A vehicle for venting on philosophy, religion, and the general state of things. Proprietor: C. W. Powell

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The glory?

The Power of the Gospel: the Cross

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2Co 12:9

Those who are unwilling to suffer with Christ will never know the joy of Christian victory. When Judas became convinced that Jesus was going to the cross, he switched sides, and sold the Lord to His enemies. Poor Judas couldn't understand the way of the Kingdom, and could not therefore inherit the kingdom of God. His misery and wickedness had been foretold in Psalm 55, for Judas was "a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company." Because of this betrayal the prayer of the Psalm included these words "Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city. Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it. Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets."

Sometimes the very zeal and energy that drive a man into the ministry are the very strengths that the devil uses to make his work a curse and not a blessing. The kingdom of God is not built by the zeal and energy of men, because that which is born of the flesh is flesh. Those who derive their energy from the praise of men, will be overthrown by the curses of men because, "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls." James 1:19-21

Far more good is done by my passive and humble receiving of the word of God into my heart and mind than will ever be done by the deceit and guile of my words. That which is born of the flesh is flesh,and the works of the flesh are readily discernable: wrath, strife, sedition, clamor, tale-bearing, and slander. These are the more respectible ones. The flesh has many devices and terrible arts by which it seeks to pick off the weak and sickly from the kingdom of God.

“Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Mt 5:11-12)

This is the reason that patient continuing in well-doing is absolutely essential for the minister of the Gospel. He does not need to vindicate himself, for the Lord will always validate the work of His faithful ministers. The chaff is driven away before the winds of reality and burned in the fires of the judgment of God. But not yet. Until then it is given to the man of God to suffer for the word of the Gospel. There are always many around who are willing to see him get what they think he deserves. "Beware when all men speak well of you," Jesus said. He asked His enemies, “How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?” (Joh 5:44)

Those who seek to destroy others in order to advance themselves fall under the wrath of God. “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all [of you] be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” (1Peter 5:5)

Those who shun the cross will miss the crown.

Monday, December 15, 2008

When "Truth" is a Lie.

“Thy righteousness [is] an everlasting righteousness, and thy law [is] the truth.” (Ps 119:142) "[Love] rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;” (1Co 13:6 AV)

The Biblical idea of truth was different from the Greek idea. The Biblical idea has a moral dimension to it.

For instance, what the slanderer says might be true as far as the facts go, but if what is said is not according to love, it could not be considered the truth, not in the sense of Psalm 119:142.
A bitter, angry person will dig up every nasty thing he can find about people he does not like. Because his words are words of hatred, they are not true, no matter what the "facts."

God's law is based upon the very truth of His being, and the very truth of the image of God in man. The person who does not love his neighbor is not only striving against God, but is at war with himself. He has a lie in his right hand and in his heart of hearts.

What he says might be factual, "He mistreats his wife; her children are unruly; her house is often messy; She defrauded her creditors by filing for bankruptcy; He sometimes speaks harshly to people; She had an affair right after she was married; etc." The statements may pass the test as far as the facts are concerned but be very far away from the meaning of the principle, "Thy law is the truth."
Love is the end of the law. If a person does not love his neighbor, his telling of the "truth" might actually be transgression of the law. In 1Cor. 13:6 the truth is contrasted with iniquity.

What they said of Jesus was factually true, "He said he would built the temple in three days."

A person is not speaking the "truth" and obeying the law of God if his words are uttered for the sake of malice rather than love for his neighbor, no matter how historically accurate the words may be.
In fact, we are commanded, “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” (1Pe 4:8)

On this passage John Calvin said, " the sentence is taken from Solomon, whose words are found in Proverbs 10:12, 'Hatred discovers reproaches, but love covers a multitude of sins.'

"What Solomon meant is sufficiently clear, for the two clauses contain things which are set in contrast the one with the other. As then he says in the first clause that hatred is the cause why men traduce and defame one another, and spread whatever is reproachful and dishonorable; so it follows that a contrary effect is ascribed to love, that is, that men who love one another, kindly and courteously forgive one another; hence it comes that, willingly burying each others' vices, one seeks to preserve the honor of another.

"Thus Peter confirms his exhortation, that nothing is more necessary than to cherish mutual love. For who is there that has not many faults? Therefore all stand in need of forgiveness, and there is no one who does not wish to be forgiven."
-John Calvin in 1Peter 4:8

It is loving to hide offenses, for that is exactly what the coming of the Lord Jesus was designed by God to do, to put them away. The only time sins should be revealed is for the necessity of healing the disease and bring repentance, or to protect others from harm. Revealing sins for the purpose of destroying people is of the devil, for he is the "accuser of the brethren." [Rev. 12:9,10]

Friday, December 12, 2008

Are ALL Men Liars? All the Time?

It is true that everyone lies. It also not true that everyone lies. But "everyone lies" in the first sentence does not mean the same thing as "everyone lies" in the second sentence.

Psalm 116:
10 I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted:
11 I said in my haste, All men are liars.
12 What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?
13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.
14 I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.

Pr 14:5 A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.

Man's natural tendency is to deny, hide, misinterpret the truth. But it is emphatically NOT true that every man lies about everything all the time. If that were true, nothing could be accomplished in the world. Courts couldn't function, and everyday discourse between people would cease. Business would screech to a halt because no one could depend on contracts or assurances of performance.

There are many good and honest men who do not trade in lies and deceit. They would not lie in court, they do not lie to their wives and children, and they do not lie to Consistories or Spiritual Councils, and they certainly would not lie under oath.

