Friday, February 27, 2009

Gingrich Should Be Chucked Under Bus

Newt Gingrich is a great symbol of what is wrong with Republicans. In this Newsmax report of an interview with Gingrich on CBS's, The Early Show, demonstrates that Republicans are just Democrats-lite.

The leading Republican said he he actually agrees with much of Obama's rhetoric, but that there's a "gap between the words and reality."

Gingrich said there are pieces of Obama's budget that are "doable," including projected savings from more closely watching for fraud in entitlement programs. But the Georgian also said, "The problem with the overall budget is that it's a job-killing budget."

The entire Stimulus plan is simply wrong and immoral. So the entire Republican House can stand against the Democrats all day long, but that is simply deceiving. They only stand against a Trillion dollar stimulus bill. The are not against voting for a more "doable" bill. (Less porkulous $700 Billion is just fine?)

If Republicans are not willing to stand on principle and fight the entire premise of this silly notion of printing money or borrowing from our great-grandchildren, then I will either refrain from the next election or go with strictly third-party candidates. I will not be forced again to choose between blatant immorality and cloaked immorality.

Newt Gingrich has betrayed the Conservative movement in order to be liked by the media. (Remember his attempt to go green with Hillary?) It hasn't worked. Why he insists on trying to be liked I have yet to understand. For now, I do not care why he has abandoned Conservatism. I only know he is not to be trusted anymore, and all Conservatives should turn their backs on the likes of him. He should be chucked under the bus.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jindal: Substance Verses Fluff

Many moons ago I watched a debate between Al Gore and Dan Quayle with my good friend Dan Woods. After the debate my friend and I concluded Gore handed Quayle his lunch. It was quite a shocker when we woke up to the news paper headline the next morning announcing Dan Quayle the winner of the debate. We both were wondering what everyone else had watched.

Last night Bobby Jindal had the opportunity to respond to the President's speech. Now I must confess I only watched a couple of minutes before I just couldn't stomach it anymore. I truly felt I was listening to a campaign speech (Obama was elected...right?). More fluff about how he is the son of immigrants blah blah blah. He was clearly trying to be accepted by everyone. Click, I turned it off.

Today, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity were defending Jindal. They were accusing conservatives of not liking the style of Jindal. I simply don't think that is the case. Perhaps in the Blogo-shpehere conservatives are critiquing that aspect, but that is not why I was disappointed.

Rush Limbaugh said this during his show today:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. One more thing about Bobby Jindal here. Two years ago, if you had taken a poll among people who know Bernie Madoff, he would have had a 99% approval rating, and the guy who had blown the whistle on him would have had a 1% approval rating. Today, Bernie Madoff has a 0% approval rating and the guys who blew the whistle on him are now being asked, "Why didn't you speak up louder?" Barack Obama has whatever his approval rating is. Somebody told Bobby Jindal to act like he was talking to first graders last night. I don't know who advised him to do it. That can get fixed. But don't throw this guy overboard, and our side is doing this, and it is a huge mistake. If we're going to start throwing genuine conservatives overboard for some of these specious reasons, we deserve to get our butts beat every election.
I fully agree that we ought not to throw Jindal over board. He may very well be the man to lead the conservative movement. The problem I have is the statement "Somebody told Bobby Jindal to act like..."

Now I don't care what his advisers advise. This is not a time for excuses. If Jindal isn't going to be himself and take on Obama and the Radical Left and demonstrate leadership then he will fall into the same trap Bob Dole did. We need leadership. So far Jindal blew it ON SUBSTANCE (I don't care what Rush says).

Now if Jindal can do what he did on the Cable News programs today such as the Today show, then maybe he may still pull it off. Why he didn't do that last night I do not know for certain. All I know was that he blew it not on style but on substance. I don't want a campaign speech from Jindal. I want leadership! The real question is, "Will he deliver?"

So I am going to stand on the sidelines and cheer for Jindal to be his own man and defeat his political enemies.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Less Creeds More Deeds...Again

Years ago I remember listening to a Christian radio station that aired a program called Family Life Today. The program was excellent. It had lots of practical advise for families. But there was one thing about the program that I noticed a lot of para-church ministries were guilty of doing. They were always accusing the local church for not doing enough of whatever topic they were discussing that day. Perhaps it was sex education or "how to do" marriage or drug and alcohol abuse or wife beating or finances or losing weight. Whatever it was, it was the local church's fault for not doing enough.

BPNews has reported this years Southern Baptist Convention's theme.
SBC President Johnny Hunt has selected "LoveLoud -- Actions Speak Louder Than Words" (Matthew 5:16) as the theme for this year's sessions.

Hunt, pastor of the Atlanta-area First Baptist Church in Woodstock, told Baptist Press he hopes the LoveLoud emphasis will "challenge our denomination to demonstrate to our communities, our country and around the world the difference Jesus Christ makes in our lives and in our churches."

