Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Middle East Stretching Out

A missionary friend of mine asked me if Christians were needing to increase the birth rate as a means of heading off the Islamic expansion. She was clearly concerned about this since she sees first hand what Muslims are attempting to do in the lands where she does missionary work. I believe her concern is a legitimate one.

The Iowa Legislature began its session with a prayer from an Imam as reported by the Pilot Tribune:

The prayer asked of "Victory over those who disbelieve," and "Protection from the great Satan" among other things.

James Swan recently called the Diving Line and discussed this issue with Dr. White. In this audio clip, they speak of some very scary statistics. In France women are having 1.8 children per woman while Muslims have well over 4.5. In Russia, the average is 1.5. In order for a nation to maintain its population, it must have at least 2.1 children per woman.

You might say, “So what?” As Dr. White points out, it is only a matter of time before these nations come under Islamic rule. Secularism simply is not able to withstand Islam. With prayers like the above one mentioned, don’t think for a moment that Muslims don’t have us in their sites.

Athanasius On the Canon

Some time back TOA asked me a serious question.


"Can you tell me using sola scriptura how first-century Christians who believed that the epistle of Barnabas is inspired are wrong and those who believed Paul's epistles are inspired are right?”


Now if we use Rome's epistemology, then the question can never be truly answered. If you have been following the Steve Ray-GaryMachuta/White saga, then you might be wondering how did Athanasius know what was Scripture. What infallible church told him which books belong in the Bible? Since White's presentation is in video form, I thought I'd copy and paste Athanasius' 39th Festal Letter from ccel here.

…1. They have fabricated books which they call books of tables in which they shew stars, to which they give the names of Saints. And therein of a truth they have inflicted on themselves a double reproach: those who have written such books, because they have perfected themselves in a lying and contemptible science; and as to the ignorant and simple, they have led them astray by evil thoughts concerning the right faith established in all truth and upright in the presence of God.

…2. But some few of the simple should be beguiled from their simplicity and purity, by the subtilty of certain men, and should henceforth read other books—those called apocryphal—led astray by the similarity of their names with the true books; I beseech you to bear patiently, if I also write, by way of remembrance, of matters with which you are acquainted, influenced by the need and advantage of the Church.

3. In proceeding to make mention of these things, I shall adopt, to commend my undertaking, the pattern of Luke the Evangelist, saying on my own account: ‘Forasmuch as some have taken in hand,’ to reduce into order for themselves the books termed apocryphal, and to mix them up with the divinely inspired Scripture, concerning which we have been fully persuaded, as they who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word, delivered to the fathers; it seemed good to me also, having been urged thereto by true brethren, and having learned from the beginning, to set before you the books included in the Canon, and handed down, and accredited as Divine; to the end that any one who has fallen into error may condemn those who have led him astray; and that he who has continued stedfast in purity may again rejoice, having these things brought to his remembrance.

4. There are, then, of the Old Testament, twenty-two books in number; for, as I have heard, it is handed down that this is the number of the letters among the Hebrews; their respective order and names being as follows. The first is Genesis, then Exodus, next Leviticus, after that Numbers, and then Deuteronomy. Following these there is Joshua, the son of Nun, then Judges, then Ruth. And again, after these four books of Kings, the first and second being reckoned as one book, and so likewise the third and fourth as one book. And again, the first and second of the Chronicles are reckoned as one book. Again Ezra, the first and second are similarly one book. After these there is the book of Psalms, then the Proverbs, next Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs. Job follows, then the Prophets, the twelve being reckoned as one book. Then Isaiah, one book, then Jeremiah with Baruch, Lamentations, and the epistle, one book; afterwards, Ezekiel and Daniel, each one book. Thus far constitutes the Old Testament.

5. Again it is not tedious to speak of the [books] of the New Testament. These are, the four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Afterwards, the Acts of the Apostles and Epistles (called Catholic), seven, viz. of James, one; of Peter, two; of John, three; after these, one of Jude. In addition, there are fourteen Epistles of Paul, written in this order. The first, to the Romans; then two to the Corinthians; after these, to the Galatians; next, to the Ephesians; then to the Philippians; then to the Colossians; after these, two to the Thessalonians, and that to the Hebrews; and again, two to Timothy; one to Titus; and lastly, that to Philemon. And besides, the Revelation of John.

6. These are fountains of salvation, that they who thirst may be satisfied with the living words they contain. In these alone is proclaimed the doctrine of godliness. Let no man add to these, neither let him take ought from these. For concerning these the Lord put to shame the Sadducees, and said, ‘Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures.’ And He reproved the Jews, saying, ‘Search the Scriptures, for these are they that testify of Me.

7. But for greater exactness I add this also, writing of necessity; that there are other books besides these not indeed included in the Canon, but appointed by the Fathers to be read by those who newly join us, and who wish for instruction in the word of godliness. The Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Sirach, and Esther, and Judith, and Tobit, and that which is called the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd. But the former, my brethren, are included in the Canon, the latter being [merely] read; nor is there in any place a mention of apocryphal writings. But they are an invention of heretics, who write them when they choose, bestowing upon them their approbation, and assigning to them a date, that so, using them as ancient writings, they may find occasion to lead astray the simple.

An interesting point is part 6 of the letter

6. These are fountains of salvation, that they who thirst may be satisfied with the living words they contain. In these alone is proclaimed the doctrine of godliness. Let no man add to these, neither let him take ought from these. For concerning these the Lord put to shame the Sadducees, and said, ‘Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures.’ And He reproved the Jews, saying, ‘Search the Scriptures, for these are they that testify of Me

Somehow, Jesus knew the Scriptures. For some reason, he holds men accountable to them as the Word of God, and they should already know that.

Athanasius seems to know them. He defends the Trinity by them. Yet no one will know what is Scripture for over another thousand years. But according to Athanasius, the Jews were the source for his understanding of the Canon of Scripture.

