Friday, July 30
11:34 AM Have a great weekend! I leave you with the perfect wave:
10:45 AM Spurgeon on reading without understanding.
10:22 AM George Orwell is alive and well (unfortunately):
Schmidt urges Americans to listen carefully and critically to the often-duplicitous words that roll off politicians' tongues. As George Orwell taught us: "The slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts."
9:40 AM Anti-Girlie-Man Schwarzenegger is back in the news. Here's the latest honor from Austria:
9:30 AM Devvy Kidd on how the military should be spending your hard-earned money.
9:27 AM Here's a no-brainer. We cannot solve public problems simply by adding morerestrictions to free speech.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
9:24 AM The CIA wasn't the only federal agency guilty of incompetence. As Chambers once famously said, "The deadliest Pharisaism today is not hypocrisy but unconscious reality."
9:22 AM Good for Italy for ending the draft. They couldn't send draftees on foreign adventures anyway.
9:12 AM Right now we are in terrible economic straits. We owe $7 trillion that we admit to. We really owe more than that. It's like a crazy aunt you keep in the basement - everyone knows she's there but nobody talks about her. Even the best propaganda in the world can't ignore the unbearable costs of empire. (By the way, there's still not a dime's worth of difference between the two "major" parties and their approach to the issue.)
8:43 AM From the mailbag:
Hello Professor Black.
I appreciate your web pages, especially your recent comments about women in combat, and about our need to turn away from the Republicans who have failed us in so many ways these past few years. The Constitution Party looks good to me. You may be interested to see this page I posted on my website today:
Yours in Christ,
Michael Marlowe, bible-researcher.com
7:10 AM Rather than watching the Democratic love fest last night, as a family we read the biography of Samuel Lapsley, Presbyterian missionary to the Congo and part of my wife's family tree. Lapsley, a white minister, and William Sheppard, a black minister, were sent by the Southern Presbyterian Church to spread Christianity throughout the African continent. Sheppard and Lapsley discovered that their differences had the quality of fitting together like cogs in a machine. Lapsley eventually succumbed to "bilious fever," leaving Sheppard alone. His great sacrifice reminds me of one of Jim Elliot's famous sayings:
Wednesday, July 28
4:17 PM Russ Reeves of Trinity Christian College just sent me a great redneck link. The check is in the mail, brother. By the way, Russ's bio at the college's website has this phenomenal statement:
“When people said, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ they were making a political statement as much as a religious statement. It’s easy to miss that significance without a good understanding of the cultural history, and that’s what I try to impress on my students.”
Russ is my kind-a-history-prof.
4:14 PM Demythologizing the Da Vinci Code.
The pontiff said that "in the face of such erroneous yet pervasive thinking,'' visiting U.S. bishops should stress to congregations "their special responsibility for evangelizing culture and promoting Christian values in society and public life.''
"Rights are at times reduced to self-centered demands: the growth of prostitution and pornography in the name of adult choice, the acceptance of abortion in the name of women's rights, the approval of same sex unions in the name of homosexual rights,'' he said.
The Catholic Church forbids abortion and considers homosexual activity a sin.
Last week, John Paul warned another group of U.S. prelates that American society is in danger of surrendering to a "soulless vision of life.''
3:37 PM An Amish TV show is in trouble. This doesn't surprise me. The Amish are a hard-working people who deserve their privacy. Their simple, family-oriented life-style is well worth emulating, in this redneck's opinion.
3:35 PM Are you a true patriot?
3:27 PM The 9/11 Commission Report can now be searched. (Try "responsibility" on for size. Quite revealing.)
3:23 PM Will the RNC also employ the cage? Hardly. Security will be less obvious. Either way, we the people always get the government we deserve, having surrendered our liberties to Constantine. As C. S. Lewis reminded us, there are only two kinds of people: Those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, "Very well, then, thy will be done."
1:33 PM C. H. Spurgeon's sermon on the Laodicean Church has some mighty interesting parallels to the curse of our modern "Churchianity":
They were not cold, but they were not hot; they were not infidels, yet they were not earnest believers; they did not oppose the gospel, neither did they defend it; they were not working mischief, neither were they doing any great good; they were not disreputable in moral character, but they were not distinguished for holiness; they were not irreligious, but they were not enthusiastic in piety nor eminent for zeal: they were what the world calls "Moderates," they were of the Broad-church school, they were neither bigots nor Puritans, they were prudent and avoided fanaticism, respectable and averse to excitement. Good things were maintained among them, but they did not make too much of them; they had prayer-meetings, but there were few present, for they liked quiet evenings at home: when more attended the meetings they were still very dull, for they did their praying very deliberately and were afraid of being too excited. They were content to have all things done decently and in order, but vigour and zeal they considered to be vulgar. Such churches have schools, Bible-classes, preaching rooms, and all sorts of agencies; but they might as well be without them, for no energy is displayed and no good comes of them. They have deacons and elders who are excellent pillars of the church, if the chief quality of pillars be to stand still, and exhibit no motion or emotion. They have ministers who may be the angels of the churches, but if so, they have their wings closely clipped, for they do not fly very far in preaching the everlasting gospel, and they certainly are not flames of fire: they may be shining lights of eloquence, but they certainly are not burning lights of grace, setting men's hearts on fire. In such communities everything is done in a half-hearted, listless, dead-and- alive way, as if it did not matter much whether it was done or not.
1:28 PM A reader responds to my review of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11:
Some random thoughts from someone who has just discovered the Constitution Party and your column:
It's easy to criticize the 'pragmatic' conservatism of Bush and his administration, but I fear a number of Constitutionalists, libertarians, and federalists have fallen prey to assuming this all a big plot, and that Bush is lying through his teeth. I have not seen Moore's film, but will eventually get around to it. But I can guarantee that Moore IS more biased than many other filmmakers. From what I know of the film, this is right up there with Oliver Stone's 'JFK' in intentionally deceptive 'history'.
You are obviously a committed and thoughtful chronicler of the political and cultural landscape. I have found a lot of merit in your thoughts. I hope that speaking the truth to power will not lead you into being so anti-Bush that every flaw is automatically seen as intentional evil.
Iraqi civilians needlessly killed? Unfortunately that does happen in war. Maybe we should not be in this war, but once we're in this happens. Bush saying "He tried to kill my daddy" does not offend me. This is a Texan talking about an attempted assassination of a former President, authorized by the Iraqi government. Terrorism hoax? I believe we should extricate ourselves from most if not all of our international engagement, but it is still not a hoax. There is no reason for Bush not to make money from Saudi oil interests - that's where most of the oil is. The U.S government let most of the bin Laden family out of the country after interviewing them after planes had been grounded and released. Usama has been disowned by most of his family. Any other apparently cozy relationship with representatives of the Saudi government are acceptable until we find out who did what to whom, knowing that some Saudis may be funding terrorists, but the Saudi government is no fan of bin Laden.
I do not believe Bush is guilty of fraud. He is guilty of spin. How many of us are innocent on that count? I believe he thought Iraq did have WMD and presented a present and future threat. I'm not sure he was wrong on either count. I do believe we need to stop schmoozing with anybody in other countries who meets our immediate needs, as we end up with another tyrant who will eventually turn against us.
Thanks for your time, and I really do hope this country listens to people like you and Michael Peroutka, and turns first back to Jesus Christ, and secondly back to constitutional government.
Wimpy federalist and puzzled international observer.
Thanks for writing, Jeff, and for your concern that we return to limited constitutional government in our nation. I still think you would find the movie an eye-opener. Best wishes, Dave.
12:56 PM How to revive your Sunday School class.
12:45 PM Pat Buchanan once called the two major political parties "two wings of the same bird of prey." The latest case in point: Kerry's doctrine of preemption (note the British source for this story.) "Just war" canards are worn like anvils around the necks of both parties, but does anyone in the American media notice? The U.S. taxpayers will ultimately bear the burden at a time when we are already spending far beyond our means.
11:23 AM Walter Williams is an economist, not a theologian. But he has the courage to call our current socialistic government what it is: sin. (Link: Rachel Layne.)
An argument against legalized theft should not be construed as an argument against helping one's fellow man in need. Charity is a noble instinct – theft, legal or illegal, is despicable. Or, put another way: Reaching into one's own pocket to assist his fellow man is noble and worthy of praise. Reaching into another person's pocket to assist one's fellow man is despicable and worthy of condemnation.
For the Christians among us, socialism and the welfare state must be seen as sinful. When God gave Moses the commandment "Thou shalt not steal," I'm sure He didn't mean thou shalt not steal unless there's a majority vote. And I'm sure that if you asked God if it's OK just being a recipient of stolen property, He would deem that a sin as well.
10:45 AM Mr. Charles Porter responds to John Leone's review of Why I Stopped Listening to Rush:
I just got through reading Mr. Leone's review of your book and I anxiously await my copy. I ordered a copy about two weeks ago. It's a crying shame that self-serving politicians have sold our great country down the drain. I truly feel it will take a spiritually awakening such as we have never seen in this country to turn things around. We have became a Godless nation. We have to get back to Christ. I don't see how things can get much worse. I truly weep for the nation. I know that in the end God will see us through this trying time in our nation's history. Thanks again for spreading the word of God through your wonderful website and showing the way He meant for our country to be governed. God speed to you and your family.
10:38 AM My good friend Mark Dankof always tells it like it is, as this email proves:
In Justin Raimondo's article entitled, "Do We Want A War Criminal as President," he correctly describes the difficulties in voting for either Kerry or Bush this fall. But Michael Peroutka of the Constitution Party, a bona-fide anti-war, anti-Draft paleo-conservative is subsequently dismissed by Raimondo in the following paragraph from the article:The antiwar Right is even more confused, given their electoral choices this year. Anti-interventionist conservatives and libertarians face an even bleaker prospect: without even the luxury of having a major party opponent of the Warmonger-in-Chief, the Anybody But Bush League of the Right has a plethora of bad options. They can choose one of the right-wing splinter parties on the ballot this time around, all of which are opposed to the Iraq war: unfortunately, the Libertarian candidate, in the unlikely event that he wins, could possibly be arrested for tax evasion before taking office. That leaves the Constitution Partycandidate, what's-his-name, who would probably have me arrested for just a few of the activities around my house this weekend. Which is not necessarily, in my view, a complete non-starter, because – oh well, we won't go there. Suffice to say that, in any case, the right-wing ABB'ers are in a right quandary.What, pray tell is Mr. Raimondo referring to? And personally, I don't think theAnybody But Bush Right Wing is in any sort of quandary at all. The clear choice for us is, in fact, Michael Peroutka, without equivocation or apology. The full page ad for Michael Peroutka running in Pat Buchanan's August 2nd The American Conservative tells the story. It is Peroutka and no one else for the Real Right this November.
10:35 AM Mr. Ruben Gomez posted this entry at his blog:
I must confess I'm not into the habit of checking where visitors come from on a regular basis. However, I just did today, only to find out that David A. Black has mentioned this little corner of cyberspace in his blog. I liked the little teaser he posted, which goes like this (sorry, I couldn't spot any permanent link):
Not all Bible software is created equal. You can review the latest cybernetic Scripture helps here.
Incidentally, I have read quite a few of his books - some authored and some edited by him -, while still others are on my waiting list (which, I hasten to add, is a rather long one!). Anyway, I'm glad he referred to my site, and I'm also happy I came across his site.
I apologize for the oversight, Ruben. Your site is now linked in my Reading Room. Thank you for the service you are providing our students through your excellent website.
10:32 AM Spent yesterday at the farm working on some essays and hosting a home school family who, among other things, taught us how to make homemade wheat bread. They also helped my wife cut out flannel graph that she will use in telling children's stories in Africa this fall. It's been too wet to dig fence posts, so tomorrow we'll probably work on getting lumber for our new barn.
Monday, July 26
2:33 PM As an artist I appreciated this essay that appeared in the latest edition of the Founders Journal.
12:48 PM O this is good.
Neither political party will come to grips with the employment implications of globalization. Neither party will acknowledge the fact that Palestinians are a captive people and that American indifference to their fate is the cause of Muslim terrorism. Neither party will address the domestic police state implications of the "war on terror."
