31 December 2015

Inbox: Why don't I write a book?

I've been asked this several times. I would love to but I don't have the time to do it and in the end the means of publication would be such that circulation would be low and overpriced. I would sell very few copies as the market for such a book would be very restricted. Conventional Christian publishers will not be interested either in me or my topics.

26 December 2015

Inbox: Media Sources

I've received various emails both in the past and as of late that request assistance with regard to what media sources I utilize. Where do I go for news?

25 December 2015

Christmas: Dan and Bethel Revived

The embrace of Christmas is a rejection of Scripture as the ultimate authority and arbiter of all matters concerning the faith and Kingdom. Christmas is perhaps the perfect example of syncretistic religion and worldliness wedded to the Church. There is no better way to bear witness to our culture than to categorically reject Christmas. This will say more to people you know than any attempt to 'keep Christ' in something that He was never part of to begin with.

14 December 2015

Observing Two December Deaths and Putting Them into Context

Eliason 2015 and Bahnsen 1995

This is a somewhat sombre and unpleasant reflection. Read it, or not. Perhaps by the end the reader will understand the contrast, conflict and both senses of bitter gratitude and denunciation I wish to communicate.

02 December 2015

A Most Wanted Man (The Myth of Principled Power Part II)

The movie industry is producing some of the most debased and worthless films ever made and yet at the same time there are a very small number of excellent and thoughtful films out there. Generally they're not big hits at the box office but should we expect any different?

What I appreciated most about this John le Carre movie was the lesson in the nature of power and what happens when someone tries to apply it in a principled and ethical manner.

26 November 2015

The Myth of Principled Power

What of Principled Power? We hear of many Christian leaders who argue that our society would be improved and the Church's cause aided if leaders would simply apply Christian principles to society. If Christian leaders would govern as Christians, if they would act in a principled manner, then power can be utilized for the cause of good, it can assist the Church in its mission to manifest the Kingdom of God on Earth.

19 November 2015

Narratives and Villains in Kruse's: One Nation Under God

I recently finished Kevin Kruse's One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America. It was a worthwhile read and I certainly would recommend it. Like all secular writers he does not fully understand the nuances of Christian theology and thinking but in terms of the political narrative and some of the back-story, he does a fine job. Some have argued the book is something of a non-sequitir, that he doesn't really prove that Corporate America invented the Christian Right narrative. Admittedly there are problems with this kind of cut and dry explanation and yet he raises the question within the book itself and admits that there certainly was a 'Christian' identity prior to the 1930's. Yet, he demonstrates a shift occurred in light of the New Deal and the subsequent Cold War that re-cast and re-infused the whole notion of a 'Christian America' and that the movements worked to tie in these somewhat romanticised narratives in with specific economic policies and an expression of civil religion that was not previously seen.

I don't wish to review the whole book but there were a few points that were of particular interest to me.

07 November 2015

Baptist Polity, The American Flag and Idols in Worship

A local Baptist Church recently and perhaps unknowingly called a Calvinist to occupy their pulpit. He's a good man and I've enjoyed conversing with him. To my very pleasant surprise he also revealed to me that he had removed the 'flags' from the front of the auditorium. The flags of course would refer to the American and so-called Christian flags that are almost ubiquitous in American Churches.

02 November 2015

Mohler's Sacralist Commentaries

As I've mentioned before Mohler represents just the kind of Christian leader that I am opposed to. This does not mean that there aren't many theological points we find in common. We would ostensibly agree on the basics of the gospel and many a point of historical theology.

23 September 2015

Inbox: If Sacralism is in error, why bother studying the world system?

Why write about news and discuss dark secrets of history etc...? 

Why do I spend so much time writing about events in history and the news? Why probe into the inner workings and dark secrets of power and those who would seek to wield it? Isn't this is a distraction, a waste of time?

It can be. This is the battlefield, and spending all of our time and energy on these things can crush us and wear us down. There are times when we need to set this aside and focus exclusively on the Word, relish in a commentary or theological work and wrestle with profound doctrines. These things are done doxologically, in a spirit of worship. We never seek knowledge just for the sake of acquiring it. It all serves a purpose, it must have an end goal in sight. We are to glorify God even in our thought-life and the knowledge we seek to obtain.

