Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Sick Sense of Humor

I like funny commercials. They are usually much better than most running sitcoms.

Here's a Village Inn commercial that little children might find disturbing...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Yes, Virginia, There is a Satan

A Macy's commercial recently promoted the same tripe Americans have heard since the New York Sun published a lie to a little 8-year-old. With the sentimental hype of the up-and-coming liberalism that has since dominated our culture, the New York editor in the 1890s continued,

"Yes,VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus."

Eventually, this mentality became the basis of denying the doctrines of the Bible--after all, Jesus, the God-Man, existed as certainly as love and generosity...

However, not everyone today denies the historical Jesus, many believe he existed. But more appear to deny the physical reality of the Devil. Among a large section of Born Again Americans the reality of Satan is denied according to the Barna studies.

If there is no Satan, then who tempted Adam? If there is no Devil, then who tempted Christ? Either those are made up sections of the Bible, or they were true in some vague, amorphous sense such as love and generosity. Then Adam probably didn't exist, or at least sin is not too real since the Tempter is only a figment of some sadist.

Worse, yet, if the Liar is only a myth, then the Pharisees were not children of the Devil (John 8:44). Sin in such a context of denial only exists in the physical realm. The eradication of the Devil as a real person, eradicates sin as a real activity. Further, it frees man for the Bible clearly describes the unregenerate as under his thumb (1 Jn. 3:8). So, if he is denied metaphysical existence, then the will of man is free metaphysically as well--no Satan, no Fall, no bondage of the will.

Beelzebub is portrayed as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). And that means he does not come with brimstone skin, pointy-tail and a pitch-fork. Rather, he comes in a benign form that bespeaks innocence or harmlessness or joy. He may even wear red at times, with white highlights and a jovial laugh.

It is too bad that editor didn't write the truth instead of sending Americans down a path of deception. It's too bad he didn't write:

"Yes, Virginia, There is a Satan."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Slaves to Christmas

Accidentally going out for lunch today, I realized it was Black Friday as everyone and their mother (except my mother) trampled passed me for the best deals.

Jostled by an innumerable host, we wormed our way through crying babies, nosy children and rude adults. And I thought: look at all these slaves; jumping at the latest deal and mortgaging their future to satisfy the present.

Since materialism is the god of many consumers, anything is worth the sacrifice: long lines, deep debt and dead employees. Trampling a Wal-mart worker to death screams out the obvious: too many people have gone too far. If only some pastor, parent or friend had told those murders that their earlier rude behavior, short tempers and excessive debt indicated a soul dissatisfied with God's providence, perhaps one more person would have been alive. Or maybe they never listened--or worse, never cared.

Christmas is no longer a time to reflect upon the greatest Gift in creation. Rather, even for many Christians, it is a time to think of one more gift for others. And for many it is a time of dread as they are shackled to more and more debt and false expectation of what love and family entails. In Christian circles this partly arises from the many false prophets who teach that God is their Santa Clause, ready to shower material blessings upon the faithful few who "sow a seed of faith" from what little savings they have. Meanwhile, others seek after God's blessings with money they don't even have. (Just watch the "testimonials'' of the 700 Club).

Now, back from that frantic environment of consumerism, I see clearly that one obvious problem in America is that too many people are slaves to Christmas--pagans and Christians alike.

And too many people are not slaves of Christ.

Everyone is a slave to someone or something.
Who is your master? God or Mammon?


Friday, December 12, 2008

I Wonder...

Michael Malone's excellent piece at ABC caught my attention. He pointed out the blatant media bias in favor of Obama, especially when they went after Joe the Plumber. He asked hard questions and was torn apart. I wonder what would happen if conservative Christian leaders in America had to answer hard-ball questions from the likes of Joe?

"What are you talking about!?" you wonder aloud over your Christianity Today magazine.

Perhaps Joe's cousin, Ralph the Reformer, would ask the hard-ball questions. Something like this:

1. Why do Evangelicals call themselves "Protestant" when they do not believe what Luther and Calvin believed on many significant issues?
2. "Oh, what did they believe," you ask? Man has no 'free-will'; God is sovereign in whom he chooses for salvation--just to name a few.
3. Why do Evangelical leaders avoid hard passages such as Romans 9 about God's sovereign election? or Ps. 58:3 that little babies speak lies from the womb?
4. Why do Evangelicals laud the early American Christians when they had a view of salvation and the law that would embarrass many Evangelicals today?
5. "Oh, what did they believe," you ask? They followed Luther and Calvin. And baptized infants. And observed the Christian Sabbath (Sunday). And used catechisms.

If the stars of conservative Christianity traveled the country like the presidential candidates, I wonder if they would take questions from throngs of excited Christians?

I wonder if Ralph the Reformer asked them some pointed questions, would they answer?
Or would they pretend he didn't exist and go to the next softball question?

I wonder.


Monday, December 08, 2008

American Christians: We've Been Had

There have been many complaints and diatribes about the latest liberal wins, economic woes and cultural chaos. One article at Newsmax had a clever title: We've Been Had.

