Sunday, February 29
7:30 AM A blogger's take on the Passion fever among evangelicals:
I am personally grieved at how droves evangelicals are throwing themselves at The Passion movie. They are hungry for something aesthetically rich and wholesome and they dive into the first plate that comes along that might fill the bill. The evangelical church is driven by experience. The word is not enought. So a movie like The Passion of the Christ comes along and fills this desire. They are really no different from Medieval supersticious mystics in this regard. The Reformation marked the ascendancy of the word as a liberator from the endless longing for experience.
Evangelicals flocking to The Passion shouldn't be that surprising. These are, after all, the same people who bought millions of copies of Jabez and the Armageddon series, and who made Thomas Kinkade a multi-millionaire. Ignorance and foolishness reigns in the evangelical church today (the rest of the church (mainline) is even worse off). It is time to weep.
But it gets worse. It seems that many who call themselves reformed are also tearing loose from their confessional moorings and taking the plunge. We who in many respects led the way in encouraging the church to be cultural, have gone overboard and have (seemingly) forgotten that there are scriptural limits to cultural involvement. Being "involved" or "engaged" or "relevant" trumps all other factors. The end justifies the means. We are loosing our distinctiveness -- our biblical flavor. We will never create a Christian culture at this rate.
Read the threads on the World sites. The lines of "reasoning" and lack of biblical understanding are tragic.
And so I weep.
Be a discerning Christian. Before you see Gibson's movie, read these:
Friday, February 27
10:00 AM Off to First Baptist Norfolk to speak on Paul's letter to the Romans and his letters to the Corinthians, as well as several of his Prison Epistles. What great books! We'll have lots of fun diagramming the opening salutation of Romans (1:1-7) and discussing (among other topics) the theme of Philippians (no, not joy, but something far more significant). The slush is awful here in North Carolina, but I understand that Norfolk didn't even get a dusting. Still, drive carefully, everyone!
7:00 AM I received the following inquiry this morning:
You sound like my kind of man. I used to be a devout Republican until I realized that the party was chock full of people who voted for everything I despise. Bush has failed me way too many times. What do you think of Roy Moore? I hear he might run with the Constitution Party this year.
It is my understanding that Judge Moore has declined to run for national office and that the party's candidate for president will be Mr. Michael Peroutka, whose website I've linked to on my front page. Of course, nothing is settled until the Constitution Party holds its national convention in June.
Thursday, February 26
7:30 AM Schröder on the horns of a dilemma: Is the price too high to mend fences with Bush?
7:10 AM "Are you concerned, as I am, about deception in the Church and deviation from God's written Word?" Read Berit Kjos's review of The Passion.
7:05 AM A good friend of mine has passed away. He taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School near Chicago and was well loved by students and colleagues alike.
Dr. Paul Feinberg, in memoriam
August 13, 1938–February 21, 2004
6:30 AM Here's a blogger who has seen the light:
Mr. Michael Peroutka. A member of the Constitution party who is the kind of man we need for the President of the United States of America. I will most likely be casting my vote for Mr. Peroutka come November. Having been disappointed with President Bush time after time it is good to see a candidate who has backbone finally running for office. My fear is that he will lose not so much because of Democrats but because of other people voting for Bush, not so much because Bush is a good candidate or not but because they don't want the Democrats to get into the White House. So they vote for Bush not because of conviction but because they would rather avoid the Democrats getting elected then to vote for what is right and good in this world. My point is; Why would you vote for someone who has done a bad job just to avoid a Democrat getting into office instead of voting according to conviction and having the candidate lose but knowing that you did what was right? I've encountered many people who have "The lesser of two evils" kind of thinking. If people do vote that way (and they will) let us hope that a Democrat does get into office anyways.
Wednesday, February 25
1:30 PM Can the church fulfill its command to be “salt and light” if its pulpit is silent on how members should apply biblical truths to cultural issues? Find the answer at this excellent website.
1:15 PM The Constitution Party Platform proclaims:
"We, the members of the Constitution Party, gratefully acknowledge the blessing of the Lord God as Creator, Preserver and Ruler of the Universe and of this Nation. We solemnly declare that the foundation of our political position and moving principle of our political activity is our full submission and unshakable faith in our Savior and Redeemer, our Lord Jesus Christ. We hereby appeal to Him for mercy, aid, comfort, guidance and the protection of His Divine Providence as we work to restore and preserve this Nation as a government of the People, by the People, and for the People."
A supporter of these ideals is Ezola Foster, whose essay Were I President of These Great United States I Would..." deserves a careful reading. An excerpt:
America has many "Christians", but few who truly believe Christ is their Savior. Is His arm too short to remove the enemy from without and within? Is it not He who sets up and brings down kings?Forget the "Vote Your Conscience" slogans of the other parties. Vote the Party that truly believes in our Savior Jesus Christ and saving our Constitutional Republic - The Constitution Party!
If I were President, this is what I would advocate.
Voting Republican or Democrat will never allow you to vote for such a leader!
1:10 PM I heard in chapel today a great quote by Coach Barry Switzer: "Execute properly, and the scoreboard will take care of itself."
9:10 AM Public policy is now a commodity, thanks to the GOP.
9:00 AM If you've decided not to see The Passion and someone asks you why, the best answer is also the shortest:
"I've read the book."
8:30 AM More lessons from one of the twentieth century's greatest heroes of the faith and defenders of freedom, Dr. J. Gresham Machen:
Dr Trueman presented a lively analysis of Machen’s call-to-arms, his bookChristianity and Liberalism. Dr Trueman argued that this book has a message for British Evangelicalism today.He warned that ‘liberalism embodies a whole range of attitudes towards divine things which can sit quite happily with high-sounding words about biblical authority’. He insisted: ‘we must continually fight liberalism in our own souls and within our own churches with all our heart and mind and soul, for this battle is nothing less than one particular outworking of our love for God in Christ’.
For Evangelicals the dangers arise from man-centred church life and sentimentalism. Over against these dangers he urged the primacy of doctrine; our need to recover a sight of the transcendence of God; and a proper emphasis on the glorious work of Christ in salvation.
He developed this idea under the categories of the uniqueness of the Saviour, the centrality of the atonement and the necessity of regeneration.For too many people the exclusive claims of Christ and the consequent ‘narrowness’ of Christianity have become a theological problem. They ought rather to be the spur to evangelism as in the days of our fathers.
The address was searching and challenging, but concluded with a reminder that ‘Machen’s book is gloriously positive. It contains passage after passage which express the glory of God and his gospel in a wonderful and moving manner’.It lays out clearly how far man has fallen and how much God has done for him. It reminds us again and again that God not man … is the centre and goal of creation.
8:00 AM "Divisions and separations are most objectionable in religion. They weaken the cause of true Christianity ...But before we blame people for them, we must be careful that we lay the blame where it is deserved. False doctrine and heresy are even worse than schism. If people separate themselves from teaching that is positively false and unscriptural, they ought to be praised rather than reproved. In such cases separation is a virtue and not a sin." J.C. Ryle
Tuesday, February 24
8:10 PM Croesus said: In peace the sons bury their fathers, but in war the fathers bury their sons. My sympathy and prayers go out to this precious family, who lost their son in Iraq.
5:10 PM The Constitution Party and Michael Peroutka received international coverage at BBC News.
4:50 PM Aren't sure what the differences are between the major parties? Here's an easy way for you to compare their platforms:
In addition, several forums are currently discussing the Constitution Party and its candidate, Mr. Michael Peroutka. These include Christian Forums and Baptist Board. An interesting sampling from the latter:
The Constitution Party is a small party and will probably always be a small party. I expect the two branches of the Demopublican Party to always be the two major parties as they have been for about the past 150 years.
I have voted for a major party presidential candidate three times and all three times that candidate won and all three times I have been disappointed in the way they governed after I voted for them.So, I don't care about winning any more. Voting for a "winner" hasn't won me anything in advancing what I care about politically. Government keeps getting bigger and I pay more and more in taxes and the national debt keeps getting bigger.
Therefore, I see absolutely no point in voting for a "major" party candidate.
9:50 AM O, the wit and wisdom of the net! I call two witnesses; the first is Harry Browne and his "defense" of traditional marriage:
If you really think marriage must be defended, here are some much more practical suggestions. . . .
• Recognize why you married your spouse and what that person means to you.• Remember that the next time you're inclined to criticize or argue with your spouse.• Take a moment every day to recognize the blessings of your relationship, and keep those blessings in mind.• Tell your spouse how glad you are to be married, and what it means to you — and do that often.• Make sure that your spouse's needs are being met.
If you do these things, your marriage will be well defended — and you shouldn't have to worry over who else is getting married (unless you're simply a busybody).
Next, Mr. Ben Cole, a former student of mine with a great blog, writes about gay marriage:
I was at home this weekend sitting at breakfast and I decided to conduct a one person poll. I asked my mom what she thought about the "gay marriage issue."
"It's just awful," she said. "How many gay divorces are there going to be in six months?"
