Monday, November 10, 2008

The Summarator

I've moved the daily blog update off this blog so that we don't rapidly bury our own content.

If you look to the top-right corner of the blog, you'll see a section entitled The Summarator. Daily blog summaries are posted there.

You may want to subscribe to the RSS feed.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Confusing Regeneration with Eternal Life?

Did this presenter just confuse regeneration with eternal life?

2. Irresistible grace reverses the biblical order of salvation. (This is the most serious.)
a. Which comes first, regeneration or faith? R.C. Sproul quoted to demonstrate the Reformed view that regeneration precedes faith. Jesus words in John 3 concerning the serpent lifted in the wilderness and those looking to the serpent living, proves that John 5:40: coming to Christ precedes having life. John 11:25, the believing precedes the living. b. Which comes first the Spirit’s regeneration or is regeneration commensurate with justification?
c. What comes first repentance and faith or regeneration? John 20:31, the believing precedes the life [other texts cited].

This argument is so absurd that it MUST be a misquote. This can’t possibly be what he’s arguing.

Regeneration isn’t eternal life.

In John, eternal life is intimate communion with the Godhead - life at its scarcely imagined best. It is the present possession of all who believe, for those who believe have relation with God.

Being born again is the fulfillment of Ezekiel 36, the promise of the new heart. That’s the clear referent in John 3.

John 3 makes even seeing the kingdom of God conditional upon regeneration. Is he saying that you get eternal life before seeing the kingdom of God? It can be argued that the clearest referent for the kingdom of God in John is the concept of eternal life. Here's my study notes on this:

While we have no question, we see that Jesus cuts right to the heart of the matter. The man is seeking something, evidence, information, assurance, and Jesus, in a single sentence, summarily dismisses the entire approach of the Pharisees, Nicodemus included. Entrance to the kingdom of God, which for a “Jew with the background and convictions of Nicodemus, ‘to see the kingdom of God’ was to participate in the kingdom at the end of the age, to experience eternal, resurrection life.” [1]. It makes sense that Jesus would begin here. Nicodemus would have taught for years that it is through personal obedience, righteousness, purity and adherence to the Law that one would be good enough to see the kingdom. And now, Jesus says something entirely different.

Let’s look at the kingdom of God for a moment. It is in [at least] three senses that we may speak of the kingdom of God from the Scriptures. The kingdom of God is, in a creative sense, the entire realm of creation. God is Creator, the whole earth belongs to Him, and therefore His rule and realm is all of Creation, since He is sovereign over all things. Second, in an eschatological sense, the kingdom of God is often spoken of as something that is yet to fully materialize, that is coming at the end of the age. Like many concepts in Scripture, the kingdom of God is partially seen now, and will be fully realized at the day of judgment when Christ is put over all things. Finally, the kingdom of God is the rule and authority of God in the hearts of believers. It is in this sense that we understand passages such as that of Luke 17:20-21, where the kingdom of God is said to “be in the midst of you (plural).” [I would add that the kingdom of God is the fulfillment of the whole of God's promises]

Perhaps most important, however, is that John only uses this expression here, and he records an allusion to it in John 18:36, when Jesus explains to Pilate why the disciples do not fight to free Him. John is chiefly concerned with the expressions “life” and “eternal life.” Surely the reference to the kingdom of God is this, especially given the connection in verse 15. To see and enter the kingdom of God is to have eternal life.

Jesus reply is thus shocking: To even see the kingdom of God, one must be born again. This word “born,” Greek γεννάω (ghen-nah-o) can refer to the action of the father (‘to beget’) or the mother (‘to give birth to’), which both communicate the concept of generation or regeneration [2]. The reference is to the individual, that is, no one (male or female), can see the kingdom unless he (or she) is born again. We shall see that this concept of rebirth is not at all foreign to the Scriptures.

What is to be understood here? First, one can never “evolve” into the kingdom of God. A total and complete recreation of the being is required for entry into the kingdom. This obliterates any notion that one could upon his own merits enter the kingdom. It is simply not possible. A rebirth of the being is absolutely necessary.

[1] Carson, John, pg. 188.

[2] Carson, John, pg. 189: “Predominant religious thought in Jesus’ day affirmed that all Jews would be admitted to that kingdom apart from those guilty of deliberate apostasy or extraordinary wickedness (e.g. Mishnah Sanhedrin 10:1). But here was Jesus telling Nicodemus, a respected and conscientious member not only of Israel but of the Sanhedrin, that he cannot enter the kingdom unless he is born again. The verb rendered ‘to be born’ (gennan) can refer to the action of the father (‘to beget’) or the mother (‘to give birth to’): the common ingredient is ‘generation’ or ‘regeneration.’ The coming of the kingdom at the end can be described as the ‘regeneration’ of the world (Mt. 19:28, NIV ‘renewal’), but here what is required is the regeneration of the individual before the end of the world and in order to enter the kingdom.

Does this presenter even understand Arminian1 teaching on this stuff? Considering his scholarship, this is a fair question.

Let's be clear here: The options he presents are:

Regeneration->Faith? or Faith->Regeneration?

Presupposed: Living/Eternal life=Regeneration

So, the options he presents are:

Believing->Living/Eternal life/Regeneration?


Living/Eternal life/Regeneration->Believing?

Only when you smash clearly distinguished biblical concepts together like this can you not only come up with binary mutually exclusive options, both of which are wrong, but you end up refuting a straw man, as well as contradicting your own position.

The biblical teaching is:

Regeneration->Faith->Justification->Eternal life


Regeneration=new heart/born again from above

Faith=Receiving Christ and trusting Him, believing the truth that He is the Son of God

Justification=Counted righteous (by faith)

Eternal life=Life that never ends, life at its scarcely imagined best, intimate relation with the Father and Son.

These are all different concepts.

Eternal life presupposes justification. Justification is necessary to commune with God. Justification presupposes regeneration.

At any rate, I, for one, am still a Calvinist.

1. e.g., John Wesley on John 17:3 - "To know - By loving, holy faith, thee the only true God - The only cause and end of all things; not excluding the Son and the Holy Ghost, no more than the Father is excluded from being Lord, 1 Corinthians 8:6; but the false gods of the heathens; and Jesus Christ - As their prophet, priest, and king: this is life eternal - It is both the way to, and the essence of, everlasting happiness." Compare to Wesley on John 3:5 - "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit - Except he experience that great inward change by the Spirit, and be baptized (wherever baptism can be had) as the outward sign and means of it."

Saturday, November 8, 2008

LDS Temple Announced For Calgary, Alberta

This is rather old news, but the Mormons will be building a new temple in northwest Calgary. Some details can be found at an LDS temples site, among which is the fact that it will be next to the Royal Oak chapel and that the building will be finished in about three years.

Dramatic Increase In LDS Temple Construction

The Mormons have certainly been on a temple-building tear over the past few years. Back in 1965, there were only ten temples built or under construction worldwide, and only one of those (the Cardston temple) was in Canada. Under the presidency of Gordon Hinckley, temple construction increased dramatically. Much like Herod the Great, Hinckley will be remembered as a man of buildings. When he assumed the LDS presidency, there were only 47 temples worldwide, and when he died in January, there were 124 - an increase of 77. While it took the first 120 years of LDS history to see the first 50 LDS temples built, the second 50 were dedicated within a span of just 3 years. In 2000 alone, 34 of these structures were dedicated.

Hinckley was succeeded in January by Thomas Monson, and the fact that since his assumption of office less than a year ago the First Presidency has announced no less than 8 new temples seems to suggest that Monson aims to be as much a "builder" as was his predecessor. Calgary's temple will be the eighth Canadian temple, but it likely will not be the last.

Implications For The Gospel

Alberta is certainly a hotbed of LDS activity, and the Mormon population of the province might well be the highest concentration of Mormons outside the United States. The LDS church has obviously been preparing for this temple for some time, having acquired the extra land in Royal Oak four years ago. This newest announcement needs to be understood as a particularly prominent reflection of the growth of Mormon influence in Alberta.