This writer has had children in school who lied all the time. He has also had children in school who did not lie even when it might have been an advantage to lie.

To lie in court, Consistories, or Spiritual Council committees is not only a sin, it is a crime against the institution that is represented. In Court it is called perjury.

A person who would lie to a committee of the church, to a Spiritual Council, or to a Consistory has committed a crime against the church. Such a person suddenly doesn't become a liar in that situation; they are so hardened against the truth that they are lying all the time, so one more lie or two doesn't make any difference to them, no matter the seriousness of the proceedings. By their lie they show contempt for the institution, whether church or state.

I suspect this is one of the reasons that the Constitution of the Reformed Church in the United States lists "lying" as one of the offenses that especially merits discipline.

It is equally true that only the morally challenged would denigrate such an offense. Even Al Capone and Richard Nixon refused to allow their subordinates to lie to them. No organization can survive if everyone lies to everyone all the time. It may survive if all agree to lie as one; but eventually reality will break in, as it did to the old Soviet Union.

Jas 3:14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

Eph 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.

We are not to be partakers of other men's sins. This means we are not to listen to liars, promote them, or defend them. It certainly means that we must not be tale-bearers, carrying their water for them.

There are many good people who bear faithful witness and hate the lying tongue. The Psalmist said in his haste, "All men are liars," but this was because of the terrible trial that he was going through. When men doubt God, they will think there is nothing and nobody true anywhere.

Such is not the truth. This poor preacher has found in the midst of terrible trials that there have always been those who saw and understood the truth. There are faithful witnesses who will tell the truth and not listen to lies and deceit. They are not swayed by emotion or prior prejudice. When the eye is single, the whole body is filled with light. Thank God for such people.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Dancing to Your Own Tune: Piping and Weeping

"They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept." --Luke 7:32

You might say they were control freaks. They would decide whether there would be dancing or whether there would be weeping. Woe to those who danced when these children wanted to weep, or to those who wept when the children wanted to dance.

Jesus' illustration compared the reaction of that generation who condemned John the Baptist for not feasting and drinking, saying that he had a devil. Without blinking an eye, they then condemned Jesus for eating and drinking, calling Him a drunk and a glutton.

They had no fixed principles, but were like children, whose only desire was to control the game. They didn't care what the game was as long as they controlled it. Because neither Jesus nor John danced to their tune, they had to be destroyed.

King David put it another way. Instead of tyrannical children in the marketplace, he termed them "Sons of Belial." In his farewell song to Israel, David, speaking from long experience, said of them: "But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands: But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place." --2Sam. 3:6,7

In both cases, the children of Jesus' illustration and the rebellious in David's kingdom had one thing in common: they would not submit to Christ--for David was a type of Christ. They regard no rule but their own, following their own imagination.

There are times for weeping and there are times for dancing, but you and I do not decide the times. These are in the hands of God.

"Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life: Therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine divinations: for I will deliver my people out of your hand: and ye shall know that I am the LORD." Ezekiel 13:22, 23

Sunday, November 30, 2008

"In thy light we shall see light" [Ps. 36:9]

The Tragedy of Eyes that Do Not See

I knew that my children understood my reproofs when I heard them reprove each other. Even a small child's injunction not to slam the door, showed that he understood the lesson, even if he slammed the door himself. The minute he could condemn his brother showed that he was a moral being accountable for his actions.

"Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:" (Jer 5:21)

"And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth." (Joh 9:39-41)

Only those who have a moral sense can be held responsible for their actions. The fact that someone can judge another is proof that he is not without moral sense. The additional fact that he judges unjustly shows that his moral judgment is in bondage to sin.

Jesus said that if his enemies were truly blind, they would not have any sin at all, for who judges a tree for moral failures? But they said that they could see; hence, they could not escape the truth that they were sinners, for they were condemned of their own consciences.

Paul said the same thing in Romans:

"Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?" (Ro 2:1-3)

Having eyes is a good thing, and is far better than not having eyes. But what good are eyes if we do not use them to see things. "Use your eyes," my father used to say. "Can't you see?"

Israel professed moral and spiritual superiority. They boasted that they were a "guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law" [Romans 2:20-21].

There are people who use guilt to attack those whom they consider threats to them. They want to get the attention off themselves. They don't want the light turned on, and so they do not want preaching and teaching of the word that exposes the heart and the true nature of the law of God. They do not mind being the center of controversy and ruckus, as long as it is about somebody else's sin, real or imagined.

Every human being knows that it is wrong to lie, steal, hate, and so forth. This is the reason that they either deny it altogether, or invent elaborate justifications. We are very inventive in this.

This guilt keeps many from criticizing others and they lapse into a kind of moral agnosticism. They see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. They refuse to give witness to moral evil because they know their own sins might be exposed. The effect of this makes it very difficult to get people to bear witness in crimes against the state or against the church. They are bound by guilt. They have eyes, but they refuse to see. They will not speak because of their own secrets. This is one of the reasons that totalitarian governments in both church and state need to have plenty of guilty people around..

But even worse, perhaps, people use guilt to intimidate and bully others. The Pharisees were very good at this. "They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out." (Joh 9:34) They would not instructed by the man who had been blind.

Jesus had healed the man, restoring his sight.
He became a symbol of those who has eyes and could see, a witness against those who had eyes but refused to use them.

It is easy to identify these religious bullies. Most of them you will find in church, complaining about faithful preaching of the Scriptures. They do not want the light turned on. They will be experts on the failings of those whom they cannot control.

But Jesus turned the light on. "And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind." (Joh 9:39) They crucified him for it.