Neither candidate deserves to win the election.
Has America acquired Imperial Rome's inability to produce leadership?
12:43 PM Join Fox News if you like sensational formulas stuffed with gossip, nonsense, and vain talk. In-depth analysis of the DNC is impossible for the mainstream press. I will be getting my convention news exclusively from internet sources such as LRC and Breaking All The Rules, not from some great sleeping sow that has been prodded into grumbling wakefulness.
10:29 AM The Frenchman's take on Lance Armstrong's victory in the Tour de France? It's all in the teamwork.
L'US Postal cultive l'esprit de corps et se cultive. L'équipe vit ainsi en marge des us et coutumes du Tour. Elle ne se déplace pas sans son propre part. A l'aéroport de Limoges, par exemple, le 11 juillet, après le transfert depuis Quimper, alors que le reste du peloton s'engouffrait sans distinction de maillots dans les cars mis à sa disposition sur le tarmac par les organisateurs, les US Postal ont réclamé leur propre autocar. Face au refus, ils ont préféré traverser l'aéroport à pied plutôt que de se mêler au reste du peloton.
9:57 AM Church sign of the month:
9:55 AM Check out this new Greek grammar.
9:52 AM No Q? No M? No L? No need for hypothecated documents? Occam's Razor applied? Church traditions taken seriously? How about being just plain simple? That's the view I hold about Synoptic origins. I know it's boring, but I would hope that's not a fatal flaw!
9:50 AM Not all Bible software is created equal. You can review the latest cybernetic Scripture helps here.
9:35 AM Look who's seeking a divorce.
9:25 AM This promises to change people's lives.
9:23 AM Elections can be very unpredictable. Here's what happened to another popular "war" leader on this day in 1945.
9:12 AM If conservatives are so tired of government gridlock in Washington, why are so many of them on the government dole? Have you ever heard our conservative president talk about the $7 trillion dollar debt? I haven't. Have you ever heard any Republican come up with even a bad plan to work on it? Nope. All you hear is: "wonnerful, wonnerful, wonnerful."
8:57 AM We are in the Middle East not for national security interests but rather for powerful commercial ones. The Iraq War was clearly unconstitutional because there was no declaration of war. It was also immoral because it was not waged for national defensive purposes. These are some of the major reasons why we arelosing the war on terrorism. I agree with Charley Reese: It's time to forsake imperialism.
7:05 AM From the mailbag:
Dear Dave:On a pragmatic level, Perot gave us Clinton ! Do you want John Kerry to win in the same way ? Is the Democratic Party supporting your campaign to help him out using YOU guys as a spoiler ? What is really needed is the "Preferential Ballot" so we have a real choice ! I would put Peroutka #1 but it seems and sounds too much like "Perot"!
To which I responded:
Dear _____: Thank you so much for writing. Please don’t let a name stop you from voting your conscience. I agree with the perspective of this writer: a vote for Peroutka is not wasted. My very best wishes to you, Dave
6:45 AM Our goat population increased by three over the weekend. They are the cutest things you've ever seen. This week our goal is to begin construction on our new horse barn. Since the building needs to look old (1820s or so) we are scouring the neighborhood for old barns, outbuildings, etc. for wood. We think we've found an old house that will provide most of our studs and siding. With just my son and I working on it, this project may take a while, but what fun it is to work together! Today I'm reading and grading my as students' term papers and other work for our Philippians class, something I thoroughly enjoy doing. Sample paper titles:
- More Than a Joyful Thank You Note
- Paul's Fourfold Definition of Christian Unity
- Humility: A Theme in Philippians
- Timothy and Epaphroditus: The Power of Humility
- The Role of Leadership Positions in the New Testament
Saturday, July 24
10:49 AM On youth ministry:
If we are to understand how to deal with our youth, we must begin by taking seriously this matter of adolescence. If Christian parenting is to be biblical, false traditions and misconceptions that have obscured childrearing must be challenged and exposed in the pure light of God’s truth. Holy Scripture is the surest foundation and blueprint upon which to build parenting reform, renewal, and revitalization. Reformation of Christian parenting and youth ministry can only begin when the distorted structure of human tradition is dismantled and replaced by a return to biblical origins. Such a reformation is not only possible, but absolutely essential.
10:48 AM Michael Peroutka is a statesman, not a politician. There's a world of difference between these terms. But in Washington today, a statesman is the opposite of what you and I might consider a statesman. Newspeak prevails!
10:45 AM For my students who recently had babies:
10:35 AM Alright, here's the deal. Bush continues to dip in the polls while Kerry hasn't received a correlating bounce. In the end it really doesn’t matter in the least which of them wins. Government will continue to get bigger, more intrusive, and less efficient. Now is the time for a good third party candidate to make his run.
If you had asked me in 2000 whether I thought voting for a third party candidate could make a significant impact on the political scene, I would have said no. Nevertheless, I haven’t given up on the viability of third party candidacies. My sense is that millions of Americans deeply believe it is time to forge a new coalition. Voters are fed up with the two main parties. They are also much more independent-minded about the quality of life they want for themselves and their families. The time is ripe for real change. Jesse Ventura proved it when he upset two highly financed political machines in Minnesota. Whatever the reasons—fallout from years of abusing the Constitution, the hubris of our politicians, or the general unease brought on by America’s foreign policy—voters are suddenly open to new voices, new ideas, new leadership. And remember, only about one third of all eligible voters bothered to vote in the last presidential election. All this leaves a huge number of people looking for a reason to vote.
10:25 AM Looking for a model for reformation? Here's one to consider.
10:11 AM Your "conservative" leaders support peddlers of death. Don't believe me? Readthis.
9:40 AM Ron Paul continues to be about the only defender of the federal Constitution on Capitol Hill these days. When he demanded that the president seek a congressional declaration of war before attacking Iraq, he was told that this provision in the U.S. Constitution was no longer applicable because it was anachronistic. And now he is a lonely voice in Washington decrying how Congress is taking advantage of the fears of Americans. Friends, we don't have to give up freedom in order to protect freedom. And we don't have to give up our Fourth Amendment protections in order for government to take care of us.
9:36 AM Israel has every right in the world to to do whatever it must to defend its sovereignty. I supported its bombing the nuclear site in Iraq. But the Middle East should be dealt with by Middle Eastern countries, not by the United States of America - and not with American money.
9:33 AM Ho hum. The two "major" candidates continue their national tour saying nothing new and disagreeing only on minor points.
Friday, July 23
5:20 PM Got 50 bales up this week, and will spend tomorrow fencing in more of our pastures. Hope you all have a great Lord's Day. For your weekend reading:
http://www.rnc.org (Republican National Committee)
http://www.gp.org (Green Party)
http://www.lp.org (Libertarian Party)
3:55 PM Thought for the day (Pat Buchanan):
For as Sun Tzu wrote: "Know thy enemy, know thyself, in a thousand battles, a thousand victories." If we must fight these people the rest of our lives, we should know why they hate us - and we delude ourselves if we believe the slaughters of Sept. 11 came about because we are "good."
3:04 PM The Pied Pipers of Purpose:
The architects of church reform believe that it is possible to measure the intangible things of the spirit, to set behavioral standards upon which to judge effectiveness in spiritual matters, and to set criteria upon which “results” can be attained. Obviously, some people won’t measure up. They will not exhibit the proper amount of “spiritual” maturity (spiritual capital) to succeed in their local church. And what will happen to these poor servants, when they compare themselves with this elite corps of “leadership”? What will happen to those fragile sheep, newborns in the Word, who have never heard the Gospel of Grace but have only been taught Purpose-Driven, results-based Christianity?
1:43 PM I will have the privilege of preaching at my home church this weekend in southern Virginia and cordially invite you to attend if you live in the area and do not currently worship elsewhere: Averett Baptist Church, 2671 Averett Church Rd, Nelson, VA 24580, just west of Clarksville off of Hwy 49. Service begins at 11:00 am.
1:15 PM My good friend Mike Tuggle responds to the recent nonsense published at Reason Online. When it comes to honoring our Southern heritage, we must remember that the simple freedom to attend reenactments is not what is at stake. The devious, anti-constitutional spirit of our age has taken a different form than it would have assumed in the age of the Founders of our great nation. Our government elite would, for the time being, allow us to remember the past, but they increasingly resist the application of constitutional principles to our culture. We must stand against this with the same firmness with which the New Testament apostles stood against not being allowed to teach, heal, and congregate. By the way, Mike has written an outstanding treatise on free market principles, Confederates in the Boardroom.
11:45 AM From today's mailbag:
Dr. Black,Excellent conclusion yesterday on "The World from Washington."Very well articulated- profound and eloquent. Most of all, I thought it to be a Godly response..."we can not turn to science...nor politics...their arguments are worthless...religion holds no hope (with baptized pagans)...go back to Classic Christianity..."I will hope to go back and re-listen to the broadcast since I was only able to hear the last ten minutes having been with a client. Good job, Dr. Black!
I thoroughly enjoyed the interview with Steve Myers. He was a very gracious host and asked what I thought were excellent questions. I look forward to further interviews with him as soon as he receives a copy of my latest book.
8:43 AM Ordering a pizza? Big Brother knows!
7:55 AM Carmon Friedrich is always insightful. Here's her take on the professionalizing of the home school movement:
Because she has no initials after her name, she is ineligible to proctor testing for her children per the standards of the group providing the placement tests. Does this fit with the homeschool philosophy of educating-outside-the-box (as opposed to education-in-a-box)? In my fifteen years of home teaching, I have noticed that as homeschooling has become more "mainstream," there is a definite trend toward professionalizing the whole movement. Read the bios of the speakers and authors on the homeschool circuit: the credentials are given top billing, especially if they involve advanced degrees in the area of education. This goes for the women as much as the men. My dream bio for a female homeschool speaker:Mrs. John Smith has been homeschooling her 15 children for the past 30 years. Her children and her grandchildren rise up and call her blessed, and she is still busy training them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, with a special emphasis on the discipling of her daughters and daughters-in-law, teaching them to love their husbands and children and be keepers at home. This, along with being a help-meet to Mr. Smith, is a full-time job, and it is the reason she is only able to accept one speaking engagement per year. We are grateful she is with us at our conference this year. Note: it is requested that only women attend Mrs. Smith's workshops, though tapes will be available so that husbands may check out the teaching their wives have received. More information is available at Mrs. Smith's weblog, which she maintains mostly late in the evening, while her family is asleep ;-).
Someday I'd like to see a similar thing happen in one of our chapels when we have, say, a pastor who has had a heart attack, two strokes, is in his seventies, and for 30 years has pastored a church with 25 on Sunday morning - and who has faithfully loved and served his congregation all those years!
7:46 AM Speaking of waves, here are two shots of beaches I've surfed many times. Note the hollow swells at the Pipeline on Oahu (this was a normal-sized wave during the winter on the North Shore):
Now contrast that with the smaller and colder swells at Huntington Beach in Southern California (this photo was taken on a really good day):
Anyone who has surfed can actually feel the difference between these two pictures. I enjoyed the surf in So Cal, but nothing can compare with a good North Shore swell.
7:45 AM Every week two large ships are sunk by them.
7:30 AM Lewis Goldberg asks, Is the First Amendment Hypocrisy for Christians? Lewis edits The Patriotist and is a fearless critic of the myth of neutrality and the abandonment of our constitutional rights.
6:48 AM Somehow I managed to muddle through the 9/11 report yesterday. I kept thinking to myself, By their metaphors ye shall know them. The report is yet another "sane, middle of the road" pragmatist expression of our tolerant, pluralistic faith. Of course, neither side of the aisle will be held accountable for gross incompetence. I'm no fan of Badnarik, but on this issuehe is absolutely right.
6:45 AM The Democratic Convention will talk about some issues but mostly put together 10-second solutions to very complex problems. The main goal? Not to portray Kerry as a liberal. Good luck.
6:35 AM Question: Who will you most likely be voting for this election?
|30.9%||George W. Bush|
|4.4%||I won't be voting this election|
Thursday, July 22
1:10 PM Seems the only people who hate blogs are those who don't have one. Read Another Village Let Their Idiotarian Slip Out.
