31 December 2014

Are We Calvinists?

To answer simply we would have to say both Yes and No. Of course there is also the problem of the many definitions of this term. Not everyone is using the term the same way.

Do we believe in Predestination and Election? We believe what the Bible teaches and we believe the Bible does in fact present this doctrine. But at the same time we will freely admit that many Calvinists have distorted this doctrine and have failed to do full justice to the full picture of what Scripture teaches. The issue is actually more complicated than then simple Calvinist and Arminian understandings of this issue. We believe the Scripture teaches us its own understanding of logic and how to hold to beliefs that sometimes seem to be in contradiction. The problem isn't the Scripture but in how we understand it.

This age old question cannot be answered in a way that will please everyone but it must emphasized that as Christians our duty is to submit to God's Word even if we cannot fully reconcile in our minds the tension between God's Sovereignty and Man's Responsibility.

 

Why does this small town need yet another church?

Certainly a valid question, and the issues are complex but we can address them in brief.

The main issue the every Christian and congregation must wrestle with is that of Authority. On what basis do you decide and what criteria do you employ to determine Christian doctrine and life? What do we believe and how do we apply it?

25 December 2014

Questions for Christmas Keepers and Celebrants

On what basis do we approach God? On what basis do we petition and praise Him? How do we enter the Throne Room so to speak? What gives us the right to do that?

24 December 2014

Dissecting the News and Christian Anti-Intellectualism

I find it interesting that some conservatives are unable to grasp the issues behind the recent racial upheaval. I've seen some are posting stories of white teenagers being killed by black men and then criticising the media for not covering these stories.


19 December 2014

Inbox: What about John MacArthur and his theology?

How does he fit into the spectrum of Reformed Theology and the ideas you are presenting?

I've actually written about MacArthur before but I can revisit him again.

Inbox: Acts 19 and Cultural Transformation

The Burning of the Books in Ephesus

Is this an example of cultural transformation?
It points to transformation but it's not the same as what is being pushed on the Church in our own day.

Sometimes the Two Kingdom position is caricatured suggesting that Christians in old India wouldn't be challenged to abandon suttee, or that Christians in China wouldn't be encouraged to do away with foot binding.

This is just that, a caricature.

06 December 2014

Inbox: What about Erastus the City Chamberlain?

Isn't this an example of a Christian holding public office?

Yes it is. Paul mentions Erastus the oikonomos of the city at the end of the Epistle to the Romans.

04 December 2014

Inbox: Can We Speak of Christian Anarchism? Was Petr Chelcicky a Christian Anarchist?

Can Christians embrace a form of Anarchism? Jacques Ellul thought so, and he's by no means alone. There's a spectrum to Anarchism. Historically it would be placed on the Left emphasizing the freedom of the individual and a principle of voluntarism as the basis for society. But there's also a manifestation that is usually placed on the Right due to its commitment to laissez faire capitalism. This type of Anarchism, or Anarcho-Capitalism is usually labeled Libertarianism and it is experiencing a massive upsurge in Christian circles. In fact it has created a schism within conservative politics.

26 November 2014

Law, Systemic Violence and Societal Institutions

A lawsuit is a petition to the court, calling on the court to address your grievance. You're saying that someone has violated a law, or in some cases that a law has violated other laws.

Ultimately you want the court to force the party that has grieved you to change and correct the wrong. The court if it rules in your favour is effectively 'threatening' the other party to make it right. They're telling someone to pay the money owed or in some cases they're telling an entity...a business, a city government or department to change their policy or face the wrath of the court.


24 November 2014

Lamech and the Evangelical Culture of Death

I own a few guns but I haven't fired them in many years and have seriously considered getting rid of them. I'm not sure how. For different moral reasons, I don't want to sell them nor would I want to hand them over to the government.


22 November 2014

Stewardship and Parable Inversion- Concluding Thoughts

When the Church shifted and was transformed by Constantinianism, many old values and ways of thinking had to be abandoned in order to create the new Christendom, which ended up being anything but Christian. Power and money are always wedded and in order for the Church to embrace a political order it had to change the way it thought about itself in the world.

