Thursday, December 29, 2005
He was a Unitarian bent on spreading his superficial morality. This was reflected in many of his works, including A Christmas Carol.
I had heard (from other Calvinists) that this story (and perhaps others) were caricaturing Puritans. Of course, being the skeptic that I am, I held this assertion in abeyance--until I googled this question a few days ago.
G. K. Chesterson clearly ties Dickens' two works--Copperfield and Little Dorrit--to Calvinism. Elsewhere, at Literary Encyclopedia, the article states: "A Christmas Carol, however, takes up a decisively anti-Puritan stance."
Hmm..Scrooge the hard-nosed Calvinist?
Well, perhaps A Christmas Carol should be boycotted by all decent Reformed folk! At least it might get the word "Calvinist" out into the public discussion of American life.
Nah, that's too much work. I'd rather read a good book or an enjoyable movie...mmm...what dvd is this?
"A Christmas Carol" ??
Thursday, December 22, 2005
This year’s Pageant of Peace celebrated in Washington D.C. was marked by an amazing speech by President George W. Bush just prior to lighting the national Christmas tree. It was amazing because he managed to talk about Christmas without ever referring to Jesus Christ. The President said, “Each year, we gather here to celebrate the season of hope and joy -- and to remember the story of one humble life that lifted the sights of humanity.” He then went on to thank Santa Claus for coming to the pageant. This obscure comment left one wondering if he was speaking of Christ or Santa Claus. Many will say that at least he still uses the term “Christmas” rather than “holiday season”. This is of little consequence or gravity. It is true that this is the season of hope and joy, but only because Jesus makes it so for his elect. As Christ’s own, we can take great pleasure in celebrating His birth. However, for those outside of God’s election, for those without the proper wedding garments, for those who refuse the invitation to repent and be baptized, it can only be a time of fearful anticipation of judgment. Furthermore, the “one humble life” did not merely “lift the sights of humanity”, it saved men from the wrath of a holy, pure, just, and perfect God.
The President then went on to say,
"Christmas is a time to rejoice, and to give thanks for the blessings of the season and for the blessings that surround us every day of the year. We also remember that we have a responsibility to help those in need. America is a compassionate and generous land. And acts of kindness toward others fulfill the spirit of the season.[italics mine]"
Do “acts of kindness toward others” really fulfill the “spirit of the season”? Is that why Christ came to the earth, so that we would be “kind” toward others? Isn’t the spirit of the season that Jesus Christ lived the perfect life that we could not and was crucified on our behalf? The Bible says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”(1 Cor. 1:18) Don’t get me wrong, I am not against acts of kindness. I am against them being characterized as the “spirit” of the Christmas season.
President Bush made the following comments and quoted one of the great humanists of our day,
"As we approach Christmas in this time of war, we pray for freedom, and justice, and peace on Earth. In his Christmas Eve address to the nation in 1941, Franklin Roosevelt said that "Against enemies who preach the principles of hate and practice them, we set our faith in human love, and in God's care for us and all men everywhere." We ask for God to watch over our men and women in uniform who are serving overseas. Their families miss them -- hold a seat open for them -- and pray for their safe return. America's military men and women stand for freedom -- and they serve the cause of peace. Many of them are serving in distant lands tonight, but they are close to our hearts.[italics mine]"
In light of the great thing which God has done for us in sending His Son to die for the sins of the elect, how is it possible for President Bush to quote such a foolish statement as the one made by F. D. R. at a Christmas celebration? Any faith placed in human love is truly a misplaced faith. Divine love is the only sure footing for our faith. People change, humans are, well, human. They are incapable of steadfast, unfailing love. Even the elect are weak and realistic enough to admit it. And does God really care for “all men everywhere”? Apart from the common grace received by the unregenerate, what care exists? Did not Jesus Himself say, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”(John 3:18) The Bible also says, “. . . For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me . . .”(Ex. 20:5) And again, “For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.”(Eccl. 2:26) So we see that God’s care is not universal and His grace does not extend to everyone.
I was watching all of this on the Fox News Channel as the story broke in on the regularly scheduled program. After the President, First Lady, and some children from a Katrina Hurricane charity turned on the lights of the Christmas tree, I sat dumbfounded and shocked. Still trying to digest what I had witnessed, with all its goody two shoes implications, the lyrics of a Billy Idol song came to mind. In 1982 Billy Idol wrote a song called “White Wedding” which became very popular. It always amazes me how clearly the unregenerate prophets of this age can identify the condition of the world around them. Listen to some of the words...
Monday, December 19, 2005
In the sidebar I'll be adding a link for a top 100 postings contest.
Of course, like all votes and serveys ony certain types of individuals participate. I know some (if not most of my readers) only read occasionally and surf the 'net for single item issues.
But if you have nothing better to do...vote on!
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Need I say more?
A church in Florida started a Boycott of stores using the word 'holiday' (petition here) . Of course, it made the ten o'clock news not because of the boycott itself (there are plenty of those to go around), nor for the desire to have Christ back in "Christmas" (that's an old theme) but because of the banner itself: it expresses an anger and rage that, I think, many in the Pagan world find interesting.
Now, I grant that debate over words can indicate a larger issue: in this case the "culture war". But what exactly is the "culture war"? Many see it as the de-Christianization of America.
Rather it should be seen as the death-throws of American Christianity. Since culture merely expresses religion and that the laws of the land reflect the commitment of the populace, it should be abundantly clear that significant Christian influence has passed away. (think: abortion, political correctness, watergate, Desperate Housewives, etc.).
The irony in all this is the fact that as the churches have been a waging a frontal attack upon the the Pagan culture, their rear-guard has been left open. Theological abberations of all sorts fourish with her bosom.
Perusing that Florida church website reveals several (obvious) such doctrinal errors & oddities:
--Pastors Randy & Paula White
--"Without Walls International Church strongly believes that God has the power to restore individuals to their fullest potential."
--"...he [pastor White] prayed in unknown tongues, taking dominion over the strip clubs and other establishments associated with the 'adult entertainment' and pornography strongholds in the city. "
Doctrine and practice are appalling in many churches: doctrinal ignorance is lauded as wisdom; immature action is praised as "innovative". Churches close on christmas, curse in worship and charge admission for counseling.
Even unbelievers question the lack of focus from American church--they see us as defending petty issues. (see: "Its the most wonderful time of the year").
Doctrine and practice must be wed. The real "culture war" is within the American churches themselves.
May our sovereign Lord protect us from ourselves.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
The Bible Tells Us So,
R. B. Kuiper
This readable book is a short presentation and defense of the major truths of the Christian faith. It is an irenic work, with illuminating illustrations, and an excellent conclusion underlining the antithesis between regenerate and unregenerate, Christianity and Liberalism.
Writing against the liberalism and modernism of his day, Kuiper explains who God is, the salvation he wrought and the uniqueness of Christianity. The liberals of his day cried, “No creed, but Christ!” all the while watering down the work of the Savior. In contrast, he correctly maintains that Christianity is both doctrine and life; when defining saving faith he recognizes the danger of accepting Christ as a person without the Biblical propositions of who and what He is and the danger of accepting the propositions of Christ without the Biblical Person (p.97). The two must be wed.
It is imperative that the Church today fight the temptation to follow the siren call of old-school liberalism—
many today, as I have heard with my own ears, utter the same trite comment: “No creed, but Christ!”Meanwhile, we wonder why high percentages of Evangelicals are becoming Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses. Proposition (doctrine) and Person (life) cannot be divorced.
This is only one of the many problems and issues covered in this book. Nevertheless, for a simple review of the basics or for encouragement in the faith, The Bible Tells Us So is recommended for old and young alike.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Naturally, there were strong reactions from the audience.
