Thursday, March 27, 2008

Does Fowarding E-Mail Truly Honor Christ?


I was recently forwarded e-mails that recounted the words of "comedian" Kathy Griffin's Emmy acceptance speech wherein she insults Jesus. Reading the quote I get the sense that she is being heavily satirical and this was not, in fact, an earnest insult. Please, don't misunderstand me. I still don't think this justifies her remarks. After all, they may not be earnest, but they are careless and irreverent of her Creator God.
Later, Kathy Griffin was on Larry King Live, a beacon of journalistic intrigue (did you see that time he interviewed Posh Spice about her hair? Brilliant!), explaining the intention behind her acceptance speech. She explained that the speech was a parody of all the starlets and rappers who thank Jesus when they win their trophies as if, "[Jesus] has nothing better to do than make sure that they win their awards."
Several months ago, as our staff was preaching through the book of Galatians we were simultaneously preparing for a day of prayer for the persecuted church. We researched and wept over current news reports of men, women, and families, torn apart, imprisoned and killed for loving and honoring Christ. These were not isolated incidents but things that defined their very existence. One man, Hua Huiqi, was of special interest to me. He was a pastor, whose mother was imprisoned on false charges so that Hua would be persuaded to divulge the names of his church members. When this failed to yield results Hua was attacked and hospitalized by members of China's Public Safety Bureau. I'm sure the irony is lost on no one. Later, Hua was released and placed under house arrest where PSB officers attacked him, yet again, for simply trying to use his own bathroom.
I think about Hua and the nature of his faith and testimony often. I am thankful that I live in America where it is quite safe to be a Christian. I also recognize the tension of our affluence and struggle with taking all my luxury for granted and therefore denying Christ in my self-sufficiency. I also recognize that our duty and our joy as American Christians are no different than Pastor Hua's. We both testify to the sufficiency, supremacy and authority of Christ as a present reality.
I therefore reason that as the gospel is affronted we stand and proclaim the truth of it, call people to repent, and demonstrate the gospel by loving those who antagonize us. This is the summation of God's law.
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the Prophets."
Matthew 22:37-40

Here are excerpts of the e-mail in question that, I believe, adequately summarize its content.
"As a Christian I am offended by her hate speech…Kathy Griffin has the right as an American to say what she thinks. As a Christian American, so do I. Today I will refuse to watch any show that she may be on or purchase tickets to any event at which she would perform. What will you do?
…if you pass this on, you will truly have stood up for Jesus Christ. Let's see what Christians can do.
"
The reason I mentioned Hua earlier is that I want to be able to show anyone who reads this that I am truly attempting to approach this topic earnestly and carefully by demonstrating my concern rather than flex my opinionated ego. Only a few months ago I would have done the latter, ranting carelessly. Through Godly men in my life, Christ has led me to repentance for my previous actions and words and I am slowly coming around to being gentler with my criticism.
The first problem I have with e-mails like this is that I don't think forwarding them resembles taking a true stand for Jesus. I say this because taking a true stand for Jesus, historically, involves effort and sacrifice. I'm just not sure that when you compare what Hua and thousands like him have gone through to "pressing send" on your computer that it holds any water. It is seriously beginning to hurt me, imagining that a Christian would be satisfied that they've honored Christ by doing something so effortless.
I might be wrong - this may not peg you at all. Forwarding this e-mail may in fact be a sacrifice. You might sacrifice a friendship or some social standing or comfort as a result. If this is so, and you have acted in accordance with your conscience I hold nothing against you. However, I would caution you that this is NOT the e-mail to forward.
In the above excerpt I sense no passion, or heartache for the Kathy Griffin that would weep and mourn over her sin; who would fall to her knees and repent if she knew Jesus. Do you? I could be wrong. After all, it is hard to discern the tone from typed words and I would perhaps discern something different should the writer of this e-mail have a conversation with me.
In the end I'm not sure I've misjudged the content of this e-mail. It seems completely doctrinally correct yet completely void of love for someone who needs to know the risen Christ. It seems void of fear and concern for a soul that faces eternal torment apart from the intervention of Christ.
I would urge all those who harbor fear, rage, anger, and hate for Ms. Griffin or anyone who has so publicly denied Christ to repent. Repent of any lack of love that you have for the lost. Let us be careful to label such a simple thing as forwarding e-mail, a "true stand for Christ" as we consider how different it looks when compared to men like Pastor Hua.
To God be the Glory,
Cory Kitch
Central Valley Community Church

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Governor Crist, Home Education Week

I wouldn't have believed it if I had not read it. I simply don't know how I missed this one. Governor Crist has issued a Home Educators Week proclamation. Read it for yourself here.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Moralistic Gospel Is a Dead End

Yesterday, I watched a portion of a movie called the Seventh Sign, starring Demi Moore. I wanted to see this end of the world movie again, this time with my Christian glasses on. You see, I saw it many years ago while a lost pagan. With it being on TV this week, I thought it might be interesting to see from a Christian perspective how the pagans that made the movie think. It was completely blasphemous.