And in that light, Christians need to sit up and take notice. The LDS church is extremely well organized, has tremendous financial resources, presents a highly controlled public image, and has an aggressive outreach program in its missionaries. Christian evangelism in Alberta and in the Calgary area in particular needs to take the Mormon challenge into account. Christian churches and pastors need to understand and recognize Mormonism as the heresy that it is, and prepare their flocks to be "ready with an answer" to uphold the true Gospel with them.

What can Christians expect? First, the LDS church will milk this project for all the public relations value it can get. The initial announcement was carried in both Calgary daily papers, and as construction commences we can expect more attention to the Mormons in the secular media. This affords the LDS the opportunity to spread their message in response to obvious questions: what is an LDS temple for? what is the difference between a Christian church and an LDS temple? There will be a groundbreaking ceremony, probably well-attended by city officials and media; there will be a public open house for the community, during which ordinary Calgarians may tour the temple before it is dedicated (accompanied by a helpful and evangelistic Mormon missionary, no doubt); there will be a dedication ceremony, which will provide yet another PR opportunity to proclaim the Mormon message.

Second, as a means of increasing their evangelistic impact, we can expect the LDS to downplay the differences between themselves and evangelical Christianity. This has certainly been a recent trend with the Mormons; one outstanding example was the recent publication, by the evangelical Christian publisher Eerdman's, of a book defending the Mormon conception of Jesus Christ by a prominent Mormon scholar - and justifying their conception of their theology as being "Christian." A similar trend can be seen in Mormon temple architecture. Where before, new temples tended to have a very distinctive and even "alien" appearance, more recent temples built in North America have taken a strange turn toward resembling Christian cathedrals. While not all North American temples are following the trend, there are many good examples, including the Rexburg, Twin Falls, Oquirrh Mountain, and Vancouver (Langley) temples, and even the proposed design for the recently announced Gila Valley temple seems to imitate the pattern.

So one thing to watch: when the LDS unveil the design and artist's rendering for the Calgary temple, don't be surprised if it looks rather familiar.

Bottom line is that this new temple represents a statement by the LDS church that they intend to strengthen their position in the Calgary area and in Alberta at large. Now, perhaps God in His wisdom will put a halt to this building project; He's done it before, and not every temple announced by the LDS actually gets off the ground. So we should be praying for God's mercy in this regard.

But in case in His sovereignty He permits this to go ahead, what is less obvious but still present is the opportunity it presents for the true Church and the real Gospel. The very confusion in secular society about what Mormons believe and how they differ from mainstream Christians will present many private and public opportunities to clarify and thus proclaim the real message of salvation to unbelievers.

Let's pray for wisdom, brothers and sisters. And let's not waste this opportunity.


This post contains summaries of various blogs.

  • Interesting short fiction by Hays.
  • This describes the significance of Obama's election from the particularly from the perspective of an African-American. "For me, the emotion of this moment has less to do with Obama than with the nation. Now I know how some people must have felt when they heard Ronald Reagan say "it's morning again in America." The new sunshine feels warm on my face."
  • Piper gives a tribute to Billy Graham. Graham "told students in 1964 at Harvard Divinity School… "I used to think that in evangelism I had to do it all, but now I approach evangelism with a totally different attitude. I approach it with complete relaxation. First of all, I don't believe that any man can come to Christ unless the Holy Spirit has prepared his heart. Secondly, I don't believe any man can come to Christ unless God drives him. My job is to proclaim the message. It's the Holy Spirit's job to do the work, period."" "He is famous for saying that he preached too much and studied too little." Then a description is given of his forbidable study habits. [Perhaps the work in Graham is not to be underestimated, all things considered].
  • Bayly says that it appears that Driscoll has followed Tim Keller in, "an woman can do anything an unordained man can do."
  • Phillips rails on the Lord Jesus mandated requirement to go to a local church, an assembly of believers; contra those who despise the 'institutional church,' which Phillips diagnoses as a hatred for authority. Christ gave to the church her pastors and teachers, and He commanded people to go to the assemblies of believers, and you think yourself smarter than Christ even while disobeying Him if you do not do so, in addition to tacitly admitting that you despise the accountability of church.
  • If you don't read the Bible [and therefore like to hew out cisterns that don't satisfy], Turk points you to some worldly advice on how to be happy over the weekend.
  • Perkins writes: "there is an inverse relationship between dreaming great visions and faithfulness in the little things. The people who have the grandest, most sweeping plans and strategies for the future are likely to be unreliable and untrustworthy in the smaller, short-term tasks and responsibilities." 1) Ministry is about godliness, not gifts. 2) Our only judge is Christ Himself, not man. Remember that it was Christ who proclaimed rewards for faithfulness over the little things.
  • Dan Wallace responds to the CBMW critique of an older post wherein he wrote "that I could not go against my conscience and that, in my view, egalitarians were doing exegetical gymnastics." He argues that CBMW misrepresented him, on account that they read him as saying the exegesis was certain and he just didn't like it [I will say that I independently read Wallace's post before CBMW posted and took that general sense from it too...]. I think what he's saying here is that what he meant is that he's uncomfortably complementarian on account that he thinks the Scriptures teach it so he cannot go against it but it isn't that clear. "I did not say that egalitarianism was clearly unbiblical."
  • Phillips goes after the "fine Christian blogs and writers are jumping immediately to what I think of as the "I, for one, welcome our new ant overlords" approach." [read previous summaries; some are mentioned there]. He argues that it is unbiblical: "Leaping immediately to theologized "Oh-wells" is a miserably poor and un-Biblical pastoral (or otherwise Christian) approach." By this he refers to blowing off the disastrous implications of Obama's election for many unborn on account of God's sovereignty. Scripture is clear that there is a time to mourn and that we are to weep with those who weep, not theologize them. Not only so, but he points to the example of the OT prophets when there were wicked rulers in the land. "So all that to say: it is appropriate for Christian patriots to mourn. It is appropriate for Christian patriots to weep. It is appropriate for Christian patriots to ask, "What happened? Why? Are there transgressions to repent of, that we might find mercy?""
  • A series of posts is coming on the importance of verbal aspect in Greek. "So if you're a Greek professor, Greek student, or just a Greek nerd be sure to check back and weigh in on Verbal Aspect. "
  • David Bayly isn't moved by the 'historic moment' of a black man becoming President. For, as he points out, this is the anti-thesis of the fulfillment of Martin Luther King's dream. Obama's election was racist to the core. America is congratulating itself on electing a black man, despite the evident baby-killing bankrupcy of his character. "The content of his character? That's had absolutely nothing to do with the election of Barack Obama to our presidency, and white and black Americans who care about justice and mercy are one in being sickened by the hypocrisy of it all."
  • At the John 3:16 conference [odd name considering the text teaches particular atonement for believers], the Arminians, huddled safe and sound, work to stop Calvinism, tarring James White as hypercalvinist, even while it is James White who is currently preparing to proclaim the Gospel to Muslims - not them.
  • The mood at the John 3:16 conference is said to be that of those looking for exegetical refutations of Calvinism (not vitriolic or panicked), who think that Calvinists have drawn the wrong systematic and logical conclusions from the text, rather than being based directly upon Scripture [now, apply that thinking to John 6].
  • This is the substance of the arguments at the John 3:16 conference against irresistable grace. [the confusion between regeneration and eternal life in the 'most important' point categorically eliminates it from the biblical realm.]
  • Ok, this is just funny. In response to liberal upheaval at Coultier's comment, "In the spirit of reaching across the aisle, we owe it to the Democrats to show their president the exact same kind of respect and loyalty that they have shown our recent Republican president," Pike says, "Fear not, Conservatives aren't liberals."
  • Franklin Graham confronted Obama regarding his views on homosexuality and abortion, stating clearly to him that they cannot back down on these issues. [the Grahams are doing well today!]
  • The global warming aside - they say that the onset of human civilization was 5000 years ago? You know, I've seen a number like that somewhere before...
  • The new book Imitating Jesus: An Inclusive Approach to New Testament Ethics by Richard A. Burridge apparently defends an inclusivistic system NT ethics. (e.g. Burridge seems to come close to equating non-acceptance of homosexuality with apartheid in South Africa.)
  • Ascol, following up on Taylor's critique, writers of a recent publication by Lemke: "I am confident that Dr. Lemke has no desire to misrepresent anyone's theological position nor any historical record. But he has." (this is the speaker on irresistable grace at the John 3:16 conference)
  • Thursday, November 6, 2008


    This post contains snippets and summaries from various blogs.