"None are so blind as those who will not see." Author Unknown

What is the cure that frees us from guilt, from bullies, and from our own apathy? The only cure is this:

"He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." (Pr 28:13)

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1Jo 1:9)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Leadership and Truth

The true leaders of the people of God, the true mothers and fathers, the true pastors, the true elders, are those who speak the truth and bear faithful witness. A lying tongue shall not stand before the Lord, because the man with the lying tongue does not accept the reality that God has created and formed, but is trying to convince the world, like Satan did Eve, that God does not know what the nature of the true world is. It is emphatically NOT true that you can change reality by changing your perception of reality. Reality is what it is; the liar would seduce you to distort things.

Your best friend is the one who tells you the truth. Liars will try to get you to follow them or believe them because they want you to confirm their distortion of reality. But those who have the truth in their hearts do not follow the liar. Only those who have the same distorted heart as the liar will follow him.

Joh 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Trust, Hope, and Fear

What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. --Psalm 56:3,4

Trust goes to the heart of faith. The connection between God, His word, fear, and the trust that faith produces is made clear in this Psalm.

A person's true God is revealed in this way: it is where the man goes to calm his fears.

Fear is the result of imagination and only exists in the imagination. We have been given the gift by God of imagining what the future will be like, either in the short term or in the long term. Because of this we have hopes and fears: hope if we imagine a good future, fear if we imagine a bad one. The hopes and the fears exist only in the mind and come to pass only by the decree of God, for it is God alone who predestines [determines] the future.

The godly have nothing to fear and everything to hope for. The ungodly have nothing to hope for and everything to fear. If the Bible is clear about anything, it is clear about this. The fears of the godly and the hopes of the ungodly both terminate at death.

But in this world these hopes and fears tug at our minds, causing us to make decisions in the present. If our decisions are made in hope, they may be very different than if they are made in fear.

The believer, in his weakness, may experience fear, but he is taught by the Holy Spirit to trust in the Lord. The Heidelberg Catechism puts it this way: "True faith is not only a certain knowledge whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in His Word; but, also a hearty trust, which the Holy Ghost works in me by the Gospel...."

Where does this faith arise? from the promises of the Scriptures, as the Psalmist says: "In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me."

The simple truth is this, the believer has a glorious future in Jesus Christ and nothing created can change that. Romans 8 says that nothing created "can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

When the believer imagines the future under the instruction of the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit, he sees the love and joy of the Lord, and his fears dissolve. The only ground of his hope are the promises of God, but by these he learns to overcome fear and the sin that comes with it.

"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." --2Pet. 1:3,4

"What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." Because of his flesh and weakness, the believer often experiences the fears that unbelievers do, because he is not yet perfected. These fears can be very powerful at times and can lead to great sin, as Peter's denial of the Lord.

But the believer has something else besides the fears that sometimes assault him: there also arises by the work of the Holy Spirit and the promises of God trust and faith in his Heavenly Father.

Jesus said, "If you being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly father give good things to them that ask Him." Faith teaches us to call upon our Father in Heaven in the time of need. The promises of God tell us:

Ps 115:11 Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.
Ps 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
Ps 118:9 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.
Ps 125:1 They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.
Pr 3:5-7 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

Even our imaginations must be brought captive to the word of God and must not be allowed to bring us into the bondage of fear, sin, and death. We are beloved of the Lord who made the heavens and the earth, and must not be afraid of what flesh can do to us.

The unbeliever has hope only in this world; he is trapped in the world and seeks to realize his joys and to escape his fears by earthly things. He has no hope in a real God, but in the power of his own thought.

Pr 14:32 The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.
Pr 11:7 When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.

Ps 17:15 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

Philippians 4:6,7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Interested in Apologetics?

If you are interest in apologetics, you might find our sermon last Sunday of interest. The sermon was generated by scholarly work done by New Geneva Seminary librarian Bill McGinnis on the Psalms.

You can find the link HERE. The Sermon is named: "How Great Is Thanksgiving" and applies apologetic applications to the Third Division of the Heidelberg Catechism, How I Am to be Thankful for My Redemption.

You may also download the unedited notes used to preach the sermon. The audio is in mp3 format.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Chaff to the Wheat

"The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD. Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?" --Jeremiah 23:28,29

The prevailing dream of the ancient pagan cultures was that the world developed by itself out of original chaos. Even the gods shared in this evolution. The highest order was created by man, in connection with the gods, organizing themselves into the state. In Babylon, Egypt, Greece, and Rome the supreme rulers were semi-divinized charismatic figures. Great monuments were built to them after their deaths and they were counted among the gods.

By the power of the state, all evils would be solved eventually, and the curse upon the nations that God spoke to those at Babel would b enullified. [Genesis 11]. In fact, the book of Genesis is myth, there is no curse, just original, impersonal chaos. The evils of famine, disease, war, revolution, death, etc., have nothing to do with God The only real enemies of mankind are those who resist the power of the state to cure everything. Thus those who resist, for instance, stem cell research because of a higher principle of the image of God are the enemies of the collective scientific research that will cure the world of birth defects, crippling accidents, etc. Nothing can be permitted to resist the power of the savior state. Those who do so are traitors and sacreligious.

This empty and vain dream received a critical blow at the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and His ascension into heaven. His kingdom is not of this world, nor does His kingdom have a single ruler upon the earth or in any nation. The churches are ruled by Christ Himself through by his word taught by Spirit-filled ministers, elders, and deacons. These officers are equal to each other and lordship is forbidden to them by the Lord Jesus, whose rule by His Word and Spirit cannot be successful challenged. The energy that rules the church is not of the world and certainly not immanent in the forces of the world which the dreamers think run the evolutionary processes.

