31 December 2011

Constantine Can't Rescue Britain- 3

Unity, the essence of Sacralism

Sadly, Britain has not abandoned the Sacral model, instead largely substituting a Secular Sacralism...oh yes, it's quite possible. Secular Sacralism is nothing more than the seeking of a secular unity, a secular utopia. Sacralism casts society in theological terms. With secularism it's a closed universe rejecting the idea of revelation, so it's not theology in a proper sense. But even secularism must account for metaphysical issues like ethics.

It has a creation narrative, an eschatology (the goal) and a soteriology (how to get there)... secularism is perfectly able to shape its own ideas in this regard. The key is all Sacralisms are committed to forging a social unity. There can be diversity within the Unity, but everyone MUST embrace certain values and goals.

29 December 2011

Constantine Can't Rescue Britain- 2

So what can make a society turn around? Lots of things I'm sure, but one thing I've noticed or observed as I read history is this...Hard Times.

The generation in America that's rapidly dying off experienced hard times during the 1930's. This shaped and cultivated their character and they learned (in a worldly wise sense) what really matters, what is really needed, and the futility of covetousness and the silliness of putting one's hope in material goods. They learned the same values the old Roman Republic had...sternness, hard work, frugality, duty, manners, devotion to family, planning ahead, saving...things along those lines. Do some of these coincide with Christian values? Somewhat, but they can also become confused.

Constantine Can't Rescue Britain- 1

David Cameron has suggested Britain needs to return to its Christian foundations. What do we do with a statement like this? I know most Christians will applaud it. Certainly Britain is in a state of moral degradation and collapse, but is a return to a Constantinian society the answer?

26 December 2011

Christmas, Communion, and the Incarnation 2

The Blessing of Communion

If it's a blessing, is it desirable or even prudent to neglect it?

Is frequent or regular Communion superstitious?

I could argue those who regularly abstain are either failing to understand its import or are themselves superstitious.

I'm thinking of those who believe having the Lord's Supper every time we meet or frequently approaches the realm of danger wherein we might be eating and drinking unworthily, failing to examine ourselves and thus falling under condemnation.

Christmas, Communion, and the Incarnation 1

How Christmas overrides the Scriptural way of corporately celebrating and recognizing the Incarnation.

So, why don't you celebrate the Incarnation?

I was asked this one year by a friend. It was asked in a non-hostile spirit. This particular person comes from shall we say a rather High Church, Anglo-Catholic position...as in Newman and Pusey. If those names mean anything to you, you'll understand where the question was coming from.

I found the question interesting in how it was framed. My rejection of Christmas was immediately assumed to be a rejection of the Incarnation.

25 December 2011

Christmas as a Federal Holiday...the Implications (Part 3)

Of course if I accepted the premise of Christmas I would go much further and celebrate all 12 days of Christmas ending on 6 January with Epiphany. That's the origin of Happy Holidays or Holy-days. Evangelicals, completely ignorant of Church history have embraced Catholic principles without even understanding them! Christmas was a cycle of days not just 25 December. Of course to the Orthodox 6 January is a bigger deal. Why isn't that a Federal Holiday? If it's okay to celebrate 25 December, then you certainly cannot argue against the other 11 days or any part of the liturgical calendar, civilly or theologically.

Christmas as a Federal Holiday...the Implications (Part 2)

What of the other symbols of Sacralism the Evangelicals fight for...the Pledge of Allegiance, the motto on our currency, Scripture quotations on public buildings?

These questions need to be thought through in light of the Sacralist or anti-Sacralist position.

The waters are muddied because there are some Sacralists who argue against the Pledge...because of its Socialist origins, not because Americans are swearing allegiance to a 'nation under God.' They have no problem with a Sacral pledge, just not that one.

Some wouldn't have a problem with it if the country was cleaned up and made Christian. Because it's not at present, they (at this present time) have a problem with it. Same with the motto on the currency. Change the Constitution to acknowledge Christ...and then yes, 'In God We Trust' belongs on the coins.

Christmas as a Federal Holiday...the Implications (Part 1)

In recent days I've heard what I consider a somewhat odd argument in the American Evangelical Christmas wars. It's funny you can almost always spot an Evangelical working in retail because you get a very aggressive and forced Merry Christmas as you finish your purchase. And I usually get a very vexed expression when I reply, "Thanks, have a nice weekend," and walk away.

Society should acknowledge 25 December as Christmas, and retailers should say Merry Christmas because...it's a Federal Holiday and marked on official calendars as "Christmas." That's a supplemental argument I keep hearing. They seem to feel it adds more weight and legitimacy to their position.

The government says it's Christmas....

Christmas is a Christian holiday, the government affirms we're a Christian nation...therefore it's improper to say Happy Holidays.

24 December 2011

FN Lee

*updated 24 December (evening)
Francis Nigel Lee has died. Most have probably not heard of him. He was something of a pariah even in Reformed circles. He talked about and was quite proud of the history of the Reformed Church in South Africa…a topic few wish to discuss, and consequently few Americans have any knowledge of.

I will grant FN Lee one thing, he was a consistent Sacralist. He excoriated Verduin and with Rushdoony and others realized the deep threat Two Kingdom non-Sacralist theology posed to their system and vision for the Church. The Anabaptists have always maintained a special place of condemnation in Reformed circles. It’s not so much about the issue of Baptism. That’s present, but many Reformed are Baptists as well. It’s really about their rejection of Sacralism, Dominionism, and Constantinianism. Though I’m not an Anabaptist, on these points I heartily agree with them, and maintain on these issues they are the maintainers and custodians of a key doctrine held by many Dissenters going back to the early Church.

In many ways this is one of the biggest issues in all of Church History. FN Lee understood this, he just came out on the wrong side…dreadfully wrong.

22 December 2011

Radio Free Babel Part 3

The final installment of this so far less than popular series dealing with CrossTalk in particular and Christian radio in general.

If I might promote some fear for a moment......

The United States, largely bolstered by robust Evangelical voters, put George Bush into office. Over the past ten years we've seen almost endless war, torture, prison camps, and the elimination of many civil liberties. Every day the United States is feeling more like a police state, and now we have the government deciding who is worthy of legal protections, and if you're deemed not worthy, even though you're a citizen, the state can assassinate you.

17 December 2011

Christmas 2011

Since it is the season I thought for now I would provide links to some of last year's posts dealing with the salient topic of the hour.

Nativities, Nestorianism, and Redemptive-History

Christmas 2010


Something of a Diatribe on Tombs, Monuments, Traditions, and Authority

This post will prove bewildering to some. I'm arguing within Reformed circles, so if you're not familiar with some of the terms and people, you'll probably be lost. It's something of a rant, a response to an almost tangle I had at another website. Then in response to this, I got into one with someone who was less than honest and forthright. I hesitate to include it. I'm not sure how profitable it is, but I don't want to leave it out and seem less than forthright myself. Some of you will find it interesting, maybe even helpful...others will perhaps be offended. I hope the heat doesn't cancel out the substance.

Also included here are a Spurgeon quote, and an article by AW Pink.

13 December 2011

Islam Part 3- The Devil Went Down to Florida

I find this story to be beyond outrageous. It is both shameful and sad, but is also an opportunity. I continually talk about the effects of Sacralism on the mind of its adherents. Many of you have no doubt heard about the Florida Family group putting pressure on Lowe’s and other companies becauseof their commercials running on a show called: All American Muslim.

The issue? The reality show portrays American Muslims as normal people, not Koran chanting extremists who want to kill. It’s subversive because we might think that Muslims are just…normal, lost people.

So our duty is to oppose this show and those who advertise on it…if we let this go on…it will destroy America and especially…yes, families in Florida.

