July 2006


31 Jul 2006

Now, I’m the kind of man that wouldn’t harm a mouse /
But if I catch somebody breakin’ in my house /
I’ve got a twelve gauge shotgun waitin’ on the other side -Charlie Daniels

Watching United 93 awhile back, one thought raced through my mind throughout this disturbing movie: rush the hijackers and beat the living tar out of them. I was reminded of that this weekend while talking to two of my nephews, both of whom are in law enforcement.

One works at a correctional facility. He was recently involved in a situation where he and three other guards were bull rushed in an attempted ‘jailbreak’ by ~16 young men. He and another guard actually picked up one of the prisoners and threw him into an onrushing group of attackers. Yes, the old Bowling Ball Move! He was punched and kicked in the ribs, too. All this old-fashioned donnybrook needed was Batman TV effects (Pow! Bap!). My nephew’s verdict on all of this: it was a lot of fun!

The other nephew is in police training. He loves showing off his self-defense and neutralization methods, most of which hurt intensely if you are his demonstration partner. He cannot wait until he gets to, uh, use his moves for real. And I cannot wait until he gets a squad car.

Boys.

28 Jul 2006

In Ch. 9 of “Evangelicalism Divided,” the venerable Iain Murray of Banner of Truth Trust has valuable words on Satan:

The devil is a mere fable and superstition, so men believe; according to Scripture he is the unseen enemy who constitutes the greatest problem for men in general and for the churches in particular. While we may expect unregenerate men to have no discernment on this issue, it has to be a matter of concern when – given the prominent warnings of the New Testament – the demonic ceases to be a vital part of the belief of professing evangelicals. For the apostles, understanding the existence and wiles of Satan was essential to Christian living [Eph 6:10-12]. Non-Christians are in a condition of blindness and bondage. They are under a power greater than the will of man and from which only Christ can set them free. Here was the recognition which led the apostles to repudiate all the world’s methods for winning disciples. Supernatural power had to be met with supernatural power. [2 Cor 10:3-4]

We are constantly warned that Satan works principally through doctrinal deception and falsehood. He was the inspiration for all the false prophets of the Old Testament: “He is a liar and the father of it.” (John 8:44). His great intent is to bring darkness and confusion into the church as he did among the Jews. It was a lie of Satan which brought judgment into the infant church at Jerusalem (Acts 5:3). It was Satan who at Paphos opposed Paul on his first missionary journey by using a sorcerer to turn away the proconsul from the faith (Acts 13:8). The church at Corinth was in danger of allowing a different gospel to be unopposed because of the serpent who deceived Eve by his craftiness was working to mislead her (2 Cor 11:3). False prophets arise within the church yet they do not appear as such, And no wonder! writes the apostle, “For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light” (2 Cor 11:14). The idea that Christianity stands chiefly in danger from the forces of materialism, or from secular philosophy, or from pagan religions, is not the teaching of the New Testament. The greatest danger comes rather from temptations within and from those who, using the name of Christ, are instruments of Satan to lead men to believe a lie and to worship what in reality belongs to the demonic (2 Thes 2:3-9; rev 13:11).

And later:

Instead of believers in the apostolic age being directed to listen to all views with an open mind, they were told how to test the spirits, whether they are of God (1 John 4:1). For there are deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Tim 4:1); false teachers who will secretly bring in destructive heresies (2 Pet 2:1). There are words which spread as a cancer (2 Tim 2:17). When churches have been in a healthy state they have always been watchful in this regard.

27 Jul 2006

If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.

24 Jul 2006

Almost three thousand years ago, Solomon wrote, “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ec. 1:9). In the case of abortion, his conclusion is essentially supported. The methods and motives, and the questions involved in the morality and metaphysics of abortion, are not much different today than they were two millennia ago when the church first began to address them.

That’s the conclusion of this fine article. Abortion is another progressive “advance” that turns out to be as old as the hills (and nothing new in America either). The church has opposed it from the beginning.