The Jesus character in the movie was just a guy who died to make the world better but failed. He died to give people hope. Demi Moore's character comes to see this Jesus in the midst of the tribulations coming upon the earth. She can't believe that God is a God of wrath. She appeals to her free will to change the events of the end. Jesus tells her there is just one chance. She has to make the changes.

She does say to Jesus, "I thought God was a God of love." Jesus corrects her. He explains that God is tired of all of man's sins. He tried to save sinners the "first time" when He died. But that didn't work. So God is going to destroy the world.

In the end, Demi's character offers the world hope by breaking the last link in the chain of apocalyptic events. Jesus accepts this and tells a Jewish boy to "write it down" and tell the world.

Why am I writing this silly post (bad movie review)? Tom Ascol gave a link to this article of how a Sunday School curriculum did not want to tell the story of Easter to young children because it is too violent. The link also says,

"We're using these formative preschool years to build a foundation for that eventual decision by focusing on God's love and telling preschoolers that 'Jesus wants to be my friend forever.'"

So there you have it. Demi Moore's character must have grown up with this kind of Sunday School material. God is just lovey dovey and Jesus wants to be your friend. If you would by your own autonomous free-will just obey Christ, the world could get better.

In conclusion, I have come to see that Evangelicalism has absolutely nothing to offer. Simply saying that Jesus can make your life better is offensive, even if we use terms like the cross as a means of doing so. The world doesn't understand why they need Jesus when there are many systems that make the same claim Christians do. Moral renewal is not the Gospel and is a dead end.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Issues Ect....

For those of you following the Issues Ect. Radio Program cancellation/Blunder by the bureaucrats that be, he is a link to a Blog that has been set up to attempt to get them back on the air. Issues Ect is a Lutheran program with host the Rev Todd Wilken. It is a great program and an outreach from the Lutheran community.

It has been speculated that the cancellation/blunder may be due to finances. So the attempt could be to cut back on expenses that sever any interaction with non-Lutherans. That way, the outside world will have no means to see what goes on in Closed Communion Lutheran churches. (sorry about the sarcasm).

If you would like to support Issues Ect and it has been a blessing to you, sign the petition here. Good programs like this with bright apologetic minds like Wilkens that bless the body of Christ and are clear and sound witnesses to the world should remain on the air. Perhaps before just causing a great program to disappear off the face of the earth with no explanation, the bureaucrats might consider alternative methods such as webcasting instead of expensive radio stations. Outreach and Evangelism I think are still required to let the world know the church exists. :-)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Freedom Is Solution...Not Corn

Rush had an interesting discussion with a caller defending Ethanol production. Although Rush brought up the argument that if the industry was not being subsidized, it would not have taken off at all. The whole idea of burning our food is due to the Global Warming Hoax.

However, the caller did attempt to defend his opinion that the price of corn is not going up due to increased demand. He argued that there is plenty of corn. The problem is with transportation costs. Rush does link to an article on the Sacbee website titled, Ethanol: How the promise dwindled.

In this article there is no mention of transportation costs. Perhaps that is due to a bias in the writer. I have no doubt transportation costs have gone up. But the article says,"
"There was a point in time when you had $3 corn and $4 ethanol; now you have $6 corn and $2 ethanol," said Rick Eastman, who built the state's first big ethanol plant in Goshen and is now a consultant to Pacific Ethanol.
Am I really to believe transportation costs have doubled the price of corn? This is a bit tough to swallow. The reason stated is "by too much supply, too-expensive corn and too many increases in plant construction costs."

Now I am sure "too-expensive corn" would include transportation costs. So even if the caller was right, so what? The point is this. We are making bad energy policies based upon a hoax. We do not need to burn our food. A simple drilling rig and a pipeline of fresh crude from Alaska would blow out corn in a Free-Market.

Walter Williams points out

"Ethanol is so costly that it wouldn't make it in a free market. That's why Congress has enacted major ethanol subsidies, about $1.05 to $1.38 a gallon, which is no less than a tax on consumers. In fact, there's a double tax -- one in the form of ethanol subsidies and another in the form of handouts to corn farmers to the tune of $9.5 billion in 2005 alone."