12 December 2011

Radio Free Babel Part 2

This same kind of fear-mongering has been going on since the beginning. I first noticed it when Clinton won the presidency. At the time I was a Rush Limbaugh fan and very lost. I believed all the hype...and none of it happened. America was supposed to come crashing down, and instead lots of people made a whole lot of money. Our freedoms were supposed to be crushed. Well, some were lost but it wasn't anything like what was predicted. He was just like the rest. Now Bush, that was different...but in his case the Christo-Americans found a saviour and kindred spirit. And ironically under his administration we lost many more freedoms, the things they had predicted would happen under a Democratic regime.

09 December 2011

Manifest Reawakening

Hurry, don't miss your chance to get this and be part of restoring the Church to its true purpose. I am excited.

Just follow the link and be prepared with a box of tissues. You'll need them.

I can just feel the virtues flowing.

04 December 2011

American Christians are more outraged over Socialism than they are a false prophet…

A few comments on the effects of Sacralism on the Church with regard to politics, morality, social narrative, race, and authority

I’ve been watching for some time, looking for Christians to speak out about Mr. Herman Cain. Why?

This man presents himself as a Minister of Christ’s Church, a leader of God’s people. He also has declared himself a prophet, one who has conversations with God. God told him, he claims, to run for president. Whether he takes the label of prophet is irrelevant. His claims identify him as such.

03 December 2011

Answering Questions #13- Not Quite Definitively Defining Definite Definitions

Adding to the confusion….

In the last post I talked about how those on the Right, especially in Christian circles are guilty of misusing terms like Socialism, Marxism and so forth.

These terms are applied to broad categorical concepts, but in the United States their weight is more terms of emotion or in connotation rather than what they actually mean.

So when Obama is referred to as a Marxist, Socialist, Fascist, or Muslim extremist…the actual meaning of these terms really doesn’t come into play.

It just means he’s bad and wants to control everything…or even more simply that he’s not one of us, he belongs to the ‘other,’ ‘those’ people out there who are against America.

01 December 2011

Radio Free Babel Part 1

Aka Christo-American Radio

-Some reflections on an episode that demand comment

I know there are some readers at this site who listen or have listened to the programme CrossTalk. It's a pretty popular Christian radio show that's broadcast all across the country. I don't actually get it where I live but every once in awhile I will download and listen to a podcast.

They come across as very conservative, very committed to Biblical fidelity. But this programme and those put out by others, play no small part in what started me wanting to write, to do something, to counter their message. They are reaching a considerable number of people that really are sincere in wanting to adhere to Biblical Christianity. I'm arguing that programmes like this are actually leading them astray.

25 November 2011

Focus on Sacralist Jurisprudence 4

Taking up the sword of the Spirit, which is Civil Litigation.
There was another story on the programme regarding a woman who was attending a university in pursuit of some kind of counseling degree. I believe it was near the end of the course that an issue arose regarding counseling homosexuals and she openly declared her Christian beliefs and insisted her worldview rested upon Divine Revelation.

They basically told her that unless she changed her belief system they could not grant her certification, she could not graduate.

24 November 2011

The Federal Government's Day of Thanks... to the Unknown God

It sure isn't the God of the Bible. Maybe it's the giant idol in New York harbour? Actually it's pretty clear what America worships.....food, football, and consuming for the sake of consumption...in others words America's 'god' is not the Father of Jesus Christ. It's America itself. America has a knack for taking things that aren't necessarily intrinsically evil and making them into something heinous and perverse.

Beware of those who confuse this god with the God of Scripture.

I didn't have time to write my Thanksgiving 2011 post. Maybe next year. So for now I'll just post the link to last year's article.

As for me....it's just another Thursday. I'll be working outside. Thankfully, the weather is supposed to be a bit warmer tomorrow.


21 November 2011

Focus on Sacralist Jurisprudence 3

Self-Deception Regarding Motives

Some have argued that we should abolish public schools altogether. Okay, again when they're in control are they going to allow the Leftists to form private schools that teach Atheism, Socialism, anti-Christian morality? No? Then are they going to form a government institution to regulate education? I think they're either being naive or deceitful...or a bit of both.

Do you really think if they took control of the nation’s institutions that they would allow an education free-for-all, complete liberty?

19 November 2011

Focus on Sacralist Jurisprudence 2

Bringing Down the Babylonian School System

They make much of their fight for school vouchers. The argument goes something like this…Basically in the United States we pay property taxes that go toward paying for public schools. People like me who home school or others who send their children to private schools are paying these taxes but receiving no direct benefit. Of course so are the many people who don't have children in school. The Voucher argument is that these families should receive a subsidy or voucher to then pay for the private school, charter school or whatever. It's about choice, fairness, and liberty they say and resisting the government schools and their agenda.

While I have little sympathy with the government school agenda I will suggest doing something people on the Christian Right refuse to do...often out of principle. Step into the other person's shoes for a moment, not to validate them, but to give a little larger perspective.

17 November 2011

Answering Questions #12- Negativity, Interpretation and Agenda

I like a lot of the things you write and the way it makes me think, but I'm concerned with the negative tone. Does everything always have to be so dark and gloomy?

I've been meaning to get to this for some time and after a recent exchange I thought it might be a good time to answer it.

15 November 2011

The Envy Straw Man

A Response to Colson's Fantasies

I hear Colson every day on the radio. It’s amazing but whatever the topic he has an almost perfect track record, he gets it wrong almost every time.

The latter part of the 20th century has seen some incredibly destructive forces at work in the Church...

Francis Schaeffer, RJ Rushdoony, Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, Chuck Colson are all part of the generation that is rapidly disappearing.

The new generation is just as bad if not worse…except for one thing. Their errors are perhaps more obvious in some ways. Maybe I’m fooling myself to think that, but it would seem the Joyce Meyer’s, the Joel Osteen’s, the Rick Warren’s and the Brian McLaren’s are so obvious that no one reading their Bible would fall for them…but I guess people still do. The nature of the error changes or in some cases is just repackaged and tracks differently.

But you have to hand it to Colson, he’s achieved some pretty amazing stuff. Within a generation he softened the Evangelical posture toward Roman Catholicism and that coupled with Dominionism’s ever growing fondness for the Middle Ages has brought about a new appreciation for Rome and its errors.

He’s influenced a lot of people and done great harm to the cause of Christ and His Kingdom. Here’s yet another interaction with his daily commentary. Today’s just put me over the edge. He contradicts himself terribly and he has either a very inverted sense of truth, reality or both.

14 November 2011

Rejecting both Patriarchy and Egalitarianism in the Church- Part 4

Final segment....

And with Pietism you always abandon wisdom for a checklist. You can’t think through issues and say this might be okay for this kid and not for that one, or this might be okay on occasion. Or (and this never seems to arise), maybe I don’t know that family’s situation and though they’re not doing things the way we do…it’s really not my place to judge them.

Rejecting both Patriarchy and Egalitarianism in the Church- Part 3

For those familiar with the terms, do this mean I’m arguing the Complimentarian position? Maybe, but if I go to the Wikipedia article on Biblical Patriarchy I can agree (in part) with many of the notions outlined there as well. The key differences are with regard to Dominionism and the questions it engenders in the social sphere and my main critique with regard to many in the movement is that they make these issues into components of the gospel.

13 November 2011

Rejecting both Patriarchy and Egalitarianism in the Church- Part 2

We always have to behave as Christians and sometimes that means in order to do that, we have to turn our backs on certain activities. Not because they are inherently unclean as a Pietist would argue, but because at the given time and place they are corrupted or structured in a way that we either have to violate Christian principles to do it or be deceitful and mislead those around us. Ignoring the prescribed rules and forms we force our Christianity on those around us.