"This world has HEARD much from the church about who we are and what we believe. Too often they don't SEE the church as being a different entity than others in their communities.

"The church simply has to become more of a force to penetrate the darkness that is increasing in our world," Hunt said.
Here is the problem as I see it. It is true that we must demonstrate the love of Christ. I don't know of any Christian that denies this. But this is just more of the same. DO MORE MORE MORE! Can anyone show me a church that preaches the Gospel that is just sitting around on their hands? Where are these churches that are doing nothing?

Now I know what some might say. "I have seen churches that are creedal but don't do much." However, the assumption is that the church is supposed to do everything, and simply because some churches do not wish to burn out the congregation by giving them more "to do" lists is being judgmental.

In fact, after doing a huge study the Willow Creek church has discovered that their most committed church members are wanting to leave. They are literally starving to death and wanting more from the church's preaching and teaching ministry. Willow Creek has concluded that to fix the problem they need to make men "self-feeders". HOW ABSURD IS THAT!

Notice the paragraph,
"This world has HEARD much from the church about who we are and what we believe. Too often they don't SEE the church as being a different entity than others in their communities.
Perhaps it is because we have all seen marriage therapy classes. Yet to do more we must have those in our churches.

Perhaps it is because we are losing weight for Jesus, as if the world has no weight loss programs.

Perhaps it is financial advise classes as if the world has no good financial classes to offer.

I could go on and on, but I hope you get my point. The very people (Johnny Hunt) who are telling Confessional people like me to stop being like the world and get more "penetrating the darkness" are the ones that are wanting to offer more and more programs, which ironically have failed Willow Creek members!

Also in my own church life experience, active churches may be full of members who are theologically shallow. I have heard many times about how "that Jehovah's Witness sure made me realize how much I didn't know my Bible." Have you ever seen someone in an "active" church attempt to offer a class on the book of Hebrews? My goodness, if it isn't in the Daily Bread devotional it is too difficult and "deep". I remember teaching a class on basic Christian doctrine. I had lost all but two adult participants. I was told that what I was teaching was too difficult, and all I did was cover the Apostles and Nicene Creeds!

In conclusion, I am not against older men offering wisdom on how to maintain healthy finances or how to have a better marriage. I am not against a solid deacons ministry which aids the physical needs of the members of the church and also the community around us. But all of this is not going to save one soul.

It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is the power of God unto salvation...not your works.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Images I associate With Obama

When I first saw this image of Obama, it caught me off guard. Would someone really make a picture like this? This image of Obama reminds me of others I have seen over the years.

Now I have no doubt that the Political Left in this country sees Conservatism in the same light. Yet Obama is a Communist/Socialist. After the last couple of weeks, can there be any doubt? Rules For Radicals Anyone?

“Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer

Another Website states this:
"True revolutionaries do not flaunt their radicalism, Alinsky taught. They cut their hair, put on suits and infiltrate the system from within. Alinsky viewed revolution as a slow, patient process. The trick was to penetrate existing institutions such as churches, unions and political parties....

"One Alinsky benefactor was Wall Street investment banker Eugene Meyer, who served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1930 to 1933. Meyer and his wife Agnes co-owned The Washington Post. They used their newspaper to promote Alinsky....Her series, called 'The Orderly Revolution', made Alinsky famous....

"Alinsky’s crowning achievement was his recruitment of a young high school student named Hillary Rodham. She met Alinsky through a radical church group. Hillary wrote an analysis of Alinsky’s methods for her senior thesis at Wellesley College. ...

"Many leftists view Hillary as a sell-out because she claims to hold moderate views on some issues. However, Hillary is simply following Alinsky’s counsel to do and say whatever it takes to gain power.

"Barack Obama is also an Alinskyite.... Obama spent years teaching workshops on the Alinsky method. In 1985 he began a four-year stint as a community organizer in Chicago, working for an Alinskyite group called the Developing Communities Project.... Camouflage is key to Alinsky-style organizing. While trying to build coalitions of black churches in Chicago, Obama caught flak for not attending church himself. He became an instant churchgoer." "Hillary, Obama and the Cult of Alinsky" by Richard Poe, 11-27-07. See also Community Oriented Policing

These people have really convinced themselves that they are American when they are truly overthrowing this country's institutions as they were founded. This raises some questions for me. Learning more and more about the Civil War and what it was actually fought over (it wasn't slavery), I just have to wonder if most Americans will just let these people do what they are doing without the slightest care. Or will their policies come to a point when Americans will be willing to fight against one another?

In the Civil War, there were clear boundaries of location. Today there is not. We live next door to those who view the Constitution in radically different ways. The Political Left hates the Constitution and seeks to overthrow it at every turn. The Political Right seeks to restore its "original intent". Can this go on forever?