The Didache 2:2 (c. 80 AD):

…you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is born

Athenagorus of Athens, A Plea for the Christians (c. 180 AD):

And when we say that those women who use drugs to bring on abortion commit murder, and will have to give an account to God for the abortion, on what principle should we commit murder? For it does not belong to the same person to regard the very foetus in the womb as a created being, and therefore an object of God’s care, and when it has passed into life, to kill it.

Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogus Book 2, Chapter 10 (191 AD):

Our whole life can go on in observation of the laws of nature, if we gain dominion over our desires from the beginning and if we do not kill, by various means of a perverse art, the human offspring, born according to the designs of divine providence; for these women who, if order to hide their immorality, use abortive drugs which expel the child completely dead, abort at the same time their own human feelings.

Tertullian, Apologeticus (197 AD):

In our case, murder being once for all forbidden, we may not destroy even the foetus in the womb, while as yet the human being derives blood from other parts of the body for its sustenance. To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter whether you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to the birth. That is a man which is going to be one; you have the fruit already in its seed.

Hippolytus of Rome, Against All Heresies, Book 9, Chapter 7 (c. 220 AD):

Whence women, reputed believers, began to resort to drugs for producing sterility, and to gird themselves round, so to expel what was being conceived on account of their not wishing to have a child either by a slave or by any paltry fellow, for the sake of their family and excessive wealth. Behold, into how great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, by inculcating adultery and murder at the same time!

Minucius Felix, Octavius XXX (c. 230 AD):

BUT THE GENTILES, BOTH CRUELLY EXPOSE THEIR CHILDREN NEWLY BORN, AND BE FORE THEY ARE BORN DESTROY THEM BY A CRUEL ABORTION. … There are some women who, by drinking medical preparations, extinguish the source of the future man in their very bowels, and thus commit a parricide before they bring forth.

Cyprian of Carthage, Letters 48.2 (c. 250 AD):

The womb of his wife was smitten by a blow of his heel; and in the miscarriage that soon followed, the offspring was brought forth, the fruit of a father’s murder.

Basil of Caesarea, Letter 188, sections 2 and 8 (c. 370 AD):

The woman who purposely destroys her unborn child is guilty of murder. … Women also who administer drugs to cause abortion, as well as those who take poisons to destroy unborn children, are murderesses.

Ambrose of Milan, from Hexameron 5.18.58 (c. 380 AD):

The wealthy, in order that their inheritance may not be divided among several, deny in the very womb their own progeny. By use of parricidal mixtures they snuff out the fruit of their wombs in the genital organs themselves. In this way life is taken away before it is born …. Who except man himself has taught us ways of repudiating children?

Jerome, Letter 22.13 (384):

I cannot bring myself to speak of the many virgins who daily fall and are lost to the bosom of the church, their mother: stars over which the proud foe sets up his throne, and rocks hollowed by the serpent that he may dwell in their fissures. You may see many women widows before wedded, who try to conceal their miserable fall by a lying garb. Unless they are betrayed by swelling wombs or by the crying of their infants, they walk abroad with tripping feet and heads in the air. Some go so far as to take potions, that they may insure barrenness, and thus murder human beings almost before their conception. Some, when they find themselves with child through their sin, use drugs to procure abortion, and when (as often happens) they die with their offspring, they enter the lower world laden with the guilt not only of adultery against Christ but also of suicide and child murder. Yet it is these who say: “Unto the pure all things are pure; my conscience is sufficient guide for me. A pure heart is what God looks for. Why should I abstain from meats which God has created to be received with thanksgiving?”

John Chrysostom, Homily 24, on Romans 13:12 (c. 390 AD):

Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit? Where there are many efforts at abortion? where there is murder before the birth? for even the harlot thou dost not let continue a mere harlot, but makest her a murderess also. You see how drunkenness leads to whoredom, whoredom to adultery, adultery to murder; or rather to a something even worse than murder. For I have no name to give it, since it does not take off the thing born, but prevent its being born. Why then dost thou abuse the gift of God, and fight with His laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the chamber of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter?