Such verbal vomit reflects more than a desire of a pastor to “connect” with a sub-culture. It displays a basic misapprehension of what the third commandment entails. Although clearly sinful, it is a barometer of the level of rebellion found in churches today. A wandering mass of vagabonds seeking any means to stretch the limits of credulity, some in the wasteland of American Christianity (whether in the mainline churches or not) have no sense of shame.
At first blush readers may condemn my language as harsh. Please bear with me: I acknowledge that churches have a zeal for evangelism—but more often than not, it is not according to knowledge.
I have not the time to elucidate the breadth and depth of this commandment; nor explain the differences between false swearing, oath taking and cursing; nor expound how using God’s handiworks—creation—in a flippant and coarse manner demeans God Himself; nor explicate the psychology of how sinful men verbally vomit on others as a form of emotional expiation for their anger, guilt, self-righteousness and the like.
Language is neither private (God is everywhere) nor unlimited and infinitely pliable (only God is unlimited). Thus, individuals or even a group of individuals do not have the right to do anything with language. In other words, language, although conventional, still expresses cultural values—and since all cultures are rooted in religion, that language expresses one’s religion. And all religions have standards of right and wrong, which, again are reflected in language. So, when a sub-culture wishes to express its rebellion against the larger cultural mores it turns toward those things that are taboo, obscene or shocking. Shame is the first thing to go.
Besides the obvious fact that we should offend people with the Gospel (Christ preached more about sin and hell than grace) and not our speech, it is patently clear that Christians should avoid coarse, filthy speech (Col. 4:6, Eph. 4:29). “Filth” in the Greek means “foul speaking, low and obscene speech” [Thayer]—the Greek background points not to blasphemy per se (language against God) but coarse or crass words.
Followers of Christ do not need to act out their old ways to bring shock to their audience. Imagine: instead of reading a poem about sinful acts, one acted it out instead—that by voyeuristic proxy the reader of the play gestured as well as cursed?
One cannot have speech be a free-for-all without denying absolute truth. If this were so, what words would express rebellion, dissatisfaction or dishonor? One could say anything with moral impunity.
Although most of this posting is related directly to abuse of language, the third commandment involves false doctrine as well as false speech. So, even though many Christians would be offended at verbally transforming the marriage bed into a crass cursing, they should be more offended at doctrinally filthy mouths. Besides the obvious pragmatism of the situation, with its disregard for the third commandment and apparent therapeutic usage of filthy words, the last installment on the blog made a passing remark that was shocking in its simplicity and amazing in the fact that no one commented on it:
“Most non-Christians I know do not hate God; they think that God and the church hate them because they are considered vile. We want to reverse that deception…” ---Mike SaresReally!? Romans one through three clearly declares that man is self-deceived, loving sin and hating God: to love the world is to hate God (John 15:18ff.). Thus says the Lord:
The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil. –John 7:7
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. –Romans 8:7
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
being filled with all unrighteousness…backbiters, haters of God—Romans 1
Since this false doctrinal stance is maintained, false speech is allowed. It is that simple. The sub-culture under question is not assumed to be in rebellion against God through its language; thus, it is acceptable to use such language to communicate to them. Since they "do not hate God" then the language they use does not express hate; therefore such language is proper to use.
It is too bad the entire situation is setup as an either/or fallacy in which that church is supposedly taking a stand for people perceived as “vile”—I do not perceive them that way and my church welcomes them. The real fact is that many of them do not want our churches because we make them uncomfortable (or should!) with the Law and the Gospel.
James reminds us that our tongue is a powerful member: we must choose—through His power—between breathing sweet truth or vomiting lies. Between ingesting golden apples or digesting garbage.
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Proverbs
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Your fist thought would be that this was not real; your second thought would be that the church must be handing out 100 dollar bills!
Either way, you are acknowledging a basic psychological fact:
people sacrifice for their gods.
In this case, Black Friday represents a "holy" day for millions of Americans offering their "tithes" to the god of prosperity. They are willing to inconvienence themselves to get up before the worms are awake; they are willing to expend precious family, house and work time to wait in line for fleeting material goods. Adding in the traffic headackes, complaining children and customers as well as one's sanity, Americans expend much more mental, physcial, and temporal energy for a once-a-year event than they do figuring out what issues to vote upon!
But they all believe it was worth it.
When this "tithing" (as well as the "tithing" throughout the year on TVs, cars, videos, cable, internet, computers and games) is added up it quickly dwarfs the church tithing of America. When the time, energy and commitment are thrown into the equation, church recedes into the background. Apparantly, the things of this world are worth such efforts. The things of God are not.
Sacrifices to one's god is easily discovered through such an analysis: what are you willing to do to please your god?
Get up early for prayer time, sunday school and church?
Set up the books and chairs sunday morning?
Take time to attend weekly bible study?
Tithe to God's Church?
Pray, read and study the Bible daily?
We are willing to spend time, energy and money on the things that are worth it.
Clearly, God's church and people are worth our time.
It is worth it for me.
Is it worth it for you?
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Praising, lauding and glorifying You for all that You have bestowed upon my family is the least I can do. Even this, Oh Lord, is but a faint shadow of the honor due You.
As such, even after serving You, it is only what is required of us, Your unworthy servants.
Thank you for:
Freedom of Association
Freedom of Arms
Freedom of Speech
Freedom of Worship
Freedom of Selling
Freedom of Buying
Body of Christ:
Orthodox Presbyterian Church
Thank You for,
Thank You for: security, technology and plenty; for breath and life.
Thank you for Your Son and the Spirit who breathes life into us.
For all this my family worships you; for all this we do not deserve. It is not of our own making, doing or goodness that brought this upon us. It is only Your undeserving grace, mercy and kindness.
In all this prosperity--of freedom, worship, and life--we plead one thing of Thee:
"Give me neither poverty nor riches -- Feed me with the food allotted to
me; Lest I be full and deny You, And say, 'Who is the LORD?' Or lest I be
poor and steal, And profane the name of my God." Prov. 30:8-9.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
"Devil Dog. A mutated, malformed, monstrosity of a mutt. A baleful, chthonic, gruesome freak straight from the Grand Guignol itself. A nightmarish, grisly animal shooting its foul imagery straight into my terrified senses, while assualting the unarmed mind with ferocious malignancy: is it real?"
Well, it was real and it finally died.
At age 14.
Now I can sleep without nightmares.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
This was no ordinary advertisement.
Of the six sides on the cube, four had religious jokes about Moses, Noah and the magi.
The other two sides advertised for a young, energetic twenty-something church that will bring no demands upon her members.
It was an ad for a church inviting people to its "grand opening."
I kid you not.
The church is meeting in a commercial center where another "gen-x" church used to meet. I suspect its the same church with a makeover.
The advertising did its job: I knew exactly what they stood for; and I wanted nothing to do with it.
I'm not interested in a church that tries to attract members through jokes.
Are they going to humor people to heaven?
I'm not impressed with their tag line either: "We think church should be something to look forward to, where children and adults can have fun."
Why not go to a circus--you get more "fun" for your money.
Of course, some might complain that I'm being too harsh, too heartless, and too...humorless?
However, one's view of sin and the gospel will reflect itself in the church--even in its advertisement.
Does man avoid God because of "stuffy" church?--then advertise a "casual" dress code.
Does man avoid God because of "slow" music?--then advertise "loud" music.
Does man avoid God because of "irrelevent" sermons?--then advertise "relevant" messages.
However, if man's fundamental problem is his rebellious alienation from God (Rom. 1:18ff.), then the Gospel (and the church upon which it is built) will reflect that condition. A church will not even try to "advertise" itself but will stand boldly upon the Law and Gospel of the Word of Christ. Law to convict of sin; Gospel to cover sin. The church should be a comfort for believers and a challenge to unbelievers.