Our Nation is clearly in the midst of a revolution. The radical 60s have returned with a vengence.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Prophecy Conference

Here is an article that the shows the mindset of many Evangelical's thinking about prophecy. In the article, you can see the assumptions and confusions Dispensational thinking has inherent within its system. Although everyone understands on some level that the church is not the government of the United States, notice this statement:

In the book, Hitchcock writes that although America has historically enjoyed the blessings of God, that may not continue to be the case in the future.

"Unless we experience a moral revival and shake off the domination of the secular humanists who control our government, media, and public education, we will be a fifth-grade power in twenty to thirty years," writes Hitchcock, who notes in the book that he believes a revival is soon approaching.

I agree that any nation whose God is the Lord will be blessed in some sense. It is also a blessing to any nation that possesses within its borders a healthy church. Yet there seems to be a subtle assumption that America has been a Christian nation and not a nation that has been filled with Christians and Christian institutions. If we were just not "secular humanists" then God would have to bless us. "We" (we the church?) just need to shake off the secular humanists. Biblically, there is no such thing as a Christian nation unless we are speaking of the church. So is it the church's duty to "shake off" secular humanists? Where is this taught? Since when does the United States government's policies become the primary target of the church?

What is more troubling is the "moral revival" language. Now it is true that we need a moral revival. But we always need a moral revival. If we would just be morally better, then God would bless us. It seems we could even post-pone the Second Coming if we would just be better. So again, a confusion between law and gospel, and church and government is everywhere.

It is not the duty of the church to bring moral revivals to nations. It is not the church's primary duty to offer people their best lives now or save marriages or perform drug rehab clinics. It is the church's duty to preach and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and make disciples.
He said the purpose of the Feb. 20-22 conference, titled "Finding Hope in the Global Crisis," is not to frighten people but to offer them some hope.
It has been my experience that these kinds of conferences tend to talk about how bad things are going to get. They use newspaper theology in order to get more attendees. They play on the fears and desires of men. Men always want to know about their future. Newspaper theology is simply another form of horoscopes that meets these desires.

This kind of eschatology misses Jesus' teaching in the New Testament. It teaches a form of escape-ism and second chance-ism. It doesn't do exactly what they claim.

Jesus taught us that both good and evil men must grow up together until the harvest. That we must endure and contend with evil men until the end of this age. There is no rapture to escape bad times. Pornography, abortion, sexual immorality, racism and the myriads of perversions of men will never go away. We must learn to be prepared for the rise and fall of evil men. We must learn to endure, stand against and resist them.

Therefore, good men whether Christian or not, must stand for truth and justice. We must work in our secular vocations with our neighbors to promote sound policies. Christians are at a great advantage for being able to articulate the moral law of God in order promote the restraining of society's evils. But none of this is the Gospel and is not the duty of the church.

This conversation is similar to the conversation I had with my friend that spurred me to write the posts Christ is seated on David's throne. Jesus is ruling in His Kingdom now. He is ruling in the hearts of men. Soon His Kingdom will be revealed in all the earth. Until then, Christians must trust that Christ is accomplishing all His purposes in this world and that nothing happens apart from His sovereign rule.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Awake part 5: Unanswered Questions

I have one more quote that I'd like to interact with. The authors write under the section entitled, How Can You "Choose Life"?
We choose life by "loving Jehovah," by "listening to his voice," and by "sticking to him." Of course, we can only do these things when we know God as a person and understand his requirements for us.
It is true that we must repent and believe in Jesus Christ. But again, the assumption is keeping the law because we have the ability to do so. It assumes we have the ability to hear Christ's voice. It misunderstands that the proclamation of the Gospel may actually produce a miracle. The Gospel may create faith within men as they hear it.

So I would like to ask just a couple of questions of the Jehovah's Witness or even many Evangelicals today.

On what basis does God know all things? Does He take in knowledge from external sources or do all things happen because He has ordained them to happen, therefore His knowledge is based in His own decree?

Another question I have that has never been answered by anyone of the free-will side. Norman Geisler (to my knowledge) has not answered it. Hank Hanegraff avoided the question on his radio show. The Watch Tower seems totally unaware that Calvinists even pose such a question. It is this.

After the great day of Judgment, after the Resurrection of the righteous, after the creation of the permanent new heavens and new earth, will men still have a free-will? If so, will they have the possibility of sinning and falling away?

If the answer is no, because men would never give up their status in the new earth, only begs the question. Did not Adam give up the garden and peace with God? I'll give you a real hint. The answer is not in the free-will of man but in Christ.
31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
"For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."l]">[l] 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,m]">[m] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Awake part 4: The Choice Is Yours

Under the section, The Choice Is Yours, the author/s write,
Had God predestinated each Israelite either to love him and gain life or to disregard him and merit death, His words would have been both meaningless and insincere.
This charge could easily have come from the Caner brothers at Liberty University. Yet here it is from a Watch Tower publication.

