Monday, October 31, 2011

Tim Hawkins on Bad Candy




HT: Kevin DeYoung

Repost | For Reformation Day: An Insightful Documentary

I know I'm two days late, but I have had a very busy weekend and haven't had the chance to blog anything for the annual celebration of Reformation Day.  Every year while most are celebrating Halloween, many Christians, especially among the Reformed tradition, celebrate the nailing of the 95 Theses by Martin Luther on the Wittenburg Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany in 1517.  This moment in history is considered by most to be the official birth of the Great Reformation that changed the world.

Martin Luther is one of the most significant historic figures in the past 500 years.  He changed the world and there is no doubt about that.  His ideas and his reformation rediscovered the transcendent, pure gospel and for that he deserves the attention he has been granted.

In honor of this important figure on this important anniversary (493 years later!), I encourage you to watch this 2-part documentary on the life, ministry, and theology of Martin Luther.  I have seen most of it and from what I have seen I am impressed and I enjoyed it very much.  Among the scholars interviewed for this PBS special is Alister McGraff who I consider to be among the smartest men and theologians/philosophers in the world today.

So though I'm a little late, the Reformation continues, and the gospel must always be moving forward.


Part 1:





Part 2:





Part 3:





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Part 5:





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Part 10:





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Part 12:





For more:
Blogizomai- Martin Luther (1483-1546)  
Blogizomai - The 95 Theses, 490 Years Later
Blogizomai - Sola Fide and the Early Church: Quotes From the Patristics
Blogizomai - For Reformation Day:  An Insightful Documentary  
Blogizomai - Douglas Bond on the Legacy of John Knox 
Reviews - "John Knox" by Rosalind K. Marshall  
Blogizomai - The Mighty Weakness of John Knox 
Blogizomai - Was Calvin a Calvinist?  Helm Weighs In 
Blogizomai - He Turned the Water Into Wine: MacArthur, Alcohol, & Christian Liberty
Blogizomai - Theology Thursday | Calvin on the Redemptive Necessity of the Resurrection
Theology - Calvinist Baptists and the Many (False) Misconceptions
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 1
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 2
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 3
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 4
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 5
Blogizomai - The Real Divide:  Luther, the Reformation, and the Fight Over Perspicuity - Part 6 
GBC - "Without the Gospel": A Gem From John Calvin
GBC - Calvin on God in Theology and the Christian Life
GBC - Calvin on Providence
GBC - Calvin on Treasures in Heaven
GBC - Calvin on Fasting
GBC - Calvin on Prayer: Why Bother?
Reviews - "Young, Restless, and Reformed"
Reviews - The Theology of the Reformers  
Reviews - The Unquenchable Flame  
Reviews - "On the Necessity of Reforming the Church" by John Calvin
Reviews - John Calvin:  A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, & Doxology 
Reviews - Christianity's Dangerous Idea 
Reviews - "Five Leading Reformers"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

MacArthur & The Attacks on the Bible

I recently watched the following talk by pastor and author John MacArthur at the 2002 Ligonier National Conference entitled "The Attack on the Bible."  MacArthur offers a helpful overview of some of the many attacks on the Bible such as culture, the cults, and the critics.





For more:
Blogizomai - "It Pleased God": MacArthur on the Darkness and Drama at the Cross
Blogizomai - Theology Thursday | MacArthur: A Tale of Two Sons
Blogizomai - Reformed in Grace But Arminian Everywhere Else: MacArthur on the Future of the YRR Movement
Blogizomai - He Turned the Water Into Wine: MacArthur, Alcohol, & Christian Liberty
Blogizomai - Alcohol Today, Marijuana Tomorrow: When Money Changes Our Values   
Blogizomai - Theology Thursday | Theology and Ministry: An Interview With John MacArthur 
Blogizomai - MacArthur:  How to Confront the Culture
Blogizomai - Theology Thursday | MacArthur and the Gospel
Blogizomai - Weekly Recommendation - "Slave" by John MacArthur
Blogizomai - Weekly Recommendation - John MacArthur Study Bible
Reviews - A Tale of Two Sons
Reviews - The Prodigal God

Weekly Recommendation - "The Good News We Almost Forgot" by Kevin DeYoung

The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century CatechismKevin DeYoung is becoming one of my favorite authors.  I read his book Why We're Not Emergent: By Two Guys Who Should Be when I was doing research on the Emerging Church and have since read a number of his other books.  His most recent book, The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century Catechism was one book that I was interested in reading, but was almost certain not to really enjoy.  But I was pleasently surprised.

The book covers the Heidelberg Catechism first written in the 16th Century.  Admittedly, this sounds like a boring subject and certainly not one to sell books.  There are 52 chapters to be read over the course of a year (1 chapter each week).  Each chapter deals with a number of the Question and Answers sections of the catechism and the author walks the reader through it diving into the biblical and theological truth and its relevance.

The catechism itself has three main parts:  The Apostles Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord's Prayer.  Most Christians are familiar with these three (especially the latter two) and so are familiar with the issues that are raised in the catechism.

Deyoung offers sound (Presbyterian) theology.  DeYoung is not apologetic regarding his Presbyterianism (and for that I will forgive him :o) and does not back down from some of the more controversial aspects of it (like infant baptism).  But outside of the clear distinctive between Baptist and Presbyterian theology, I find little to disagree with in this book.  DeYoung has a gift of offering difficult (and many) theological subjects into quick 4-5 page summaries that cover the issue that almost any reader can understand.  An excellent example of this is his chapter on the Trinity.  Though thousands of books have been written on the subject, DeYoung manages to summarize the Biblical data and theological orthodoxy in a matter of a few pages.

One of the best parts of this book regards DeYoungs concern for the application of various doctrines.  The catechism tries to do this, but Deyoung is better at it.  One of my biggest frustrations as a former seminary student and current pastor is that most Christians consider doctrine pointless and it is our fault for this.  Instead, what we need to convey is the necessity and benefit of knowing and studying theology.  Everybody is a theologian whether they want to admit it or not.  DeYoung shows us how practical sound theology really is.

DeYoung offers one of my favorite quotes I've read in a long time.  In his introduction, he writes:  "The chief theological task now facing the Western church is not to reinvent or to be relevant but to remember" (13).  He's right in so many ways.  This is what is so brilliant about writing a book on a 400 year old document.  If God is immutable and the gospel is transcendent, then the doctrines of then remain with us today and do not need an update.  Too many in evangelicalism today miss this point.

I would encourage any and all Christians to dive into this text.  For those new to theology will find it difficult at times, but it is necessary nonetheless.  Each chapter is short and the book is designed to be read over time and not necessarily at once (though one can do that).  I also encourage everyone to read Deyoung's other books and listen to what he has to say.  He is setting himself up to be a major leader in the future of Christianity.