  • Phil Johnson responds, given his arguments about the wrongheadedness of seeking political remedies to every form of human depravity, to Klusendorf's idea that, "Well, I'm all for preaching the gospel, but why should anyone suppose that political efforts aimed at protecting human life detract from the biblical command to go make disciples? Why can't pro-life Christians do both?" He points out how Klusendorf doesn't really seem to be doing a 'both-and' by all accounts, and that "I think he (like most evangelicals) is blinded by starry-eyed naïveté if he really believes the three-decades-long effort to harness the church's political clout has done nothing to damage our collective testimony as the church of Christ or mute the gospel in the message we have communicated to our culture." Johnson also says, "I think he is tacitly acknowledging that if we inject the gospel into the political apparatus of the pro-life movement, we will undermine the ecumenicity that holds the movement together. I've been saying that for years. It's the main reason both/and is not the simple proposition Klusendorf sometimes insists it is." [I will note that there is a difference between calling out for repentance from the evils in our culture and political activism - and Johnson is right, pro-life efforts at the cost of the Gospel (such as ecumenicalism) have priorities completely backwards].
  • A hispanic writes in about what he thinks is really happening with race and the politics. He says, " White Americans may view this as a large step towards a less racist and more tolerant society, but I think in general black Americans think of this more as black victory and progress.... It has been a mystery to me how people can proclaim black power or brown power and view white power as being uniquely wrong. Don't get too hopeful about the future of race relations." [it seems to be something of a past-suffering justifies equivalent retaliation, namely, racism (against whites), mentality]
  • This post points out the inherent racism and confusion in taking pride that America elected a black president. "Should Americans be proud that a biracial man has been elected US president? Surely that’s no reason to be proud. A man’s ethnicity or skin colour ought to be strictly irrelevant to whether he’s the right man to serve as president. Wasn’t that the point all along? So to take pride in his election on that basis is just another form of racism."
  • Peter Enns rehashes an old debate over the Enuma Elish and Genesis 1, as if the arguments are new. This post has a few short quotes relating to the distinctions of the two, and how there is not a dependency. [Triablogue has addressed this ad nauseum - see the archives]
  • Hays briefly goes after lazy proof-texting in applying Romans 13 to the current political affairs. The text has been quoted and applied in all manner of ways throughout history. He quotes Jewett's commentary on Romans: "“The form of the final lines in this pericope is compressed, succinct, and correlative. In each of four examples, governmental obligations are paid to those who qualify. Helmut Merklein aptly refers to the ‘conditionality’ of this formulation. Instead of absolute subservience, obligations are to be met if they prove legitimate. The formulation leaves space for assessments of appropriateness made by the community,”
  • A Pelagian tries to use Ezekiel 18 to deny imputation of Adam's sin to all. But the Law says four times that God holds people accountable for the sins of their fathers. Rather than assume God contradicts Himself, ask how it is that God can say what is in Ezekiel 18, and how it would be received by those who received the Law as God's word. Ezekiel 18 is teaching that if they repent they will not be held accountable, and that they sin is proof of their agreement with their fathers. The Pelagian is arguing for infant salvation, and inadvertently proclaiming two ways to be save. [cf. Romans 5]
  • The critique of Romanism as committing 'Mariolatry' is an external critique.
  • Working human brain cells are produced from embryonic stem cells. [i.e. the strongest people can kill the weakest people so as to use their bodies to replace their own failing components.]
  • Challies writes more on Compassion International's work with children. "Have you ever looked through the photos of children at Compassion's site or at a table at a concert and wondered why sometimes five or six girls are wearing the same dress? It's not a school uniform and is not a particularly nice dress, so why are several of the girls wearing it? Today I found out why. With tears of shame, even fifteen years later, Julia (pronounced "HOO-lia) sobbed her story. She had been born in such poverty that when, at age five, Compassion had taken her photograph in the hopes that they would be able to find a sponsor for her, she had no clothes she could wear in that photograph. And so she huddled in a bathroom naked with eight other girls while they waited their turn in the dress. One by one they put it on, faced the camera, and then took it off and returned to their tattered clothes."
  • Turk relates the discussion on abortion between Tony Jones and Klusendorf: "Jones' view [in support of Obama] is that if there are fewer women below the poverty line, there will be fewer abortions -- because in his view, poverty causes abortion. Fear of not having money, or not having enough money, causes abortion. And Klusendorf rightly pointed out that there are socialized countries in the world with heavy support for the poor which have exactly the same rate of abortion as the US, so that argument is a little lame." Now, single women account for two-thirds of all abortions, and half of those getting abortions state that a lack of a male counterpart for stability is the reason. What is happening in the real world (contra Tony Jones) is that women are having sex with men they would consider to be problem relationships, and they don't want the baby making this problem relationship a bigger problem.
  • This asks some decent questions about the church is more able to perform her duties under capitalism vs. socialism, if it really matters, and whether the church is in any danger from a hard left change in American government.
  • Phillips laments over America; Bush, the MSM, the Voters - and particularly the "Quislings," the professedly Christian enablers of Obama's infanticide. "These are the hand-wringing, conflicted souls who just can't figure out whether or not it's a good thing to sweep aside thirty-five years of hard-fought, hard-won advances in the pro-life cause. Who just can't agonize themselves into seeing that they have a clear-cut moral obligation to stand athwart the most remorselessly, unrepentantly vicious pro-death advocate ever seriously to seek the White House." ... "You want to keep insisting that you did the right thing? Can't help you. Won't try. After January 20, you go to the dumpsters behind abortion clinics and explain to the sad, tragic, forsaken contents just how deep and nuanced you are." ... "And you pastors who could not find it in yourselves even to say, from the pulpit, that life is an important consideration when voting... I don't know what to say to you. I know some very fine men are absolutely convinced that all politics should be kept out of the pulpit. But is life politics? Is the stewardship of one's vote politics? Are we really called to give no guidance whatever for the pressing moral issues of citizenship?"
  • McKinley argues that God's plan for the world runs through the church, not capitol hill, and thinks we've all come to just give lip service to the idea that Jesus is not a Republican.
  • David Bayly think that Obama's greatest opponents will be jaded congressional democrats. He also asks what constitutes being an American black, since Condi Rice, Ken Blackwell, Alan Keyes, and numerous others aren't considered "truly black" by the black community.
  • Graphic depiction of abortion.
  • German Christians were scrupulous about social dancing... not so much about killing Jews, though.
  • Just more indication that university is hardly a matter of higher education or critical thinking anymore.
  • Statistics show that a scant number of people (~4%) are actually atheists. Turns out that the prophets of atheism were wrong, and religion has not died, even in nations where atheistic indoctrination was the norm [mind you, this is happening now too]. The new atheism is a particularly nasty and angry form of atheism that reeks of desperation. Rodney Stark’s says this about the New Atheists’ attempts to stamp out religion: “To expect to learn anything about important theological problems from Richard Dawkins or Daniel Dennett is like expecting to learn about medieval history from someone who had only read Robin Hood.” There is an overrepresentation of new atheism in the media. With all this said, there is much Gospel work to do.
  • "This is a map, courtesy of someone at the University of Michigan, of the election results by county, graded on a scale of "Strongly Obama" (bright blue) to "Strongly McCain" (bright red), with variations measured by shades between blue and red."
  • A CD of the worship at Together for the Gospel is out.
  • Homosexuals call for violence against Christians on account of Proposition 8.  [Note that the incitement to violence on their part indicates that they care nothing for tolerance or democracy] HT: Phillips news of the day: Phillips also writes: Pastor Tim Bayly makes me look like a tepid tea-drinker.
  • Read this: "The emoting over Obama's blackness is cloying hypocrisy. If an African American ascending our Imperial Throne means anything, its meaning is bound up with the end of the oppression of a group of persons formerly declared not full persons under our Constitution due to the color of their skin. Instead of learning the lesson of his skin color and descent, though, Obama glides into office on the blood of an entire generation of souls, red and yellow, black and white, who aren't enslaved, but slaughtered. In numbers that, each year, dwarf the oppression of slavery."
  • This article points to a parallel between what happened in Stalin's days in Russia and what is happening now in South Africa. It points to a Darwinian worldview as the basis for Stalin's rabid pragmatism. "Stalin’s henchman Trotsky called for ‘an end once and for all to the Papist-Quaker babble about the sanctity of human life,’ in the Communist campaign of terror in order to impose Marxism on the Russian people." Also, "historians tell us that many of the same social circumstances evident in early 20th century Russia prevailed in both Great Britain and France in the 18th century. Why did France end up with bloody revolution, anarchy, the Reign of Terror and eventually the tyranny of Napoleon, while in contrast, just 30 miles across the Channel, their perennial enemies underwent a quite different revolution? ... These same historians conclude that it was the Christian revival under men such as Wesley and Whitfield that made the difference between the murderous revolution in France and the benevolent transformation in Britain. Not that Christianity was perfect or all-pervasive in Britain..."
  • This article discusses the effect of humanism on all people, including Christians, and suggests a 'test for authority' to see whether humanism or God's truth is the foundation of things we encounter.
  • This article offers an answer for the 'contradiction' in that Rahab lied to protect the spies. The bottom line is that Rahab was justified by faith, righteous on account of Christ, not on the basis of her deeds.
  • Obama promised change. "read this and ask yourself, "it is really 'change' if the primary attribute of a potential SCOTUS judge is their sex or race? Is that the kind of change we're really after here?"" Could it be people really hate Bush because he's not a sexist racist?
  • Looks like these might be some good tips on email management (probably extensible to other areas).
  • Wednesday, November 5, 2008