Problem? Government.

Solution? Freedom.

It really is that simple.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Reymond On Philippians 2:6

Robert Reymond’s A New Systematic Theology has a large section on defending the Deity of Jesus Christ. In one section, he devotes almost 12 pages interacting with Philippians 2:6-11. Philippians 2:6-11 has always been a fascinating passage for Christians. It may perhaps be a portion of the oldest Christian Hymn known. One verse in particular has caused many exegetes some stumbling. Verse 6 reads:

“…who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,”

This statement by Paul that Jesus did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped causes 2 problems according to Robert Reymond. The first one, Reymond says,

“If one should reply that the reason it is said that the Son did not ‘grasp after’ equality with God is because He already had it…introduces a certain theological barrenness, if not an exegetical inanity, into the text at the very point where, obviously, a highly significant insight is intended, for one does not need to be informed of the obvious—that the Son did not seek after something which was already in His possession.”

The second difficulty Reymond discusses is this:

“…if the flow of the passage commences with God the Son in His preexistent state, what meaning can his later exaltation possible have had for Him?”

This second point is really the heart of the problem. Surely we Trinitarians believe that Jesus remained God during His incarnation. Simply by cloaking his glory doesn’t really solve the question nor the language of the text. Reymond concludes that these obvious “difficulties ought to make us willing to consider another interpretation that avoids both problems.” I agree. I have always felt (and perhaps intuitively so) that the typical answers are somewhat contrived.

Reymond suggests “that it is not God the Son in his preincarnate state as the Second Person of the Holy Trinity who is the subject…” Instead he argues, “The hymn begins with ‘Christ Jesus’ and affirms that, as the God-man, he refused to follow an alternative path to glory to the one which His Father had charted for Him.”

This really gives insight to the passage. He continues:

“The answer is that now we are no longer interacting at the point of Philippians 2:6 with the Incarnation as a future event, but with the Incarnation as from the outset the God-man’s existing state of being.”

“…it should be interpreted against the background of His temptation recorded in Matthew 4. We know that Paul is willing to contrast Adam and Christ in Romans 5:12-19 and 1 Corinthians 15: 45-49, actually referring to Christ in the latter passage as the Last Adam and the Second Man. Here the Philippians hymn draws a further contrast between the respective temptations of Adam and Christ. Unlike Adam, the first man, who did ‘regard equality with God a thing to be seized,’ Christ, the Last Adam and Second Man, when urged to demonstrate His equality with God refused to take matters into His own hands and assert His rights as the Son. He steadfastly resisted the Tempter’s suggestion to ‘seize equality,’ that is, to walk no longer in the path of the Servant of the Lord…”

This, he later argues, makes more consistent sense when we see His exaltation in the text. Christ has truly humbled Himself to the point of death, even the death on a cross. Therefore, every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord.

We truly have a High Priest that knows our trials. He has fulfilled every requirement that the Father commands of the Son. Where Adam failed to do all the Father’s commands, Christ says, I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.”

AMEN!

Read the Specs

Every time I see a news story on how some car is going to save the world by saving on fuel, I always love to run to the specs part of the advertisement...I mean news story. Here is another complete joke. What in the world is a family supposed to do with this thing?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Hobbies

I did manage to snap a couple of Lunar pictures today. I wish I could get a better contrast with the Blue Sky background. So far, my inability to do really good photography shows. But here are couple that came out somewhat.



The Man in the Moon

Arrogance of the Left and Home-Schooling

Albert Mohler wrote another post on the California home-Schooling problem (read here). Now I did want to interact with this article he cites written by David Arnold on the NEA website. It is full of nonsense and deceitful arguments and needs to be challenged. The third paragraph states,

"So, why would some parents assume they know enough about every academic subject to home-school their children? You would think that they might leave this -- the shaping of their children’s minds, careers, and futures -- to trained professionals. That is, to those who have worked steadily at their profession for 10, 20, 30 years! Teachers!"

This is just plain arrogance in light of the plain, obvious and well documented facts. Home-schoolers do achieve academic excellence on the whole (btw: the results are better than the public schools). I have friends who have home-schooled their children that were never confident they could do it. They were not the most academically inclined, yet they managed to do it. How is that you might ask? The material that is available for home-schoolers is so good, that parents, who choose to home school, need not feel alone or afraid. This guy must certainly know this. Therefore, he is just wielding his academic snobbery, which has no basis in reality.

Lamenting an advertisement he says,

"The “it” is meant to be “teaching.” Let’s face it, teaching children is difficult even for experienced professionals. Wannabes have no idea."