“There are, then, of the Old Testament, twenty-two books in number; for, as I have heard, it is handed down that this is the number of the letters among the Hebrews.”

The New Testament was handed down by the Fathers.

“…we have been fully persuaded, as they who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word, delivered to the fathers; it seemed good to me also, having been urged thereto by true brethren, and having learned from the beginning, to set before you the books included in the Canon, and handed down, and accredited as Divine;”

Please take note that from the beginning, the Fathers knew that these works were divine. By careful investigation and argumentation the Holy Spirit brought the church to recognize, that which is God-breathed.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Bono Confesses Sins

Global Warming is a religion. As Rush says:

The global warming hoax is nothing more than a religion. If you look at global warming -- Michael Crichton made this point in a brilliant speech about it -- if you look at global warming, it has all the elements of every major religion on the planet. It has the creation of the divine; it has original sin; it has the Garden of Eden; it has penance; it has everything. The most important element that it has is faith, because the people who believe in it can't prove it. So, it is nothing more than a religion for people who have not a whole lot of foundation in their lives. They want their lives to have meaning, so they're running around and doing these inconsequential things. They're "mattering," which everybody wants to do.

Rush then plays Bono jokingly asks for forgiveness from the high Priest, Al Gore. Here is the video link. I don't think a Conservative Saturday night Live skit could have been funnier.

It's not even a professorial thing, as has been cited. He's more as a rabbinical. Or like an Irish priest, you confess your sins. "Father Al, I am not just a noise polluter, I am a noise-polluting, diesel-sucking, methane-emitting, gulfstream-flying rock star." "And what are you going to do about it son? Are you going to kick the habit?" "I'm trying Father Al, but to be honest with you, oil has been very good for me. It's been very good for me. It's been very good to me. Those convoys of articulated lorries, petrochemical products, hair gel."

This is too much.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

This Is A Response?

Okay, I’ve read some dumb things, but this is getting mushy gushy just a little too quickly. This whole Christian Response to the AcommonWord from the Muslim community is just outright bizarre. I feel like Christians are bending over backwards to be a bunch of blithering idiots.

“Muslims and Christians have not always shaken hands in friendship…”

Thanks for the news flash. Does anyone know why? Apparently, these self-loathing Christians can’t seem to get past the Crusades. So let us apologize…again.

“…we want to begin by acknowledging that in the past (e.g. in the Crusades) and in the present e.g. in excesses of the "war on terror") many Christians have been guilty of sinning against our Muslim neighbors. Before we "shake your hand" in responding to your letter, we ask forgiveness of the All-Merciful One and of the Muslim community around the world.”

Frankly, I am sick of apologizing for people who lived centuries ago defending the West from the advancement of Islam. The fact that Islam was taking the world over by force doesn’t seem to be a factor for these Christians. What really needs to happen is that these Muslim Clerics need to put their mouths on the line by condemning the persecution of Christians worldwide.

Excesses of war? Hey, nations go to war. There are reasons we are at war. 9/11? Possible nukes? Terrorists attacks on military installations? God did institute the State to maintain peace by the sword. Obviously promoting democracies in Islamic countries is only a band-aid. It is a job the state must do to maintain peace in the region. It is precisely because this is only a band-aid that Christians must evangelize the Middle East. This is probably one of the most difficult challenges that Christians living in the West have never truly figured out.

The other problem is that asking for forgiveness from the All-Merciful One is to confuse the Muslim. We act (on purpose?) as if we are asking Allah for forgiveness. That is the last thing any Christian ought to be doing. Why not say to the Muslims, “Hey, we are sorry. We are asking Jesus to forgive us for hurting some long ago dead relatives that we might not even be related to.” I think asking Jesus for forgiveness (instead of the Almighty vague guy) might really test the waters.

One more quote:

“We are persuaded that our next step should be for our leaders at every level to meet together and begin the earnest work of determining how God would have us fulfill the requirement that we love God and one another.”

Ahhhh, is this really that hard? I got a solution. Stop promoting annihilation of the West. Stop all of the propaganda against the mean and terrible West. Allow Christians to live peaceably in Muslim lands.

Even further though, both sides need to have the freedom to persuade the other for their point of view. Evangelism or proselytizing is something a free people may do. Historically, Muslims cannot afford this, which is why Muslim countries do not allow thought to occur.

Bleeding hearts promoting a social gospel never really change anything. The one thing that may bring peace between us is Jesus Christ. The problem is that the Cross of Christ is foolishness to those who are perishing. To think that Islam will just magically be willing to make peace with a Savior who died on a Cross (something they abhor) and a Savior who is God in the flesh (Shirk anyone?) is simply naïve.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe. I will live just as peaceably with my Muslim neighbor as I do with my pagan neighbor. I will continue to do this while making the proclamation that Jesus commands. This is the rub, though. In Islam, this cannot be. For the Christian, however, the sword is sheathed until the consummation of the End of the Age.

Piper On Christian/Muslim Dialogue

I just love this guy. John Piper is one the greatest Pastor/Theologians of our day. He says what needs to be said. Yet, he does so with the utmost respect for his listeners. In this video, Piper explains what true dialogue ought to be between Muslims and Christians.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Gabriel

Meet my nephew Gabriel. Lord Willing, I will be allowed to meet him face to face this summer. Right now he is about 7 months old. If I see him this summer, he will be considered about 4-5 months old. Whatever his age, he is a precious life in the sight of God.

Thompson Out, Now What?

With the withdrawal of Fred Thompson from the race, I am left wondering how well Romney will do. Will Thompson supporters go to Romney? Will they even vote? If Romney and Juliani are unable to muster what is needed to win the nomination, we will be left with McCain.

I know one should never say “never”, but I simply can not bring myself to think that I would vote for him. I have literally despised McCain since the McCain/Feingold Act. Anyone so boldly able to destroy the First Amendment in order to pretend he is cleaning up Fundraising in Politics is simply willing to do anything to look good politically. I don’t care about his Vietnam Record. If he is willing to be naïve about such essential matters, then he is going to do the same in others (Global Warming anyone?).