    This post contains summaries and quotations from various blogs.

  • Turk brings to mind the complaint of God against the Israelites in Malachi, and their 'complaint,' "how have you loves us?" Israel had a covenant with God that should have set them apart, but instead they wanted to be like the nations around them. God begins this complaint with 'I love you,' and the solution is that they need a round of the refiners fire, particularly for those who do not know what that means. See, they should have had hope. We too, in the church, should have hope. We should act like the beloved, not throw our hands in despair because of the state of the political sphere. We should remember and live like God loves us. Not be like the ungrateful Israelites.
  • Every Christian should take this quiz. Whether your candidate won or not. Also here.
  • Challies continues to write about the Dominican Republic, noting in particular the tragic scenario where Haitians are lured out of Haiti with the promise of work at a plantation, resulting in a loss of Haitian citizenship and an inability to attain DR citizenship, which results in a sort of impoverished quasi-slavery. He then notes the work of Compassion International there, which appears to be actually doing some pretty beneficial stuff. Read it.
  • McKinley encourages pastors in cities to get to know each other, make efforts to this end, and so on. After all, they're on the same team.
  • Josh Harris: "On Sunday I told my church that after the election half the country would be elated, confident that all would be right in the world because their candidate won; the other half dejected and sure that the world had ended because their candidate lost. But Christians should realize that both sides are wrong. If you voted for Obama, he isn't worthy of your ultimate hope. And if you didn't vote for him, don't despair as though Jesus isn't reigning over the world. " He concludes with the reminder to pray for Obama.
  • This is kind of funny - Turretinfan's bright side of the election result:
  • "Should Christians buy Apple products when Apple contributes $100,000 to defeat the anti-homosexual marriage ballot initiative in California? Interesting to note in this article that Microsoft has stopped contributing to pro-homosexual causes even as Apple trumpets its commitment to homosexuality. Of course, in the end, we can't judge every purchase by underlying corporate ethics, but this seems an especially noteworthy and egregious case...."
  • Mohler points to the change in the political landscape in the USA. While this is a step forward for blacks who now feel they have true influence, the anti-abortion movement, among other moral issues, has been hit really hard. This is a life and death matter too, not just heated politics. "Will the Republican Party decide that conservative Christians are just too troublesome for the party and see the pro-life movement as a liability?  There is the real danger that the Republicans, stung by this defeat, will adopt a libertarian approach to divisive moral issues and show conservative Christians the door." Finally, there is again the reminder that we are commanded to pray for Obama.
  • McCain got 55 million votes. [Obama got 62,947,206]. That is a big number - against Obama. "There is fear that Obamessiah will try to institute many of his radical ideas. The media, who failed to do basic journalism and were so in the tank for the Chosen One from day one, engineered a victory for a man with some of the most questionable associations, statements, and beliefs ever elected. We’ve seen O lie about public financing, promise to bankrupt coal companies, and continue to lower the dollar cut-off for whose taxes will be raised upon." But those votes stand against him. The message to the republicans is this: Moderate Republicanism will lose. If the Republicans want to win, don't nominate a moderate, don't nominate someone who no one really likes. But that someone still got 55 million votes. What would happen with a real candidate! Moreover, Conservativism is build on logic. But logic isn't really taught in public schools anymore, so Convervatives need to argue for their positions, not assume that the general public will make the appropriate critical connections.
  • This is a bit disconcerting:
  • Turk continues with his critique of atheist critiques of theism on the basis of suffering by pointing out that while the atheist calls God evil for not creating a universe without suffering, the atheist will choose the lesser of suffering to reduce greater suffering - that is, choosing suffering can in his thinking be a means to a good end and therefore justified. But then why does the presence of suffering impugn God's character, if the atheists uses this defence himself every day? "See: the atheist can look at this, and even imagine it, but in his mind the only way to judge this is to say, “if that’s so, God must be evil. Any God which requires suffering to make His objectives into reality is a cruel God who somehow enjoys our pain." The problem is that the atheist, in saying this, credits God with less than the atheist would credit himself with. "
  • Patton observes that people may be much more tolerant about religion than politics in conversation simply because religion may not affect them - its 'personal'. He then goes on to describe that it is indeed God who has placed Obama in the presidency, and that it is God who will turn his heart wherever He wills. Remember it. Don't gloat over Obama's failures. Rather, pray for him all the way.
  • This is a worthwhile post by Hays - definitely worth the read. Some points of note: There is a constant battle between good and evil. This isn't hyperbole. And evil issues of the day require battle. And indeed, God does indeed take sides in moral issues. There will be finger-pointing over this great loss. But this is good, as it will help weed out mistakes. "But whether you vote or don’t vote, vote for an electable candidate, or cast a protest vote, that’s a moral decision, a moral action. And it’s either consistent with Christian values or inconsistent with Christian values. In some cases, there’s more than one morally licit option open to you. " This quote is worth repeating: "There’s a danger in getting what you wish for. The liberal media did it’s best to suppress his real views and checkered career. But that won’t go away. That’s going to dog him throughout his first term. What was suppressed will be peeled away, a layer at a time. _And Obama has another challenge ahead of him. He’s been coasting to victory on rose-strewn path of flowery rhetoric. Now he has to turn the briar patch into a rose garden. Transmute his fragrant words into hard, tangible reality. "
  • Various post-election comments. Of note: "Byron York says that black voters in California supported Proposition 8 (undoing homosexual "marriage) by a ratio of 70% to 30%. Black voters. That would be the voters who supported Obama by a ratio of 493% to 0%. Barack Obama. That would be the man who will stack a judiciary with a philosophy of "empathy" over law. Which will, in other words, overturn Prop 8. Which blacks supported, 70% to 30%. Got that?"
  • This points to why there was reservation about McCain. The article concludes: "Should Sen. John McCain be elected as the next president of the United States, he will not be a champion for the life of the unborn. While he recently stated that he believes life begins “at the moment of conception,”[25] based on his past record and statements on the life issue, Sen. McCain will not actively seek to overturn Roe v. Wade; will appoint pro-abortion judges, if he deems them otherwise qualified; will continue to support embryonic stem cell research; and will seek to undermine the Republican Party Platform’s pro-life plank which opposes abortion in the cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother. In sum, those who cherish human life should not trust Sen. John McCain to represent them on this issue."
  • "According to the Click here: The Rapture Index Obama's election hasn't even merited an update!  On November 3, the index moved up one point, from 158 (the low for the year) to 159.  The high for the year is 170."
  • How the pro-life movement could succeed.
  • Anthony Carter reflects on the meaning of a black family in the White House forty-five years after four black girls were killed in a school bombing. Nevertheless, the plague of abortion remains.
  • Ligon Duncan on how to pray for Barack Obama.
  • This letter laments the young Christians who voted for Obama, given his abortion position. "What I can't get over is the complete disregard for the value of life that is represented by Obama and how a Christian can support that..." "On taking care of the poor...who gives more...liberals or conservatives? Who puts their money where their values are...and who wants to take care of the needy with other people's money. It doesn't take much research to answer that question. And God's command is personal, not societal. When the government takes more of my money, it becomes harder for me to obey the Lord's command to give...because Uncle Sam has taken everything...and I have a family to provide for as well." (ellipses original)
  • Interesting article that argues that we might be misusing 'your will be done' in our prayers as a sort of insulation from disappointment - a pre-emptive receiving of a 'no.' This article points out that the command in the Lord's prayer refers to the moral will of God, not His secret will (which is presupposed). Thus, we should earnestly be praying for those things in line with God's moral will and then that God's moral will would be done. In other words, the object of this statement should not be the secret will of God. e.g. “God I want to be healed, and I know you want that for me as well. Please, let your (moral) will be done in this matter.” [I wonder if perhaps the usage isn't patterned after Gethsemane? But maybe the prayer in Gethsemane is in the usage of this blog, since Jesus was going to the cross to obey the Father, hence, the moral will of God.]
  • Hays notes the well-meaning bloggers (see citations above, to which I think he alludes) that quote Pauline and Petrine passages concerning Caesar with respect to Obama. This blog lists some caveats, noting the difference in applications, as well as certain questions of the legitimacy of Obama's campaign and right to the presidency. Hays isn't trying to overturn the vote here. His point is: "when bloggers assure me that Obama is my president, and dictate the attitude I’m supposed to adopt, the legitimacy of his claim to be the duly elected president is germane to my attitude." Hays points out the difference between attitudes and actions, and defers to John's treatment of Rome in Revelation as an example. "At the same time, John is not fomenting a Christian insurrection. So this illustrates the difference between actions and attitudes. " Or consider the imprecatory Psalms.
  • It appears that three states, California, Arizona, and Florida, approved constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman yesterday. Also here:
  • A letter to Obama.
  • Tuesday, November 4, 2008