Maybe as a Christian I cannot be a police officer, but when Christians enter into that office and then choose to ignore the enforcement of laws they don't like...they're breaking their oath (which they shouldn't have taken in the first place).

If I can’t be violent and prideful in my normal Christian life, then I can’t do it while I hide behind a vocation or office. If I can set aside my Christianity for the sake of office, then women certainly can as well.

You don't get to suspend your oath to Christ in order to do your job.

But then the Dominionist counters… how can we conquer that sphere? It's a false dilemma generated by a wrong set of questions.

The question of Christian women being politicians...the fact that we're even asking the question shows we're on the wrong track.

Rejecting both Egalitarianism and Patriarchy in the Church Part 1

A follow up note to the post dealing with the 12 November 2011 Republican Debate.

This is hardly an exhaustive treatment of these issues but I wanted to elaborate on my comment regarding Christian female politicians. I believe they shouldn’t be running for political office, but in saying that I’m not arguing from the Patriarchal position. Let me explain.

America, the failed experiment…

Evidence? Just watch the November 12, 2011 Republican Debate.

I’m not really sure why I am surprised, but I am. Last night as I watched the Republican debate on Foreign Policy, on more than one occasion, I was literally stunned. Watching this with my kids, I keep asking them if they understand what is meant by certain terms and if not, explaining them. I try to interpret political speak for them, making it very clear for them why politicians are referred to as forked tongued serpents.

A poignant example from tonight was when I had to explain what Mitt Romney means by the 21stcentury being “an American Century,”

...or what terms like ‘exceptionalism’ mean, when they’re used be people like this. 

In this case they're euphemisms for Empire.

My children are usually asking about which candidates are Christians or claim to be…every day as they learn about current events, the contemporary church and Church History…they’re learning the meaning of these caveats and how the term Christian has become almost meaningless.

10 November 2011

Focus on Sacralist Jurisprudence 1

Culture Warriors and the Sacralist Swords of Threat, Litigation, and Fear.

The other day on Focus on the Family they had a guest from the Alliance Defense Fund. As the Christian Right has grown in influence, its leaders have deliberately worked to form organizations and tools that will help them wage relentless culture war. Increasingly they are forming groups devoted to tackling legislation and the judiciary. To do this they're looking to lawyers, lobbyists, and politicians all interfacing in the overlapping realms of Christian media, ministries, think-tanks, and political organizations.

06 November 2011

Dominionism: Part 6

Elitist Tendencies

One final point.

There is an Elitist tendency among those who profess this creed. Focusing on Ivory Tower philosophical issues and matters of theory these folks end up spending a lot of time on issues that the average person doesn't really have a lot of time to think about.

The factory worker and the farmer are not terribly concerned with residential architecture, sociological models, what makes good art, and so forth. Not to say the aforementioned questions have no value, but they simply are not that important to people's daily lives and I don't think they need to be.

I know the arguments...the trickledown effect of what happens in these circles and that's why they're focused there. They are truly the architects, the planners of a new culture.

03 November 2011

Dominionism: Part 5

The Unassailable Philosophical Wall

Are the Dominionist Blueprints, their models for transforming the spheres...Christian? Biblical? Are they providing us with a Biblical Worldview?

While coherent with the philosophical systems they've created, in many, maybe even most cases they're not in accord with Scripture, and this is usually pretty clear by just comparing what they're suggesting with the Pilgrim ethic of Scripture. Just reading through the Gospels or Epistles in most cases quickly resolves any doubts. I'm afraid their systems are man-made and many of them have reached a point in which it would seem they can no longer see the forest through the trees.

31 October 2011

Halloween 2011 and LPR's Issues Etc.

As a follow up to my Halloween article found here:

This audio link might be of interest....

Hardly in agreement with my position, this Conservative Lutheran programme exhibits some of the classic modes of Sacralist thinking when it comes to issues like this. They're not necessarily pushing the Christian version of Halloween, but they're not exactly refuting it either.

Either way the agenda is to find a way to redeem it, make it Holy... and because society is doing it, we are compelled to somehow participate. Anything else would be Retreatism.

Dominionism: Part 4

Establishment, Dissent, Social Gospel and The Golden Age

Is the Kingdom of God manifested in temporal, geographical, and cultural terms? Through our labours can we make this a reality?

Some argue…yes, but that will be in the future when Christ returns and establishes a temporal, geo-political Kingdom based in Jerusalem which will last for 1000 years. At least the adherents of this Premillennial vision of a physical Kingdom don’t believe it comes about through human endeavours.

Dominionists, Transformationalists, Constantinians, Postmillennialists…all nuances of the same Kingdom-vision, believe more or less this can be done now.

30 October 2011

Dominionism, Sacral Transformation, Elitism, and the Unassailable Philosophical Wall: Part 3

The Medieval Manichee, the Modern Liberal, Monism and Pluralism

According to Kuyper, Christ declares, 'Every square inch is mine'......our job is to make this a reality.

The reality of life in a fallen world...accepting that some things won't ever be perfect and that some questions don't have good solutions.....is not acceptable. Every cultural question must have an answer and everything is now cast in strict moral categories. Pragmatism is not allowed. Everything is ideological and since so many of these areas of culture are shaped by law and power...everything ultimately becomes political.

Interestingly Marxists have understood this principle as well...they just have a different solution, but they frame it in very similar ways.

29 October 2011

Dominionism, Sacral Transformation, Elitism, and the Unassailable Philosophical Wall: Part 2

Christo-Americanism the foundation of Dominionist Cooperation

In the United States the final straw was the decade of the 1960's. Sweeping legislative and social changes left conservative Protestants (loosely labeled Evangelicals) in a state of shock. Men like Francis Schaeffer stepped into the gap and began to re-teach many things that had been forgotten and even frowned upon from the glory days of old Christendom. Even as late as the 1980's, the Middle Ages were frowned upon as...a spiritual Dark Age. But to Dominionists like Schaeffer, the Middle Ages were an almost-glory, a period of Ecclesiastical triumph, clouded not by the cultural hegemony and holocaust of Roman Catholicism, but simply by Rome's lack of understanding regarding Justification by Faith Alone. If Rome had retained the Protestant formulation, then more or less, all would have been well. If this vision wasn't re-captured and all of modern life evaluated in light of it...the Church would fall to its great enemy, Secular Humanism.

28 October 2011

A note regarding the new series and the approaching holy-day

As I'm getting back to writing I'm publishing a series on you guessed it...Dominionism.

There's nothing terribly new with this. I'm largely revisiting many of the same issues. Why am I doing this? It's a multifaceted issue and it's helpful to continue to review it, examining it from different angles. Certain approaches resonate with some folks more than others. For some it takes multiple angles to slowly put it together. Some readers already see this complex of theological ideas for what it is. Others are still struggling with the error, and yet others haven't quite put it together yet. They see some of it, but it hasn't hit them yet. So...I'll keep writing.

I've got pages of notes, in fact pages of article topics that I want to dive into. God willing we shall do so. Things are starting to slow down a bit and now I can turn back to writing. I miss it.

Since we're nearing the time of All Saint's Eve, I thought I would post the link to my Halloween post from last year. For those who weren't reading this weblog last October I touch on the fact that there are some who flee Halloween because of their view of the Kingdom in relation to culture and some who feel it must be conquered for Christ and have thus tried in earnest to label it Christian. Both approaches are wrong.

And for the many churches who celebrate Halloween masquerading as Reformation Day...they're only deceiving themselves.