Stewardship and Parable Inversion

Speaking of terms and terminology it is worthy to note how the term 'stewardship' is used in such radically different ways.

Everyone more or less acknowledges that in a Christian framework our possessions and assets do not actually belong to us but to God Himself.

And at that point all agreement ends.


10 November 2014

Pietism, Higher Criticism and the Prussian Union of 1817

Over the years I have encountered numerous Missouri Synod Lutherans who continually rail against Pietism. I mean they really have very strong feelings about it. I was reminded of this recently when I listened to podcast dealing with the Prussian Union of 1817.


03 November 2014

Technology Tangles: Ethics, Politics, Euthanasia and the Avoidance of the Real Questions at Stake (Part 2 of 2)

The technology has brought us to a point where we have to ask these difficult and sometimes impossible questions about how far do we dare to go? What is basic to humanity?

Technology Tangles: Ethics, Politics, Euthanasia and the Avoidance of the Real Questions at Stake

Recently there's been a great deal of secular and Christian news coverage, regarding a woman in her late twenties that is planning to take her own life. She has a terminal brain tumor and though she has not yet manifested symptoms, she has been given a fairly short prognosis. Rather than wait until the suffering begins or resort to palliative care she has elected to end her life. She lives in a state that allows doctors to prescribe pharmaceuticals which will permit her to do this efficiently.


31 October 2014

Exiles in Babylon: Should Christians Vote? (II)

With bitterness any Constantinian will be forced to admit the New Testament says absolutely nothing about their vision of society. There's not a single verse to support it and many to oppose it. Recently I've seen some desperate attempts to suggest that Paul was engaged in culture war when he referred to the Cretans (by quote) as liars, gluttons and evil beasts etc... and demanded they be rebuked. It is debated as to whether he was referring to some of the Jewish Christians of Crete and their abusive quoting of Epimenides or to Epimenides himself as a 'prophet' bearing a truthful witness of the Cretian character. Regardless, his rebuke is internal, not directed at the larger Cretan society or its governors. Those to be rebuked by Titus are within the Church.

Exiles in Babylon: Should Christians Vote?

As strangers, pilgrims and exiles we view the state as something that is wholly other or outside the Kingdom realm to which we belong.
We understand why the state was instituted and to some degree we are thankful that it exists. And yet we also are painfully aware of both its limitations and dangers.

Prophetic Idiom, Prophetic Perspective and Redemptive-History

(This is a re-post from 2011. The title and context have been changed.)

The Pharisees employed a literalistic reading of the Old Testament prophecies, this fueling their concepts of the Kingdom and leading them to completely miss the Messiah and the Spiritual Kingdom He was ushering in.

26 October 2014

Christian Schools in Britain, Social Crisis and the Larger Issues at Stake

There are stories beginning to circulate in Christian circles of a private Christian school in the United Kingdom which is risking the loss of what we would call accreditation due to a lack of diversity with regard to religious instruction.

24 October 2014

My Friday Trip to Amishland

I spent some time with the Amish this afternoon. I had to make a trip out to purchase some rough-cut lumber. There are several groups in the larger area but the nearest ones live about 10 miles from me. A lot of them are no longer into farming and we see their construction crews all over our area. They're cheap, but you often have to pick them up and take them home. Some travel amazing distances in their buggies.

15 October 2014

Middle Class Aspirations, Globalisation, Huntington's Clash and the Acculturated Church

These types of videos always remind me of Huntington's Clash of Civilizations thesis. Huntington wants to argue that religious and cultural identities will always take precedent. This is to counter the notion that either the world is becoming Westernized or that Globalisation itself is creating a wholly new world culture.
While I will indeed argue that history defines the present and the future, the Huntington thesis cannot properly take into account the way Globalisation has and is changing the world.
Unlike some I do not believe that Globalisation will change the world to the extent that old issues will simply evaporate and we can all move on to or progress toward Free Market Democratic societies. 
Obviously this hasn't proven the case and I don't believe it ever will. This kind of Hegelian optimism was rampant in the early 1990's. Many falsely believed that the supposed American victory in the Cold War would bring about a wholly new paradigm that would render previous historical tensions and concerns more or less irrelevant.