For more:
Reviews - "Just Do Something" by Kevin DeYoung
Reviews - "Why We're Not Emergent:  By Two Guys Who Should Be" by Kevin DeYoung
Reviews - "Why Our Church Switched to the ESV"

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Everybody Needs Toucan Subs: Bad Lip Reading Does It Again

This time it is Herman Cain who comes under the editorial skills of the folks at BadLipReading.  Welcome to frontrunner status Mr. Cain.





Here is the one they did on former frontrunner Rick Perry





"Save a pretzel for the gas jets . . . I wrote that!"


For more:
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Rick Perry Bad Lip Reading
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  North Comma South Carolina  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Animal Rights Consistency  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Unanswered Questions
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Fun With Dick and Jane  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Leprechaun in Alabama
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: This is Not a Joke - Affirmative Action For the Ugly-Americans
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Office Pranks
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day:  Church Greeters and Hand Sanitizers
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day: Mark Lowry's Mamma Had Enough
Blogizomai - Humerous Hump Day: Brian Regan Cell Phones 101
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day - Harry Carry and the Moon Made of Rips
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day: Voltswagen Pinata
Blogizomai - Taxidermatology: The Most Lifelike Dead Animals Around
Blogizomai - This is News?: The Politics of Personal Distruction Continues
Blogizomai - The Election Commercial Season is Upon Us: Discernment in the Season of Political Ads
Blogizomai - Fuzzy Math & Even Fuzzier Theology: Abbott & Costello Meets Modern Theology
Blogiozmai - They're Only Giving Him Material: Letterman Responds to the Jihadists After Him
Blogizomai - Adam & Eve on Comedy Central: Colbert Takes on Mohler & Traditional Christian Theology
Blogizomai - Everything is Amazing, But Nobody Is Happy: An Important Lesson
Blogizomai - The BCS Applied in Real Life
Blogiozmai - Repost Friday: Happy RamaHanuKwanzMas!
Blogizomai - Judge Free Zone?: Daily Show Illustrates Discriminatory Discrimination  

Around the Web: Links For Your Weekend - October 29, 2011

New York Times - The Evangelical Rejection of Reason | This Op-Ed piece which was published in the New York Times has gotten a lot of play and reaction from Evangelicals in recent weeks and so I will not go in more detail here.  It is certainly an important article that raises the many problems with the secularization of Christian theology.  One should not the arrogant, elitist tone in this article that has as its basic assertion that secularism is the norm.  Stand against that status quo and you are automatically a quack.

The rejection of science seems to be part of a politically monolithic red-state fundamentalism, textbook evidence of an unyielding ignorance on the part of the religious. As one fundamentalist slogan puts it, “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.” But evangelical Christianity need not be defined by the simplistic theology, cultural isolationism and stubborn anti-intellectualism that most of the Republican candidates have embraced . . . 

Fundamentalism appeals to evangelicals who have become convinced that their country has been overrun by a vast secular conspiracy; denial is the simplest and most attractive response to change. They have been scarred by the elimination of prayer in schools; the removal of nativity scenes from public places; the increasing legitimacy of abortion and homosexuality; the persistence of pornography and drug abuse; and acceptance of other religions and of atheism. 

In response, many evangelicals created what amounts to a “parallel culture,” nurtured by church, Sunday school, summer camps and colleges, as well as publishing houses, broadcasting networks, music festivals and counseling groups. Among evangelical leaders, Ken Ham, David Barton and James C. Dobson have been particularly effective orchestrators — and beneficiaries — of this subculture.


Albert Mohler - Total Capitulation: The Evangelical Surrender of Truth | Mohler offers the best response to the article above.


In their opinion essay, Karl W. Giberson and Randall J. Stephens accuse evangelicals of “simplistic theology, cultural isolationism, and stubborn anti-intellectualism,” among other things. They point specifically to the rejection of evolution, which they call “the rejection of science,” and then refer to this as “textbook evidence of an unyielding ignorance on the part of the religious.”

At times, the writers use the words fundamentalist and evangelical almost interchangeably. Following a line of argument popular among secular observers of conservative Protestantism, they explain that fundamentalism “appeals to evangelicals who have become convinced that their country has been overrun by a vast secular conspiracy.” In other words, they explain evangelical conviction in terms of psychology, not theology. Evangelicals, they argue, “have been scarred by the elimination of prayer in schools; the removal of nativity scenes from public places; the increasing legitimacy of abortion and homosexuality; the persistence of pornography and drug abuse; and acceptance of other religions and of atheism.” . . .

Giberson is well known as a leading proponent of evolution, and he has launched several lines of attack against evangelicals who reject evolution. A former professor of physics at Eastern Nazarene College, Giberson has argued that evangelical theology will simply have to give way to evolutionary theory, going so far as to admit: “I am happy to concede that science does indeed trump religious truth about the natural world.” . . . 


Something deeper is going on here, of course. Appearing on the October 20, 2011 edition of National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation program, Giberson argued that homosexuality should not be much of a concern at all. He revealed even more of his own approach to the Bible by asserting that “there’s just a handful of proof text[s] scattered throughout the Bible about homosexuality,” adding: “Jesus said absolutely nothing about it.”

That hardly represents an honest or respectful approach to dealing with the Bible’s comprehensive and consistent revelation concerning human sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular. Is Romans 1, for example, just a scattered proof text? Is not all of the Bible God’s Word? Well, Giberson has already made his view of the Bible clear — it is simply “trumped” by science when describing the natural world.


Mars Hill Church - Clarification on some rumors that have been on some blogs | Some helpful clarification on some decisions made by Mark Driscoll's Mars Hill Church in Seattle.  They confess their wrong and should have followed Paul's advice.  Before we sue other brothers and sisters in Christ, we should probably at least pick up the phone first.

When cases like this arise in the business world, it’s customary for a law office to send a notice asking the other organization to adjust their branding to differentiate it. This is commonly referred to as a cease and desist letter. On September 27, 2011, our legal counsel sent such a letter to these three Mars Hill churches requesting that they change their logo and name. In hindsight, we realize now that the way we went about raising our concerns, while acceptable in the business world, is not the way we should deal with fellow Christians. On Friday we spoke with the pastor of Mars Hill in Sacramento to apologize for the way we went about this. We had a very productive conversation and look forward to continuing that conversation in the days and weeks ahead.

We made a mistake in not calling these churches prior to sending the letter. We should have picked up the phone before sending any other communication.

Unfortunately, rather than hearing from the church in Sacramento, we began hearing that the matter was instead being speculated on by a blogger who did not verify any facts with us and, as a result, provided an inaccurate version of what transpired. This blog post from us is intended to alleviate any confusion.

As a clarification, we have not sued any churches and have no plans to sue any churches.


Virtue Online - Ann Widdecombe is Right:  Christianity in Britain Today is Under Severe Persecution | A very important article.