So I decided to once again to look into the Constitution Party. I agree with much of what they have to say. Again, though, they seem to play the naiveté card as well. Read this section under Terrorism and Personal Liberty:

“The Constitution Party is unalterably opposed to the criminal acts of terrorists, and their organizations, as well as the governments which condone them. Individuals responsible for acts of terrorism must be punished for their crimes, including the infliction of capital punishment where appropriate. In responding to terrorism, however, the United States must avoid acts of retaliation abroad which destroy innocent human lives, creating enmity toward the United States and its people; and

In accord with the views of our Founding Fathers, we must disengage this nation from the international entanglements which generate foreign hatred of the United States, and are used as the excuse for terrorist attacks on America and its people.”

The part that says “creating enmity towards the U.S.” is simply wrong. In the first paragraph of this section the website says,

“America is engaged in an undeclared war with an ill-defined enemy (terrorism), a war which threatens to be never ending, and which is being used to vastly expand government power, particularly that of the executive branch, at the expense of the individual liberties of the American people.”

“Ill-defined”! This whole “it is our fault” syndrome is just silly. Islam has always hated the West, especially as it considers the West Christendom. We may play nice with Islamic Nations, but understand this, Islam is on the move. They are actively immigrating to the West. They know full well that in a generation or two, they will have significantly undermined the ability of the West to defend itself from within.

The Constitution Party, with all of its pluses and positives, has serious flaws. It seems to me to be in the Isolationist mode. We played that game prior to World War I and II. We paid for Clinton’s mistakes on 9/11 2000. Those mistakes must not be made again.

So for now, I must pass on the Constitution Party until they are able to make a serious argument that they will not go into Isolationism. I don’t think that will be happening anytime soon.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

He Got An "A" Anyway

If you click on this picture, you will see this is the last page of a paper written by a very good friend of mine. He has even been known to post here on occasion (for some reason, that other guy is too busy to post). Please notice the large amount of red ink spilled on this last page. Do not worry about the grade. He received an "A". However, if you read it, you will see an interesting response by the Professor.

The paper is entitled, "Theological Study Concerning Predestination". Please read carefully the Professor's questions. He asks, "If Calvin's position on Predestination is correct, then why preach the Gospel? The saved will be saved. The lost cannot be saved."

Whenever I read things like this, I am convinced that just because a man has a doctorate or teaches as a professor at a college does not mean he necessarily reads the other side's viewpoint. Calvinism, after all, has been around for quite some time. Surely a learned scholar would be able to have done a little research that gave us the Reformation and even much of our heritage as Americans. Nevertheless, let me attempt to answer the question.

Rom 10:14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?

Calvinists believe not only Sola Scriptura but Tota Scriptura. All of Scripture is God-breathed. We learn that God not only unites a people with Christ from eternity past by electing a people by His sovereign grace, He also determines the means by which they will come. All things are in God's hands.

The Professor also cites two passages of Scripture which the writer of this paper and myself have dealt with so many times, we could probably answer his objections in our sleep. This last objection is interesting. He says:

"If Calvin is correct, then all who perish never had a chance to begin with. Is that what you tell the unbeliever- 'I'm sorry, but God has decided you are going to hell and there is nothing you can do.'"

Does anyone believe in Original Sin anymore? Chance? Man doesn't need a chance. He needs Eternal Life to be bestowed upon him by God's Grace. Men don't raise themselves from the dead. God does. Man needs resurrection!

It sounds to me that this man thinks it is unfair for God to condemn sinners for their sin. Is God obligated to free men from their sin so they may be able to make some free-will decision for Christ or hell?

Man is a sinner. God is not obligated to save any wicked rebellious sinner. Tota Scriptura teaches that God has elected a people from every nation, tribe, family and language. However, this elect (to my knowledge) has nothing to signify (yellow stripes in their hair?) them from the reprobate (those whom God will leave in their sin). God has commanded that the Gospel be proclaimed to everyone under the sun. For some, this Good News is a sweet fragrance. For others, this Good News is a stench of sewer gas. As Paul says:

2Co 2:16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life.

The command by the preacher is simple. "Repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." All the believing ones will never perish. If one goes to his grave rejecting Christ, should we tell him, "Hey, Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life?" I wonder what the Professor would say?

Revelation, End Time Speculations, and Forehead Tattoos

Martin Luther didn’t think it should’ve been included in the Bible. John Calvin’s commentary set is curiously missing material on it. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong places but I can find barely any church fathers in the 2nd or 3rd centuries that bothered to comment exhaustively on the book of Revelation.
Today, however, everyone’s an expert. Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins have the market cornered on End Times scenarios and Kirk Cameron is their poster boy. Tell anyone you’re about to start studying or preaching on Revelation and the discussion about helicopters that look like locusts and microchip credit cards implanted under our skin are barely irrepressible.
But is this what the Apostle John wants from us when we sit down to study “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the things which must soon take place” (Rev. 1:1)? Do we miss the intended meaning of Revelation when we treat it like a crystal ball? Am I being too rhetorical? I think the answer to these questions is certainly a big, fat yes.
As I write this it has been only a few hours since I’ve finished leading our youth group through a seventh-month odyssey in the book of Revelation. After our last meeting I seriously considered fleeing to Sioux Falls and having “Never Again” tattooed on my forehead.
I say this because our staff at Central Valley Community Church in SD is preparing to preach through this book on Sunday mornings and I don’t think any of us really know what we’re in for. For instance, when most people think about the book of Revelation, topics and speculation about the future is a big part of what they picture. In reality, Revelation is one of, if not the one book in the whole New Testament that relies MOST on language, theology, and events from the Old Testament. In 1:19 Jesus tells John,

Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.”