1:05 PM "We did all we could" flies in the face of the facts:
Here are just a few of the warnings we've already culled from Paul Thompson's 9-11 timeline (cooperativeresearch.org): In 1999, British intelligence reported to the U.S. embassy that Al Qaeda had plans to use "commercial aircraft" in "unconventional ways . . . possibly as flying bombs." In June 2001, German intelligence warned the U.S., Britain, and Israel that Middle Eastern terrorists were planning to hijack commercial aircraft and use them as weapons. In late July 2001, Egyptian intelligence received a report from an undercover agent in Afghanistan that "20 Al Qaeda members had slipped into the U.S., and four of them had received flight training on Cessnas." In late summer 2001, Jordanian intelligence intercepted a message stating that a major attack was being planned inside the U.S. and that aircraft would be used—the code name of the operation was said to be Big Wedding, which did in fact turn out to be the code name of the 9-11 plot. Russian president Vladimir Putin has said publicly that he ordered his intelligence agencies to alert the U.S. in summer 2001 that suicide pilots were training for attacks on U.S. targets. Five days before 9-11, a priest, considered a reliable source, heard from Muslims at a wedding of a planned attack in the U.S. using planes. This information may have come from a Milan-based Al Qaeda cell that forged documents for the organization's operations. Wiretaps indicated that its members were aware of a plot very much like 9-11—a year before the attacks.
12:55 PM Just had a great lunch with three "Daves" on the faculty - Drs. Lanier, Hogg, and Beck. Dr. "Dave" Jones stopped by but couldn't stay for lunch. Having the name Dave is almost a requirement to get office space in Stephens-Mackie!
12:08 PM Rachel Layne sent me this incredible link on our so-called "airport security." Please take a few moments and read the entire article if you can. Mind-boggling!
12:05 PM Just finished our lectures/sermons on the book of Philippians and had a time of great sharing as my students related some of the truths they learned from this wonderful letter. Tomorrow they will be giving a summary of their term papers to the class. Today I also gave each student a teacher evaluation form to fill out. I've been doing this ever since I began teaching 27 years ago and I always enjoy (and benefit from) the students' responses. Below is a copy (I call it "Striving for Excellence"):
“It is particularly significant that Christ’s people, who have tasted immortal knowledge, serve him with excellence.” J. Kenneth Grider.
“The early Christian church conquered because the Christians of those days out-thought, out-lived, and out-died the pagans.” T. R. Glover.“There is no such thing as Christian excellence, just as there is no Christian hamburger; but the Christian will strive for excellence with every task he attempts. It can mean making the very best hamburger you can.” Haddon Robinson.“Excellence is doing all to the glory of God, which requires my best.” Hudson Armerding.“Holiness is excellence, so there is no excuse for mediocrity.” Tony Campolo.“Excellence is other-oriented living for the glory of God, by the power of Christ, and to the best of a person’s Spirit-given abilities.” Ted Engstrom.“Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, unmovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that your work isn’t wasted in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 (ISV).All of us need people to tell us when we’ve hit the mark and when we’ve forgotten to load the gun. Your instructor is committed to high standards of performance and welcomes constructive criticism. Thank you. David Black.
- Course Number and Title:
- Your name (optional):
- Grade you expect to receive for the course:
- Please grade your commitment to excellence in this course (1-10, 10 being best):
- Please grade your instructor’s commitment to excellence in this course (1-10, 10 being best):
- Comments (continue on back of sheet if necessary):
7:43 AM Jacob Hornberger does it again.
7:38 AM The "deceitful promotion of the pending invasion of Iraq." Whew! Who would utter such defamatory words? The same person who wrote this:
But to send a nation's youth off to war based on the "faith" of a few men in the White House and their advisors is both unacceptable and, as we now know, extremely unwise.
7:35 AM Hmm, just a few pesos short. Who's at fault here? I suggest we all go home and look in the mirror.
7:33 AM As I look at our country today I am reminded of the Roman Empire. Our nation is still fairly strong, but we cannot afford to mouth slogans at the problems we all know we face. If we do, we invite the kind of social and economic calamity that could take generations to fix.
7:32 AM Confused about Reformed Christianity? This article will help.
7:25 AM Are you a Prairie Muffin? Really, are you?
6:17 AM Received this very nice letter from Julie Austin of Austin's Parenting with Purpose:
Hello Dr. Black,
I've had some hits on our website that were directed to us from yours. Thank you. I'm thinking it was due to a plug by Carmon a few weeks ago.I enjoyed reading your bio. I attended Biola in 1981 & 84.Thank you for your wonderful strong stands for truth! I have added you to our links section.Blessings, Julie Austin
Thank you, Julie. Glad to hear from a Biola grad who believes in home education as strongly as my wife and I do.
6:15 AM Update: My interview with Steve Myers on The World from Washington is today from 5:30 - 6:00 pm.
Wednesday, July 21
2:34 PM The Bible and the draft (hat tip: Debbie Hopper).
2:28 PM From the mailbag:
I received your book last evening when I arrived home from work. I immediately began reading it and couldn't put it down until I realized it was 2 am and I had to get up early to go to work!
1:26 PM He was the hero of First Manassas, "Mens sibi conscia recti" (a mind conscious of its rectitude):
1:23 PM Ron Rhodes says it's time to recover from the recovery movement.
1:14 PM Here's the next documentary I want to see: Riding Giants. A production photo:
1:14 PM These guys running for office must really think we're stupid. In effect they're saying, "We'd like to buy your vote with your money this year." That's a really bad joke.
1:10 PM We have dumbed down our public schools to the point where we have mathematics for non-mathematicians and grammar for non-grammarians. Our family has purchased the famous McGuffey's Readers that were used on farms 100 years ago, when parents actually had the wisdom to teach their own children.
1:06 PM You know and I know that they'll always get bodies to the surface. It's just a question of how long it takes.
12:57 PM Quotes of the day (Samuel Adams, 1722-1803):
It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.A general dissolution of the principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy.... While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.... If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.
7:58 AM As a review of the life of Christ (whom Paul wanted to "know"), yesterday I gave my Philippians students a “fun” quiz. These are the ABCs of Christianity - very basic indeed! Below are a few of the questions. See how well you do!
In what year was Christ probably born?
Which Gospel records the story of Jesus’ birth from Mary’s perspective?Luke 2:52 says that Jesus increased or matured in what four areas?What event was the signal for Jesus to begin His public ministry?Which two OT characters appeared at Jesus’ transfiguration, and what did each represent?The name Jesus means _____________.The title Christ means ____________.Which chapter of John contains Jesus’ “High Priestly Prayer”?Which chapters of Matthew contain the “Olivet Discourse”?Give the book, chapter, and verse for the following:
I came not to destroy the law but to fulfill it.Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel.Before Abraham was, I AM.
You shall be my witnesses.
7:52 AM In remembrance of First Manassas (July 17, 1861) allow me to resurrect an essay I published last year: A War Lesson from First Manassas.
7:30 AM Looks like Iran is next.
7:25 AM The latest from the "I'm outraged about sodomite preachers but you're not" file:
"Despite being offensive to those of us who believe that such a relationship is completely contrary to Holy Scripture, it is in complete contradiction to assurances you have made to a number of congregations in meetings since last year’s convention," they wrote.
7:23 AM Update: Why isn't Michael Moore talking about the Halliburton-Iran connection? Why indeed?
7:20 AM I thought this was funny: Jesse Jackson's new low-C.A.R.B. diet. Check it out. Meanwhile, having done enough flying for two lifetimes, here's one movie I do NOT plan to see.
6:30 AM Look who's carrying an ad in the upper right hand corner of the American Conservative home page. Love it!
6:23 AM "Tally Ho!" - in India?
6:20 AM Why men are refusing to marry.
6:17 AM Is there anti-Christian bias in our public schools? Of course, but what about the anti-education bias? Read How I Survived Government Schools.
6:15 AM Guess who's returning to Iraq?
6:11 AM Every true Christian should denounce the Brave New World being foisted upon us by our Washington know-it-alls. Case in point: our ridiculous color-coded "terror" alerts.
6:05 AM The logic of Congress escapes Dave Strittmatter, who sent me this email a few days ago. He makes a good point about the so-called Partial Abortion Ban:
I’ve been thinking a lot about the abortion issue lately. It’s one of the core issues that led me to the Constitution Party, a party that doesn’t play games with the issue. I, along with countless others in the pro-life arena, made phone calls to Congressmen and donated to state and national Right to Life and similar organizations to ensure passage of the Partial Birth Abortion Act. This barbaric procedure, like every abortion, is a whole lot more infanticide than abortion if the two need to be separated. Since the debate in Congress made it clear that our legislators supported abortion as a constitutional right, all that would be done is outlaw one way to do the deed. Not one abortion would be stopped; and all that would have to be done would be to take a short detour and do it another way. That is where the “What have we done?” bulb lights up.
Suppose for a moment that you oppose the death penalty and there are basically three ways that the federal and state governments carry out the sentence: 1. Burning at the stake, 2. Drawing and quartering, and 3. Firing squad. Now also suppose that a group of likeminded death penalty opponents decide that the best way to eliminate the death penalty was to chip away at it by supporting a law that would ban one form of execution. You choose the firing squad since you also don’t like guns and in a flurry of activity manage to succeed in banning the firing squad. Now imagine that you are on death row and scheduled to be shot, only now that option is gone. Would you cheer the success of the death penalty opponents now that the most humane and painless method of execution was gone?
If you substitute Burning at the Stake for Saline Abortion, Drawing and Quartering for Dilation and Curettage, and Firing Squad for Partial Birth Abortion you get the same result. The only way to fight abortions is by full frontal assault. The personhood of the unborn from the moment of conception needs to be declared and abortions along with post conception birth control need to be outlawed. A lot of activity was wasted on the wrong issue and the win was really a horrible loss.
5:45 AM Our seminary Outlook has blocked all off-campus incoming email for two days now. As soon as it is running properly again I will answer your letters.
Tuesday, July 20
6:48 AM From the pen of Charley Reese:
Whatever motive the Bush administration had for attacking Iraq, the safety of the American people was certainly not the reason. Attacking and occupying an Arab country has done exactly what experts about the area said it would do: It has inflamed anti-American feelings to the boiling point. Bush did exactly what Osama bin Laden wanted him to do, and now terrorists have no trouble at all finding new recruits.
Furthermore, Bush's obsession with Iraq diverted resources from the hunt for bin Laden and the rest of the Taliban. Consequently, there are two unfinished jobs, Iraq and Afghanistan. The Bush administration's rosy claims about those two countries are as inaccurate as its claims about weapons of mass destruction. There have been more, not fewer, terrorist attacks since the war in Iraq. Warlords financed by opium run Afghanistan, and there is no security at all in Iraq.
Read America's Not Safer.
6:45 AM This is a powerful story of grace amid suffering in Romania. I hope to conduct a a pastors' conference in Romania next year.
Tson said he has learned that Christians suffer for two primary reasons: as witnesses to the Gospel and to perfect the church of Christ. He recalled being encouraged by a valuable truth that a British theologian taught him: The cross of Christ was for the propitiation of sins, but the cross each Christian is called to bear is for the propagation of the Gospel.
Believers must be ready to give their lives if necessary for the perfection of the church, Tson said, because God’s grace spreads when the church suffers in the manner of its Savior.
“It is the job of Christ to perfect His church but I [am to] come and say ‘My Lord, I give You my body to suffer through my body to complete Your sufferings for the perfection of Your body, the church,’” Tson said.
6:43 AM Iraqis celebrate Nusardil.
6:15 AM My how time flies. Below: 35 years ago today.
6:12 AM "We may have to disrupt the democratic process because terrorists want to disrupt the democratic process." Say what?