Augustine from On Marriage and Concupiscence, Book 1, Chapter 17 (c. 420):

Sometimes, indeed, this lustful cruelty, or; if you please, cruel lust, resorts to such extravagant methods as to use poisonous drugs to secure barrenness; or else, if unsuccessful in this, to destroy the conceived seed by some means previous to birth, preferring that its offspring should rather perish than receive vitality; or if it was advancing to life within the womb, should be slain before it was born.

Martin Luther from “Lectures on Genesis” (1535):

How great, therefore, the wickedness of human nature is! How many girls there are who prevent conception and kill and expel tender fetuses, although procreation
is the work of God.

Calvin, from Commentaries On the Four Last Books of Moses, commenting on Ex 21:22 (1563):

The fetus, though enclosed in the womb of his mother, is already a human being, and it is a monstrous crime to rob it of life which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man’s house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light.

21 Jul 2006

In the movie Rembrandt, the painter (Charles Laughton) sits in a tavern with a group of men. How, his companions ask, can he stand to paint his wife Saskia all the time? Seven years of marriage, and still he paints Saskia! The discussion continues:

REMBRANDT: There was a man in the land of Uz and the Lord gave him all that the human heart could desire, but beyond all, this man was in love with his wife.

A MAN: He must have had a secret.

REMBRANDT: He had.

ANOTHER MAN: I’d like to know it!

REMBRANDT: He had a vision once. A creature half-child, half-woman, half-angel, half-lover brushed against him. And of a sudden he knew that when one woman gives herself to you, you possess all women. Women of every age and race and kind, and more than that, the moon, the stars, all miracles and legends are yours. Brown-skinned girls who inflame your senses with their play, cool yellow-haired women who entice and escape you, gentle ones who serve you, slender ones who torment you, the mothers who bore and suckled you; all women whom God created out of the teeming fullness of the earth, are yours in the love of one woman.

ANOTHER MAN: How?

REMBRANDT: Throw a purple garment lightly over her shoulders, and she becomes queen of Sheba. Lay your tousled head blindly upon her breast, and she is a Delilah, waiting to implore you. Take her garment from her, strip the last veil from her body, and she’s a chaste Susannah, covering her nakedness with flattering hands. Gaze upon her as you’d gaze upon a thousand strange women, but never call her yours, for her secrets are inexhaustible. You’ll never know them all! Call her by one name only. I call her Saskia.

18 Jul 2006

In Doug’s Wilson’s Persuasions, a young man derides chastity and makes fun of the evangelist who has missed out on the joys of promiscuity. The evangelist replies well:

If I see a 400-lb man on the street, I do not envy him all the additional pleasure he has had at the dinner table. Nor do I envy you your time in bed.

15 Jul 2006

Take a look at this list compiled by the well-respected pro-life group, LDI. Companies have many worthy and non-controversial charities to give to, and yet they fund Planned Parenthood. Many of these companies market children’s products, and yet still they fund prolific child-killers. Let’s not get cute here; that’s what’s going on.

Consider calling or writing these companies to let them know what you think. Anticipate this reply: “We don’t support abortion; we support Planned Parenthood’s educational endeavors!” Which reminds me of an old MAD Magazine cartoon which shows a man standing at a gas station in front of regular and premium pumps, while hidden underground we see that both pumps draw from the same tank. In other words, the money is going into the same pot. It’s like supporting the KKK and telling them that you want your dough going to their administrative functions, not cross burnings.

Planned Parenthood’s “educational” endeavors, centered around promiscuity, are bad news anyway. Hire Larry Flynt to educate your kids and you’ll at least spare them the euphemisms.

13 Jul 2006

I just had to quote this witty excerpt from North’s book:

America in the twentieth century has offered a three-fold ecclesiastical development.

