September 2005

27 Sep 2005

Excellent review of the 1993 movie’s shortcomings. It is incredibly moving, with a fantastic lead performance, and let’s face it… even bowdlerized Lewis is edifying.

25 Sep 2005

Sir, a woman’s preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all. -Samuel Johnson

It is popularly thought that the prohibition on women’s ordination is based on old-fashioned ideas about female authority and “keeping women in their place.” Among its most strident supporters, female ordination arguments are usually presented in political language (“pro-woman,” “equality”). But of course, political claptrap is irrelevant. The Scriptural take (aka. God’s view) is what matters.

Some do try to support their arguments using the Bible. As with homosexual ordination, word parsing and contorted contextualizing have replaced seeking the clear sense of a verse or passage. Biblical women such as Priscilla, Phoebe, and Euodia are referred to although in none of these cases is it clearly stated that these women are teaching or in positions of authority (especially when compared to numerous instances of men holding direct and obvious authority). Every book in the Bible was written by a male. The 12 apostles are male. All of the early church bishops were male. That passages like 1 Tim 2:12 and 1 Cor 14:34 speak against female teaching and authority in the church is abundantly clear from the overwhelming testimony of the church since its 1st century beginnings. This is even admitted (derogatorily of course) by heterodox groups.

If we believe that the Holy Spirit speaks through his Word to believers throughout the ages, we should not discard the collective wisdom of our church fathers. Do supporters of female ordination consider it troubling that few promoted it until the last century? Women’s ordination is largely a 20th century novelty. The list of opponents is a who’s who of Christianity: Tertullian, Origen, Jerome, Chrystosom, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Charles Hodge, Matthew Henry, Warfield, C.S. Lewis, and on it goes. Writings against it would be more comprehensive except that this issue, like homosexuality, was never much under debate before the 20th century (there was a debate regarding deaconesses, but the historical church saw the deaconness as a different role than the male deacon). More on women in the church here, here, here, here, and here .

Promoters of women’s ordination need to seriously ask themselves: Do I really truly believe that God’s standards and goodness are superior to mine? Am I going to submit to the God’s wisdom or follow a novelty?

21 Sep 2005

According to ESPN, the chaplain for the Washington Nationals was fired for telling an inquiring player that Jews are doomed if they do not believe in Jesus. “The Nationals did a good job about bringing hate into the locker room,” said Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld.

Is the Rabbi being disingenous out of bias against Christianity? He must know that his argument is not with the chaplain, it is with Jesus and Paul (John 14:6, Rom 11). This is simple Christian doctrine. The Rabbi can call it hate, but one day he will see it as an act of love. And hopefully it will not be too late for him.

21 Sep 2005

He was a contemporary of Martin Luther. His translation takes the English language to its highest glories: “the twinkling of an eye” “O death, where is thy sting?” “In the beginning was the Word…” “Seek and ye shall find” “Greater love than this hath no man…” “Our Father, which art in heaven.” Brian Moynihan tells us that William Tyndale’s seminal English Bible accounted for 84% of the New Testament and 75% of the Old Testament in the Authorized (aka. King James) Version.

Tyndale’s great work was produced at great peril and finally at great price. He risked all on the run from the long hand of the cruel Thomas More, who saw an English scripture as a great threat to the authority of the Catholic church, believing that a sacred book should not go into the language of commoners who would misinterpret it. And so William Tyndale secretly hopped from place to place across continental Europe, publishing his translations and other works on the newly invented printing press, forgoing marriage, family, and consistent income until he was finally betrayed by a rascal in Antwerp in 1535.

His last letter from prison should be a source of thanksgiving by all who call on Christ’s name. Some gave all to bless countless people afterward:

I believe, right worshipful, that you are not ignorant of what has been determined concerning me; therefore I entreat your Lordship, and that by the Lord Jesus, that if I am to remain here during the winter, you will request the Procurer to be kind enough to send me from my goods, which he has in his possession, a warmer cap, for I suffer extremely from cold in the head, being afflicted with a perpetual catarrh [nose/throat inflammation], which is considerably increased in the cell.

A warmer coat also, for that which I have is very thin; also a piece of cloth to patch my leggings: my overcoat has been worn out; my shirts are also worn out. He has a woolen shirt of mine, if he will be kind enough to send it. I have also with him leggings of thicker cloth for the putting on above; he also has warmer caps for wearing at night. I wish also his permission to have a candle in the evening, for it is wearisome to sit alone in the dark.

But above all, I entreat and beseech your clemency to be urgent with the Procurer that he may kindly permit me to have my Hebrew Bible, Hebrew Grammar, and Hebrew Dictionary, that I may spend my time with that study. And in return, may you obtain your dearest wish, provided always it be consistent with the salvation of your soul. But if any other resolutions have been come to concerning me, before the conclusion of the winter, I shall be patient, abiding the will of God to the glory of the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ, whose spirit, I pray, may ever direct your heart. Amen.