09 October 2014

China, Christians, Second-Class Citizenship and Political Agitation

Woe and lamentation.
Numerous reports have come out that there are many Christians involved in and in some cases leading the protests in Hong Kong. While the government in China is indeed a detestable one, this is nothing to celebrate and yet that is exactly what Christian Media seems to be doing.
Charismatic and Dominionist theology are spreading around the world and the coming harvest will spell doom for Christians the world over.

04 October 2014

Middle Class Values and the American Church

I've worked for and mingled within upper class circles at many points in my life. The funny thing about the wealthier class is that they don't have anything to prove. You have some that are certainly conceited and smug, others are downright eccentric and thankfully well off because otherwise they're basically dysfunctional.
I've worked for the poor and that certainly is the class to which I belong. I say this as one who grew up fairly well off. I was sent to private schools at different times. One was rather exclusive and geared toward future Ivy Leaguers. There were a lot of very wealthy kids at that school...BMW's and a Ferrari... and I learned a lot of lessons about values and money. I remember being really disgusted with some of the other kids who judged others in terms of clothes or vehicles and yet these boastful adolescents had done nothing in life and their judgment was bred only by their blood ties and the class they believed themselves to be. Living in San Diego and knocking around the streets of Tijuana I saw very hard working but desperately poor people... people I had far more respect for than these spoiled brats of the upper class.

02 October 2014

Idelette de Bure and Legitimate Marriage

Idelette de Bure was an Anabaptist who married John Calvin. On more than one occasion I've heard Calvin praised for his graciousness and charity because Anabaptist women were looked on as being of dubious character.
There were rumours of wife-sharing as an outworking of Anabaptist tendencies which tended toward communalism and communism. Shared possessions meant shared wives. So in other words Idelette was probably a bit of whore, but since she became Reformed, Calvin was willing to marry her anyway.

29 September 2014

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


27 September 2014

Five Centuries of Calvin (Part 2 of 2)


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

Five Centuries of Calvin (Part 1 of 2)


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

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


13 September 2014

Inbox: Denomination Clarification

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

31 August 2014

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


22 August 2014

Sabbatarian Hermeneutics and Some Resulting Misapplications

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

16 August 2014

Allegiance to Power

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

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

14 August 2014

The Denomination Dilemma and Solution


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

13 August 2014

The Battle over Quiet Time

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

12 August 2014

DeMint's Dream and Reality

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

27 June 2014

Apostasy and Nuance in Popular Christian Fantasy

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

25 June 2014

Temporal Conditionality and Typology vis-à-vis Eternal Reality

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

15 April 2014

Mohler's Moral Logic

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

12 April 2014

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

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

08 April 2014

Considering Presidential Strengths and Weaknesses Through the Lens of Worldly Wisdom

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

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

07 April 2014

The Poverty of Hyper-Literalism

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

03 April 2014

The Underground Feed

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

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

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

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

31 March 2014

Postmillennialism and the Gates of Hell

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

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

29 March 2014

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

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

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

28 March 2014

Jury Nullification

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

I completely disagreed with Grudem on several points.

26 March 2014

Two Articles on Reformed Two Kingdom Theology (II)

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


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

Two Articles on Reformed Two Kingdom Theology (I)

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

Employer-Based Health Care and the 14th Amendment

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

22 March 2014

Neo-Anabaptists or Historical Anti-Constantinianism?

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

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

16 March 2014

The Legal and Technological Matrix for a Brave New Dystopia (4/4)


The Church in the World

What will it take to awaken the Church? Or is this just Judgment and Strong Delusion?

How do we respond? Do we need to just keep at it, keep persevering in our small corners of the world, doing what we can to expose lies? Do we just keep telling the truth and hopefully rescue people from the great destructive lie that is at the heart of our social system which the 'Church' has happily wed itself to?
It has loved the world and called it the Kingdom of God.

The Legal and Technological Matrix for a Brave New Dystopia (3/4)


Security or a New Foundation?