6:10 AM From the mailbag:
I was catching up on your blog and several entries brought to mind a speech you may not be familiar with. It was delivered by Forrest McDonald, a member of that rare species of conservative historians, at his last class at the U of Alabama (McDonald was also recently featured on C-Span's Booknotes). I think you'll enjoy it is much as I did. It's available as a .pdf file (the link is simply "The Speech") here: http://www.as.ua.edu/history/mcdonald.htm
Russ is the Chair of the Department of History at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, IL. The essay he links is well worth reading.
Monday, July 19
11:25 AM I'm not the only one to discuss the unbalanced reporting at Fox News.
11:01 AM A student of mine sent me some photos of a break in Tahiti, including this phenomenal shot:
9:43 AM Greek students will find this review of Warren Trenchard's A Concise Dictionary of New Testament Greek to be good reading.
9:35 AM I will have the privilege of being interviewed by Steve Myers on The World from Washington this Thursday from 5:30 - 6:00 pm.
9:31 AM Post-Nazi films on the rise in Germany.
9:25 AM I knew David Brownlow would be able to do what few others could: summarize the basic problem in Iraq in a succinct fashion, AND formulate a simple (though not easy)solution. God bless you, brother Dave.
8:43 AM The great preacher Spurgeon has some encouragement for the depressed andcomfort for the desponding.
8:38 AM This essay has a great definition of hospitality. On the ministry of hospitality at beautiful L'Abri in Switzerland, go here.
8:35 AM The end of boasting.
8:25 AM She used to make American presidents squirm during press conferences. Now Helen Thomas wonders if Bush has learned anylessons from the Iraq War.
These allies trickle out as the White House and the Pentagon struggle with credibility problems created by their sorry record in truth telling about the war. One wonders if the administration can ever recover the trust it needs to rally the necessary public support for the war against terrorism.
8:23 AM Even military flocking to see Fahrenheit 9/11.
6:05 AM Good morning! I trust you had a great Lord's Day. On Saturday we attended the wedding of a former student of mine. It was held in our beautiful seminary chapel, and a wonderful service of worship it was indeed. The reception was held at pastor Scott Brown's magnificent farm. (Scott and I will be speaking at the Uniting Church and Family Conference in St. Louis in August.) Sunday morning our men's quintet sang Country Gospel at the local nursing home near our Virginia farm, and during the afternoon my son and I visited our shut-in neighbors. What a tremendous blessing! This week concludes our seminary class on the book of Philippians. Visitors are always welcome.
Friday, July 16
1:47 PM Today's the big day, folks. Reverends, start your engines.
1:45 PM Scholarly Smackdown.
1:43 PM Citizenship commission bans free Bible distribution.
1:40 PM There's a new "biblical" theme park opening. Guess where?
1:34 PM From the First London Baptist Confession of Faith (please note the plural "elders"):
Being thus joined, every [local] church hath power given them from Christ, for their wellbeing, to choose among themselves meet persons for elders anddeacons, being qualified according to the word, as those which Christ hath appointed in His testament, for the feeding, governing, serving, and building up of His Church; and that none have any power to impose on them either these or any other.
1:16 PM I just read about another pastor leaving the SBC. I hope he would have consideredthis first.
1:12 PM Some guys will surf anything.
1:10 PM From Gordon Clark:
The early American colleges were distinctly Christian institutions. But the public school system, unlike the colleges, was not so inspired. On the other hand, the public schools were not intended to be irreligious. In the readers of our grandparents’ time, God and Jesus Christ were mentioned. Today no such references can be found in the books of the public schools. The reason is not hard to find. The public schools were founded with the idea of not favoring one religion above another, and the result is that they now favor no religion at all. They are completely secularized.
1:05 PM Quote of the day:
A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary. -Thomas Caruthers
1:00 PM The new issue of Journal of Theological Studies is out.
7:03 AM Now I'm certain: The ECPA will never vote for one of my books.
6:55 AM George Bush is a master rhetorician, says CBS's Dick Meyer.
6:27 AM Richard Weaver, prophet of the cultural crisis of our time.
6:25 AM Mr. Andrew Gettis writes from Minnesota:
I suppose I’ve been an unofficial member of your Peroutka/Baldwin prayer team for a couple of months now, so let’s make it official and add my name to your list.
I really do enjoy your site and have given it a spot on my toolbar so I don’t forget to check in every once in a while. I sure hope your message reaches a lot of people, because your writing exudes Biblical knowledge and fidelity; I believe that God is speaking through your website. Thank you for having the faith to unashamedly spread the truth.
Many thanks for writing and, more importantly, for praying. Mr. Gettis has a website: StudentsforFamilyValues.com.
Thursday, July 15
1:10 PM Now this is dedication.
1:07 PM No one lied, no one needs to resign. Really?
1:04 PM O, this is really good.
I am concerned about many I see who have grandiose notions of the amazing academic achievements they have planned for their progeny. There is nothing wrong with pursuing excellence in all you do, but the goal is to raise godly men and women who will further the kingdom of God, not little professors who will be fit only for a career in academia.
Lady Carmon, I addressed a similar issue in The Arrogance of Scholarship.
1:00 PM Who is really responsible for the mess in Iraq.
Focusing on the existence of WMD and the CIA's inability to get it right about Iraq misses the point. It's too easy to lay the blame on the doorstep of the intelligence community. Perhaps the reason the Senate Intelligence Committee and Sen. Rockefeller are reluctant to take aim at the White House is because they know that they too must share the blame for bad decision-making.
It's not because of bad information that Congress voted to support the Iraq war. It's because Congress was unwilling to ask the right questions about how Iraq -- even with WMD -- was an undeterrable threat to the United States. If you don't ask the right questions, you never get the right answers, regardless of the quality of the information.
6:15 AM As a guy who likes Hawaiian shirts, I can appreciated what Paul Proctor has to say about the CGM (hat tip: Rachel Layne):
It doesn’t take a prophet to see where the church growth movement is headed. Most of its participants, who joined the fad, will soon fall away when something new and more exciting comes along or their superficial faith is tested by the harsh realities of life. They will simply look back over their shoulder at the big empty building they once called their church and say to themselves: “Been there – done that – got the Hawaiian shirt” and move on to the next big thing.
Wednesday, July 14
3:44 PM Our Supreme Theologians.
3:37 PM Should your computer start making a hissing sound....
3:23 PM Republican Congressman Ron Paul on the danger of leader worship.
3:15 PM A Confederate soldier is remembered in Rappahannock. Speaking of the war, I am reading a biography of Jefferson Davis and am very interested in his legacy. If you know of any good links on the topic, please let me know. I had the privilege of visiting Beauvoir last summer - very impressive, to say the least.
1:30 PM Speaking of God as being the one who works in and through us to accomplish His good pleasure, I just read a fantastic sermon by the Prince of Preachers on this theme.
12:45 PM A great lesson from Philippians 2:12-18: When things go well, don't boast (God is the one who is at work....); when things don't go well, don't complain (He is still at work). "Doall things without grumbling and complaining."
12:36 PM Here's a good review of a classic tome I recommended to my students today in our Philippians class as we discussed how Christianity relates to culture.
12:36 PM A healthy reminder to those of us supporting the Constitution Party and our so-called "lost" cause:
The greatness of Christian exiles is not success but service. Whether we win or lose, we witness to the way of truth and beauty and joy. We don’t own culture, and we don’t rule it. We serve it with brokenhearted joy and longsuffering mercy, for the good of man and the glory of Jesus Christ.
Read John Piper's Taking the Swagger Out of Christian Cultural Influence.
12:26 PM I didn't say it, but I wish I had:
We must know how to teach God's Word aright, discerningly, for there are divers sorts of hearers; some are struck with fear in the conscience, are perplexed, and awed by their sins, and, in apprehension of God's anger, are penitent; these must be comforted with the consolations of the gospel. Others are hardened, obstinate, stiff-necked, rebel-hearted; these must be affrighted by the law, by examples of God's wrath: as the fires of Elijah, the deluge, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the downfall of Jerusalem. These hard heads need sound knocks. -- Martin Luther
12:24 PM Just as I thought. Kerry uses his "religion" as a political ploy. How many hasty, immature, superficial, and misleading "news" articles can the press get away with without any verification?
7:35 AM This essay is truly beautiful.
At first when we arrived in Virginia, I thought we had possibly made a BIG MISTAKE...but, I was mistaken. It took some adjusting and the culture shock was shocking. But it was shockingly good. We are now in a church filled with like-minded home schooling families. A church that views children as blessings. A church that feasts together, that celebrates life and cares for one another...without being prodded to do so.As I see our church grow and children being added to families left and right....both through birth and adoptions...I can't help but think of that phrase: "if you build it, they will come." But in this case, it isn't a stadium, nor even a building...but a body of believers who are dedicated to living their purpose. They are kingdom builders, who love God, fear God and serve God with their lives.
7:32 AM Don't forget to check the Dow today.
7:31 AM The seven myths of single womanhood.
7:08 AM Sobran thinks the U.S. Constitution is a dead letter. He's right.
In his tour de force entitled Our Secret Constitution, Columbia law professor George Fletcher shows how the Civil War replaced the original charter with a second American Constitution, which he calls our “secret Constitution.” The Constitution of 1787 stood for a maximum freedom of expression of individual liberty, at least with regard to the federal government. The second Constitution is dedicated to organic nationhood and popular democracy, emphasizing not freedom from government but equality under the law. The state would now have to do more than leave us alone. It would have to ensure equal protection—and do it through coercion if necessary.
Professor Fletcher notes that although the original charter of 1787 officially remains in place, it has been so radically transformed by our secret Constitution that for all intents and purposes the old charter is a dead letter. Because of Lincoln’s war, the Tenth Amendment was effectively abolished, the conquered states were made into puppet governments set up by the Republican Party, and Lincoln succeeded in consolidating governmental power in Washington by military dictatorship.This means that Americans today face a choice as to whether to defend the old Constitution or to follow the new, secret charter—that is, whether to defend the concept of a limited republic with maximum freedom for the people, or to acquiesce to the new consolidated concept of power that is prone to dictatorial and imperialistic expressions. It’s probably true to say that most Americans are firmly in the pro-big government camp. This includes the vast majority of Republican “conservatives.” They don’t mind sacrificing most of their earnings to unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats and unresponsive elected officials, nor do they mind relying on Washington for a host of taxpayer-funded benefits. And they are agreeable to the notion that personal responsibility and independence should be sacrificed for the “security” offered by politicians.
At the other end of the spectrum are people who believe in the old Constitution verbatim and who hold personal liberty and responsibility so dear that they dare to expect others to hold similar views. They abhor all but the most limited and narrowly defined forms of taxation because they believe their money belongs to them and that the federal government only needs enough funding to perform its few, narrowly defined, constitutional duties (that is, as defined by the “old” Constitution). They want leaders who can read the plain language of the Constitution and who understand that the words “Congress shall make no law” mean Congress shall make no law.This small but vocal group of Americans is calling for the restoration of a republic founded on the ideals of the old Constitution.
This from my latest book, Why I Stopped Listening to Rush.
7:06 AM Man alive, yet another GOP basher! Come on, folks, let's all try to calm down a bit, OK?
6:57 AM Boy, do I love the rural South! My drive to and from the farm takes me along winding country roads. Every driver I see greets me with a wave of the hand, and I them -- black or white. We don't mind talking with each other, and we are never in a hurry. I could go on and on, but I have already published on this subject.
6:55 AM You simply must visit Doug's Blog and read his ode to Robert Dabney. This is one outstanding work of poetry! Dabney is the author of one of the finest treatises on theattributes of God. Read more about this great man of God here.
6:23 AM Anything Kelly McGinley writes is worth reading. Kelly is one of the few voices calling attention to the media's mania for power and their discrimination against Christians and traditional American values. It is time to shed the naive idea that modern media exist only to perpetuate the free flow of information. They exist to perpetuate themselves and their view of the world, whatever the cost.
6:20 AM Why Jesse Walker is rooting for a sanctimonious statist blowhard like Kerry.
6:18 AM A high school senior predicts draft riots next year if Charles Rangel gets his way. Quite the contrary: Most young people, confusing patriotism for nationalism, will lie down and roll over, along with their NASCAR dads and soccer moms.