No Sir, you have no idea. Of course Home-Schooling isn't easy. It takes work like anything else worth doing. Yet the material available to Home Schoolers is extremely helpful. The results prove it! Public Education doesn't prove their case.

This also misses an important fact. Many home-schoolers are not home-schooling because facts that are taught at school are wrong. There are many reasons why, which I plan on dealing with a couple here. What is overlooked by this writer is that many home-schoolers are not Conservatives! Let me say that again. Liberals also home-school for a variety of reasons. Home-Schooling is hardly monolithic. He is just plain ignorant or willfully hiding this obvious fact.

He then talks about the socialization problem.

"Forget about interacting with others? Are they nuts? Socialization is an important component of getting along in life. You cannot teach it. Children should have the opportunity to interact with others their own age. Without allowing their children to mingle, trade ideas and thoughts with others, these parents are creating social misfits."

Here again, the facts just don't jive. I think this guy is either willfully ignorant, or just plain lying. He would certainly have to know the arguments put forth by home-schoolers after nearly 30 years. Yet he decides to cite a TV commercial for evidence. Therefore, I firmly believe this guy is now just lying.

Think with me here. Many parents home-school precisely because of the overwhelming negative problems of socialization. Do my kids really need to learn how to smoke pot and get drunk and have sex on a Friday night? Do we really need to put them through the greatest stress during the most difficult period of life? This just proves that he wants kids to be socialized his way and not with the views of the parent's.

"Children should have the opportunity to interact with others their own age."

Where in all of life do people work or live with peers of their own age? When I graduated High School, the only place that had 50 other guys that were nearly of the same age as I was was in Basic Training in the Air Force! After those 6 weeks, I never worked with another person of my age again! Let me be clear. NEVER! Due to that simple fact, I was not used to working with older men who trained me and mentored me. When I did hang out with guys my own age, we were ridiculously stupid. How I managed to live to the age of 25 is only due to God's grace.

He quotes Sam Walton as saying,

"I can’t teach them how to be a teammate when they have never been part of any team."

Home-Schoolers do not just sit at home. This is a stereo-type and a straw-man argument. Think again with me for just a moment. If parents are home-schooling their children, then might it be because they do care about how their children develop socially? I have been hearing this argument for nearly 16 years. There are just no facts to support it, unless of course it is the kind of socialization that is just not agreed upon. If that is the case, this is just snobbery of the worst and arrogant kind.

More arrogance,

"I’m certainly not opposed to religious schools, or to anyone standing up for what they believe in. I admire anyone who has the strength to stand up against the majority. But in this case, pulling children out of a school is not the best way to fight the laws that govern our education system. No battle has ever been won by retreating!"

This guy really is blind. We are fighting him! He has the power of taxation. He has all of the money to lobby the legislators. He has the power of government (Remember the court case everyone!). It is his philosophical views that are taught by the force of law. Why should I wait 20 years to fight the problem. My kids will have graduated under his world view, and he wins by default! What a joke. There is more I'd like to say about this guy, but I better proceed on before I lose my sanctification.

Finally I wanted to deal with this claim,

"They would be wise to help their children and themselves by leaving the responsibility of teaching math, science, art, writing, history, geography and other subjects to those who are knowledgeable, trained and motivated to do the best job possible."

Again, this assumes facts are just facts. The are neutrally taught...right? Teachers are never motivated to teach facts within a certain world view. Evolution is not a part of a world view. It is just a fact. Atheism is not a world view. It is just a fact. Materialism is not a world view. It is just a fact. The mockery of Christianity within schools is just normal social skills being learned.

My conclusion is that this guy is so overpowered by the Left's world view that he is exactly the result of something Rush says quite often. "Liberals don't want to be judged by their results. It is their intentions that need to be honored." This is a world-view battle for the minds of our children and for freedom from an ever intrusive and abusive government.

The Public Educational system needs to be judged for what it is and what it does. That means results must be judged. This guy is not willing to even try to be objective about himself or his poorly reasoned arguments.

The Battle Is Raging...Where Are the Leaders?

Albert Mohler has written a excellent post on the California homeschooling issue here. In the article he quotes the Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell,

"There's no cause for alarm. I want to assure parents that chose to home school that California Department of Education policy will not change in any way as a result of this ruling...Parents still have the right to home school in our state."

He also says that Arnold the Governater "pledge[s] to defend the rights of homeschooling parents".

