29 September 2014

The Failure of the Academy: Politicization of Statistics and Definitions (Part 2 of 2)

We've reached a point where we have to start thinking a bit differently about money and how we live. I'm speaking to society as a whole. I'm hardly alone in this.

But more particularly I'm speaking to Christians.
For years we've been told by the Dave Ramsey's and Larry Burkett's that there's an ethical component to how we handle our money. And not a few will point out that economics was born from ethics.
It's true and yet I believe the modern Church and in particular the Church of the Western Democracies and especially the United States has got it wrong.
We've baptized avarice.

The Failure of the Academy: Politicization of Statistics and Definitions (Part 1 of 2)

Don't trust the metrics. Statistics can be and often are manipulated.


The Clinton era economic boom of the 1990s was a time of prosperity for some but few seem to realize that growth usually comes at someone else's expense.


I chuckle as I engage in conversation and read so many commentators who suggest the poor need to quit clamouring for higher wages and just work toward getting more education. That's a great idea for some but it won't work for all.

The whole system is predicated on the fact that there is a mass of cheap labour at the very bottom. There must be a pool or poor working class people that work for wages that they cannot live on. Without this, consumer prices would skyrocket and the consumer-based US economy would crash.


27 September 2014

Five Centuries of Calvin (Part 2 of 2)


Interestingly the Reformation largely failed to achieve the goal of liberating the church from the state. On the continent of Europe, the state churches continued to dominate until the 19th century. By then all of the state churches had slipped into Enlightenment apostasy and it took Pietism and the Free Church movement to finally get European Christians to start thinking differently about the idea of Christian Civilization. But as Pietism proved both a blessing and a curse, this too largely failed and many of those movements eventually departed from the faith and embraced theological liberalism.

Five Centuries of Calvin (Part 1 of 2)


Recently I've been listening to some seminary lectures from 2009. This was a big year for Reformed people because it was the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin.

All over the country and all over the world there were conferences celebrating Calvin and speaking of his influence in history and the shaping of civilization. The lectures range in topic from theology to politics to economics. Calvin truly is a titan in terms of civilizational influence.


13 September 2014

Inbox: Denomination Clarification

(Answering Questions #23)
Q. Regarding your post on Denominations- If the unity is found in the Spirit, how are denominations a hindrance? Don't they help bring groups of like minded people together? You said congregations will fellowship. Don't denominations create a way for that to happen?
A. No. They promote schism and try to find and establish unity in a man-made form.
Whether the denomination is rooted in a tradition... cultural, theological etc... or, in a lowest common denominator approach, it's still trying to find the unity through the creation of some kind of factional bureaucratic affiliation. The Scripture knows nothing of this.

31 August 2014

Our Response to the Federal Reserve and the World System in General (3/3)


If it's all just a game, a big scam, then shouldn't we work to beat the system and lessen our tax burden? We certainly don't want to pay taxes right?
For me there are other factors too. Any of these setups involve taking large sums of money and investing them in the market. Personally I'm opposed to this. I am aware of the many arguments that defend market investment and I'm also aware there are people who pervert some of Christ's parables in order to defend this. God willing I will write another piece in the near future that will address some of these terrible abuses of Christ's parables.

Our Response to the Federal Reserve and the World System in General (2/3)


When I work for financial advisors and investors I like to get them talking. It's not hard to do. I do the same when I'm with bankers or people in the insurance industry. It's really easy to get people talking about their own lives and business culture. They usually air the grievances of their particular perspective, one from within their industry.
Everyone else is the bad guy. They are (for the most part) the pure ones. There's corruption everywhere. No one for a moment disputes that. But it's always the other sector and if there's corruption in their own facet of the industry then it's the other division, the other office, the competitor with the different logo.

Our Response to the Federal Reserve and the World System in General (1/3)


Not long ago I was having a conversation someone and the topic of money and business came up. It was an aside to a larger discussion, but we found agreement in the seemingly self-evident notion that many people, including Church leaders (the immediate point of the discussion) often do not understand the way the business world works. He was in conflict with some elders over his financial situation and was frustrated in that they seemed to lack an ability to grasp how the realm of business operates. The accusations and demands they were making were not rooted in reality.

They were accusing him of impropriety. We agreed that the very idea of propriety in business is pretty laughable. Why is this the case and how do we respond?


22 August 2014

Sabbatarian Hermeneutics and Some Resulting Misapplications

I've mentioned it before but I wish to briefly revisit the question of the Sabbath and the mandate regarding six days of labour. There are some who insist that our culture's five day work cycle (which is certainly not applicable to everyone, as many work six or even seven days) is in fact sinful and that as Christians who would take Dominion, we need to be working a full six days.
Thus, is the five day work week sinful modernism and a paradigm Christians should reject?
To deal with this question I must first address some of the assumptions rooted in the question. First there is the question of the Sabbath itself and secondly even if I grant the Sabbatarian position does this necessitate a six day work week?

16 August 2014

Allegiance to Power

Allegiance to an idea or allegiance to a brand, take your pick.

These seem to be the options that are given to us in American society. The government embraces certain ideas. There are debates within the government as to what the ideas should be, whether they should be static or reminiscent of past 'glory' or for other factions the nation's policies should be dynamic and forward looking.

14 August 2014

The Denomination Dilemma and Solution


Many lament the state of divided Christendom. Not infrequently are we reminded of the thousands of denominations which exist today. It is an argument used by secularists, ecumenicists and those who wish to forge a Catholicity based on the claims of Rome's so-called bishop.