14 September 2015

Sins More Grievous Than Sodomite Marriage and Why Kim Davis Misses the Point When it Comes to Enforcing God's Law in Kentucky

 or The Travails of a Babylonian Bureaucrat Pt. 2
There are other considerations with regard to the clerk in Kentucky that are not being discussed.

The Travails of a Babylonian Bureaucrat

This of course is a reference to the County Clerk in Kentucky who has chosen to refuse all marriage licenses in light of the Supreme Court decision in June 2015. She was found to be in contempt of court and imprisoned for several days. Further confrontations are expected. She has been trumpeted as a hero/martyr by the American Evangelical community. Secular society views her as a nonconformist bigot and villain.

01 September 2015

The Church in a Time of Endless War, Imperialism and the Destruction of Societies

The recent Al Jazeera verdicts in Egypt are an exclamation point on the total collapse of the Arab Spring. They represent a final expression of the perversion and subversion of this vast regional movement which five years later is all but over and must be reckoned a failure.

20 August 2015

The Corrupt System and the Distraction of Wrangling Over Subsidies and Taxes

How many Christians rail against subsidies and condemn those who benefit from them and yet these same people will support them not only in the realm of business and in terms of deductions, so-called refunds and credits but will also happily accept grants for their children to attend universities?

10 August 2015

Reflections on Evil in the World

Recently while discussing child vaccinations with an acquaintance I tried to point out to him that these medical people whether right or wrong are trying to do what they think is right. They aren't dreaming of harming your children while rubbing their hands together with a sinister laugh. He didn't agree. He believes there's a conspiracy to poison children motivated by control and profits. While I may believe a pharmaceutical company will allow something to go on to maintain profits I do not believe there is a deliberate orchestrated plot to harm the public.

That kind of ended the discussion for me. There is a lot of evil in the world and many overtly evil people but his view is more akin to Hollywood or a children's novel than reality.

22 July 2015

Criticisms of Klinean Republication

GPTS president J. Pipa acknowledges there is some historical precedent in the Puritan tradition which understood the Mosaic epoch as containing elements of Edenic symbolism. Meredith Kline and others have argued there is, on a typological level, a replication of the Edenic administration in Israel's presence in Canaan. Israel, a type of the Second Adam was placed in the land of milk and honey and given commands to keep that would determine whether or not Israel would be permitted to stay in the 'holy place'. A failure to do so would result in expulsion and exile.

19 July 2015

Signs and Symbols: Israel and Covenant in Romans 9.6

In Romans 9 Paul launches into a discussion regarding Israel and brings up the very important question regarding the fate of the Jewish people. Were these people so long in covenant with God now simply abandoned? With the inclusion of the Gentiles into the New Covenant were the Jews no longer part of God's plan? Paul addresses these questions by probing the plan of God throughout history and unveiling another layer essential to understanding both the Old Testament and the nature of salvation in general. He expands on the message he's already been discussing, that salvation has always been by faith in Christ even before Christ came upon the scene. There is a grand uniting story but it is told in two very different ways and historical settings.

26 May 2015

Are we (New Testament) Christians?

Sometimes this charge is made and the implication is that to be labeled a New Testament Christian is a negative thing, it is to neglect the whole testimony of Scripture. The charge is common among those who in particular wish to implement aspects of the Old Testament with regard to law and government. Dominionism which undergirds both Roman Catholic and the vast majority of Protestant thought rests on such an assumption.

14 May 2015

The Law-Gospel Hermeneutic and The Great Commission

Recently I heard what I considered to be an extreme example of the Law-Gospel hermeneutic at work. It struck me in the same way Hyper-Calvinist readings of John 3.16 or 2 Peter 3.9 can. It was a clear case of system taking precedent over the text.

06 May 2015

John MacArthur, Romans 13 and Christian Attitudes Regarding Law Enforcement Officials

John MacArthur's latest newsletter addresses the current rash of protests and the growing complaint with regard to the police. Citing Ferguson as an example, MacArthur felt compelled to address the issue of obedience to the government and the important role played by the police.

He cites Romans 13 as the passage which delineates the role and responsibilities of government and how God uses it to administer justice and righteousness on earth.

26 April 2015

Claudius of Turin and The Cross

Ninth century bishop Claudius (or Claude) of Turin sought to effect reformation within the Church. Originally from Spain he had contact with the court of Louis, son of Charlemagne and he ended up in Turin, at the heart of a region with an already long history of ecclesiastical dissent.