Now I have to ask the obvious question. If those on the Left (I know Arnold is a Republican) are always maintaining that the Courts are the final arbitrator of what the Law of the Land is, then why are they not agreeing with the Court's decision?

For instance, Dave Arnold writing on the National Education Association's website says,

"I’m certainly not opposed to religious schools, or to anyone standing up for what they believe in. I admire anyone who has the strength to stand up against the majority. But in this case, pulling children out of a school is not the best way to fight the laws that govern our education system. No battle has ever been won by retreating!"

In other words, SUBMIT! The Law says kids must go to public school. Therefore, Homeschoolers are violating the law.

This is great stuff. If a prominent conservative Republican would publicly challenge the Left and fight on this field of battle (is this not an invitation to start swinging?), McCain would be chucked under the proverbial bus. I would write his name on the ballot.

Let me reiterate. The Left is plainly wanting this fight. There are no Conservative Generals on the field of a battle that is now fully under way. We conservative laymen are fighting by ourselves. There are no political leaders going after this issue with full force. This proves McCain is not the man for President beyond any shadow of a doubt. Mike Huckabee was certainly not conservative. Mitt Romney? He bows down to the Republican status quo. Fred Thompson just plain didn't do anything. Some have even thought about Newt Gingrich for President. Yet it wasn't that long ago he tried to cozy up with Hillary. Here we are in the middle of a political war, and he wants to create an image that he's not really mean. Did Hillary care? Did the Press really care? NO!

Is there anyone? I mean it. Is there any Conservative leader who wants to become President? Are there any Conservative leaders?

Are you feeling my sense of frustration?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dr. Horner and Hermeneutical Presuppositions

I had the chance today to listen to Chris Arnzen's interview with Dr. Barry Horner about his new book, Future Israel. Dr. Horner has several A Millenarians upset about the premise of the book. Dr. Sam Waldron writes in regards to Dr. Horner's book that “Amillennialism is necessarily more or less anti-Semitic”. Dr. Horner wishes to convey this idea while calling Amillers anti-Judaistic. He admits during the interview that he did not want to use "anti-Semitic" because the other term is less insulting.

What I found interesting during the interview is that Dr. Horner admitted he was not upfront about his own presuppositions. This came out very clearly when Chris Arnzen mentioned that his Dispensational Premillenial position might be coloring his interpretation. Dr. Horner denied this saying he was going to the Bible and using the Historical Grammatical approach. Yet is there not more to exegesis than just assuming your hermeneutic is agreeable? Of course conservative Christians believe that using the Historical Grammatical hermeneutic is a fundamental method of interpreting the Scriptures. Yet to think it just that simple is to deny other factors that plainly affect the conclusions we arrive at.

Chris Arnzen raised a great question about a passage of Scripture that showed Dr. Horner’s hermeneutic to not only be flawed, but a hermeneutic that would not even be shared by John McArthur (Who endorsed the book strongly). The passage Chris referred to was 1 Peter 2:9-10,

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Dr. Horner’s response was simply amazing. He asked the question, “Who was the letter written to?” (which is a good question). His conclusion was that since Peter was writing to Jews, that he could not be referring to Gentiles. Now this is fascinating. If Dr. Horner is going to be consistent with the hermeneutic or interpretive method, and being a 5-point Calvinist, how would a Gentile such as myself be truly of the Elect? For example, Jesus in John chapter 6 verses 35-45 speaks of election by God’s Sovereign freedom. If we look at the audience it is clear that I was not there. Therefore I am not one of the “All that the Father has given to the Son…” So how could he possibly establish that I, a gentile Christian who was not there, could look to Christ as that infallible Savior, who saves men perfectly since that text only refers to Jews by the Lake?

Perhaps we could go to Ephesians chapter 1 and see that God sovereignly chooses the elect. But wait! I wasn’t in the audience. I wasn’t even a member of First Ephesian Church of Ephesus. So the wonderful passage of election doesn’t apply to me…right?

My point really is simple, even if I communicate it badly. Hermeneutical presuppositions do matter. Hiding presuppositions because you think they are not a part of the argument is na├»ve at best. A man with a doctorate should realize this before he publishes a book referring to Christian brothers as anti-Semites simply because they hold a position that sees God’s true Israel as being filled with both Jews and Gentiles.

Sam Waldron has written a book on this subject, which I believe is most helpful, End Times Made Simple. I would attempt to read Horner’s book, but like Dr. Waldron, I think I too would have to “pray for grace and patience not to fire it across the room”.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Is There a Warrior Willling To Fight?...and WIN!