6:15 AM John Piper has some good thoughts about suffering for doing what's right. The secularist absolutist media will not get it, but those on the front lines will.
6:05 AM Good morning. I hope your day is off to a good start. My wife cooked a superb meal for supper last night consisting of farm-fresh sausage with freshly baked biscuits, wide a side of farm-fresh beans. Enjoying this sumptuous feast were myself, my son, and a seminary student who is staying with us for a few days for some R & R. After dinner I took my bride for a walk from Bradford Hall down to Maple Ridge, our son's farmhouse, checking out the cows along the way and petting the baby goats. You should have seen Becky Lynn holding the littlest one in her arms. The evening was, well, simply beautiful.
Lobe den Herren, was in mir ist, lobe den Namen.
Alles, was Odem hat, lobe mit Abrahams Samen.
Er ist dein Licht,
Seele, vergiß es ja nicht.
Lobende, schließe mit Amen!
Tuesday, July 13
3:23 PM Our next Olympic sport? I'm ready...!
3:15 PM Guess what the world's greatest thinkers were?
3:10 PM Bishop blames parents for moral decadence of youth.
3:07 PM If you haven't discovered the Jet Tour of the Bible yet, please go here.
2:59 PM Now this is a cool chart!
2:48 PM God has always ordained human leadership. And what I have noticed is that, given enough time, any organization becomes a reflection of its leaders. Paul wrote: "Join with others in following my example" (Phil 3:17). In other words, like pulpit, like pew; like father, like son. One of the great challenges of Paul in the book of Philippians is to stimulate Christian leaders to exercise Christ-like leadership in their ministries, and a great essay on how to do this is found here. I love interacting with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, but I tend to be less enthusiastic about evangelism - at least in terms of personal evangelism. Because of my desire to please God with a balanced life, however, I realize that I need to constantly work on my priorities. Of one thing I am sure: Christ's first and overriding command to us is that we love one another, be committed to one another, and strengthen and challenge one another. But I have also found that where a church is not first vertical, first rich in God, it will be thin and poor in its horizontal relationships. These priorities must all be active at once, and all the time. And that's the challenge, is it not?
2:45 PM Check this out - a pastoral quiz for those who desire to be an overseer. It will blow you away!
2:37 PM Is Jesus God?
2:33 PM Here's a great but brief biography of one of London's greatest preachers - a Baptist no less!
2:25 PM The New York Times once published "Guidelines for Bureaucrats," one of which was: when in trouble, delegate; when in doubt, grumble. You may have also heard about themedical survey that stated that chronic complainers live longer than people who are always sweet and kind. It claims that their mean spirit gives them a purpose for living. Each morning they get up with a fresh challenge to see how what they can find to grumble about, and they derive great satisfaction from making others miserable. Tomorrow in class we will be looking at Paul's injunction to "do all things without grumbling and complaining" (Phil 2:14) and how it fits within the theme of the entire letter.
2:23 PM This morning we covered the great Christ hymn of Philippians 2:5-11 and the divine parabola that it contains (the way up is down). We also discussed the Athanasian Creed on the Trinity, which reminded me of John Calvin's famous statement:
For we affirm His divinity so joined and united with His humanity that each retains its distinctive nature unimpaired, and yet those two natures constitute one Christ.
This essay by John Piper on The Pleasure of God in Bruising the Son also speaks volumes about this theme and about the Father's mercy. By the way, I enjoyed the many visitors we had in class today, especially those wives who attended. You are always welcome to attend!
2:23 PM Here's the classic definition of "thinking Christianly" by Os Guinness. Note the central relationship the Christian mind has to the Word of God:
Thinking Christianly is not simply thinking by Christians, nor is it thinking by Christians about Christian topics, nor is it thinking by Christians about or in order to develop a ‘Christian line.’ Thinking Christianly is thinking by Christians about anything at all in a profoundly Christian way. Where their minds are so informed and influenced by the truth of God in terms of their principles, perspectives, and presuppositions that they begin to see as God sees, though it will be in an imperfect way.
7:55 AM For what it's worth, here's an essay I wrote several months ago: Bush, Caesar, and Election 2004. In a similar vein, here's an essay on what Bush should have said to justify his case for war.
7:32 AM Here's a great American writer at his best:
Of course, today I would not call us a Christian nation, as there are more professors than practitioners of that religion. We no longer have the rule of law, either, since judges routinely legislate or amend the Constitution by interpretation while federal legislators and presidents ignore it. Intellectuals claim that everybody can be proud of his or her heritage – unless it is the heritage of the British Isles and Europe.What made America was not multiculturalism, secularism or unrestrained tolerance amounting to license and an absence of standards. But those things will destroy America. You can put that in the bank.
7:25 AM Sheldon Richmond thinks the draft is fascist. I surmise that it will be the most important issue in 2005.
7:23 AM A student of mine sent me these excellent links:
Interview with Michael PeroutkaAn article about third party voting:
7:15 AM Covenant News reports that Roy Moore opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment. He correctly notes what most New Right Republicans are ignoring: that our federal courts are out of control and thus ARE the problem.
Chief Justice Roy Moore does not support an amendment to ban gay marriage. He says renegade courts would cause problems. Moore believes that if marriage is constitutionally defined as between a man and a woman, some judge would allow a man to marry his sister or daughter. He believes a better solution is for Congress to pass the Constitution Restoration Act (PDF Format). This Act would stop courts from forbidding the acknowledgement of God as the basis of law. He says marriage between a man and a woman is what God intended.Chief Justice Roy Moore -- a respected voice among many conservative and religious groups -- doesn't think a constitutional amendment to ban homosexual marriage is the right approach. Such an amendment would not work, he says, because the real problem is renegade courts. If marriage was constitutionally defined as a man and a woman, he says some judge would probably let a man marry his sister or daughter. Moore says Congress would be wiser to pass theConstitution Restoration Act (PDF Format), which would stop courts from forbidding acknowledgment of God as the basis of law. He says marriage as the union of a man and a woman is a God-ordained institution. If that standard is destroyed, Moore says there is nothing to keep three men and a horse from getting married -- or an entire city.
I tended to agree with the good Judge in my earlier essay, The Federal Marriage Amendment: Cure-All Or Band-Aid?
6:35 AM Kalimera sas! Ti Kanete? Last night we got another two inches of much needed rain at the farm, and I spent the evening memorizing Philippians (in Greek) while my lovely wife played hymns on our piano. In my devotions this morning I found these words of challenge and encouragement in the letters of Francis Schaeffer:
Mrs. Schaeffer and I have gone through many difficult times. But we would not give up these hard moments, for in them we found Him completely gentle and enough. I am glad that, by His grace, these difficult times did not come before my objecting to this matter, but that my objecting led to them. Indeed, how gentle He is.
Our class is learning from the book of Philippians the central importance of moment by moment dependence upon the Lord, but at the same time with vital interaction with the world and its ideas. Oh to learn the practical leadership of the Holy Spirit in daily details!
Monday, July 12
3:25 PM Olympic horses in Athens will be examined for heat exhaustion, as well they should. I am particularly interested in the dressage events.
I will also be praying for several friends who will be in Athens sharing the Good News in the marketplace as Paul did in Acts 17. May the Lord bless their efforts!
3:20 PM The more things change....
3:14 PM Don Matzat, a Lutheran pastor, calls the seeker-sensitive movement, appropriately, "guiltless good news." Read The Deformed Theology of Seeker Sensitivity.
3:12 PM If you have your kids in public school, you won't like what Beverly Eakman has to say.
3:10 PM John Whitehead has a few words to say about the FDA Gestapo.
2:30 PM Dear DBO readers: Ideas are power. With the election growing ever closer, all of us need to be as informed as possible before casting our vote. Read these parties' platforms for yourself before deciding which of them is more biblical.
12:33 PM Calling all Hebrew students. Our seminary librarian just sent me this link: MP3 Recordings of the Hebrew Bible.
10:48 AM John Piper on "success" in ministry:
There is a sad irony in the seeming success of many Christian churches and schools. The irony is that the more you adjust obscure Biblical doctrines tomake Christian reality more attractive to unbelievers, the less Christian reality there is when they arrive... If you adjust your doctrine to fit the world in order to attract the world, sooner or later the world realizes that they already have what the church offers. That was the story of much of mainline Protestantism in Europe and America in the 20th century. Adjust your doctrine – or just minimize doctrine – to attract the world, and in the very process of attracting them, lose the radical truth that alone can set them free.
10:46 AM When Mamma Wears Combat Boots. An excerpt:
If mothers go into the front lines in the same proportion that fathers do, we will be in serious trouble. Like it or not, the truth is that mamma isn't replaceable. Daycare cannot do the job of the mother. We have the studies that show us the detrimental effects of daycare upon children, but we really do not need them. Deep down, we know that mothers are the best providers of care for their own offspring (with only extremely rare exceptions). No hired caretaker can love a child as much as his own mother does. No one else has that particular child's best interests at heart -- no matter how well intentioned that person might be. Mother love isn't a commodity that can be bought or traded on the open market. And it is absolutely not dispensable.
10:40 AM Harry Seabrook at Little Geneva posted this link to some interesting pre-war chatter by Colin Powell and Condi Rice. Truly might makes right!
10:25 AM Hitler, Hitler Everywhere.
10:15 AM Intelligence on Iraq was faulty from the get-go - so concluded the 9/11 Commission. Still, people seem to be blaming anyone but Bush, revealing the built-in prejudices of the legal and political communities today. The fundamental emphases of the Founding Fathers have been subverted - which always happens when the federal government is no longer denied those powers not specifically granted to it in the Constitution. Bush's eagerness to start a war was not stopped by a weak-kneed and compromising Senate, and so we end up in this pickle.
8:23 AM FARM UPDATE: Got up 188 bales this weekend. Many thanks to a student of mine, Karl Hoffmann, for his help. Karl and his lovely wife and baby daughter joined us for lunch and fellowship on Saturday. I thank God for this committed Christian couple and for what He is doing in their lives. Elsewhere on the farm, a weasel killed 15 chickens on Friday. The trap has been set.... Meanwhile we continue fencing in our pastures this week in preparation to bring the horses up to the farm and to expand our goat population. Our new male will be arriving shortly, and with his arrival we can begin raising meat goats for sale. Perhaps the biggest event of the weekend was the soaking downpour we had last night, which watered our crops and softened the ground so that my son and I can place posts along the new fence lines. We had gone several weeks without any heavy rain when the Lord sent us this much needed thunderstorm. Thanks be to God!
Friday, July 9
Regardless of the number of troops the United States puts on the ground or how long they stay there, Allawi's government is doomed to fail. The more it fails, the more it will have to rely on the United States to prop it up. The more the U.S. props up Allawi, the more discredited he becomes in the eyes of the Iraqi people - all of which creates yet more opportunities for the Iraqi resistance to exploit to their advantage.The historical parallel that best underscores the current disaster-in-the-making is not the Vietnam War but rather Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Originally intended to rid Lebanon of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Israel's subsequent occupation led to the creation of Hizbollah as a viable force of political and military resistance. The Hizbollah was so effective that Israel was forced to unilaterally withdraw its forces from Lebanon in May, 2000. The 18-year occupation not only failed to defeat the PLO, but it also created an Islamic fundamentalist movement that today poses a serious threat to the security of Israel and the Middle East region.
1:25 PM Now this means war!
12:58 PM One thousand.
12:52 PM Philippians students, please take a few moments and listen to this sermon on sanctification based on Philippians 1:6 and 2:12-13 by that humble man of God, S. Lewis Johnson (scroll down to no. 26). You will be amply rewarded.
12:48 PM Poor Berit Kyos - terrorist incognito.
12:45 PM How nice to be in a church last Sunday that did not have an "altar call."
The invitation system, as we have seen, is riddled with one problem after another. Among the items noted, it violates the New Testament pattern of evangelism; tends to produce spurious converts; gives assurance to people who may not yet be regenerated; raises a superficial conviction of sin; equates the mere act of coming forward with salvation itself; and seeks to illicit a response through emotional and psychological factors.