This has nothing to do with terrorism anymore. Personally I don't think it ever did. There was enough smoke in the 1990's to realize a firestorm was on the horizon. While few foresaw the impending Blowback of 9/11, they did see a network of schemers who had plans in the works and needed little more than a justification to get the ball rolling. They certainly got their wish.

There was no point in winning the Cold War unless you could capitalize on the victory. Security fears gave them a reason to act but how can you control the world in the computer age?

The Legal and Technological Matrix for a Brave New Dystopia (2/4)


The New Paradigm

Computer technology is no longer a tool of industrial society, it's at the heart of society...a new society which is in the process of establishing itself and the new parameters by which it will function and govern. While we're all playing with our gadgets, the social fabric is being re-woven and as I've indicated I think most people are in fact missing the magnitude and fundamental nature of the change.

The Legal and Technological Matrix for a Brave New Dystopia (1/4)

 
Orwellian is a term that is often thrown about in the media. Usually this is not meant in terms of Totalitarianism (at least not yet) but in the sense that we live under constant surveillance. Some think in terms of the American government wielding great fear in that it has claimed the right to take anyone away at any time and with no explanation.

The courts have ruled that security absolutely trumps the 4th Amendment. I would contend that given our new technological society, the 4th Amendment is effectively dead. The Patriot Act sealed the coffin.

15 March 2014

The Altar Call of 1776: Charles Finney meets Smith and Wesson

http://www.npr.org/2014/03/10/287311237/kentucky-southern-baptists-draw-crowds-with-gun-giveaways

Since the innovations of Charles Finney in the 19th century the Evangelical world has been plagued by different versions of a marketed gospel.

Finney's idea was that if you just created the right kind of conditions and presented the gospel the right way...then any sensible person would become a Christian.

12 March 2014

Veith and Mefferd on Fascism (Part 2/2)


Here's the link to the related piece from February 2014: http://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2014/02/postmodern-fascists.html
The Socialist Party Manifesto of 1936 reads, "It is now two years since the appearance of fascism in France. The great capitalists, dogged by declining profits and threatened privileges, fear lest the suffering people free themselves from the domination. They have subsidized and managed fascism."

Veith and Mefferd on Fascism

http://www.janetmefferdpremium.com/2014/01/30/janet-mefferd-radio-show-20140130-hr-3/

I remember when Veith's book Modern Fascism first came out in the 1990's. I recall a Lutheran friend of mine and fan of Veith being quite excited about it. At the time I was just beginning to come out of my Right Wing mindset but for the most part still embraced it.

10 March 2014

Trinitarian Controversies are on the Horizon

Observing the theological struggles of our day it leads me to wonder what will the next big 'heresy' be?

In recent years we've seen challenges to God's Omniscience and Omnipotence in the teachings of Open Theism. From the Canon to many of the Fundamentals of Historic Christianity, scholars have been deconstructing historical understandings and re-contextualizing and re-interpreting them.

08 March 2014

Revisionism, Manipulation and Distortion: The Conservative Re-Casting of The Civil Rights Movement and American Social History

For about the twentieth time in the past few months I heard yet again a reference to the fact that it was the Republicans who were the vanguard of the Abolitionist movement and that it was Democrats who compromised the primary membership of the KKK.

The implication is that Blacks should know who their real friends are. It is in fact the Democrats and their social programmes (including alleged eugenics and genocide) that are out to get them.

I've heard this explanation from both Conservative and Christian news sources.

06 March 2014

Holy Week and The Temptation of the Tactile

I guess it's that time of year again, the Spring Equinox is coming and that means another full moon.

03 March 2014

Dialogical Liturgy, Temple Emulation and Presbyterian Priestcraft

Conservatives are trying to steer their congregations away from 'contemporary worship' and rightly so. But because they still are following a flawed notion about what it is that we're doing when we gather they tend to drift toward High Church or what some people call 'liturgical' models of worship.

The meeting is not about entertaining an audience, nor is it about marketing a product. But it's not an emulation of the Old Testament temple either. While the more sober model is certainly preferable to the rock concert feel of modern services, they too have embraced in error in how they view the gathering.

