Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Service

Once again I was privileged to participate in our local Memorial Day Service. My daughter managed to get some fun pictures. Here is a couple of them.

Here are a couple of videos. The first is a KC 135 fly over, and Steven took the video of the Gun Salute.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Anti-Federalist Paper from the Centinel and Term Limits

I recently have had some conversations with friends about the corrupt nature of Congress. I suggested that perhaps term limits needs to be a rallying cry once again. Well, this evening I have been reading an anti-federalist paper originally printed in the Centinel.

This paragraph was of interest.
The senate, the great efficient body in this plan of government, is constituted on the most unequal principles. The smallest state in the union has equal weight with the great states of Virginia Massachusetts, or Pennsylvania_The Senate, besides its legislative functions, has a very considerable share in the Executive; none of the principal appointments to office can be made without its advice and consent. The term and mode of its appointment, will lead to permanency; the members are chosen for six years, the mode is under the control of Congress, and as there is no exclusion by rotation, they may be continued for life, which, from their extensive means of influence, would follow of course. The President, who would be a mere pageant of state, unless he coincides with the views of the Senate, would either become the head of the aristocratic junto in that body, or its minion, besides, their influence being the most predominant, could the best secure his re-election to office. And from his power of granting pardons, he might skreen from punishment the most treasonable attempts on liberties of the people, when instigated by the Senate. [emphasis mine]
Even most churches have rotation provisions for the elected officers. Why can't we do that for Congress?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

William Norman Grigg

Those of you who know me know that politically, I have struggled with the Republican party simply because they have abandoned true liberty and, more importantly, the Constitution. I have critiqued former President Bush for perhaps doing more harm than good to the Republican party by trying to get the Political Left to vote for him. However, as you know, I consider President Obama to be a far more radical than any President I have ever known. At least when President Carter was trying to implement his views, I think we can all say that he was truly naive about human nature. He truly was an idealist of the foolish kind. Obama is no such fool.

I mention this because I managed to catch up and listen to some MP3s of Chris Arnzen's radio program Iron Sharpens Iron. He hosted two programs with Christian Libertarian and Constitutionalist, William Norman Grigg. His first appearance on the program was on President Obama's unConstitutional health care law and his second appearance was to discuss the Arizona Immigration Law. Although I struggle with the purely libertarian view, he makes an interesting case that you will not hear either on Fox or MSNBC.

Hey, if you are on the more liberal side of things, you may like what he has to say about crony capitalism and big business. All I have to say is, "Finally, somebody who understands the right to own property and its relation to liberty!"

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Lumpkins Gets Geisler, That Should Solve Everything Now

If you have been following the Ergun Caner saga, then you may be interested to read Peter Lumpkins' recent post which contains a letter by Norman Geisler.

To Whom It May Concern:

“I am familiar with the slanderous charges that have been made against Dr. Ergun Caner generated by some Muslim groups and other extremists. I have looked into the matter, talking with Ergun and other principal parties at Liberty, and am convinced that the charges are libelous. I am also convinced that whatever ambiguous or misstatement that may have been made, Dr. Caner has done nothing heretical, immoral, or illegal. I stand with him against these vicious attacks. He has taken a strong stand on important issues that stir up controversy, but to my knowledge has done nothing unorthodox or malicious. I urge all to consider him innocent unless proven guilty. He has welcomed an inquiry from the Liberty authorities. Let’s await their findings. Christians have a bad habit of shooting their wounded. Let’s pray for and encourage our brother.”

Sincerely in Christ,

Dr. Norman L. Geisler

Now I must confess my bias against Norman Geisler. Although I have several books in my library by Dr. Geisler and have been blessed by his works, his anti-reformed book and articles has simply turned me off. He simply does not have the ability to interact with Reformed Theology. He has stated things about Reformed theology that he would not bring himself to say against Roman Catholicism. So with that I move on.

The above letter was published on a website for all to read. His letter begs some questions. He states,
I am familiar with the slanderous charges that have been made against Dr. Ergun Caner generated by some Muslim groups and other extremists.
Since he is now entering the fray, to what slanderous charges is he referring? Just one would be nice. Was this letter only meant for the leaders at Liberty and not for the general public since he makes no such attempt to explain what he means?
I am also convinced that whatever ambiguous or misstatement that may have been made, Dr. Caner has done nothing heretical, immoral, or illegal.
If Dr. Geisler is so familiar with the situation, then to what ambiguous statements is he referring? What charges of heresy is he referring?

I must confess, that this letter only seems to have been posted by Lumpkins because he knows Dr. Geisler carries a lot of weight in the Conservative Evangelical world. In other words, it seems to be, "We now have THE Dr. Norman Geisler on our side, therefore Ergun Caner need not answer the simple questions Dr. James White and others have asked.

The entire situation is bizarre. If Ergun Caner is who he claims to be, then telling the truth about oneself and explaining the contradictions via the questions that have been asked should be a no-brainer. It is more telling that he refuses. Perhaps it is even more telling that Dr. Geisler has been brought into a situation as mere ammunition. It seems he sees Caner as being "wounded" and therefore its time to fire back by calling everyone who disagrees with him as being "extremist". Now how does Dr. Geisler get to be above it all while doing the very thing he is denouncing?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lord Save Us From Your Followers

"No one ever converted to Christianity because they lost the argument." - Philip Yancey

These are the first words on the screen that introduces the documentary film, Lord Save Us From Your Followers.  It's a valid observation.  The Apostle Paul clearly believed and preached the ultimate reason anyone converts to Christianity is because of the work of God's Spirit through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 2:9-10; 12-13,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—
10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual."
The idea that the Christian cannot convert or persuade people to believe by any means but the "gospel of love" highlights the over all theme of Dan Merchant's documentary journey.  Dan Merchant travels the nation asking what he thinks is a very simple question.