1. Theologically conservative, creedal, hierarchical denominations grow more liberal as they grow larger and wealthier, thereby attracting the services of pastors who have been educated in state-funded and state-accredited colleges and universities.

2. Theologically liberal hierarchical denominations grow smaller as their members discover what their well-educated pastors actually believe.

3. Theologically conservative, non-creedal, non-hierarchical churches enjoy most of the growth. Their lack of formal academic requirements for the ministry inoculates them against the worst features of liberalism. Their freedom from hierarchical control allows the members to fund the theology they prefer, which is rarely liberal.

This has created an institutional dilemma for the leaders of theologically conservative, creedal, hierarchical churches. To grow, they apparently have only three choices: to go soft creedally, to go independent, or both. They must position themselves creedally somewhere in between Cotton Mather and The Christian Century. In no denomination has this dilemma been revealed more clearly than in American Presbyterianism, but it has happened in all of the large Protestant denominations.

Are you a well-catechized Presbyterian? If so, you are the member of a tiny minority group. People such as you have been in one of the following situations since 1960: (1) members of a large, wealthy, but shrinking denomination that has been taken over by liberals; (2) members of a medium-sized, officially Calvinistic, and growing denomination that has been taken over at the top by people who are more concerned with Church growth than theology, and who do not make it sufficiently difficult to penetrate by Arminians, neo-evangelicals, Scofieldians [dispensationalists], and Baptists who happen to sprinkle babies and who want in on the deal; (3) members of a tiny, hard-pressed Calvinist denomination that Arminians and liberals do not regard as worth the effort to take over. Putting it graphically, you’re governed by ministers who believe the editorials in (1) The Christian Century, (2) Christianity Today, or (3) a denominational magazine printed on non-slick paper with no color pictures inside. It boils down to this: you’ve been sold out to liberals; you’re being sold out to neo-evangelicals who will later sell you out to liberals; or you’re not yet worth buying.

11 Jul 2006

Gary North is perhaps best known for making bad Y2K predictions and Christian reconstructionist views. However, even critics speak highly of his 1000+ page, 1996 history of the liberal takeover of the northern Presbyterian Church, Crossed Fingers (the whole thing is online here). I have yet to read anything but excerpts — so many books, so little time — but take a look at this brief excerpt from an old review. See if it sounds familiar:

By the mid-1800s, three theological factions were visible within American Presbyterianism: (1.) the Old School, with its characteristic emphasis on doctrine and scholarship; (2.) the New School, with its emphasis on experience, heavily influenced by Arminian evangelism; (3.) religious modernists, who were undermining the authority of the Bible. By the end of the conflict, in the early 1900s, these groups were typified by the familiar labels of Calvinists, fundamentalists, and liberals. … By reuniting with the New School [in 1869 after the Civil War], the Old School made it impossible for Calvinistic doctrine to be enforced in the church. On the principle of the “lowest common denominator,” the New School would, in practical terms, set the standards of enforcement in the church [i.e. looser subscription to the church’s confessions].

Now, one characteristic of the experiential party was their aversion to conflict. Since their desire was to get on with the mission of church with a minimum of fuss over doctrinal precision, they did not want to be troubled by the discord inherent in heresy trials. Thus, the newly united church rarely took notice of the subversive activities among the denomination’s seminary professors. It took an infraction of grave proportions, stated in an inflammatory manner, to elicit judicial action in the church. The case of Charles Briggs was notable example of how far a man could go, in denying the doctrine of scripture, before the church would take decisive action. In the case of Briggs, even the Old School was guilty of foot-dragging. … That failure to act decisively was an indication that the war was already lost.

… [T]he war was lost on the basis of judicial authority. The outcome turned upon the inability of the orthodox party to impose negative sanctions upon heretics. North observes that the tactical error of the Old School was to allow issues to devolve into merely academic disputes conducted in theological journals.