Some economic conservatives decry political and economic liberalism. Others bemoan the growth of homosexual influence, weak families and the continuing abortions. Which is more important? Who is right? Who is wrong?

They are both wrong.

Both concerns are misguided.
In and of themselves they seem important. Yet what if we gain the whole politico-cultural world and lose our soul?

History bears out this truth. Simply pick up a good history book and read how the ancient church transformed the wicked and pagan Roman Empire from the inside out. Continue to read and learn how the church, now in political and economical power, became progressively weak and ignorant leading to the Middle Ages (dark to be sure, but better than raw paganism).

By the late Middle Ages, rulers were taking kickbacks, unnecessary wars were being fought and economic poverty was real in many ways. But that was not all. Public drunkenness was rising, priestly concubinage was well-known and graft was too common. Sound familiar?

Church leaders (laymen and priest alike) did want reformation, with a small 'r': fix the politics (kickbacks) or fix the culture (families). Professor Chadwick summarized it thusly:

"When churchmen spoke of reformation, they were almost always thinking of administrative, legal, or moral reformation; hardly ever of doctrinal reformation. They did not suppose the Pope's doctrine to be erroneous." (The Reformation, 13)

Well, then, what woke the nominally Christian culture from its sleep?

The Reformation. The Holy Spirit raised up leaders within her midst that attacked doctrinal heresies. Like the prophets of old, Luther, Calvin and others confronted not only the errors in practice but the errors of doctrine. They followed their Lord and Savior who preached to the Church first, calling a spade a spade. Heretical doctrines of the Sadducees (no resurrection) and the Pharisees (legalism) were systematically confronted and eradicated by Christ and then by His disciples.

Upon a moment's reflection, dear reader, you will recall all that heavy doctrine in the Epistles, especially in Paul. Reflection in another direction will show how common-sense this is: correct principles leads to correct actions. Conversely, actions reflect what one believes. Sin warps the direct correlation (even Christians sin!) but the general truth is just the same.

The Newsmax article, Bailout Bunk: We've Been Had, is certainly timely as far as economics goes. But with virtually all Christians in America with a pagan worldview and 57% denying Christ alone for salvation, that article and its title should be rewritten: American Christians: We've Been Had: Doctrine DOES Make a Difference.


Monday, December 01, 2008

Falsifying Scientific Arrogance

The place had that old smell of a large building that existed one-hundred years too long. As I entered the bedraggled auditorium the metal frames and vaulted ceiling silently spoke of a bygone age when 'God' was not a dirty word and science was less hostile to Christianity.

I was late. The lunch meal took too long. But it was enjoyable. Being tardy didn't especially matter as the lecture started about fifteen minutes late while people trickled in. Finding a seat in a sea of uncomfortable 70ish chairs, I sat in the middle left side with a good line-of-sight of the speaker-to-be. The speaker, Mr. Stenger (of the infamous book, God: the Failed Hypothesis), was introduced as a professor of philosophy and a practicing physicist of many, many years. As I adjusted my paper, pen and books, the aged professor plodded purposefully to the podium. He introduced his thesis with relative clarity and somewhat proper philosophical considerations--definitions, deductions and whatnots.

After a surprisingly short 35 minute presentation, he had given the highlights of his thesis that the God hypothesis is a failure, useless and patently absurd. It was time for Q&A. I quickly scanned my notes, knowing that only one question would be practically allowed, I thought, what is the best question to ask?

The atheist club coordinators took a practical approach to the Q&A time by handing the mic to those in the front row and continued to worm their way to the back. Only one question was clearly Christian, asking an important question of what constituted "independent verification." Other questions were more of a benign nature or reinforcing the professor's thesis. I listened intently. What should I ask?

One gentleman--a scientist--challenged the lecturer's premise that the God-question could even be answered by science. But the point was not pushed. Another more excitable speaker--in the row right before me, what am I going to ask?--reiterated the old atheist canard about God not existing because evil exists.

Ah, yes, my notes from his book
. Here, the hole in the book as large as the universe. The mic was handed to me: "Yes, thank you. Sir, you wrote in your book, and I quote..."

"I can't hear you," the professor replied. The acoustics were bad. So I summarized:

"You wrote that there was no consensus among philosophers of science on what actually constitutes real science as over and against pseudo or non-science, correct?"


"You also wrote that the methodology that will be used to disprove the God-hypothesis is the approach by the philosopher, Popper. It is known as 'falsification'--using tests to try to disprove a given hypothesis."

"Yes, but..." and the disgruntled professor tried to run rough-shod over my question. Perhaps he thought I had asked my question. Or knew where I was going with it...

"Excuse me, sir, I have not properly asked my question yet."

"Go ahead."

"You wrote that the falsification method cannot 'sufficiently'--your words--account for the difference between science and non-science. If this is true and you believe this, then how can the falsification method be used to falsify the God-hypothesis when the method itself is not 'sufficient' to distinguish between hypotheses, between science (truth) and non-science (falsity)?"

"!!! Here now, science has done great things for us...!!"

He was none too happy.