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

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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