Monday, March 29, 2010

Robert Price Clip on the Dividing Line

If you remember some time back, Mr Ellis used some interesting arguments to say that there is not enough evidence for the reliability of the New Testament. There were a couple of specific arguments that I wish I had time to address and expand upon, but I find myself with less and less time as my kids get older and older.

Today while driving around and listening to my MP3 player, I was listening Dr. White on the Dividing Line. He played a lengthy clip of Robert Price in a debate with William Lane Craig. I know Mr. Ellis thinks Craig to be a Presuppositionalist, but I think that is due to some confusion as to what a Presuppositionalist is. Nevertheless, Robert Price's argumentation against Craig sounded eerily similar to Mr. Ellis' comments. As it turns out, Mr. Price and Mr. White will be debating in the next few weeks. I would encourage you to listen to the Dividing Line and hear what Radical Skepticism sounds like.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ann Coulter and Hate Speech

Since Anonymous mentioned the hatred of Ann Coulter's recent Blog post, I couldn't resist to mention it here. Now having grown up in Boston, I find her humor very funny. But I can see why her humor is missed by many on the Political Left. For it uses the very tactic Saturday Night Live would use on the Right, or perhaps even a Lewis Black (although he is by far funnier).

More importantly is the fact she points out what should be obvious to all. She concludes her post,
If a university official's letter accusing a speaker of having a proclivity to commit speech crimes before she's given the speech -- which then leads to Facebook postings demanding that Ann Coulter be hurt, a massive riot and a police-ordered cancellation of the speech -- is not hate speech, then there is no such thing as hate speech.
The definition of hate speech is that anyone who says things that causes one group of people or individuals to act in a violent manner against another group of people or individuals.

So she points out what should be obvious to all. A university official's letter causes a massive amount of violence towards Ann Coulter. Therefore, by definition, the letter is hate speech. Funny how these things only work one way.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Learn To Be Skinny, Follow Jesus

Here is an article in the Baptist Press that offers a great example of confusing the Christian life lived in one's secular vocation with involving the church to fulfill a role she was never called to do.
"More people are dying due to complications from obesity than alcohol and tobacco use combined. Why isn't the church at the forefront of this?"
-- West Virginia pastor Steve Willis
To be honest, I get tired of hearing about all of the things the church hasn't done. The SBC is a theologically conservative denomination of which I am a member. Yet this kind of thinking is just the conservative counterpart of theological Liberalism...another way to save our culture.
"We talk a lot about the heart, soul and mind, but we don't talk a whole lot about loving Him with all our strength," Willis told BP. "We have these covered-dish fellowship dinners where we pile on the food, and it's not godly. Gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. So we needed to address that.
Now I agree that Pastors must address whatever Scripture addresses and gluttony is something that must be dealt with.
"So we started working out, we started eating healthier, we started doing our Wednesday evening fellowship meals a little bit healthier, and K-LOVE started running the story of what we were doing," Willis said. "ABC picked it up, CNN picked it up, the national news wire picked it up and Jamie Oliver heard about it over in England."
This reminds me of the "Losing Weight for Jesus" class that is offered in many churches today. Just one more of the many self-help programs that we stamp Jesus' Name to justify our church's existence.

The story goes on to explain how the "film crew" dictated what was to be preached.
The film crew asked Willis to preach again his sermon addressing obesity, and part of that is included in the show.

"Then they show me working with a family in the church, some visitation I've been doing. One of the families that goes to the church was having some health problems due to dietary issues and a lack of exercise. Then they start focusing on that family and how we're trying to get them healthier," Willis said.
There you have it. The mission of the church is to get people healthier.
"We are just trying to raise awareness," Willis said.
So we have one more thing that will be seen as the church's fault. One more duty and one more program to keep people busy. One more campaign to save men. In this case, to save them from fatness.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Reagan Was Right Then and Still Right Now...Mostly

As we all know, ObamaCare has nothing to do with the image that is projected by the Left-wing radicals (Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the rest of the Democrat party) and its accomplice, the Left-wing Media. It has everything to do with government power over the people and the abandonment of liberty.

Ronald Reagan spoke about this issue many years ago. It seems freedom and liberty must continually fight for its existence. For it was no less true of his day as it is in ours. Only now, these Leftist-radical are fully in power.