The assumption by natural man is Pelagianism. Man must have a free-will to obey God if God's commandments are going to be given to us. Original Sin is plainly denied. In other words for God to command us to do something, we must have the ability to obey His commands. This assumption is not taught anywhere in Scripture, which is probably the reason no passages are cited for its support. Here are some texts that teach that man does not have the ability to obey God.

Romans 8:
5Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful mane]">[e] is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mindf]">[f] is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
This text plainly tells us in verse 7 that man is not able to submit to God's law.

John 6
44"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
Here Jesus Himself informs us that we do not have the power nor the will to come to Him. We are unable to do what is commanded.

Another major problem is the denial of the Gospel. Men do not love God to gain eternal life. Love is obeying the law. How many times do the New Testament writers have to repeat themselves before we understand that salvation does not come by the law at all!

Galatians 3:
5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

6Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."a]">[a] 7Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you."b]">[b] 9So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

It is Christ who loved God in our place. It is Christ who gained life in our place. We do not love God to gain anything. We love God because He has poured out His love into us through Christ.

Another problem with this understanding is that it misunderstands "Double Predestination". They assume that being predestined unto life is on the same basis as being ordained to death. All men are sinners in Adam. All sinners in Adam will die. All who are elected to eternal life are done so in Christ and His finished work. The foundation for both groups are radically different. One is positively done by God and the other is God leaving men in their sin.

Yes, it may be said that God positively ordained Adam and His posterity to fall, but again, the basis is different. I leave you with Romans 9.
14What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15For he says to Moses,
"I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."f]">[f] 16It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."g]">[g] 18Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Defender of Life At 12

This is not just a future defender of Life, she is doing the Lord's work in loving her neighbor now. Amazing!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Awake part 3: Blame God?

In the same section Total or Selective Foreknowledge the author/s write,
On the other hand, if God predetermines everything, including every nasty accident and vile deed that has ever happened, could we not rightly blame him for all the misery and suffering in the world.
This is the typical charge against Calvinists. However one major problem is overlooked. God is not a creature. He is the Creator. He is Holy and totally other. To place God in the same category as humans is to miss the Biblical teaching about God.

Another major problem is that if God is not the one who ordains all things according to His will and purpose, then evil has no purpose. God is simply the great fixer...maybe. So when my grandfather died, God did not purpose his life to fulfill His purposes. It just happened by accident. If this is the case, how can God be glorified by anything that happens? Everything just happened to happen the way it happens. For God to claim any credit at all for anything that happens is to be arrogant under this system.

Another major problem is that there are plain texts that speak of God ordaining evil events while men also choose to do them. This is Compatibilism. Remember Joseph's brothers sought to murder him. They committed all kinds of evil. At the end of Genesis Joseph realizes a great truth in Genesis 50:20.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Another major problem is the cross. The cross is the major stumbling block to all of this. Peter preaches in Acts 2:
22"Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,d]">[d] put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
Here in this text, God tells us that the evil of the crucifixion was God's purpose. It was God who handed Christ over to evil men to be crucified. It was God who wanted Jesus to be killed in the place of sinners. So in one event, God has His purpose, and men have theirs.

Acts 4:
27Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the peoplee]">[e] of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus."
What could be more clear? God ordained these evil men to commit the most heinous act...the murder of the Son of God.

As a Calvinist, I rest in the knowledge that my Creator has purposed all things. There is nothing that happens to me in this life that is simply at random. Romans 8:
28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,j]">[j] whok]">[k] have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Awake part 2: Election

Under the sub-section Total or Selective Foreknowledge, the author/s write about the subject of election. The article states,
He [God] does not predestinate individuals. God is like the loving father of a large family. He knows that at least some of His children will reciprocate His love, but He does not predetermine the number.
Major error: The only passage that seems to be cited in support for this idea is Revelation 7. The error is quite simple. You do not go to texts that are not addressing a particular topic to defend that topic. Instead we ought to go to texts such as Ephesians 1 or Romans 8-9 or John 6.

Another major error is that the text assumes foreknowledge from a philosophical viewpoint, not a biblical one. It assumes that God knows all things but is passive in that knowledge. He doesn't know all things because of his decree, but instead knows all things because He takes in knowledge passively. He is the great predictor.

Another problem with foreknowledge is that the author/s quickly throw in other major doctrines such as predestination and election and foreordination. This is a tactic used by cults. They purposely confuse the reader by mixing terms without accurately defining them Biblically. In two paragraphs they mix all of these terms in such a way as to make the reader think they are all dealt with in a couple of texts of Scripture. Although all of these teachings are very interrelated, biblical definitions must be established. This they do not do.