This mindset, what I call the Temple Mindset is deeply held within cultural Christianity and there's little hope for real Reformation until it is broken.

28 February 2014

The Marketplace becomes Zion and other errors

http://www.fln.org/fln-news/podcasts/detail/inside-out-304-ministry-in-the-marketplace/

Dominionism has wormed its way into mainstream Evangelicalism. The erroneous views of Francis Schaeffer and others have borne fruit. This report on the regional 'Christian' radio station exemplifies this.

23 February 2014

The Shared Worldview of Albert Mohler and Bob Costas (Part 2 of 2)


Despite the lies and manipulations flowing from FOX, NBC and certainly Bob Costas have been taking constant digs at Putin. And it's interesting the commentary is more or less the exact criticism levied by someone like Mohler. The only exception would be with regard to the issue of homosexuality.

Other than that, the worldviews are essentially the same.

The Shared Worldview of Albert Mohler and Bob Costas

http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/02/21/the-briefing-02-21-14/



Albert Mohler suggests that his news commentary is guided by a Christian Worldview. Every day he sets out to highlight a few stories he believes are pertinent and offer observations which will help his audience gain a more Biblical perspective on news and current events.

17 February 2014

Postmodern Fascists? (Part 2/2)


The Romantics viewed Nationalism through feelings of connectedness with the past, a revival of folk tradition and identity vs. the mechanized view of Enlightenment society.

They were not Militarists. Nationalism plus Militarism is what leads to Fascism. This is something remarkably absent from these Conservative criticisms and narratives which seek to tie Fascism to Leftist politics.

Postmodern Fascists? (1/2)

In this two part series I'm addressing some arguments that are being made which try and posit that Fascism was somehow a result of Leftist thinking and Individualistic philosophy.

These same arguments try and suggest the Emergent Church and particularly the Environmental movement are somehow philosophical heirs of Nazism, or at the very least flow from the same source.

While these movements are certainly worthy of critique, these arguments made by some well known figures in Conservative political and ecclesiastical circles are simply false and reveal either a real ignorance of the issues and history or worse, a deliberate attempt to mislead.

We don't need to twist history to advance our causes. Tell the truth.

But unfortunately when the Gospel is politicized, reflection and nuance are not effective tools. The goal isn't knowledge and understanding.

The goal is to win. And if that means crafting a somewhat dubious historical narrative, then there are many who are more than happy to do it.

14 February 2014

The Re-Christianization of Valentine's Day

Dominionist thinking demands that all of culture must be subsumed and conquered or else eliminated. At its heart it is a theology of conquest.

In the Middle Ages this was expressed as 'Christianization'. It's tough to explain this to your kids, how on the one hand we speak of Medieval Europe as being 'Christianized' but in no way does that mean it was Christian. It's a Social and Cultural concept that hijacks the word 'Christian' and recasts it in a social mold. You'll be hard pressed to even find a Church history that will deal with this topic in an honest and Biblical fashion.

Everything in society has to fit into this power structure. It must be transformed and given 'christian' value and interpretation or it must be burned at the stake as it were.

11 February 2014

The Baptism of Self-Indulgence (2/2)

But think of the Church as the Covenant Community out in the world. It is Judgment when lost people have a stronger moral compass concerning the plight of the poor. It is Judgment when the lost are more indignant and morally outraged about  the rape and pillage of the world that feeds our society's consumer appetites.

The Baptism of Self-Indulgence (Part 1/2)

Our culture worships self-indulgence.

I've said it before, many others have as well, but it needs to be contemplated and understood. We agree too quickly, and in doing so fail to understand what this means and how deeply it affects us.

08 February 2014

The Third Rome, Nevsky, and Putin's Russia

Recently I was teaching my kids about Russian history and they found it interesting how connected the Russians are to their past. We spoke of the Mongol Invasion and how the Russian countryside is littered with little monuments and shrines the people still visit to remember the fallen warriors from battles that took place almost 800 years ago.

Even the Soviet period could not completely eradicate this impulse.