    This post contains summaries and quotations from various blogs.

  • Phillips contrasts the federal election of the president with the divine election of the elect. This is a good read, and certainly takes the focus from a transient election that makes some difference to an eternal election that makes all the difference.
  • Hays quotes some thoughts on who to vote for, whether to vote third party, and the freedom of Christians to have some ambivalence on the war in Iraq. Nevertheless, we have no freedom as regards abortion and sodomy - we cannot support these things.
  • Turns out that once you account for inflation, it doesn't really look like the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.
  • Some links are here provided to (among other things) a paper on when life begins, and another that tackles it from a scientific perspective.
  • Piper gives three observations on why to be pray for government. We are to be thankful, for even wicked government restrains wickedness, for anarchy would mean the unbridled reign of man's corrupt nature. We are to seek by prayer peace as opposed to anarchy from our leaders, and that we might not frivilously waste the peace we have. We are then to use this peace for radical godliness and evangelism.
  • Mohler gives ten things to pray for with respect to the election and the candidates and the voters. See also here:
  • Bolt meanders about, pointing out that the amorphous entity we call culture includes food, dress, music, etc. etc. What is culture? "And yet I am supposed to be multicultural, cross-cultural, subcultural, culturally aware, culturally sensitive, and, yet, I am told, I am probably culture-bound. Culture-bound: that doesn't sound good. Culture blinkered. Culture inescapable. Cultural slavery." Then, he suggests that culture may be a vehicle for the elementary principles of the world, which say, 'do not touch,' 'do not taste.' The Gospel is to liberate us from these regulations and this slavery.
  • Pray, then vote, then pray again. You can pray more than once, you know. Then resume life as a disciple.
  • Abide in Christ by faith, not by your own efforts, even in sanctification. This quote by Andrew Murray exhorts Christians to consider the implications of 'the just shall live by faith' with respect to union with Christ. "As you came to Jesus, so abide in Him, by faith." (cf. Col. 2:6-7)
  • Despite how he doesn't like him that much, Phillips writes about why he is voting for McCain. Simply math. "Obama's position on abortion is monstrous. You vote for him, you are complicit. You have no excuse. You can never look back at Hitler's Germany and scold those who assisted his Hellish designs. You're them." To undecideds, he says: "vote for the only man who can can actually prevent Barack Obama from opposing virtually every distinctive value you hold as a Christian, and very possibly your right to express opposition or protect your family; the man who will lurch our country in the direction of child-killing extremism."
  • Something to consider in light of the arguments of even Christians against voting on the basis of abortion: "in my talk the other night I drew, as an analogy, the complaint made by the historian J. G. Randall over the performance of Lincoln and Douglas during their famous debates in 1858. His complaint was about the unwarranted prominence that these two men were willing to give to that vexing moral issue of slavery...."
  • Some things learned by one person from the 90 years of Billy Graham's life.
  • Generally, writers can help more members of the congregation worship by writing songs that everyone can follow, and avoiding unpredictable changes in melody, etc.
  • A letter from Touchstone magazine describes the subtle subversion of Christianity by the process of making Christianity immoral that is at work from the Democratic party. The democratic party is practical atheism. Bayly prefaces it: "The Gentiles, even--or perhaps especially--the religious ones, have not changed their opinions about people who regard them as morally unclean, nor will they fail to punish them for it when they gain sufficient power." Some quotes from the letter: "One of the most common defenses for Democratic loyalties is to assert the moral equivalence of the two parties, to claim that their respective errors leave the Christian to vote for the one he thinks most Christian, or least unchristian. If the Democrats endorse abortion, sodomy, and the like, Republicans cut social programs for the poor. This is a plausible and attractive argument except for one thing. We know with certainty that abortion and sodomy are evil, but we do not know with any certainty whether any particular disbursement of funds for the poor is good or bad or mixed... " It goes on to describe the manner of subtle subversion, saying "...  Enlist dim and compromised Christians by representing to them that the party standing for all these things is the party of Christian charity because the public resources it uses to assist in killing some children are used to feed others. Do these effectively, and one can talk as much about God and be as religious and true-blue American as one pleases.  ..." In the conclusion: "Our call is not to vote Republican, but to think and act like Christians in the political arena as much as any other. We doubt this can be done in cooperation with the Democratic Party any more than it can be done with Nazis or Communists, for we recognize little substantive difference between explicit and practical atheism. "
  • Five (relevant) myths about the great depression for those interested in the current economic crisis and such parallels:
  • Some perspective on now from life several decades ago.
  • There are an estimated 950 000 000 abortions to date. Bayly debunks some claims of an emergent writer regarding the claim, 'legalizing abortion will reduce it.' Of note, Brian McLaren is apparently spokesman of the Matthew 25 network which, along with their refusal to proclaim biblical truth, endorses Obama. [has anyone else noticed that for emergents, it isn't that 'Christians have been too partisan' that is the real issue for them, it's that they want to vote Democrat as rabidly as certain others would vote Republican. They are as politically driven as any 'fundamentalist.'] Bayly also briefly explains the experience of women who stand outside abortion clinics and offer the mothers help, such as paying for food, shelter, etc: "The mothers accompanying their daughters into the House of Baby Slaughter are tough as flint and hate the women of our church who carry on this ministry. But these dear women do their work faithfully, despite being punched and kicked and spit on and cursed for their kindness and compassion."
  • This post quotes a black woman who will vote for Obama because he's black - 'I think that Obama’s election will help to change the appalling view that most white people have (including white Christians): that black people are idiots who can never be anything'. Ironically, this projects a racial stereotype that she hates used on blacks onto whites, Obama's academic achievement is by his own admission a product of racial tokenism, so such voting actually reinforces the thing this commentator hates, and the notion that blacks need to prove themselves before whites is reflective of a racial inferiority complex.
  • "The new study is the first to link those viewing habits with teen pregnancy... Teens who watched the raciest shows were twice as likely to become pregnant over the next three years as those who watched few such programs.... Still, U.S. teen pregnancies were on a 15-year decline until a 3 per cent rise in 2006, the latest data available. Experts think that could be just a statistical blip. ... the downward trend occurred as TV shows were becoming more sexualized, confirming that "it's not the only influence.""
  • The MSM may well call the polls early (probably to dissuade late voters).
  • Phillips targets the all-too-common fluffy Calvinist talk that is really fatalism under the hood - that God is sovereign, His will will be done, voting, etc. doesn't matter. Phillips rightly points out that this is patently unbiblical thinking. Biblical logic is fight, knowing God's will is going to be done. Our part is to take action. Not, because God's will is going to be done, don't do anything.
  • This points to an article that argues that Darwinian evolution is the basis of the Nazi regime's legal system, as they saw themselves as a progressive people acting in the interests of evolutionary science. Moreover, Nazi Germany is a perfect illustration of what can occur when a regime declares itself free from God's laws.
  • "Should you take your children to Walking with Dinosaurs? While the animatronic dinosaurs are spectacular, there is a deliberate agenda to indoctrinate young people and their moms and dads in evolution and millions of years of earth history." This article points out some equivocations, debated assumptions, and so on in the Walking with Dinosaurs presentation. The paleo-actor in the program is named Huxley (see previous links). "At the Creation Museum, we admit up front that we are presenting the history in Genesis as true, but we do even more. We also teach people how to think about the issue of origins—not just what to think. The museum lets children and adults actually know what evolution is and help them walk their way through this topic in such a way that they learn the problems  concerning trying to interpret the past in relation to the present world." Once again, it is noted that it is the evolutionists who mostly refuse to engage in scientific debate with creationists. That is telling. [I'll note that there is a parallel with Islam, where most Muslims refuse to debate with Christians].
  • Jean Williams reflects on the comfort in God's total sovereignty, and then points out four things that seem to work against the "God is sovereign, but not totally sovereign," including pastoral, theological, biblical, and philisophical aspects.
  • An egalitarian attempts to subtly influence her nieces and nephews with teaching contrary to the example set by their parents so as to advance her feminist agenda through what this article dubs, "theological kidnapping."
  • Obama is president, and this post is a reminder that Christians are called to "pray for Barack Obama (1 Tim. 2:1-2)," "to thank God for Barack Obama (1 Tim. 2:1-2)," "respect Barack Obama (Rom. 13:7)," "to honor Barack Obama (Rom. 13:7; 1 Pet. 2:17)."
  • Monday, November 3, 2008