16 Sep 2005

For the Christian, heaven is where Jesus is. We do not need to speculate on what heaven will be like. It is enough to know that we will be for ever with Him. When we love anyone with our whole hearts, life begins when we are with that person; it is only in their company that we are really and truly alive. It is so with Christ. In this world our contact with Him is shadowy, for we can only see through a glass darkly. It is spasmodic, for we are poor creatures and cannot live always on the heights. But the best definition of it is to say that heaven is that state where we will always be with Jesus, and where nothing will separate us from Him any more. -William Barclay

13 Sep 2005

Phil Johnson lists John MacArthur’s take on why Mormonism is not Christian:

  1. The issue of authority. Christians believe the Bible is God’s authoritative, inerrant, unchanging and complete self-revelation (Jude 3). Scripture is the touchstone to which all other truth-claims must be brought (Isaiah 8:20). The sole and sufficient authority by which all controversies in spiritual matters are to be determined is none other than God’s Spirit speaking through Scripture. By contrast, Mormons consider The Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrine and Covenants as additional authoritative revelation, thereby undermining the true authority of Scripture and violating the principle of Revelation 22:18.
  2. The doctrine of God. Christians believe there is one God who eternally exists in three co-equal Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Mormons reject the doctrine of the Trinity, believing that there are many worlds controlled by different gods.
  3. The supremacy of Christ. Christians believe Jesus Christ is pre-existent God who became a man in His incarnation while maintaining His full deity. Mormons claim Jesus was a “spirit child” of Mary and Elohim (and the brother of Lucifer) who has now been elevated to the level of deity.
  4. The means of justification. Christians believe justification is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Mormons believe a person’s works in this life will determine his or her status in the life to come, and that “salvation” is actually a progression toward godhood.
09 Sep 2005

For a small reward, a man will hurry away on a long journey; while for eternal life, many will hardly take a single step. -Thomas à Kempis

09 Sep 2005

Make my life a prayer to You,
I want to do what You want me to.
No empty words and no white lies,
No token prayers, no compromise.

Keith Green was one of the most interesting saints of the 20th century, a fiery meteor who poured out his life for Christ. His music was unrelenting; witness titles like Sheep and the Goats and To Obey is Better Than Sacrifice. While some of his bouncy, piano-based songs are dated today (a common malady of popular music), Green’s worship music is often fantastic (There is a Redeemer, Create In Me a Clean Heart, O Lord You’re Beautiful, Make My Life a Prayer to You, Your Love Broke Through, Easter Song).

Keith Green’s fierce passion for Christ is evident in this fine DVD biography. See it and be inspired. His burning zeal led to a censorious spirit early in his ministry, yet with maturity he began to understand God’s grace (“A heart like mine can offer Christ so little — at best, so poor and pinched and stingey a hospitality and such meagre fare” -AJ Gossip). Green died in a plane crash at age 28 in 1982, but did more than many of us would do in three lifetimes. At one point he and his wife Melody were housing and discipling 65 people! And these were society’s rejects: hitchhikers, street urchins, and various seekers. The Greens went to Europe and were struck by the need for international missions. And so Keith Green pushed people to go and fulfill the Great Commission (Matt 28:20); thousands responded and still do. New people discover his music and the fire spreads like a lit to an unlit candle.

04 Sep 2005

If you are interested in the English Standard Version of the Bible based on the recommendation of John Piper and others, check out the Reformation Study Bible. Its comments, edited by RC Sproul, are nearly identical to those in the older “New Geneva Study Bible” (although the latter was based on the New King James Version).

02 Sep 2005

A certain “fundamentalist” group is claiming that God’s judgement was on New Orleans for its immorality, its strip clubs, and its hosting of an upcoming homosexual event. This has roused homosexual opposition.

God ordains calamities (Is. 45:7, Amos 3:6) and there are many occasions where he destroys especially wicked cities (Sodom, Nineveh, Babylonia, Tyre, Sidon, etc.), and many of these for the same sins that have made New Orleans infamous. Calling this “cruel” and “criminal” is blasphemous. At the same time, the fundamentalist group seems too sure of itself on the specific causes of the calamity. Did God keep counsel with them? God’s ways are far beyond ours.

We have fallen woefully short of God’s standard (Romans 3). The fact that any cities remain intact testifies to the mercy of God, who gives all and owes nothing (John Piper has more on God’s involvement in disasters). Hurricane Katrina should be a reminder to not sugarcoat sin, but to repent and jump upon our merciful God’s life raft (aka. Jesus Christ) right away. We stand always at the brink of eternity.

01 Sep 2005

When I complained of having dined at a splendid table without hearing one sentence of conversation worthy of being remembered, he said, “Sir, there seldom is any such conversation.” BOSWELL. “Why then meet at table?” JOHNSON. “Why, to eat and drink together, and to promote kindness; and, Sir, this is better done when there is no solid conversation; for when there is, people differ in opinion, and get into bad humour, or some of the company who are not capable of such conversation, are left out, and feel themselves uneasy. It was for this reason, Sir Robert Walpole said, he always talked bawdy at his table, because in that all could join.”

That last sentence explains popular culture. The advantage of appealing to the lowest common denominator, the base desire, is that all can join in.