Dominionism, Sacral Transformation, Elitism, and the Unassailable Philosophical Wall: Part 1

Rule, Reign, and Transformation
Many have heard of Francis Schaeffer and perhaps have seen his movie How Should We Then Live? In it he traces the decline of Western Civilization and attempts to motivate his audience to think about these larger cultural issues. Schaeffer was a key architect of the early Anti-abortion and Christian Right movements.  Maybe architect isn't the right word. He provided inspiration and helped formulate some of the basic concepts. Others like Falwell and some of the wealthy and less known backers helped get the political wing moving.

02 October 2011

2 October 2011 Update

My apologies to all....

I hope to return soon. I have some stuff just sitting there that I haven't re-read in order to publish. This Summer has been an adventure.

I've worked more hours and made more money than ever before....but we feel like we're broke...struggling to pay the bills.

It's largely inflation...it's crushing us. Thankfully I can raise my rates, something others do not have the power to do.

Sadly, it has meant some LONG hours. I get home later and then spend time on the phone and in my office working on plans and bids. I've got notes for many articles, some which probably won't get written.

Also, Summer is a time to try and get outside. It's a time of lawn mowing, garden tending, bicycle rides, hiking, and sadly this year only one backpacking trip....an excellent inexpensive hobby.

But today Autumn is here in full force. It's about 4C/40F here and pouring rain. The time for longer hours inside is returning and DV (Deo Volente) more time for writing.

17 August 2011

Building the Kingdom through residential architecture?

Here’s a Colson commentary from the other day. It’s a great illustration of how these folks think. It clearly displays the assumptions of Dominionist thought and hints at the frightening extent to which these people would flex their muscles if given unlimited power. This can be seen clearly even when it comes to a seemingly innocuous topic like residential architecture.

Here’s the link to the original post and my comments are interspersed below.

12 August 2011

Michele Bachmann and Dominionism

Here’s the transcript of an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air Programme from a couple of days ago. It is rather interesting and illustrative because it demonstrates how Dominionism has crept into the American political scene. Does Michele Bachmann know who Abraham Kuyper is? Probably not…but his theology is shaping her and the entire contemporary political debate.

09 August 2011

Sacralism and the state of things Part 4

High Places, apostasy, and no Reformation on the horizon...but it might be a good thing, if we reckon things as God does.

 TD Gordon, a man I respect and often agree with (though he might not reciprocate) spoke years ago about the fact that the cultural climate in Europe just prior to the Reformation helped usher in that era of reform. Now I don't get excited anymore about the Reformation, but I can appreciate his point. The revival of learning generated at the end of the Middle Ages and the new learning (both good and bad) brought about by the Renaissance helped prepare the way for the Reformation. People were reading books printed on the newly invented printing press, and there was a revival of interest in the classics and a desire to question the Medieval way of understanding things.

While we have new and exciting technological innovations in our day that seem to be conducive to an even greater period of learning and investigation...the reality is... it's not happening.

People (at least in America) seem to be more uninformed and undiscerning as ever. In another post I mentioned how I was startled to talk to a professing Christian college student who didn't even know what the Berlin Wall was, nor had ever heard of the Cold War. She knew all about the Casey Anthony trial but had never heard of the Iranian Revolution.

07 August 2011

06 August 2011

Camouflaged Sacralism

While it may sound strange to some, we attend an annual event near our home. It's a World War II re-enactment. I'm not into re-enactors too much. I have no desire to do it, but sometimes it can be interesting. I like to get my children out and have them experience things. I'm not afraid to push them a bit as long as I'm there holding their hand. We talk about it. I don't believe in a libertine go with the flow mentality, but I also don't agree with the shelter and hide approach.

04 August 2011

Sacralism and the state of things Part 2- Of course the Norway killer was a Christian...at least the way Sacralism defines it

There are strong Romantic sentiments reigning within Christian circles today. They glory in the heritage of Christendom, the West.

Upon closer examination they would truly find that much of what they love is really not ancient but only as old as the 19th century. And the 'Christian' culture they venerate was naught but a veneer and one easily broken in the 20th century by a variety of forces. The 21st century is proving to be an era of payback and backlash. The people (the lost) who for so long were oppressed by this power...which both secularism and Sacralism wrongly define as Christian... are rising up and we're entering into an era of retribution and reprisal. Obviously the homosexuals are leading the charge at the moment. It will pass, but not anytime soon.

Anti-Wisdom Part 2

 The issues at hand:

Transformationalism Politicizes the Gospel, leading to agenda-driven thought, and often a complete rejection of genuine discussion and investigation. Is this wisdom applied or utter moral foolishness?

Does Dominion-driven Worldview teaching promote Christian wisdom in this world? If it's a false theology is it even promoting a Christian Worldview at all?

Is the true Biblical Worldview something for regenerate believers or something for societal transformation?

These are some questions to keep in mind as you read through these posts. These are key questions I'm continually asking as I interact with what I believe to be a erroneous theology, a false system masquerading as Christianity.

So continuing the previous discussion, how can we be wise, and does Christian wisdom mean all issues are reduced to simple categories?

Constantinianism and the state of things--- Westernism, Sacralism's Deadly Third Category, Francis Schaeffer and why we don't need to save Leonardo.

First, a quick revisit of some basic concepts....

As we've stated many times, Sacralism redefines Christianity. Biblically we can speak in terms of the individual being redeemed and joined to Christ. We can speak of the collective body of Christians....the Church of Jesus Christ....His body.

Sacralism adds a third extra-Biblical category, that of Christian nation, culture, or civilization. Of course the Bible speaks in terms of a Christian nation, but this is applicable to the Church, the Kingdom of Priests.

Nowhere do we find any notion of a nation entering into covenant with the Almighty. The one exception to this, Old Testament Israel was initiated by God and He set the terms of their covenant relationship. Moab, Edom, Babylon...none of these nations could become Yahwist or Jehovah-ite nations. If they wanted to convert.....they became Jews, which meant abandoning their nations and entering into the fold of the covenant people. They didn't transform their nation into Judeo-covenantal states, they left their nations and became Jews.

In the New Testament the holy nation, the Israel of God (Galatians 6.16) is the Church composed of all nations and peoples. They retain their earthly citizenship but enter into and participate in the heavenly kingdom.

Sacralism adds an additional tier (a supra-collective category) that cannot be located or extrapolated from Scripture. It is derived from philosophical speculation stemming from a wrong theological method and a grave misunderstanding of the Kingdom if not the entire message of the New Covenant.

A note on the glossary entries

The previous four posts are simply definitions that are being linked in the glossary. It's not my intention to invent wild sounding and super technical sounding terminologies. We're talking about complex and nuanced concepts that are hard to explain in a few paragraphs and even harder to reduce to one term. Many of these overlap and are variations of some of the same recurring theological themes. Not everyone will be interested in these concepts, and that's fine. But some will be, and as I said, they regularly recur in these writings. This way...for my sake, I can refer someone in a comment to the glossary or even allude to it in a quick post.

For years my close friends and I have employed these concepts in our discussions...usually by referring to this or that 'thing,' but that's not very helpful to people reading these posts. If I said, 'you know...how Catholics do that thing with the visible church...'

It would mean something to a few people, but most readers would have no idea. These somewhat painful glossary entries are an attempt to at least categorize some of these concepts. I worked on these last night and realized they’re too long to place in the glossary itself, so I’m putting them up as posts and linking them from the glossary.

So if you're interested, by all means. If not, then just ignore them. They're just part of the resource/reference sections for the blog.

Glossary Links- Perspectival Soteriology

Perspectival Soteriology

Others use the term Perspectivalism, and I'm certainly not advocating their theological position, but it's not entirely without validity. While I don't accept the oft used Triads and other perspective-'frame'-works, I do acknowledge that a concept of perspective helps us to make sense of passages of Scripture and concepts that seem to conflict.