Another major error is the assumption of the nature of man as having some kind of autonomous free-will. It is simply assumed throughout the article that men choose their own destinies. The idea that men are slaves of sin, dead in sins and trespasses, wicked and rebellious by nature is completely foreign to the author/s. They also overlook passages that directly speak to man's inability to choose God.

The Bible speaks of men being predestinated unto life. Jesus said in John 6 that all that the Father has given to Him will come to Him. He will then raise them and only the ones that were given to Him. This is the will of God, that Jesus loose nothing but raise them up on the last day. Jesus does this without fail.

If Jesus were given a group in which some or many failed to be raised on the Last Day, then He would be failing to do the work of God in salvation. Salvation is not dependent upon my choosing God, but upon God choosing me.

Awake part 1

Within the last few weeks, my old Jehovah's Witness friend has been coming by and leaving some Awake pamphlets. Within the February issue is a brief article titled Is Your Future Predestined? Now if I had not known this was a Watch Tower tract, I would have assumed a typical Evangelical pastor had written it. Many of the arguments are similar to those of Adrian Rogers (a series of sermons prior to his death) or Norman Geisler's Chosen But Free.

Underneath the Title of the article the author writes:
Many people believe that their life and future are predestined by a higher power. They feel that from conception to death, we all follow a script already written in the mind of God. "After all," they say, "God is all-powerful and all-knowing, or omniscient, so surely he must know every detail about the past, the present, and the future."
Now I am not certain who this "many people" are. Perhaps they are running into more Calvinists? The article shows a man and a woman hanging on puppet strings. It also teaches a blatantly Open-Theistic position.

There are basically 4 quotes in the two pages that I would like to interact with over the next few posts. I am one of those Calvinists that they are writing against. The real question is whether or not the Calvinist position is Biblical. As is typical of Evangelicals, the Watch Tower reflects the same Arminian argument. They clearly have no idea of the Biblical teaching of God's sovereignty.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Christ Seated On David's Throne part 3

In this post, I must argue that Christ is currently seated on David's throne. The reason I had to demonstrate that David's throne is God's throne is that Dispensationalists will separate the two. When this is done, they have Jesus seated at God's right hand while also looking forward to a later reversal in redemptive history. When David's throne is seen as God's throne, then we see that the world is not in some chaotic state and going to hell while Christ is powerless to do anything about it. Instead the New Testament explains to us that all things that happen do so according to Christ's purpose. Allow me to present two texts. First from Acts chapter 2:

29"Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ,f]">[f] that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. 32God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. 33Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,
" 'The Lord said to my Lord:
"Sit at my right hand
35until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet." 'g]">[g]

36"Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

The resurrection of Jesus was a resurrection that fulfilled all of the promises. Christ is now both Lord and Christ, seated at the right hand and on David's throne. He is now by virtue of His resurrection seated on David's throne. So again, this is not some future event but has already occurred.

The other passage is from Hebrews chapter 1.
After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
The writer tells us that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God. How does he demonstrate that this is the fulfillment of prophecy? He tells in the following verses. He cites from the Old Testament:
For to which of the angels did God ever say,
"You are my Son;
today I have become your Fathera]">[a]"b]">[b]? Or again,
"I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son"c]">[c]?
It was this very passage that caused me to seriously consider Dispensationalism years ago. When we start with the New Testament's own view of the fulfillment of prophecy, then we must reject Dispensationalism's claims for a future throne in a small earthly city called Jerusalem. Instead we must as Paul tells us, to consider the heavenly Jerusalem, the mother of us all.

Christ Seated On David's Throne part 2

In this post, it must be shown that David's Throne is God's throne. That the New Testament writers thought this way as well is crucial in our understanding of New Testament eschatology. The reason is that if we understand that the Bible does not separate the throne of David from God's throne, then we will see that Jesus rules and reigns now and not on some separate throne from God in an earthly Jerusalem.

Allow me to cite an Old Testament passage. The prophet Nathan speaks of a promise to David in 2 Samuel 7.
"When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever." In accordance with all these words and all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David.
Within this text is a verse that is often overlooked. Not only does God promise to David that his throne would endure forever, but that it is God's throne. Notice "I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me". God makes Solomon His son and establishes his throne. Solomon ruled within a context of a shadow of God's Kingdom. The entire Old Testament was waiting for the Messiah to come and fulfill all of these promises.

The New Testament writer to the Hebrews cites Psalm 2:7 in connection with this passage.
Here the writer tells us that David's throne is God's throne citing Psalm 45. To sit on David's throne is to sit on God's throne.