By the way, thanks, Ben, for the link on your site. And best wishes on your forthcoming Ph.D. studies at Baylor. (And don't you dare forget your Greek in the meantime!)
9:40 AM Photo of the Day from today's L'Express (with caption):
L'ex-gouverneur du Vermont, Howard Dean, téléphone, le 18 février, peu après avoir appris sa décevante troisième place dans la primaire de l'Etat du Wisconsin, loin derrière John Kerry et John Edwards. Il était bien parti dans la course à l'investiture démocrate jusqu'à la mi-janvier, et cet échec l'a conduit à jeter l'éponge: «Je ne suis plus candidat actif à la présidence […] L'essentiel est de battre le président George W. Bush en novembre […]», a annoncé, dépité, Howard Dean.
For you non-francophones, Dean said: "I am no longer an active candidate for president.... The essential thing is to defeat President Bush in November." At long last, Mr. Dean and I finally agree on something.
9:30 AM Another reason why you should consider homeschooling your children:
Would parents still send their children to public schools if they knew that these schools, on purpose, spread the “gay” militants' message and try to win the children over to it? If they knew, would they not either demand that it stop or else pull their children out of such a toxic spiritual environment?
A few might not, but most would. If they only knew.
7:10 AM Letzen Abend hörte ich der Deutschen Welle zu, direkt aus Deutschland. Es wurde von Irak viel diskutiert. Besonders wurde betont: Mit Attacken gegen seinen wahrscheinlichen Herausforderer John Kerry hat Bush seine Kampagne für seine Wiederwahl im November eingeläutet. Meine Freunde, nie war ich mir so sicher wie jetzt: das Böse kann nicht gut sein (vielleicht sollte ich mich umbenennen: lesen die Kids keine politische Literatur mehr?) Genau so scheint es auch in der “wunderbaren” Welt von Wissenschaft zu sein, wie ich schon diskutiert habe.
7:05 AM A respected New Testament and Greek professor spoke out years ago against the abuses of the federal government - and he was boiled as a result. Did that stop him? Did he retreat to his ivory tower? Not the likes of a J. Gresham Machen!
I find there exactly the same evils that are rampant in the world -- centralized education programs, the subservience of the church to the state, contempt for the rights of minorities, standardization of everything, suppression of intellectual adventure....I see more clearly than ever before that unless the gospel is true and there is another world, our souls are in prison. The gospel of Christ is a blessed relief from that sinful state of affairs commonly known as hundred per-cent Americanism.
7:00 AM Bush knew.
6:50 AM A good verse for the day:
We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5).
6:45 AM E. E. Roberts, a fellow ruralite Virginian, is a regular reader of DBO and had these thoughts on my essay So You're Offended by the Super Bowl Half-Time?
You nailed it when you said "Turn off the stupid TV and leave it off." I wasn't in the least offended by Janet Jackson's little display because I didn't even know about it until sometime Tuesday or Wednesday. I've never watched a super bowl game and couldn't even tell you what it's supposed to prove.
Chuck Baldwin is right about the addiction of American men to TV sports. It has always been disgusting to me to hear grown men talking about idiotic games involving a ball of some kind or about drivers of million dollar cars going around and around a track. A people whose men can be distracted by such nonsense may very well be doomed.
Good column, Dave
Monday, February 23
1:55 PM Did you know this (link from Buried Treasure)?
A pattern of late marriage may actually increase the rate of divorce. During that initial decade of physical adulthood, young people may not be getting married, but they're still falling in love. They fall in love, and break up, and undergo terrible pain, but find that with time they get over it. They may do this many times. Gradually, they get used to it; they learn that they can give their hearts away, and take them back again; they learn to shield their hearts from access in the first place. They learn to approach a relationship with the goal of getting what they want, and keep their bags packed by the door. By the time they marry they may have had many opportunities to learn how to walk away from a promise. They've been training for divorce.
1:20 PM The National Debt Clock is a painful reminder of our government's fiscal irresponsibility. Check out what your family's share is!
1:00 PM "If ever there should come a wretched day when all our pulpits be full of modern thought, and the old doctrine of substitutionary sacrifice shall be exploded, then there will remain no word of comfort for the guilty or hope for the despairing." C. H. Spurgeon.
11:45 AM As the "revival" season starts back up, I am reminded what a fellow Southern Baptist has written:
Modern evangelism's methods as well as its message must be scrutinized in the light of the Scriptures, and contemporary church practice must be accordingly reconstructed.The task will not be easy, quick, or painless. But it must be attempted. The glory of God and the integrity of His Kingdom demand it. The lost world has seen enough of the misguided, albeit sincere, religious huckstering of a truncated gospel at bargain-basement prices. Our churches have been blighted long enough with half-converted members who are comfortably deceived in their lostness.May God never let us lose our zeal for evangelism. But may He be pleased to awaken us to the fact that zeal alone is not sufficient -- it must be grounded upon the sure doctrinal foundation of biblical evangelism. If we long to see the kind of sound conversions that characterized the ministries of Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, and our early Southern Baptist churches, then we must learn as did they to base our evangelistic message and methods on biblical doctrine. May those who look back and write our history be able to say with the inspired historian of the first century, "And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47).
11:30 AM Happy Birthday to one of my favorite composers.
9:30 AM Have you discovered these blogs yet?
9:15 AM The wisdom of C. S. Lewis:
A man may have to die for our country: but no man must, in any exclusive sense, live for his country. He who surrenders himself without reservation to the temporal claims of a nation, or a party, or a class is rendering to Caesar that which, of all things, most emphatically belongs to God: himself.
8:45 AM If you are planning on seeing The Passion, please read Big Screen Jesus by Paul Proctor first. As always, Paul has some significant insights that are being overlooked in the current debate.
7:45 AM My essay on Michael Peroutka emphasized that Michael's campaign is platform-run rather than personality-driven, contrary to the two major major parties ("electability" is their watchword). This reader from Torrance, California, seemed to agree:
Dear Mr. Black,Thanks for the article about Michael Peroutka. Because of its principled foundation, the Constitution Party can be built into a viable and effective political force, and not a personality-drive flash in the pan.
7:30 AM A reader sent me this thoughtful response to my essay on Our Corporate Bribery System. It hits the nail on the head.
Dave,I'm hearing this issue brought up more frequently on conservative talk radio, but with the failure to get to the heart of the issue I believe you alluded.If government were constrained by the original intent expressed in the constitution, there would be less investing in the system with money to influence elections because the "payback" would not be there. Until this issue of immoral, unconstitutional power is addressed, it is only natural that free market principals of influence, power, and control will exert it's influence. Let's more frequently lay the blame where it truly lies...not just in the money spent but why is it being spent.
Friday, February 20
12:45 PM God bless all of you, and have a great weekend. Talk to you on Monday, Deo volente.
12:30 PM This morning Baptist Press ran a review of Gibson’s The Passion that compares the movie to the power of the Pieta:
Years ago, while I viewed a short film on the work of Michelangelo, suddenly, there was the Pieta of St. Peter’s, a marble figure of the Madonna embracing her crucified Son. It literally took my breath away. Somehow, I understood that I was looking upon a masterpiece. I have three fortunate friends who have beheld the Pieta while in Rome. Each confirmed my impression, asserting that it was even more powerful standing in its presence. Mel Gibson uses the medium of film as Michelangelo did with stone, chiseling away superficiality and carving out a cinematic masterpiece. (At film’s end, homage is paid to the Pieta.)
“Homage is paid to the Pieta”— is that a commendation? Everyone is entitled to his opinion, but to me this is yet another reason why I’ll probably forego The Passion: not only does it promote false ecumenism; it promotes the worship of images over the Word of God. In my opinion, the movie is an extended visual crucifix. For, lest we forget, it fails to portray an element of the gospel that is absolutely essential, namely the resurrection (1 Cor 15:1-4):
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
It was this message of the death and resurrection of Christ, preached and believed, that had the effect of bringing saving faith to the members of the church in Corinth. Moreover, Paul says it is this message, and this message alone, that is “of first importance,” meaning that it must not be watered down or compromised. So, whatever else The Passion may be, by leaving out the resurrection it most certainly is not the gospel.
I also wondered to myself as I read the reviewer’s comments about the Pieta: Have Protestant evangelicals forgotten what the Reformation was all about? Martin Luther, who was an expert in the scholastic theology of his day, made the study of the Bible, and especially Paul’s epistles, the focus of his life. Luther found that his teachings diverged widely from the traditional beliefs of the Roman church. His studies led him to conclude that Christ was the sole mediator between God and man, and that forgiveness of sin and salvation are effected by God’s grace alone and are received by faith alone. This conviction forced Luther to reject scholastic theology, which emphasized man’s role in his own salvation, and to reject many church practices that emphasized justification by good works (including indulgences and paying homage to images such as the Madonna). It was precisely this theological conviction that led to the dramatic events of the Reformation.