Church should not be in the business of reinventing the Gospel (or Church) but standing firm in the antithesis between the World and the Church. There are no "grand openings." If Christ is our model, he was a poor businessman, preaching conviction of sin and the realities of hell.
The only "advertisement' a church needs is its faithful adherence to the entire Word of God.
And the only "reinventing" a church needs is a spirit-wrought reformation.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
“What the…,” exclaimed a weary-eyed sleeper. Fumbling like a drunken bum, he finally found the clock. His brain stared at the devise until it registered the true state of affairs: “It’s 6:00 in the morning!” With a heavy sigh, he turns toward the enticing pillow…
Rummmble! Rooaar!! The screaming, shattering chainsaw chases a terrified man. Running with all his might, he evades the chainsaw, only to see it crashing through another door…and wakes him up to the familiar sound of a lawn mower. This time it’s 7 AM.
Screeching, screaming and shouting, the local street urchins abort his attempted Saturday morning sleep-in at 7:30.
What is the point of sleeping in? No one else does. I seem to remember my parents sleeping in on at least one weekend day. They would warn my sister and me to be quite lest we feel a wrath that would pale the likes of Khan.
However, in the last few years, if we stay up late on a Friday night (which I thought most people our age did, with or without children), it only makes sense that we would try to sleep in a little on Saturday. And I don’t mean until 10:30 either.
Why the change? Could it be that more people are trying to busy themselves these days? Or that they carry the weekday rush into the weekend? The six-year old has to attend pee-wee league, the backyard has to have a new deck and so many things must be accomplished by noon on Saturday. Naturally, both Saturday and Sunday are “get-things-done” days because the rest of the week is filled with extended hours (from bosses and companies who live for money), meetings, veterinarian appointments, sporting events, and what-nots.
Rest is lost. Community is gone. And the church and Sabbath are no longer central to the family units.
In America there is no Sabbath rest. The Gospel is meaningless, so the Sabbath day is meaningless (Heb. 4:1ff) and the church is pushed into the periphery. We live in one of the most unchurched cities in America. And we see that every Sunday morning when by 8:30 we are ready to drive to church, while the neighbors ready their lawnmowers, hedge-clippers and motorbikes.
Perhaps Americans are becoming more busy and less rested as they attempt to drown-out the call of the Gospel. Or perhaps I’m simply asking too much to be able to sleep in just a little.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Desiring to bring to the conservative Christians the glaring problems with the Iraqi constitution, I did not focus on my own beliefs. Unfortunately (or fortunately) the internet is wide open for any all readers; thus, there are questions and concerns about what has been (mostly) unsaid in this series.
Being an interactive blog I expected, well, interaction—I was hoping some comments from those concerned about America supporting an Islamic Socialistic state! (But, perhaps, too many people have been accustomed to socialism to even recognize it anymore). Instead, I got various and sundry comments about “neocons” and “Christian fundamentalist”. So, I’ll try to summarize some clarifying comments:
1. This first point acknowledges the comment that the US Constitution is the supreme law of the land (article 6) . I do acknowledge that my fourth article/posting is short and vague. Thus, I’ve modified it slightly.
2. “so you're against democracy are you?”
I am against Democracy when defined as direct democracy, majoritarianism , or economic egalitarianism (positions the founders tried to avoid). I believe in a federal republic, sometimes called a representative democracy.
3. " 'the people are the cornerstone to modern society' " - yes, so they should be. the system is known as democracy, the system you seem to oppose."
Besides what is noted above (and not merely believed by a fringe group!) about democracy, the cornerstone of any society should be law—that is what protects the minority from the majority. Thus, the majority cannot enact murder, for instance, against the minority.
4. " 'only God and His Law are our authority and legitimacy' " - so why isn't America a theocracy (maybe that's what you want)"
Maybe—depending on how one defines “theocracy”. The American law-system is based upon certain philosophical doctrines; over the course of our history, there has been a struggle over what those doctrines should be. Currently, we have a non-reflective worldview used in America, Evolutionary Materialism, with relativism as a corollary. Of course, Materialists use logic—which has no physical existence--but that’s another matter.
I would have no problem with the original American set-up in which Protestantism was the recognized “cultural glue”, such that some of the States limited governmental offices to Protestants only. Thus, our nation basically--in its law and cultural expectations-- followed the Ten Commandments. This, however, did not mean any one church ruled the nation, or that people were killed for being Muslim, but it entailed a general belief and practice that most citizens had in common (a worldview). More precisely I would like a return to the older Christian America as consistent with such a worldview (hence, no slaves, etc., but that is another post).
5. "Then again, the Iranians are allowed to vote as well.” Exactly, that is one of the major problems of Democracies. Another Hitler could be voted in. However, if a Republic is based upon a common worldview (that is one against Nazism or Communism), reinforced through the societal institutions, then this would be much less likely. But a free-for-all Democracy is unpredictable and dangerous in the long run.
6. “It seems there's another US christian fundamentalist / neocon who needs to learn more about his own country's history and constitution.” Nope, sorry—too many assumptions: I am not a neocon:I did not vote for Bush; I am against the Iraqi war; I am against international "interventionism". However, if one wishes to continue this friendly dialogue, perhaps his or her philosophical assumption (worldview) should be placed on the table for all to see—making blanket allegations from the cover of cyberspace is too convenient.
As for “fundamentalist”—I am not sure what that is supposed to mean. Some use it as an ad hominem associating Christians with Islamic terrorists; some use it (again as an ad hominem) more narrowly for "unthinking" Christians (which do exists); others use it for Christians who believe in the inerrancy and infallibility of the Scriptures (that's me!). Within conservative Christian circles (in the US anyway) it may mean those who "don't drink, smoke or dance" (i.e. legalists) or those who are dogmatic thinkers. It used to mean simply those who believed in the miracles of the Bible and its inspiration (Torrey's The Fundamentals). It is more proper to call me Reformed Presbyterian (ala Westminster Confession (1646)--OPC)
I guess with that many definitions of "fundamentalist" under my belt, that should preclude me from being "unthinking". Then, again, many non-Christians don't even know this much about Christianity.
I hope I have clarified myself enough. Remember, I am trying to write to a Christian audience--but I'm willing to dialogue with others.
Monday, October 31, 2005
Thus far, I suspect--and I pray I’m wrong--that many readers have not sustained such a long series. They may believe this is the work of a quack. So, as the last in a series I shall quote copiously and explicitly from the Constitution of Iraq: you decide if this is a government worth defending with American blood:
Article 22: “Work is a right for all Iraqis so as to guarantee them a decent living.”
What more needs to be said? Communism anyone?
Article 25: “The State guarantees the reform of the Iraqi economy in accordance with modern economic principles to insure the full investment of its resources, diversification of its sources and the encouragement and the development of theOf course, once the Triune God is out of the picture, then economics becomes the plaything of the powerful-and who is more powerful than the government?
Article 23: 1st — Private property is protected and the owner has the right to use it, exploit it and benefit from it within the boundaries of the law.
Article (27): 1st — Public property is sacrosanct, and its
protection is the duty of every citizen.
Remember that game of compare and contrast as a child? It’s a very useful tool: the owner has a right to private property “within the boundaries of the law”; however, “public property is sacrosanct”—that is “regarded as sacred and inviolable.” This language is not used for private property. Note also how protection of-not private property-but public property is the “duty of every citizen”. Da, tvoritsch—yes, comrade: for the State is inviolable and the citizen is expendable.