I must confess that we have arrived at this day of ObamaCare due to the negligence of Conservatives. We have sent our children off to schools to be educated by Lefty-wing (liberal) elitists. We have allowed almost every institution to be swallowed up by secular-humanism and modern liberalism. In the end, it is our own fault. Perhaps the Creator would be gracious and remind Americans of our history and stir within our hearts to once again abandon our narcissism and return to the legacy our Founder's gave to us. We inherited a great nation. Perhaps a new Ronald Reagan would stand up and defend freedom and liberty and lead a nation back to the principles that made it "the last stand on earth".

  • But at the moment I'd like to talk about another way because this threat is with us and at the moment is more imminent. One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It's very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. . . . Now, the American people, if you put it to them about socialized medicine and gave them a chance to choose, would unhesitatingly vote against it. We have an example of this. Under the Truman administration it was proposed that we have a compulsory health insurance program for all people in the United States, and, of course, the American people unhesitatingly rejected this.
    • Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine (recording (1961)
  • The doctor begins to lose freedom. . . . First you decide that the doctor can have so many patients. They are equally divided among the various doctors by the government. But then doctors aren’t equally divided geographically. So a doctor decides he wants to practice in one town and the government has to say to him, you can't live in that town. They already have enough doctors. You have to go someplace else. And from here it's only a short step to dictating where he will go. . . . All of us can see what happens once you establish the precedent that the government can determine a man's working place and his working methods, determine his employment. From here it's a short step to all the rest of socialism, to determining his pay. And pretty soon your son won't decide, when he's in school, where he will go or what he will do for a living. He will wait for the government to tell him where he will go to work and what he will do.
    • Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine (recording (1961)
On the flip side, I do not believe that Reagan was fully correct. There is one last nation that men may seek. This nation, however, is unique among nations. For it has no borders, or particular race. It has no earthly government ruler. It offers true freedom and joy no matter what circumstances may arise. When evil men arise, this nation is supernaturally protected and preserved, even when death arrives among its citizens. It will reign supreme in the age to come, in the new heavens and new earth. Its citizens possess eternal life even while suffering in this world.

Jesus Christ is the true King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Health Care Voting Methods

Michael W. McConnell, a former federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, is a law professor at Stanford University and director of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center, has written an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal. He questions how the House could vote on the Health Care bill when the legislation signed would then be split up, one to be forwarded to the President and the other for the Senate.
But that does not actually address the point at issue. No one doubts that the House can consolidate two bills in a single measure; the question is whether, having done so, it may then hive the resulting bill into two parts, treating one part as an enrolled bill ready for presidential signature and the other part as a House bill ready for senatorial consideration. That seems inconsistent with the principle that the president may sign only bills in the exact form that they have passed both houses. A combination of two bills is not in "the same form" as either bill separately.
Now I am not a Constitutional Scholar by any measure. Yet the more I think about this move by the Democrats, it is really quite brilliant. Although I understand Mr. McConnell's reservation about such a move. For it is completely unorthodox. Yet what does it matter? Notice that he equivocates "resulting bill" and "measure". Which is it? Two bills in one measure, or two bills that become one bill?

Simply because the approved Senate bill would go to the President and the Amendments bill would go to the Senate doesn't seem to be illegal in my opinion. I mean really. What difference does it make? If we split the bills into two separate votes, would not the same thing be accomplished? The entire whining by everyone seems to be over the fact that this is being done for deceptive political reasons.

Now McConnell seems to be arguing that Article 1 Section 7 of the Constitution does not allow bills that are signed as one "measure" to then be separated. For the entire measure must remain as "the same form" throughout the entire process. If this is the case, then the Framers were obviously protecting us from such deceptive political chicanery.

As McConnell concludes,
One thing is sure: To proceed in this way creates an unnecessary risk that the legislation will be invalidated for violation of Article I, Section 7. Will wavering House members want to use this procedure when there is a nontrivial probability that the courts will render their political sacrifice wasted effort? To hazard that risk, the House leadership must have a powerful motive to avoid a straightforward vote.
This is the real issue. If it makes no difference as to whether or not these two bills are voted on at the same time or separately, and there is this much political secrecy and deception, then something must be terribly wrong with this legislation. Perhaps the Constitution truly is being overthrown?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

School House Rocks! Democrats Don't

All of the Democrat maneuvering has reminded me of a Saturday morning educational cartoon. Perhaps Congress needs to watch it and learn bills are not "deemed" into law.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Actual and Declarative Justification

There has been so much in James Buchanan's book that I would love to comment upon, but time does not allow. So I will have to pass over some lectures. In the eighth lecture/chapter, Justification; The Scriptural Meaning of the Term, Buchanan offers some very helpful insights.