Notice what Paul says about Christ’s death in Galatians 3:1: “You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?” When Paul preached to the Galatians he had “publicly portrayed” or “placarded” (Grk. prographo) Jesus Christ before them in such a way that they could easily comprehend His death. Did this involve visual imagery? None whatsoever. What he preached, they accepted. It was not an ephemeral, transient message, meant only for the senses. It had penetrated into them, and they had believed. I ask: Where is the emphasis here on Christ’s physical suffering, the blood and the pain? Paul’s emphasis is upon Jesus as the source of salvation, full and free, in contrast to the Judaizing message of his opponents.
For the Galatians to yield to the latter’s message of good works would be to supplant the finished work of Christ. Such yielding would indicate how foolish they were, says Paul, for Christ had been proclaimed to them clearly. William Hendriksen, formerly Professor of New Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary, has rightly noted: “When Paul says ‘before whose eyes Jesus was openly displayed as crucified,’ he is thinking not so much of the historical details of the crucifixion as of the supreme value of Christ Crucified for a world lost in sin, and of the implication that obedience to law contributes nothing to this salvation” (Exposition of Galatians, p. 112).
I find it disturbing that basic New Testament truths about Christ’s death and resurrection are largely being ignored in the current debate over The Passion. It also concerns me that the review cited above appeared on the Baptist Press website, apparently with its endorsement. Reading it I felt like Paul upon entering Athens. Luke says that “his spirit was provoked within him as he beheld the city full of idols” (Acts 17:16). When I first visited Athens and saw the workmanship of the architects and sculptors, I saw them simply as admirable works of art. But to Paul they were temples and images of pagan deities. Whatever else Paul may have thought of the magnificent art of Athens, the spectacle of a city dedicated to the worship of images stirred in him the conviction that these people needed the truth of the gospel. The same thing might well be said of those who, having seen The Passion, “pay homage to the Pieta.”
11:45 AM I am looking forward to attending the Peroutka 2004 announcement party in the great state of Maryland tomorrow and meeting people I have admired for years but have never met, including Mark Dankof, who attended high school in my home state of Hawaii, Bob Wells and Debbie Hopper of the National Coalition to Restore the Constitution, and, of course, the candidates and their families. I go with high expectations and this thought in mind:"Except the Lord build the house we labor in vain who build it."
Thursday, February 19
1:45 PM The greater Raleigh area has needed this for a long time, and now it has one. I'm referring to the Institute on the Constitution - you remember, that scrap of paper they mentioned in passing in the eight grade. Here is the latest from its organizer, Mr. Gerry Coleman:
We will begin the US Constitution Course on March 1, 2004, Monday, at 6:30PM at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, 3500 Edwards Mill Road, northwest Raleigh 27612, tel #787-1910, Pastor Tom Vestal. This church is located between Duraleigh Road on the southwest and Glen Eden Drive on the northeast.
Pass the word! And heartiest thanks to Tom Vestal and Mt. Olivet Baptist Church for being hosts!
8:30 AM Good morning, America. These are exciting days to be alive. Please take a moment and read this email alert from Pastor Mark Dankof on the upcoming election:
The great Lincoln scholar, Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo (The Real Lincoln) of Loyola College in Baltimore, recently made a credible case on Lew Rockwell.com for sitting out the 2004 election as a deliberately stated act of patriotism. If you are one who takes the Constitution of the United States seriously and is sick of big government and undeclared foreign wars, he may well be right.
But I would also urge you to consider another option as well--prayerful examination of the Presidential candidacy of Michael Peroutka, who will announce his entrance into the ring for the nomination of the Constitution Party this weekend in Baltimore. The Constitution Party is the leading 3rd party in America in voter registrations. Mr. Peroutka's campaign web site is available for your perusal at http://www.Peroutka2004.com.What are your other voting options in the first Tuesday of November this fall? One will be a liberal Democrat, quite clearly the reincarnation of another Dukakis candidacy. The other will be Rockefeller Republican George W. Bush, who has given us 1) a Congressionally undeclared and preemptive foreign war in Iraq on the basis of fraudulent claims and evidence; 2) a never-ending and disastrous occupation of that country which continues to siphon billions of tax dollars and American lives with no end in sight; 3) a Leviathan federal budget of 2.3 trillion dollars with 500 billion dollar+ deficits; 4) a catastrophic immigration policy which has given blanket amnesty to an additional 12 million illegal aliens in the United States; 5) a continuation of America-Last trade policies as outlined in NAFTA and GATT, designed to destroy the manufacturing base and sector of the American economy; and 6) ongoing capitulations in the Culture War to the anti-Christian, pro-abortion, and homosexual lobbies active within his own Party.
If you like these policies, Mr. Bush and/or his Democratic opponent are just for you. I accept this. But if you share my own anxiety about the future of America and the direction either King George or John Kerry of the People's Republic of Massachusetts will set in the four years that follow this November's election, please prayerfully consider Michael Peroutka as worthy of your vote as the next President of the United States. And tell as many of your friends and family members as you can of this important option I commend to you. There is indeed a viable alternative available. And let's Reclaim our Republic.
May God bless you,
Pastor Mark Dankof
Mark Dankof's America
Wednesday, February 18
8:30 AM Mega-kudos to Pat Buchanan for putting into words what many of us feel so strongly about:
The neocons are not wrong here. With the cost of war at $200 billion and rising, with deaths mounting, and with the possibility growing that Iraq could collapse in chaos and civil war, President Bush appears to be experiencing buyer’s remorse about the lemon he was sold by Perle and friends.They promised him a “cakewalk,” that we would be hailed as “liberators,” that democracy would take root in Iraq and flourish in the Middle East, that Palestinians and Israelis would break bread and make peace. With Lord Melbourne, Bush must be muttering, “What all the wise men promised has not happened, and what all the damn fools said would happen has come to pass.”
8:10 AM If you'll allow me to triviate for a moment, the Clinton Presidential Foundationreports that Bill Clinton, who governed during the dotcom boom, sent just two emails during his time in office. Of the two Clinton emails, one was a test message, and the other was to astronaut John Glenn aboard a space shuttle. Just wondering: did he get the same spam I receive?
7:45 AM Much praise for Michael Peroutka's courage to enter the presidential race on the CP ticket. If you haven't seen his statement of candidacy, you are in for a treat. A sampling:
I believe that the people of the United States of America deserve a candidate who is committed to an American view of law and government. Actually, the people of America have an affirmative duty to vote for only such a candidate who is capable of taking an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. As of November 3, 2003, one year prior to the presidential election, I am the only candidate who is publicly pledged to do exactly this.
Based on their campaign statements, not one of the democratic candidates will honor the Constitution. Almost every position they have taken is antithetical to a constitutional republic. Our current president also has a dismal record of constitutional leadership. From his use of military in Iraq and other countries without the benefit of a declaration of war, to his appointment of homosexuals to high government posts, to his huge deficit spending on unconstitutional social programs, to his dangerous and illegal support for the many programs of the new world order as propounded by the United Nations, to his support for the unconstitutional educational initiatives of his predecessor, he has demonstrated his contempt for the Constitution of the United States and for an American form of government in America.
No, this is not an endorsement, but Mr. Peroutka sounds a lot like the candidate I described in my essay Our Next President. He deserves our serious consideration and, most of all, our prayers.
7:30 AM Gary North does a good job of dissecting copyright laws in an age of global technocracy. If copyright laws were never established to protect authors (and they weren't), the internet age is about to change all that. If you are an author (present or prospective), you must read -and digest - this essay.
7:10 AM I enjoy reading Alan Keyes because he manages to be informative and provocative even when I think he's wrong. His article on conservatism is a good example:
You can read the entire essay here. At least he was one of the few conservatives I know who had the courage to call REPUBLICAN Attorney General Bill Pryor to task for being a turn-coat in the Roy Moore case.
7:00 AM A reader pondered the identity of the "Three Seminary Professors Who Loved the South and Defended the Constitution" and came up with this response:
Today, March 2, our monthly SCV meeting welcomes Dr. David Alan Black, who has the privilege of speaking on "Three Seminary Professors Who Loved the South and Defended the Constitution." These three great giants of the Christian faith are:Robert Lewis Dabney (1820-1898); was a theology professor at Union Seminary, Virginia, for forty years!!! (I am sure he was “burned-out”). He was offered the chair of Church History at Princeton in 1860, but was so devoted to the Southern cause, that he declined this invitation. Biographers said, “When the Civil War commenced in the following year he believed in the justice of the cause to which the Confederate States of the South were committed.”James Henley Thornwell (1812-1862); served as pastor, and twice as professor in the College of South Carolina.Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve (1831-1924); who graduated from Princeton, has been called “the most brilliant, richly furnished and powerful master in Greek studies this country has produced” (by Dean West).Ladies and gentlemen, let us now take our seats and welcome our “fourth Seminary Professor” who loves the South and defends the Constitution, Dr. David Alan Black.
One of out three (Dabney) is a good start, my friend. Please try again!
Tuesday, February 17
5:30 PM Yet another leading evangelical becomes a Bush cheerleader. And for what reason? To avoid a repeat of the Super Bowl peep show....