Solomon was adopted as God's son. He is a type or shadow of the even greater Son. He sat on David's/God's throne. This same throne would one day rule the nations. This is where Dispensationalists go awry. This throne is not merely a future throne in an earthly Jerusalem, but is instead a throne established by Christ Himself at His resurrection.

The Old Testament looked forward to Christ. It explained in types and shadows what the Kingdom of God and His throne would look like. To revert backwards to types and shadows is to go backwards in salvation history. It is to reverse the outworking of redemptive history.

Solomon's throne in the Davidic Kingdom was the place where God ruled in His kingdom. That throne has now been expanded in Christ to rule in the Kingdom of God which has gone into all the world.

Christ Seated On David's Throne part 1

The other day I had coffee with a good friend of mine. In light of the recent election, he was wanting to discuss End Times and was speculating on certain passages. Although I have tried to explain to him in past conversations that I am not a Dispensationalist, he is clearly struggling with what it is I believe.

For instance, the question almost always arises, "Do you believe in the Tribulation and Rapture?" Of course, I have to ask in response, "What do you mean by those things?" Which is usually followed by the "Don't you interpret the Bible literally?"

So for the rest of the day I was trying to think of an example that an Amillenialist could use that might explain the Amillenialist's method of interpreting the Bible. There is one that I think may be helpful for those of us who are in situations that require to scale a high Traditional barrier. That would be the throne of God.

For the Dispensationalist, Jesus will someday come again and set up a kingdom and reinstitute David's throne in the earthly Jerusalem. However, if it may be demonstrated that Jesus is not coming to sit on David's throne in the earthly Jerusalem but instead is seated currently on David's/God's throne, then perhaps a step to having meaningful categories will be established and a better understanding of each position.

In my next post/s, I will attempt to show that the Old Testament throne is not only David's throne, but God's throne. I will then demonstrate that Christ sits on David's/God's throne now. Therefore, Jesus is ruling now, though"now we do not yet see all things subjected to him." [Heb 2:8]

Nominating David Ogden

Albert Mohler's post today is very alarming. Our new President has nominated yet another hem...I mean another nominee that is most troubling. President Obama has nominated David Ogden for Deputy Attorney General.

Mohler explains,
One of the leading legal defenders of pornography has been David Ogden, a lawyer who can only be described as a First Amendment extremist, who has even argued against laws against child pornography.
In essence, David Ogden has been in the forefront of arguing for the unrestricted sale and distribution of any and all pornography by any and all means - and now he will be in charge of prosecuting those who were his clients and arguing against all that he has argued in the past. Are we to believe that this will have no effect on prosecutions against pornography?
Mohler asks the question,

What signal does President Obama intend to send by this nomination, and to whom?

The answer is simple. "I am going to hell, and I am taking all of you with me." Christians must understand that Obama's behavior isn't going to bring God's judgment, it is the judgment of God against a wicked people. So not only is Obama participating in the murder of millions of children, he will be participating in their abuse by the pornography industry.

And the Politicl Left has the nerve to call the Political Right immoral?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jacob Sings

The joys of singing children to sleep. Now my son requests "Holy Persons" and sings along. Listen here.

Update: I think I have the link fixed. Also, this picture is from our trip to Boston. Jacob is looking out the window of the Prudential building.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Alternative Universes For Abortion

OK, you might be disgusted by this, but here is more evidence for the doctrine of Total Depravity. In this BPNews story a woman decides to have an abortion at 23 weeks. Here is where the story gets really sad and sick.
Williams arrived at that clinic the next day, but Renelique [the doctor] didn't show up, at least not on time. After waiting about two hours for the doctor to arrive, Williams began feeling nauseated and was placed in a patient waiting room, given a robe and told to lie down. At 2 o'clock that day -- and with Renelique still not at the clinic and no one in the room -- Williams felt an immense pain and delivered a baby girl. The staff began screaming "and pandemonium ensued," and Williams "watched in horror and shock as her baby writhed with her chest rising and falling as she breathed," a civil lawsuit filed in January on Williams' behalf states.

With the baby trying to breath, a staff member, Belkis Gonzalez, who has no medical license, came in the room and used orange shears to cut the umbilical cord, the suit states. She then "scooped up the baby," the placenta and afterbirth, placed everything in a red plastic biohazard bag, sealed it and tossed it into a trash can. Renelique later arrived and told her the "hard part was over," the suit states. He gave her an IV and a shot, cleaned her up and sent her home, the suit says.

The Florida Board of Medicine revoked Renelique's medical license Feb. 6, but many say criminal charges should be filed. After all, Williams' baby, whom she named Shanice, could have survived. A baby born in 2007 just prior to 22 weeks at Baptist Children's Hospital in Miami, Fla., survived and went home after a nearly four-month stay. Quadruplets in Nebraska born at 23 weeks last year survived.