Here we are briefly introduced to the fact that Revelation is going to symbolically and beautifully describe God’s redemptive plans, Christian tribulation, and the judgment of wickedness all throughout history as well as in the future. More than that, there are actually commands within the book. I’d never thought about that before I really started studying the book itself. Think about it. If there are commands in the book, it means that most of the book was immediately relevant to the original audience. The original audience was given a book not to speculate about how prophetic material was going to literally unfold but to obey the teaching within it.

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near” (Rev. 1:3).




In chapters two and three alone we read Christ exhort the churches in Asia with these commands:

Repent from your lack of love (2:5)
Be faithful unto death (2:10)
Repent of idolatry and sexual immorality (2:4-16)
Hold fast to good teaching (2:25)
Wake up from dead works (3:2)
Continue to endure (3:11)
Be zealous and repent (3:19)

In each, Christ promises a reward to those who obey and conquer (a continual theme in the book). These passages are obviously instructive because they are written to seven churches, but what about the rest of the book with all its metaphors, imagery and apocalyptic depth?
All of it serves to demonstrate the glory of Christ and therefore, the hope inherent in our perseverance. This is one thing that amazes me about Revelation. In the first three chapters each church is told to overcome or conquer. Each reward for conquering corresponds with an aspect of the New Jerusalem in 21:9-22:5. John is told in 21:9 he is about to see “the bride, the wife of the Lamb,” that is the church: all believers whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. What does he see? He sees the New Jerusalem. This New Jerusalem has no temple for “the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (21:22). There no longer exists any need for mediation between God and men. Sin is gone. Death is gone. All that we live for is communion with God and with Christ the Almighty. This is our hope and our reason for perseverance and it is the purpose of “the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the things which must soon take place” (Rev. 1:1).
As a student of God’s word, privileged with the duty of proclaiming God’s word to the body of Christ, I can’t wait for Revelation to tear down our traditions and speculations and simply teach us and command us, that we may have the opportunity to bend our knees before the Holy and Risen Christ who is Supreme over all creation.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bureaucrats Have Wayyyyy Toooo Much Power

Investors Business Daily asks:

“Have global warming alarmists won? It certainly seems they've prevailed in the rhetorical battle — which is actually more powerful than the scientific war they cannot win.”

A recent poll being reported in Kansas by the KansasCity.com News:

“The poll by Cooper and Secrest Associates, a Democratic political consulting firm, found that the 62 percent margin of support was less in western Kansas, but still a majority — 51 percent, while 40 percent disagreed and 9 percent weren’t sure.”

It seems that IBD is correct. You don’t have to win with science, just confuse the people in the Media. With groups like Earthjustice using scare tactics (anybody listen to Al Gore?), it is no wonder polls sway to the side of saving the planet. Who would be for destroying the planet?! Earthjustice website reports:

“Earthjustice attorney Nick Persampieri said, ‘The proposed plant is among the worst of the proposed dirty coal plants. In light of what we now know about the causes of global warming, the state owes its citizens, as well as all Americans, a chance to discuss it.’”

So now we have a bunch of Left-wing nut cases putting fear into the hearts of citizens that need power to live their lives. Perhaps this Blogger has an interesting point”

“Such is life for southwest Kansans. Population dwindles, schools close and consolidate (when I was in school Healy and Leoti cooperated for baseball and players drove 20 miles a day for practice). Industry rarely develops and when someone tries, eastern Kansas bullies — who have “everyone’s best interests” at heart — complain and prohibit.”

So basically we have a single bureaucrat, KDHE Secretary Roderick L. Bremby, who believes he should single handedly put a stop to a project in which millions of dollars have already been invested. This is the price the average American is being scared into paying. We are giving up of freedoms in order to save the world via higher taxes and submitting to bureaucratic authority. This is not about saving the world. This is about freedom from taxation and freedom to live in a Free Enterprise market verses living in a Socialistic Nation.

South-western Kansas doesn’t need Liberals in Topeka destroying our economy. Small cities are struggling as it is. They can only make things worse.

Topeka, Get out of the way!

Monday, January 14, 2008

NRL PAC Endorses Thompson

The National Right To Life PAC is endorsing Fred Thompson. Just thought that was interesting. You may read more here.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sports This Weekend

I would just like to mention three things in sports I saw this weekend. The most important I'll mention first. The Patriots won! My son seems to like this fact.

video

During the Chargers/Colts game, a girl wearing a Patriots jersey was booed. These people must have no class. The Colts lost, so no revenge is needed by the Patriot fans.

Friday night had an interesting college hockey game that was either thrown or had a referee that should be wearing glasses. Wisconsin was playing Denver. Wisconsin was down by one goal. Denver had goofed and iced the puck. This caused a new face-off in front of the Denver net with 3.7 seconds on the game clock. Wisconsin wins the face-off and shoots a goal with .7 seconds left. Watch Here.

video
Now I recorded this badly but here is a slow motion review.

video

What was interesting is that the sports channel this was being shown on did not show a replay of this goal. It was the only replay of the night that they did not show. Makes one wonder why.

If you watch carefully above the Pepsi sign on the boards to the right of the net, there are two lights. Notice at about .4 seconds, one of them comes on. This is the light that is controlled by a person behind the net. When he sees a goal, he manually turns on the light. If he turns on his light before the "End of the Game Light", then there is only one logical conclusion. It must be a goal. He could be late (causing the light to not be able to come on!), but not early.

After the referee reviewed the video, he concluded that this was not a goal and Wisconsin lost. Now perhaps this call would have worked a few years ago, but Americans that are watching TV have this thing where we may record video (I have a DVR). There is no doubt that this was a goal. Wisconsin clearly got the shaft.

Not to worry though. The next day, Wisconsin beat Denver. There was no doubt after that game.