The son of evangelist Billy Graham told thousands attending the N-R-B convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, that if Bush is defeated there won't be anyone to stop the media from broadcasting pornography. He said the kind of entertainment shown during the Super Bowl halftime show will be just the "tip of the iceberg."Franklin Graham added that most of the media will "spin" stories against President Bush and for his Democratic rival, so it's up to religious broadcasters to "back God-fearing candidates" who'll stand against what he calls the "moral corruption that is coming like a flood against this nation."
Guess Franklin has never read Chuck Baldwin or Pat Buchanan or David Brownlow, et al., none of whom place any hope whatsoever in a Bush presidency stopping anything, let alone TV smut. As for media "spin," I simply ask you to check out Chuck Baldwin's Bush Record and then ask yourself the question, Who's doing the spinning here? And before you send me hate mail, I have been an outspoken defender of Graham's sending food stuffs - and missionaries - to Iraq when most of the media was pounding him. I just think he's completely over-idealistic about the president. But I doth protest too much: The Bush record speaks for itself if anyone cares to read it.
4:00 PM Here's one I heard the other day. How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Answer: Four. Calling his tail a leg doesn't make it one. Writing for Slate, Fred Kaplan ably dissects the president's now infamous interview with Tim Russert and asks, What in the world was he talking about?
If no commentators have noted, or perhaps even noticed, this new spin on American military policy, it may be because they don't take Bush's unscripted remarks seriously. (It's just Bush, talking off the top of his head. No sense parsing the implications.) That in itself is quite a commentary on this president. But it's not clear that these particular remarks were unscripted. Bush used the same phrase—"a capacity to make a weapon"—three times; it was almost certainly a part of his brief. Either the statement means something—that we now reserve the right to wage pre-emptive war on a hostile power that has the mere capacity to make weapons of mass destruction—or it's empty blather. It's unclear which would be more unsettling.
3:00 PM Just a program note. For those of you who live near Roxboro, NC, I have the privilege of speaking at the monthly SCV meeting there on March 2 at 6:30. I'm preparing a talk on "Three Seminary Professors Who Loved the South and Defended the Constitution." Sadly, many Southrons have never heard of these great men. If you can name these three giants of the Christian faith (two of whom lived in the mid-to-late-1800s, while the other lived in the early 1900s), let me know. A free copy of The Myth of Adolescence to the first person to name all three correctly.
2:30 PM Book sales dragging a bit? Need an ego boost? Don't forget those anonymous reviews over at Amazon.com. Turns out some of them are not as anonymous as we thought. (So a publisher's dust jacket blurbs aren't the only unreliable sources of information about a book after all?)
2:15 PM Ian Mather risks the opprobrium of Rumsfeld & Co. with this piece on the coming civil war in Iraq:
Sources say the ayatollah has not ruled out issuing a fatwa, or religious ruling, against the American plan if necessary, which could result in Shi’ites refusing to work with any new government.
Some see the spiral of decline as leading to civil war. In the 10 months since the overthrow of Saddam, rivalry and resentment among Iraq’s rival ethnic groups have escalated. The violence has already claimed hundreds, if not thousands of lives.
The minority Sunnis, already bristling at the loss of their privileges, cannot stomach becoming subordinate to the Shi’ites and the Kurds, whom they have long dominated.
"The potential for a civil war is already in place," Gareth Stansfield of the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at England’s University of Exeter, said. "It does not need al-Qaeda to encourage it. It flies in the face of Iraq’s history of the past 80 years to imagine that the Sunnis will accept Shi’ite domination or allow them to rule."
2:10 PM My, how times have changed.
2:00 PM It's baaaack. Snow, sleet, and (worst of all) freezing rain. Although I was sick over the weekend with a nasty cold I am better and will be teaching my classes today and tomorrow. But remember: If the roads are too dangerous to travel, you are always excused from class. Just contact me for the assignments and we'll see that you get back on track. Coming to class or not, please be careful out there!
1:45 PM I've got to hand it to Lee Shelton; his commentary section always has the most up-to-date essays and links on the Constitution to be found most anywhere on the internet. If you had any doubt before that Americans need to be "ever vigilant," doubt no more. Thanks, Lee, and keep up the good work.
1:30 PM Just when I was beginning to think that the American people had forgotten just how unconstitutional our two-party monopoly is comes this great essay by Chuck Baldwin:
It is high time that rank and file Christian people started thinking for themselves and stopped being led around by the nose by the "rich and famous." It is time they started judging righteous judgment and stopped being a patsy for star-studded charlatans. It is time they started listening to truth and stopped being spoon-fed by religious and political propagandists.It is not too late to turn America right side up, but it will never happen until some common people start using some common sense and some old fashioned courage to do what is right. And if they can read a Bible, they already know what is right and what the true blessings of God really are. They also know to turn away from those who say that "gain is godliness."
Chuck is right: Our task today is no different from what it has been throughout history. It is to be the church in obedience to Jesus Christ, and by being the church we will enable the state to be the state. This is the most loyal service the church can render the state—to protect the government from itself, and to strive to ensure that civil authority fulfills its office as instituted by God. But the price for this service can be high. Quite honestly, I don't think most Americans are willing to take the risk, yet....
8:30 AM What a sad commentary on our church culture when an 18 year old finally feels like an adult in church:
I remember when I first started attending my current church how awestruck I was that I was actually being treated like a real adult, despite the fact that I was eighteen years old. I was amazed that they weren't trying to shove me in with the teens, despite the fact I was what many people consider to be that middle age between being a teenager and an adult. I've been treated as an equal by the rest of the adults the whole way along, and that's something I've really come to appreciate, and as I've noticed, the teens aren't treated like they're something completely separate from the rest of the church, so it's easier to get to know them better and be a part of their lives.
Of course, if we were to be biblical about it, this young lady would have been given adult responsibilities at a much earlier age. It is an established fact that we are losing our teenagers in the 11th and 12th grades because they can't make the transition from the fun-and-games-and-bells-and-whistles of their youth group culture to real church, which involves giving, sacrifice, the exercise of one's spiritual gifts, etc. By the way, there is no "teenage Holy Spirit" and "adult Holy Spirit." There is THE Holy Spirit, and if 13 year olds are born again, they ought to be exercising their gifts for the mutual edification of the body, not being sidelined and centrifuged while mommy and daddy are doing "church stuff." Interestingly, most youth pastors I know seem unaware that there are biblical guidelines for "youth" in the Scriptures.
8:00 AM Paul Proctor on vain repetitions. One of the best critiques of modern worship music I have read.
Thursday, February 12
1:15 PM My esteemed colleague at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Dr. Tom Schreiner, has written a marvelous book on Pauline Theology. To read the latest review that appeared in the Review of Biblical Literature, go here.
9:55 AM Here we go again: Blair didn't realize that the "45 minute" claim in his September 2002 dossier did not refer to WMD but only to Iraqi conventional weapons. Hmmm, was he lying or merely being incompetent?
9:45 AM Oswald Chambers on ignoring God:
We don’t consciously and deliberately disobey God — we simply don’t listen to Him. God has given His commands to us, but we pay no attention to them — not because of willful disobedience, but because we do not truly love and respect Him. "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15). Once we realize we have constantly been showing disrespect to God, we will be filled with shame and humiliation for ignoring Him.
9:30 AM Please read 1 Corinthians 14:26 then ask yourself, Why does my church meet?
The reason that the church meets is for the edification of each believer. I know this statement flies in the face of almost all we have been taught. We are told that the church meets to worship God. While the idea of meeting primarily to worship sounds scriptural and pious, the truth is Christians do not meet primarily to have a "worship service." This is not to say that worship doesn't happen when Christians meet. It does and it should. Worship should occur at all times, in all places, and in all things, whether Sunday morning in a church building or Thrusday afternoon at the dinner table. A Christian's whole life is an act of worship (Rom. 12:1-2)! So, yes, when Christians meet on Sunday mornings or at any other time/place, they are in a sense worshiping God. But it is no more accepted by God than the worship we should be living and offering the rest of the week. We must therefore understand that the primary objective in Christian meetings is not to have a "worship service" since worship is a way of life.
The primary reason Christians meet is to edify one another. The reason that God gave us the gifts of the Spirit is so we might edify one another (Eph. 4:12; 1 Pet. 4:10-11). The term edify is from the Greek oikodome. This word is an architectural term. It means "to build, confirm, or strengthen." It is used in reference to the church's position as God's building (1 Cor. 3:9; Eph. 2:21). Elsewhere it is used to describe the ministry of believers to one another (Rom. 14:9,15:2; 1 Thess. 5:11). The purpose of this edification, this building up and strengthening, is to spur each other onto maturity in Christ (Heb. 24-25) that we might worship him in every area of our lives.
9:15 AM Various essays on Kant (on this, his Todestag) may be found here: 200. Todestag des Philosophen Immanuel Kant. The general topic is: What is Enlightenment?