Sadly, for many years the true government of the church was subverted by pagan ideas of evolution and was only recovered in the revival known as the Protestant Reformation. Luther's proclamation of justification by faith freed the church from the bondage of the idea that the Holy Spirit could be equated with power immanent in the universe and restored the biblical doctrine of the transcendence of God over the affairs of men.

The same thing had happened to Israel. Under the influence of Babylonian and pagan philosophies and idolatry Israel had tried to find the power of God immanent in the world. Jeremiah spoke against this idolatry that always leads to the growth of state power and the destruction of the liberty of the church and the people of God. Jeremiah cried in the word of the Lord: "Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD." Jer. 23:23-24

Without the doctrine of God's transcendence, there can be no true doctrine of God's immanence that does not reduce His immanence to pantheism and materialism, and the resultant growth of totalitarianism in both state and church--in fact, the nanny state and the nanny church will aid and abet each other in the paternalism that downgrades humanity and exalts the elite that subjects that people. But because there is no peace to the wicked, the elite will continue to war with each other, breaking into innumerable factions to contend with each other as to who is privileged to wield the power of God.

Because the fundamental belief is that order came out of original chaos, which had no beginning in any order, and certainly not in the order of the Word of the Creator described in Genesis 1 and John 1, chaos lies at the center of any theory of government.

Continual change and disruption are necessary for the better order to arise, according to this thought. Because the original force of the world is chaos, chaos must reign. The old must always be replaced. The true designers of the future are those who run through the streets crying "Burn, baby, burn," until the messiantic figure arises who will bring the new order which will grind the faces of the people of God until the drill repeats itself again.

But this is the lot of those who reject the Word of the Lord and deny that Jesus Christ rules by His word and Spirit from heaven. Almost any tyranny will be accepted rather than the rule that He has established.

But His rule is the only reality. This reality was to be affirmed over and over by the people of God, according to the words of Jeremiah.

"The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD. Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?" --Jeremiah 23:28,29

Jesus and His apostles put the same message another way:

Lu 21:33 "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away."

2Thess 1:7-10 "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day."

Preach the word, is the instruction to the true prophets of God. This is the wave of the future, the only reality that is. All else are dreams and fantasies, worse than those which come from an opium pipe, because the dope-head knows where his dreams come from. The modern dreamer does not know where his dreams originate, nor does he care.

The combined power of the hordes, thousands upon thousands, of those who preached the vain dreams of idolatry cannot stand before the simplicity and power of the word of God, if preached only by one or two. The chaff cannot stand before the fire. The rock cannot withstand the blows of the hammer.

"One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you. Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God." Joshua 23: 9, 10.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It is God Who Rules in the Nations of the World.

[T]here are some who deny that a commonwealth is duly framed which neglects the political system of Moses, and is ruled by the common laws of nations. Let other men consider how perilous and seditious this notion is; it will be enough for me to have proved it false and foolish.
--John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Faith, IV:20:14 [Battle]

Thus Calvin, more than five hundred years ago, lays in the dust the modern foundation principles of theonomy, reconstructionism, Federal Vision theology, and all the step-children derived from the rejection of natural law and common grace.

Self-conscious Christianity must include a deep humility based upon the understanding of the deceitfulness of each Christian's own heart which precludes the idea that individualistic self-conscious understanding of the Scripture may not tainted with sin and error. There is a doctrinal perfectionism that is as pernicious as any volitional perfectionism taught by Finney or others like him.

Of course, I cannot take a neutral position with respect to the Lord Jesus [Luke 11:23], but I can certainly and must be neutral about many other people [Mark 9:40] This requires a certain humility of mind and soul. Just because a man is not in my box, doesn't mean he is not doing the will of God.

Those who will take care to read all of Calvin's Institutes and especially Chapter 20 of Book Four [about Civil Government] will see how different it is from the spirit of the MIddle Ages and the modern movements listed above.

The Apostle Paul did not have enough political influence to stay out of jail, nor did the Lord Jesus avoid crucifixion, but they had a bit of influence on the world, wouldn't you say? How did they manage that? I don't think they even had campaign managers, unless the Holy Spirit and God's eternal decree count.

Although Calvin was backward looking in some things, the general tenor of his theology looked forward to the liberating spirit of the Reformation and newness in Christ. Hence, he was able to maintian friendships even with those who abandoned the Reformation and returned to Rome, or with those who did not break completely with Rome. Calvin did not live in a box.

For a modern critique of Theonomy and Reconstructionism, read J. Ligon Duncan's essay at the following link. Click here

A great many things that have afflicted the peace and usefulness of the modern reformed churches come of this stew. There are many articles that have been linked HERE.

I would also strongly recommend Guy Prentiss Waters The Federal Vision and Covenant Theology. You can get it at Amazon

Pray for President-Elect Obama, as the Scripture commands.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Political figs will be closed a bit. If your comfort is in guns and religion, you will be able to find the latter here. If you want to buy guns, you better do it before the next administration. We won't be speaking much of that.

I have a humorous [to me anyway] entry at Political Figs.

Monday, October 27, 2008

See the new post at political figs--link at the right.
Chance? or Decree

The Bet That Blew Up Wall Street, Steve Kroft On Credit Default Swaps And Their Central Role In The Unfolding Economic Crisis - CBS News: "'We could call that a derivative. It's a side bet. We don't own the teams. But we have a bet based on the outcome. And a lot of derivatives are bets based on the outcome of games of a sort. Not football games, but games in the markets,' Partnoy explains.