I am very much looking forward to tomorrow's speech by Ann Widdecombe in which she will criticise our government for its double standards in withdrawing aid from countries which persecute homosexuals while at the same time turning a blind eye to those realms around the world which persecute Christians.

Ms Widdecombe says, 'You have a better chance of earnest representation if you are a hedgehog than if you are a persecuted Christian.'

I am too old and cynical to expect anything better of governments, of whatever hue. But you might think that the leaders of the Church of England would protest more strongly against the persecution of Christians abroad and over here . . . 



Ah but surely all the atrocities are taking place in far off countries of which we know little? Not at all. Let's come a bit nearer home: . . . 


Christianity in Britain today is under severe persecution. And it will get much worse. I do not resent this persecution. I welcome it. For it will weed out the pseudo-Christians, the wimpish bishops and the caved-in Synod. By persecution we discover who our true friends actually are.


NBC News New York - Mandatory Sex Ed Details May Be Too Racy For Parents:  Report | And people wonder why my wife and I are seriously considering homeschooling.

The New York Post obtained workbooks that will be used for the new recommended curriculum, which begins in the spring in middle schools and high schools around the city. Parents, they say, may be shocked by details of the work.


Middle school students will be assigned "risk cards" that rate the safety of different activities, the paper says, from French kissing to oral sex.


The workbooks for older students direct them to a website run by Columbia University, which explores topics such as sexual positions, porn stars, and bestiality. The lessons explain risky sexual behavior and suggest students go to stores to jot condom brands and prices.


Mark Driscoll - Dating, Relating, and Fornicating | An interesting post from Pastor Mark.  The historical section is particularly insightful:


The cultural history of dating is interesting. In the early 1900s “calling” was the primary means of marrying. A young man would call on a young woman by going to the parlor in her parents’ home. Her parents carefully oversaw these meetings, and expectations for everything from dress and food to length of time of the call was regulated and spelled out. This protected women from the kind of sexual assault that is common today by involving the parents on every level of the courtship process. It also limited the opportunity for a woman and a man to be alone and sin sexually.

By the 1930s, however, the social landscape changed dramatically with the rise of the automobile. Cars gave young people freedoms and mobility they never had previously, resulting in increased opportunities for men and women to go out alone and increased temptations for drunkenness and sexual sin.


In Light of the Gospel - How Do You "Do Theology" | A helpful post summarizes the different schools of theology.  Here are the first few:

Exegetical Theology: This comes from the Greek term that means “to lead out.” With this discipline, we are trying to lead meaning out of a particular passage instead of reading our meaning into the passage. As we interpret and explain the passage, we ask what it conveyed to the original audience.Normally exegesis is focused on original intent.

Biblical Theology: This discipline traces the development of the Bible along the lines of redemptive history. We could trace the development of a theme (Kingdom of God), examine the theology of a particular book (What is the theology of Genesis?) or a group of books (What is the theology of the Pentateuch?) or a particular person (What is Paul’s theology?).

Systematic Theology: This is the attempt to set forth biblical truth topic by topic and as a whole, especially in light of some of our current challenges and struggles in the church. We could ask what does the Scripture say about the kingdom and how does it influence our understanding of the relation of church and state. The main topics of systematic theology are the Doctrines of Scripture, God, Man, Christ, Salvation, the Church, and End Times.


In Light of the Gospel - Book Suggestions for “Doing Theology” | In light of previous link, this is particularly helpful.

Systematic Theology

Where should I begin for this discipline? There are many great systematic theologies available. If you are new to systematic theology, try something like Bruce Milne’s Know the Truth, or Wayne Grudem’s smaller Bible Doctrine. Both of these books provide the large structure of systematic theological categories, but on a smaller scale than larger works. Louis Berkhof’s work Systematic Theology is still a Reformed classic because he covers everything in a traditional manner in one volume. Everyone should own this volume. For newer works, I really like Michael Horton’s Christian Faith. But my favorite systematic theology has now become Herman Bavinck’s four volume Reformed Dogmatics. If you could only buy one, and you wanted readability and a comprehensive treatment, spend the money on this one.


Bill O'Reilly - America in Decline | A good commentary from BillO.




The Right Scoop - Video: Wisconsin Reforms? Yes Their Working! | An interesting and helpful video explaining what happened in Wisconsin and whether or not it is working.




Ligonier Ministries - Free Download: The Barber Who Wanted to Pray | A free audio download.



Here is a great lecture on the Gospels as Eye Witnesses from Dr. Peter Williams.





And the Q&A that followed:


Friday, October 28, 2011

Justice and the Implications of Atheism: Doug Wilson Hits the Nail on Its Head

The following quote was just published by Doug Wilson at his blog Blog and Mablog regarding the difference between Christianity and atheism regarding justice and the problem of theodicy.  It is simply too good to not to pass along.  The quote is taken from Wilson's book Letter From a Christian Citizen:  A Response to "Letter to a Christian Nation" by Sam Harris.

If the two of us [an atheist and Christian] were looking at a new report of the latest atrocity, I would say that at some point in the future, in some fundamental way, that will be put right. You want to say, as an atheist, that it will not ever be put right. But you refuse, for some reason, to take the next logical step and admit that there is therefore nothing wrong with it now. (54).

I can't think of a better way of confronting the issue of theodicy with an atheist then that.  Great post from Wilson.


HT:  Doug Wilson 


For more:
Blogizomai - Collision:  An Important Documentary About Faith and Atheism  
Blogizomai - Atheism and Moral Relativistic Parenting: Touchstone Takes on Harris
Blogizomai - Harris on the Science of Morality:  Nice Try But No Cigar  
Blogizomai - Natural Morality:  The Disconnect Between Darwinism and Morality
Blogizomai -Freud's Wish Fulfillment: Why Atheism Can't Explain Atheism
Blogizomai -The Atheist Debates
Blogizomai -Atheism Is Not Great - The D'Souza and Hitchens Debate
Blogizomai -John Lennox: The New Atheism and the Gospel  Blogizomai -D'Souza: Are Atheists Cultural Christians
Blogizomai -Survival of the Moral: Can Man Be Moral Without God?
Blogizomai - Re: Survival of the Moral: Can Man Be Moral Without God?
Review -"Atheism Remix" by Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
Review -"The Delusion of Disbelief" by David Aikman
Review -"The End of Reason" by Ravi Zacharias
Review -What's So Great About Christianity? by Dinesh D'Souza
Review - "Life After Death" by Dinesh D'Souza 
Reviews - Mohler:  An Argument Against Atheists - Dinesh D'Souza on Christianity

Repost | Don't Be Naive, They're Having Sex: A Word to Parents, Students, and Pastors

From the Fox News website regarding casual sex/friends-with-benefits/hooking up in college:

Before you head back to campus, check your head when it comes to sex and dating: What’s your relationship “frame of mind?” Are you content to happily hook-up or are you ready to seriously couple-up?