8:45 AM If we desire a thoroughly biblical church we must get to the heart of the matter: are the apostolic traditions in the New Testament binding on Jesus' followers or not? I seem to struggle with this issue every day, trying to make the point that we as a church are engaged more in man-made traditions than in New Testament Christianity. Just as our nation shouldn't have an empire-building philosophy, so our churches shouldn't have a "growth-at-any-price" mentality. The seeker-sensitive philosophy is not new. It's etched in our history. Yet the teaching of Scripture is clear:
The apostles, under the Lord's own guidance through the Holy Spirit, set up churches to operate and function in a particular and definite way, and in later chapters we will demonstrate just what that way was, but of course the point to underline at this juncture is simply that a church is either based on suchapostolic practice, or tradition, or on something else. And if a church is based on something else, then it equates to but one thing - the traditions of mere men! And if that is the case, then such churches simply cannot be said to be biblical churches. They can be said to be unbiblical churches (we are not saying they are not churches), but they cannot be said to be biblically based in any way at all. Indeed, the precious and wonderful believers in such churches may well be doctrinally sound and orthodox in so far as their other beliefs and scriptural understanding is concerned, and they may well also be living faithful lives in so as far as personal holiness goes, but when it comes to what church is all about then they completely fail the test of being biblical, of being how Jesus always intended they should be.
I believe there can and will be a reversal. I am optimistic that this will happen. If you are interested in learning more about this issue, you can read the entire article I quoted abovehere.
8:30 AM C. H. Spurgeon: "Brethren, if you are not theologians you are in your pastorates nothing at all."
7:55 AM A physician's take on the war on terrorism.
7:45 AM It's getting weirder and weirder, the debate over the Passion that is. Reports say NASCAR is jumping into the fray (pro-Mel), yet another Cardinal speaks out (again, pro-Mel), while MSNBC says that Gibson believes his Protestant wife is going to hell. One thing seems sure: the movie will be a commercial success, at least if Interstate Batteries has its way.
Wednesday, February 11
11:00 AM Mr. Charles Porter cc-ed me his response to Bill Sizemore's complaint about mediaBush Bashing. Among other things, Mr. Sizemore had this to say:
No, I believe we really do have no choice, but to stick with Bush. The President has probably been getting much of his counsel regarding policy from Senior Advisor Karl Rove and others whose primary agenda is not so much moving a conservative agenda as getting Bush elected to a second term. That should change. In a second term, Bush probably will be bolder and more conservative than he has been thus far.
No choice? Who's he kidding? Mr. Porter (Nota bene: a "Former Republican Voter") wrote a response that deserves a careful reading (maybe even a re-read or two):
Mr. SizemoreI enjoyed reading your article on "Bush Bashing", but sir I voted for a conservative in 2000. If I had wanted more liberal big government programs I would have voted for Al Gore. Bush is not a conservative, anymore than his father was. The American people in their haste to rid themselves of anything that was associated with Bill Clinton did not take a good look at Bush in 2000. If that had, they would have seen that he caved into the liberals as governor of Texas and alienated conservatives in the statehouse. I have voted GOP my entire life, but that was back when GOP meant smaller government and staying out of my life. He is also pro-abortion and that alone disqualifies him to get my vote. Bush should run as a liberal democrat, because that's all he has became. When liberal John Kerry is sworn in as president in2004, the only person Bush will have to blame is himself. GW Bush and the neocons have destroyed the conservative wing of the republican!
- Charles Porter
- MSgt, Ret, USAF
- Vietnam Veterans of America
- Disabled American Veteran
- Sons of Confederate Veterans
- Former Republican Voter
My sentiments exactly!
9:45 AM David Hackworth, a highly decorated war veteran, says Maj. Scott Ritter was right all along about WMD:
What a shame that the president and his platoon of let’s-get-Saddam neocons, Congress and the CIA’s Tenet didn’t listen to the man-in-the-know when he cautioned: “U.S. and Iraqi casualties will be significant. ... We can’t go to war based on ignorance.”But go to war we did. And now we’ve filled more than 530 body bags, medevaced thousands of soldiers, caused thousands more to be psychologically scarred, created tens of thousands of Iraqi casualties and stuck ourselves dead center in an ever-deepening tar pit.
All the more reason to pray for the safety and quick return of our sons and daughters from the war zone.
7:45 AM I've tried to keep this blog a John Edwards free zone, but the good senator's latest attempt to fool all of the people all of the time has me, well, enlightened. The problem is that PC purveyors like Sen. Edwards try to have it both ways—indeed, they try to have it every way. When it comes to their political interests, they assert theirability to know what is correct and what is not. And the latest craze is for Southern politicians to distance themselves from "red-necks" as quickly as possible. The reality is that while Edwards claims to be a moderate and a good ol' Southern boy, that claim is contradicted by a four-year voting record that consistently puts ultra-liberal special interests ahead of the people he represents.
- His voting record matches that of Sen. Hillary Clinton.
- From 1999-2002 he voted with Ted Kennedy 90% of the time.
- In 2001 Edwards received a 0% rating from the Small Business Survival Committee for his voting record.
- In June of 2000 he voted against tabling an amendment that would have repealed the ban on privately funded abortions at overseas military facilities.
- More than 4 out of every 5 dollars raised by Edwards for his hard money PAC, New American Optimists, have come from personal injury trial lawyers.
- The liberal activist group Human Rights Campaign, which ranks members of Congress with a score representing the strength of their support for the radical gay agenda, gave Edwards a perfect 100% rating for the first session of the current Congress.
The truth is that John Edwards is no Southern moderate. In fact, he's no Southerner at all. He is a Northeastern liberal with a capital "L."
7:35 AM Is Bush a heretic? Pieter Friedrich thinks so. (Caution: Put your asbestos suit on before reading this entry.)
7:30 AM Since most Baptists won't touch this stuff with a ten foot pole, allow me. The willow-creeking of our churches will go on indefinitely as long as Christian leaders refuse to face it squarely - and theologically. This stuff is hardly AOK, and Paul Proctor isn't loath to say sohere. A tip of the kepi, brother Paul!
Tuesday, February 10
2:30 PM Words to live by from A. W. Tozer (especially applicable to those of us who preach "revivals"):
In my creature impatience I am often caused to wish that there were some way to bring modern Christians in a deeper spiritual life painlessly by short, easy lessons; but such wishes are vain. No shortcut exists. God has not bowed to our nervous haste nor embraced the methods of our machine age. It is well that we accept the hard truth now: The man who would know God must give time to Him. He must count no time wastedwhich is spent in the cultivation of His acquaintance. He must give himself to prayer and meditation.The eternal God must be more than a text in a book, an idea in our head. The true Christian will crave to know God with vital awareness that goes beyond words and to live in the intimacy of personal communion. While the Bible is absolutely essential as the revelation of our God, we must plumb the depths and reach to the heavens for the "life" of those words. For many in the church, God may simply be entombed in a book. No, we must see with our own eyes, and hear with our own ears, and our own hands must handle the Word of Life.
1:45 PM Chuck Baldwin gives more reasons why you should not vote for Bush this election. His conclusion:
As a Christian conservative, I most definitely believe it is right to defend one's life, home, and country with lethal force, if necessary. However, it is not right to disregard the Constitution or to preemptively attack nations that pose no imminent threat to us. It is not right for Congress to acquiesce their responsibility to wage war on behalf of the American people. It is not right that our president should seize king-like powers and send Americans to fight and die for personal purposes. And it is not right for our president, be he Republican or Democrat, to mislead the American people regarding so serious a matter as war.Again, time has vindicated my original position. President Bush's decision to preemptively attack Iraq was unjust, unconstitutional, and wrong. It is time for all conservatives to face it.
9:30 AM Dr. David Allen, Professor of Preaching at the Criswell College in Dallas, did a marvelous job last week in our seminary chapel. For a report on his two part series, go here. I especially enjoyed his unabashed emphasis on doing sermon preparation from the original languages of Scripture if at all possible. As he said, it's time to recover the TEXT-driven sermon in our churches. Brother Dave, many thanks for this salutary reminder and for taking time out of your very busy schedule to be with us!
9:20 AM Intermediate Greek students: Here's a list of the major textual variants in 1 Timothy. It's interesting to me how often "Jesus" and "Christ" are transposed in the manuscripts. We might think this insignificant, but apparently the early scribes didn't think so. Also, if you haven't seen this essay on the Majority Text, it's a good read.
8:30 AM Wanted: Candidates Who Uphold the Constitution:
Just how far the nation has strayed from the Founder's vision is reflected in the campaign speeches of every candidate. The promise from all the candidates, is more government and less freedom. It will likely remain so, unless a new generation of candidates can be cultivated, starting in every city, county, and state.
8:15 AM Children begin to go wrong at the age of 12, according to this report. Interesting, isn't it, that our society has bought into a myth and thereby created a monster we no longer know to control. That myth is adolescence - or adolescentism, as it is a social theory and most certainly not a fact. Of course, we are ALL born in sin, and the only real solution to our sin natures is a miracle called the new birth: being born into God's family and receiving a new nature "created in Christ Jesus for GOOD works." Meanwhile, wouldn't it be wise for our families and churches to come to grips, once and for all, with the myth of adolescence?