If you hold to the Protestant doctrine of Justification, sooner or later someone will raise the James 2 passage which states that Abraham was justified by works in opposition to Paul's teaching in Romans 4 that a man is justified without works. More often than not, this will come from our "Popish" counterparts.

On page 228, Buchanan again states the problem,
The real question at issue is,--not whether Justification be judicial or moral,--for it must be judicial even when it rests on moral grounds,--but whether a sinner is accepted on the ground of a righteousness vicarious and imputed, or of a righteousness infused and inherent?
Buchanan then offers proofs for the forensic or judicial meaning of the term. These proofs alone dismantle the Romanist errors. However, the second proposition takes the Protestant position even further.
While 'Justification' is a forensic or judicial term, it is used in Scripture to denote, sometimes the acceptance of a sinner as righteous in the sight of God,--sometimes the manifestation or proof of his acceptance, by which it is attested and made sure: and this variety in the application of it is the ground of an important theological distinction,--the distinction between Actual and Declarative Justification.
Buchanan is careful to remind his reader that there is never more than one Justification being taught in Scripture. He simply makes a helpful distinction between two facets of the same thing. A passage of Scripture that he adduces to support his argument is from Luke 7:
And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner." And Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he replied, "Say it, Teacher."

"A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?"

Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more."

And He said to him, "You have judged correctly."

Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little." Then He said to her, "Your sins have been forgiven."

Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this man who even forgives sins?" And He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
Buchanan then argues,
This case brings out very clearly both the distinction between actual and declarative Justification, and also the two distinct methods in which the justification of a believer may be manifested and proved. The woman was forgiven before, but now she obtained the assurance of her forgiveness; and that assurance was conveyed to her mind in two ways--first by means of an experimental evidence of her having that 'faith which worketh by love;' and secondly, in addition to this experimental evidence, by means of an authoritative testimony from the lips of her Lord Himself.
Now the obvious counter-argument would be that the text does not state specifically when she was forgiven. However, Buchanan seems to rely on the fact that Jesus said, "had been forgiven" prior to His proclamation of this forgiveness.

It is this argument that Buchanan uses to show that James is doing the same thing. Buchanan states the usual Protestant argument that James is simply showing Abraham to be "justified before men" is in fact a shallow argument. Instead Buchanan states that James is arguing for Abraham's justification from the aspect of "declarative" justification and Paul in Romans 4 is arguing for Abraham's actual justification. Both are the one and same justification before God. Therefore there is no discrepancy between these texts of Scripture or between Paul and James and Jesus.

Why does Scripture present both facets of Justification? Buchanan concludes in the last paragraph,
The two Apostles were combating two opposite errors, and sought to check two opposite tendencies. Paul contended against Legalism, and the self-righteous tendency which leads men 'to go about to establish their own righteousness,' and to seek Justification by the works of the Law. James contends against Libertinism, or the Antinomian tendency which leads men to pervert the Gospel itself, and to 'turn the grace of God into licentiousness.'
Buchanan rightly sees both authors as being harmonious.
"He [Abraham] was Actually justified before; but there was here a divine Declaration of his acceptance, which expressly referred to his obedience, as the fruit and manifestation of his faith. The fact that he was accepted at an earlier, and declared to be accepted at a later, period, while in both cases he is spoken of as 'justified,' has an important application to our present argument; for it shows the same term is used to denote both his actual and his declarative justification.
In conclusion the Christian should not be so arrogant as to assume he is "saved" because he said a prayer.
2Pe 1:10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;
On the other hand the "Romish" position is an equal error. For no matter how you argue it, an infused righteousness leads to a salvation by works.
2Ti 1:9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Modern Revolution/Civil War