Glossary Links- Hyper-Eschatologized Ecclesiology

Hyper-Eschatologized Ecclesiology and its symptom or fruit...Ecclesiastical Apathy-

These are high sounding terms for a concept that's really not too difficult. This phenomenon occurs in several different traditions and factions and yet it certainly is not enshrined in any confession.

Glossary Links- Hermeneutical Compression

Hermeneutical Compression-

This is but another way of describing one or some of the various nuances that result from theological systemic thought and commitments when applied to Revelation.

Glossary Links- Sacralist Collective

Sacralist Collective-
The Bible deals with individuals and a collective body... the Church. The Church of course can be viewed in terms of local congregations or broadly speaking as the Church Militant (here on earth) and the Church Triumphant (the Eschatological Church). But to simplify, the Bible deals with individuals and the various categorical modes of the Church.
 Sacralism adds an additional layer which more or less ends up dominating their theology. This tier could be described as the Cultural or Civilizational layer or stratum. Historically this is referred to as Christendom or even sometimes placed within the broader category of Western Civilization. Nowhere does the Bible speak of Christian cultures or nations that are somehow sanctified and structured according to covenantal directives. This concept is derived and driven by philosophical necessity stemming from some basic theological foundations. The argument here is that this concept is not only flawed and un-Biblical, but quite destructive. Much of the contemporary language concerning Dominion and Worldview stems from this assumption. In addition this false premise establishes the framework for the so-called Biblical view of the arts, sciences, etc... views not derived from Scripture, but from philosophical deduction.

11 July 2011

Returning Soon.......

I'm still here....though I haven't been online much lately.

Thanks for the recent comments and handful of emails. God willing I'll be getting back to everyone soon....and publishing new posts.

In the meantime I've been pleased to see people have been perusing some of the older posts.

08 June 2011

Should Christians 'proudly hail' an Imperial Symbol?

Here's an interesting blog post with accompanying links. Some of you will be aware of the controversy surrounding Goshen College in Indiana and the National Anthem.

As Mennonites they have eschewed playing it at their public events, but about a year ago they caved and started playing 'The Star Spangled Banner'... though many protested it.

Recently they reversed their policy again. It's interesting that there are still Mennonites who care deeply about this issue. They're hardly America-haters, but they seem to grasp the salient issue even though for many it is one clouded by emotional attachments. As the blogger points out the comments at the respective links are revealing. Apparently we are surrounded by many intellectual and spiritual cousins to Sarah Palin.

07 June 2011

A Benefit for the Acholi of Uganda

And a general exhortation regarding Africa past and present.

For those who might be somewhere near Ohio on 12 June, there’s a worthwhile event taking place.

I tried to include some of the pictures but I'm afraid the Google Blogger programme didn't want to cooperate. I'm sure there's a way, but I'm not enough of a computer guy to know how to do it.

This is a benefit to aid some folks in Uganda. Africa is a pretty confusing place for most people, in fact so daunting that most people don't even try to understand it. We should.

30 May 2011

Memorial Day 2011

I’ve remarked before how American Evangelicalism is increasingly embracing the Liturgical Calendar with Lent (not to mention Passover) and other Judaizing and Paganizing practices which most Protestants historically rejected.

Of course the American church tends to cast these things in its own narcissistic way, and certainly we’ve developed what might be called the Patriotic Season in the American church. Starting with Memorial Day, this new season extends through Flag Day, Independence Day, and might even be stretched to September 11.

The Moral and Metaphysical Foundations of Anti-Wisdom- Part 1

While Paul certainly exhorts us to eschew the wisdom of the world, what exactly does that mean? It can mean a lot of different things, but primarily in the context of the New Testament it seems to represent a thought process, a working out of knowledge that excludes God from the equation. More particularly it excludes the image of God in the person of Christ Jesus. If Humanism declares man is the measure of all things, this indeed is a perfect declaration of worldly and fleshly wisdom in its denial of our Lord Christ who IS Wisdom.

Paul also talks about the power of the gospel and how it was not only unnecessary but theologically erroneous to think the Word was in need of supplement. He didn't need gimmicks or flowery persuasive rhetoric for the gospel to work. The Word was not benefitted by accommodating it to the culture, nor was it more effective when preliminary conditions were met, i.e. the hearer being softened by emotional stories, music, etc…

In terms of the gospel, because it is Divine in origin, it an expression of the power and holiness of Almighty God and only a fool would think he could improve on it and only unbelief would assume it needs human-generated assistance.

Hyper-Solafideism Part 6- Two forms of the Law/Gospel Hermeneutic

 This also brings us to what is often called the Law/Gospel hermeneutic. As we've discussed, there are several dynamics at work in how the Old and New Testament relate to each other.

There is an overarching unity in substance...Salvation by Grace through Faith Alone rooted in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Everyone from Adam to now was saved the same way regardless of their chronological placement. The Eternal Covenant and Jesus Christ are inseparable and form the basis of the Unity.

23 May 2011

Hyper-Solafideism Part 5- Vosian Hyper-Eschatology, Federal Vision's Bestial Agenda, and a few observations regarding the Lutheran Legacy

Thus far I have been in agreement with the Vosian crowd rejection of the Federal Vision understanding of Redemptive-History. But at this point I switch sides. Unlike the Federal Vision folks I certainly affirm the concept of merit, that Christ's Active Obedience helped to pay for our sins and I wholeheartedly agree with the Garden-Works principle, and the reiteration of this under the Mosaic order in typological form applied to the Corporate body of Israel.

20 May 2011

Discerning Discernment Ministries Part 4- An Addendum: Obama, Israel, Christian Media and Strauss-Kahn

Anyone reading this series may think that Obama's speech on 19 May has negated what I've said here regarding Israel. Howse argues that Obama has betrayed Israel and some would argue Obama’s speech vindicates this argument. Certainly this morning (20 May), this is the language being used by the Right. A couple of points.

19 May 2011

Hyper-Solafideism Part 4- The Adam problem and conditionality in the contemporary debate

I wish to touch on a few more issues. This series is not very popular. It's not being read by a lot of folks. Either people already decided they don't agree or some may find it unpractical or perhaps too difficult.

At this point this series is being written to those who are familiar with the contemporary debates and have some familiarity with the terms and players. I'm not taking a great deal of time to define some of these things because those interested probably already know and those who don't know the terms probably aren't bothering to read these.

For the handful of folks that aren't familiar and yet are interested, don't hesitate to comment or ask me directly. I'm happy to clarify or suggest resources. If you're interested and want to understand, don't get discouraged.

Someone might say...I don't need to know all this stuff. That's correct. You don't need to know the in's and out's, the little tweaks and nuances, the way the factions have formed up. You don't need to know these things to know God and to trust in Jesus Christ.

That said.....it is important and plays out even if not everyone can see just how. These ideas affect the Church. They have in the past, continue to do so, and will certainly shape the future. And, in my case I want to know and understand. It's not about knowing so we can keep up on the latest thing. Instead as we work through these things, we are driven to Scripture and forced to think it through. Doing this, we come to know our God even better and we can stand in awe as we consider His ways.

16 May 2011

Hermeneutical Tea Party

I've mentioned this before but there's a scene in Fiddler on the Roof that always makes me chuckle.

15 May 2011

The Ethics of Thuggery and Murder- John Ashcroft and Blackwater

Pardon the somewhat bitter tone……..

Some are apparently surprised by this, but I'm not. Apparently John Ashcroft, the Evangelical and former Attorney General who is also famous for losing an election to someone who was dead...is now the 'Ethics' advisor for Xe, the notorious company formerly known as Blackwater.