A lot can change over the summer and, in addition to getting ready to hit the books, perhaps you’re also ready to turn a new leaf in the romance department?

With that in mind, here are a few simple rules for college dating.

If you're content with happily hooking up:

1)  Keep it simple – as in stay away from your roommate’s ex, or your best gal-friend (who probably has a serious crush on you – as if you didn’t know) or your ex twice removed. The whole point of casual sex is that it should require even less time and effort than that Pass/Fail Astronomy requirement you still need to take.

2)  Be safe. When you have casual sex, you’re sleeping with your partner’s partners’ partners and so on.

“The more partners an individual has,” according to the study "Sex in America," “the more likely he or she is to have sex with people who themselves have many partners, the more likely he or she is to have sex with virtual strangers; the more likely she or he is to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol during some sexual encounters, and while it is more likely that a condom was used, the rate of increased use of a condom does not seem great enough to offset the higher risks of infection.” So practice safe sex, and that means make smart decisions – preferably semi-sober decisions, not inebriated ones.

3)  Have fun. Hooking up (safely) is a great way to learn about sex, try out new techniques, and express your desires without the fear of being judged by someone you really care about. Basically casual sex is like training-wheels for that future special someone. But make sure the pleasure is mutual. According to Emily Nagoski, a woman is less likely to have orgasms early in a relationship. “Her body needs time to adapt to the new partner, to learn to trust him or her, and to relax into the knowledge that her partner accepts and appreciates her body.” So even if the sex is just casual, still aim for being an A-student.

Let me just speak here as a pastor to parents.  It is time for parents to stop living in a world of naivete.  Your young person is more than likely having sex even if they are not in a relationship.  If your child is in college, they are either already frequently viewing pornographic websites, magazines, and movies or engaging in a variety of popular forms of sex including friends with benefits, oral sex, or actual intercourse.

I don't know how many times I have had parents complain about how all of the other students are having sex with the naivete that their child isn't.  As a pastor I can no longer assume that the majority of young people in our church are virgins.  Most of my friends who are now married either had sex only with their spouse before marriage or had multiple partners before meeting and marrying their spouse.  Parents, your children are no different.

We no longer live in the world of your childhood.  With the advent of the Internet, Hollywood culture, and the mainstreaming of pornography, and the worship of youth it is inevitable that our students worship at the altar of sex.  The orgasm has become the peak of worship.  Lingerie is its vestments.  Hugh Hefner is its prophet.  And abortion is its main sacrament.  And your students are more than likely active participants with the delusion that one can engage in sexual activity without any consequences.

Let me also speak as a pastor to students. It is time for you to stop living in a world of naivete.  You are a fool is you think that sex can be free from any and all consequences.  By "consequences" I mean more than just pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.  Casual sex is a ruse.  Science (and logic) has proven that when two engage in sexual activity, our bodies make an emotional connection.  But casual sex forces us to deny this connection  This repetitive denial affects later relationships in that sex is separated from emotion, spiritual, and mental union.

Furthermore, casual sex cheapens sex and it cheapens you.  Idolatry is slavery and it gives the illusion that we are the master when in reality we are the one in bondage.  Promiscuity may appear exciting, liberating, and satisfying, but it only turns those engaging in union-less sexuality into pieces of meat.  Casual sex implies that your partner really doesn't care for you.  It is not a cure for loneliness.  It does not meet our natural need for relationships.

I don't know how many times I have spoken to people who have engaged in premarital sex who are destroyed after the relationship ends.  The heartache is extreme.  It is difficult to tell someone that they thought they were being loved when really they were being used.

Let me finally speak to pastors as a pastor.  It is time for us to stop ministering with complacency and naivete.  The parents and students in our congregation need us to deal with these issues.  It is time for us to stop acting like sex is a dirty word for a Sunday morning.  Scripture understands the incredible importance and temptation of sex and deals with it directly.  It is time for us to reflect that.  Too many of the couples in our churches have, are, or will engage in some sexual sin and many of the married couples in our churches are dealing with sexual issues.  We cannot remain silent on this issue anymore.  We have been given the responsibility to preach the Word - all of it - and the gospel - all of it - and by ignoring this issue we are in disobedience to our Savior.

Our sexually obsessed culture will only get worse and it is time for Christians to face the facts.  The thing about obsession is that it never leaves us content.  We are always needing more.  Whether it be drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping, or sex, such idols do not satisfy, they only leave us more thirsty.  The gospel offers a satisfying alternative that celebrates and increases the joy of sex.  Let that be our message and leave behind the naivete that is destroying our churches.


Fox News - College Dating: To Hook Up or Couple Up? 
World on the Web - Fox News on the virtues of ‘hooking up’
American Thinker - Straight Talk About Casual Sex 


For more:
Blogizmai - An Important Read: Premarital Sex and the Promises It Fails to Deliver
Blogizomai - Ravaged Love: Mutually-Agreed Infidelity and the Future of "Marriage"
Blogizomai - Pornography for the Mind:  Our Continuing Obsession for What is Not Real
Blogizomai - Obsess Much?:  Understanding Our Culture's Obsession With Sex
Blogizomai - The Great Recession or the Recession That Made Us Great?:  Pornography and the Frugality of Lust
Book Review - "Dirty Little Secret: Uncovering the Truth Behind Porn"
Book Review - "Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is): Sexual Purity in a Lust-Saturated World"
Blogizomai - The Slippery Slope: From Victorian Values to Bestiality . . . And Beyond - Part 1
Blogizomai - The Slippery Slope: From Victorian Values to Bestiality . . . And Beyond - Part 2
Blogizomai - The Slippery Slope:  From Victorian Values to Bestiality . . . And Beyond - Part 3
Blogizomai - The Slippery Slope:  From Victorian Values to Bestiality . . . And Beyond - Part 4
Blogizomai - Is What is Natural Moral?:  Homosexuality and the Animal Kingdom (Part 1)
Blogizomai - Is What is Natural Moral?  The Great Chasm Between Nature and Morality (Part 2)
Blogizomai - Is What is Natural Moral?:  The Way Forward is Backwards - Cave Men and the Return to Amoral Sexuality (Part 3
Blogizomai - Is What is Natural Moral?: Monogamy and What Jealousy Says About Naturalism

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Would Jesus Occupy Wall Street?

CNN asks:  Would Jesus occupy Wall Street?  Does this even deserve a response? If Jesus didn't protest the governments of Pilate, King Herod, or Caesar, I'd doubt he'd be rioting in the streets, shooting paintballs at police, or advocating socialism.