I just read from Mohler's Blog a citation from the Appellate Courts decision which states,

The trial court's reason for declining to order public or private schooling for the children was its belief that parents have a constitutional right to school their children in their own home. However, California courts have held that under provisions in the Education Code, parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children. Thus, while the petition for extraordinary writ asserts that the trial court's refusal to order attendance in a public or private school was an abuse of discretion, we find the refusal was actually an error of law.


I love it. The court actually insists that parents do not have a Constitutional right to educate their own children.

I think it is time. I think it is time to pick our fight and pick the field of battle. There are some things not worth arguing about. This, however, is worth forcing the Left into a massive battle. This is an issue that is easily articulated. On a fundamental level, who is in charge? The State or the Parents?

The person who manages to turn this battle into an all out war could easily lead a conservative movement back into the political arena and defeat the Left in the most destructive way. I agree with Rush on this whole-heartedly. The Left needs to be defeated. This issue could easily do it.

Now obviously McCain is no warrior, at least not a conservative one. Therefore looking to him for leadership is just a waste of time. Is there any political leader out there that knows how to pick a fight and win? I mean it. Somebody with political clout and guts and leadership and the ability to articulate conservatism could easily turn this bone-headed decision into a ride all the way to the top. This is a great way to force the Left out from under their rock and into the bright light of day.

Anybody? Is there anybody? Please????

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Bad Egg

I just finished reading chapter 14 in Abstract of Systematic Theology by James P. Boyce. This last paragraph sums what has been said.

"The Scriptures teach everywhere the unity of God explicitly and emphatically. There can be no doubt that they reveal a God that is exclusively one. But their other statements, which we have been examining, should assure us that they also teach that there are three divine persons. It is this peculiar twofold teaching, which is expressed by the word "trinity." The revelation to us, is not that of tritheism or three Gods; nor of triplicity, which is threefoldness, and would involve composition, and be contrary to the simplicity of God; nor of mere manifestation of one person in three forms, which is opposed to the revealed individuality of the persons; but it is well expressed by the word trinity, which is declarative, not simply of threeness, but of three-oneness. That this word is not found in Scripture is no objection to it, when the doctrine, expressed by it, is so clearly set forth."

This last paragraph is something that I think may often be overlooked. Sometimes we use imprecise language in describing our beliefs. We all at one time may have used the egg analogy in illustrating the Trinity. God, however, is not in three parts. There are three persons who are fully the same as to the stuff [Now I am doing it. Being or nature might be better] that makes God to be God. Yet there are not three Beings of God but only One.

There are three major errors that men fall into when denying some aspect of the clear doctrines of Scripture. Tri-theism or worse, polytheism is an error when denying the unity and oneness of God. Subordinationism is when the three Persons are denied as being equal. Modalism is the error when the plurality of Persons within the One God is denied [God is manifested as Father, Son and Spirit as an actor may take on different roles in a play].

Each of these errors is a serious trap. Often today the error of Modalism is the functioning belief of Christians. Have you ever used the water analogy? God desires Christians to worship in spirit and truth. Theology does matter. I would highly recommend James White's The Forgotten Trinity as not only a resource but a book that the average Christian layman to become familiar. It truly is a blessing to know God as He has revealed Himself.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Tacking On the Gospel

The White Horse Inn had an interesting discussion on the nature of the Gospel in the church. They very much dealt with the issue of preaching and how shallow and Christless preaching is while pretending to speak of Christ. What was interesting is their point on how the words of orthodoxy are used. Words like Jesus, salvation, eternal life, justification, sanctification and even the Bible Alone take on radically new meanings.

This 5 minute clip of the program (listen here) from the first week of January catches the essence of the program. The part where Mike Horton speaks of preaching entire messages and then tacking on Christ or an Altar call at the end is predominant in today's churches. I know I have been guilty of this as well. May God forgive us and grant us repentance from such a shallow view of the Gospel.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Jacob Fun, California Judges Bad

Good news and bad news. The fun good news first.

Dr. Spock or Dr. Lipshitz or Dobson or whoever those smart kiddo psychologists are, they were right. Videos are bad for kids. Jacob thinks he is Indiana Jones, and he does what Indy does best. He gets beat up.

Bad news:

A few days ago HSLDA reported a story on homeschooling that they should have been aware of. The Second Appellate Court District of California ruled "that homeschooling is not a legal option in California". That's right. Unless you have a four year degree and a teaching certificate you are violating California Law when home-schooling.

Dr. Dobson has quickly responded today stating,

“How dare these judges have the audacity to label tens of thousands of parents criminals — the equivalent to drug dealers or pickpockets — because they want to raise and educate their children according to their deeply held values?"