The academic cast of the Old School played itself out in a predictable manner: “The conservatives were content to accept the language of orthodoxy rather than substance.”

10 Jul 2006

Many sports are boring to watch, at least on TV– NASCAR, bowling, hockey. Others are imports of no interest to this American– Rugby, cricket, curling. But I loathe only one: soccer.

Stephen Moore once said:

No other activity in life requires so much effort for so little reward. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the action in a soccer game has virtually no bearing on the outcome of the game. Herein may lie the explanation for why so many of my government-bureaucrat neighbors in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. have a love affair with soccer.

Yes, he’s on to something. Soccer mirrors the futility of socialism itself. Moore continues:

We need to begin to channel our kids energies into more productive activities: baseball, football, tennis… even smoking would be an improvement.

Admit it, you laughed.

08 Jul 2006

Here’s an interesting excerpt from A. Cleveland Coxe’s introduction to the great 2nd-century church father Irenaeus’s work, Against Heresies:

This history introduces us to the Church in her western outposts… Polycarp had sent Pothinus into Celtic Gaul at an early date as its evangelist. He had fixed his see at Lyons [Jack note: today the third largest city in France], when Irenaeus joined him as a presbyter, having been his fellow-pupil under Polycarp. There, under the “good Aurelius,” as he is miscalled (a.d. 177), arose the terrible persecution [Jack note: This Aurelius is the Stoic emperor depicted by Richard Harris in “Gladiator,” under whose reign Justin Martyr and Polycarp among others were martyred] … It was during this persecution that Irenaeus was sent to Rome with letters of remonstrance against the rising pestilence of heresy… But he had the mortification of finding the Montanist heresy patronized by Eleutherus the Bishop of Rome; and there he met an old friend from the school of Polycarp, who had embraced the Valentinian heresy. We cannot doubt that to this visit we owe the lifelong struggle of Irenaeus against the heresies that now came in, like locusts, to devour the harvests of the Gospel. But let it be noted here, that, so far from being “the mother and mistress” of even the Western Churches, Rome herself is a mission of the Greeks; Southern Gaul is evangelized from Asia Minor, and Lyons checks the heretical tendencies of the Bishop at Rome. Ante-Nicene Christianity, and indeed the Church herself, appears in Greek costume which lasts through the synodical period; and Latin Christianity, when it begins to appear, is African, and not Roman. It is strange that those who have recorded this great historical fact have so little perceived its bearings upon Roman pretensions in the Middle Ages and modern times.

05 Jul 2006

I recently talked to a woman who was mightily confused about Dan Brown’s baloney that Constantine cooked up the canon of Scripture. For those interested in a brief overview of the manifold errors in this book, this audio interview is a good start.

02 Jul 2006

As a follow up to the June 28 post, Operation Rescue bought a Wichita building that housed a former abortion clinic. Here’s an excerpt of what they found (hat tip: Slice of Laodicea):

“Under the sink was one of the biggest garbage disposals I have ever seen,” said Newman. “The entire area had the stench of death. It was the sink where the suction machine bottles were washed. In fact, dried blood could be seen that had seeped out from the metal band that surrounded the sink top. There was a bucket marked ‘biohazard’ next to the sink. “We were all sickened by the thought of all those thousands of innocent children whose blood had been washed down that sink. It was an experience I will never forget.” Norma McCorvey, the “Roe” of Roe v. Wade who once ran abortion clinics but now is a pro-life activist, confirmed it once was common practice to put aborted baby remains down such disposals. “Oh, yes!” she told Newman in a phone call. “And you can’t pour enough bleach down that drain to get rid of the smell.”

The clinic’s last abortionist, Ronald Yeomans, was formerly an abortionist for… drum roll please… Planned Parenthood. So the next time you see a Planned Parenthood spokesman on TV, or a glossy ad in the phone book, just think about that monster garbage disposal. It’s their perfect symbol.