    This post contains summaries and quotations from various blogs.

  • Scientists argue for the youth of the grand canyon (still on geological time scales, though).
  • Doug Paggit misrepresents the pyromaniacs.
  • A study indicates that teens with the most exposure to sexual content on TV are twice as likely to be involved in a teen pregnancy as those with the least. (the study is caveated by [rightly] pointing out that there are complex factors). Statistic: "Nearly 1 million young women between the ages of 15 and 19 become pregnant each year in the U.S., and they are more likely than other teens to drop out of high school and live in poverty...." It is pointed out that TV rarely depicts the consequences of sexual activity. Engwer adds that those who study this in the secular world grossly misdiagnose the consequences themselves, as a condom isn't going to prevent them all. [Though not in the post, the hyperlink is telling - a condom won't 'protect' you at the judgment seat of God].
  • Hays points out the double standard in Romanist argumentation for certainty, pointing out that both Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholicism have significant problems in establishing certainty, such as the need to establish an infallible list of infallible councils, an infallible determination that one of them is the one true church (R), the lack of an official canon in the EO, the need for infallible criteria for an infallible council to obtain an infallible canon, a list of infallible teaching and infallible and true popes, the need for a papal hotline to (ex cathedra) confirm any private interpretation. He then sources Metzger, who writes about the uncertainty at trent, the minority majority vote (hardly 'certain!'), and the fact that Trent included parts of Scripture in its proclamation that are seriously questionable textually. Hays then concludes by resting in providential certainty.
  • Piper prays that people would vote, but that they would look heavenward even in so doing, exalting Christ and seeking godly wisdom, remembering that America will pass away.
  • There are many naysayers in Christendom regarding America - as if its spiraling 'out of control' - but believers must remember Romans 8:28, which teaches that, among other things, God is working both the good and the bad times for our sanctification and glorification, and that He is completely in control, so that whoever is elected is put there by God for our good.
  • In light of the debate between systematic and biblical theology advocates (the latter  "tend to argue (with variations of emphasis) that the text as it stands alone must provide its own product-in some cases whatever the result might be"), this post asks what the proper place of logic is in studying Scriptures, and to gain some insight quotes Owen, who points out that the derived consequences of biblical truth - those things included therein and which may be collected - are divine revelation themselves.
  • JT has a criticism of Piper [I didn't listen to the Piper presentation that he is critiquing]. His general thrust seems to be that Piper seemed to indirectly imply a fatalism with regard to the election, and in so doing - at the same time as pointing out that it is unbiblical for a woman to lead the army - seemed to diminish the importance of abortion in this election. "[Piper] [formerly explained in an article] that "No endorsement of any single issue qualifies a person to hold public office. . . . [But] Everybody knows a single issue that for them would disqualifya candidate for office" (my emphasis). Here's the thesis: "I believe that the endorsement of the right to kill unborn children disqualifies a person from any position of public office." Piper ends by saying that his conviction is "never to vote for a person who endorses such an evil—even if he could balance the budget tomorrow and end all taxation."" So Taylor's critique is something along the line that Piper was a bit inconsistent here. Taylor goes on to point out that much progress has been made in terms of abortion (and he lists it) and this next election could undo it all. He wants to highlight the importance of this, and gently remind Piper of his own words.
  • Regarding the BBC article on Sinaiticus, "as Wheaton's Nicholas Perrin points out: "You cannot position yourself as one of the most reputable and responsible news organizations in the world and at the same time go public with a piece like this one."" [given the secular religion behind the MSM, sure you can.]
  • Turns out Tony Jones is no longer "national coordinator" of the emergent village because the 'emergent friends' are wary of 'institutionalization,' preferring a 'grass roots relational network' [aren't these the ones so on about the 'missional kingdom?' Isn't a kingdom an institution?]
  • Phillips reports the goings-on: "Barack Obama is a novice, hasn't the political courage to do the right thing, and the existence of phone banks for Obama in Gaza is a huge political issue. The kicker? All that comes from a congressional Obama-supporter! (See further here, here, here, andhere.)" He also calls the JT post mentioned above 'brilliant.' Turns out that Obama isn't the only one who has used 'righteous wind' - Mao did too - the righteous wind of socialism.
  • It is amazing the racist stuff you find on the internet...
  • The age of the earth question, rather than evolution, is increasingly being employed in an attempt to discredit creationists. [As a regular reader of discovery channel blog, I, for one, am trembling in my boots at the might of their arguments.]
  • The revenge of the left? Watch how you vote.
  • While Darwin seems to have tried to avoid controversy, 'fearing execration as an atheist,' for the Origin of Species, Huxley, who came to be called Darwin's bulldog, was not so shy. He avidly promoted Darwin's theory, although he disagreed on many points (Phillip Johnson points out that evolutionists are united in their faith in naturalism, not so much agreement on concrete scientific propositions). He 'had little time for Christians who compromised their position by supporting the anti-biblical belief of evolutionary naturalism' (rightly) pointing out that they are in a most untenable position, and he used Scripture to show that such compromise is ridiculous.
  • This article contains a brief description of some of the complexities around figuring out the exact day of the crucifixion of Jesus, but they agree that He was crucified on Friday: "His crucifixion, most likely AD 33, which occurred on a Friday. So, the beginning of the Jewish Friday (which is Thursday evening for most of us) is when Jesus ate the Passover—then was betrayed, beaten, put on trial, and ultimately crucified. This occurred on the Preparation Day, which was also the Passover that year and immediately before the Sabbath—a High Sabbath because it fell during Passover week." The article then proceeds to argue from the usage of 'three days and three nights' in the OT, NT, and patristics, that it is an idiom for 'on the third day.' Hence, there is no problem with Jesus being crucified on Friday and rising on Sunday.
  • Hays looks at the question of whether Jude used extracanonical materials and mistakenly thought they were true. (It's not that Jude uses extracanonical material that would be problematic for canonicity.) First, he goes after Roman Catholic/Eastern Orthodox epistemology briefly, and then turns to address the issue. He makes the point that Protestants admit a fallible tradition, and therefore are able to be corrected should they hypothetically be wrong about something (e.g. canonicity of Jude) - he is only saying this to point out how its a bigger problem for, say Roman Catholicism. "if Catholicism made the wrong call on Jude, then that falsifies its claim to a divine teaching office." He then reminds us that we know precious little about Jude and therefore must be careful about jumping to conclusions about his view of extracanonical documents. As for solutions, he lists several. Of note, Jude seems to be careful. Both references are backed by canonical Jewish Scripture, at least implicitly. Some solutions involves viewing them as haggadic or ad hominem - answering others on their own grounds with the quotations (this solves the problem of inerrancy even if the quotations are not referring to true events). Moreover, it could well be a literary reference as opposed to historical reference. Thus, whether the quotes are true or false depends on Jude's view of them. "Does Jude equate the literary Enoch with the historical Enoch? From his statement alone, you can’t tell if he identifies one with the other. How else would he refer to the literary Enoch?" Organic inspiration is also a resource.
  • Mounce writes about his experience in Nepal and India.
  • In light of a new high school for homosexuals, CBMW reminds Christians to boldly proclaim the sinfulness of our culture so as to point people to the free offer of the mercy of Christ. It is only through the work of the Spirit that we shall come to a hatred of our own sins.
  • Frank Turk has reservedly responded in the meta to JT's post criticizing Piper. Turk wants to point out that the mission of the church doesn't change on Wednesday morning, that the fruit of the Spirit are still legal, and that we (the church) should not put our hope in the election (which he thinks is Piper's main point) but rather put our hope in the power of the cross and attempt to overcome sin with the Gospel rather than put our hope in overcoming the government via the ballot-box.
  • Hays says that eventually the cumulative mistakes catch up to a nation - like a gambler who tempts fate, so to speak, for long enough. While he doesn't think it will happen in his lifetime, he fears for our children.
  • Kenyans are excited about Obama...
  • Bayly writes about Obama's amorphous position on Iraq, Iran, etc., and then makes the chilling statement: "Senator Obama will stand by our families as Adolph HItler stood by the families of Germany, only worse. Hitler denied the personhood of Christians, homosexuals, and Jews, and he presided over the slaughter of ten million for the sake of the motherland."
  • Here's bullhorn guy and bullwhip guy. Bayly is using NOOMA videos (and their satiracle rebuttals) as predictors for the election.
  • A child's letter to Obama: "I am 9 years old. This is not a school project or parents word or idea. I'm writing this on my own. Back in the day, people thought blacks like you were not human. I hope in the future people look back to us and say: "Back in the day, people thought baby's were not humans" as silly as we talk about slavery now. W(e) don't go through a metamorphosis. Flip (page) We start human and stay human."
  • Those who think the Bayly's might be partisan should read this:
  • This paper is an excellent and essential read: "Yes, my friends, this has been the genius of the Obama campaign: to convince faithful Christians that he is one of them, to trumpet his evangelical credentials while denying the Gospel, and to hoodwink them into believing that in his left hand a man may allow the sword to slaughter the souls of the unborn, all the while holding high in his right hand the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God he has rejected."
  • Challies writes about Compassion International's work in the Dominican Republic, and his short experience on the ground there.
  • 2008-11-02

