Saturday, December 27, 2008


Every once in a great while I will actually read a novel. This past week I read House by Frank Preretti and Ted Dekker.

Now I have read most of Peretti's books. I remember reading This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness when I first became a Christian. A few years later Peretti wrote one of my favorites, The Oath. He also wrote Monster, which is simply fantastic. As for Dekker, I have no idea who he is and at this point, don't care.

I have mixed feelings about this 2006 co-authored story of a couples' marital struggle. Now I hardly ever read Novels. The only novel I have read in the past decade that Peretti did not write was Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer. So my comments will obviously not be helpful, but I'll share them anyway.

The story takes place in the Alabama south and offers stereo types of back water hicks. This style is completely backwards from Monster. In Monster I felt as if Peretti went to Idaho and lived there. I most certainly do not get that sense with this book, but it doesn't need to be. This book is fiction all the way. (Did Dekker write the majority of this book?)

The first few chapters reminded me of the fear that Burt Reynold's character had in Deliverance. As the book progressed the real fear was turned from external circumstances to the inward fears of our own sinfulness. This seemed to be the thrust of the book. Men are not only enslaved to their particular sins, but the evil in their hearts. This was the book's strength and weakness. The main character's resolution left me unresolved. On the cover of the book Ralph Winter (I have no idea who he is) is quoted as saying,
"They had me ripping through the pages...then blew me away with a final I never saw coming."
My thoughts were the opposite. It was an ending I hoped would not happen and did.

I was a bit confused. After painting a vivid picture of Jack's sinfulness, the authors write on page 341 a conversation between husband and wife, Jack and Stephanie, and Susan.
"But they're real," he said. "Their axes are real--"

"Of course they're real. I am not saying you should walk right into them. But there are greater powers beyond what you can see." [Susan]

"God? You're saying this is about God? Some huge whatever in the sky set this up?"

"You set it up."

"What are you talking about? We were just driving by when White slashed our tires and lured us to this hellish house."

"It's your house."

"That's crazy."

"It draws most of its power from you. We've been over this! Accept it, Jack. You're at the heart of the battle between good and evil."

"I've prayed to God," Stephanie said. It sounded like a question.

"Prayed? But do you believe? Really believe? And do you know how to love, really love?"

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart," Jack said quietly. "Love your neighbor as yourself. Isn't that a famous teaching? Jesus?" He hesitated, meaning settled in his mind like a falling snow. "So what's love look like in a house of horrors?"

"The same way it's always looked," Susan said. Then added after a pause, "It's not just what you do, it's who you are. You've got to change who you are. That's how you change the house. You'll have to see it; words don't mean much at times like this."
I won't spoil the rest if you decide to read this book, but perhaps you might see my confusion. The house reflects his own evil heart. The mode to fixing the world Jack has screwed up is to love...I think. The ending adds another means of fixing Jack's world. So I am not certain if this a Gnostic theology or something else.

For instance notice the line "It draws most of its power from you. We've been over this! Accept it, Jack. You're at the heart of the battle between good and evil."

Does this mean that Jack's heart has the capacity for both good and evil? Or does it mean God is fighting the Devil for his soul and Jack is the deciding factor? In other words, is this the God has voted for you, the Devil has voted against you, now you must cast the deciding vote, mentality?

To be certain there is much truth in the story line. I just didn't feel resolved. I feel like I have only moved on in my sin. The same confusion may be seen through Evangelicalism. Preaching Christ's work on the cross is external. Yet we are always being preached to "experience" the "born again" experience. We are told simultaneously to look to Jesus while doing so inwardly. This book shares that confusion.

If we are going to talk about inner struggles, I prefer the movies Signs and Unbreakable.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sing Star Wars

Update: upon further research, this guy is only lip syncing. Still pretty fun though!

Kuddos to Pastor Groover for putting this on his Blog. This guy is just talented, plain and simple.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

This post is copied from Hard Baked Dirt Living without permission. :-) He says what I think.

