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.