8:00 AM The passage my Greek students will be translating for Thursday's class is 1 Timothy 1:12-17. This is a remarkable text. I've been comparing several different foreign language translations, including the French:
12 Je rends grâces à celui qui m'a fortifié, à Jésus Christ notre Seigneur, de ce qu'il m'a jugé fidèle,
13 en m'établissant dans le ministère, moi qui étais auparavant un blasphémateur, un persécuteur, un homme violent. Mais j'ai obtenu miséricorde, parce que j'agissais par ignorance, dans l'incrédulité;
14 et la grâce de notre Seigneur a surabondé, avec la foi et la charité qui est en Jésus Christ.
15 C'est une parole certaine et entièrement digne d'être reçue, que Jésus Christ est venu dans le monde pour sauver les pécheurs, dont je suis le premier.
16 Mais j'ai obtenu miséricorde, afin que Jésus Christ fît voir en moi le premier toute sa longanimité, pour que je servisse d'exemple à ceux qui croiraient en lui pour la vie éternelle.
17 Au roi des siècles, immortel, invisible, seul Dieu, soient honneur et gloire, aux siècles des siècles! Amen!
The German is just as interesting:
12 Ich danke Christus Jesus, unserem Herrn, der mir Kraft verliehen, daß er mich treu erachtet und in den Dienst gestellt hat,
13 der ich zuvor ein Lästerer und Verfolger und Gewalttäter war; aber mir ist Barmherzigkeit zuteil geworden, weil ich es unwissend im Unglauben getan hatte;
14 überströmend aber war die Gnade unseres Herrn mit Glauben und Liebe, die in Christus Jesus [sind].
15 Das Wort ist gewiß und aller Annahme wert, daß Christus Jesus in die Welt gekommen ist, Sünder zu erretten, von welchen ich der erste bin.
16 Aber darum ist mir Barmherzigkeit zuteil geworden, damit Jesus Christus an mir als dem ersten die ganze Langmut beweise, zum Vorbild für die, welche an ihn glauben werden zum ewigen Leben.
17 Dem König der Zeitalter aber, dem unverweslichen, unsichtbaren, alleinigen Gott, sei Ehre und Herrlichkeit in alle Ewigkeit! Amen.
Many of my friends tell me that Paul is employing hyperbole here. I doubt it. When he says in verse 16, “But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life,” he meant it. He could say, "Ich bin der erste!" and not be lying. People could look at Paul’s life and see his sin and then see God’s grace and be challenged to believe that God really can and does forgive ALL sin - even great sin. So this morning I exclaim with the apostle: Au roi des siècles, immortel, invisible, seul Dieu, soient honneur et gloire, aux siècles des siècles! Amen!
Monday, February 9
1:30 PM L'Express is predicting a Bush/Kerry "duel" in November, the main issue being foreign policy:
Un duel Bush/Kerry pour la Maison Blanche paraît de plus en plus probable à neuf mois du scrutin présidentiel alors que le président sortant est contraint de se justifier sur la guerre en Irak.
1:15 PM I appreciate what Jim Elliff has to say about the theological dimensions of revival:
In our day, we think of revival in terms of the Christian life. Questions such as how one can live effectively and handle stress and cope with family problems, loom large in our thinking. We must address these. But historically revival was more centered on the foundational doctrines of salvation. It really was gospel work, in that larger and more doctrinal sense. And at the heart of it all was the repeated call to regeneration. The doctrine was tuned to the sin of the day in this way. Since regeneration, or the giving of life to dead souls, is knowable in the true Christian's life ("by their fruits you shall know them"), a professed believer can be challenged to examine himself to see the evidence of it. This kind of preaching made regeneration a searching doctrine. Many souls were brought under conviction by the preaching of this truth. I am convinced through this further evidence that we must preach regeneration again today. No doctrine fits our day quite like it.
To read Jim's essay, go here.
12:15 PM When I spoke for a week in Kerala, India, to a group of national pastors, I was heartened to see how committed they were to biblical discipleship. But do they really need this?
11:40 AM Here are two very different views on the marriage amendment: Your typical "government can solve our problems" approach, and another, saner view in my opinion. An excerpt from the latter:
The problem is not with the Constitution. Hello, the problem is those who put their hands on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. They either have not read it, or just refuse to go by it. We have 400 years of case law that states that marriage is between a man and a woman. The judges, until just a few years ago, have always used the Bible as a reference to what was right. The case law in most states uses the scriptures to define sodomy and it is still against the law in this state. In 1971 Baker v. Nelson, Minnesota state Supreme court judge said: "The institution of marriage as a union of man and woman, uniquely involving the procreation and rearing of children within a family, is as old as the book of Genesis." Dictionary definitions of terms were also used by judges as in 1973 Jones v. Hallan. And the dictionary definition of marriage is between two persons of the opposite sex. In 1975 Adams v. Howerton, the court ruled that the "spouse" means someone not of the same sex, because the dictionary said so. Of course Noah Webster defined all the terms in the first dictionary from the Bible not from his feelings. There have been many lawsuits since the 1970's to allow sodomites to marry and all the judges used case law, Bible, and the dictionary to make their decisions.
Once again, folks, we come back to whether we prefer the old Constitution to the new, "secret," one.
11:30 AM The latest from my favorite cartoonist:
Of course, government theft is perfectly legal.
11:20 AM Ok, so I'm not a highly paid professional speaker. But the president is. At least he's highly paid. Don't We the People have the right to expect something better than this?
10:20 AM Yet another surfing link just sent to me, with this incredible photo. Yikes!
8:20 AM Mr. Charles Porter sends me these thoughts:
A basketball in my hands is worth about $19. A basketball in Michael Jordan's hands is worth about $33 million. It depends whose hands it's in.
A baseball in my hands is worth about $6. A baseball in Mark McGwire's hands is worth $19 million. It depends whose hands it's in.
A tennis racket is useless in my hands. A tennis racket in Venue Williams' hands produces a championship. It depends whose hands it's in.
A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal. A rod in Moses' hands parted a mighty sea. It depends whose hands it's in.
A sling shot in my hands is a kid's toy. A sling shot in David's hand was a mighty weapon. It depends whose hands it's in.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches. Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in God's hands will feed thousands. It depends whose hands it's in.
Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse. Nails in Jesus Christ's hands produced salvation for the entire world. It depends whose hands it's in.
As you see now it depends [on] whose hands it's in. So put your concerns, your worries, your fears, your hopes, your dreams, your families and your relationships in God's hands because...
It depends whose hands it's in.
This message is now in your hands. What will YOU do with it.
8:00 AM Lee Shelton of Ever Vigilant emailed me about my essay So You're Offended by the Super Bowl Half-Time?:
Great article! I couldn't agree more. I once heard Michael Medved say he thought the television was perhaps one of the worst inventions in history. I think he may be right. Keep up the good work.-Lee
P.S.: Can't wait for your book!
Thanks, Lee. I couldn't agree more about TV. As we discussed in our adult Sunday School class yesterday, the idiot box is the equivalent of hard liquor or drugs for many in our churches. It's even more addictive, perhaps.
For Mr. Shelton's own take on Janet Jackson, please visit his website.
7:50 AM That's not fair! A reader sent me this link that has me feeling hopelessly nostalgic for my surfing days in Hawaii (see especially clip 3). The same reader asks:
I suspect you re-enact the role of General Lee. If not, you should, as your picture bears a remarkable resemblance to General Lee's, as no doubt, so does your character. Any relation?
Well, some people do call me "the General" here on campus. On the other hand, I've also been called Moses, Santa Claus, and Abraham Lincoln. Oh well....
7:45 AM Have you ever wondered why preachers no longer cite the Great Commission from Mark's Gospel? When I was a child I memorized Mark 16:15 along with Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8. Those days are long gone. If you are one who believes that the last 12 verses of Mark are suspect because they are lacking in "the earliest and best" manuscripts of the Greek New Testament, then you need to read this essay by Jim Snapp. I had seen this fine essay before but was reminded about it this morning in an email I received from Jim. Good job, brother! Concerning the language and style of Mark 16:9-20, Dr. Bruce Terry has published his findings online. See his The Style Of The Long Ending Of Mark. The bottom line? Don't forget Jesus' command:
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
7:30 AM Greetings in the name of our wonderful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We had a delightful weekend in Virginia doing some final preparation for the dedication service of our new house and working on the goat fencing. On Sunday afternoon my son and I visited our neighbors and shut-ins. Those in the nursing homes enjoy having the old hymns of the faith sung to them. Our vast homes are nothing but edifices of wood, hay, and stubble that will go up in smoke one day, but how blessed I am to have a family who is more interested in gold, silver, and precious stones than watching TV on a Sunday afternoon. Romans 8:28 reminds us that we were predestined to be like Christ, and Ephesians 2:10 tells us we were created in Christ Jesus for good works. Of course, the best work is to know God. This week let us not allow doing to become a frenetic substitute for being in the presence of the Savior.