12:34 PM I agree totally with this writer:
As we enter the election season later this year, let us hope that the debates do include discussions about the shortfalls in military personnel and readiness. And for once in all of our lives, let the right thing be done for our fellow citizens in uniform.Let’s stop trying to do all things military on the cheap. Let’s give our GI Joes and Janes what they need, who they need, where they need it and when they need it. Let’s stop playing with the very lives (and livelihoods) of those folks who protect the lives of the rest of us.
12:18 PM It's beginning to get ugly out there for constitutionalists like Roy Moore and Michael Peroutka. Since most Christians are constitutionally neutered, many will ask, What's the point? The answer is obvious to anyone raised in the basic morality of the Scriptures rather than the pompous foolishness of today's triumphant and arrogant secularism. Stand by your guns, gentlemen; I'll be with you every step of the way.
12:14 PM What a wonderful Philippians class we had today, as we have had all week in fact. Our discussion today took us into deep waters - holding our ground against the world, strong in what the Lord has done for us, jointly working for the progress of the Gospel, being joyful by being of the same mind.... Next Tuesday we pick up again with the great Christ hymn of Philippians 2:5-11, whose Pauline authorship I defend and, more importantly, whose message of unity through humility is a responsibility that we fail at so conspicuously. A sister in the class will be singing her own rendition of the hymn with guitar accompaniment, and I will pass out two different versions of the hymn based on the ISV translation. Again, what a wonderful group of students you are, and I can assure you that your Savior loves you. And, by the way, so does this professor.
7:57 AM It's perfectly alright to get mad at Bush's tactics, as long as you ignore his unbiblical and unconstitutional polices. All of this under the aegis of "neutral" and "balanced" public affairs reporting. Well, I disagree:
I believe there are times in life when anyone with a shred of principle should be profoundly angry. This is such a time in our nation’s history. It is a lie and a deception to pretend that Bush’s religious convictions justify his unbiblical and unconstitutional vision of government. I am therefore convinced that the time has come to secede from “compassionate conservatism.” To be completely honest, I’ve had all I can take of George W. Bush and his officious strutting, of exaggerated intelligence reports “justifying” attacks on sovereign nations, of the distortion of facts and reliance on rumor to influence public opinion, and of Rumsfeld & Co. hiding behind a curtain of PR spin while sending hundreds of Americans to their deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq. I’m outraged by our self-serving promotion of “democracy” and our support of petty dictators and monarchs (as long as they continue to provide us with a steady stream of Middle Eastern oil, that is). I’m tired of duplicity, doublespeak, “embedded” journalists, contradictions in our foreign policy, Washington’s control over the media, and judicial activism run amok.Just as troubling to me is the fact that the church in America has accepted the myth of neutrality. Never have evangelical Christians tried to be so “relevant.” Never have they been so irrelevant. Many theologians and pastors have cultivated a careful silence on the real issues facing America today. For all intents and purposes, God has become an adjunct of man, a help in the work of the church and in procuring victory in our man-made wars. The Power that humbled Job no longer finds an echo in the American mentality. Acceptance of the status quo has replaced principle. Ours has become a religion without deeds. Where, I ask, are the Christian men and women who will stand up and fight in the political arena without compromise? They are scarcely to be found.
That's an except from my latest book, which attempts to expose our hypocrisy as "evangelical" Christians - we paragons of "pluralism" and "open-mindedness" who in effect say, "The Constitution doesn't matter, but don't worry, we have a Christian in the White House." We Christians should be ashamed at our ignorance and apathy. It is time for a massive assault on this humanistic and bigoted culture of compromise.
7:55 AM If you're a Reformed Baptist, check this new website out.
7:27 AM Ron Paul has the audacity to call for U.S. independence from the Blighted Nations. I'd be hard-pressed to come up with an organization that epitomizes the hard-nosed duplicity of our foreign policy that benefits from the myth of neutrality more than the UN.
7:23 AM Shades of Saddam! Democracy takes a hit by the new Iraqi ("sovereign") government! Our mercenaries have let us down! Take a lesson from the Ruskies! Cancel yoursummer travel plans! Life and liberty have gone by the board!
7:10 AM Received this great letter from a libertarian today:
I came across your blog today, and just wanted to say that I am glad that there are those on the right who actually take principled stands on issues.
I'm probably as far to the left of the democrats as you are from the current republicans, and oddly I find myself agreeing with you (and the constitutional party) in certain ways. Like you, I absolutely abhor consumerist society and most of popular culture. It completely reduces human beings to spectacle watchers and passive, lifeless "consumers". It is this dehumanization (and from my perspective the capitalist system which causes it) which is leading to a frightening decay of our entire society.
I have very strong values, I believe in individual freedom as well as social responsibility *and* the responsibility of society to make it possible, no EASY for individuals to *be* responsible. This is certainly not the case here at this time.
Anyhow, with the current band of intellectually dishonest thugs in power, I'm glad that you are upfront about your beliefs and stand by your principles.
I'm a civil libertarian and I completely disagree with the majority of your positions on social matters, but the common ground we share (I think) is that we both want a society in which people treat each other with respect and dignity. I want a society in which the society itself makes that easy to do, and this cannot be legislated, handed down by judges or proclamations from on high, but must come from "we the people" ourselves. That is democracy, anything else is a farce, no matter whether you call it conservatism, liberalism, socialism, communism...it’s a sham and a lie and a betrayal of all those ideals.
Ok, enough yakking, take care.
6:57 AM Here's a letter from Patrick Johnson that deserves serious consideration:
Dear pro-life friends,
If you designed a pro-life ad and purchased commercial time to put the ad which included a photograph of an aborted baby or a video clip of an abortion on prime-time television, the bloody pictures would surely be edited out and you might not even be allowed to run the commercial at all.However, the law allows your pro-life commercials to be aired unedited if it is an ad campaigning for a Federal candidate. This provides a unequaled opportunity to show the nation the victim of an abortion - to put a bloody face on the pro-choice debate. These photos change minds and save lives - we've all seen it happen many times. Now let's do it on prime-time television!
I have designed a high-quality sixty second ad in support of Michael Peroutka with the Constitution Party. He has a practical plan to stop abortion in the United States his first day in office, should God bless us with such godly leadership. It will cost you a few hundred dollars to put this sixty second ad on your local television station, which could be witnessed by hundreds of thousands of people. How many of you would spend a couple of hundred dollars to embark on a pro-life missionary trip to show photos of abortion victims to a thousand people driving past a busy intersection or going to a Democratic fundraiser? Here's an opportunity for you to show the photograph of an aborted baby to a hundred thousand people right after the 7 o'clock news for about the same amount of money.This ad is costing me at least $1000 to make, but I need pro-lifers and constitutionalist willing to put out some money to put it on the air in your city. If you want to put it on the air in Ohio, mail me checks at 759 Quarry View Drive, Heath, Ohio, 43056. All proceeds will go to getting the ad on the air. If you want to put it on the air in your own state, send me $15 for a DVD of the ad and I'll get it to you as soon as it is available to me.
I pray that the Democrats will see this ad as a serious threat to George Bush in the battleground states, and that many leftists will begin to support the ad simply to help John Kerry. Think of it! Democrat pro-aborts paying to show ads on television that depict abortion as murder! We've got to get this ad on in the so-called "battleground states", states now considered too close to call in the presidential election. They are: Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia. Buy at least one sixty second ad for your city!For strong reasons why Bush has ceased to be "the lesser of two evils" and "Why Christians should not vote for Bush", read my article with that title at:http://www.wherethetruthhurts.org/tractsbooksread.php?w=59
6:45 AM Look at what Bill Frist and your favorite "conservative" Republicans are up to now. As long as they are in power, the (Un)Patriot Act will keep on strutting along, defiant of the U.S. Constitution. I say three cheers for the ACLU for suing the FBI over its powers to demand information from Internet providers about customers!
Thursday, July 8
4:43 PM I received this excellent email message from Michael Peroutka:
Dear Friends of the Constitutional Republic,
There he goes again. Several months ago, on this page, I took issue with the Rev. Jerry Falwell for saying, on national TV, that President Bush "is the personification of the ideal conservative."Now, once again, the Rev. Falwell has said, basically, the same thing. In a recent "Falwell Confidential" email, he begins by quoting John Adams as having said: "Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." Then the Rev. Falwell says:For conservative people of faith, voting for principle this year means voting for the re-election of George W. Bush. The alternative, in my mind, is simply unthinkable. To the pro-life, pro-family, pro-traditional marriage, pro-America voters in this nation, we must determine that President Bush is the man with our interests at heart. It's that simple.Well, I respectfully disagree. Things are not as simple as the Rev. Falwell seems to believe. The choice in this year's Presidential election is not solely between Mr. Bush and John Kerry. There is a truly pro-life, pro-family, pro-traditional marriage, pro-America Presidential ticket and it is the Constitution Party's ticket of me, Michael Peroutka, for President and the Rev. Chuck Baldwin for Vice President.
We are totally pro-life, with no exceptions, whereas Mr. Bush is not. We are totally pro-family and pro-traditional marriage --- completely against homosexual "marriage" in any shape or form ---, whereas Mr. Bush is in favor of "civil unions" between members of the same sex. And we believe we are even more pro-American --- in the original sense of this word --- because we believe the Constitution of these united States should be strictly obeyed, whereas Mr. Bush, by his actions, has shown that he does not believe this.
It is ironic that the Rev. Falwell should call for the re-election of Mr. Bush while simultaneously quoting John Adams on the necessity of always voting for principle, even if you vote alone, since such a principled way of voting means your vote is never lost. I say this is ironic because a vote for President Bush is a vote for a man who has forsaken Christian, Constitutional and conservative principles. Thus, a vote for Mr. Bush is a lost vote, a wasted vote.
There is a lot more to say on this subject. And elsewhere on this page, in a detailed and well-documented piece, Patrick Johnson says a lot more in an important article titled Why Christians Should Note Vote For George W. Bush.
1:50 PM George W. Bush: No abortion litmus test for judges.
1:48 PM David Brownlow on the age of lawlessness.
1:43 PM Karen De Koster chimes in on Moore's war:
Fahrenheit 911 was an excellent movie, considering the yahoo who put it out. But Michael Moore was right. I've seen no good libertarian reviews of this movie whatsoever. Only Tom DiLorenzo's post does any justice to the movie, as far as libertarians are concerned.I'd love to review the movie, and I'd love to say more, but time constraints just won't allow it. Let me add to Tom's post........there's a great part in the movie where Moore, knowing that the Patriot Act was passed overnight - with no one congressman having ever even looked at it - takes to the streets around the White House, in a truck with a PA system, reading the Patriot Act aloud. Brilliant! Then there's the fabulous sound bites of a near brain-dead John Conyers. Then there's Bush bumbling his way through every media opportunity available to him. And how about the part where Marines are in Flint, Michigan, recruiting young, black men as cannon fodder, and talking frankly about it? I really get sick and tired of Moore's constant infatuation with "racism," and the big bad white guys that "oppress the poor blacks," but in filming this candid footage, he is absolutely correct in what he is trying to convey. That cannot be intelligently denied.
8:30 AM The seminary's Outlook is down again (so is our internet access), so it may be a while before I can respond to today's emails. Thanks for your patience.
Wednesday, July 7
3:26 PM The LRC Blog has just published Thomas DiLorenzo's review of Moore's new movie. Very interesting....
I saw Fahrenheit 911 yesterday. Whooooo boy, Michael Moore really nails the neocon establishment's coonskin to the wall. Great footage of the WMD/Iraq-bin Laden Connection lies; Bush as he is -- a simpleton and a tongue-tied dunce; the KGB-like secret service harassing Moore for simply standing across the street from the Saudi embassy; members of Congress running away when Moore asks them why only ONE of their OWN children is serving in the military in Iraq; Iraqis loading the bodies of dead babies into the bed of a pickup truck shortly after a U.S. military bombing; the shattering sorrow of a poor woman from Michigan who realizes that her son died for no good reason in Iraq; Wolfowitz acting like a disgusting pig, putting his entire comb in his mouth before combing his greasy hair; the mutilated bodies of young American soldiers who increasingly understand they are NOT fighting, dying, and having their limbs torn off for any noble cause like defending their own country; Bush's Lincolnesque Homeland Security secret police harassing and planting spies among groups of elderly people who simply meet socially to discuss current events; the complicity of Republicans AND Democrats in Washington in thisunnecessary war; and Bush's phony "victory" announcement and landing on an aircraft carrier last year.
