Saturday, September 30, 2006

Knowledge of the Canon

My position on the apocrypha and how we know which books should be in the Canon of Scripture was likened to a form of Gnosticism. The idea is that without Rome’s infallible magisterium, we must have some kind of secret knowledge from God that is mystically beamed to us esoterically and is purely subjective.

First the question must be asked. Who is this mystical Magesterium? How did they get this special knowledge? How did they get infallibility?

Aside from those questions, some thoughts came to me the other day while driving the countryside. I would like to use an analogy that may explain something of how God’s people come to recognize the Canon of Scripture.

Let’s say Peter has a disciple named Frank. Frank has been listening to Peter’s Apostolic preaching and doctrine for several years. He follows Peter to a particular church named Remote Church. After establishing the church, Peter goes on a trip back to Jerusalem.

Some time later Peter remembers Frank and the others at Remote. He wishes to instruct them by way of reminder. So he writes a letter, which we call 1 Peter. This letter is received by Frank and is read before the whole church. Since the church regards Peter as an Apostle of Jesus Christ, anything he teaches is considered authoritative as if Christ Himself had said it.

So at this point I must ask, “Does Frank and the rest of the church recognize this as Scripture, or do they need an infallible magisterium to declare that?”

Some time passes and the church of Remote begins to also receive Paul’s letters to the churches. This church knows Paul is an Apostle. They receive his letters as Apostolic doctrine and with the authority of Christ.

Some time later, Peter remembers again this church of Remote and decides to send them a second epistle, which is later named 2 Peter. Peter states in this Second Epistle:

“Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”

Peter specifically refers to Paul’s letters as Scripture. Now were Paul’s Epistles Scripture before Peter said so, or did Peter have to have infallibility to say so? Did the People of God already recognize them as Scripture, or did they wait for an official pronouncement? Even if one says Peter must have told them infallibly, how do we know Peter is right? The question is only pushed back one step.

Now I am not saying God used some purely mystical Gnostic and purely subjective means of bringing the people of God to recognize His Word. But does not the Spirit of God have the ability through the means He has employed in history the objective and subjective means of bringing the people of God His Word?

My argument is simple. If God’s people are able to recognize just one book of the Bible as Scripture without an infallible Magisterium, then the Canon is knowable.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Falwell and Politics

OK, I have to ask. Does this qualify as a "Pulpit Crime"? Chicago Tribune:

"Nothing will motivate conservative evangelical Christians to vote Republican in the 2008 presidential election more than a Democratic nominee named Sen. Hillary Clinton -- not even a run by the devil himself."

Jerry Falwell has been political for a long time. I have nothing against being politically active. I don't even have a problem with stating views of politicians as they align or go against Scripture. But is referring to Mrs. Clinton as being worse that the "Devil" himself wise? We don't like Hugo Chavez coming on American soil and calling the President the Devil, why should Christians return the favor to a former First Lady? I realize that Falwell probably said this "tongue and cheek", but we are talking about the Pulpit and preaching. One question that I have is, "Would Paul the Apostle approve? Or more importantly, would the Spirit of God approve?"

I have often wondered about Jerry Falwell and his politics. Not that he is a conservative, but how he mixes politics with his preaching in ways that are not Biblical. It seems to me he would rather be President of these United States or atleast have a major influence with a President than to remain faithful in the duties of true preaching. Anyone remember his meeting with McCain? Why would anyone align with a man who violated the Constitution in one the worst ways is beyond me. Unless of course you are a big political figure.

With the Caner brothers verses Ascol/White debate coming up, we have already seen horrific pulpit crimes committed by those who see preaching as a political podium. Say anything from the pulpit as long as it furthers our little kingdom for Jesus seems to be the methodology. As long as men are allowed to be politically correct in the pulpit, even if that PC is "conservative" (not conservative by my standards), without being held accountable for what they say, there will simply be no end to these kinds of Pulpit Crimes.

I think Falwell's statement does more for his base than for anyone running against Hillary. Maybe Falwell should run for office? Seems to me that is where he is most comfortable.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Theo and the Apocrypha

I have been having an excellent conversation with Theo, a Roman Catholic, on the subject of the apocrypha. Theo is very cordial and I wish he were able to go more in-depth with his arguments in some kind of message board forum. Having a discussion on Crossing the Tiber's Blog simply isn't realistic.

Anyway Theo has put forth some very interesting arguments for the inclusion of the Apocrypha in the Canon of Scripture. What strikes me is that he doesn't see his own starting point and epistemology as the root of the debate. He admits at one point that the Apostles and Jesus and the Jewish community as a whole knew of at least five books that were inspired of God. He is quick to point out however that there was much disagreement in Jesus' day as to which books belonged in the Old Testament Canon. Therefore Theo uses this disagreement as support for an infallible declaration of what the Canon is by someone who is infallible.