In this life we may see all kinds of injustices. We must keep in mind that there is a Judge, who judges with wisdom and righteousness. We must do what is right. This coach did. He led his team to a victory that truly meant something.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

McCain Is Not a Conservative

Just in case everyone thinks I am full of hate for Huckabee I thought it would be wise to make a few comments on McCain. Mark Levin has written a piece for National Review Online in which he states, “McCain’s stated opposition to the Bush 2001 and 2003 tax cuts was largely based on socialist, class-warfare rhetoric…” How is using class-warfare rhetoric conservative? Basically, is this not supporting the notion that citizens must have the power of government to overcome their problems?

Government’s role according to historic Baptist and Presbyterian roots is summed up in the LBCF 1689:

“1. God the [Supreme] Lord, and King of all the World, hath ordained Civil (a) Magistrates to be under him, over the people for his own glory, and the publick good; and to this end hath armed them with the power of the Sword, for defence and encouragement of them that do good, and for the punishment of evil doers.”

McCain, like Huckabee, are not thorough conservatives. In fact, I still have yet to figure out how McCain won over Jerry Falwell prior to his passing. The problems of church and politics I suppose often become confused. The church is not the state and the state is not the church. The duty of the State as summed up by the Confession is to maintain peace by the power of the sword. Kim Riddlebarger sums up his views in this post when he says,

“I want to hear talk about budget cuts, tax cuts, size of government cuts, etc. I want to hear a candidate tell me how he will protect my civil liberties and not mortgage the future of my children by taxing and spending. Furthermore, I will not support a candidate for president who wants the nanny state to protect me by keeping me from smoking--Huckabee supported a national "no smoking" initiative. By the way, other than a very occasional cigar, I don't smoke. I happen to think the nanny state can be as dangerous to my health as a two-pack a day habit.”

Another problem with McCain is he needs to remember what the First Amendment says:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Congress shall make no law. The McCain-Feingold Act is certainly a law restricting political speech. Most thought the law would be struck down by the High Court. It was not. Yet I know of no Act that destroys political speech in the manner it does.

Rush had this to say yesterday:

McCain-Feingold alone. This isn't Republican, to limit free speech. This is the Incumbent Protection Act, and, of course, the amnesty program, McCain loves to say (McCain impression), "It's not amnesty! You hear me, sailor? It's not...amnesty!" But it's amnesty. It was amnesty, and that's why it went down to a scorching, blazing defeat. It's not amnesty? McCain's "stated opposition to Bush's tax cuts in 2001-2003, largely based on...class warfare rhetoric." He said (McCain impression), "We can't do this, it's tax cuts for the rich. I'm not going to do tax cuts for the rich!" "The public record is full of statements like these. Today he recalls only his insistence on accompanying spending cuts," and they didn't want any spending cuts in there so he wouldn't support tax cuts. But people have forgotten, in 2001 McCain was still steaming over 2000 and the South Carolina primary after the contretemps regarding Bob Jones University, the religion and so forth. He had it in for Bush. In 2003, his anger hadn't dwindled much. So he was opposing Bush's tax cut, using class warfare rhetoric. "As chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation..." I know people are asking, "Rush, why are you doing this? I'll tell you why I'm doing it -- because no Republican in the debate last night did it."

Levin ends his post

"My fingers are crossed that at the next debate, either Fred Thompson or Mitt Romney will find a way to address McCain’s record. (Mike Huckabee won’t, as he is apparently in the tank for him.)"

There are other problems with McCain (Remember the Gang of Fourteen that voted against the President's ability to have conservative judges appointed to the Bench). I have yet to understand how men who claim to be conservative be so far from it. McCain is no conservative. Therefore I publicly do not stand with either Huckabee or McCain. Yet, at the end of the day, we must not allow the the press to determine who is conservative. I am just wondering if Thompson will do this. The last debate showed some effort. Perhaps next time he won't cower out of challenging McCain.

Is there any Conservative that wants to be President? Please!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Teaching the Laws of Logic and Scientific Method

The scientific method is being taught in my son’s science class. The beauty of home-schooling is that I get to relearn all of those wonderful things that one forgets the farther one lives from Graduation. The science project is about submarines. We have been attempting to work through what it is we need to do to have a good science project.

While watching Myth Busters last night we discovered how applicable education is. The program had all of the essentials. The “problem” or “question” being, “Do cars get better gas mileage with the windows up and the air-conditioning on or with the windows down and air-conditioning off.

Information was then gathered and a hypothesis formed. Adam said windows up and Jamie said windows down.

The hypothesis was tested and data was recorded and analyzed. My son and I realized that there were too many variables. They were using two cars. Even though they were the same kind of car, eliminating to one constant car would give more reliable evidence for the hypothesis. This they did not do. They also used a computer instead of actually driving the distance. “So, according to the computer, it's better to use A/C with windows up.”

“This was too quick and easy for TV, so they decided to stage a seven hour marathon, race-til-you're-empty duel, with Jamie driving an SUV with A/C on and Adam driving an SUV with windows down.”

It turns out that actually driving the cars gave the opposite conclusion.

The show was a great real life lesson of the scientific method.

Another show that my son and I watched was Get Smart

This is a show that teaches the Laws of Logic in the most comical way. In the episode Hoo Done It? There is one scene that has Steven just chuckling. A murder has occurred. There were two cigarettes burning in the ashtray. That means there were two smokers in the room. But the Asian detective gets Smart to conclude that there may have been up to 50 nonsmokers in the room with the two smokers when the murder was committed. When they turned their backs, two other detectives picked up their cigarettes on their way out of the room.

The Laws of Logic are indispensable along with sound reason and sound assumptions. Having good Cable shows seems to be a great way to see these things in action.

:-)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Who Is Endorsing Huckabee?

While listeing to Rush's show, several callers defending Huckabee called. One in particular attacked Clubforgrowth as being deceptive. The caller went on to say that HSLDA was supporting Huckabee. This supposed fact is of great interest to me since I am a member of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. I do homeschool my children.