So what is the joy of Christmas? Well, it isn’t a warm cup of eggnog lightly spiked with bourbon and glee, though that’s certainly a nice treat. It’s not receiving various gifts under an evergreen surrounded by loved ones while Anne Murray carols spin on your retro-turntable. And it is isn’t a jolly-holly anything from anywhere sitting in his non-existent fantasy throne.

The joy of Christmas is the recognition of the historical moment that Micah prophesied about, when God became flesh and the incarnate deity dwelt among men.

It is the recognition and celebration of the truth that Christ was born in Bethlehem so that we would escape death and condemnation and live forever.

It is the relishing in our submission of faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior; that His righteousness is now mine.

It is the enjoyment of a peace that surpasses all understanding for we deserve nothing from Him, but He is willing to give us the Kingdom.

It is a reminder that we should have this joy all year long and not just when it is commercially and culturally acceptable.

There is no other joy more grand and there is no other peace more precious.

There is no other love more secure. There is no other gift worth giving.

May this gift be yours today.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

All Things Better In Koine

For all of my pastor friends who actually study Greek.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

CitizenLink's Use of Glenn Beck

In this post I want to deal with CitizenLink's use of Glenn Beck. Now Focus has always claimed to be a Christian organization. This is where the problem comes in. There is nothing wrong in my understanding of the Two-Kingdom model for Christians to work with non-Christians in building a better society. A Christian may easily stand shoulder to shoulder with a Muslim or a Roman Catholic or a Mormon in creating policies that end slavery or abortion or better roads or what have you.

But when Christians stand at abortion clinics with non-Christians, or those who may claim the name Christian but are not, and attempt to "evangelize together" with them, we have abandoned our calling. Again protesting abortion is simply protesting murder, and we ought to cooperaate with our neighbor, whoever he may be. But to do so in the context of Biblical evangelism is wrongheaded. Evangelism belongs as a duty to the church, not to non-Christians or the State.

Now you may be thinking what is the big deal about "hoping to spread a more eternal sort of gospel" that Glenn Beck has written "through his new book, The Christmas Sweater"? Glenn Beck is not a Christian. He is a Mormon.

Evidence? You may view a video here from YouTube.

The entire article interviews Beck as though Mormonism teaches the same God and offers the same Eternal Life in Christ as historic Christianity. To mislead the Christian reader and any reader in general is to point men towards Mormonism, a false religion.

How often has Focus on the Family decried moral relativism during these many years? And yet we are getting religious relativism. Why? Because we are using the same terminology. Notice the second question, "2. What message do you hope people take away from The Christmas Sweater?"

Beck's answer is most certainly lost.
I think the message that you can’t really escape is (that) the Christmas sweater is the metaphor for me of the atonement for Christ. We’ve all been given a gift. We celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus — but the real point is the death, and why He died. When I was in my 30s, I was suicidal. I had nowhere else to run. Then I realized that the real gift — the one we really need to appreciate — is the one that took so much to give. In my mother’s case, it’s the sweater. But in all our cases, it’s redemption and atonement. I so remember the day after Christmas when I balled the sweater up and dropped it on my floor. I still remember the look on my mother’s face when she came in and asked me if that was my Christmas sweater. It took everything for her to give me that, but I didn’t know it at the time, how poor we were. When I was 35 and decided to turn my life over and surrender, I made a vow that I would not stand at His feet and have him look at my redemption, undervalued, misused and lying in a ball on the floor. I need Him to know I’m using it every day.
Here is a great example of how the atonement of Christ is divorced from its proper Biblical context and made to mean something completely different. Yet the average Christian may easily miss this because he reads into the words his own understanding of the atonement. Although, I am beginning to wonder if those at Focus even truly grasp what the Atonement means anymore. This is exactly why the Local Church should be in charge of religion and not some para-church ministry. So now in stead of a local body overseeing the local congregation and their own confession of faith, we have para-church ministries spreading error and false doctrine in a manner only comparable to church hierarchies that go beyond the Local Church.