Partnoy says the bet was whether interest rates were going to go up or down. 'And the new bet that arose over the last several years is a bet based on whether people will default on their mortgages.'"

This is an excellent article, if you want to learn more about what has happened to the world's financial markets over the past weeks.

There are two very different world-views that are clashing; on the one hand is the Christian world-view that does not believe that stones can be turned into bread, and modern irrationalism that believes that things morph into other things [evolution] on the basis of chance.

The first view is work-oriented, savings oriented which results in the creation of wealth by work and investment in work. The other view depends upon luck and gambling. Anytime a culture turns from the Creator of the Bible and turns to a luck-oriented, gambling-oriented culture disaster looms.

The idolator simply cannot accept the idea that the nature of things are fixed by the Creator. Stones are stone. The Creator certainly CAN turn stones into bread, but He must have a very good reason for doing so. A miracle of this sort must be included in the eternal decree of God for a well-defined purpose. It was in the decree of God for Jesus to turn the water into wine, but he had no instructions concerning stones, and was content to live as other men, "by every word [decree] that proceedeth from the mouth of God." [Matt. 4:4.]

Man cannot even change his own nature, which is under a curse because of Adam's sin. The elect of God cannot transform themselves into children of light, but are made alive by grace through faith "it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Eph 2:8-10)

When men build upon faith in chance and good luck, they are building on shifting sand. Their house will come tumbling down--it not today, then tomorrow. If not tomorrow, then the day after tomorrow. The storms will come, for it is God's will to shake all things, that that which cannot be shaken may remain. [Heb. 12:27]

The righteous man is "like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away." (Ps 1:3-4 AV)

Those who live by faith cannot be shaken. Although they do look ahead and plan for the future, yet their faith is in God alone. They remember the words of their Heavenly Father:

"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

"Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

"Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Mt 6:24-33 AV)

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Bears of God.

"And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them." 2Kings 2:23,24

This is a favorite passage for those who seek to discredit the Bible. They say things like, “How could a loving God…?”

But I would make some comments for those who believe the Bible is God’s word, know that God is a consuming fire, that He takes vengeance [yes vengeance] in flaming fire on the ungodly, and that it will be well with the godly but it will not be well with the ungodly.

1. The prophet did not curse the young people [“children” can mean any immature youth, and “little” can be “small” in a figurative sense] in his own will and strength, but “in the name of the Lord.” This was a judgment from God upon the parents of Bethel who had not trained their children to be generous and large of heart, but had allowed them to grow up mean, self-centered, small-minded and pagan. They were a bunch of punks that were too big for their britches. [But even if we take the KJV translation "little children" the following comments are still valid, for God's judgments can be very harsh against the ungodly.]

2. All the beasts of the forest belong to God and are often used in Scripture to slay and destroy men who are under the wrath of God, These "beasts" become symbols of angelic or demonic powers under the control and service of the wrath of God.

3. These female bears did not tear the parents of the children, nor did they tear the prophet, but they tore these youths for their arrogance and mocking of the prophet of God. Elijah, Elisha's predecessor, had gone up to heaven in a whirlwind [2Kings 2]. These blasphemous and insolent youths mocked the prophet Elisha with his bald head and paid a dear price for it.

4. The men who are appointed by God to govern the church have a dignity that are given to them by God Himself, and it is a great sin to mock or to disregard their lawful government. This is the reason that the Heidelberg Catechism Question 101 states:

Q104: What does God require in the fifth Commandment?
A104: That I show all honor, love and faithfulness to my father and mother,[1] and to all in authority over me,[2] submit myself with due obedience to all their good instruction and correction, and also bear patiently with their infirmities, since it is God's will to govern us by their hand.[3]

1. Eph. 6:1-6, 22; Col. 3:18, 20-24; Prov. 1:8-9; 4:1; 15:20; 20:20; Exod. 21:17; Gen. 9:24-25

2. Rom. 13:1-7; I Peter 2:18; Matt. 22:21
3. Eph. 6:4, 9; Col. 3:19, 21; Prov. 13:24; 30:17; Deut. 27:16; 32:24; I Tim. 2:1-2; 5:17; Heb. 13:17-18

5. The wise Solomon knew this, and wrote in Proverbs 30:17: “The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.” Faithful ministers will warn their congregations of the serious dangers that the insolent bring upon themselves in such defiance, for “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” 1Sam 15:23.

6. God has more ways of bringing shame to the ungodly than you and I can possibly imagine. Who had ever heard of she-bears used in this manner? It is the only instance like this in the Bible, but it carries a powerful message. God used lions to tear disobedient prophets [1Kings 13] but this seems to be a unique use of she-bears.

7. It is a terrible thing for fathers not to teach their wives and children the duty of obedience and honor for their own authority and to model this submission before their wives in submitting themselves to the authority of elders and ministers. Those who fail to do so may indeed pay a heavy price. The insolence and irreverence that characterized the city of Bethel exacted a heavy cost in the blood of insolent youth.

8. If not bears, then certainly God will certainly vindicate Himself in other ways. If not in one way, then certainly in another.

9. We must teach our wives and children to stay away from such people, or they will be overcome also by the bears of God’s chastening. Solomon put it this way: “Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.” (Pr 4:24) Those who speak “distorted and crooked” things [this is the meaning of “froward”] will be a snare to us if we do not mark them and avoid them.