04 February 2014

Angels of Light / Agents of Babylon (Part 4- Final)


Manipulators Being Manipulated

The wolves are out to win and make money along the way... but they're often being used too. They are often tools in the arsenal of greater powers.

Angels of Light / Agents of Babylon (Part 3)


Power, Not Truth

Their teachers don't want them to know. Their teachers don't want them to learn that many of the ideas they promote are not from the Bible but are rooted in political history....sometimes less than ancient to be sure.

In fact they fear them learning real history from a wide range of sources. Every viewpoint that doesn't serve the cause is labeled as biased or liberal. Rather than teach their people to gain perspective by reading and thinking widely, they teach such thought is dangerous, sinful and unfaithful. Fidelity seems to be gauged by one's zeal for the propaganda.

Angels of Light / Agents of Babylon (Part 2)


Most Leaders Are Self-Serving and Will Use Anyone They Can

The powers of this world are out to manipulate us. Many Christians seem to think the primary and greatest threat is coming from the outside. The Secularists, Muslims, Foreigners or some other villains are out to get us.

Angels of Light / Agents of Babylon (Part 1)

Power, Riches, Wisdom and Anti-Wisdom...

The Manipulation of The Church By False Teachers


22 January 2014

The Venetian Refuge

My kids and I were going through a lesson about the rise of Venice and the unique role it played in the Middle Ages...not to mention the outrageous Fourth Crusade. (As if the Crusades weren't already outrageous enough!)

And I was reminded of the brief section in Fox's Book of Martyrs dealing with Venice and the Inquisition of 1542. There are a couple of moving tales. Antonio Ricetti and Francesco Spinola died defending the doctrines of Christ. If you have a copy, give it a read. If you know Christ you will meet them someday.

12 January 2014

Perchik's Hermeneutic and the Politicization of Everything (3 of 3)

As Christians we are to die to ourselves. We are in the process of putting to death the old sinful nature and living as those who are already seated in Heaven with Christ.

We view everything through regenerate eyes but we never seek political power. We had better be aware of it, quick to expose it and critique it. The world's devices are both clever and seductive. But the world's goals concerning power and the lust can only create a Pseudo-Zion a Pseudo-Eden... that's the last thing in the world we want.

And for all the Church's efforts to manifest the Kingdom through civilizational and political power, that's all they will end up with. A cheap imitation, a counterfeit, and there's nothing more dangerous than that.

Perchik's Hermeneutic and the Politicization of Everything (2 of 3)

The state has nothing to do with us. We don't go to their courts. We don't seek its approval. We obey the laws, pay the taxes. We interact with it at times and to some degree are glad that it's there. But the relationship is always a bit uneasy. We belong to different worlds and have different goals. The state will use power and the threat of violence for its own ends. But in God's Providence it inadvertently helps us by creating an environment that (hopefully) allows us to live our quiet, peaceful God centered lives.

Perchik's Hermeneutic and the Politicization of Everything (1 of 3)

I was attempting to explain the anti-abortion movement to my kids and trying to help them understand why on the one hand I am completely against abortion but on the other hand I'm not overly keen on what the anti-abortion movement is trying to accomplish.

While that may seem nonsensical and contradictory, the reason I say this is because I believe the anti-abortion movement isn't just about stopping abortion. It's a political movement.

What's the difference? Perhaps I can explain.

11 January 2014

Spinning the Reformation: The Propaganda Mill and Christian Media (2/2)


As regular readers will know I am not an Anabaptist, but when it comes to issues regarding the Kingdom, Christian ethics and the Church's relation to culture the Anabaptists are correct and essentially perpetuate the view of the Medieval Dissidents with which I would identify. While there are many similarities between the Waldenses, Chelcicky and the Anabaptists, I stand with the pre-Anabaptists and embrace the inclusion of the children of believers within the context of the visible covenant, the manifestation of the Kingdom of God on earth.

Trueman in this interview chose to largely ignore the role of the Magistrates. He mentions them commissioning catechisms and creeds but fails to mention that politics did in fact play a great role in the Reformation and the reason Luther and the Reformation succeeded (at least on a human level) was due to political power... and the potential violence that backed it.