HT: The Blaze


For more:
Blogizomai - Jesus Was Not Political:  The Danger of Equating Jesus With Our Political and Economic Policies
Blogizomai - Repost | Jesus Was a Socialist Who Supports Progressive Income Taxes: MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell Tries to Makes His Case
Blogizomai - Have We Forgotten the Gospel?  Glenn Beck, Social Justice, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ    
Blogizomai - The Gospel and Pulpit Freedom Sunday:  How Christians Have Missed the Point 
Blogizomai - Why I (Hesitantly) Signed the Manhattan Declaration   
Blogizomai - To Build or Not to Build, That is Not the Question:  Where is the Gospel in the Ground Zero Debate? 
Blogizomai - To Build or Not to Build, That is Not the Question:  Where is the Gospel in the Koran Burning Debate?
Blogizomai - What Would Jesus Do About Illegal Immigration?:  Confusing Jesus' Message With American Policy   
Blogizomai - Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition:  The Gospel and the Shameful "Guns in Churches" Message

The Danger of the New Monism: Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Complete Series

Over the past several weeks, I have been posting a paper I wrote regarding what I call the New Monism.  It is a movement driven out of neruscience that argues that neuroscience has proven that we do not have a soul.  It is new in that it is based primarily on science, not on Scripture.  What many of the proponents do is first begin with the science and then seek to show that theology agrees.

One of the fascinating things I discovered during this series is that when we think of the conflict between science and theology, we usually only think in terms of evolution vs. creation and bioethics.  But here we see another place where the two bump heads. Science is increasingly suggesting that we are mechanistic robots without free will.  What these theologians try to show is that though we are without a soul, that does not mean that we are mere machines.

But in all of this, they fail.  If we are essentially nothing other than the byproducts of brain activity and the brain itself has evolved out of nothing, by accident, and driven by animalistic, genetic goals, then how are we not mechanistic?  Though the theologians try to defend both the current direction of neurscience and the gospel, they fail.

And it is the gospel that I seek to tackle here.  We rarely think that a discussion like this - over free will, anthropology, human nature, and the soul - affects our understanding of Jesus, the cross, the resurrection, justification, and salvation, but it does.  The paper - presented in a series of posts - argues that the New Monism, though they seek to be faithful to both science and the Christian gospel, fail miserably and unfortunately when many have to chose one, it is theology - and the gospel - that gets the ax.

I hope the series is helpful.


The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 1 
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 2 
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 3
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 4a  
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 4b   
The Danger of the New Monism:  Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 4c
The Danger of the New Monism: Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 5a
The Danger of the New Monism: Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 5b 
The Danger of the New Monism: Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 5c  
The Danger of the New Monism: Fidelity to Science, Infidelity to the Gospel - Part 6  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hump Day Humor: North Comma South Carolina

Here is a classic video from when Bill Cosby hosted "You Bet Your Life."





For more:
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Animal Rights Consistency  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Unanswered Questions
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Rick Perry Bad Lip Reading
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Fun With Dick and Jane  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Leprechaun in Alabama
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: This is Not a Joke - Affirmative Action For the Ugly-Americans
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Office Pranks
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day:  Church Greeters and Hand Sanitizers
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day: Mark Lowry's Mamma Had Enough
Blogizomai - Humerous Hump Day: Brian Regan Cell Phones 101
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day - Harry Carry and the Moon Made of Rips
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day: Voltswagen Pinata
Blogizomai - Taxidermatology: The Most Lifelike Dead Animals Around
Blogizomai - This is News?: The Politics of Personal Distruction Continues
Blogizomai - The Election Commercial Season is Upon Us: Discernment in the Season of Political Ads
Blogizomai - Fuzzy Math & Even Fuzzier Theology: Abbott & Costello Meets Modern Theology
Blogiozmai - They're Only Giving Him Material: Letterman Responds to the Jihadists After Him
Blogizomai - Adam & Eve on Comedy Central: Colbert Takes on Mohler & Traditional Christian Theology
Blogizomai - Everything is Amazing, But Nobody Is Happy: An Important Lesson
Blogizomai - The BCS Applied in Real Life
Blogiozmai - Repost Friday: Happy RamaHanuKwanzMas!
Blogizomai - Judge Free Zone?: Daily Show Illustrates Discriminatory Discrimination  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Theology Is Not Superior To the Gospel": Rauschenbusch, Liberalism, and the Old Old Story

I continue to work on my paper on Rauschenbusch's understanding of the atonement as revealed in his book A Theology For the Social Gospel for a Ph.D. class on 19th Century Protestantism at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  I came across the following section of the first chapter of his book on why the "old theology" needs to be replaced with his theological understanding and basis for the social gospel.  He writes:

Theology is not superior to the gospel. It exists to aid the preaching of salvation. Its business is to make the essential facts and principles of Christianity so simple and clear, so adequate and mighty, that all who preach or teach the gospel, both ministers and laymen, can draw on its stores and deliver a complete and unclouded Christian message. When the progress of humanity creates new tasks, such as world-wide missions, or new problems, such as the social problem, theology must connect these with the old fundamentals of our faith and make them Christian tasks and problems.

The adjustment of the Christian message to the regeneration of the social order is plainly one of the most difficult tasks ever laid on the intellect of religious leaders. The pioneers of the social gospel have had a hard time trying to consolidate their old faith and their new aim. Some have lost their faith; others have come out of the struggle with crippled formulations of truth. Does not our traditional theology deserve some of the blame for this spiritual wastage because it left these men without spiritual support and allowed them to become the vicarious victims of our theological inefficiency? If our theology is silent on social salvation, we compel college men and women, workingmen, and theological students, to choose between an unsocial system of theology and an irreligious system of social salvation. It is not hard to predict the outcome. If we seek to keep Christian doctrine unchanged, we shall ensure its abandonment.

Instead of being an aid in the development of the social gospel, systematic theology has often been a real clog. When a minister speaks to his people about child labour or the exploitation of the lowly by the strong; when he insists on adequate food, education, recreation, and a really human opportunity for all, there is response. People are moved by plain human feeling and by the instinctive convictions which they have learned from Jesus Christ. But at once there are doubting and dissenting voices. We are told that environment has no saving power ; regeneration is what men need ; we can not have a regenerate society without regenerate individuals; we do not live for this world but for the life to come; it is not the function of the church to deal with economic questions; any effort to change the social order before the coming of the Lord is foredoomed to failure. These objections all issue from the theological consciousness created by traditional church teaching. These half-truths are the proper product of a half-way system of theology in which there is no room for social redemption. Thus the Church is halting between two voices that call it. On the one side is the voice of the living Christ amid living men today; on the other side is the voice of past ages embodied in theology. Who will say that the authority of this voice has never confused our Christian judgment and paralysed our determination to establish God's kingdom on earth?