In a recent Email by Focus on the Family, they yet again state why they oppose the Health Care bill currently before Congress.
While the president is on the road rallying support for the bill, the two primary objections remain: its cost and the presence of abortion.
Although these objections to the bill are two important facets, they miss the real problem with the current legislation. It seems as if Prolife groups would not oppose this bill for more serious and fundamental reasons. As the Email states in another paragraph,
As many as a dozen pro-life Democrats have vowed to vote against any legislation that does not explicitly exclude federal funding for abortion providers or insurance companies that provide abortions. We applaud these pro-life Democrats for their courage and unbelievable fortitude in standing for the sanctity of human life, while facing pressure from their political party and the White House.
The problem is not the Prolife issue. The problem is that the legislation represents a revolution of our form of Republican Constitutional government. The United States was founded on the principle that governments do not grant "rights", but instead are formed in order to secure our God-given rights... in particular, the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Several years ago I criticized a guest host on Rush Limbaugh's show, the Libertarian, Walter Williams. He argued during the broadcast that the Right to own property was also a fundamental right, but even more so than the Right to life. At the time, I did not see the connection he may very well have been making.

Over the last several years, I have been thinking more about the "land promises" of the Bible and why they play such an important role in the promises of God. The more I think about it, the more I see Walter Williams may have had a great point that our Framers understood better than most today. For without the Right to own property, securing the right to life would literally be impossible. Government would become the arbiter and source of rights, and not the institution that is formed to secure rights that are granted by God. In other words, just as John warns us in the book of Revelation, the State becomes the foundation for truth and usurps the place of God. Revelation 13:
And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.
The current bill before Congress is built on a purely secular foundation. It represents everything our Founders and Framers stood against. If one has any doubt, just look at how this bill is being attempted to be turned into law. This bill is not about health care, Prolife or cost. It has everything to do with power. To pass this bill is to pass the idea that governments are not instituted with the consent of the governed as well as the idea that rights come from governments. As Paul says in Romans,
For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
Therefore let us pray as Paul teaches,
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Rove On U.S. As a Christian Nation

Karl Rove was interviewed by Rush Limbaugh yesterday. Whatever you think of Rove politically, I thought this portion of the conversation was interesting. He explained that President Obama had misquoted him in his book, The Audacity of Hope. Apparently, the President did not check his sources carefully. aide of mine came in and said, "Do you know that you're in Barack Obama's book?" I said, "Really, Audacity of Hope, I'm in there?" He said, "Yeah, saying quote: 'We are a Christian nation,'" end quote, and he has it in quotes with my name attached to it. Now, look I've never said any such thing. It's one thing to say we're based on the Judeo-Christian ethic or draw from the Judeo-Christian ethic, that we have enshrined the free expression of religion, that we have no state establishment of a state church, but you can't say we're a Christian nation 'cause that leaves out the Jews and the Buddhist and the Sikhs and the nonbelievers, all of whom under our Constitution are as good an American as anybody else. So, you know, but he easily said that about me, and I confronted him about it. And he had no good explanation of why he would attribute to me something that I didn't say. He then went on in his book to accuse me of being a 1960s radical. And as I say in my book, isn't that rich? I don't remember trying to bomb a government office building --
Rove is right on. Our Nation's institutions may have been founded by a majority of Christian people, but that does not make them Christian. Citizens who are Jews and Buddhists and ect. are just as American citizens as anyone else.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Fun Weekend At Denver

Well, we pulled it off. Yesterday, my kids performed their piano pieces in the local Kansas Junior Festival. Then we took off to Denver. Went through the Denver Aquarium. I must say that Denver's Aquarium is fantastic. Who would have ever come with the idea of building a giant fish tank around a room that resembles a sunken ship which even had glass on the floor and ceiling.

Then we went to the Colorado Avalanche. Not only did the Avalanche win, one of the players, Stewart, managed to score a Hat Trick (three goals). Not only that, he managed to score his third goal during Penalty Shot.

Great weekend of fun.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Coffee Party

I saw on Facebook a new group formed called the Coffee Party. The New York Times has a story on it here.
The slogan is “Wake Up and Stand Up.” The mission statement declares that the federal government is “not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges we face as Americans.”
They say this is a response to the Tea Party.
“We’re not the opposite of the Tea Party,” Ms. Park, 41, said. “We’re a different model of civic participation, but in the end we may want some of the same things.”
The author of the article, Kate Zernike states,
The Tea Party argues for stripping the federal government of many of its roles, and that if government has to be involved, it should be mostly state governments.
This is the problem with those who disagree with the ignorant Tea Party people. They have no idea what is being said. The Tea Party is not attempting to strip the Federal government of its role. It is simply calling the government back to its proper role that is specified in the U. S. Constitution. You know. It is that whole silly idea of enumerated powers thing.