13 August 2014

The Battle over Quiet Time

For many Christians 'Quiet Time' is an important part of their spirituality. They take some time out of every day to read their Bible and spend some time in prayer and possibly reading some other Christian focused book whether it be devotional, commentary or theology.

12 August 2014

DeMint's Dream and Reality

Localism, Power and the Technological Society in an Age of Total War
Some time ago I listened to an interview with former senator Jim DeMint who had recently left the senate in order to take over as leader of the Heritage Foundation.
DeMint is a member of the PCA, the Reformed conservative remnant of the old Southern Presbyterian Church and a denomination which I'm sad to say I used to be a member of.

27 June 2014

Apostasy and Nuance in Popular Christian Fantasy

I recall when I was younger many Christians were critical of CS Lewis' Narnia due to perceived pagan elements and intrusions. Recently I was a bit taken aback to realize there are contemporary 'Christian' critics who are more upset over his traditional values.

25 June 2014

Temporal Conditionality and Typology vis-à-vis Eternal Reality

We read in 1 Kings 2.4
'If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,' He said, 'you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.'
The Davidic promise is two-fold. It contains both a temporal/provisional aspect which is typological and an eternal/unconditional aspect which is the reality.

15 April 2014

Mohler's Moral Logic

Speaking of Moral Logic let us consider another of Mohler's moral judgments. Why Mohler? Well, he's considered a respected leading figure in Conservative Christianity. He appears on CNN and NPR. He runs one of the top seminaries in the country and one affiliated with the largest Protestant denomination no less.

12 April 2014

Dispensationalism, Daniel's Vision of the Ten Toes and Biblical Numerology

In retrospect it's fascinating to me that while I was growing up as a Dispensationalist during the Cold War one of the great fears was the European Economic Community. Based on Dispensationalism's misreading of Daniel we all looked for the future European Union to be the fulfillment of a 'Revived' Roman Empire.

08 April 2014

Considering Presidential Strengths and Weaknesses Through the Lens of Worldly Wisdom

Over the past few weeks I've received numerous emails and 'shares' related to the 'weakness' of Obama especially vis-a-vis Russia's Vladimir Putin.

While it cannot be doubted that Obama has proven to be a weak president, I think a few things ought to be mentioned.

07 April 2014

The Poverty of Hyper-Literalism

In the recent piece on the Gates of Hell I mentioned how the Postmillennial hermeneutic struggles with the imagery of the gates and how they over-read the metaphor to the point it becomes a stumbling block for them and they end up missing the point altogether.

03 April 2014

The Underground Feed

For those that haven't already noticed I have put up a Feed Widget immediately to the right which lists the current posts over at The Pilgrim Underground.

These posts are shorter and generally tied to news items... though not always.

The Underground is more of a typical blog with frequent posts, a more casual writing style, links etc...

I'm trying to keep the longer, more 'in-depth' and timeless pieces for the main blog. Other than that difference, it's still just me talking about the same types of issues.

31 March 2014

Postmillennialism and the Gates of Hell

Reviewing some old Theonomy leaflets and other writings I stumbled across a paper that vigorously defended Postmillennialism by appealing to Matthew 16 and Christ's statement regarding the Gates of Hell.

Postmillennialists who believe the world will be Christianized prior to the return of Christ criticize both Pre- and A-millennialism as being 'pessimistic' in their outlook.

29 March 2014

Countering the Claims of the Watchtower Society: Talking to Jehovah's Witnesses

To put it simply, the main problem with the Watchtower Society is that their views are not based on Scripture. Despite their claims to the contrary, Scripture is read through the eyes of CT Russell and JF Rutherford. They believe these men to have had possessed prophetic powers. These powers are perpetuated by the Governing Body based in Brooklyn.

Essentially their system functions like the Catholic Magisterium. In fact at the core the issues we have with Rome are functionally the same. The Governing Body tells you how to interpret the Bible. Bible study is encouraged but only through the lens of the Governing Body.

28 March 2014

Jury Nullification

Some time ago I finally received an email regarding an earlier post wherein I talked about how Wayne Grudem believed that Christians should use their Bibles in jury deliberations and was outraged that a verdict was tossed by a Judge when he discovered members of the jury were referring to the outside source of the Scriptures.

I completely disagreed with Grudem on several points.

26 March 2014

Two Articles on Reformed Two Kingdom Theology (II)

For some readers this is revisiting old ground. But some find it helpful to continually revisit these basic themes. These two posts are responses to two articles. The articles are fairly brief and helpful in providing a matrix for this discussion. I hope that those who are still struggling with understanding these issues can read these pieces and my responses and in the end come to a fuller understanding of just what is at stake.
 


The second piece by Tuininga is actually much less helpful and far more guilty of generalization and at times misrepresentation. But it's still worth looking at.

Two Articles on Reformed Two Kingdom Theology (I)

For some readers this is revisiting old ground. But some find it helpful to continually revisit these basic themes. These two posts are responses to two articles. The articles are fairly brief and helpful in providing a matrix for this discussion. I hope that those who are still struggling with understanding these issues can read these pieces and my responses and in the end come to a fuller understanding of just what is at stake.

Employer-Based Health Care and the 14th Amendment

http://pilgrimunderground.blogspot.com/2014/03/employer-based-health-care-and-14th.html

22 March 2014

Neo-Anabaptists or Historical Anti-Constantinianism?

Here is a link to an article by a conservative Methodist who is critiquing Christian Pacifism and even though he doesn't really name it, his real attack is against the doctrine of the Spiritual Kingdom. He's accusing the followers of Yoder and by consequence people like me of novelty.

I argue that not only is he in theological error, he has misread the history.