Another troubling aspect of this interview is that the atoning work of Christ becomes moralistic.
3. After your own battles with substance abuse, what does Christmas mean to you now?
The answer is,
A second chance. I just want the people to understand that the message is true. Sometimes redemption has been made into a word that people don’t understand. They need to know it’s true, it’s real. It’s not a word, it’s a life-changing force. It’s transformed my life, who I was to the very core of my being. If it wasn’t for me accepting the gift that the Lord gave to me, I’d be dead today. My doctor gave me six months to live, I was ready to commit suicide — but I took Him at His Word that he’d carry the load of the mistakes I’ve made, and He has. He’s so personal, and your life totally changes, and you can accomplish what you were sent here to do.
Dear Reader, this is not the Gospel. Yet it is what is so often being preached. What is confusing is that much of this is in some sense true. The Gospel does change hearts in the power of the Spirit. BUT...the Gospel is not a "second chance". It is not getting a clean slate! If it were, we would mess it up in about .5 seconds. The Gospel is not taking a bad sinner and making him a better sinner. In Christ, I do not have a blank slate. Instead, I have Christ's slate. His life is my life. His righteousness is my righteousness. His death is my death. His burial is my burial. His resurrection is my resurrection. Beck's Mormonism totally overthrows the Biblical meaning of Christ's work.

Notice this portion of his answer to question 4.
Very soon, events are going to begin to unfold that will mean you’ll need the advice of the Lord. We are all here at this time for a reason, and He needs us to be in the place, ready to do the things (we) promised Him we’d do. If we’re still carrying our own baggage, we can’t fully hear Him to protect ourselves and our country.
This is also the view of God that is being preached from our pulpits. God is not a mere man or an exalted man as taught in Mormonism. He is not wringing His hands waiting for us to come to Him for advise. God is not merely our helper in life's projects, nor is He wanting to give us our best life now in the Joel Osteen sense.

Christians must beware that we may not confuse our religion and the sphere of authority the Christian lives as a Christian, and our citizenship in this world/age. We ought not to promote the Gospel in the realm of State politics. This business belongs solely to the church.

As Christians we must also understand our historic confessions. To lose the Gospel and confuse it with moralism is to follow the error of theological Liberalism.

God's Love Towards the Undeserving

I just received a link to Pastor Glidewell's sermon, God's Love Towards the Undeserving. You may download it here. The text is from Luke chapter 2. Enjoy!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Conservatism Is NOT the Gospel

I know that when I write posts on my Blog there are times when I write specifically about things pertaining the Kingdom of God. For instance, when I proclaim the Gospel or write specifically about the Bible's message, I am not attempting to be political or merely moralistic.

There are other times when I write specifically about the Kingdom of man. For instance my last post was not about the Gospel. It was about the Law of God as it pertains to our government and the rule of law. Hopefully I have been clear over the years that even though I am a Christian and that my Christian beliefs inform my views, they are not the same thing as politics.

Over the years I have grown in my understanding of the Two-Kingdom model that the New Testament teaches. The church is not the government and vice versa. The Preacher of the Gospel is never to be confused with the Magistrate and his duties to the State. Each has their duties in separate Kingdoms.

Today I received an email that not only confuses the Two-Kingdom model, it betrays the Christian faith. In this article of CitizenLink, Radio Talk-Show host, Glenn Beck, is interviewed as if he were a Christian. This article states that Glenn Beck "has been spreading the conservative political gospel through his syndicated radio program." Please note the phrase "conservative political gospel". Let me be absolutely clear. There is no such thing as a political Gospel!

Christianity is not Democrat nor Republican. It has nothing to do with the United States. As wonderful as the united States has been to Christians, it is not the Kingdom of God. Christians from our founding have disagreed over the methods by which we should govern ourselves (even the phrase governing ourselves is a new idea). Christians have disagreed over the best means by which the laws of God should be enforced and to what extent. Even the Constitution Party (which clearly seeks to defend the laws of God) differs over the manner of the Two Party system as being unconstitutional and takes a stand against the War as violating the Constitution.

As a Christian I know that I live in these two Kingdoms simultaneously. I am a Conservative because I believe overall that Conservatism stands for the institutions that have given us the most freedom to succeed or fall and the most liberty from a government that seeks abuse power and become despotic.