This paragraph has to be the most absurd in the article.
“The way I see it,” Ms. Park said, “our government is diseased, but you don’t abandon it because it’s ill. It’s the only body we have to address collective problems. You can’t bound government according to state borders when companies don’t do that, air doesn’t. It just doesn’t fit with the world.”
Ms. Park is clearly ignorant and should run to the Hillsdale College website and watch the videos on the Constitution.

First, the Constitution as framed was designed to enumerate the powers that the Federal government possesses. If it is not spelled out in the Constitution, then Congress does not have the power or authority to do what it wishes.

Second, this person thinks that all levels of government are just one big happy family. That there really is no separation of powers or the fact that the State of (Whatever you pick) is just a part of the imaginary "collective" government. The State of Kansas is no more the government of Arizona than Massachusetts is Florida. Simply because there is an overarching Federal government does not mean that government can do whatever it wants.

Third, what the bleep is this person talking about when she says it just doesn't fit with the world? I am a person who would stand along side with Ronald Reagan's view of government. He did see a proper role of government as we saw in the breaking up of monopolies and siding with the government in certain regulations of food, ect. But the Federal government has the power to regulate interstate commerce as stated in Article 1 Section 8:
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.
Ms. Parks may lament that people just can't work together to pass legislation, but she is assuming we all want the same thing. More importantly, she assumes that we all see government as the solution to reforming health care and the economy and many other things. Many Tea Party people do not want the Federal government nationalizing health care. There is by definition no working together. How does one meet in the middle of polar opposites? Only the post-modernist mind may figure that one out. Do we want a king of sorts or do we want liberty?

Now what does any of this have to do with the Tea Party? Well, members of the Tea Party seem to understand that the Federal Government has no authority to regulate 1/6 of the American economy, health care. The Federal Government is spending Trillions of dollars it doesn't have. There is nothing for Tea Party people to work with. When government ignores its Constitutional role and authority, when government taxes citizens, who are not even born yet, then by definition it is not merely diseased, it must abandon the "democratic process" in favor of its bureaucracies, and be a road block to the liberties of a free people, an "enemy" of sorts.

Was Caner Really Tazed?

In my last post, I linked to the above YouTube video showing Ergun Caner being tazed during a chapel service. At approximately 40-44 seconds in the video, you will see the person, who shot the tazer, taking out the "lead" that provided the tazer the ability to do its shocking job.

Now for those of you who watch Cops on TV, you may have noticed that this person only removed one lead. At least that was what I noticed. At the time of posting this video last Thursday, I didn't think too much of this. I simply don't know much about Tazers.

Well, Saturday morning, a former police officer friend called me after watching the video link from my previous post. He informed me that he had been re-certified the other day with Tazers. He also explained to me that if you watch carefully at the 24 second point of the video, which is when the Tazer is fired at Caner, you will see one of the leads fall to the ground. He then explained to me that the Tazer will not work if only one lead goes into the person being Tazed.

In God's providence, I went on an ambulance run early Sunday morning and two police officer friends happen to be nearby. One works for the local police department and the other works for the State police. I asked them about this video and if they would explain to me how the Tazer works. I even sent one of the officers a link to the video via e-mail and asked if Caner was actually shocked by the Tazer. Here was his response.
Definitely Not!!!!!!!
Was not even possible, the way the probe hit, with t-shirt only it was probably a rigged deal, they don't bounce off!!
Now to my knowledge, no one has ever challenged Ergun Caner on this point. To be honest, I am not even certain this needs to be discussed. It was only for show anyway, and the point was not whether or not Caner was shocked. It was simply a sermon illustration. Of course, those of us within the Christian faith, who see this method as a denial of the Regulative Principle of Worship, see this as being inconsistent with the faith. And those who are on the outside of the Christian faith see this as merely being a show or entertainment because that is what Christianity is anyway.

Whether or not you agree that this needs to be discussed, I see this as another reason why "Theology Matters".