An autopsy showed that Williams' baby had air in her lungs and was trying to breath.

"It's infanticide. We're trying to make sure we don't tolerate infanticide here," Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society, which filed the lawsuit, told Baptist Press.
There seems to me to be an obvious question that everyone is overlooking. Why is this woman filing a lawsuit? The article goes on to say that "The suit's main goal, Brejcha said, is to pressure prosecutors to file murder chargers."

Perhaps I am going out on a limb here, but am I living in an alternative universe? What did this woman think she was murdering before the baby popped out? A duck? A Martian? A Whale (which would be protected by the way)?

I am simply at a loss. She goes in to have the baby murdered 2 hours earlier. BUT, because the doctor was late by a mere 2 hours, now we need to try to file murder charges against the doctor? Was the mommy unconscious during her "choice"? What difference does it make where the location of the baby was when they murdered it? What difference does it make that the baby took a couple of breaths of air before it was thrown into the garbage?

My opinion, if the state is going to charge the doctor with murder, then to be consistent, since mommy was there to murder her baby just moments earlier, on what rational basis can we target the doctor? These people live in an alternative universe in which reason and logic and morality simply don't exist.

This is just sick.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Use of Confessions Part 2

In this post I would like to make a positive argument for the use of Confessions in the local church. If you read Schinnerer's article carefully, you may have wondered what the logical connection is between Revelation 22 and Deuteronomy 4 and the use of Confessions. Let me be blunt at this point. Mr. Schinnerer does not seem to realize that when he read those texts, he is interpreting those texts within his Tradition. Because Mr. Schinnerer seems to not be aware of his Traditions, his Traditions become equivalent to the Word of God. In other words, he sees no difference between his conclusions (his confession) and the text itself. He is also assuming that when you read those texts, you should come to the same conclusion he does. No logical argumentation is ever offered.

In the Summer 2005 edition of the Founders Journal Tom Nettles wrote,
John Gale [an early 18th century baptist] expressed the opinion of the non-subscribers [the position he held] when he preached, "Away then with all human forms and compositions, with all decrees and determinations of councils and synods, with all confessions and subscriptions;...let every pious Christian embrace and subscribe only that most valuable form of sound words contained in the scriptures." No evangelical Christian disagrees with the desire to have every doctrine supported by the clear words of Scripture. To assert that desire accompanied by a denigration of the value of confessions, however, often cloaks a disbelief of vital doctrine more than it affirms a belief of Scripture. [-- emphasis mine]
So stating that we only believe the Bible is something far too vague. If Jesus were to ask us what we believe, would we say nothing? I would suggest that Confessions serve a purpose in helping the average member understand the faith once for all delivered to the saints.

1) First of all Confessions are useful for expressing what we believe Scripture to be saying in summary form. In Matthew 16 we have a similar example of the need for Confessions. Jesus asked His disciples who men thought He was. He then turned the question to them. At this point Peter gives his famous confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

Scripture deals with many topics. Yet, there is clearly an overarching theme. The Scriptures teach us who and what man is. They also teach us who God is. Confessions are useful to offer a summary statement about what it is we believe they teach about God and man.

Remember the initial responses to Jesus' question. Men confessed all kinds of things about who Jesus is. Simply saying I believe in Jesus doesn't mean a thing if that definition of who Jesus is is wrong. We, like Peter, must confess what God has revealed in His Word about Jesus.

2) They are useful for unity of the local congregation. Too often we see churches that do not maintain a Biblical polity split for various reasons. However, churches also split over doctrinal issues. If the pastoral leadership is held to a stricter standard to the Confession, then doctrinal purity may be more easily maintained. It must be admitted that Confessions do not keep churches from drifting into error. They are a tool that is most helpful in settling disputes.

Sam Waldron wrote in the same issue,
It is clear from all this that a vital distinction must be maintained between the members and the elders of the church. Members need only to submit to the confession. Elders are obliged to teach it (1 Tim 3:2; 2 Tim 2:24; Titus 1:9).
Obviously the Confessions are not the ultimate authority. They derive their authority from Scripture and local church's abiding by it. They are of a secondary nature of authority. If a member were to "stray" from a local church's confession, then they are straying from the authority of the local church.

3) Confessions explain what a specific church's Traditions are upfront. By using a Confession, a church may see its own traditions and admit them up front. A member may see how their particular church approaches interpreting the Bible. This is very helpful when dealing with Christians from other denominations. It is also extremely helpful when dealing with cultists.

Again Waldron wrote about the London Baptist Confession of 1689,
Its distinctives are biblical. Its Reformed approach to God, His decree, the work of Christ, the application of salvation, the law of God, and the Christian worship is biblical. Its Baptist approach to the covenants, the ordinances, and the local church are all deeply and substantially biblical.
Here Waldron admits that the Confession helps the member understand how a local church approaches the text of the Bible. How he sees its unity in the covenants. This basically lays all of the cards on the table for all to see.