As a Christian I also live under the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom is in the hearts of believers everywhere. It is the rule of God that is not of this world. Until this world passes away, we will not see the rule of God on earth in its consummate form.

I say all of this because so often non-Christians hear Christians and think they are trying to force their religion upon people through political means. I know we are simply seen that way and quite often there is not much we may do about it.

I also say this because Citizen Link is an arm of Focus on the Family. Focus claims to be an organization that supports the church As wonderful as Focus may be, they need to either go totally Kingdom of man or join a church and get out of politics. Psychologists should not be theologians. To send out a mass email talking about Glenn Beck as some kind of Christian that Christian Conservatives should model is absurd. I don't mean to say that as citizens of this world we shouldn't work with non-Christians such as Glenn Beck. We should and ought to to make a better society. But the confusion of promoting him as a Christian in order to do this and to involve this as a mission of Christians is also absurd. More on that tomorrow.

If you have bothered to read this far I will leave you with this. At the recent Together 4 the Gospel Conference, Mark Dever gave an excellent lecture on keeping the Gospel separate from politics and other areas of life. It is a must listen. When we attempt to make the Gospel into social action, Conservatives fall into the same trap 19th & 20th century Liberals have already done. Download Here.

Jackson's Solutions Haven't Worked

Harry R. Jackson has written an editorial at on his recent participation in a symposium on homosexuality and the recent News Week article. He makes the claims that the promoters of homosexuality are shallow in their arguments from and use of Scripture. That's not surprising. We are all familiar with the misuse of God's Word. Natural and sinful man is anything but morally neutral especially when he is forced to interact with what reminds him of his sin.

Jackson does note that the homosexual community is not going to be able to persuade the older generations of their view. He writes,
Their hope is that younger Christians who are not committed to mainstream theology will change their views and their votes. Therefore, I expect to see more articles espousing bizarre theological arguments and doctrines in an attempt to re-define this clear-cut, moral issue of homosexuality.
Now this is nothing new. One of the major premises of the public screwl system was to steal children from their parents' morality (as argued in Joel Turtel's article on the modern system by Mann and Dewey). Targeting children has always been the tactic of those who desire to change a society but tire in attempting to change the minds of their fellow man. As Hitler said, "Give me your children from 0-7, I'll have them for life." [my paraphrase. read more here on propaganda tactics he used.]

What troubles me is Jackson's solution. He concludes his article stating,

Let the Newsweek article serve as a warning to the Bible-believing, Christian community. We cannot rest on our laurels. We must do three things. First, we must determine that we will honor the covenant of marriage. Our nation is in need of covenant couples, who will raise the standard for lifelong marriage again, demonstrating to hurting people in noncommittal relationships that lifelong married monogamy is the happiest, most fulfilling arrangement ever created.

Second, we must let our voices be heard as the 40,000 protestors did last week. We must not remain silent. Third, we should boycott media sources that move beyond reporting the news to attempting to ‘create’ the news.

It is not too late to save the family in America. Our movement simply needs to remain focused upon creating a nation that respects biblical marriage and the multiplied benefits it gives to us, and our children.

I agree with creating a nation that respects biblical marriage. However, do his solutions provide this? First he says that we, who believe in God's definition of marriage, ought to live consistently with that belief. I whole-heartedly agree that this is most necessary. Yet, this is simply living consistently with a belief. Is the belief being articulated and taught? For instance, the homosexual couple could simply live together in such a fashion as to win people to their position. Does it make their position right? I would argue that it no more makes it right than for heterosexual couples living together makes biblical marriage right. Nevertheless, I agree we must clean our own house.

His third solution is to protest companies that promote homosexuality. Although sometimes this has had an impact, is it really creating a nation of people that understand marriage and why it exists? So far, both of these are not positive solutions.

The second [third here] solution is that we make our voices known? I really don't know what this means? Yelling back obviously doesn't work. Simply challenging false presuppositions as I have done on this Blog brings about accusations of homophobia and the like. Perhaps he means the voting booth? If so, how does this withstand the problem of their targeting our children that he points out.