Thursday, February 5
8:50 AM Ach, Du Lieber! Die Zeit is now featuring a BUSH-O-METER. You can vote either "Ja" or "Nein."
Im November wird der Präsident der Vereinigten Staaten gewählt. Wird Georg W. Bush die Wahl gewinnen? Stimmen Sie ab:
8:30 AM I voted for Bush in 2000 but won't again. And it's not me who has changed. Empire builders and big government think tankers have taken over the Republican Party:
During the 2000 Republican Primaries, candidate George Bush was running on the platform of “compassionate conservatism”. I must admit, at first I was rather intrigued by such a term, as it had always seemed to me that conservatism was the only true compassionate form of government. Now, four years later, it has become clear that compassionate conservatism is in actuality a euphemism for big government, republican style.
During the Presidential Campaign I was skeptical of how conservative “Dubya” actually was, keeping in mind how his father had governed only eight years earlier. Still, many political pundits insisted that he was much more conservative than his father, and that he would no doubt put this country back on a conservative track. I cannot help but feel that I was hoodwinked.
For more go here. Meanwhile, IMHO don't accept Tom DiLorenzo's advice NOT to vote (see today's LRC), at least not before considering the alternatives.
8:15 AM Carmon Friedrich's blog reminded me that Vision Forum has a great section on the tenets of biblical patriarchy. I was especially drawn to the following statements on the education and training of children:
18. Educational methodology is not neutral. The Christian should build his educational methodology from the word of God and reject methodologies derived from humanism, evolutionism, and other unbiblical systems of thought. Biblical education is discipleship, a process designed to reach the heart. The aim is a transformed person who exhibits godly character and a trained mind, both of which arise from faith. The parents are crucial and ordinarily irreplaceable in this heart-level, relational process. (Deut. 6:5-7; Lk. 6:40; 1 Thess. 2:7-12; 2 Tim. 1:5; 2 Pet. 1:5-8)
19. Since the educational mandate belongs to parents and they are commanded personally to walk beside and train their children, they ought not to transfer responsibility for the educational process to others. However, they have the liberty to delegate components of that process. While they should exercise great caution and reserve in doing this, and the more so the less mature the child, it is prudent to take advantage of the diversity of gifts within the body of Christ and enjoy the help and support that comes with being part of a larger community with a common purpose. (1 Cor. 12:14ff.; Gal. 4:1,2; 6:2; Eph. 4:16)
20. The age-integrated communities of family and church are the God-ordained institutions for training and socialization and as such provide the preferred pattern for social life and educational endeavors. The modern preference for grouping children exclusively with their age mates for educational and social purposes is contrary to scriptural wisdom and example. (Deut. 29:10-11; 2 Chron. 20:13; Prov. 22:15 with 13:20; Joel 2:16; 1 Cor. 15:33)
Regarding a father and his older children, note this observation:
22. Both sons and daughters are under the command of their fathers as long as they are under his roof or otherwise the recipients of his provision and protection. Fathers release sons from their jurisdiction to undertake a vocation, prepare a home, and take a wife. Until she is given in marriage, a daughter continues under her father’s authority and protection. Even after leaving their father’s house, children should honor their parents by seeking their counsel and blessing throughout their lives. (Gen. 28:1-2; Num. 30:3ff.; Deut. 22:21; Gal. 4:1,2; Eph. 6:2-3)
23. Fathers should oversee the process of a son or daughter seeking a spouse. While a father may find a wife for his son, sons are free to take initiative to seek and “take a wife.” A wise son will desire his parents’ involvement, counsel, and blessing in that process. Since daughters are “given in marriage” by their fathers, an obedient daughter will desire her father to guide the process of finding a husband, although the final approval of a husband belongs to her. (Gen. 24:1ff.; 25:20; 28:2; Ex. 2:21; Josh. 15:17; Jdg. 12:9; 1 Sam. 18:27; Jer. 29:6; 1 Cor. 7:38; Gen. 24:58)
Parents, I hope you will read the entire essay and especially look up the Scriptures that accompany it. You won't regret it.
8:00 AM Lew Rockwell talks about his journey into web journalism. A snippet from this fascinating tell-all:
Why limit teaching to the classroom? Why not teach the world? And so it is, with many professors now choosing to distribute their thoughts in the widest possible way. After all, their ability to think is their primary marketable product, and the web is the place where intellectuals can interact with the broadest possible community of their choosing. As a result, the culture of academia is changing. Bloggers are no longer looked down upon, but often emerge as the stars in their department. Reducing the isolation of the academic community is not a terrible thing.
The author is certainly correct in his assessment. My own internet pilgrimage has had a similar evolution. Well done, Lew!
Wednesday, February 4
3:30 PM Mr. Charles Porter sent me this email on what is truly a day to remember but one I had never heard of before:
On the frigid night of February 3, 1943, the Allied ship Dorchester plowed through the waters near Greenland. At 1:00am, a Nazi submarine fired a torpedo into its flank, killing many in the explosion and trapping others below deck. It the ensuing chaos, four chaplains: a priest, a rabbi and two protestant ministers; distributed life jackets. When there were none left, the four chaplains ripped off their own jackets and put them on four young men. Standing embraced on the slanting deck, the chaplains bowed their heads in prayer as they sank to their icy deaths. Congress honored them by declaring this "Four Chaplains Day."
9:00 AM Laments are never fun to read, but here's one you will be glad you saw: Alan Bock's review of The Sorrows of Empire by Chalmers Johnson. I definitely plan to give this book a read as soon as I finish writing my own reviews of Ephesians by my good friend Harold Hoehner of Dallas Seminary and The Precise Parallel New Testament published by Oxford University Press. Speaking of laments, Tom Ascol has an excellent piece on A Pastoral Theology of Tragedyat the Founders website. His conclusion reads (in part):
Expect tragedies and tribulations to occur. Do not be surprised by them. Prepare for them because the Scripture says they are inevitable. Learn from them. Do not miss the lessons. There is much to be learned through suffering. In 2 Corinthians 1:8–10 Paul says that he was “burdened beyond measure, above strength”, so that he “despaired even of life.” And the reason that this happened to him (as he later came to understand) was so that he might learn not to trust in himself “but in God who raises the dead.” He is saying, “tragedy came to teach me to trust God.” Three chapters later he refers to those trials as light and momentary. In chapter 1 he says “I nearly died by them” but in chapter 4 he says they are light and fleeting, “working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (4:17). Tragedy prepares you for glory. Tragedy works in you the ability to experience greater glory. We may not understand exactly how this is so, but that is what Paul says.
8:00 AM Good morning, friends. We had an extremely interesting chapel message yesterday, and today's should prove to be no less intriguing as our guest speaker, Dr. David Allen, preaches from Romans 6:1-14. Please note that all of our chapel messages are online at the seminary website.
Tuesday, February 3
3:50 PM Our gullibility as Christians is mind-boggling and reminds me of Paul's words to the Galatians: "Oh foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?" Before we blindly accept what any politician says about his or her stand on abortion, we need to ask, What does the Bible and the U.S. Constitution say about this? Nowhere is this more clearly evident than in the way Christians are being duped by those Republicans who voted for the so-called partial abortion ban. Writes Jim Rudd:
This "readiness of mind" to "search the scriptures," to find out whether those things being said are true, is our Biblical example of nobility. It is the way we find out if people are lying when they tell us that a particular piece of legislation is "pro-life" or "pro-family," or what ever Christian euphemism they use to tell us a civil law deserves our support. Without prejudice and partiality, we must examine the civil law against the scriptures, having "readiness of mind" to cast "down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God."
In an election year this matter of biblical and constitutional truth is all the more important. It is wonderful to see more and more young people turning to the Scriptures and away from the secular press for their source of wisdom on modern politics. May their tribe increase!
3:40 PM An interesting point on youth groups from Elder Scott Brown of Trinity Baptist Church here in Wake Forest:
Search the scriptures! Here is our most important source of information regarding any ministry. All ministry to youth should be judged against the testimony of scripture, for it is not only sharper than a two edged sword, it is also:
"profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work". II Tim 3:16-17
As we search the scripture, we do not find the words "youth group" or the practice illustrated anywhere. The closest resemblance to a youth group in the Bible is an incident where at least 42 youth were together. Unfortunately, this resulted in bears devouring the 42 members of the group because of their disrespect for a prophet (2 Kings 2:23-24). This passage of scripture gives us a brilliant illustration of the impact of concentrated foolishness. The concept of youth group is absent from Biblical ecclesiological language. So we first must say that the idea of youth groups does not come from the teaching of the apostles, the prophets or the writers history and poetry.
In other words, sola scriptura!
3:10 PM This letter from a reader in Wilmore, Kentucky, warmed my heart:
I must sincerely thank you for your honest, insightful, and blatantly Biblical commentary on the times here in the States. Your articles challenge me to love Christ and others, as well as to be a Constitution-loving citizen of the United States. As a fellow Greek student and horseman, I thank you for your hard work and devotion to Christ and Country.
