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Showing posts from May, 2011

Pencils Falling to the Floor

Last night while I slept I dreamed a dream. And in my dream I saw myself approach two men engaged in a lively conversation. The name of one was Christian. The other was Sam. The conversation had apparently been going on for some time. This is what I heard: “Yes, that’s what I said before. That’s all there is, just matter and energy. No spirit, no soul, no god, just matter and energy. If it’s not a physical entity it doesn’t exist.” “Does your mind exist?” Christian asked. “Of course,” Sam said. “I have a brain, just as you do.” “I didn’t ask if you had a brain. I asked if you had a mind.” “My mind is a function of my brain.” “And your brain is a physical thing?” “Yes.” “Gray matter, electrical impulses, and chemical reactions?” “Yes, but it’s very complicated, you know. Scientists have been studying the brain for a long time.” “And there is nothing about the mind that is not rooted in the physical organ of the brain?” “No. No soul, if that’s what you’re asking. All there is is matter and energy.…

He got it right

Sometimes he doesn't have very flattering things to say about women. But sometimes he gets right. Like here...

     A woman's beauty lights up a man's face,
          and there is nothing he desires more.
     If kindness and humility mark her speech,
          her husband is more fortunate than other men.
     He who acquires a wife gets his best possession,
          a helper fit for him and a pillar of support.
          (Sirach 36:27-29)

The theologian's task

"There is no room in dogmatic theology for a system that attempts to deduce the truths of faith from an a priori principle, say, from the essence of religion, from the essence of Christianity, from the fact of regeneration, or from the experience of the devout. This is speculation and must be resisted. Dogmatic theology is a positive science that gathers its material from revelation and does not have the right to modify or expand that content by speculation apart from that revelation. When because of limitations or weakness a theologian is faced with the choice either of simply letting the truths of faith stand alongside each other or, in the interest of maintaining the systematic form, fail to do justice to one of them, we must let the system go. Theologians must resist the temptation to let a system rule. But such dilemmas occur because we theologians are finite and limited. There is no conflict in God; God's thoughts cannot be opposed to one another; they are necessarily a…

Herman Bavinck

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As you can see to the left, one of the books I'm currently reading is Herman Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics...not the full four volume set, but the recently published abridged version. Bavinck (1854-1921) succeeded Abraham Kuyper as professor of systematic theology at the Free University of Amsterdam in 1902. He is regarded as one of the leading lights among Dutch Reformed theologians. I have read a little Bavinck here and there over the years and have always greatly benefitted from what I read. I was very pleased to see that his four volume work had been abridged by John Bolt into a single hefty tome of 848 pages. I ordered it back in January but there were some delays in its publication and so I didn't actually receive it until last week. It was worth the wait! Judging by the first 150 pages, I just may have to break down and purchase the entire four volume set. He was a rare man, combining profound thought, true godliness, and a simple child-like faith.

All God's creatures like to have fun

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Here we go again

If you haven't yet had your fill of prognostications from end times prognosticators you'll be glad to know there are still more to be had. The false prophet/teacher Harold Camping hasn't yet learned his lesson. Since at least 2005 he had been predicting Saturday, May 21, 2011 as the day of judgment, with the full end of all things coming October 21. When nothing happened last Saturday--even though, according to Camping, the Bible guaranteed his prediction--he was forced to make some revisions. His revisions follow the pattern set by another prophetic prognositcator in the 19th century. New York farmer turned preacher William Miller had predicted the Lord's return to "cleanse the sanctuary" (Dan. 8:14) no later than March 21, 1844. When it didn't take place as he expected, he said it would happen later the same year in October.

Second verse, same as the first, a little bit louder and little bit worse.

Like Miller, Camping has given a brief extension of ho…

The Studied Irrelevance of American Foreign Missions

Bojidar Marinov of Bulgaria has written a must read for everyone who is serious about missions.

Idolizing democracy

Contrary to popular opinion, vox populi is NOT vox dei. Far too long have Christians fought the "culture war" (1) by appealing to numbers. "Polls show that the majority of Americans want restrictions on abortion...oppose gay marriage...want prayer in public schools..." etc., etc., etc.

But he who lives by the poll must be prepared to die by it too. A new Gallup poll shows that for the first time a majority of Americans favor legalizing same sex marriages. Having rested our case on the will of the majority in the past, are we ready to do the same now that its will has shifted?