23 April 2015

The Cultural Mandate

The Cultural Mandate or sometimes the Dominion Mandate refers to the command in Genesis 1.28 to be fruitful and multiply, to subdue the earth and to take dominion. Those that refer to it today believe it is still in effect and largely unmodified.

15 April 2015

Revisiting Evangelicals and Catholics Together

Commentators are revisiting the issue of ECT or Evangelicals and Catholics Together. The original document was penned in 1994 and since it has been about twenty years, it's definitely a time for reflection.

Sadly I'm not terribly impressed with the analysis.

09 April 2015

Bearing Witness in Sodom

As of late, listening to the media makes my head spin. I often find myself not agreeing with anyone or how anyone frames the debate. This is true when it comes to economics and Ukraine but especially when it comes to this escalation regarding homosexuality.

05 April 2015

The Christian Response to Bestial Regimes

How are we called to live under  tyrannical and murderous regimes, governments that claim universal conformity and have all but deified themselves? This question is often utilized to argue for Christian involvement in war, the justification of Christian participation in government and many other issues that obfuscate the teachings of Scripture regarding the Kingdom. It also all but ignores or distorts the countless examples of faithful people from the past that have stood for truth but not turned to the sword.

30 March 2015

Metaxas on Bonhoeffer: A Dangerous Misreading of History and Theology

I am pleased to note a growing number of voices questioning the Evangelical revisionism regarding Dietrich Bonhoeffer and I felt compelled to revisit this issue once again. The Metaxas work which appeared in 2010 became quickly popular as many Evangelicals conflated Obama with Hitler. The Metaxas work must be understood in this context and reads the Nazi era through this specific American Evangelical lens.

27 March 2015

Constantine Defended and Revisited

Leithart's "Defending Constantine" instantly became popular in the realm of Christian Right academia. We live in a time that historical events such as The Crusades are being revisited, run through the filter of Dominionist Revisionism and robustly defended. It hasn't happened yet with the Inquisition, but give it some time.

24 March 2015

Visions of Jesus and Charismatic Christianity

Christian media circles are awash with reports of mass conversions throughout the Middle East. Muslims are experiencing dreams and visions of Jesus and converting to Christianity in droves.

What are we to make of such stories?

Is it possible that such a thing is occurring, and if not then what is happening?

21 March 2015

Monistic and Dualistic Epistemologies, Consciousness and the Fiction of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is all the rage at the moment as the Computer Revolution prepares to take a leap into its next phase of development. However like the race for space exploration there are serious problems that have not been resolved, that will leave the quest for Artificial Intelligence (AI) much like the dream of manned deep space exploration... the realm of science fiction.
AI is predicated on a monistic view of consciousness and thus a rejection of Epistemological or Substance Dualism, the differentiation between brain and mind as well as subject and object.

16 March 2015

Negativity and Relational Epistemology

In Epistemology we can speak of categories which help us to organize and identify both ideas and entities. These categories can be approached from several different vantage points and thinkers have differed over how to arrange them.

12 March 2015

Revelation and Nature

The folks at Reformed Forum are always interesting. I enjoy their articles and listening to their podcasts. One of them recently posted a brief piece mentioning the insistence within the Reformed tradition that revelation must not be separated from nature.

He argues revelation should not be treated in an abstractly supernatural fashion but that grace perfects nature.

He then goes on to pair the Barthian and Anabaptist views as being similar and in opposition to the Reformed view. He believes their view(s) to contain implicit dualist tendencies and represent a kind of anti-nature and anti-matter mindset. He doesn't specifically mention the Gnostics but most make the charge at this point. He then argues that the Reformed and in particular the Amillennial wing within the Reformed need to be sure not to fall into this trap.

07 March 2015

Time is of Far Greater Value Than Money

I recently saw a post on Facebook by a housewife that expressed her 'pride' in her husband that he was working the long hours that weekend. His company had a deadline to meet. She was 'proud' because his willingness to work the long hours 'enabled' her to stay home with the kids.

19 February 2015

Better Be Hypocrites Than Profane: John Cotton, Puritan New England the Christian Right

In the mid 17th century there were Baptists remaining in Massachusetts that had not ventured to the newly founded safe-haven of Rhode Island. Rejecting many aspects of Puritan theology they met in homes on Sunday morning. They refused participation in the official state-sanctioned Church.