It is estimated that at least 200,000 students in California are now breaking the law. Perhaps these tyrants are attempting to rid their state of these truant children? Whatever the case may be. It is time that the American people start putting forward impeachment on the table
as a viable option against judges. In fact, politics may make strange bed-fellows. Conservatives are not the only ones that home-school. Perhaps liberal and conservative home-schoolers may work towards the same goal?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

TEXT & CONTEXT


MATT CHANDLER and JOHN PIPER at THE RESURGENCE CONFERENCE

The theme from this year’s National Resurgence Conference was Text & Context. If you had asked me what this meant before I went to the conference, my response would have gone something like this:
“What does it mean? Who cares? John Piper is going to be there!” In reality, the theme was powerfully addressed by each of the speakers and spoke to many things that this generation of preachers needs to hear.
Here’s the short version of what Text & Context is all about. “Context” is a reference to where you minister and to whom you preach. In a broad sense, you might say that today’s “context” is a post-modernistic one. It is a generation that has been labeled as having a higher value for spirituality (although not necessarily biblical Christianity), a value for authenticity, and, ironically, irreverence for absolute truth. So, today, many preachers are becoming aware of this audience they preach to, appreciating the words of the preacher and their messages, but not becoming obedient to Scripture, because it is only a guide, not the absolute, infallible Word of God. This is a generalization, but it’s becoming all the more evident as preachers water down their messages to reach this audience.
In a more specific sense, context might be the actual city or neighborhood or culture in which you minister. For Mars Hill Church, for instance, these are 18 to 30 year-old men in the Seattle area. This is due to the fact that men who fall into this demographic are statistically least likely to attend church. This is the “context” in which Mark Driscoll planted his church. Therefore, he speaks directly to that context quite often.
“Text” is more important than context however. The “Text” is Scripture. This point was consistently addressed during our time at Mars Hill. Many emergent churches today have a heart for their respective “contexts” (boy I’m getting tired of putting that in quotes – I’m quitting now). These churches love their cities, their cultures, and their people and want to meet their needs; especially their felt needs.
The problem we sometimes see in these churches is that they sacrifice, or obscure The Text of Scripture out of the perception that it fails to minister to their context. This is what each of the speakers railed against, each in their own way. The general premise to which we consistently returned was the idea that, in order to truly love and serve our Context, we must magnify, trust, and elevate Scripture as God’s Word. Only when all of our service, all of our teaching, all of our love are proclaimed and lived out in accordance with the Bible are we truly loving, serving, and reaching our communities.
For instance, if we don’t want people to go to Hell - then it’s not loving when we avoid preaching about it. If we want people to know God, but don’t explain that Christ is the ONLY way to know God, then we haven’t loved the culture; the people in our context.
The way Matt Chandler talks about this has stuck with me the most. This is probably due to the fact that it’s easier to remember something that’s funny than intellectually weighty. In any case, Chandler talked about how, in ministry and preaching we must not worry so much about drawing a crowd, but rather being obedient to God’s Word because, God’s Word is what The Spirit uses to save souls.
He basically articulated it this way: It’s a miracle that anyone got saved in the 80’s. All the church did was sing dopey songs like, “I got the joy, joy, joy, down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart to stay,” during which we would have people on stage spelling out the word JOY with their bodies. We would also show movies about the rapture and how it was a sin to listen to Journey and Boston. Most of our concerts looked like really bad SNL skits too. We can’t believe that those things saved anybody. It’s a miracle of God.
This was a summation, in my own words, of what Chandler said. I agree with him – because I think Chandler simply agrees with Paul.
II Corinthians 4:6,

For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

If we don’t believe this verse – if we don’t believe that people get saved because God and God alone speaks the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, into their heart – then we stand in the pulpit Sunday after Sunday pretending to be Jesus. I can think of no greater call for today’s preachers than to simply be obedient to God’s Spirit and God’s Word.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Resurgence Conference