The problem with this argumentation is twofold as I see it.

First is the issue of authority. Since there is disagreement as to which books belong in the Bible historically only proves the Protestant's point, not the Roman Catholic's. The reason RCs believe in the Apocrypha is that the Roman Catholic has already accepted as his starting point the absolute infallible authority of Rome and then reads into history with that assumption. Thereby creating an interpretation of history that will prove her position. This is circular reasoning and denies to God the ability that is given to the church. The ability to speak to His people and for His people to recognize the "Canon" without an infallible magesterium is cucial.

The second problem is directly related. Since it was admitted that at least one book of the Old Testament was KNOWN to be Scripture, then it follows that there is no need for an infallible magesterium to pronounce the Canon's make-up infallibly.

I simply can't seem to drive this point home clearly enough. Simply because men have disagreed over the books of the Canon does not mean it is not knowable. The desire among men to have infallible knowledge has been referred as the "the infallible fuzzies". Men's desiring to know with absolute infallible knowledge is very powerful. The problem is that it is simply not possible. God is however able to accomplish whatever He has desired for His church.

In conclusion, a man's epistemology and his authority will rule the day. May we ever grow in our ability to hear God speaking to us from His Word.

I am trying to finish William Webster's work as well as Beckwith's. Webster's work is very readable for the layman, Beckwith's is...well...not but very scholarly, and it is taking quite some time. Perhaps when I finish these two works I will again address this issue.

Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Iran Must Not At ALL Costs

Years ago, many years ago, I used to be a fan of the TV series Battle Star Galactica. That first initial TV movie was fantastic. The human race had been suckered by the Cylons (a race of machines with artificial intelligence). The Cylons promised peace and tranquility. In the background, they were plotting the destruction of the human race.

President Ahmadinejad's speech to the UN promised the same thing. He stated towards the end of his speech, "As the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, I assure you that my country will use everything in its power to contribute to global tranquility and peace based on the two maxims of spirituality and justice as well as the equal rights of all peoples and nations."

What strikes me is not the blatant lies that thugs like him are able to tell while looking you square in the eye. It is the stupidity of the left. Many people on the left love Sci-Fi films. So why haven't they learned? It is not as if history has left us with no examples (North Korea).

The Iranian President is a thug plain and simple. He is lying through his teeth, and the left in this country lines up to believe him. We hear that it is not fair the U.S. is so powerful and everyone else isn't. The Left in this country really can't see the problem. Their moral relativism and guilt is keeping them from doing what is right. They simply do not know how to justify telling Iran "NO! You can't have Nukes!".

Then the Iranian President ended his speech with this statement:

"Dear Friends and Colleagues, "From the beginning of time, humanity has longed for the day when justice, peace, equality and compassion envelop the world. All of us can contribute to the establishment of such a world. When that day comes, the ultimate promise of all Divine religions will be fulfilled with the emergence of a perfect human being who is heir to all prophets and pious men. He will lead the world to justice and absolute peace.

"O mighty Lord, I pray to you to hasten the emergence of your last repository, the promised one, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace."

Could you imagine President Bush saying, "O' Come Lord Jesus. We await your return."? The UN and the Left and the "Drive-By Media" would have a cow. Yet has anyone heard a report on this religious end of the world nonsense by the Left-wing Media? Is the Media even the slightest bit curious as to who they are siding with?

The Left does not understand Cults. They did not understand the Wacko in Waco, TX. They simply do not understand Islam. I am not claiming to be an expert, but I have studied Cults enough to recognize a cultic religion when I see one.

Iran must not have Nukes at all costs. I mean ALL costs.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Firemen Answer the Call

I could hear Jacob beginning to grunt and get me up. Yet I was lazy and didn't move any faster than he did. Then that little tone during daytime hours became deafening. A call the men of Scott City would answer.

At midnight last night, the Scott City Fire Department was dispatched to Helmer's, a Ford car dealership. I arrived at the station finding a full crew. The assistant Fire chief gave the command that not only our main Engine 3 roll but also the old "Boardman". He said there was plenty of smoke rolling down Main St. We'll need everthing we got.

I pulled Engine 3 near the alley across from the building. I thought the fire was something we could stop. It was located mainly in the north-west corner of the building, where we were closest. I was wrong. There was a second floor. We attempted to cut into the building. The fire simply overpowered us.

Firemen evacuated the area as the roof flashed over with roaring flames. The heat was unbearable. Vehicles began to explode as we recelebrated the Fourth of July. Several nearby homes were evacuated.

Men began moving hoses around Engine 3. I put the truck in reverse and backed away. We sprayed water on the truck to keep it from being burned. It turns out the only damage was to the windshield and some plastic items.

The building burned to the ground except for the exterior block walls. Every car that was inside was destroyed. The Firemen of Scott City and Scott County Fire Departments worked as hard as I have ever seen. Although we were not able to save the building, the fire was contained and no one was injured.