These solutions, as important as they may be, are not really the solutions. They have been tried for years with limited success. Those, who believe in the traditional view of marriage, must not only have a solid philosophical foundation for their definition, but must be able to articulate it as well. So far, almost every article on the subject written by Traditionalists appeals to pragmatism. We have only been hearing arguments that marriage is "better" because of x, y or z. We simply will not win out using these means.

My alternate suggestions that no one will listen to.

First, Traditionalists must take back the idea that parents must be the primary educators of their own children. We must reject the notion that the State is in charge of education. However this may work out in our local schools, this presupposition must be taken back.

Second, we must teach our children the Creator/creature understanding of life. When children learn that there is a Creator, they come to understand the foundation for all rational thought, logic, morality and ect.. This will in turn inform us all as to the purpose of life and offer the foundation for the "Rule of Law".

Third, we must learn how to articulate Natural Law once again. We must not grant the presupposition of "better" and go for the root of the issue. Most Christians believe that we must use the Bible in every instance. Christians must be able to communicate in both worlds. This will inform Traditionalists, who do not use the Bible, that not only does Natural Law lead to the conclusion they have come to, but special revelation by the Creator teaches traditional marriage as well.

I am certain other means could be thought of as well. But if we follow the popular road of "traditional marriage is better because we say so," that Jackson makes use of, then we will continue to lose the culture war. Pragmatism hasn't work for decades. Seeking to be popular with the Media hasn't worked. Cooperation with the Left hasn't worked. Some things are just right and need to be stood for thoughtfully.

Man is made in the image of God. As long as Traditionalists use the image of God within them, and as long as Christians appeal to the One True God's revelation, they will always be constant reminders to the homosexual of their sin. This God and this image of God must be suppressed by those who oppose God's laws due to the sinful nature of man. When we understand this truth, then perhaps we will have a better understanding of what we are facing and what we need to do to stand for what is right.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Two Quick Notes

Two things I'd like to mention. For many years I have been hearing Christmas sermons from Luke chapter 2 in which Mary cooperated with God by her free-will to allow God to send Jesus into this world. This past Lord's Day I heard a terrific sermon on the same text preached by Pastor Glidewell. The message was thoroughly evangelistic and God-centered. Instead of practically giving thanks to Mary for her "response" to God, I heard a pronouncement. I heard the account of an Angel, who gave a proclamation from a Sovereign King to a servant girl. I heard a call given to sinners to repent of their sin throughout the entire message. What an encouragement that message was. If he ever gives me the MP3 I will share here. :-)

The other thing I would like to mention is Michael Horton's recent essay on Evangelicalism and Reformed Christianity. It is an important read for those who are pastors. It may be an important read for anyone familiar with the issues that Evangelicals face today.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Abortionist's Wish List for Christmas

Here is a great example of how people will talk right past each other. CitizenLink has reported that "Abortion Activists" have sent a "wish list" to President Elect Obama. You may read the Abortionist's desires here. The first paragraph states,
The next President will have the opportunity to advance a reproductive health agenda that will make a profound difference in the lives and health of women, men, and families in the United States and around the world. Greater investments in reproductive health care will improve women’s health, reduce the incidence of disease, and promote healthy childbearing. Moreover, ensuring access to reproductive health services is essential to women’s full and equal participation in society.
Now the statement that Abortionists desire "healthy child bearing" is an admirable one. Who wants to have women to have poor health while child bearing? So we all talk right past each other while trying to clear the smoke from the bombs that are thrown past each other. However if words have meaning then we must understand their context.

The last sentence gives away some of their presuppositions. In order for a woman to have full and equal participation in society, she must have free health care. Why must she have free health care? Keep in mind, in the mind of the Leftist, a woman is only equal to a man if she may be "free" to choose any kind of life she desires. Pregnancies obviously get in the way of being equal to a man. Therefore, she must have free access to abortions.

Besides that, how is ripping a baby limb from limb or being burned to death or having its skull broken into with special tools and having brains sucked out healthy for the baby?

This is the world view of people who do not start with the Creator/creature relationship. The role of women in this world is redefined to whatever the idolatrous nature of the woman is.