You would be hard pressed to find a company more universally reviled than Blackwater. To many especially in Iraq and Afghanistan they are nothing less than murderous thugs...and that's being nice. Of course they seem to benefit from quite a bit of support within the American Christian community. Blackwater's founder Erik Prince is president of a foundation that has donated large sums of money to the lobbyist Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, the Alliance Defense Fund, and Calvin College.

Compromised of ex-military soldier-of-fortune types, usually a pretty crude lot, the leadership is nevertheless intimately tied in with some of the power circles of American Evangelicalism. In fact, at times they have marketed themselves as some sort of Christian fighting force. Their latest endeavour can be read about here.

13 May 2011

Dominionist Confusion- An Interaction with Iron Ink

Theonomist Bret McAtee's (IronInk) recent article, another critique of Two Kingdom theology provides a good opportunity to demonstrate why they can't seem to grasp what we're saying.

11 May 2011

Discerning Discernment Ministries- Part 3

updated 5 Oct 2011- I removed a factual error I made regarding the Department of Education. It was started under Carter, not Reagan...but that's hardly the end of the story.- proto


Romans 1 clearly states that a nation that rejects God over and over will suffer five specific consequences and America is experiencing all of these now.

Romans 1:21-32

1. A Nation of Fools: V. 21-22

This verse declares that a nation that rejects God over and over will become vain, useless, futile or foolish in their thinking. Despite claiming to be so wise and so smart, the nation will become so foolish in their thinking that they will succumb to spiritual deception and accept spiritual lies and false teaching.

09 May 2011

The Politics of the Bin Laden Raid- A few observations

1. Obama obviously wants to ride this Bin Laden Raid Wave as long as he can. His numbers are poor, he’s been humiliated, and this gives him a significant arrow in the upcoming election. The Republicans can’t accuse him of being soft on terror or national so-called defense.

2. Despite his parading around, I have to give him credit. He’s a class act. He could have made a victory lap speech at Ground Zero. Instead he was pretty dignified about it.

3. It’s interesting that for years Bin Laden was described as merely symbolic but essentially irrelevant. Now that they’ve captured all the materials from his compound, the new story is that he was directly involved in operational matters. How convenient. Pardon my skepticism, but in light of the White House’s complete fumbling of the story, and the way they keep changing it…I am more than a little doubtful regarding this claim. It would seem that by building Bin Laden up, they are

A. Increasing the administration’s prestige in getting him. The old build your enemy up tactic to make yourself look stronger. And,

B. They may be trying to set the stage for a phased exit. The drones will continue to fly and there will be bases, but this may provide the exit opportunity the leadership has been waiting for. If they can make a big enough deal about Bin Laden’s death, they can declare victory and run. They’d probably like to push hard, bomb the Taliban badly and then come to the bargaining table with a strong hand, but the Pakistan situation is so volatile, they can’t push too hard.

08 May 2011

Saving Faith, Temporary Faith, and Justification by Faith

Here's a link to the text of a good sermon pertinent to the Hyper-Solafideism discussion. He does well in defining Saving Faith... avoiding Faith without Knowledge (which is mysticism) but also avoiding Faith being defined as mere assent which results in easy believism.

He's dealing with the classic categories of Knowledge, Assent, and Entrustment. Removing any of these gets you into trouble. He covers them briefly but well.

Discerning Discernment Ministries- Part 2


The second dangerous national tipping point that is inviting God's wrath is found in the book of Nahum. The prophet Nahum shows up in Nineveh about 150 years after Jonah to tell the nation that God is not going to give them the chance to repent this time but His wrath is going to come upon them. Why? Because in Nahum 1:11 we read that the people had begun to "plot evil against the Lord." Rejecting God is one thing; plotting evil against him is the tipping point for national judgment. In fact in Nahum 3:19 we read, that their national "injury has no healing, your wound is severe." One translation says, "Your wound is incurable."

07 May 2011

Discerning Discernment Ministries Part 1

Now that I've probably lost or upset many by writing about Justification, I'm afraid I will probably only alienate more folks with this series. It's not deliberate on my part, but these are the issues I'm writing about. And, for those who disagree with me...that's fine. Maybe my writings can be helpful in either forcing you to re-think some issues or perhaps I can help solidify and convince you of the validity of your position.

Recently I've tried to navigate the rather confusing waters between the Dominionist tendency in so much of Evangelicalism, its variant of Americanism, as well as factors like Dispensational Theology. There are numerous ministries and programmes which are engaged in the task of 'discernment'.

They are very critical of the Prosperity Gospel, the Charismatic variations of Dominionist theology as well as the New Spirituality becoming popularized by the Emergents and people like Rick Warren. In addition they are also very critical of the growing Ecumenical Movement and globalist tendencies both within the Church and within the corridors of power.

Hyper-Solafideism- Part 3

The Bible presents us with a strange dynamic, one that defies Aristotelian-like attempts at systemization. As with the Incarnation, we are presented with a dialectical soteriology. We have seemingly opposite and irreconcilable truths that we cannot reconcile. We cannot systematize them either by reaching a synthesis or by reading one pole in light of the other.

Just as the Scriptures seem to teach God predestines our free choices, we are also given a doctrine of Salvation by Grace through Faith Alone, grounded in election, and yet somehow cast in conditional terms dependent on our perseverance. We could say 'seemingly' dependent and that would probably be correct, but I would prefer to avoid this and other attempts at systematizing, because when we do this, we start the process of explaining it away. By throwing the word 'seemingly' or some other term if you prefer...in front of a word like dependent, we're viewing the conditional passages through the lens of election...which raises the types of dilemmas we often see resulting from System problems gaps.

Questions like....are the warnings genuine? are they written to believers? Is the gospel offer really sincere?

Once were asking these questions, we're on the wrong path. We're second guessing the text because it doesn't fit with our systemic presuppositions.

06 May 2011

Hyper-Solafideism Part 2

 The Scriptures clearly teach that Salvation is a free gift. We can do nothing to earn it. We are lost, alienated from God, cursed and deserving of physical and eternal death. Adam the first man acted for himself and for his posterity. He was the Federal Head of the entirety of the human race. His sin, whether the actual sin or the resulting curse, passes on to all of us, all of his descendants. As CS Lewis put it, being descendants of Adam we can hold our heads high and yet also hang our heads in shame. We bear the image of God and yet we're cursed by sin.

Like it or not, we're united to Adam, we're in Adam. We need a 2nd Adam to come along and create a new race, a new people. Old Testament Israel represented both the 1st and 2nd Adams…a sort of repeat performance of the first and an anticipation of the second. This point is often missed, certain groups emphasizing the one to the exclusion of the other. The 2nd Adam comes and passes the test, completes the tasks and yet to rescue those under the curse of the 1st Adam he must pay the penalty of sin and make a way of reconciliation to God. Christ the 2nd Adam does this and now we are 'in' Him…united to Him, 'under' Him.

There's nothing we can do to affect this, to earn this, or even to maintain it. It truly is a gift. God out of pure love for His treasonous creatures did this for us. All of mankind is shown mercy, but only those of us who are saved can grasp the wonders, the breathtaking wonders of Grace. Its foundations in the Person and Work of Christ are rightly called amazing, and its application via the Holy Spirit…well, even the Angels are in awe of it.

05 May 2011

Hyper-Solafideism and Meta-System Part 1

For those unfamiliar with theological jargon, this article will delve into unfamiliar waters. As much as possible I'm trying to avoid using too many terms but I'm afraid it is somewhat inescapable. In this post and several subsequent parts I will be discussing the doctrine of Sola Fide or Justification by Faith Alone and how that works both in the Bible and how we in seeking to understand the Bible, and teach it, run into certain dilemmas. These dilemmas and the way we deal with them are actually the source of the many divisions within the Church today.