Article 29: “A. The family is the foundation of society; the State preserves its entity and its religious, moral and patriotic values.”How magnanimous of the State to preserve the very entity that should sustain it! Rather, when the government is in the business of taking care of the family, it is no longer recognizing its proper place under God nor its dependence upon the Family. Who takes care of children? The parents. Who takes care of the Family? The Parent-State. Thus, the Family becomes the child of the State.
“B. The State guarantees the protection of motherhood, childhood and old age and shall care for children and youth and provides them with the appropriate conditions to further their talents and abilities.”
Article 30: “First: The state guarantee [sic] to the individual and the family--especially children and women--social and health security and the basic requirements for leading a free and dignified life. The state also ensures the above a suitable income and appropriate housing.”This is quite a blank check; a very expensive check that will most likely (if carried out consistently and faithfully) raise oil prices from Iraq (Article 109: "Oil and gas is the property of all the Iraqi people," i.e. the State). What exactly does “basic requirements for…life” entail? Whatever the legislature determines it! What is “suitable” income and housing? Whatever the State tells the masses. Desiring freedom from “terrorism”, Iraq has bought slavery, willingly and whole-heartedly.
Article 33: “First: Every individual has the right to live in a safe
Article (15): "Every individual has the right to life and security and freedom” except "in accordance to the law and based on a ruling by the appropriate judicial body."
So, through careful progression it becomes apparent that nullifying the Triune God of Christianity as the final and ultimate environment of man, the State fills in the vacuum: the State becomes the environment of man, nurturing him, protecting him. For the small price of freedom and individuality, man exchanges liberty for slavery.
Finally, if you are not nauseous yet:
Article (45): Restricting or limiting any of the freedoms and liberties stated in this constitution may only happen by, or according to, law and as long as this restriction or limitation does not undermine the essence of the right or freedom.
Thus, public property is "sacrosanct"--invioable and beyond the authority of others (article 27)--yet all the liberties and freedoms of the people of Iraq are not sacrosanct: they are strictly limited by law. In a little well known country of the world, life, liberty and private property (in theory!) are, under God, sacrosanct--that is why 1776 exploded upon the world! It was the birth of a Republic, not a Democracy.
Iraq has absolutely no Christian history or culture. Its god is the impersonal god of raw causality: Allah. Thus, it does not take individualism seriously (personalism) and makes all the spheres of life (family, church, business, etc.) mechanistic. Having no concept of the Trinity, the many (individuals) becomes absorbed into the one (State). Personhood is subjected to the impersonal laws of the Koran—melding itself naturally to totalitarian rule (either a kingly, oligarchy or democratic (mob) rule). The mechanism of the State is secondary to the results: total protection at the cost of total control.
As Rushdoony aptly points out in The Politics of Guilt and Pity, since all the unregenerate are guilty before God, they try to assuage that guilt: thus, eventually, the State becomes the savior (if anarchy is to be avoided). The State, in place of God, will plan the economy and the society, working all things for the good of them that love it.
May America wake-up from its theological slumbering; may the Conservative Christians (in the truest sense of the words) repent of their political laziness. Pragmatism meets the Welfare State halfway; thus, in principle (since the State has not lost any ground) Pragmatic realpolitik of the Christian Right has succumbed to tyranny. They just don’t realize it yet. They offer only part of the womb or pieces of the tomb to the State, hoping to fend off the ever-hungry alligator. They voted for the very "Republican" (Party) America that has perpetuated this monstrosity of a constitution.
Only time will tell if they learn their lesson.
I, for one, will not put my trust in them or their princes, but in the name of the Lord my God.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
"Article 9: (b) Forming military militias outside the framework of the armed forces is banned. "
So, if, as was gleefully reported by "Mike" the Army sharpshooter on the Laura Ingrahm show today, the only point of creating an Iraqi "democracy" is to "give freedom of choice"--even if it means they "vote for a monarchy"--then the right to bear arms is no longer relevant.
We are right back to making Democracy a god.
The Protestant belief of old--from the Reformers to the Puritans--founded our nation on the natural and Biblical right of self-defense--even if that meant self-defense from our own government. Such a doctrine is absent in Iraq.
That is scary. They could collapse back into a tyranny without any means to protect themselves.
But what is more scary is their lack of a Gospel culture: they have no theological or ideological underpinning to stand-up against tyrants.
Let's face it, they're voting in Socialism--if not outright Communism--so they are already under a form of tyranny.
Pray for them--and pray for us.
Monday, October 24, 2005
“Federalism is a system of government in which power is constitutionally divided between a central authority and constituent political units (like states or provinces). The two levels of government are interdependent, and share sovereignty.”—Wikipedia
2. Iraqi Definition:
“Article 13: 1st - This constitution shall be considered as the supreme and highest law in Iraq. It shall be binding throughout the whole country without exceptions.
2nd - No law that contradicts this constitution shall be passed; any passage in the regional constitutions and any other legal passages that contradict this constitution shall be considered null.”
Remember: our Constitution was written to limit the federal government, not the state governments. That's why the States have their own constitutions! Compare the Tenth Amendment.
Given the lack of Iraqi legal history, the supremacy of Islam imbedded in the document and the hasty drafting of this constitution, it is not certain how this article will be used.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Democracy—the vote of the people.
Egalitarianism—the equality of the people.
Equal opportunity—the potential of the people.
I see a pattern: the people are the cornerstone to modern politics.
God is out of the picture.
That is why the president (and other neo-cons) stress their desire to “spread democracy” around the world—kinda like spreading a gospel.
Rushdoony’s excellent book, This Independent Republic, summarizes this modern political approach:
“science is methodology [not meaning]. Hence, again, the establishment of democracy is seen as the cure-all for all cultures, since methodology will remake man. Democracy is thus applied to Asiatic, African, and Latin American states without any regard for their historical and cultural conditions, because it is assumed that the form or method is the creator of valid objectives…” (128)
More precisely, America wishes to mold the world—via neocon and liberal politick—into a “safer” place for all. This is a violation of Biblical sphere sovereignty:
“Interventionism is a pretension to deity, a claim to powers of mediation and to divine government, and hence is inadmissible [to a Christian worldview]”(p.138)
And it is not the Biblical Gospel.
Why? Because the Biblical Gospel is not compatible with depraved people. The Biblical Gospel is not of this world (political) but from above (God). They first need regeneration before they can even begin to vote on principle.
But this will not stop our nation from promoting such falsehoods as:
“The law is sovereign. The people are the source of authorities and its legitimacy…” (Article 5 of the Iraqi Constitution).
Article 16: “Equal opportunities are guaranteed for all Iraqis. The state guarantees the taking of the necessary measures to achieve such equal opportunities.”
No, dear reader, the law (whatever that may be defined as) is not sovereign—only God is sovereign!
No, fellow Americans, the people are not the arbiters of authority or legitimacy—only God and His Law are our authority and legitimacy.
That is why the Apostles said: “we ought to obey God rather than man”!
Voting is proper, in its place. But they never determine good and evil. Laws, in submission to God’s Law, are proper. But they never trump God.
In the multicultural context of Iraq, and specifically its Islamic roots, it is hard to determine what exactly its constitution means. In contrast, the American constitution has a clearly defined past that helps interpret its meaning. America (theoretically) is a Republic and not a (direct) Democracy.
So, any given statement (such as the Iraqis have “liberties”) can be just as binding as the Old Soviet constitution—which, incidentally, “secured” the rights of religion and the press.
No really—click here .
The Iraqi charter limits many of these freedoms “according to law” but never defines that law.
Well, that does not seem to matter to our leaders since Iraq will have a “democracy”—an opportunity to vote. That’s what matters.
Democracy is the savior of the world; the people must vote!