Paul put it this way: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” (Ro 16:171)

10. It is also true that God is long suffering and forbearing with us. But His goodness must not lull us to sleep in our insolence and forwardness, for His terrible works, though slow in coming, will surely come, at such a time as we think not.

“He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." (Pr 29:1)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

His Way in the Whirlwind!

The prophet Nahum said that the Lord has His way in the whirlwind [see citation below]. This means that the most destructive and seemingly random desolation is controlled by the wisdom and will of God. His unchanging, wise purposes for the world control even the whirlwinds of emotion, fear, economic panic, violence, war, and the other things that distress the world.

This is a comfort to the people of God. Our treasures are not of this world; neither do we find the causes of things in the world. Those whose portion is of the world cannot see beyond the world. In seeking the caues of things in the world, their hearts are filled with strife and bitterness and they are in incessent war with their neighbor [James 4]. They seek to control everything around them, and even when they pray, it is to seek to use God for their own purposes. They known nothing of submission, either to God or to man.

It is impossible for man to know the ways of God or the purposes of God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children. Some meditation upon the following Scriptures might bring some enlightenment in troublesome times:

22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
23 That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.
24 Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.
25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Is. 40.
Na 1:3 The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

First come the spiritual judgments against idolatry, as God gives men over to reprobate minds, because they do not like to retain Him in their knowledge. The evidence for this judgment is idolatry of all sorts. If it were not judgment, then why would men worship gods that are devised by men, out of their own imaginations? Romans 1:

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

Next come the moral judgments. God looses the reins that check their depravity and men are given over to their wicked lusts and desires. Romans 1:

26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Finally, the physical and economic judgments come. Ezekiel 4:

16 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff of bread in Jerusalem: and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment:
17 That they may want bread and water, and be astonied one with another, and consume away for their iniquity.

Proverbs 1:

4 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:
26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;
27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.

Matthew 7: 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

For the "Senility Defense" see the blog at Political Figs

Monday, October 06, 2008

Check the new post at Political Figs

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

What Is the Godly Man to Do?

1 For, behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water, 2 The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, 3 The captain of fifty, and the honorable man, and the counselor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator. 4 And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. 5 And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honorable. --Isaiah 3:1-5

What is a godly man to do in such a day. The answer is in verses ten and eleven:

10 Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. 11 Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.

Although the ungodly think that there is no no difference between the man who builds his house on the rock and the man who builds on the sand, God's mind has not changed and the difference between them remain and their end is different. Though children rule over the people of god, that does not make the boy-children wise rulers. Fools are fools no matter how many people fawn and say, "It is the voice of a god!"

1Th 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 1Thess. 5:3

What shall the righteous do? continue to believe and act in terms of the truth: It shall be well with the righteous and it will not be well with the unrighteous. Sodom is still Sodom and the brimstone is coming; Babylon is still Babylon and is fallen, is fallen: Hell is still Hell and its end is the Lake of Fire.

11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:11-16.

Amen and Amen.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hurrah for Greed

Hey, I got a great idea. I think we should show our compassion for the poor, both black and white and Hispanic or whoever and sell them houses that they cannot afford, that they do not appreciate, will not take care of. To encourage them to sign the papers, we will make the loans with extremely easy terms, no points, nothing that would make them feel that they can't afford it.

If this is successful, we will expand these loans to suckers in other income brackets. We will flood the world with our paper and party, party, party.

We will make a lot of money, because we will not hold the paper--we will sell it to government insured lending institutions who are run by our friends who share our view that every should have his own home, in order to make him feel good about himself and live the "American Dream." How can you have the "American Dream" unless you have a mortgage you cannot pay.

We will even lie about the nature of the securities made up of bundled deadbeat mortgages to entice foreign banks to invest in them. This also will enhance our reputation in the world, and we have been very worried about that because of the Iraq war. These foreign banks will use these useless securities [without knowing that they are deadbeat securities] as collateral to make many other loans that they would not be able to make if they did not have them.

It will be a wonderful world indeed. Everybody under his vine and figtree, making love to his significant other, for we have finally found the philosophers stone and are able to turn lead into gold, or least stones into bread.

Do you want to invest in my company? It will be called Prodigal Home Investments

No, of course not. Only a fool would. But you might loan other people's money if you had a big enough vision of your own greed. I will receive your mother's money, your money for your grandchildren, and your child's college fund. It is for a good cause, a colorblind, genderblind, sexorientation blind cause. It takes a big man to steal trillions of dollars either from the blind or on behalf of the blind.

See this link.

In Times of Crisis, Trust Capitalism: Click Here

By Joseph Calhoun

"The US government is executing a coup d’etat of capitalism and I fear that we will pay the price for many years to come. Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke and a host of others tell us the credit market is not working and the only way to get it working again is for the government to intervene. They claim this intervention is urgently needed and if we don’t act, the consequences are dire. Dire, as in New Depression dire.

"Have these supposed experts on capitalism forgotten how it really works?"


Click and read this article. We are not suffering an economic crisis because of captalism, but because of a failure of repeated government intervention in captalism. There are forces that are bent on destroying the American system and they are not in the capitals of Arab countries. This economic terrorism comes from without our own country, and both parties are responsible.

Everybody is not the same, and everybody does not deserve to have a house, a yard, and a mortgage. Those who build upon the sand will have their house come crashing down. We are sympathetic and will provide well-fare, but when the savings and investments of those who build upon the rock are used for politics and welfare programs, then everything comes crashing down.