The one thing missing was John Kerry, who not only supported the war as a senator but wants to send even more troops to Iraq.The film portrays The Party of Lincoln as it always has been: A cabal of money-and power-hungry political hacks enriching themselves through the auspices of the state while masking their true intentions with the rhetoric of morality, freedom, religion, democracy, saving the world, and other audacious lies.
My wife Stacey thinks every American ought to see this move; they can judge for themselves what's propaganda and what's not.
1:56 PM My current reading potpourri:
- Endings by Morna Hooker.
- Junior High Ministry by Wayne Rice.
- The Use of PAS in the New Testament by William Johnston.
- From Eye-Witnesses to Ministers of the Word by Richard Dillon.
- Collected Studies by Jan Lambrecht.
- The Textual Tradition of the Gospels by Amy Anderson.
- Koinonia in the New Testament by George Panikulam.
- Directions in New Testament Methods by Martin Albl et al.
1:07 PM There is more than one way to skin an election year cat, says Charlotte Iserbyt.
12:57 PM It has been said that sermonettes produce Christianettes. C. H. Spurgeon would have agreed:
I fear there are some who preach with the view of amusing men, and as long as people can be gathered in crowds, and their ears can be tickled, and they can retire pleased with what they have heard, the orator is content, and folds his hands, and goes back self-satisfied. But Paul did not lay himself out to please the public and collect the crowd. If he did not save them he felt that it was of no avail to interest them. Unless the truth had pierced their hearts, affected their lives, and made new men of them, Paul would have gone home crying, "Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?"...
Now observe, brethren, if I, or you, or any of us, or all of us, shall have spent our lives merely in amusing men, or educating men, or moralizing men, when we shall come to give our account at the last great day we shall be in a very sorry condition, and we shall have but a very sorry record to render; for of what avail will it be to a man to be educated when he comes to be damned? Of what service will it be to him to have been amused when the trumpet sounds, and heaven and earth are shaking, and the pit opens wide her jaws of fire and swallows up the soul unsaved? Of what avail even to have moralized a man if still he is on the left hand of the judge, and if still, "Depart, ye cursed," shall be his portion?'" ["Soul Saving Our One Business," The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 25 (London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1879), 674-76.]
12:55 PM Philippians students, please check out this excellent article by John MacArthur on biblical eldership. A key excerpt:
People often ask me what I think is the secret to Grace Community Church's phenomenal development over the past two decades. I always point out first of all that God sovereignly determines the membership of a church, and numbers alone are no gauge of spiritual success. In the midst of tremendous numerical growth, however, the spiritual vitality of our church has been remarkable. I'm convinced God's blessing has been on us primarily because our people have shown a strong commitment to biblical leadership. By affirming and emulating the godly example of our elders, the church has opened the door to extraordinary blessings from the hand of God.
12:45 PM Another reason I love living in Virginia.
8:20 AM Should the president be held to higher standards of diction than the average Joe Doe in America? Pieter Friedrich thinks so.
7:45 AM Why the GOP can't be trusted.
7:40 AM Michael Takiff thinks moral self-congratulation is an addiction in our nation. Read "They Behead: We Do It With Smart Bombs."
7:36 AM From today's mailbag:
Dear Mr. Black,
I just ordered a copy of "Why I stopped listening to Rush Limbaugh". I listened to Limbaugh during my transition from a long-time registered Democrat to a Constitutionalist. During the California gubernatorial campaign in 2002, I discovered the American Independent Party (www.aipca.org) and the Constitution Party; and I voted for Ron Gulke. During that time Limbaugh exposed his deep belief that those who voted for someone other than a Republican were fools who were wasting their vote. As a liberal, I thought that he was just a fascist windbag (Please note the well-composed liberal argument); however, as a Constitutionalist, I see him as merely a prominent supporter of the Republican Party who puts politics over principle. If I am a fool to him, then, "Nuts!" I will no longer be a fool to Him.
I enjoy your essays and look forward to reading your latest book.
7:30 AM Mr. Jared Henson sent me this link (which would be humorous were it not so tragic).
7:20 AM Meet the real Jesus. (Link courtesy of Paul Proctor.)
7:05 AM In keeping with today's home page theme, I offer the following links on abortion from the Center for Bioethical Reform:
- Why Abortion is Genocide
- Planned Parenthood Exposed
- The AbortionNO Interactive Web Exhibit
- Abortion Hurts Women
- This Website is Changing Minds!
- Adoption Facts
- Abortion Facts
- Abortion Photos
Tuesday, July 6
4:40 PM One woman writes: As co-editor of the BeautifulWomanhood.org site, I receive dozens upon dozens of letters from readers each month. I’ve yet to hear from one woman (aside from the militant feminists) stuck in a “real” job who doesn’t long to return home.Read more.
4:35 PM John and Noel Piper offer some handy advice for parents who choose to keep their children with them in worship.
4:28 PM Spanking will remain legal in England - for now. Physical punishment of children is already outlawed in Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Austria.
4:04 PM William Lind, in a guest column at the Soldiers for the Truth website, reports onspillover. The money quote:
If we use our enemies’ map, it is difficult not to conclude that we are losing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition to increasing instability in Saudi Arabia, we see General Musharraf tottering in Pakistan, President Mubarak of Egypt flying to Germany for “back surgery” (is that diplomatic-speak for terminal cancer?), Islamic militancy rising in Europe, and who-knows-what in the way of terrorist incidents being prepared in the United States itself.
3:45 PM On John Edwards, Kerry does yet another flip flop.
Now here's a true Southerner and a VP candidate who merits your vote:
12:57 PM I can't wait to get my uniform to do Robert E. Lee in the first person (rather than just talking about him and his Christian character). I already have a photo taken in the back of 707 Franklin Street - what a humbling and awe-inspiring experience that was for me! Yes, I know I'm 6 feet 4, but the general was himself a lot taller than most people realize.
12:55 PM Yet another reason why I can't and won't support seeker-sensitivism:
Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, has said on several occasions that he will never quote Charles Spurgeon in his public seeker services. Why? He confidently assures fellow ministers that Spurgeon is outdated and will not speak the language of their modern hearers. I for one am concerned that this creates, intended or otherwise, a "reverse elitism": We are the ones who communicate with our age, but does it not follow from this that Isaiah, Jesus, Paul and John are also irrelevant? They did not have Subarus, after all. The unfortunate result will be a generation that thinks the evangelical movement came from nowhere--with no heritage or roots.
Certainly the idea of unity among all Christians is a noble concept when it involves agreement on the essentials of Biblical Christianity. The problem with the Willow Creek method, however, is that they have opened their doors wide open to ALL religious thought (including secular thought), and embraced them under the guise of Christian love and acceptance, even when it is diametrically opposed to the fundamentals of Christianity. This philosophy, unfortunately, is far beyond the boundaries of respectable ecumenism. (Of course, this is assuming that ecumenism is, in itself, respectable ---which is very questionable.)
For example, G. A. Pritchard makes this sad assessment of Willow Creek’s practice of mixing humanistic psychology with Christianity: "Ironically, while Hybels is evangelizing those in the world toward Christianity, he is also evangelizing Christians toward the world. As the unchurched Harrys in the audience (10 percent) move closer to Christianity, the Christians in the audience (90 percent) are often becoming more psychological and worldly. … In the effort to become relevant Willow Creek ironically is in danger of becoming irrelevant" (Pritchard, p. 238-239).
Pritchard believes that this accentuation on psychology, "instead of encouraging Creekers to know and love God, encourages them to know and accept themselves and develop a strong self-esteem. The goals and means of one's ethics change from a God-centered to a human-centered orientation. …" (Pritchard, p. 234).
Another Christian analyst, Dr. Jay E. Adams agrees with Pritchard’s conclusions. He states: "In my opinion, advocating, allowing and practicing psychiatric and psychoanalytical dogmas within the church is every bit as pagan and heretical (and therefore perilous) as propagating the teachings of some of the most bizarre cults. The only vital difference is that the cults are less dangerous because their errors are more identifiable."
Yet unfortunately Willow Creek is dabbling in more than just psychology. As we’ve seen earlier, Bill Hybels has been all too willing to look the other way when people in which he associates promote false doctrine. Therefore, Willow Creek is almost practicing a much more severe and dangerous form of ecumenism call "syncretism," which is the merging or union of conflicting religious beliefs which forms a new religious philosophy. By not openly rejecting these false teachings, Willow Creek has effectively hampered its Christian mission and damaged the ability of its leaders and members to discern light from darkness, wheat from tares, and truth from error. The result are Christians who have been indoctrinated to easily accept and incorporate ideas from a potpourri of false "isms": Eastern mysticism, Catholicism, Mormonism, Humanism, etc.
In the end, this mixture of false beliefs with true Christianity eventually forms a new "Willow Creek Christianity" that bears little resemblance to the true Gospel. And with the international influence Willow Creek has built, they are essentially leading many churches into the same kind of error.The antidote? Simple. Bill Hybels, Willow Creek, and all WCA member churches need to remember what the Bible clearly teaches and follow its dictates:
- We are to separate from those who are not sound in the faith (2Tim. 3:5).
- We are not to assist the cause of the ungodly (2Chron. 19:2).
- We are not to give honor to one who denies the faith (Gal. 1:6-9).
- We are to examine a person's theological position and find it acceptable before cooperating with him in spiritual efforts (1Jn. 4:1).
- We are commanded not to join forces with unbelievers in the Lord's work (2Cor. 6:14).
- We are not to emphasize unity at the expense of doctrinal purity (Jude 3).
- We are not to encourage or cooperate with persons of unsound doctrine (2Jn. 10-11).(Our church) needs to review these scriptures, too, and decide where they stand in their official association with Willow Creek. Just look at these two facts that show two basic doctrinal differences that separate (our church) and Willow Creek:#1: Willow Creek believes that woman can hold the position of overseer, which (our church) does not believe. Willow Creek, in fact, strongly promotes this belief and considers acceptance of female elders as a criteria for membership.#2: Willow Creek believes that baptism by "sprinkling" (as an alternative to immersion) is acceptable, which (our church) does not believe.Generally speaking, these two issues alone might be enough reason to feel that (our church) would be better off not officially associating with Willow Creek. I mean, are we really sure that (our church) leaders can go to Chicago, be trained by Willow Creek leaders, and not be influenced by some of their opposing doctrinal viewpoints?
And worse yet, what about the overwhelming use of humanistic psychology and worldly thinking that is sprinkled throughout almost every Willow Creek program and used to defend their pragmatic, ecumenical philosophy? How does (our church) leaders avoid being influenced by Willow Creek resources and seminars that may contain worldly, unbiblical teachings that are couched in Christian terminology?
Frankly, I believe that some of the Willow Creek pragmatism has already started to affect some of the (church) leadership. I can personally attest to a certain arrogance among some of the (our church) Creative Arts ministry leaders after they came back from a seminar at a "Willow Creek-like" megachurch in Texas called Fellowship Church. After returning from this Texas trip, the Creative Arts leaders conducted a (church) meeting to tout some of the new ideas they gained at Fellowship Church. Unfortunately, some of the new attitude that they wanted to pass on to the Worship Team were not edifying in the least.
One of the more disturbing attitudes they brought back with them, unhappily, was an almost callous acknowledgement that by implementing "Willow Creek/Fellowship" strategies into (our church), they would probably lose some valuable church members who didn’t like the "new" changes. They joked that these people might leave and (our church) would then be known as the "Church of the Blessed Subtraction." In other words, we were to consider the loss of these people as just a necessary evil in order to bring in more Willow Creek-type "seekers" into our services. Personally, I found the insensitive categorization of offended brothers and sisters of our church as "blessed subtractions" to be a disturbing attitude that has obviously come from the Willow Creek/Saddleback mentality where "change theory" is king.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not saying there is a sinister Willow Creek "conspiracy" going on here. I am well aware that Willow Creek has a very strong desire to reach the lost for Jesus, and that is commendable. No doubt (our church) wants only to share in that kind of passion to bring salvation to others. But Willow Creek’s praiseworthy zeal for evangelism has been perverted by pragmatic and ecumenical leanings that have exposed them to the influences of the world and its false ideology. Unless and until Willow Creek changes their philosophy of worldly evangelism and returns to Biblical discernment and truth, I believe it would be in (our) Christian Church’s best interests to no longer financially support them, attend their seminars, or use their resources.