"Why is the gospel of love dividing America?"

In order to find his answer he starts with a simpler question.  "What are Christians known for?"
Some of the answers he hears:
Jesus Christ
The Crusades

Writer, Director Dan Merchant interviews liberal theologians and conservative radio personalities, homosexual protestors and Christian preachers all toward finding an answer to his questions and trying to understand why so many people in America find Christians to be hateful, ignorant and disinterested in other people's perspectives.

In one attempt to probe the question, Merchant organizes two Family Feud style games between liberals and conservatives.  In a game where victory is determined by how much you know about your opponent, the liberals proved to be overwhelmingly victorious.  Merchant's conclusion at this point is that this illustrates part of the problem with public expressions of American Christianity: we have turned the gospel of love into the gospel of "I'm right and you're wrong."

In other words, the gospel isn't dividing America.  We are.  America is divided over Christianity because Christians don't listen to, don't love and don't serve the world that they're called to hear, love and serve.

Merchant, after numerous interviews, confessing his sins at a gay pride festival, and witnessing Christian compassion toward the homeless in Portland, concludes that if Christians would just listen, serve, and love people like Christ loved them, America would (at least) be less divided than it is.

However, I had a significant problem watching Merchant's documentary.  The problem is that Merchant's observations are basically true.  Followers of Christ SHOULD be serving, listening to, and loving the world.  Further, the church has failed to do this in various ways throughout history.


I think Merchant's conclusions are JUST AS unbalanced as the divisive Christians he's confronting.  One reason I say this is because in the roughly 100 minutes of footage there is not a single articulation of what this "gospel of love" actually is.  Merchant never defines the gospel, shares the gospel, or attempts to explain to his audience what makes the "gospel of love" THE gospel of love.

He seems to be so anxious to distance himself from ignorant, fundamental, Bible-banging "Christians" that he never gets close to explaining what makes the good news, THE good news.

I would have loved this film if Merchant had concluded it the way Jesus inaugurated his ministry.  Isn't it striking that, apparently, Jesus' first sermon started this way...
Mark 1:14-15,
 "Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.'"
So, if I could ask Dan Merchant one question I would ask,
"Can you really love someone the way Christ loved them without calling them to repentance and faith in the gospel?"

In John 3:18 Jesus himself also said,
"Whoever believes in [me] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God."
And John later narrates in v. 36
"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him."
It may be hard to say.  It may be hard to hear.  But the reality is that Jesus both cared for, listened to, served AND called people to repent of their sins (John 6).  He called them to repent of their sins and follow God as God had revealed himself in Christ and the Scriptures.
We may not like to hear this or believe this but that makes the Gospel divisive.  If the gospel is divisive BECAUSE of the way we present it (unloving, self-righteous, etc.) then we have a problem.  However, we must admit and realize the gospel IS divisive all by itself.

That's why Paul says,
"15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ" (2 Corinthians 2:15-17).
And that's why Jesus said,
"32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.  34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matthew 10:32-39).

If we really believe the gospel we'll love people enough to call them to repentance in a humble, loving, gracious and servant oriented way.  If we really love people we'll get out of the gospel's way and let it speak for itself by proclaiming it as it's proclaimed in the Bible, with gentleness, respect, compassion and service.
"3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures..." (I Corinthians 15:3-4)
"15 ...but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil" (I Peter 3:15-17).

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Quote of the Day

What a comfort to know, that through Christ's redeeming work, our Justification is connected indissolubly with the glory of God... -- James Buchanan

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Reasons To Not Be a Reformed Baptist

Kuddos to James Swan for finding and posting this archive of Dr. White's old radio program. James White offers reasons to not become or attend a Reformed Baptist Church. Listen here.

This also fits Jared Wilson's 10 Reasons to Under Program Your Church. Kuddos to Pastor Cory for that link.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Buchanan and Substitution

Some time back, Mr. Ellis made the assertion (if I remember correctly) that denied the possibility of Jesus dying for the sins of others or Substitutionary Atonement. Now he did not get the chance to formulate his arguments, but I assume his arguments would have been consistent with others, who have made the same assertion.

At this point, granting his assumptions, I would agree. The Penal Substitution "theory" (if we may call it that) does have serious problems. However, just as other objections raised by atheists such as "Do we stone people for breaking the Sabbath?", the answer is quite simple if we understand the Covenantal nature and presuppositions of the Bible.

This morning, I continued reading Buchanan's Doctrine of Justification. In Lecture XI, proposition XII, he asks,
But is has been asked, can there be any real substitution of one for another under a system of moral government? Does not the Law require personal obedience, and threaten personal punishment? and must it not, therefore, be exclusive of vicarious agency, whether in the shape of obedience, or of suffering?
To which he responds,
We answer, that the Law of God, in its covenant form, recognised from the first the principle of representation, by constituting Adam the federal head of his race; and that it is only the transference of the same principle to a new relation, when the Gospel reveals the fact that Christ, as Mediator, was constituted the legal representative and surety of His people. The 'first Adam' gives place to the 'second Adam, the Lord from heaven;' and, in either instance, the welfare of others is made to depend on them. For 'as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.' For as Adam was 'made under law,' the representative of his posterity; so Christ was 'made under law,' the substitute of His people. 'God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law.'
Buchanan proceeds on to explain that the law that all men are under is the moral law. This is something the atheist can't even begin to explain except to assert their "metaphysics" as some form of revelation which we should believe just because they say so. So it is true that all men are accountable for their sins. However, Mr. Ellis misses the Biblical truth of the covenants, and that God has appointed covenant representatives. This is God's creation, and we are His covenant children.