This is of course what liberals have always argued.  In this book, Rauschenbusch seeks to both present a theological defense of the social gospel and at the same time save Christianity from what would later be called fundamentalism.  Rauschenbusch has bought into the myth that Christianity must be saved from modernity (and in our day, postmodernity).  And yet, Rauschenbusch's push for a social gospel has given us a lot of social but little to no gospel.

The first line is particularly interesting.  Theology is not superior to the gospel, is admittedly a strange sentence, but a provocative one.  Is he suggesting that that one can embrace the gospel without theology?  Is he suggesting that theology is unnecessary to understand the gospel and to be saved?  As a friend of mine asks, is he not presenting here a false dichotomy?  What does he mean by the gospel?  Is that not a theological category?

One of the points he makes throughout the book is that beginning with Paul, Christianity started to move away from the message of Jesus.*  He argues that Christianity went from a message about the Kingdom of God to what one believes about the Person and Work of Christ, the atonement, and a host of other doctrines.  Does this mean that that theology does not matter or that what one believes is inconsequential to salvation so long as one is driven towards fighting injustice and living a socially ethic lifestyle?  And if so, how does God regenerate one to move towards serving society without some theological convictions?  And isn't the book in which this quote is found a book on theology and the gospel?  Perhaps C. S. Lewis' point that theology is like a map is helpful here.  Theology points us to Jesus and the gospel, but theology itself is not salvation.  But I don't think that is his point here.

I believe Walter Rauschenbusch is one of the most important figures in modern liberalism whose voice continues to be echoed in movements like the Emergent Church, postmodern liberalism, and others.  But what separates Rauschenbusch and the liberals of today isn't their message, but their ability to articulate it.  Postmodern liberals and Emergents have not presented anything new, but are repeating the same failures of the past.  Liberalism has become the old theology.  Rauschenbusch, on the other hand, was at least moving theology - though liberal and heterodox - forward.

What Rauschenbusch presents here remains a major challenge to Christian theology.  Should Christian theology begin with the culture or with the transcendent gospel?  If it is based on the gospel, then it is not subject to change regardless of the vapor and winds of society.  But if it is based on current trends in culture, then God is too movable and untrustworthy to worship.  If a changing theology reflects a changing God, then what assurance do we have that He is still loving, merciful, and immanent?

If liberalism, old and "new," has taught us anything it is that the old old story is what we need and any new new story remains inadequate to meet the challenges of today, including the many challenges of society. The gospel does not need an update.


*This is an old argument from liberals that is still being used today.  Adolf von Harnack made a living off of this argument.  See his What is Christianity? for more.



For more on Walter Rauschenbusch:
You can read Waltar Raushenbush's groundbreaking book, "A Theology for the Social Gospel" online here.
Review - "A Theology for the Social Gospel" - Part 1
Review - "A Theology for the Social Gospel" - Sin
Review - "A Theology for the Social Gospel" - Atonement  
Theology - Orthodoxy vs. Unorthodoxy: A Look at Rauschenbush's "A Theology for the Social Gospel"
Blogizomai - "The Kingdom is Always But Coming"


For more:
Blogizomai - Accommodationism Breeds Irrelevancy: Why Liberalism Fails and the Transcendent Gospel Triumphs
Blogizomai - Repost Friday | How To Change the World: The Advantage and Power of the Gospel and the Limits of the Social Gospel
Blogizomai - What Would Jesus Vote?:  Jesus, Health Care, and the Gospel
Blogizomai - Have We Forgotten the Gospel?  Glenn Beck, Social Justice, and the Gospel
Blogizomai - Who Isn't One?:  Brian McLaren and Social Christians
Blogizomai - Repost | What Did the Cross Accomplish?: External Hope or Internal Reformation
Blogizomai - Have We Forgotten the Gospel?:  Glenn Beck, Social Justice, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Blogizomai - Crossing the Wall of Separation: The Danger of the State Wooing the Church
Blogizomai - Weekly Recommendation - "Generous Justice" by Timothy Keller
Theology - Repent for Health Care is At Hand: Did Obama Just Legislate the Gospel?
Theology - The Postmodern Social Gospel: Brian McLaren Proves My Point 
Theology - The Bible and Poverty: The Gospel as the Remedy 
Theology - What Does It Mean to be  Christian?
Review - "Jesus Wants to Save Christians
Review - "UnChristian"
Reviews - "The Justice Project
Review - "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns
Review - "The Gospel According to Jesus" by Chris Seay  
Review - "Outlive Your Life" by Max Lucado 
Review - "When Helping Hurts
Review - "Everything Must Change
Review - "The Great Awakening" Part 1
Review - "The Great Awakening" Part 2
Shortblog - Glenn Beck and Social Justice
Shortblog - The Power of the Gospel in Bringing Social Change:  Perhaps We Need to Reconsider Our Efforts
Theology - Is Wallis a Marxist?  A New Video Surfaces

"It Pleased God": MacArthur on the Darkness and Drama at the Cross

Sunday evening I was on my way to a near-by hospital to make an important visit of one of our members who is suffering severely and who's condition continues to deteriorate. While on the road, I listened to two sermons by John MacArthur I had just received in the mail from his Grace To You ministry titled Darkness and Drama at the Cross, Parts 1 and 2.  The sermons was originally titled Divine Mercy for the Blasphemers and God Visits Calvary and were exposition of Mark 15:22-41.

The first sermon was particularly powerful and I want to pass it along to you.  After surveying the mockings, beatings, and abuse of Jesus on the cross, MacArthur raises the question why doesn’t God come down and kill these sinners?  His answer is important:  because God was pleased to kill His Son for those sinners. That’s Isaiah 53, “It pleased God to crush Him.” It pleased God.

I couldn't help but clap and worship God while on my way to pray with a dear loved one and church member who is suffering as I thought about the cross, my Savior, and my God.  I hope the following sermons are as touching to you as they were to me.


Darkness and Drama at the Cross, Part 1 or Divine Mercy for the Blasphemers:





Darkness and Drama At the Cross, Part 2 or God Visits Calvary:





For more:
Blogizomai - Theology Thursday | MacArthur: A Tale of Two Sons
Blogizomai - Reformed in Grace But Arminian Everywhere Else: MacArthur on the Future of the YRR Movement
Blogizomai - He Turned the Water Into Wine: MacArthur, Alcohol, & Christian Liberty
Blogizomai - Alcohol Today, Marijuana Tomorrow: When Money Changes Our Values   
Blogizomai - Theology Thursday | Theology and Ministry: An Interview With John MacArthur  

Blogizomai - MacArthur:  How to Confront the Culture
Blogizomai - Theology Thursday | MacArthur and the Gospel
Blogizomai - Weekly Recommendation - "Slave" by John MacArthur
Blogizomai - Weekly Recommendation - John MacArthur Study Bible
Reviews - A Tale of Two Sons
Reviews - The Prodigal God

Monday, October 24, 2011

An Important Read: Jeffress on Faith, Politics, & Secularism

Dallas Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress has come under recent fire for his comments that Mormonism is a cult and not orthodox Christianity.  The context of the comments came after publically endorsing the very-Christian Texas governor Rick Perry for President.  The current conventional front runner for the Republican Presidential race is Mitt Romney, a Mormon, and many thought that Jeffress was telling Christians that they cannot vote for a Mormon for President.  However, days later, Jeffress said publically that he would vote for Romney over Obama any day, but Christians should always prefer a Christian candidate and that is one of the major roles of primaries.