I immediately attempted to find out if this was true. For if they were supporting Huckabee, then I ought to perhaps take a step back and see why. Sure enough, I found this link that shows HSLDA endorsing Huckabee as a true conservative.

Now I get their newsletter, but I don't always read every one of them and mostly I peruse them. So this information totally slipped by me. There is one big problem with this claim. The National Education Association (NEA) also endorses Huckabee. Isn't it odd that Huckabee could get both the NEA and HSLDA to endorse him?

Here is an article written several years ago ('99) arguing that in Arkansas, Homeschoolers were losing ground due to laws passed by Huckabee. Again, what is the deal?

The Spunkyhomeschool mom wrote,

Ned Ryun the former director of the PAC alleges that this endorsement was done unilaterally and for all intents and purposes was a Farris endorsement. He was not told of the endorsement until after the fact.

I went to Ned Ryun's Blog site and read these words:

"...eventhough I was PAC Director at the time, I was informed of the decision after it had been made; I was not involved in the discussions of endorsing Huckabee at all, and honestly, I doubt anyone else really was, accept for sitting there and just nodding yes at whatever was said"

If this is the case, that would explain why both the NEA and HSLDA are endorsing Huckabee. His record is truly a "mixed bag".

Monday, January 07, 2008

Church Is Pillar and Foundation of the Truth

If you have been following the discussion between myself and TOA, it is obvious that we speak past each other at times. This is what Dr. Walter Martin called the "language barrier". It just so happens that I am reading the current issue of the Reformed Baptist Theological Review, an article entitled The Second London Confession on the Doctrine of Scripture by Robert P. Martin. On page 79 there is a long footnote that may shed some light as to what Reformed people in general and Reformed Baptists in particular believe. Although I am sure the language barrier will still cause problems, perhaps this may help.

Martin says,

"Note the Confession speaks of God's Word as declared to the church, not to the world. This should not be construed to mean that God's word has no relevance for the world or that the world is excused from receiving it or that the church has no duty to proclaim it to the world. It means that the Bible is the church's book, and that the church has a duty regarding it. At 1 Tim 3:15, Paul calls the church 'the pillar and foundation of the truth.' He does not mean, of course, that the church is the author of the truth or the authority by which it is established. God did not give to the church or to its officers the power to rule the consciences of his people. Arguing from this text, Rome says that when her councils or Popes speak (as representatives or rulers of the church), then the doctrines which they dictate must be received as the oracles of God because the church is 'the pillar and foundation of the truth,' and, therefore, cannot err. Protestants affirm that in this sense (ie, as the author of truth and the authority by which it is established) God alone, speaking now only through the Bible (which is His inerrant, infallible inscripturated Word), is the sole foundation of the truth, and that the Bible is the sole [infallible] authority from which we derive our doctrine and practice. What then does Paul mean by calling the church 'the pillar and foundation of the truth'? He means that the church is an institution designed and purposed by God to preserve the truth pure, to defend it against error, to preach it in the world, and to commit it unaltered and undiluted to future generations. As was true of Israel under the Old Covenant, so also of the church under the New Covenant, God has created a divinely ordered and regulated human society for the propagation and maintenance in the world of revealed truth. This, of course, makes the church indispensable-as indispensable as the pillar or foundation of a house. God never designed His truth to stand in the world without the church as its supporting pillar and foundation. "

It might help to understand that Reformed Baptist believe that Confessions are authoritative, but their authority is derived from the Bible. We believe that Pastors have authority, but they derive their authority from the Bible in the manner in which it describes. Preaching is also another way in which God speaks to His people. Yet it is the Scriptures or the Apostolic Teaching that is proclaimed that is the voice of God speaking to His people.

None of this denies Sola Scriptura, but we must grasp what Sola Scriptura is. The church is how we know what is Scripture. The meaning of those terms is where we differ greatly.

In other words, God's Word is God's Word when written. The question is in reality how do we in God's Providence come to know what it is. This is a work done by God in His church. Just as in the Old Testament era the church came to recognize Scripture, so also in the New.

Boston Globe On global Warming

My wife pointed me to an interesting article on Global Warming (I rarely ever do my own research :-) ). According to the Boston Globe, you better "Stock up on fur coats and felt boots!"

This article is more evidence that Global Warming is a hoax meant to destroy Capitalism and give the power of taxation to the powers that be (IMHO). The article states:

"Carbon dioxide is not to blame for global climate change," Sorokhtin writes in an essay for Novosti. "Solar activity is many times more powerful than the energy produced by the whole of humankind."

Then it states:

The record set in 1998 has not been surpassed. For nearly a decade now, there has been no global warming. Even though atmospheric carbon dioxide continues to accumulate - it's up about 4 percent since 1998 - the global mean temperature has remained flat. That raises some obvious questions about the theory that CO2 is the cause of climate change.

The article concludes:

Climate science isn't a religion, and those who dispute its leading theory are not heretics. Much remains to be learned about how and why climate changes, and there is neither virtue nor wisdom in an emotional rush to counter global warming - especially if what's coming is a global Big Chill.

Although I agree climate science is not a religion, it is certainly guided by world views. But to think Al Gore's rampage is anything short of total religious zealotry is simply living in denial.

Islam a Religion of Peace?

Sam Shamoun scores 95 while Nadir Ahmed scores only 5. At least that is this guy's opinion. Hopefully they will have MP3 links soon.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Is Huckabee a Populist?

I see that Gov. Huckabee has done well in Iowa, but I just don't see why. There are no conservatives among the Republican nominees, yet Huckabee along with the others are all calling themselves conservatives. I guess when conservatism is redefined to mean whatever each candidate's position is then...