Another part of this wish list states on page 9,
Select Judicial Nominees with a Demonstrated Commitment to Fundamental Legal Protections and Civil Liberties, Including ReproductiveRights. It is critical that only fair and independent judicial nominees with a demonstrated commitment to fundamental legal rights be appointed to the federal courts, including the Supreme Court and lower courts.
Now where does the right to privacy and the right to have an abortion come from. Just read later in the section on page 9.
These leaders must respect the rule of law and ensure that evidence-based findings will not be suppressed, distorted, or manipulated to advance a political agenda. Where relevant, they should display a commitment to promoting the health and rights of women and men in the United States and throughout the world.
This is just a hoot. I can only sit here and laugh at this deceiving language. They actually appeal to the rule of law? If abortionists really believe we should not suppress facts, lets show an abortion on TV for the entire nation to watch. I am all for everyone seeing the murder of an innocent child to establish the factual nature of what an abortion is. If Americans truly see this act as nothing more than getting rid of some tissue mass that is not human, then I guess I'll just sit here with an umbrella over my head waiting for the rule of law to rain down fire and brimstone.

The blatant hypocrisy of saying that "political agendas" should not be advanced rings hollow when they are seeking to advance their "rights" through the courts to begin with. Politics is not for the courts and here they are trying to advance rights through them. Good grief!

I would also like to know why Federal Judges should advance "health and rights of women and men in the United States and throughout the world". This is simply insane. Where in the Constitution is this power and authority given to Judges?

Since the Republican Party sits on the sidelines while the Radical Left advances, I am even more considering the Constitution Party. Someone in the Republican Party better start convincing me with strong reasons why I should stay a member of their party. When millions of babies are being murdered, while God's laws are being abandoned, someone better start talking and start quickly.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Constitution Party

In this post I want to throw out something I have been struggling with for quite some time. The Republican Party has clearly abandoned not only rational thought, but for the most part, the U.S. Constitution has been shredded. With men like McCain overthrowing the First Amendment and Bush signing the bailout into law, it is also obvious that the Republican Party has given up the fight.

For the last few years I have been wondering if a Conservative could align himself with another party, in particular, the Constitution Party. I have been troubled by some of the stances the Constitution Party takes and have written about that here. Nevertheless, has the Republican Party gone so far as to warrant the proverbial abandon ship?

The more I think about this, the more I see that perhaps this is also a party that is able to embrace both Conservative ideas and liberal ones but do so Constitutionally. For instance, the Constitution Party's platform concerning marriage states,
The law of our Creator defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman. The marriage covenant is the foundation of the family, and the family is fundamental in the maintenance of a stable, healthy and prosperous social order. No government may legitimately authorize or define marriage or family relations contrary to what God has instituted.
And the end of the paragraph is the kicker.
We are opposed to amending the U.S. Constitution for the purpose of defining marriage.
I would think this would be welcomed by both Conservatives and Liberals. I take this position to be one of restricting the Federal government. To which I say a heartily "AMEN!"

The party also speaks to the issue of trade.
We favor the abolition of the Office of Special Trade Representative, and insist on the withdrawal of these United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and all other agreements wherein agencies other than the Congress of these United States improperly assume responsibility for establishing American trade policies.
Instead of Congress abdicating its responsibility, the platform calls for a return to the Constitutional requirements. One of the biggest problems I have with the current situation is that Congress has instituted many bureaucracies that are not subject to the people. A return to the Constitution certainly outweighs the silliness that Republicans claim they stand for. Perhaps instead of wasting time with meaningless Senate hearings on global warming, Congress will actually do its duty.

There are many aspects that I think many from different perspectives could come together on. The one thing that is impressive is that this party actually cites the U.S. Constitution and attempts to follow what it says. That is most refreshing.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Hannah Overton Guilty Beyond Reasonable Doubt?

I finally had some time to watch the 20/20 Hannah Overton. The first two segments here and here seem to leave some doubt as to which way the case should have gone. This third segment, however, has some extremely troubling statements by both jurors and the prosecution. Both admit she was not guilty of a Capital Crime, and yet they turn around and say she was guilty of a Capital Crime. With illogical and irrational people serving on the jury and with overzealous prosecutors, who lie about what the primary family doctor stated, it would not have mattered if she had O.J. Simpson's lawyer crying "If the glove does not fit, you must aquit."