But the truth remains: build upon the rock [hearing the sayings of Christ and doing them], and your house will not come down.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why We Have Not Been Attacked

"Terrorists haven’t attacked during the past seven years because of the work of the FBI, the CIA, and our military, as well as the sweeping changes President Bush instigated in the intelligence community.

"When Bush proclaimed that any country harboring a terrorist would be considered a terrorist country, Arab countries began cooperating in the war on terror, turning over thousands of terrorists and leads."


Read this article, and be proud that you voted for Bush.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Yes, They Were Guilty.

The trouble with youth is that they think that the world did not begin until they were born. "We don't know who _________ is," as one of my students used to say.

I was in college. Liberals were crying that Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were found guilty of espionage because Truman and Eisenhower didn't like their political opinions. I admired Ike for sticking to his principles and sending them to execution. Now, their co-conspirator, Morton Sobell, now 90-some years old, has admitted guilt as a Soviet spy.

Why is this important? It is important because very often the past is the key to the present. Those who rebel against authority use the same devices again and again. The guilty attack the witnesses against them, and impugn the honor of those who would hold them to account.

Liberals use the same devices year after year after year. Attack the accuser, call them bigoted and angry, defame their honor, refuse to listen to those who have experience.

"Indeed, Columbia University professor Eric Foner once wrote that the Rosenbergs were prosecuted out of a 'determined effort to root out dissent,' part of a broader pattern of 'shattered careers and suppressed civil liberties.' In other words, it was part of the postwar McCarthyite 'witch hunt.' "

The liberals of the 40's and 50's refused to admit that the United States was in a struggle with the Soviet Union for the very life of freedom and morality. They viciously attacked those who would bring them to account. Their spiritual children use the same devices against those who would defend liberty today.

They did not use argument or lawful procedures then, and they do not use lawful procedures now. They complain, they gripe, they moan and groan, they slander their opponents, they try to dig up dirt to destroy their enemies, and would leave a burnt earth behind them, if responsible people do not say "enough." Thank God there were enough sane people back then who were able to understand what was going on.

This is the misery of the young. Those who refuse to listen to history are bound to repeat it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Eating Veggies Shrinks the Brain
from The Times of India

Scientists have discovered that going veggie could be bad for your brain-with those on a meat-free diet six times more likely to suffer brain shrinkage."

Question: are you a vegan because of a small brain, or are you small-brained because you are a vegan? Or does it matter?

1 ¶ Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
--1Tim. 4:1-5

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Be sure to check Political Figs

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Why They Hate Her.

"The simple fact of her being a pro-life married mother of five with a thriving political career was--before anything else about her was known--enough for the left and its outliers to target her for destruction. She could not be allowed to contradict symbolically one of the central narratives of the left. How galling it will be to Sarah Palin's many new enemies if she survives this assault and prevails. If she does, her success may be an important moment in the struggle to shape not just America's politics but its culture." from the Weekly Standard


Read this article. I have said for a long time that the major issues of our day all have a sexual component. The roots are the the rise of the spirit of anarchy in the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century. Chesterton said that the greatest peril in the future would be from the super rich elite who would insist upon the privilege of engaging in any kind of sexual behavior and practice, no matter how perverse, without experiencing any evil consequences. The destruction of the family would be central to the realization of these goals, for young boys and young girls must be available for the indulgence of the passions of the reprobate.

There are new posts at Political Figs.
RealClearPolitics - Articles - Palin Doesn't Matter, Numbers Do: "The Sarah Palin 'boom' that has so traumatized Democrats and intimidated the press will have little if any impact on the presidential election. People don't vote for vice presidents, they vote for presidents. This race is about John McCain and Barack Obama not Annie Oakley from Wasilla, Alaska. It is also about turnout numbers and the electoral demographics in 2008 which overwhelm any impact Sarah Palin might have on the election outcome."

You remember Bob Beckel, don't you? Of course you don't. He was the architect of the wildly successful Mondale campaign against Ronald Reagan back in 1984. Mondale and Ferarro overwhelmed the electorate by winning the electoral votes of D.C. and Minnesota. I hope the Obama people take his observations seriously. They still don't get the Palin phenomenon. Annie Oakley indeed. Once an Eastern effete snob, always an Eastern effete snob. If anyone actually reads his article, it ought to provide a few extra votes for the McCain/Palin ticket.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I have been so re-invigorated by the McCain/Palin ticket that I might begin writing more on politics. For now, everyone ought to read a most insightful analysis of the McCain strategy by clicking on THIS LINK. The article appears in the Jerusalem Post. I honestly do not know what McCain may be able to do in Washington, but that uncertainty is a whole world better than what I KNOW that Obama will do. Watch this site and especially the Political Figs link on the menu to the right.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Check out Political Figs: click on link on menu to the right.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Prince Charles warns GM crops risk causing the biggest-ever environmental disaster - Telegraph

Prince Charles warns GM crops risk causing the biggest-ever environmental disaster - Telegraph: "In his most outspoken intervention on the issue of GM food, the Prince said that multi-national companies were conducting an experiment with nature which had gone 'seriously wrong'.

The Prince, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Telegraph, also expressed the fear that food would run out because of the damage being wreaked on the earth's soil by scientists' research."

Following the myth of man-made global warming, we abandon oil for methane, drive up the price of food by turning land to growing fuel instead of food, turn to hybrids to get more yield, which destroy the water tables, which result in man-made famine.

Good for Prince Charles. He might be a food nut, but maybe not. Maybe there is a reason for royalty, after all. At least we should have this debate. The mad, stupid rush for "alternative" fuels may prove to be a disaster of biblical proportions. Why DID God forbid "mixing the seed" in the field? eh? Does it have more than a ceremonial meaning?
See Deut. 22:9-11 and like passages.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Note: I am reviving "Political Figs" and there is a new post there. See the link at the menu to the right.