  • Turretinfan points out the anthropentric view of what is good in Loftus' objection against theism on the basis of suffering. Suffering exists because we are sinful and God is just. For Loftus, any and all suffering is de facto 'not good,' as he thinks God is either incompetent or does not care if there is suffering.
  • Spurgeon warns against 'Confederacies of Evil' that are passed off as "Christian Unions" - the 'unity' that is found with apostates, false teachers, and so on, by God's people as they begin to compromise the truth.
  • Engwer thinks that most Americans aren't liberal, but Obama's liberalism is within their tolerance. Conservatives are a minority. And that such liberalism is tolerable is indicative of something: "One of the reasons why issues like abortion, homosexuality, marriage, and judges are so weightless to so many voters is the weightlessness of God in their lives."
  • Piper argues that it exalts a flawed pattern of womanhood for a woman to run for (vice) president. Culture should be shaped by the creation order design of man and womanhood, not the other way around. "Therefore, I am not able to say that God only speaks to the role of men and women in home and church. If our roles are rooted in the way God created us as male and female, then these differences shape the way we live everywhere and all the time. " Manhood and womanhood are note mere social constructs. He believes that it is acceptable to vote for a woman, however: "In my view, defending abortion is far worse sin for a man than serving as Vice President is for a woman. " [he's not a soft complementarian - e.g. roles limited to church and home - I generally agree with his position here].
  • Payne points out that the problem with saying God is mysterious isn't so much the fact of it, which is true, but that it can be mis-used. Liberal, emergent(ing), etc. don't assail doctrines by disproving them but by consigning them to ambiguity. This is what has happened with the serious egalitarian error. We should not overreact by overstating what is clear and bold, but the solution isn't to get lost in the dust they've kicked up. [I will interject to say that the liberal and emergent pattern here is analogous to that of Satan in the garden, and from a meeting a while back over egalitarianism, it was this very pattern that was used by the egalitarians.]
  • In his characteristic tongue and cheek style, Bird says in the midst of election predictions, "Sadly the only choice the yanks have is between war mongers and baby killers. God bless America, they need it!" Ouch!
  • This is an excellent read:  Phillips writes on third party voting, heavy on the 'it's a dumb idea' side. Of note: "I'm a grownup. I want to make a difference, not a gesture (i.e. "sending a message"). I don't know if there has ever been a more stark nor consequential choice in my lifetime. One candidate has a sterling pro-life voting record, and an even more persuasively pro-life running-mate. The other never met an unborn child he wouldn't just as soon see dead, and even in the most gruesome way imaginable. He thinks spreading abortion is the most important thing he can do. " "Obama allies himself with terrorists, Marxists, racists. That's his posse. That's the sauce in which he has marinated his soul. And that's what he brings to the White House."
  • This article points to Nazi Germany as social Darwinism and eugenics, and they point to Mein Kempf to show how evolution permeated Hitler's thinking. They also point to the tragic suffering of the Lebensborn children after the war. "Indeed, if Hitler and his Nazi associates had fully accepted and consistently acted on the belief that all humans are descended from Adam and Eve and so are equal before the Creator God, as taught in the Bible in both the Old Testament and New Testament, neither the Lebensborn program with all of its pain, nor the Holocaust with all of its horrors, would ever have happened."
  • Thabiti finds an insight in an unlikely place - Hybels points out that his church was suffering because people were more committed to their particular sub-ministry than to the greater body.
  • Sunday, November 2, 2008


    This post contains summaries and quotations from various blogs.