If you watch this video, you might need one of those Scooby Doo paper bags to yell in.

At approximately 2-1/2 minutes in this section a couple of jurors are interviewed. Keep in mind, these jurors found Hannah Overton guilty of Capital murder. Here is the relevant section transcribed.

20/20: "Do you think she intentionally withheld medical attention in order to kill that child?"

Juror #1: "That's something we will never know. I mean...We'll just never know that, because..."

20/20 "We heard a number of times you saying, 'We'll never know that', and so it raises the question of reasonable doubt. Is there any reasonable doubt in this case?"

Juror #2: "I don't think there is."

Now I know these things are edited and the original taping may give a different picture. Juror #1 states a contradiction to juror #2. Yet she would have to have voted for the guilty verdict...right? If 20/20 has any basic honesty at all, I simply have trouble reconciling these statements by these jurors.

The lead investigator admits also that Hannah Overton did not seek to murder the child. He states in the interview,

Investigator: "I don't think she woke up today and said 'Ok today is October 2. I am going to kill Andrew.' I think that she was trying to change his behavior."

20/20: "Capital murder by my understanding is not to change his behavior. It's intent to kill."

Investigator: "You're changing his behavior, and she's gonna be able to tell you the law part."

Perhaps 20/20 left out some juicy material that explains why the law says changing behavior equals intent to murder?

You may go back and listen to Chris Arnzen's radio program interviewing Pastor John Otis here (07) and here (08).

Thanks To Shallow Water

The Pastor at Gospel Fellowship in Shallow Water became ill, and I was granted the opportunity and privilege to fill the pulpit on very short notice. I did not have a sermon prepared that I felt I could use. Instead we read from 2 Corinthians 5 and proclaimed the message of reconciliation. Sinners of all stripes now have access to God through Christ. Christ is the Christian's victorious life. I am certain my message was probably disjointed. Yet I hope the people benefited despite this weak vessel.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Prisons and Justice

I remember watching one episode of Cops in which a young woman had been arrested because she had a needle in her handbag. Although in some sense her arrest may have actually helped her to seek help for her drug problem, the entire situation was ridiculous. Here was a woman that was actually going to jail and spend time in incarceration because she had taken a drug at some point and forgot to leave the needle at home.

Perhaps I may be sounding more on the liberal side of things, but the "crime" just did not fit the punishment. We have made an entire prison system that we put people into in order for us to rid ourselves of societal trash. In doing so we never solve the problem but have only created an underground society and culture.

Chapter 12 of Poythress' book, Just Penalties for Many Crimes, points out some interesting principles from Old Testament Law that I think we would do well to learn from. Allow me to offer a coupe of citations from pages 167-8.
According to Mosaic Law, thieves who cannot repay the penalty for their crimes are to be sold into servitude for their theft (Exodus 22:3). The same logic of justice is operative here. The thief must be forced to pay even if such action involves selling the price of his future work.
He concludes the section with this paragraph.
Nowadays some criminals are allowed to "pay a debt to society" by doing meaningful work for the state or for some charitable cause. But such a course is still wrongheaded. The thief's debt is not to the state or to society but to the injured person. We help the thief understand better the nature of his crime as well as conform to Biblical principles of restoration and punishment when we follow the Old Testament practice more directly.
Although I am not certain we may overthrow the "debt to society" idea so firmly embedded in our laws, the idea of the prison system has certainly destroyed altogether justice that Scripture speaks of. The idea of an eye for an eye or tooth for tooth is one that reconciles man to man or at least brings justice between men.

Prisons simply hide men who have done an evil. The public never sees justice being carried out. The criminal is never forced to deal with the society or individual he offends except perhaps during the trial. Sitting in a court room and hearing a judge or jury say guilty is hardly the full extent of what needs to occur.