What Do You Talk About?

I read years ago, when I was a boy, that regular conversation may be a measure of intelligence, and I think it is true.

Stupid people only talk about things; smarter people talk about people; intelligent people talk about ideas. Some people never rise above talking about their cars, their houses, their pets, their gardens. Others only talk about their neighbors, relatives, and friends. They get bored with ideas.

The brightest people I know will speak of these things but can shift easily from things and people to great and lofty ideas about God, truth, and morals. One of the blessings of my circle of friends in church and seminary is this very thing; ideas fascinate them.

But I do not think that conversation is an function of intelligence only; it also has to do with spiritual understanding. Those who reject the great doctrines of Scripture become obsessed with details of things and the failures of people. They miss the lofty and majestic sweep of the ideas of the Bible. Nicodemus was one of these, although a teacher in Israel. "How can a man be born when he is old?" he asked Jesus. To him, born meant born, so Jesus was talking nonsense about being born again.

I hope I am not a snob, but please, just a few sentences about how you fixed your car, repaired your deck, cute things your dog does, or your new appliances--they are of marginal interest to me. A few more sentences about your relatives, children, friends, and neighbors will provide some comic relief or let me know how to pray for you--but please no character assassination, please. I know enough meanness without having you tell all the dirt you know about the people you know. I am interested in some things about yourself, but mostly how you think, not about what you had for breakfast. Not just the troubles or successes you have had, but what you think about them, and what you have learned from them.

Anybody for a discussion on regeneration, the work of the Holy Ghost, or God's care and providence for his people? Or, you name the topic. What about capitalism vs. socialism, or the evils of public welfare systems, or the evils of using slander to govern the church? Hmmmm.

"Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."

Jesus said that. Solomon put it a bit differently: "For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity." (Ec 7:6) Lots of noise but only a flash of fire.

"The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked." (Pr 10:11)

Monday, August 11, 2008


It was a joke during the 60's when the rebellion against the "system" was in full throat. We laughed at those who refused to conform to the prevailing standards of non-conformity. The rebels dressed the same, wore the same long, unkept hair, smelled the same, read the same books [if they read], and insisted on the same music. They cleaned up a little later, in the 70's and 80's, but their non-conformity still was boringly uniform. They even joined churches and forced everyone to conform to their own dippy music and boring informality.

The Bible does indeed call us to perfection. Christ's gifts to the church are for the "perfection of the saints," according to Ephesians 4. Hebrews 13 records a benediction for the church: "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

It is not the purpose of this blog to interpret the above passages or others like them, but to poke a bit of fun at a different kind of perfectionism, the person who abandons a church that teaches a high standard of Christian behavior and accuses the church of teaching "perfectionism."

Strange, isn't it? The church does not measure up to this person idea of what a church should be. His idea of a perfect church is one that does not teach high standards of behavior. Hence, the church is not perfect and must be abandoned. Because the church and ministry will not bow to his idea of perfection, he feels compelled to abandon it and seek a church that will be "perfect." Do you see the irony?

The Heidelberg Catechism, on the question of human authority and institutions, speaks against all forms of perfectionism. Question 104:

Q104: What does God require in the fifth Commandment? A104: That I show all honor, love and faithfulness to my father and mother, and to all in authority over me, submit myself with due obedience to all their good instruction and correction, and also bear patiently with their infirmities, since it is God's will to govern us by their hand.

Parents should certainly strive for high standards of behavior; governments ought to do the best they can. Churches should strive after conformity to the Scriptures. Every individual Christian must diligently put off the old man and put on the new. We are commanded to "Awake to righteousness, and sin not." [1Cor. 15:34].

But the Bible recognizes the reality of sin and failure. Men are not perfect and even the church that calls men to striving after excellence is not perfect.

The exhortation of the catechism to "bear patiently with their infirmities, since it is God's will to govern us by their hand" forces us to abandon the idea that everyone must bow to our wishes.

The government of the church belongs to those who are duly chosen under the authority and constitutions of the churches. The churches are not to be ruled by those who seek to impose their own imperfectionistic perfectionistism and to insist that everyone perfectly conform to their own brand of perfectionism.

Sin, of course, is not rational. People will destroy the peace of the Sabbath by insisting that everyone keep it the way they do; People will destroy the communion of the church by raising quarrels over Holy Communion; People will judge the law by condemning people for things they do themselves, as if the law is partial.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

What happened to solid preaching?

"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." (2Ti 4:2-5)

Is there a manual somewhere that preachers follow nowadays? I mean, other than the Scriptures.

If there is, the first rule must go something like this: "You must preach the truth, as you see it; you must be tough on evil, but kind and loving. You must make certain that people know that you are not talking about anyone in particular, you are only against evil in the abstract. The evil you speak of must be popular, incorrect wickedness, like racism, pollution, and injustice, and definitely not include sodomy, slander, malice, filthy talking, fornication, and unbelief. Social sins are very much in, and you may preach all you want about those, but stay away from personal wickedness, for that makes people uncomfortable. You must hold your finger to the wind, because truth changes and mores change and you don't want to be talking about yesterday's truth, yesterday's evils, and yesterday's virtues. You must be cutting edge. Most of all, you must not speak of repentance or hell or the wrath of God, for these things make people feel bad. There is good is all of us, and your duty is to connect with the good."

"Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you." (Jer 23:16-17)


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