In an interview with Stephanopoulos Huckabee addressed the immigration issue. Stephanopoulos questioned Huckabee's prior "KKK" statement to which Huckabee responded:

"We shouldn't have amnesty where we just say, "Fine, everybody's good, we're going to let it go." We should have a process where people can pay the penalties, step up and accept responsibility for not being here legally. But here's the point. The objective is not to be punitive. The objective is to make things right. Right for us. Right for them. And what I have objected to in the past is when we are punishing the children for the laws that maybe their parents have broken. I do have a problem with that."

I have a problem with Politicians saying they are conservative and then giving the above statement. I guess conservatives are just too dumb to know that making Mexicans "pay the penalities" is nothing but pure amnesty and all of the political pontificating will never change that. This is repeated by McCain and others, so it is not just Huckabee. Yet, Huckabee's answers are just what he thinks people want to hear.

Huckabee's view on taxes is reported by Clubforgrowth. They reported:


  • Immediately upon taking office, Governor Huckabee signed a sales tax hike in 1996 to fund the Games and Fishing Commission and the Department of Parks and Tourism (Cato Policy Analysis No. 315, 09/03/98).
  • He supported an internet sales tax in 2001 (Americans for Tax Reform 01/07/07).
  • He publicly opposed the repeal of a sales tax on groceries and medicine in 2002 (Arkansas News Bureau 08/30/02).
  • He signed bills raising taxes on gasoline (1999), cigarettes (2003) (Americans for Tax Reform 01/07/07), and a $5.25 per day bed-tax on private nursing home patients in 2001 (Arkansas New Bureau 03/01/01).
  • He proposed another sales take hike in 2002 to fund education improvements (Arkansas News Bureau 12/05/02).
  • He opposed a congressional measure to ban internet taxes in 2003 (Arkansas News Bureau 11/21/03).
  • In 2004, he allowed a 17% sales tax increase to become law (The Gurdon Times 03/02/04).

Club for Growth also looked at Huckabee's other position from school choice to Social security and Regulation and concluded:

"Governor Huckabee's record on pro-growth, free-market policies is a mixed bag"

I agree. I just don't see a conservative who, along with McCain and others, is an actual conservative.

Rush Limbaugh makes an interesting observation. A caller asked:

CALLER: Longtime listener. I'd like to see you tell us, on a regular basis, in non-emotional terms, the difference between a conservative and a populist. I think especially since Huckabee got elected in Iowa, I think it's important that people know not just what a populist is. I know that you say that he speaks to the individual and wants to solve the individual's problems and let 'em bring government to do that, but I think if you could characterize a populist in terms what they would do in government, what do they back, what do they want to happen, what would they oppose and so forth and how a populist can be so very different from a conservative. I think that would be very helpful, and over and over for people who only listen occasionally. There are a whole host of differences between the two.

Rush Responds:

Now, the modern interpretation of populist, as I use it today, is not complimentary. A populist in this sense of "seeking to represent the interests of ordinary people," this is what people who employ populism want the ordinary people to think: that they are "one of them"; in fact, that they are from them; that they understand the ordinary, and that the ordinary are being shafted, and that the ordinary are being creamed, and the ordinary are being ignored.

So the populist comes along and says, "Not only am I for you, I'm of you, and I am going to go to Washington and I'm going to make sure that we ordinary people kick butt and we're going to kick the butts of the elites and we're going to kick the butt of the establishment! We're going to do this and we're going to do that." Most of them who do this are already from the establishment! They're elected governors. They're senators, or what have you. So it becomes a technique to relate to people on an emotional basis with a false promise, and that is that any one individual can solve all the problems of the ordinary. The ordinary would love their problems to be solved! I myself, not a member of the ordinary in my own definition, would love for my problems to be solved. But I'll tell you damn what: There is not a single politician on the face of the Earth that can solve one problem I've got. Now, I have complaints as well as problems. I don't like high taxation. That is something an elected official can do something about, but with a realistic proposal. But I've got problems with my cat. I have problems with doors that don't fit. I have problems with ants running around portions of the house, but I fix it!

In the last paragraph of his answer Rush concludes:

So the populist is actually a big-government person in disguise. The populist is somebody who wants to grow government to take problem-solving and sadness and all these things, out of your daily life and replace them with whatever government can do so you will become dependent. John Edwards is a populist, for example. Mrs. Clinton is a populist.

What is not said in this paragraph is that Rush is also calling Huckabee a populist. In all of Huckabee's answers, I couldn't agree more. Identity Politics, there certainly doesn't seem to be much of substance.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Full Justification Must Precede Sanctification

In the previous clip of Sungenis’ interview on the White Horse Inn, Sungenis argues that James uses Genesis 15:6 in the manner according infusion and not imputation. At one point in the program he argued that when David sinned, he needed to be justified again. David seemed to be considered lost during his mortal sin of murder and adultery.

In The God Who Justifies, James White demonstrates that the Old Testament’s usage of justification, especially in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament), most certainly used the term in a forensic manner. One example used on page 79 is from Proverbs 17:15.

"He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD."

"Here again, ‘justify’ and ‘ condemn’ are placed in contrast. Now if ‘justify’ meant ‘to change a person inwardly so as to make him holy or good,’ this passage would make no sense at all…It is not viewing this act of justifying as changing the person; instead, the writer is clearly speaking of the sinfulness of declaring a person who is evil to be just, as well as the outrage of declaring an innocent person to be guilty. Both are abhorrent to God, and both are clearly declarations relative to law.”

White then argues for the consistency of the text. Paul must be using justification in the forensic sense. The scope of Paul’s argument is more than demonstrated. He says on page 84:

“The righteousness that is imputed to the believer comes from outside himself: it is something given to him, not something done within him. The free character of this justification is further demonstrated by pointing out that Abraham was justified before he received the sign of circumcision: no acts of obedience to God figured in the imputation to him of righteousness based on free and nondemanding faith.”

This argument is key. In order to be consistent with what comes before and what follows, justification must be imputed or declared upon the sinner freely. Now Sungenis argued that King David would have lost his justification while he was living during his time when he had murdered Bathsheba’s husband.