It should be clear that we must not idolize democracy. The voice of the people is not the voice of God. We must never rest our case on the will of the people. It may not be an inappropriate thing to point out that a majority of Americans believe this or that. In fact it may be a very useful thing to know. But it must never be the basis for deciding moral questions. A "thus saith the Lord&…

When the deviant becomes normal

Art (and I use the term loosely) has long been the avenue to popularize, legitimize, and normalize every imaginable - and for most ordinary people even unimaginable - sexual deviancy. The more a work pushes the moral boundaries, the more it's lauded by critics. Here is a case in point at the Cannes Film Festival. Ordinary people, even the French (if you can call them ordinary), got up and left the screening. It was just too much to stomach. Not surprisingly, true art afficionados (or at least those who flatter themselves with the title) gave the film a standing ovation.

There are few taboos left to break. What will they do when they're all gone? When the deviant becomes normal, the normal looks deviant. It won't be long before a man and a woman who actually really and truly love each other and stay together for life will be an aberration. Cameron Diaz has recently gone on record as saying that marriage is a "dying institution." If she is merely offering a descrip…

Christian Fools and their Folly

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Perhaps you have heard that this Saturday...as in two days from now...the world as we know it is going to come to an end. So says one Harold Camping, president of Family Radio. More precisely, the rapture is supposed to occur on Saturday. The following five months will witness the wrath of God being poured out in judgment upon those left behind. The full end of all things will come later this year on October 21.

We've been through all this silliness before. Previously Mr. Camping said these things would happen in 1994. Is it necessary to say he was wrong - painfully, shamefully, embarrassingly wrong? Or, depending where you stand, laughably wrong!

Of course he had to admit as much the first time around...sort of. September 6, 1994 (the original prediction) was not the day of the rapture after all. But as it turns out, it was still a very significant day in God's timetable, he assures us. It was the beginning of the Great Tribulation. The end would come in 2008.

Oops! That's…

An excellent wife who can find?

To the left you will see that one of the books I'm currently reading is the Apocrypha. For those who may not know, it's a collection of Jewish writings composed between the close of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New. This morning I happened to read this...and it expresses beautifully how I feel about Melinda, my bride of (almost) 25 years:

Happy is the husband of a good wife;
     the number of his days will be doubled.
A loyal wife brings joy to her husband,
     and he will complete his years in peace.
A good wife is a great blessing;
     she will be granted among the blessings
     of the man who fears the Lord.
Whether rich or poor, his heart is content,
     and at all times his face is cheerful.
(Sirach 26:1-4)

Word games

Thomas Sowell has an excellent piece on the Fed and its shenanigans:
When people in Washington start creating fancy new phrases, instead of using plain English, you know they are doing something they don't want us to understand. It was an act of war when we started bombing Libya. But the administration chose to call it "kinetic military action." When the Federal Reserve System started creating hundreds of billions of dollars out of thin air, they called it "quantitative easing" of the money supply. (Read more ofFed Up with the Fed?)

Schlissel's take on the take down of Ben Lowdown

"Some have asked for guidance in their thinking and reaction to the killing of Ben Lowdown. Okay, some quick ones. But first let me assure you that these comments are NOT personal and have no one in view.

That said, I mourn over our unreaction to this unqualifiedly wonderful news and regard our confusion as evidence that we have taken another huge step toward perfect judgment. The outpouring of conflicting opinion is grievously revelatory. What do I mean?

Let us start with the foundation..." (more)

On the death of the wicked

Is it wrong to be glad that Osama bin Laden has been killed? What should a Christian’s response be to the news of his death?

Our response ought to be one of humble thanksgiving that God has taken out one of our enemies.

“But,” I hear you saying, “is it really appropriate to give thanks for someone’s death?” Yes it is, when it is such a man as Osama bin Laden, a man who was responsible for the cold-blooded murder of many thousands of people both here in the United States and elsewhere around the world.

The fact of the matter is that we frequently find the saints of God in Scripture giving thanks to the Lord and praising his name for taking out their enemies. For instance, at the time of the exodus, Israel stood beside the Red Sea and saw Pharaoh and the Egyptian army lying dead on the shore and they “sang a song to the LORD, saying,

I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously;
     the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea…
This is my God, and I will praise him,

What Usama Bin Laden's been learnin'

Usama Bin Laden's been learnin' that it was not seventy two virgin's awaiting him in heaven, but 72 demons in hell.