12:50 PM The "Dow" has a new web log.
12:20 PM Kelly McGinley writes:
I personally blame the people sitting in the pews of these mainline churches for allowing the sodomites to take over this country. What deviant behavior will the churches accept next, pedophilia? Let’s not forget these same churches also have been the culprit for the 46 million children slaughtered in this country.The Word of God tells us that there will come a time when the pew dwellers will not endure sound doctrine. They will heap to themselves teachers who tell them what they want to hear. The pastors will promote lies and the people will love to have it so. This is the real cause of sodomite marriage in this country and the only cure is for God’s people to come back to His Word.
12:18 PM The decreasing popularity of U.S. presidents abroad.
12:15 PM I think what I wrote about John Edwards a year ago is still valid today, perhaps more so.
12:12 PM Chris Bowers thinks John Kerry should encourage third-party debate participation. Like, duh.
12:10 PM According to Icky, the top two female players at Wimbledon were homeschooled.
12:07 PM I hope you check out Pieter Friedrich's new blog, Pumpkinhead (no, the title is not as self-abnegating as you might think). Great to have one of my favorite writers back in the blogosphere.
12:05 PM Our Philippians class, which began this morning, is off to a great start, having just completed a quick overview of the founding of the church at Philippi (Acts 16) as well as the structure of the letter (the theme: unity in the cause of the gospel, with unity being possible only through humility). Students are to memorize 1:27-2:11 by the end of the class, and, in addition, must fulfill three "servanthood projects." We've got a total of 22 enrolled, but the more the merrier - all are welcome. For more information, please call the seminary's registry at 919-761-2215.
7:15 AM Good morning, friends! Despite the heat and humidity yesterday (over 100 degrees) I was able to mow and edge our North Carolina property as well as get a good, long ride on my Arabian named Cody. Riding is a wonderful pastime and a marvelous exercise. What I love about this sport is that it involves the challenge of creating harmony between two living things so utterly different as man and horse. The interplay between them is so constant and varying and is made up of multitudes of little actions and reactions. In truth, the art of riding can never be taught either by a teacher or by a book. Cody is the most intelligent horse I have ever ridden. He can do everything I ask of him - including difficult side passes and canter pirouettes. My thoroughbred is bigger, faster, and more powerful and with an entirely different kind of action, low and long striding. I love riding them both. They are by nature very gentle; gentleness is indeed a horse's more endearing and valuable trait. Horses also possess a marvelous memory. They never forget anything they have learned! It is also extraordinarily difficult to eradicate faults and bad habits once they have been acquired. Right now I am working with Cody on figures of eight; with my thoroughbred on the extended trot. There is always something to teach - and learn - both on the part of my horses and myself. What a sport!
Monday, July 5
9:43 AM Here's a new search engine worth considering.
9:35 AM I've often praised David Brownlow's writing, and now here's the latest from his meddlesome pen.
9:23 AM La Figaro asks: L'Amérique est-elle un monstre ou un modèle ? C'est la question posée par le Figaro Magazine aux meilleures plumes américaines. For the answer, clicque ici.
9:13 AM Look who's espousing the use of condoms.
9:10 AM Read a review of the latest tome on ancient Greek syntax (PDF).
9:05 AM Woman killed over Bibles.
8:58 AM Now that I reside in the Old Dominion state, I hope to do this someday with my fearless charger Traveler.
8:45 AM This is sickening.
8:33 AM From the mailbag:
Just got this from Jerry Falwell. I have attempted to email him before, telling him Bush is not a conservative and I will be casting my vote for Michael Peroutka. Never have I received an answer to any of my emails. That Bush is attempting to pass himself off as a Christian conservative must be making Reagan and Goldwater roll over in their graves. God's speed to you and your family.
The "this" Mr. Porter is referring to is an essay entitled "Time to open wallets for Bush."
7:48 AM Please visit www.GetTheKidsOut.org to see reports on the SBC meeting in Indianapolis and why those involved consider it, in spite of electoral defeat, a major victory for advancing the GTKO cause.
7:45 AM Writes Ravi:
I thank God for pastors and for those who stay by the people in their hurts and needs. Pastoring is a vanishing reality in our culture. The pastor who comes near has become an endangered species. Amid growth and high-tech ways of communicating some pastors have become reclusive and distant. For the sake of our culture I would long to see their return. They are the shepherds that give us the rod and the staff—the warning and the care. They are the real heroes working behind the scenes away from the applause of the public. God’s heroes are developed in His own darkroom where exposure to the light would mar the real picture.
Read more. (Thank you, Rachel Layne, for sending the link!)
7:34 AM Yesterday I took my son Nathan to hear his favorite college professor and my dear colleague, Dr. Greg Harris, preach at Trinity Baptist Church here in Wake Forest. We had a wonderful time getting reacquainted with our good friend Pastor Scott Brown and his family-friendly congregation that meets in a local school auditorium. How delightful to see entire families in worship together. I imagine some may find the constant sound of infants and toddlers a distraction, but it was music to my ears. By the way, Scott is a leading proponent of age-integrated churches and has published numerous essays on the topic at his church'swebsite as well as at Doug's Phillip's Vision Forum. Scott will be speaking at the Uniting Church and Family Conference to be held in St. Louis this August.
The highlight of the service, for me at least, was the time of communion that took place after Greg's message. Following communion we had a great fellowship meal in the adjacent auditorium. I thought to myself: How much like the early church, which met together for the Lord's SUPPER (the Greek word refers to the main meal of the day, not to a wafer and a thimble of grape juice!). Why, then, couldn't these be combined, making the communion elements part of the believers' fellowship meal? And why not use ONE LOAF, as the Scripture seems to teach (see 1 Corinthians 10:17: "For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread"). The one loaf could easily be passed from believer to believer as a symbol that we all partake of the one loaf just as we are all one part of one body. Keep in mind, also, that the Lord's Supper was the centerpiece of early Christian worship, not an appendage to worship. Gathered around one table, Christians met with their common Lord and with each other in unity and love. Christ Himself had expressed this kind of humility and unity when He instituted the Supper (see Matthew 26:26-30). Finally, according to Acts 20:7, believers met on Sunday specifically TO BREAK BREAD (the infinitive of purpose). In other words, the PRIMARY purpose of the gathering was the Lord's Supper, which was a WEEKLY observance. How far we have departed from the clear pattern of the New Testament!
If you are interested in reading more about the weekly observance of the Lord's Supper, which anticipates the time when, together with the Lord, we shall all partake of the Great Marriage Supper of the Lamb, please see my web page entitled Unleashing the Church.
Thursday, July 1
2:56 PM My son just called from the farm and informed me that my favorite hen, Little Feather, has died (of what, we don't know yet). Out of several dozen chickens she was unique - she always greeted me when I came home by flying up and landing on my arm or shoulder, eager to be petted. Chickens are, I think, great pets for children. Long before we got our horses or cows or goats or even dogs we had chickens. I well remember the boys cuddling with them when they were toddlers. I will miss Little Feather greatly....
1:25 PM FARM UPDATE: We are currently trying to fence in all five of our large pastures at Rosewood Farm before winter so that our goats will have some fields to saunter in and nibble. We are using woven wire with one strand of barbed wire on top both to keep the deer out and our animals in. Needless to say, this is a very tiresome and tedious task but something that needs to be done.
Last week the seminary's publication OUTLOOK ran a very nice article about the farm and Bradford Hall featuring my son Nathan, who both designed and constructed our new home. Many thanks to writer Kyle Smith and his photographer wife, who were with us for the official dedication service in March.
1:22 PM Here's something I wrote on women in combat at the start of the Iraq War and for which I received some flak from the Christian Right. For more on this subject, see Doug Phillip's excellent discussion here.
12:20 PM Izzy Lyman of The Homeschool Revolution has written an interesting article on blogging that appeared here.
11:40 AM The Pen and the Sword has had a facelift. Nice touch, Ben.
10:55 AM Paul Conners hates to admit he's right.
10:35 AM This one speaks for itself.
10:33 AM The second issue of the Reformed Baptist Theological Review (RBTR I:2) is now available for purchase and should be mailed by August 1st, 2004. This edition includes the following articles: "The Remaining Sabbath for the People of God," Robert P. Martin; "John Owen and New Covenant Theology," Richard C. Barcellos; "The Antipaedobaptism of John Tombes," Michael T. Renihan; "The Means of Grace in the 2nd London Confession of Faith," James M. Renihan; "The Emotivity of God," Gregory G. Nichols; "The Newness of the New Covenant," James R. White; "THE CALVIN OF ENGLAND: Some Aspects of the Life of John Owen (1616-1683) and his Teaching on Biblical Piety," Michael A.G. Haykin. Book reviews include one by Tom Hicks on N.T. Wright's "What Saint Paul Really Said."
For ordering and subscription information go to www.rbtr.org.
For ordering and subscription information go to www.rbtr.org.
10:32 AM Homeschool mom and blogger par excellence Carmon Friedrich shares her thoughtson the acceptance speech of Michael Peroutka at the Constitution Party National Convention last week.
10:30 AM Just had a very nice 30-minute interview with the Religion Editor of the Journal Star in Peoria, Illinois. He asked a lot of questions about my website and my recently released book, Why I Stopped Listening to Rush.
10:00 AM David Brownlow on the costs of compromise.
9:10 AM How to turn a DVD into a Peroutka 2004 Campaign Home Headquarters.
9:07 AM Radio coverage of last week's Constitution Party National Convention continues this week on Kelly McGinley's program from Mobile, Alabama. People all over the world can listen to the speeches via the internet on her website.
9:05 AM When we forget history. (Link from Rachel Layne.)
8:47 AM From the mailbag:
Dave:I was recently introduced to your website by a friend and I have found it to be an absolute blessing. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to Pastor John Weaver a dear friend of mine. Pastor Weaver is the national chaplain of the Sons Of Confederate Veterans and Pastor of Freedom Baptist Church in Waycross GA. The sermon I have e-mailed you is the 1st of a 14 part series entitled Where We Are & How We Got Here. This is a wonderful series both biblically and historically. There are over 80 sermons of his on sermonaudio.com. I hope you enjoy. Thanks for you website. May God bless you and your family. To listen to this sermon please click on the link below:
Many thanks for the letter and the link. I have long been a great fan and admirer of Pastor Weaver. His courage, knowledge of theology, and biblically accurate interpretation of history are exemplary and could be imitated with profit by every pastor in America.
8:04 AM Open Debates (www.OpenDebates.org) is a ten-month old nonprofit organization that is engaged in a national campaign to reform the presidential debate process. It has formed a nonpartisan Citizens' Debate Commission to sponsor future presidential debates that address pressing national issues, feature innovative formats, and include the candidates that the American people want to see. Seventeen national civic leaders from the left, center, and right of the political spectrum serve on the Citizens Debate Commission (www.CitizensDebate.org), and over sixty diverse civic organizations serve on the advisory board of the Citizens’ Debate Commission. Now President Bush and Senator Kerry must decide whether to participate in real and transparent presidential debates that maximize voter education, or stilted and deceptive bipartisan news conferences that maximize major party control. The Republican and Democratic nominees will only participate in debates proposed by the Citizens’ Debate Commission if the political benefit outweighs the political cost, and that calculus will only be achieved if sufficient voters demand democratic debates from them. Please visit their website – www.OpenDebates.org – sign their petition, and make a financial contribution.
7:53 AM Scott Whiteman, campaign manager for the Peroutka campaign, ably defendsinterposition in this essay on abortion.