4) A great teaching tool. How often have churches received new members into their church only to discover over time those same members disappear. Some of those members are thrown into teaching positions (a most unbiblical thing to do...) not really knowing what they are teaching. A Confession is a simple and easy way to introduce someone to the broad teaching of the Bible.

It also serves us in reminding us that Christianity just didn't start the day we were saved. We stand on the shoulders of giants. It is most arrogant to say that we will invent the wheel when it has already been done.

Tom Ascol wrote in his article,
I do not automatically check my sermons by the 2LC to make sure that I am staying within its doctrinal boundaries. I do not have to since I am in agreement with it. I do consult it when I run up against knotty theological issues in my expositional work. If I find myself coming to conclusions that are contrary to the confession, I pause and give serious reconsideration to the text. Often the problem has been one of language or emphasis. Never have I found myself in contradiction to the clear doctrinal commitments of the confession.
We are not the first to arrive on this planet as Christians. Many godly men have gone on before us laying down a solid foundation. Great men of the past have wrestled with texts of the Bible just as we will continue to do so in our own generation and those to come. This isn't to say that men of the past are infallible. They are not and are just as subject to God's Word as we are. Nevertheless, they ought not to be despised.

In conclusion, I simply do not see how we may say we do not need Confessions. Christian men have come before us. We would be wise to receive their council. To say we do not is to despise gifts that God has given to His church. He has not only given to His church the Scriptures, but He has also given to us Apostles and prophets, and pastors and teachers.

Every generation must contend for that faith which was delivered unto the saints. What confession of faith will you defend?

Use of Confessions Part 1

In our Local New York Times, Clyde Schinnerer, a resident of Scott City, has been contributing a series of articles on his faith for at least the last couple of months. Mr. Schinnerer is a member of the Church of Christ. For many of his articles, the language has been vague enough that it is difficult to know if he truly grasps the Gospel. For instance, Mr. Schinnerer wrote a piece dealing with John 15. I truly had to wonder if he understands the difference between texts that are indicative verses texts that are imperative. In other words, commands verses texts that describe things the way they are or ought to be.

If you read this article, you will see that much of it could easily be agreed upon. But then he comes to his conclusions, and you have to wonder if we are using the same terminology with totally different definitions. In other words, we seem to be using the same words while speaking different languages.

Mr. Schinnerer titles his article "Let the Bible Speak" and then quotes Deuteronomy 4:2, which says, "You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it..."

Now again, what true Christian disagrees with this? He then cites a couple more passages and finishes with Revelation 22
I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.
His conclusion to this is stated almost in passing. But this point is so important to his thinking that if miss it we will miss Clyde's entire point. He writes,
"If we use a manual, discipline, catechism, ect. as part of our doctrine, we are adding to or taking from God's word."
Now of course this begs the question. Does Mr. Schinnerer mean that Christians, who use creeds and confession, are adding to the word of God, no matter what their doctrinal meaning is or whence they are derived? If you know anything about the history of the Church of Christ, you will know the common phrase, "No creed but Christ". Contextually, this is the most probable meaning of Mr. Schinnerer's statement. Therefore, Mr. Schinnerer is making the brief argument that those of us who use Confessions are adding to the Word of God. A serious charge indeed and one which I take seriously.

Of course to make a statement such as "No creed but Christ" or the above quote from the article is like saying, "Never say never" or "there is no such thing as absolute truth and I believe that truth absolutely". It is a self-contradictory statement.

In my next post, I would like to make a positive case for the use of Confessions in our local churches. I will make references to some of the Founder's Journal articles on this subject. For now I would like to conclude this post by asking those who would agree with Mr. Schinnerer's position a few questions.

Do you believe in the doctrine of the Trinity? Do you believe in the vicarious substitutionary atonement of Christ? Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God? Do you believe that we are saved by faith alone? Do you believe in the Protestant teaching on Justification?

If you could say yes to any of these, could you define to someone, who is not a Christian and totally unfamiliar with the Bible, what these things mean? Where is the Trinity in the Bible? Could someone who believes that Jesus is a created being yet is baptized under their formula (you must be baptized by them to be saved) and attends their church faithfully be saved?

There are far too many assumptions in Mr. Schinnerer's conclusion. He paints with a broad brush and clearly has come to illogical conclusions without almost any evidence at all. This is almost cultic in thinking and needs to be dealt with more fully.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Some Pictures

I tried to take a few more. Focusing is really difficult. Perhaps better equipment might help me, but I think the real problem is the user. :-) Enjoy.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Some Pictures

Steven took this a couple of months ago.

I managed to get these tonight. I think I may need to try some kind of filter. Enjoy!