This is where Roman Catholic apologetics derails. In the next chapter, Paul argues for Christ’s righteousness alone is the basis of our righteous standing before God. It not piece-mealed out to us. It is fully ours by Faith Alone. If we allow the understanding that David had lost his justification, then David under Rome’s theology would have to do something to merit it back (though they will argue by faith and grace). He was actually lost and then saved again. How many times could a person be lost and saved again? A thousand? What if he died while in that particular sin? Do we really think God would have sent David to hell?

If we reject that Christ’s life is our life by faith, an external life given to us, then we reject Christ Alone as the basis for salvation. We may never have peace with God (Romans 5:1). We may never be the “Blessed Man” of Romans 4. We may never be righteous before a Holy God. We will simply have the same view of Christ’s work on the cross as Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and all of the others who deny Christ’s righteous life as the sufficient basis for our own standing before God.

The question is always, “What about our sinful lives?”, ignoring our wickedness even while saved. So many ignore the Descriptive or Indicative passages as the basis for the Imperative or Commands throughout the New Testament. Roman Catholics are simply backwards at this point. Roman Catholics point to James 2:23. After much exegesis, White comments that one must precede the other:

“James connects the demonstration of faith in the offering of Isaac upon the altar with the fulfillment of Genesis 15:6. How so? Again, his consistency is striking: Abraham’s confession of faith is recorded in Genesis 15:6. God justified Abraham upon exercise of that faith. The reality of the faith Abraham had, upon which he was justified, is demonstrated in the offering of Isaac. Hence, Genesis 15:6 is fulfilled in that act not through the addition of something to faith as the means of justification, but by the demonstration that Abraham truly did believe in genesis 15.”

I must conclude that justification is not some word that one may run to the dictionary and pick one meaning and use that in every instance. It would overthrow the arguments used throughout the New Testament, in particular, Paul’s argument in Romans 4 and 5. Contexts determine the usage of a term. Paul is clearly using it to explain that Christ’s life and Christ’s life alone is our righteousness.

Sungenis On Declared Righteous

I would like to interact with Sungenis’ interview on the White Horse Inn. He made the claim to Michael Horton that the word groups of dikaio and logizomai never mean to be declared righteous in the forensic and soteriological sense (listen here to short clip of that conversation). When I first heard this I was amazed at the idea that someone would make such a claim when both conservative and liberal and even Roman Catholic Scholars have argued strongly and evidentially otherwise.

Now when it comes to Roman Catholic Scholars like Reymond Brown, Sungenis dismisses him as not representing the RC Church. Yet does he? Has Rome approved of his authority to speak in her behalf? Brown and Fitzmier, to my knowledge, have never been told by the Pope they are not Roman Catholics. Rome seems to put up with such.

Back to Morris’ book, since I have recently finished it, if just one passage shows that a man may be declared righteous before God, then Sungenis is wrong. On page 263 Morris writes about the Old Testament’s view of being declared righteous:

“d. Imputed Righteousness

In view of the importance of the concept of imputed righteousness for the New Testament doctrine we must notice its occurrence in the Old Testament, although it cannot be thought of as a leading Old Testament idea. It is recorded that Abram ‘believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him for righteousness’ (Gen 15:6). Again, Phinehas stood up, ‘and executed judgment: and so the plague was stayed. And that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore’ (Ps. 106:30). Both men are brought into right relationship with God: they are given the status of being ‘right’ with Him. In the case of Phinehas there is an action that is applauded, but the motive is important, as we see from Numbers 25:11: ‘he was zealous for my sake among them.’ These two examples, and especially that of Abram, are important as showing that men might be reckoned as righteous before God on grounds other than that of having lived meritorious lives.”

On pages 274-275 Morris writes concerning the NT's usage of Justification:

“The whole idea of righteousness has been modified for New Testament writers because Jesus Christ has come into the world. ‘He that doeth righteousness is righteous even as He is righteous’ (1 Jn 3:7) brings the very conception of righteousness into the closest of relationships to the life of the incarnate Lord. This again is a thought which recurs, and it underlies many passages where it is not explicit. For the early Christians all things were made new, their standards of righteousness included, because the Son of God had come into the world. Accordingly, there are many passages which exhort believers to lives of righteousness. Indeed, it is just as characteristic of the New Testament that righteousness in the ethical sense should be a distinguishing mark of those who are Christ’s, as it is that it is not their own righteousness that brings them salvation, but the righteousness of God. (Compare the aim of an upright life in Phil 3:10 with the express disclaimer of the value if any ‘righteousness of my own’ in verse 9.)

But although there is this clamant demand for right living, and although the righteousness terminology is used in part to express it, yet it remains true that this is not the characteristic nor distinctive use of this terminology. As in the Old Testament and in Judaism generally, the forensic basis of this word-group is the really important thing.

We see this in such a passage as Romans 9:30-32….The forensic idea is very strong here. The Gentiles did not seek before God that righteous standing which the Jews sought by the way of the works of merit. Nevertheless they attained to righteousness, namely the righteousness that is of faith.”

I realize that TOA and other RCs would argue the works issue is different. I will deal with that in another post. Two more examples from the text of scripture should suffice.

Rom 5:18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.

Just as Adam’s act was sufficient to bring about the death of all men, so Christ’s one act is sufficient to bring about all those in union with Him to Life. This act is clearly imputed to the believing ones. They possess the righteousness of God in Christ.

Again,

2Co 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

The reason RCs may sound like Reformed Protestants while meaning something totally different is the simple reason that the Death of Christ is not of the Substitutionary nature. The Penal Substitutionary Atonement is rejected.

For Sungenis to say there are no passages that show that believers are declared righteous is simply absurd.

In my next post I will cite from White’s book, The God Who Justifies, in order to deal more specifically with the Genesis 15 issue raised by Sungenis.