Spinning the Reformation: The Propaganda Mill and Christian Media (1/2)

http://www.janetmefferdpremium.com/2014/01/01/janet-mefferd-radio-show-20140101-hr-3/

One of the few figures in Reformed circles that I genuinely respect is Carl Trueman. Generally I appreciate his historical insight and balance. He comes across as non-partisan which is a rare thing in politicized world of denominational and factional scholarship and commentary.

06 January 2014

Answering Questions #22- American Church Histories

Can I recommend any books on American Church History?

That's actually kind of a difficult question. There aren't really any histories that I would recommend without qualification. Every history has its good and bad aspects.

The Role of Conservative Think Tanks (3/3)


Heritage also used organizations like Citizens for America to move money around. This is one of the many shell games played by these organizations. Create multiple entities...it's all the same people...but use them in different ways to obfuscate what you're doing, We also see a similar tactic used by many well known 'ministries' in creating a 'for-profit/taxable' activist wing and using the non-profit to support it.

05 January 2014

The Role of Conservative Think Tanks (2/3)

The Reagan Doctrine and Rollback
 
Heritage's policy was to reject the Cold War doctrine of Containment and certainly reject Nixon and Kissinger's Detente. They called their doctrine Rollback and singled out numerous countries for this doctrine to be implemented. At this point a quick rundown of the list would be helpful. These are the specific countries Heritage targeted for Rollback and a few comments amount the goals and results.

The Role of Conservative Think Tanks (1/3)

Think tank policy and influence is pretty public. It's just slightly out of the mainstream. The influence easy to find but you'll have to turn to articles and books. You're not going to find the mainstream media explaining the system. They never do that. But for example just listening to a more serious news outlet like NPR you will constantly hear references to groups like Heritage and of course the liberal Brookings Institution (which Colson famously wanted to bomb). Many scholars from Heritage, Hudson, Hoover, AEI, CATO and other groups are regularly interviewed and consulted. The think tanks are in many ways the voice for policy and ideology. They tend to be more candid than politically minded officeholders.

03 January 2014

Propaganda Mills- Think Tanks and the Ivory Towers of the Christian Right (2/2)


Mohler's guest Mary Eberstadt has researched the demise of the family, the Church and the rise of Secularism. By the end of the interview it's pretty clear what Eberstadt wishes to do and that's attack the Welfare State. This is not a surprise considering she's affiliated with the Hoover Institution another Right Wing Think Tank which has produced the likes of Thomas Sowell and other very popular pseudo-intellectual propagandists. Their purpose is not intelligent discussion but the advancement of an agenda... funded by some of the largest military, financial and industrial entities in the United States. The list of current and past corporate sponsors includes ARCO, ADM, Boeing, Exxon, JP Morgan, Rockwell and Transamerica. Hoover represents serious financial and political interests and that has to be taken into account.

Propaganda Mills- Think Tanks and the Ivory Towers of the Christian Right (1/2)


Or,

The Danger of Believing Your Own Propaganda

I listened to this podcast awhile back and wanted to share a few thoughts. This is Albert Mohler's interview programme where he sits down with a fellow intellectual and conducts about a 45 minute interview with some of his commentary along the way. Sometimes it's interesting, but often I find it to be not only intellectually dull but often misguided. But that assessment would go for most things Mohler does. As a leader of the Christian Right I believe he is completely misguided with regard to history, theology, politics and most of all, the Bible. That may sound like a harsh and needless insult but since I believe he (and many like him) are a great danger to the Christian Church... I feel the denunciation to be more than warranted.

01 January 2014

Allies and Enemies: The Power of the United States.

America can even thwart and in some cases betray its own allies and has a long record of doing so.

This story dates back to July when an American CIA official, wanted by the Italians for participating in the Rendition programme and accused of snatching a man off the streets of Milan was arrested in Panama. There was an international warrant for his arrest issued by the Italians.

The agent Robert Lady was picked up at the Panamanian border and presumably would have been extradited to Italy. But then suddenly, he's released and put back on a plane for the United States.