  • The apostate (and atheist) Loftus asks why, if God did the greater deed of punishing His Son for people's sins, He doesn't do the smaller deed of at least trying to help everyone believe? Bridges responds, pointing out that this says nothing to Reformed theology, that John 3:16 is a text that teaches particular redemption since it says that Jesus died for all who believe (not everyone), that the world is already condemned, which is why Jesus didn't come to condemn it, but to save a group of people in the world and by that save the world, and that John 3:16 is an explanation of the illustration of the serpent being raised up, which saved everyone for whom it was raised up, since those for whom it was not had died already.
  • Piper asks, how can God do this to us? - that is, how can He not swallow up our cities in earthquakes, and give us foretastes of heaven, though we are greatly wicked?
  • Christian graffiti vandalism, a priest makes a book about how Jesus wasn't God... wow.
  • "while 4,300 people may be leaving the church every day in Europe and North America, 16,500 are coming to faith each day in Africa alone.” Areas like Africa understand the revolutionary and bold message of the Gospel, and these people have been suffering and have been persecuted.
  • Walton comments on the distinction of the verbal forms with respect to the blessing of Abraham, suggesting that the hithphael promises that the nations will seek to ingratiate themselves into the nation of Abraham and seek its favour and blessing as they would God's, and that contextually this is conditioned on obedience, while the niphal form is found in a context that is not conditioned on obedience, and speaks to God's favour upon people channeled through Abraham.
  • Some recent archaeological finds accord, as expected, with the history of Israel recorded in the Scriptures; evolutionists have to push back when people learned about fire (in their model); given the discovery of opal on Mars, "for creationists, this further evidence that Mars was once covered in water is just that: evidence that Mars once had surface water." Also, two psychologists write that empathy has little to do with doing good (that is, inner goodness), but rather authority does, and religious authority (e.g. an omniscient God) can be replaced by cameras, etc. It is pointed out against their findings that personal experience does not accord with this, in that empathy and authority are complementary.
  • Women drivers ... j/k. Sorta. ;-)
  • This article describes how the flood may cause an ice age. "Two particular aspects of the Flood were instrumental in causing the Ice Age: (1) extensive volcanic activity during and after the Flood, and (2) the warm oceans following the Flood." The Flood provides the water and atmospheric conditions necessary for an ice age. It is estimated to have lasted 700 years; 500 to accumulate, 200 to melt. "Based on what we know about the impact of the global Flood on the continents, sediments, and climate, it is clear that an ice age would not require hundreds of thousands to millions of years, as stipulated by evolutionary beliefs."
  • A borderline irrational rant is directed towards theonomists, to which Turretinfan responds. He points out some distinctions they hold, like the tripartide division of the Law, and makes some good points, like the unity of the OT and the NT, and the fact that justice doesn't change. The accuser even claims that Calvinists "just love to persecute, however, and convert by threat of death or injury, because they are Judaizing scum on the worst sort," which is particularly absurd considering that this is precisely the opposite of what Calvinists think will bring about conversion. He makes the aside that Federal Visionists at least formally deny perseverance of the saints. [I wasn't aware of this nor can I confirm it at the moment.]
  • An explanation of the tripartide division of the OT law. Moral is enduring and immutable; ceremonial is fulfilled in Christ, and done away with; concerning civil he writes: "There are moral aspects of the civil law of Israel, and these moral aspects remain significant. There were circumstantial aspects, and these aspects necessarily vary under different circumstances. Finally, there were ceremonial aspects, and these aspects have been fulfilled or supplanted in the New Testament." Turretinfan then summarizes four errors, and conclude: "We must be careful to observe to do all that God has commanded us, and yet we need to be careful not to bind men's consciences beyond what the Word of God states. Excess in the first regard leads to legalism, excess in the second regard leads to antinomianism"
  • TF continues with a clarification on a previous post concerning an analogy he used to describe the sufficiency and efficiency of the death of Christ. He points out that ransoming prisoners isn't the only metaphor biblically used; that penal substitution is as well [and he adds the covenant of grace as well]. In other words, Christ's death was for the sins of the elect, but it also had merit, where the "merit of his suffering and death is representable by an equation in which there is, on the one hand, the penalty received (suffering and death) and a multiplication factor (if you will) of the dignity of the victim." He rejects a  "this much for that many" pure commercial view of the atonement. Here is a statement which may help clarify all this: "The merit of Christ's suffering and death was infinite, not finite. It would have been necessary if Christ had wanted to save only one sinful man, and it would have been sufficient if Christ had wanted to save every sinful human." [note that the premises used in this post are from a rather developed superstructure of Reformed theology].
  • Turretinfan addresses what he thought might have been a joke post that claims that theonomists employ a Barthian-like rejection of the Reformed doctrine of natural law by showing how standard theonomy accords with the WCF's teaching on natural law.
  • Commenting on extravagent Christmas pagents: "Let me be clear: we should strive for excellence for the glory of God. But competing with the world’s production standards should never be our ultimate goal. The world will almost always “out-WOW” the church in terms of production quality." "In our effort to be fruitful, rather than faithful, are we becoming so much like the world that people can’t tell the difference?"
  • Wayne Grudem writes come commentary on the biblical principles of wealth and possessions. Some notes: A view of the early church as a form of socialism or communism is unsustainable as the text expressly prevents the understanding that this giving was compelled by rule or regulation or community. Giving was voluntary. The Scriptures speak of inequality of authority, stewardship, responsibility, and reward, and that this equality is good and necessary where many tasks, which have different needs are to be accomplished. 2 Cor. 8 speaks to fairness, not equality. There are sins which plague both rich and poor, and there is unacceptable disparity. The concern in the NT is for poor Christians, a concern that should exist with any who are born of God. The rich are commanded to help others and to not set their hopes on riches, and the self-indulgent rich are condemned. The poor are commanded to be content, and to work, and everyone is to be able to sustain himself, ideally. But being rich is not wrong, and inequality of possessions is not wrong.
  • In speaking on history and dogma (or versus, cf. 19th century), Helm points out that if theological superstructures (e.g. dogma) based or predicated upon a resource base of narrative and history, then as a simple matter of logic the theological results will be dogmatically impoverished and substandard. From what is the case it is logically impossible to determine what must be the case. "Christian dogma embodies statements about what must be the case; statements about natures and essences and necessities. History alone does not give us dogma." That something is does not entail that is must be. Dogma therefore comes from interpretation, which come from "the non-narrative parts of Scripture, or from parts of the narratives being taken in non-narrative fashion or interpreted in the light of the non-narrative parts." He calls this open-eyed proof-texting. Dogma comes from history as the normative statements happened in history, but is more than history. [Those normative statements are inspired, which sets them apart from other historical normative statements.] "They are not simply events, or opinions, they are God-given judgments, including God-given judgments about God. As such they are elevated beyond mere narrative, opinions of Paul about what must be the case in respect of Jesus of Nazareth, to what (without qualification) must be the case in respect of Jesus of Nazareth."
  • White documents the errors in a Steve Ray presentation regarding the distinction in the terms used in the NT for the offices in the church.
  • "The key point is this: one cannot objectively balance all of the evidence for creation or evolution, then arrive at a fair conclusion, because the evidence itself is interpreted according to what you already believe." This article gives a dozen reasons why the 'majority rules' is not a good practice when determining whether creation or evolution is true. One point that needs to be stated and restated: There is a difference between observational science and origins science. Expertise in one does not confer expertise in the other. "origins science, which for evolutionists means making up untestable stories about the past to describe where fossils and rocks came from and using philosophical uniformitarianism to extrapolate how old the earth is. These tales can’t be experimentally tested, though that doesn’t stop scientists from building on layers of interpretation and spinning the result as “scientific fact.”"
  • I quote this letter to James White from someone only because of this key statement: "From the very beginning it became clear that Bryson was having a tough time and so the moderator of the debate decided to join and debate against you (?!) What I heard in those few hours was one of those defining moments in one's life. There was the Bible Answer man being questioned about certain verses in the Bible (John 6, Gen 50) and he was DODGING THE BIBLE! Now I've told you before I didn't like you after that interaction, but I had to give the debate to the one who was faithful to the scriptures."
  • "Back in 1999, terrorists on the daylight-saving West Bank built several time bombs, delivered to co-conspirators in Israel and scheduled to explode at a set time. Problem was, Israel had just switched back to standard time, so the only people injured were the terrorists themselves when the bomb detonated an hour earlier than they expected and killed them all."