I am hopeful that something good may come of this. Scott City is a small town. Perhaps this small buisness will grow as a result and the city with it.

This shot was sent to me this morning by Harold Irwin Assistant County Fire Chief. The picture would be looking south towards the building.

My son and I took these on the way to his school. They are facing west as we came down Second street, pulling out onto Main.

I also want to offer a thank you to the Scott County EMS for responding. They made sure everyone remained hydrated and in good shape. It is tough for volunteers to get up at such a late hour. They also answered the call of duty.

This may seem trivial to those in the big cities where this may be a daily occurence. Yet for those who live in a small rural town in western KS, this was something we may never forget.

Monday, September 11, 2006

State Fair

It has been a busy week. Yesterday I was priviledged to speak with God's people gathered in Pence, KS. It is a huge city of about four homes and a COOP where farmers store their grain. Yet there was quite a fellowship gathered from all over that rural area. I again spoke on Matthew 13's parable of the Wheat and Tares. The church didn't throw me out on my ear, even though I probably may have stepped on some toes. They showed me a lot of grace. :-)

Beffore I get into some of the events at Hutchinson, I thought I'd show how happy Jacob normally is. He has been having a belly ache for the last couple of days. Even then, he smiles quite a bit and almost never cries.

His siblings sure enjoy him. Over the last couple of days, Jacob appears to be attempting to talk back with his brother and sister. They are clearly new sounds with an intention of saying something. Only the Lord knows what though.

Finally, we did go to the State Fair on Friday. Apparently, to be in the Army National Guard is to be able to drive around in really cool vehicles.

And boats...they waited very patiently to get on these. :-)

Of course, the older kiddos have to take Aden in the Mock Combine.

Steven consults with a judge on his geology 4-H project. I admit I may be whining here. I simply knew the labeling of his specimens would give him a lower score. There was simply no consistency in the judging what-so-ever. There was never even a sample on how to label. So every judge just tells you what they believe. Anyway, Steven did well, So I ought to move on.

Steven also had entered his rocket and consulted with a judge. A little more consistent here.)

Yes, we needed this one to prove he had launched it. Grandpa remembered to bring his camera since I forgot mine. I think it was the best picture going.

After the fair, we went to the Cosmosphere. It simply has to be one of the best Air and Space Museums in the country.

I see Jacob is awake and watching me with a smile. I think I'll quit typing now.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Donut Man Should Make Us Think

How often do we hear of testimonies of Evangelicals who have “crossed the Tiber” or to Roman Catholicism. Recently, the Donut Man has converted. (As if that were a surprise.) They are touted and paraded on programs like Coming Home on EWTN as if their testimonies were the end of all debate. Yet, when I have spoken to them in person, they still use Protestant language with Roman Catholic twists.

For instance, I remember talking with one former Evanjellycal who believed Jesus died as a substitute for our sins. When I asked about the treasury of merit system, he simply redefined the terms to be something confused and perhaps in the middle (I never truly figure these people out). They quite often speak in terms of the Reformation while denying the Reformation’s Biblical foundation.

You have to wonder why. Could it be that functionally speaking, most Evanjellycal Protestants are Roman Catholic? Could it be that the man-centered preaching and teaching has been taking its toll? Could it be the denial of sound Biblical theology in favor of Protestant Traditions (Ohhhh do Protestants have their Traditions)?

As I have stated earlier, Evangelicalism simply cannot withstand the Roman Catholic apologetic. If God does not bless the Evangelical church with a return to Reformational theology, she will simply take the Roman road.

In the end I wish I could ask how these people have peace with God. If they truly have converted, then they must deny the Doctrine of Imputation. According to Romans 5, the Doctrine of Imputation is the only foundation for peace. Therefore, what can Rome possibly offer that would have any substance?

Perhaps if the Donut Man had a pastor that could have explained the Biblical faith to him clearly, he would have understood what he was rejecting.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Original Sin Not Believed Anymore?

I was catching up on my White Horse Inn mp3s while driving today. They again played a clip of a question asked at a national pastors conference. The question being, "Does Adam’s sin become imputed to us?"

The errors of Rome on the doctrine of original sin pale in comparison to the beliefs of many so-called pastors today. At least Rome seems to understand the issues involved. Most pastors are so clueless it is difficult for me to believe Evanjellyism will be able to exist as orthodox for another decade or two.

The last person questioned was simply caught in his inconsistent beliefs. He did not believe it was right for God to impute Adam's sin to us, thereby punishing us for his disobedience. So the questioner asked that if Adam's sin cannot be imputed to all men, then how could our sin be imputed to Christ? In other words, how can Christ be punished for the sins of anyone?

Romans 5 is clear. Without the doctrine of Original Sin, there is no redemption in Christ. It seems to me that many pastors are simply not pastors but false teachers in sheep’s clothing.