Then again, the Old Soviets were allowed to vote as well…
Until next time, comrade…
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
As a conservative Christian—Reformed to boot—I highly object to sending American forces to die for a constitution I would never live under.
But I digress.
Because there are so many problems and questionable items in the Iraqi charter, let me outline the major theological and political errors in the Iraqi constitution:
1. Islamic supremacy.
2. The people are sovereign (Vox Populi)
3. Federalism Redefined.
4. Right to bear arms—without guns.
5. From Cradle to Grave.
When articles 22, 25, 28-40 are read then the claim of socialism will be established. When the Preamble, articles 2, 10 and 12 are read then the claim of Islam will be established. Put them together and Islamic Socialism is born.
Case in point:
"Article (2): 1st - Islam is the official religion of the state and is a basic source of legislation:
(a) No law can be passed that contradicts the
undisputed rules of Islam.
(b) No law can be passed that contradicts the
principles of democracy.
(c) No law can be passed that contradicts the
rights and basic freedoms outlined in this constitution."
It is not at all clear how these three statements can stand with each over. Logically, if Islam is the "basic source" of that society then b) and c) are subordinate.
The bigger question is: can we support this?
Can conservative Christians separate their religious beliefs from their political? Of course not! That is why we fight vehemently against pro-death candidates.
But is this as far as we are willing to go? Do we think it is morally acceptable for our leaders to support—with American money and blood—an Islamic regime?
The American Constitutional Republic (not a “democracy”) is not easily planted elsewhere in the world because of our unique Christian history that formed it--our country was based upon covenantal principles which sustained our freedoms (read Mathis’ Genesis of American Freedoms—comment for a copy). But “democracy” is easy to plant.
Is it radical to ask our national leaders not to support an Islamic Socialistic state!?
Perhaps, as in the past, many will rationalize the president’s decision. That’s too bad. As conservative Christians we are to stand upon principle not pragmatism. And I can find no Biblical principle that defends the shedding of American blood to build an Islamic Socialistic State.
[FYI: You can thank my friend who handed me an article about the Iraqi constitution; wishing to verify the info, I began my quest for the elusive Iraqi constitution.]
Monday, October 17, 2005
Or do they?
The Iraqi constitution (which, interestingly, is not easy to find anywhere on the 'net, let alone talked about in any major news source) is not a document in the spirit of '76. It is more like the red ghost of 1917.
So, when president Bush hails this new step of adopting the constitution, he's really endorsing what this blog title shouts: "Socialistic Constitution As 'Progress Toward Peace'"--a partial quote of Bush himself.
Yes, this sounds wild. But, if you've ever read my posts, I try to avoid shocking statements for the sake of excitment. I'm dead serious. Read the constitution here (BBC).
Or here (voanews).
Here (american chronicle).
Even at USA Today.
All of them from the AP wire service. (Dated August 24 to October 12)
Here's a sneak peek: Article 34 states:
"free education is a right for all Iraqis in all its stages"
--even private education.
That's just a taste of what is to come.
Patience, I'll summarize the salient points.
Stay tuned, comrade.
Friday, October 14, 2005
As a matter of fact, all Americans who took any science have gone through this process.
That is except for the New York Times.
Using NASA data, Junkscience.com has done a favor and "connected the dots" of artic warming.
For us and for the New York Times.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
"Wanting to avoid a repeat of that failure [of Bork], President Reagan then nominated Anthony Kennedy, who had no track record as a constructionist but was described as a devout Christian family man. Today, Justice Kennedy cites international law as a basis for his opinions and is a consistent dissenter in "family-friendly" cases."
Monday, October 10, 2005
After digging into some interviews, I have some doubts about Dobson. He states:
"You know what? I do," Dobson said, affirming her response. "I don't believe that homosexuals should be denied a job."
I don't agree with this. And the Constitution does not agree with this. The doctrine of freedom of association coupled with private rights implies that an owner of a company can hire anyone he choses. If he only wants to hire Christians and not homosexuals, so be it.
The Christian does not live in a mechanistic universe in which all he has to do is hire workers who can do the job. Rather, he lives in a moral universe in which he is accountable to God. And in such a universe, hiring men in such a state of depravity is risky at best.
Dobson has helped many Christians over the years. That cannot be denied. However, believing that homosexuals have a right to any job is not a help to the Christian cause.
Doubting Dobson in this instance is a good thing.
Friday, October 07, 2005
Whether you want a book that will raise eyebrows with your Reformed friends or that will entice non-Reformed acquaintances, this is it. Prophesying has a uniquely Puritan meaning: preaching. As in our time, William Perkins’ day was a time when faithful preaching was rare and great emotional orators were prevalent. In response, he rekindled the “plainness of speech” style that characterized the Puritans.
This simply written little book is evenly divided into two parts: preaching and calling. Perkins defines and defends preaching before setting the ground rules for interpreting Scripture (an extremely useful, non-technical and readable section with an abundance of verses). Perkins dedicates the rest of the book to the calling, function and significance of the true Gospel minister. Ministers are men of God: they rebuke, exhort, and teach in the name of the Lord with a God-given authority. “Yet you must not rage…against it, nor must you hate the minister, nor resort to personal criticism of him. Instead, submit your self to the gospel…if you respond otherwise you will…wrong the minister…and, unfortunately, you will harm yourself even more” (119). There is also blessing: “Do you have a godly pastor? Confer with him. Go to him for comfort and counsel; profit from his company, sit under his ministry frequently; count him worthy of ‘double honor’…Never imagine that it is a…commonplace blessing to have ‘one of a thousand’. Thank God for giving this mercy to you, which he has denied to so many others” (100).
Even if you will never enter the ministry, the first part of the book is worth the price and the latter half should imbibe you with a renewed sense of the greatness of the Gospel Ministry.
Monday, October 03, 2005
Yet earlier the newsreport from cnsnews.com noted that Miers "proposed a referendum that would have allowed the American Bar Association's (ABA) rank and file members to decide whether the organization should take a position on abortion rights." (See also Foxnews)
So, who's telling the truth? It is not necessarily true that since Miers' pushed for such a proposal that she was against abortion--it could be that she believes that such important issues should not bypass the members.
But the interview with channel four stated otherwise. This means either:
1) The abortion representative lied;
2) Channel four lied by virtue of editing the interview;
3) CNS News is lying.
Whether this is lying intentionally or through sloppy research is another question.
But it is sure that many Americans will miss this "discrepancy".
Too bad that liars don't have spontaneous combustion in their clothing.
It would make it easier to spot them.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Corrupt politicians ignored the levy problems for decades.
Now they promise to help those whom they destroyed.
Looting occurred almost instantly.
Rescuers were being attacked and harassed.
There are one million and one examples of the wickedness of man. The refuges are angry, bitter and irate. As they lash out at the local, state and federal governments, they rage not against man but against God. God is in control. And the government is not God. No matter how prepared they could have been God’s will would have been accomplished.
Seeing the awesome might of Almighty God brush the Gulf Coast away as a sun eradicates a moth, they acknowledge Him not but flee to man for refuge.
Such an event is to show God’s wrath and man’s sinfulness. It has done both. But the church also has a job to proclaim these truths. Instead, as the American churches are wont, they send monetary help without Gospel help. They shy from uttering dark pronouncements lest they appear “negative”. They shirk their prophetic responsibility being uncomfortable with the prophets of old:
"The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9).
According to the buoyant proclamations of the likes of Sean Hannity (a Roman Catholic), these devastations were to bring the “best out of the American people.”
But if one examine a little closer with the eyeglasses of the Bible, one rather finds the manifestations of evil: men and women shaking their fists at God while helping their fellows rebuild their engines of destruction against the Kingdom of God.