Hi all,
Filmcritic, aka, Cory here.
This week Pastor Paul and myself were blessed and privileged to attend the National Resurgence Conference at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. I am blessed to serve a church where there is a vision and desire to train and equip young pastors. This pastoral conference was an example of how this vision is played out. Despite the fact that the street plans for Seattle seem to have been designed by someone who regularly diets on paint chips, we had a lot of fun in the city, even when we were lost. It was a very fun, inspirational, and educational time.
I thought I would share one anecdote from the conference, a couple of pictures and simply adjure you to find the audio from this conference (although it will be a bit before they put it up).
First of all, if you haven’t heard Driscoll speak – please do it. The criticism levied against him is ridiculous when you really listen and especially when you see him. God’s Word is central for all the men we heard last week and all of them are very good communicators. Both Driscoll and Chandler, by the way, are stinkin’ hilarious. Tell someone one of the most intentionally funny and entertaining things you’ve seen so far this year were preachers and they probably won’t believe you - but it’s true. Each message was a great example of preaching biblically without tying down your personality. I mean come on, who wouldn’t laugh at THE John Piper when he talks about kicking his dog?
Funniest moment of the conference, probably Matt Chandler talking about Mark Driscoll’s preaching style:
CHANDLER: The Holy Spirit has to be the only way that anybody gets saved! How else do you explain Driscoll, who just comes out here every Sunday and says, “Open your Bibles so I can tell you why you’re stupid.”
To which everybody responds, “Yes. Tell me why I’m stupid. You are right. I am stupid. I will get saved now.”
This summary probably doesn’t do justice to the comedy of it. Keep checking theresurgence.com to see if they’ve uploaded Chandler’s audio. It’s hilarious and extremely insightful. You may also want to listen for the raisin cake I had to sit next to who agreed with everything, everyone said from the stage, before they could finish saying it. Ugh.
Anyway, here are some pics from Mars Hill in Seattle.


Here's Chandler


Piper


The Q&A from Tues. night

U.S. Farmers & Congress Starving the World

Listening to Agri-Talk on AM 1030 during my long commute (1 mile) you would think Bio-Fuels (burning food for energy) are truly a wonderful thing that will save our precious environment. As usual though, follow the money. Kim Riddlebarger points to an interesting story at News.com.

A 41 per cent surge in prices of wheat, corn, rice and other cereals over the past six months has generated a $US120 million ($126.5 million) budget shortfall that will force the USAID to reduce emergency operations, the report said.

This will cause the director of USAID's Food for Peace program to "prioritize" what country gets food.

As usual, governments that control the markets always end up starving the masses. But instead of some third world dictator, now it is the fault of the U.S. Government due to the influence of farm lobbyists. It seems to me that farmers want their cake and be able to eat it too. Free markets controlled by the government is just too self-contradictory. Let's face it. If it were not for a pathetic energy policy, we would not be driving corn burners.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Open Letter To State Reps, Bill 399

I have written a letter to my state Representative about the intrusion of the State upon the lives of Kansans as pertaining Kansas Senate Bill 399. This Bill will force all 6 year olds to fall under truancy laws and mandatory school attendance.

An Open Letter To Kansas State Representatives and Gary Hazlett:

Dear Mr. Hazlett,

I am writing in concern of the State Senate Bill 399. This Bill will make 6-year-olds subject to a blanket government mandate of school attendance

First, all studies show that there is no real educational benefit from forcing younger children, especially boys, to start public school earlier. One such study may be found here. The facts have been consistently contrary to Liberal thought. Many boys do even better when they are not forced to leave home at such an early age. Dr. James Dobson of Focus of the Family has written about this here.


Second, the tax that would be needed to pay for such "reforming" of our educational system would only increase. Yet, the benefits would not be returned.

Third, this is only empowering even more intrusive governmental bureaucracy into the lives of Kansans. One of the reasons I moved to Kansas was to seek refuge in one of the few states that still believed in freedom. To pass this law is only to allow Liberal/Leftwing thought and assumptions that government knows best and reinforce that Government must be what people rely upon.

Fourth, this is a clear violation of the assumption that the State has the right to tell Kansans how to educate their children. The truth is that this is a presupposition that clearly violates God's law. The God, who gave us His revelation ultimately in Jesus Christ, plainly tells us that it is the parents and not the State that is in total charge of the education of children. To think otherwise is to grant a premise to the Left/Big Government mentality.

Fifth, everyone I have spoken with that does not homeschool or private school has been in favor of this Bill. When I ask why, the answer is always and without exception "Now I won't have to pay for day-care." This is further evidence that this is not about education but baby-sitting, and this coming from many Conservative friends!. The Conservative movement is dying due to the fact that Conservatives are not being educated nor are the leaders of Conservatism educating the American Public. It takes work to be free and since Liberalism is easy and the easier way out, many are willing to allow this kind of bureaucracy to grow. This program will only further the statism that has been created by the Left, which has caused so many Kansans to give up their liberties and responsibilities.

I truly hope that you would lead the charge to restore our freedoms from an ever intrusive State bureaucracy. Thank you very much for your past service for our district. I look forward the work you will do in support of freedom.

God Bless

Howard Fisher