1:20 PM C.S.A. General Joseph Eggleston Johnston was born near Farmville, Virginia on this day in 1807. This is very close to my own farm in Virginia. His father was a Revolutionary War soldier who served under Robert E. Lee's father. Johnston graduated from West Point in 1829. He was wounded five times in the Mexican War and also fought in the Seminole War. He became Quartermaster General of the U. S. Army on June 28, 1860 and was the highest ranking officer to resign and join the Confederate Army. After the war, Johnston served in the U. S. House of Representatives and was appointed Commissioner of Railroads under President Grover Cleveland. He died on March 21, 1891 from pneumonia. He had contracted a cold while he stood in the rain as as he served as a pallbearer at the funeral of William T. Sherman. For a fascinating account of the battle in which Johnston was wounded (Seven Pines) go here.
9:05 AM My good friend and colleague Dr. Dan Wallace of Dallas Seminary concludes his discussion of biblical eldership with these words:
The biblical evidence is overwhelmingly on the side of multiple elders. The few passages which might otherwise be interpreted certainly do not have to be so interpreted and, in fact, most likely should not be. This fact illustrates a fundamental principle of biblical interpretation: do not follow an interpretation which is only possible; instead, base your convictions on what is probable.
Darryl Erkel adds these thoughts:
Traditional pastoral ministry promotes a one-man rule known as "the pastor." He is the final word and rule within most "evangelical" churches. In contrast, the New Testament teaches plural oversight by men known as elders (Acts 14:23; 20:17,28; Phil.1:1; 1 Thess.5:12-13; 1 Tim.5:17; Heb.13:17; Jam.5:14; 1 Pet.5:1-4). Some churches, recognizing the need for shared oversight, have attempted to improve the traditional one-man rule by introducing a rank structure of "senior pastor," "associate pastor," and "board of elders." This man-made solution, however, still contradicts the pattern set forth in the New Testament which teaches a shared and equal oversight, not to mention that, in the end, it still amounts to basically the same thing: One man alone is exalted to a position over others and has the final word in church related matters! By the way, isn’t Jesus Christ supposed to be the "senior pastor" (Heb.13:20; 1 Pet.5:4)?
These are issues that must remain in the forefront of true reform in our churches, and I trust the essays linked on our front page will help us all to think more biblically about the question, "Who runs the church?"
9:00 AM Buenos tacos! We are really looking forward to chapel today and tomorrow when our guest speaker, Dr. David Allen of the Criswell College in Dallas, will address the topic "The Preacher and Preaching." If you are in the Wake Forest area I invite you to attend and learn from this humble servant of the Lord. Chapels start at 10:00 am.
Monday, February 2
2:45 PM I just heard from Mr. Rick Williams of Virginia Gentleman Books, who called my attention to his LRC essay on Robert E. Lee, comparing the great general with Robert the Bruce. Here's an excerpt:
Though their paths and outcomes were different, both Robert E. Lee and Robert the Bruce are revered in their homelands today. Both men, through the intervention of Divine supplication, chose the path of honor and sacrifice and altered the course of history. Both died heroes bound by ancestry and by Providence. Perhaps it was Providence speaking and reminding humanity of these two warriors’ ties as Robert E. Lee met the final enemy.
To read this fascinating and instructive essay, please go here. By the way, Mr. Williams is the author of a wonderful book entitled The Maxims of Robert E. Lee for Young Gentlemen: Advice, Admonitions and Anecdotes on Christian Duty and Wisdom from the Life of General Lee, which I link in my Booklog. Thank you, Mr. Williams, for providing us with these excellent resources!
2:15 PM For a good sermon on the selection of elders in the New Testament and how the notion of "professionalism" has crept into our churches, go to the All Souls Church sermon index and click on the first sermon listed there.
1:15 PM Even the French think Bush can be beaten by Kerry in November. And listen to what they're reporting about the president's foreign policy:
S'il considère la politique étrangère de Bush comme «la plus arrogante, inepte, brutale et idéologique qu'ait jamais connu ce pays», il peine encore à expliquer ses revirements sur l'Irak.
Ooo la la!
12:50 PM An amazing story for horse lovers.
12:45 PM It's now official: Six more weeks of winter.
12:20 PM A reader emailed me with the suggestion that I write a response to this pro-war piece that is the stir today in weblogs nationwide. My response? I've already given my opinion about the so-called just war position. It's a well-intended theory that has backfired:
The Just War Theory (JWT) continues to be used by a good number of Americans to justify the president’s war on and occupation of Iraq. The JWT does have some moral value, in my opinion. It was developed to help Christians judge war and to steer the church and society toward peace. But it is also clear to me that in the history of the church the JWT has usually functioned to justify war rather than to judge it. The theory was originally developed to show that some wars might be an exception to the Gospel of peace, but in reality it has become a tool to defend every war that comes along.
Those who truly love freedom love peace. In the end, the JWT does not advance the cause of peace because it does not sufficiently recognize the idolatry of nationalism. The nation-state has become a god in our civilization, and there is a deep-seated propensity to preserve and defend that god at any cost. Paradoxically, one of the things that has contributed most to this idolatry has been the JWT itself.
11:20 AM When I reenacted the Battle of Shiloh in 2002 I visited the very ground in Tennessee where General Albert Sidney Johnston was killed. He bled to death from a leg wound, having just led a charge across a fire-swept field. Johnston emerged without a scratch even though there were many bullet holes in his clothes. Shortly after the charge he was hit in the leg by a stray bullet, but he thought it a minor wound and didn't even mention it to his aides. Johnston had sent his surgeon off to tend to some wounded Union soldiers. Had they known about his condition, almost any of them could have staunched the flow of blood that was trickling into his boot from a severed artery. Only when the general turned pale did they realize he was wounded and help him down from his horse. But it was too late; he died a few minutes later.
A respectful salute to this great American, who was born this day in 1803.
9:40 AM Now hear this! My good friend Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason reveals that he is actually pro-choice!
I believe in privacy, but privacy has its limits. I believe in choice, but choice has limits, too. Our right to privacy and our right to choose ends where harm to another individual begins. That's true with every law. Every piece of legislation violates privacy and restricts choice to some degree.
In a sense, I'm pro-choice for the woman. She can choose not to conceive. If she gets pregnant against her choice, she can choose to carry the child to term and then keep her baby. Or she can choose to give the child up for adoption so he will be loved and cared for. But she can't choose the quick way out of a difficult problem by taking the life of that little baby.
9:30 AM The latest review of Grant Osborne's commentary on Revelation has just appeared. Kudos to Baker Book House (publishers of 5 of my books) for producing this excellent series of commentaries.
9:15 AM Oh, how true this is.
The most serious threat to President Bush's second term is not a Democrat; it is the growing mass of disenchanted Republicans who are accepting the proposition that there is little or no difference between the two major parties.
Read more here.
8:00 AM Shuttle Columbia: In Memoriam.
7:10 AM Many of you have asked me about the availability of the International Standard Version New Testament. I just received this good news from the Executive Director of the ISV Foundation, William Welty:
We are pleased to report that the International Standard Version can now be ordered in printed form from the Barnes and Noble website.
Click on the appropriate link below to order the hardback (casebound), paperback, or student text edition of the ISV New Testament or the paperback edition of the ISV Old Testament Sampler.
ISV New Testament v1.3.0 hardback (casebound)
Davidson Press edition ISBN 1891833049
ISV New Testament v1.3.0 paperback
Davidson Press edition ISBN 1891833030
ISV New Testament v1.3.0 Student Text Edition
Davidson Press edition ISBN 1891833065
Davidson Press edition ISBN 1891833057
Very truly yours,
The ISV New Testament is also available in e-Sword. Click here for details.
7:05 AM E. E. Roberts of Amelia Courthouse, Virginia, responds to my essay The Best Welfare Reform? as follows:
The myth of federal authority to administer “welfare” programs is based on the FDR administration’s interpretation of what they call the “welfare clause” contained in the preamble to Section 8 of Article I. The preamble reads “Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.” This preamble is not a grant of power to provide for the specific individual welfare of some citizens but for the general welfare of the States…. It is called welfare to this day because the bogus “constitutional authority” of Congress to administer this redistribution scheme is based on that one particular clause. Such wording is one of the reasons that men like Patrick Henry and George Mason opposed the ratification of the constitution.
7:00 AM Had a wonderful weekend teaching at the First Baptist Church of Norfolk and spending time with my church family in Southside Virginia. Our little choir traveled to South Boston to sing at a nursing home. Good old country gospel, gut bucket and all. Life don't get much better than this, folks. This week I welcome a good friend of mine to campus, Dr. David Allen of the Criswell College in Dallas, Texas, where I had the privilege of teaching for two weeks last May. He will be speaking in chapel on Tuesday and Wednesday on the topic "The Preacher and Preaching." On Tuesday he will walk us through how he actually develops a sermon from Romans 6:1-14; and then on Wednesday he will preach that text. Should be great! If I can get him out to our ranch before dark tonight, I may be able to talk him into an afternoon ride. I've got the perfect horse for a Texan like him.