This was abhorrent to the Puritan authorities, an unacceptable manifestation of Pluralism, and as a result some of these Baptists were arrested, fined and for those who refused to pay... whipped.

Better Be Hypocrites Than Profane (Part 2 of 2)

By using the law (the threat of violence) to force people to become Christians and act in Christian manner means that instead of making disciples or converts and baptizing them we are instead threatening them with judicial action, imprisonment and death. And that's largely the story of Christendom... a false Church which perverts the Gospel and makes godliness into gain or a means of attaining power. And this church when resisted persecutes the faithful.

This Puritan view is essentially the project of the Christian Right. From Peter Marshall to David Barton, to Francis Schaeffer and Jerry Falwell, from Pat Robertson to Albert Mohler, the basic goal is the same. They believe that by Christianizing society we can somehow bring the blessings of God on America. Somehow America will please Him... as if America were the apple of His eye, the nation which somehow bears the 'blessing' which was in truth applied to Israel because it pictured Christ's Kingdom. To expect this blessing for America is to establish another messiah... a false god with a false gospel.

18 January 2015

The State of the American Church in 2015

Though many churches elevate Scripture as God's Word and many profess to follow Scripture Alone, the reality is far different. We are surrounded by Churches that have elevated tradition and cultural norms placing them on par with God's Word or in some cases above it. Others have simply given in to the world and embraced its methods to build and sustain God's Church. While we don't doubt their motives, the result has proven disastrous and instead of strengthening the Church, they've created a counterfeit.

17 January 2015

Times of Transition and Spiritual Warfare: EW Hengstenberg (1802-69)

For those of you who haven't heard of Hengstenberg he was a German theologian and professor who in the midst of the Higher Critical movement of the 19th century stood firm in his conviction that the Biblical Text was divinely inspired and worthy of our trust. I can't agree with all of his views or actions but at his core and regarding this most essential of issues, Hengstenberg stands tall.

12 January 2015

What about Bible Translations?

The issue of Bible translations has proven to be a very confusing one. Christians are rightly concerned for the text of Scripture and there are legitimate reasons to be wary of most modern Bible translations.

10 January 2015

What about claiming Tax-exempt 501c3 status?

Taking on this status allows organizations to collect money and yet be exempt from many of the normal tax requirements. The monies are used in a non-profit capacity. They service the administrative costs of the organization and fund the social interests the organization wishes to promote. Obviously there are restrictions and guidelines as far as what types of activities fall within this spectrum. In the United States religious organizations, churches and ministries are granted this status if they apply.

08 January 2015

Dominionism in Dallas and the New Ecumenical Movement

Recently I've been listening to some podcasts put out by Dallas Theological Seminary which if you don't know it already is usually viewed as one of the primary vehicles of Dispensationalism in the United States.

Most of the big names in the Dispensational movement have at one time or another been associated with that school.

05 January 2015

Are you opposed to Church buildings?

It depends on what you mean by a 'Church' building. If you mean are we opposed to a body of believers meeting under a roof, then the answer is clearly no.

If you mean, do we believe that bodies of believers should have special set-aside even consecrated buildings with their own special architecture etc....? Then, the answer is no.

04 January 2015

The Alternative to Dispensationalism

One of the oldest and perhaps greatest of theological questions is how do the Old and New Testaments relate to one another? Is there total discontinuity, continuity or some combination of the two?

03 January 2015

Church Government, Regular and Provisional

These essays are providing quick summaries of our position. They're not exegetical papers. We're not trying to make the Scriptural case here, rather just explaining where we're coming from for those who are interested in figuring out what we're about.

02 January 2015

Does identifying as a Bible Church or Fellowship mean you are Fundamentalists?

The term fundamentalist has unfortunately been abused and largely hijacked. While we share the concerns of the early Fundamentalists in combating Modernism and Theological Liberalism, sadly the term has come to be associated with legalistic rigidity and often reactionary Conservative politics.

01 January 2015

What about Historic Creeds?

Creeds are helpful as guides both to the past and to the issues which we must wrestle with when approaching Scripture. We cannot divorce ourselves from history and those that try to do so prove not only their ignorance but their pride.

On a practical level, what's different about your meeting? What would a visitor expect to find?

Following the pattern of the Early Church when it largely met in homes our meetings our informal and yet not casual. We seek simplicity and reverence. Everything we do is centered on the Scripture and we are careful to neither add to nor take away from it.