If the churches in America would be true to their calling, then as servants of God they must, “in humility [correct] those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will (2 Tim. 2:24ff.)
They will not feel sorrow over their rebellion if they believe there is nothing wrong.
They will not cling to Christ if they believe themselves good.
There are one million and one reasons why men should repent.
The obvious and easiest reason is the first one: man is evil.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
So, where did thousands turn when Katrina hit? Did they take their saving and fly out of the city? Did they hitch a ride with friends and family? Did they stock up on food and water to sustain themselves for days?
The answer is obvious: when trouble came, many people turned to the government for help.
But the help did not come in time.
That is why they are angry and frustrated: their god did not come through for them.
From another angle one can find out who or what god is followed by the amount of responsibility given. In God’s Word, He has separated the authorities of life into three main spheres: family, church and state. Whenever one institution usurps or expands its authority, it is claiming autonomy instead of submission to God. It’s just like Adam who desired to follow his own ways instead of God’s Law.
It is interesting to note that an ABC news report with Dan Harris (reporting, 9-6-05) stated that the city had a plan, but implemented it too late (it specified offering free transportation out of the area, but people were sent to the Dome instead); at the state level the governor is supposed to specifically ask for help from the Feds—but she did not. And of course, FEMA had its problems. The mayor blames, the State and Feds; the governor blames the Feds and the Feds will gladly take more responsibility from these institutions!
The president did take responsibility; the mayor and the governor have not. And of course many people took little to no responsibility about their welfare.
Now, billions will be poured into an area where insurance companies do not cover floods and hurricanes (why would they—they’d go broke!) and people will become more dependent upon the government.
In America, for many people the Government is god. So, the next time a large-scale devastation occurs, the Feds will sure to be there, comforting their flock.
And taking more responsibility.
The churches must be faithful & warn people about this danger. Let's pray that many will learn, repent and turn to Christ. The Lord He is God and not the government.
Monday, September 05, 2005
Hundreds of thousands are stranded in New Orleans.
Millions, if not billions, of damage wrought in one storm.
And people are asking, “Where is God?”
Anger bubbles from deep within the souls of thousands of angry people: “What kind of God allows this!”
They are blaming God for the disaster.
And they should. He did it. He controls all things in creation.
Some talk show hosts try to calm people down by reversing the question: “Why has God blessed America all these years?” Or they wish not to speculate at all, glibly replying, “We need to help one another and bring the best out of the American people.”
However, Christians know that all things work for their good and for God’s glory (Rom. 8:32; Rom. 11:36). Furthermore, we know that since there are no longer prophets today, we must be careful in our evaluations.
But this is not all: Christ informs us of at least one reason why bad things happen:
“Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:4, 5).
When such disaster strikes—contrary to some misguided caller to the Medved show—its not because New Orleans was more wicked than San Francisco; one reason for disasters is to bring a wake up call to mankind: the world is full of sin and sinners; we no longer live in paradise.
Americans like to think that God is far away and irrelevant in life. Any prosperity gained is credited to ourselves; any advancements in life is honored to lady luck. Yet when things go bad and calamity knocks on our door—suddenly, it’s God’s fault.
In reality, as Jesus points out, everyone sins—all rebel and hate God, seeking their own desires and following their own lusts (Roms. 1:24ff.). The tower did not fall on some because they were more sinful—it fell because they were sinful. Period.
This is a wake up call. Americans better repent or they will perish.
And they’ll have no one to blame but themselves.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Of course, I would certainly like to know if my food will cause cancer, or if my snacks carry dangers that threaten my immediate existence.
On the other hand, I’m not in favor of Chicken Little. As the issue now stands, the government of California—in its humanistic desire to be as God, protecting the sparrow that falls to the ground—is trying hard to head off a possible agent that may or may not lead to cancer.
In other words, it does not necessarily cause cancer, even if the agent exists in the first place.
But, then one can never be too sure when it comes to preserving life from any conceivable danger…no matter how remote the possibility.
Don’t worry, Chicken Little will be there, making sure the sparrow’s house is moved to a safer neighborhood.
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Granted, some survey questions can fit into two neat bins; yet, the typical questions—“Is the president doing a great job?” “Do you like Walmart”—do not fit nicely. Especially more complex and interesting questions such as: “Do you think the Congress is working hard enough on the economy?” (which is called a ‘loaded’ or ‘complex’ question—a logical fallacy, but that’s another blog…)
For example, I recently received an evening phone call.
The first question was, “How would you rate the president’s performance?—Good or bad?”
“Oh, no,” I thought.
“Mixed,” I replied.
“Ok, I’ll put you down as undecided,” she cheerfully answered.
“No, I am sorry; I said, ‘mixed’—that does not mean undecided,” I calmly replied.
“Well, we have ‘good,’ ‘bad,’ or ‘undecided,’” she gleefully replied.
“I am sorry—if this is how the questions will be pigeon-holed, then I will not answer anymore. Good night,” I calmly replied while reining my tongue in.
See? That is what I mean by deceitful. Just take those answers that are either yes or no and throw them into the ‘neutral’ bin and they fall off the radar screen.
As you can observe, I do not like binary questionnaires.
But as an engineer I like 1s and 0s. And you should too—that’s what makes your computer function. And it helps telephones as well; you know, so that they can call you with those binary questionnaires.
Enjoy your binary life.
Friday, August 12, 2005
This is serious business, not only is mankind destroying the environment...so are the cows!
(The Week, Aug. 12, 2005, p. 6).
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
I used to work at fast food restaurants years ago; and the manager would not put up with such sloppiness. We were to clean the table and the seat.
But today, in restaurants such as Bennigan's, Ruby Tuesday's or the like, my wife and I are lead by the host to a deceptively clean booth--but it is only the table that is clean, not the seat. We even wipe off the seat in front of the host, who stares at us with little comprehension.
Fortunately, this does not happen all the time--just enough to annoy me. It's enough to make me think that this could all be an analogy of the "little crumbs of sin" in our nation....nah, too cheesy.
Friday, August 05, 2005
This is all very interesting, but so what? The what is found in the how of its implementation. Western Civilization extols toleration to such an extent, that all kinds of heresies, grotesque ideas and violent, treasonous thoughts permeate the airwaves. It is not a simple relative toleration, but a toleration based upon absolutists rhetoric that cries out: "All should be accepted; none should be quieted!"
And ideas, especially voiced, have consequences. One cannot speak without affecting someone or something. Christians have known that for centuries--that's why God gave us preachers.
So, it should come as no surprise that one of the leading countries in toleration are killing themselves. England has allowed militant, angry, vocal Muslims by the millions into their country. Their leaders voiced physical jihad on TV and the Brits are surprised that such "freedom of speech" lead to violence!
Now, they are killing the very country that pays their welfare checks.
That's gratitude for you....but, hey, if there is no truth, then gratitude is a meaningless feeling with no moral force. If society should be tolerant of all views, then violence is a valid alternative.
And if we reap the wind of full-blown toleration, then we will reap the whirlwind of hate and destruction.
May God bring a merciful revival and reformation.
Monday, August 01, 2005
The Today Show interviewed a doctor this morning. She stated that hormone replacement for women and birth control pills have serious effects upon a small percentage of these women.
"BUT," and this was clearl articulated, "we don't discourage taking birth control."
Oh, of course not....can't have that now with such a disciplined society!
Yet, nary a word about making sure women take the hormone pills!
Oh, of course not...can't have women taking such great risks...like 1 in 10,000.
No medical bias here. Oh, of course not....
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
On the other hand, it sure was funny!
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Think of the implications of that statistic!