Over the course of history people have lived in different contexts and these contexts affect how they think. Due to these contextual factors, we read the Bible in different ways and one group may really focus on one thing while someone else in a different time and place focuses on something else. I'm arguing we tend to overly focus on certain things and that sharply affects how we understand or in some cases don't understand the rest of the Bible.

In this particular series I'm dealing specifically with those who are committed to the Bible being the very Word of God and claim it as the Sole Authority for faith and life....Scripture Alone/Sola Scriptura. Thus far we're in agreement. But now how do we read it and what tools do we employ in seeking to understand it? That's a different question and one that I wish to raise.

03 May 2011

The Far Left Conspiracy- To Install A Centrist President?

 *updated 15 May 2011

Despite President Obama's evident humiliation in having after two years in office to produce the long form of his birth certificate, there are many on the Right who still refuse to let the issue die, or assume he's still engaged in some kind of subterfuge, or even suggest this was some kind of victory for him. I assure you it was not. A sitting president having his hand forced in this manner has been weakened. To have his very legitimacy questioned and then be forced to produce evidence after 27 months in office? That’s pretty humiliating. You could sense the frustration and bitterness in his demeanour, and then he uncharacteristically lashed out at Trump at the Correspondent’s Dinner a couple of days later. This is a guy on the ropes. He needed some political hit-back. He got it with the killing of Bin Laden…but we’ll see how long it lasts.

The whole argument that his birth certificate is forged is rooted in a belief that Obama is product of the extreme-left. They somehow, despite all evidences, wield so much power that not only were they able to co-opt the American electorate, they selected a foreign born national and even worked within the American intelligence establishment to pull off the greatest forgery in modern times.

Again this assumes Obama represents the interests of the Far Left.

Maybe they should look into what those are the Far Left are saying and how they are evaluating his presidency?

02 May 2011

Emmanuel Goldstein Is Dead- The Power Paradigm, Bin Laden, Pakistan, and Three Cups of Castor Oil

Emmanuel Goldstein.

If you don't know what that refers to, then you definitely need to read George Orwell's 1984. Of the two major dystopian books, I think Huxley's Brave New World is probably closer in its hyperbolic view of our society, but Orwell's work is also indispensible in its assessments of power, media, and language.

Today while working, I listened to NPR's constant coverage of the Bin Laden killing which virtually lasted the entire day. Rather than real analysis, the supposedly left-wing NPR gave endless "double-plus good's" to the Military Establishment, interviewed soldiers, militaristic generals, and an endless stream of Establishment media experts and think-tank gurus who are often the very people shaping the policies…at least they're the folks that are turned to for strategic thought and analysis. I was very disappointed with NPR today. Not once in all their discussions about the so-called War on Terror and American policy objectives in Asia and the Middle East did anyone really call into question the official Washington line of American Superiority and Dominance…the one perpetuated by the supposedly 'leftist' Obama.

01 May 2011

The Royal Wedding in the scope of history

 We watched the Royal Wedding Friday morning. I'm not a great fan of the British Monarchy, but it was a historic moment, the anachronistic flavour of the event is fascinating to see, and I've been to Westminster Abbey, Hyde Park, and outside Buckingham Palace and to see them in this manner was almost surreal.

Anyway, watching the wedding I said to my wife, "The Christian Radio folks will be gushing, because they're singing hymns and talking about God."

And I wasn't disappointed. The mistakenly called Family Life Network sure came through and was just exuberant regarding all the talk of God, the hymns being sung and the traditional values being promoted. It was like they had never seen anything so Christian.

30 April 2011

Answering Questions #11- The Framework Hypothesis and some additional considerations

Genesis 1-11, Old Testament Chronology and the Theological Implications

Many Christians have been stymied and frustrated by modern scientific observation and interpretation of the geological record and astronomical observations regarding the age of the universe.

In the past some responded by coming up with what is called The Gap Theory, which inserts millions of years between verses in the opening verses of Genesis. This is basically just a bad form of exegesis, actually akin to what Dispensationalism does with Daniel 9, by inserting 2000 years between two verses. Both interpretations destroy the obvious flow of the passage. The problem is solved, but at what cost, and by adapting what kind of principle?

Others have responded to the scientific dilemma by turning to Theistic Evolution and many among Mainline Protestant circles simply discount Genesis 1-11 as mythological and of no importance. By taking a different view of Scripture they maintain intellectual respectability, but as we know all too well. If Genesis is doubt, then why not the accounts concerning the Resurrection and many of the other miracles?

Rejecting this we understand the New Testament rests many key theological arguments, critical to the gospel on the events of the opening chapters of Genesis. Christ is the 2nd Adam and in order to interpret His work, we must have some understanding of the arrangement under which the 1st Adam operated. In addition, we run into serious problems if we fail to acknowledge the Fall, or the Flood as actual events. It is surprising how often they are appealed to. We even encounter problems with Christ himself who obviously treated them as historical events. Was Christ mistaken? Some have no problem saying so, but those of us who understand the Apostolic teaching concerning His Person…to suggest that Christ was wrong, fallible, subject to peccability, is to overthrow the Gospel itself.

28 April 2011

Integration vs. Assimilation, Turkish Assertiveness, and the Rise of the Right in Europe

This link is quite interesting.

Erdogan the Turkish Prime Minister demonstrates….

Turkey’s increasing self-confidence. Rejected by the EU and yet a longtime and crucial member of NATO, the Turks are growing quite comfortable if not a little assertive with their ‘Bridge’ role between East and West. They’re not afraid to stand up to the EU and the United States. Erdogan proves this by urging the massive Turkish population in Germany to ‘integrate’ not ‘assimilate’. In addition the Turks have succeeded in irritating Washington by refusing to cooperate with the 2003 Iraq invasion as well as finally assuaging their longtime animosities with Syria. Also, notice the difference between integrate…function in society but maintain your identity vs. assimilate… basically become in this case, German.

Why do Christians in the United States think it so essential for immigrants to assimilate? It is literally a theological issue for them. Isn’t integration enough? If you don’t want your society to change, then don’t invite people in. Of course all societies change anyway, and many American Christians seems to suggest that America has changed so much because of….immigrants? It’s a strange assertion. Most of the immigrants that come to the United States are coming from cultures far more conservative than our own. I think a lot of Americans and probably some Europeans don’t want to face the consequences of their materialistic lifestyles and especially in the United States, the type of children and youth it has produced.

Of course when speaking of inviting immigrants, I’m not talking about the millions of Mexicans and Central Americans that have entered the country illegally. That’s a separate issue but not unrelated to the Materialism issue I just raised. They weren’t invited per se, but the American economy needs them, wants them, and in many cases has facilitated their movement north by American policy both here and abroad. Mexico (a longtime American fief) is on its knees. Turkey (a former satellite, increasingly ally and partner) is not.

26 April 2011

The Babel Impulse

 We read in Genesis 11 that the men who sought to build the Tower of Babel were trying to build a tower to reach heaven and to make a name for themselves.

I remember as a kid being somewhat baffled by this. Were they that dumb that they really though they could build something to penetrate the sky?

That's not what they were trying to do. Reaching heaven didn't necessarily mean they were trying to punch through the atmosphere. Rather in ancient times there was a commonly held belief that the gods dwelt on mountains. Mountains are majestic, inaccessible, almost surreal. The Babylonian plain is pretty flat and we see something of a pseudo-mountain motif in the ziggurats of the day.

Establishment Media, The System It Protects, And The Blind Who Follow It

Our supposedly 'liberal' media refuses to report the real issue regarding America's financial situation...the one everyone refuses to ignore.

Why? Why don't they come out and say that America spends more on its Military-Industrial Complex than all the rest of the world combined?

