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Showing posts from November, 2010

The Pilgrims' cautionary tale

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Kate Zernike, writing for the New York Times, finds fault with Tea Partiers for their "interpretation" of the Pilgrims' early ecomonic experiment in socialism. The Pilgrims were required by the terms of their agreement with the London Company, which financed the colony, to hold all things in common. As you can imagine this created all kinds of disincentives to work.

Eventually, William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth Colony, decided to parcel out the land for each family to farm, with each family benefitting according to the labor they put into it. The result was a stunning increase in production. (Should we be surprised?)

This little experiment in collectivist policy has served as a cautionary tale for years among conservative and libertarian thinkers. Ms. Zernike, however, objects. She refers to it as "one common telling" of the story of the Pilgrims. Perhaps it's a common telling of the story because this is the story that no less an authority than Wi…

My kingdom is not of this world

Why are so many Christians today so concerned about politics and trying to reform government when Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (Jn. 18:36).

Why are so many Christians concerned about politics? Because it matters to God, and it should matter to us as well, whether the righteous or the wicked are in power. And it will matter to us if we have any regard for the glory of God and any love for our fellow man.

Solomon says in Proverbs 29:2, When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.

The people groan under the rule of the wicked because it is a burden to be governed by them. The bad example of their private lives and the folly and injustice of their rule are hard to bear.

We should be concerned about politics—about government—because government has to do with the ethics of a nation. The ethics of a nation are reflected in its laws and in the faithful administration of the laws. In the same way that the Lord blesses or curses a…

What About Baptism for the Dead?

Please explain the baptism for the dead that Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 15:29.

Paul speaks of baptism “for the dead” in a context in which he is defending the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead at the last day. Some of the Corinthians apparently had denied that there would be such a resurrection, as we see from verse 12.
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? (1 Cor. 15:12)This skepticism concerning the resurrection also appeared while Paul was preaching in Athens in Acts 17. Scripture says that some of his hearers mocked him when he mentioned the resurrection of the dead (Acts 17:32).

This skepticism apparently infected some in the church at Corinth as well. And then he proceeds to defend the resurrection against those who for whatever reason denied it.

One of the points that he brings up in defense of the resurrection is the practice of baptism on behalf of the dead.
What do people mean by be…

And they say one culture is as good as another

Many Afghan women suffer a living hell.

On the Power and Glory of Christ

The following is from the pen of St. Athanasius (ca. 293-373), the great champion and defender of the deity of Christ at the Council of Nicaea. It's from his work entitled De Incarnatione Verbi Dei (On the Incarnation of the Word of God). In the following passage, he speaks of the power of Christ over all the forces of evil.
When did people begin to abandon the worship of idols, unless it were since the very Word of God came among men? When have oracles ceased and become void of meaning, among the Greeks and everywhere, except since the Saviour has revealed Himself on earth? When did those whom the poets call gods and heroes begin to adjudged as mere morals, except when the Lord took the spoils of death and preserved incorruptible the body He had taken, raising it from among the dead? Or when did the deceitfulness and madness of daemons fall under contempt, save when the Word, the Power of God, the Master of all these as well, condescended on account of the weakness of mankind and …

Can we really know that we have been born again?

Can we really know that we have been born again? And if so, how do we know?

The answer is yes, we can know that we have been born again, or born from above, (as the passage might be better translated).

In his first letter, the apostle John gives us several marks or effects of the new birth by which it can be known. Let’s look at what he has to say.

The first mark of being born from above is found in 1 John 2:29, “If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of God.”

John points this out because there are many who, as Paul says, “profess to know God, but by their deeds deny him” (Tit. 1:16). They say that they are Christians, but they practice unrighteousness. John says, “No, those who have been born of God practice righteousness.” That is, their lives may be characterized by this. They live in obedience to God’s commands.

The second mark is closely related to this. It is found in 1 John 3:9, “No one born of God makes a pra…

Off by 38 years

What a difference a couple of years make. After the 2008 election cycle the incredibly annoying James it's-a-wonder-anyone-ever-listens-to-him Carville predicted the democrats would rule for the next forty years.
Every four years Americans hold a presidential election. Somebody wins and somebody loses. That's life. But 2008 was an anomaly. The election of President Barack Obama is about something far bigger than four or even eight years in the White House. Since 2004, Americans have been witnessing and participating in the emergence of a Democratic majority that will last not four but forty years.He was off by 38 years.

Marching Orders

Princeton theologian A. A. Hodge (1823-1886), in his Evangelical Theology writes,
The kingdom of God on earth is not confined to the mere ecclesiastical sphere, but aims at absolute universality, and extends its supreme reign over every department of human life. It follows that it is the duty of every loyal subject to endeavour to bring all human society, social and political, as well as ecclesiastical, into obedience to its law of righteousness...It is our duty, as far as lies in our power, immediately to organize human society and all its institutions and organs upon a distinctively Christian basis. Indifference or impartiality here between the law of the kingdom and the law of the world, or of its prince, the devil, is utter treason to the King of Righteousness. The Bible, the great statute-book of the kingdom, explicitly lays down principles which, when candidly applied, will regulate the action of every human being in all relations. There can be no compromise. The King said, with …

It's OK to Leave the Plantation

Check out this two part interview with Mason Weaver about his new book It's OK to Leave the Plantation. Good stuff. Part 1. Part 2.