There are many possibilities for this poor record: "stealth" nominees (the views are concealed); misrepresentation; even changed of views by the Justices themselves.
However, to cut the fat and move straight to the quick: where these past nominees ever asked by those who nominated them the crucial questions? It is possible that all those Justices (such as O'Conner) who were chosen by the Republicans lied, but more than likely those who chose them were of a similar mind.
In other words, those Republicans (and those who supported the decisions) are not as conservative as many Christians would like to believe. Their nominees reflect what, at the least, they would accept as politically viable.
With such a track record in business, the leadership would be fired; with such a track record in sports, the managment would be retired.
Trick me once, shame on you; trick me twice, shame on me; trick me thrice...well, three strikes and you're out!
Friday, July 22, 2005
Dispensationalism: Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow, Crenshaw and Gunn
This helpful book is a must for those interested in understanding or evaluating Dispensationalism. The authors were raised within this system and trained at its leading seminary, Dallas Theological Seminary. Not only is it a straightforward and accurate presentation and critique of this approach to the Bible, it accomplishes these goals without being arrogant and boastful. As the preface contends, it is not the purpose of the book to attack or ridicule Dispensationalism, “I ask my dispensational brethren to receive this books in love, for it was prompted in a desire to be true to God’s Word…” (iii).
This book is divided into two sections, each written by one of the authors. Part one focuses on the principles of interpretation that arise from the Bible and that differ from the “literal” hermeneutic of Dispensationalism. It also highlights the theological and practical tendencies of this system. Part two is an in-depth critique of the major components, interacting with actual references of leading proponents of this approach. Covering many issues, including the relationship of Israel and the Church as well as Christian Zionism, this part of the book is saturated with a multitude of verses, some of which I did not know existed! There are also three useful appendices.
Crenshaw and Gunn’s book is important, not simply for its incisive analysis but because it is an accessible read for laymen and ministers alike. It is not technical, yet its insight into the weakness of this uniquely American system is profound. For those on the edge of leaving Dispensationalism it will benefit greatly.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
In the weeks to come, we shall see what his real views are. So far, as reported on local news, he co-authored a 1990 document denouncing Roe v. Wade. But a few years ago, during his hearing for the DC position, he stated that Roe v. Wade is a settled issue in this land.
What exactly does that mean? Was he quoted in context?
Prayerfully, he will be a godly judge--or at least someone with enough common grace to act more like a traditional constitutionalist rather than a middle-of-the-road "quiet man".
And if he turns out not to be "up to snuff", then, Lord willing, Christians will put their money where there mouth is. I have heard on Hewitt's program a number of Christians and other express that if Bush does not pull through with the nominee issue, then they will revolt.
They mean it!
Remember what they did to Dole?.....
And the Pope is Protestant.
Friday, July 15, 2005
“So, your saying that bums, who have no job, are working just as much as people with jobs?” retort the amazed Medved.
“Now, do you believe that the typical homeless bum on the street has just as much a right to housing as the average working citizen (with a real job)?”
“Of course,” replied the local Atlanta leader of the Rainbow Coalition PUSH. “Homeless people have the universal right to housing and the government should supply this right.”
Amazing. This is a public endorsement of Communism by a leader of the Rainbow Coalition. The above is a summary of the conversation I heard on the Medved Show (6-27-05, 1650, Afternoon). Michael did an excellent job exposing the true roots of the brouhaha in Atlanta. The Rainbow Coalition leader out of Atlanta said the new city law outlawing panhandling in certain areas (the ‘tourist triangle’) could lead to bum-bombing runs and other terrorist actions! He claimed that all the walking they do is “work” and that they have the right to housing just as much as the average (real) worker in America!
I don’t know what is worse: the recent Supreme Court Socialist ruling or the fact that such organizations have influence in America. Are Americans that naïve about Socialism and Communism? Surely not. I mean given private property taxation, redistribution of wealth through taxation, public schools (and mill levy taxes), political correctness and the like we obviously have no idea what Socialism is. We play games with it: it is similar to staring at a hungry crocodile and cooing, “come here you cute little lizard.” Surely we are not that stupid?
Saturday, July 09, 2005
A nightmarish, grisly animal shooting its foul imagery straight into my terrified senses, while assualting the unarmed mind with ferocious malignancy:
Is this real?!?
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Here, I can obtain material wealth unheard of in vast portions of the world: indoor-plumbing, housing, cars, phones and computers are only the tip of the iceburg.
Here, I can obtain political wealth beyond the wildest imaginations of many: voting rights at national, state, county and local levels; freedom of assembly; freedom of petition; freedom to bear arms.
Here, I have obtained spritual wealth that can turn this world upside-down: the vast spiritual treasures of the past are at our fingertips if we would but use them. Our heritage is Christian, especially Reformed, and we are living on that borrowed capital.
All of this is from the Lord, for every good gift is from above.
Thank you Lord for America.
Monday, July 04, 2005
Recently, the Supreme Court ruled twice against the display of the Ten Commandments and once in its ‘favor’. What is more amazing than the labyrinth of a thought-process of this Court’s present decisions is the howling-for-blood uproar of the various self-appointed guardians of American Conservative Christendom, the Fourth of July and apple pie.
Now, this sounds harsh and judgmental. But I believe I can justify this strong language through demonstrable evidence.
It is clear over the years through the plethora of statistics and polls that a large percentage of Americans claim to be Christian (anywhere from 60-80%). It is also clear that many of these self-proclaimed Christians are red-blooded Americans who vigorously celebrate the Fourth of July, eat apple pie and enjoy “America’s favorite pastime”.
Juxtapose this data with the facts of American ignorance and immorality and one can readily attest to the truth of the old axiom: actions speak louder than words. Over a number of years, Michael Horton’s White Horse Inn would randomly sample the knowledge of various book-buyers, sellers and enthusiasts at local Christian book-seller conferences. The results are dismal: the majority could not name the Ten Commandments. Other statistics point to the same truth.
Should I spell out the irony? The vast majority of Christians—yes, even Evangelical Christians—do not know the Ten Commandments. And more importantly, ignore portions of it as well!
Yet, they are outraged that the Nine Commandments cannot be displayed in our courts (the Sabbath, obviously, is an old Jewish law that is passed away…).
They are livid that the Eight Commandments cannot be upheld in school classrooms (obviously, the Second Commandment does not refer to images of Christ but only crass pagan wooden idols that no one in America follows…).
Eventually, the rest of America will see the hollowness of this Evangelical ire.
But it is more than that—how could vast portions of Americans delude themselves into thinking that they are even Christians when Christ is no longer God, the Bible works with evolution and politics is only practical and not principled?
Americans—even Evangelicals—are proud of being American (as indeed I am), yet too many are boorish ingrates who violate the smallest law (witness the massive aerial displays in my own fireworks-are-illegal neighborhood) and justify it with a slurred drawl: “well *hiccup* everyone else is do’n it!”!?
Indeed, everyone else is “Christian”, so why not him?
Why should we defend that which we are not willing to defend with our own life of Spirit-wrought obedience?
Ignorance is bliss and the Ten Commandments are as American as the Fourth of July and apple pie.
Praise the Lord and pass me the cherry bomb.
Thursday, June 30, 2005
Last week, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of a major step toward socialism. Of course, anyone of a paleo-conservative persuasion (as over and against the Reagan Republicans, neo-conservatives, RINOs, etc.) recognizes the downward spiral for decades and even a century. Eminent domain was bad enough for the cause of private property, then they added mill levies—which if not paid (even if you paid off your house) will result in losing one’s house—and now this.
It is clear that righteousness exalts a nation while wickedness devours her soul. Yet, this is simply not another political tirade against the insufferable onslaught of postmodern inanities (witness also the various Donkey Deans of the Democratic Party), but a concise analysis of the spiritual roots of this issue.