I agree with much that Jeffress, a fellow Baptist, has said on the issue of theology, faith, and politics, but am deeply concerned with the perception that mixing such worlds creates.  To categorically say that Mormonism isn't Christianity isn't being intolerant, its being honest and theologically and historically accurate.  Joseph Smith admitted as much.  However, when criticizing Mormonism after endorsing a Presidential candidate who's greatest rival is a Mormon only invites the sort of criticism Jeffress has received.

Last week, Jeffress published an important article in the Washington Post defending his views and his words and actions.  It is a good read and well worth the look. He begins:

Hearing Mitt Romney’s surrogate Bill Bennett refer to me as a bigot and Jon Huntsman call me a “moron” last week after my controversial comments on Mormonism, amid calls for civility and tolerance in public discourse, reminds me of the exclamation: “We will not tolerate intolerance!” But beyond the personal insults, I am concerned that these men are attempting to prematurely marginalize religion as a relevant topic in elections.

Utilizing such incendiary rhetoric against those of us who dare bring up a candidate’s spiritual beliefs cuts off discussion about religion before it begins . . .

He then moves to his first point:


First, discussion of a candidate’s faith is permissible. Over the past several days, talk show hosts have lectured me about Article VI of the Constitution, which prohibits religious tests for public office, as if considering a candidate’s faith is somehow unconstitutional, un-American or even illegal. How ludicrous. This is a not-so-subtle attempt to eliminate through intimidation religion as a suitable criterion by which to choose a candidate. The Constitution is referring to religious litmus tests imposed by government, not by individuals . . .

And then on to the second point:

Second, discussion of a candidate’s faith is relevant. During a time of rising unemployment, falling home prices and massive deficits, it is easy to relegate religion as an irrelevant topic. Yet our religious beliefs define the very essence of who we are. Any candidate who claims his religion has no influence on his decisions is either a dishonest politician or a shallow follower of his faith . . .

Conservatives spent most of the 2008 election calling for an investigation of Barack Obama’s religious beliefs in relationship to his membership in the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church. Did he embrace the views of his pastor? Again, a fair question because no religion I’m familiar with allows for a separation of faith from behavior. The question is not whether personal spiritual beliefs shape a politician’s values and policies, but what spiritual beliefs mold those values and policies

And finally:

Finally, discussion of a candidate’s faith is multifaceted. I believe I have been misquoted repeatedly as telling the GOP not to vote for Romney. I have never made such a statement; I realize I might very well end up voting for Romney if he is the Republican nominee. While I prefer a competent Christian over a competent non-Christian, religion is not the only consideration in choosing a candidate. Frankly, Christians have not always made good presidents. We must also consider whether a candidate is competent to lead and govern according to biblical principles. 

During this firestorm I’ve reignited over the role of religion in politics, some have quoted Martin Luther as saying he would rather be governed by a competent unbeliever than an incompetent Christian. Yet evangelicals should remember that the purpose of the primary process is to keep us from having to make such a choice. At this point we have the opportunity to select both a competent leader and a committed Christian.

I predict secularists are going to be continually frustrated over the next 13 months as religion continues to be a part of the national political debate. America is filled with religious people, and to religious people, religion matters.


Robert Jeffress - Why a candidate’s faith matters


For more:
Blogizomai - On God, Religion, Politics, and Mormonism: Robert Jeffress on Bill Mahar
Blogizomai - Here We Go Again: Mormonism and Presidential Politics
Blogizomai - An Important Read: Is Mormonism "Having a Moment?"
Blogizomai - The Remarriage of Faith and Public Policy: Why Kennedy's Legacy Is a Farce
Theology - "Those Are Biblical Principles...?": Jeremiah Wright's Theology Misapplied  
Reviews - "The Audacity of Hope"  
Blogizomai - Prophet, Priest, and President:  Is Obama the Messiah? 
Blogizomai - Politics is Thicker Than Promises:  Lessons Learned From Obama and the Gay Community
Blogizomai - It Ain't Easy Being the Messiah:  Is Reality Finally Hitting America About the Messianism of Politicians?
Blogizomai - We Are All Theologians:  The Root of All We Are and Do  
Blogizomai - What's In a Word?  A Subtle Shift From Freedom of Religion to Freedom of Worship and Why It Matters 
Blogizomai - The Ongoing Conversation on Religious Liberty
Blogizomai - The Lion of the Senate and the Lamb of God:  The Pope, the Politician, and the Plea for Grace 
Blogizomai - Why I (Hesitantly) Signed the Manhattan Declaration

We Got Him!: How Presidents Announce the Capture or Deaths of Dictators

This past decade has seen the capture and killing of some of the world's worst people.  What I find interesting in all of this is the role that YouTube plays in archiving history.  Below is how two of our most recent Presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, have announced the capture or killing of four of the worst people in the world of the past decade.


Bush Announces the Capture of Saddam Hussein:




(Here is the more famous video of the announcement that Hussein had been captured.  Ladies and Gentlement, We Got Him!")





President Barack Obama Announces the Killing of Osama Bin Laden:





President Obama Announces the Killing of Muammar Gaddafi:





President Obama Announces Death of Al-Awlaki:





For more:
Blogizomai - President Obama Announces the Death of Al-Awlaki
Blogizomai - "Justice Has Been Done":  President Obama Announces tohe Death of Osama bin Laden 
Blogizomai - After the Raid:  Obama on 60 Minutes 
Blogizomai - The Death of Bin Laden:  How Christians Have Responded - Part 1 
Blogizomai - The Death of Bin Laden:  How Christians Have Responded - Part 2
Blogizomai - The Death of Bin Laden:  How Christians Have Responded - Part 3
Blogizomai - Where Is He Now?: McLaren on the Question of bin Laden's Final Destination
Blogizomai - The State of Our Union 2011
Blogizomai - Prayer and Breakfast:  Obama at the 2011 National Prayer Breakfast 
Blogizomai - President Obama at the 2011 Easter Prayer Breakfast 
Blogizomai - "A Responsibility to Act":  Obama Explains Lybian Action to the Public  
Blogizomai - The Contrasts Are Clear:  Obama and Jindal's Proposals  
Blogizomai - To Comfort a Nation:  Obama in Arizona and How the Nation Reacted 
Blogizomai - The Beginning of the End:  Obama Announces the End of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Around the Web: Links For Your Weekend - October 22, 2011

Today is October 22, 2011.  If your reading this, then I guess Harold Camping was wrong . . . again.  Can we now stop giving this guy press?

