Thursday, December 29, 2005


Dickens did not like Calvinism.

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

Billy Idol Gets It, Why Not Bush?

Billy Idol Gets It, Why Doesn’t President Bush?
By Rock

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

Sometimes Its Fun to Vote

Well, at least voting for your favorite blog posts.

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 on!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

"To H*** with 'Holidays'..."

"To H*** with 'Holidays' Put CHRIST back in Christmas"

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

A Short Review 6: The Bible Tells Us So

A Short Book Review 5
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

Verbal Vomit or Golden Apples?

After, providentially, finding a blog through Christianity Today, I nearly dropped my computer. The posting outlined an amazing event at a church in Denver--Scum of the Earth. The pastor was in a bit of a quandary: you see, the church celebrated Christmas through a service that included poetry readings. And the woman they asked to compose a poem included the f-word—not once or twice, but multiple times. At the end of the day, after much consulting, it was decided to let her read a modified version for the Christmas Eve service—including “only four expletives” and those as quotes from another character in the poem.

How thoughtful.

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 Sares
Really!? 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