Here is a great example of the State of Texas sending a mom to prison for not knowing her adopted child was allergic to salt. The State was actually at fault in this whole case. The jury admitted after their life in prison verdict that she was not guilty of the crime the State had charge her with. So instead of justice, we now have an innocent mom taken away from her family to sit in a prison. What justice is there in her sitting in prison for what at most could be involuntary manslaughter due to the State's negligence? How is she paying her debt back to the child that died?

I realize there are some crimes that require the removal of a person from society. A dirty needle or accidental salt poisoning simply isn't one of them.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Racism #3

Once again my pastor friend in the south writes on racism. It is an excellent read.

Race, Race, God’s Race

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Conservative Arguments Won't Stand

Yet another Judge takes it upon herself to overthrow the Constitution. According to the Baptist Press,
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman ruled the law violates equal protection rights of homosexuals under Florida's constitution. In the 53-page ruling, Lederman also found the law banning homosexual adoptions "defeats a child's right to permanency as provided by federal and state law."
So on what basis does Cindy feel the right to do this, when "previous federal and state rulings upholding Florida's ban on adoptions by homosexuals..."?

Apparently She sees it as a new day to change the law through the courts.
Lederman found the constitutionality of the ban is now "again ripe for consideration" because of recent "developments in the fields of social science, psychology, human sexuality, social work and medicine, the existence of additional studies, the re-analysis and peer review of prior studies, the endorsements by the major psychological, psychiatry, child welfare and social work associations, and the now, consensus based on widely accepted results of respected studies by qualified experts."
Of course, recent developments demonstrate that abortion is clearly murder beyond any reasonable doubt. So do we see her defending children in this field? Of course not. She is a Leftists, and Liberalism comes first, not children that are being murdered.

Now here is the problem. She is right based upon the poor arguments provided by Conservatives. Please read Steve Chapman's editorial at and notice he provides the same argumentation Judge Cindy does. He writes,
Would orphaned and abandoned children be better off if every one of them could be raised by stable, loving, heterosexual couples? Possibly. But that's not an option. For many children, the alternative to having gay adoptive parents is having no parents at all.
And again,
As it happens, those dangers are mostly imaginary. According to evidence cited by the judge, gays are slightly more likely than heterosexuals to suffer psychiatric problems, engage in substance abuse and smoke, but so are lots of other groups that are allowed to adopt. The American Psychological Association says it finds no difference between the parenting of homosexuals and heterosexuals.
So based upon research, gays and lesbians are no more likely to harm the child than heterosexual couples. At this point I do not care about the legitimacy of these studies because when you look at the arguments put forth by the conservatives, you have to wonder what all the fuss is about. Notice how Conservatives argue. John Stemberger, an Orlando attorney who leads the Florida Family Policy Counsel is cited in the article.
Stemberger added, "The studies are clear that children always do better with a married mother and a father. There are an enormous number of married couples trying to adopt. Some are even going overseas to adopt, and these children can easily be placed in families with a mom and a dad."
So what is the moral imperative? Why is it so bad that kids should not be places in homosexual home? "Because kids do better" is the answer. Talk about subjectivity.

Conservatives are always complaining that moral standards are going "out the window". They argue against moral relativism. Yet what moral standards are appealed to in the Court room? As far as I can tell, none.

No one is willing to demonstrate that homosexuality is an evil. No one is able to appeal to natural moral law nor are they willing to appeal to God's revealed law. So why should Conservatives win? For now, their case simply rests upon the fact that Judges are violating the Law. However, that will only last till legislatures finally give in and abandon all rationale.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Dr. White Challenges Dr. Vines On John 3:16

Dr. White challenges Dr. Vines' eisegesis of John 3:16. For most of us, we have all heard John 3:16 over and over again outside of its context. We actually have heard it to the point that it sounds like a summary of all doctrine. We hear John 3:16 without realizing the traditions that we force upon the text. Most of us hear, "For God so loved every single person ever in a salvific way, that He gave His only begotten Son as a substitute for every single person ever, that whosoever of their own autonomous free-will would just believe in Jesus, would not perish but have eternal life."

Is that what the text teaches? Watch this video and see if that is the case. You will see one side interacting with the text. You will see the other side make assertions with no foundation for them.