Doug Wilson - Everyone But the Demons | Wilson is not a fan of the Occupy Wall Street protestors.  In short, he runs out of adjectives to describe them.

As I have thought about how best to respond to this Occupy Wall St. business, it seems to me that it really should be treated with the seriousness it deserves. It is not every day that the body politic gets covered with economically illiterate pustules.

We are trying to make out their demands -- for are we not profoundly interested? -- but unfortunately their peculiar articulation of economic theory indicates that they apparently don't have a roof in their mouths. I can't quite decipher . . . But Jim Wallis has said that the protesters are "standing with Jesus." That, all by itself, is enough to make any right-minded citizen want to scurry up a tree and start throwing coconuts . . . 


Not all jam being a leftist. They know how to demonize absolutely everyone but the demons.

HT:  Denny Burk


Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. - My Take: Are evangelicals dangerous? | Another great - and timely - article from Dr. Mohler.


Every four years, with every new presidential election cycle, public voices sound the alarm that the evangelicals are back. What is so scary about America’s evangelical Christians?

Just a few years ago, author Kevin Phillips told intellectual elites to run for cover, claiming that well-organized evangelicals were attempting to turn America into a theocratic state. In “American Theocracy,” Phillips warned of the growing influence of Bible-believing, born-again, theologically conservative voters who were determined to create a theocracy.

Writer Michelle Goldberg, meanwhile, has warned of a new Christian nationalism, based in “dominion theology.” Chris Hedges topped that by calling conservative Christians “American fascists.”

And so-called New Atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris claim that conservative Christians are nothing less than a threat to democracy. They prescribe atheism and secularism as the antidotes.
This presidential cycle, the alarms have started earlier than usual. Ryan Lizza, profiling Rep. Michele Bachmann for The New Yorker, informed his readers that “Bachmann belongs to a generation of Christian conservatives whose views have been shaped by institutions, tracts, and leaders not commonly known to secular Americans, or even to most Christians.”

Change just a few strategic words and the same would be true of Barack Obama or any other presidential candidate. Every candidate is shaped by influences not known to all and by institutions that other Americans might find strange.

What stories like this really show is that the secular elites assume that their own institutions and leaders are normative.


BreakPoint (Charles Colson) - Permission Slip From Caesar | Colson takes on the issue in California that prevents a group of Christians from gathering together for Bible Study.


Every Wednesday and Sunday, between 20 and 50 people gather at the home of Stephanie and Chuck Fromm for Bible studies. While that sounds like a lot of people, the Fromms have a lot of home: the property includes a “corral, barn, pool and huge back lawn,” typical of their “semi-rural” neighborhood.

Unfortunately for the Fromms, their home came with a neighbor who, by her own admission, “has never gotten along with the Fromms.” So she filed a complaint against the Fromms.

That’s when the Fromms learned that their Bible studies violated local ordinances. Not because they were too noisy: There’s no singing or music at the gatherings. Not because of any parking problems: Chuck Fromm makes sure that his guests are not obstructing his neighbors in any way.

No, they violate the law because local ordinances require a “conditional use permit” for meetings of “religious, fraternal or non-profit” organizations in residential neighborhoods. The ordinance doesn’t specify how many people need to gather to run afoul of the law: Three Freemasons could meet over coffee in one of their homes to discuss Lodge business and be in violation of the law.

The Fromms are challenging the law in Court. Stephanie Fromm says, “we should be able to be hospitable in my home.” It sounds reasonable. And as Chuck Fromm says, the issue goes beyond Bible studies.


Ed Stetzer - Brand New Research on Pastors and their View of Ministry | Some interesting results.

According to just about every stat I hear, pastors hate the ministry, are miserable, would get out what if they could-- and that it is hurting their family. You've probably heard these statistics at a pastors conference. So, we decided to do a crazy thing-- we actually asked them.

But that's not what we see when we actually ask them. There is discouragement and loneliness, but when 98 percent agree it is a privilege to be a pastor, we also know there is a great honor to being a pastor.



The Resurgence - The Chicago Statement of Inerrancy | Here is a great summary and historical sketch of this important document regarding Scripture.

The section of affirmations and denials include several other important points:

  1. Scripture’s authority comes from its being the Word of God, not from the church or tradition, and is thereby authoritatively binding
  2. The finitude of human language does not preclude it being used as a medium for divine revelation
  3. While inspiration did not eliminate human authorship and literary style, it did guarantee that their utterances were true and trustworthy
  4. Only the autographs of Scripture were inspired, but this does not render the doctrine irrelevant since an accurate representation of the autographs can be constructed from the manuscripts we have
  5. While inerrancy and infallibility can be distinguished, they cannot be separated; that is, the Bible cannot be at the same time infallible and errant in its assertions
  6. Inerrancy is rooted in the doctrine of inspiration
  7. While affirming inerrancy is not necessary for salvation, it is vital to the Christian faith, and its rejection leads to serious consequences in the individual and the church.


Rasmussen - 2012 Iowa Republican Caucus | Iowa polls are starting to reflect national polls.  Thus, Herman Cain is winning in Iowa.  Interesting.  Consider one of the last paragraph:

Among those absolutely certain they will show up and participate in the caucus, Cain leads Romney 31% to 18%. Many have criticized the Cain campaign for not having a strong organization in Iowa which is seen as essential to turning out the vote. According to such conventional analysis, Cain might be at risk of raising expectations too high and then underperforming.



    Dick Morris - 9-9-9 Can Save Our Country | There is a lot of talk of Herman Cain's tax reform proposal.  Many suggest that it will cause more harm than good, but Dick Morris suggests that it could save our country. Some interesting points here.  My response to the plan.  Can it really be any worse or more difficult than the one we already have?

    His proposal is breathtaking. Currently, the lowest top tax rate is Poland’s 18 percent. And Poland is the only European nation that had no recession. If Cain passes 9-9-9, we will thrive and become the destination of choice for every business and businessman. Look at what Reagan’s tax cuts achieved, and at the best-performing state economies, where there is no income tax.

    The proposal, naturally, attracts critics and skeptics.

    Some worry that it will add to the deficit. But that’s not likely.

    · Americans now earn $12.5 trillion of personal income. Tax it at 9 percent with no deductions and you generate about $1.125 billion.

    · We spend $10.3 trillion. A 9 percent tax would yield about $927 billion.

    · Net corporate income (after dividends) is $1.1 trillion. A 9 percent levy would generate $100 billion.

    · That comes to $2.152 billion, about the same as our actual revenues of $2.162 billion for fiscal 2010.


    Interesting point from NT Wright on Charles Darwin and Deism.




    HT: First Things