Why do they persist to use to phrases like 'defense spending' when it has virtually little to do with defense? Ask the rest of the world if America's posture could be described as defensive.

24 April 2011

The Spirit in which I say these things………

Am I really this narrow and severe?

Just a quick note, a final thought to wrap up the recent posts……I argue these points and I believe in what I'm writing. Nevertheless I am happy to overlook much for the sake of charity. I will sit in churches with many things going on that I do not agree with. I will tolerate them, but I often find they will not tolerate me. I make up my mind to be quiet and not to discuss these things with anyone, not to sow discord.

If we talk to any modern Evangelicals we either have to grit our teeth and smile or we try and lightly engage and inevitably offend someone when we don't celebrate Christmas, support Israel, or show enthusiasm for George Bush and Sarah Palin.

23 April 2011

The Temptation of the Tactile

This is kind of a part 3 to the Easter discussion, but this goes far beyond Easter.

Interestingly not that many years ago, Protestants were somewhat apologetic about the pagan elements that had crept in their holy days. But today, Sacralist impulses have driven them to be proud of the conquest and appropriation of these elements. Suddenly, the eggs, bunnies, candy and the rest are good things…just as they've done with all the symbols floating around christ-mass celebration.

It's interesting how the early church quickly lost the authority base after the Apostles. There are several factors here.

One the Scriptures had been recently completed and while the Canon was mostly recognized quite early, there were a few books being debated.

Two they were trying to survive both in the face of civil persecution as well as the twin threats of Judaizing and Paganizing…mostly in the form of Gnosticism.

Consequently the church got off track pretty early and the occasional voices that tried to pull them back were ignored. Days and seasons were invented and kept, relics venerated, and slowly the Church introduced many new things and borrowed things……candles, vestments, crosses, altars, buildings/temples, offices, and eventually the cult of saints, purgatory, monasticism and the papacy.

22 April 2011

22 April Note

Regarding Comments:

A few of you have expressed frustration at losing you comments in the vortex of cyberspace. I'm not sure what the problem is. There are no restrictions. Anyone can post and I moderate after the fact...just removing spam etc...

Make sure you select an identity.......anonymous is fine, but please sign your note even if it's with a nickname or something.

Try 'previewing' your note before you submit. Usually if there's a problem it will show up at that point.

Also, I've lost a few as well at other sites. I ALWAYS right click, select all, and copy. Then I click the dead space to remove the highlight and then submit. That way I can right-click paste if it got lost.

Does anyone else have any tips? Those of you that have commented, have you run into anything that others might find helpful. I've had quite a few emails from folks telling me their comments did not post.

I wish we could figure this out.

A Refreshing Grasp of Historical Nuance From An Unbeliever

This was both interesting and refreshing. This is a short news clip from NPR covering Robert Redford's new movie 'The Conspirator' which deals with the Lincoln assassination conspiracy and the trial and execution of Mary Surratt, a story few people know about.

While Redford could hardly be called a Southern sympathizer he and many others have picked up on the fact that the sainted Abraham Lincoln has been mythologized and the narrative we were all given in school doesn't quite tell the story. In other words the Civil War was far more complicated than the propagandists from either side are willing to discuss or portray.

21 April 2011

Cluster Amnesia

Hilary Clinton was outraged at the possibility the Libyan government was using cluster bombs.

This is despite the fact that the United States has rendered the Convention on Cluster Munitions essentially meaningless. Without the backing of the United States, the Convention isn't worth much. The U.S. stands with Russia and China in refusing to sign on.

The United States has used cluster munitions in Iraq and Afghanistan and has received extensive criticism for doing so. In fact we could have a little discussion about which country generates and uses more chemical and anti-civilian weapons than any other country in the world, but that's for another time.

Clinton herself seems to be suffering a little amnesia as this 2008 article from the Guardian demonstrates.

Deceit at work in Christian Media and Politics

Here's a Christian guy that's trying to be reasonable. I don't agree with everything he says, nor do I endorse Ron Paul in any way.

But what's really interesting is that he exposes Gary Bauer the Christian Lobbyist for what he is....deceitful.

Are people starting to get it? I hope so.

Easter and Holy Week 2011- Part 2 (Binding the Conscience Where God Does Not Bind)

As I said in the last post (#1) we can apply the concept of binding the conscience and legalism to a host of issues.

What about to be a good Christian you need to give up certain foods for 40 days prior to the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox?

20 April 2011

Easter and Holy Week 2011- Part 1A

A connected supplemental discussion.....

A few points on Apostolic Authority, Canon, and Text

What if indeed John the Apostle went along with the growing practice of Easter? Let's say for argument's sake that it began in the first century.

Irenaeus in the 2nd Century relates that Polycarp his teacher kept Easter on the 14th of Nisan as he learned from the John the Apostle.

Does that mean then that we should also celebrate Easter?

I suppose if it did, then we should be celebrating it on 14 Nisan instead of Easter Sunday.

But were the Apostles authoritative in everything they did? Could they err? Was everything they were doing meant to be applied to the Church? Can we answer 'no' and yet still claim the New Testament as authoritative?

Social Conservatives and 2012

For those who are interested. This segment was on NPR's Talk of the Nation today. It's interesting because their guest is Ralph Reed formerly of the Christian Coalition.

They talk about Donald Trump and how Reed views him as a viable candidate even though every other political commentator including top conservatives like Karl Rove consider him dead in the water. Trump has made a big issue out of his doubts that Obama is an American citizen, but Reed doesn't seem to think that discredits him. I suppose when I turn on Christian radio and I'm still hearing that Obama is a crypto-muslim, I shouldn't be surprised.

A lot of Christian Conservatives are still pulling for Huckabee as one caller makes clear. Nothing profound here, just interesting...perhaps not for the reasons others mind find it interesting. I tend to listen to these things with a different ear. I'm not agreeing with Reed et al. nor am I  a partisan for the other side. I just like to observe and am absolutely fascinated with how 'christians' think and communicate.


19 April 2011

Easter and Holy Week 2011 - Part 1*

As usual, I'm behind. This was supposed to be done last week, but here it is...just in time for Maundy Thursday!

Well, the full moon is illuminating the night sky. Beautiful. It must be getting close to Easter. You know the connection right? A lot of people seem unaware. We all know the date of Easter varies from year to year, but how many know why?

17 April 2011

Zondervan's Owner

Here's a story you probably won't hear on FOX news, or at least not with a great deal of truthfulness. Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Newscorp.,  FOX and Christian publisher Zondervan (who owns the NIV and all those rather dubious study Bibles that have come out in recent years) has been caught in yet another controversy...this time in the UK.


Answering Questions #10- The Babel Impulse

What do you mean by the Babel Impulse?

We read in Genesis 11 that the men who sought to build the Tower of Babel were trying to build a tower to reach heaven and to make a name for themselves.

I remember as a kid being somewhat baffled by this. Were they that dumb that they really though they could build something to penetrate the sky?

That's not what they were trying to do. Reaching heaven didn't necessarily mean they were trying to punch through the atmosphere. Rather in ancient times there was a commonly held belief that the gods dwelt on mountains. Mountains are majestic, inaccessible, almost surreal. The Babylonian plain is pretty flat and we see something of a pseudo-mountain motif in the ziggurats of the day.

A ziggurat was a symbolic holy mountain. The idea was that it was a gateway, a place of meeting, a throne. The god dwelt on top of the mountain and the men who built the ziggurat would place an altar/throne there, an altar crowned with horns, the symbol of power and assertion.

The ziggurat was a sort of proclamation that the god dwells here and since he dwells here…this land is therefore holy and sanctified. We are the god's children and so forth.