I do not claim to know the niceties of the case (reading the long opinions is left to other experts on my side [but who are not in my pocket!])—although I did watch a local PBS Reggie Rivers show wherein two experts agreed that a nuance was accomplished: a nuance that shifted the eminent domain usage of “public use and control” to (the nebulous) “public benefit”, which includes condemning houses for a Megamart which could woo the local city with fantastic—and unproven—predictions of large revenue for the city—but when given certain basic Biblical principles of government and private property, one can a priori determine the illegitimacy of this ruling.
What was the true underlining reason? Could this have been avoided? The answer to the first question depends upon one’s worldview. Mine is rooted deeply in the Reformation doctrine of sphere sovereignty (the demarcation of family, church & state), God’s sovereignty and ecclesiastical and political Republicanism. Yet, part of the root of this problem lies further underground in that first and truly American philosophy: Pragmatism. If it works, do it!
Apparently, part of the rational was that many cities (such as Chicago) were already using eminent domain within this matrix of “what’s good for the greatest is good for all”. (And it seemed to work.) Ironically, this matrix simply expresses the nineteenth century defunct philosophy of Utilitarianism, the cousin of Pragmatism. So: do the greatest good and do the workable. Double whammy.
We so easily forget that these rationales are tools used by postmodern Communists and Socialists. The latter has progressed easily through America by combining both rationales: taxing the rich helps the greatest number; limited land distribution works as well.
Yet, this is not the end of the story: Christians are just as much at fault. The ethics of too many Evangelicals has been that of Utilitarianism or Pragmatism. Laws are passed by the populace because it will “help more people”; politicians are voted in office (again and again) because “they seem to work”. Men are voted into positions of authority because “voting for the right candidate is a losing proposition (not workable), so we vote for the lesser evil (for the greatest good)”. And Christians vote right along with them.
As for the second question (Could this have been avoided?), frankly, given the climate of America in the last thirty years, this could not have been avoided. When the churches spout theological nonsense, it will surely poison the culture associated with it: remember Clinton, Kerry, Jesse and other political and cultural leaders all claim to be Christians!
So, is this blog simply stating a sad state of affairs? No, there is a long-term solution: Principled Politics. Christians need to stand upon the Word and vote the truth—even if it hurts. The American Revolution was accomplished against two-thirds of the populace who were Royalist or indifferent. What’s our excuse? We ought to recognize the sources of the Supreme Court Socialism and act accordingly. We ought to know the Gospel and the power of justification by faith alone in Christ alone instead of justifying our governmental thievery with “well, it works for the greatest number.”
Monday, June 27, 2005
I believe these are the classical symptoms of Email-List Withdrawals. That pscyhological condition wherein one carries over the habits of email conversations into everyday life. It even extends into imitating emoticons. It was bound to happen.
At one time I was on four email-lists simultaneously as well as various and sundry personal email conversations. Over time, I dropped these lists. I had to. The blithe emails were becoming repetitive and boring. Engaging in inane and unconducive dialogue (or were they monologues?) was consuming too much time and creating too much frustration. After dropping all the lists and maintaining a short repertoire of private emails, I felt I had the issue under control.
But I like to talk. I like to meet new Christians and engage in real dialogue. (plus, I'm a geek, so I have to do something high-tech all the time). So, I discovered my mind began to imitate email conversations. It was not pretty. It's not a good way to maintain relationships.
I had to do something. The Blog was the answer. Writing this blog is the answer. Hearing from you is the other answer (but I don't remember the question...)
Hopefully, this blog will alleviate some of these symptoms. You know all that random--hey, did you hear the one about the pope and the three presidents, well....
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
The Assembly's motions, perfections, amendments, and substitutions are resolved.
The Assembly's communications, overtures and appeals are finished.
The Assembly's prayer, devotion and worship are complete.
The Assembly's fellowship, joy and rest are fulfilled.
Thanks be to God our Father, our Savior and the work of the Holy Spirit for empowering, gifting and moving the elders and ministers of this Assembly to sacrifice their time for Kingdom work.
Thanks be to God for bringing many volunteers to dedicate their gifts for the relief of the physical needs of the Assembly in accordance with 1 Corinthians 12 & 13.
Thanks be to God for achieving His will in us (in spite of our frailties and sins) and completing the good work which was begun by Him.
By His grace, that work will be continued until the full perfection of heaven.
Meanwhile, the Assembly was dissolved and the work accomplished.
By God's power,
our work here is done.
Sunday, June 05, 2005
That's right: I'm in Grand Rapids, Michigan. And compared to Denver, it's humid.
But, I can live with that. I'm here for the OPC General Assembly as a commissioner.
Administrative issue come before the body, motions are moved, debates ensue and votes are casted. Disciplinary appeals may also come before us.
All of this is for the work of the Church. Heavy work.
And work that may get heated at times as well (for are we not human and frail?).
As it stands, my room-mate (John the Doctor) and I just found an open computer room after wandering around outside in the cool night (I use that in a relative sense). I'm writing this piece to talk to the world, to complain about humidity and to thank the Lord that this Church takes her work seriously--whether the topics or the environment are hot and heavy.
Friday, May 27, 2005
This collection of sermons is based upon the Pastoral Epistles (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus) and expounds a wide variety of doctrine and practices. From the truth of election and salvation to the requirement of godliness and prayer, Calvin’s addresses clearly express a pastor’s heart while articulating a scholar’s grasp of the Bible. With fourteen sermons at about fifteen pages apiece, this book becomes good food for meditation and contemplation.
Being a translation from 1580 and transported to America in 1830, it is written in the style of the King James Bible, but without much of the grammatical oddities. Calvin’s sermons are also more direct than our sensitive ears may be accustomed to hear (as even the original preface of this book points out). He spoke and wrote during a time of great upheaval and direct confrontation with heresies and lies; thus, he was very zealous to comfort and guard the flock, “Let us therefore endeavor to bring back those that have strayed…but when [some]…make confusion in the church…we must not spare them, because the whole salvation of the people of God is in danger.” (p.172). He also has no problems calling public enemies of the gospel “mad beasts” (p.40).
For those without a fear of older writing styles and plain speech, this little treasure will encourage the reader to take the biblical commands of truth and obedience to heart.
Friday, May 20, 2005
And both of them were socialist.
The first gentlemen displayed great boldness and tenacity in trimming the budget at the local state school. Rescuing one of the cheif planks of Karl Marx himself, this lion-heart rescued schools within his purvue from certain financial ruin.
The second person, a veritable Joan of Arc, was the coveted Mayor of Atlanta. Her great deed involved raising city taxes by 50% to eradicate the financial buggabear, unbalanced budgets. She courageously protected the important city services (all of them) by reducing the workers by 12%.
These are tomorrow's heroes today.
Velcome to Amerika.
Saturday, May 14, 2005
In 1997, Father Grapje (now an Archbishop) was serving in
Archbishop Grapje went down into the mine to administer comfort and last rites to those too
severely injured to be moved. While underground another shaft collapsed and he was buried for three days, suffering multiple injuries, including the loss of his right eye. Some time after being rescued, he developed a severe (but rare) condition known as purpura. This condition is the result of extensive underground time and exposure to the high silver content in the mine's air. It is characterized by purplish skin blotches and is found in many life-long silver miners. For his heroism and selfless service to others, the church elevated him to Cardinal.
With the passing of Pope John Paul II, he joined the other Cardinals in
devoted his life to the service of God as a scholar, mentor and holy man; church leaders agree he will never ascend to the Papacy.
After all, no one wants a one-eyed, one-armed, flying purple Papal leader.