby who came in the flesh— you simply do not perceive it.  There is not likely any lustre in Christmas for you for head knowledge without experience of personal faith remains but head knowledge.  Discover the lustre—trust and confide in Jesus.

Guelph Mercury: December 22, 2012
Royal Hamel is ordained with the Christian and Missionary Alliance and is a freelance writer. He can be contacted at watchman2003@sympatico.ca