07 Feb 2016

Conscription is a form of enslavement and I’m thankful that national opinion currently opposes a military draft. I’m also thankful there isn’t the type of mandatory “national service” to Caesar that is in place elsewhere. However, a national emergency is all it might take to change it.

At the Republican debate last night, a moderator asked Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Marco Rubio if women should have to register for Selective Service. All three said yes. Ted Cruz wasn’t asked, but he said afterward that he opposes it:

“I have to admit, as I was sitting there listening to that conversation, my reaction was, ‘Are you guys nuts?’ … Listen, we have had enough with political correctness, especially in the military. Political correctness is dangerous. And the idea that we would draft our daughters to forcibly bring them into the military and put them in close combat, I think is wrong, it is immoral, and if I am president, we ain’t doing it.” To applause, Cruz went on to note that he is a father to two daughters, and he wants them to follow their dreams. “But the idea that their government would forcibly put them in a foxhole with a 220-pound psychopath trying to kill them doesn’t make any sense at all.”

Good for Ted Cruz. It’s a measure of a nation adrift that would think of sending young women to fight in place of men. The feminist heresy marches on, pushing men to suppress their natural desire to protect the ‘weaker sex,’ even to the destruction of the women it purports to help.

When you see politicians like Bush, Christie, and Rubio supporting this kind of stuff, can’t you easily envision a “conservative” politician 10 or 20 years down the line blessing polyamory and incest, or at least saying “nothing to see here, move along” about them? (Jeb also provided a hint hint that an ‘absolutist’ position on abortion like Rubio claims was damaging to one’s “electability.” His dad George HW Bush was always gutsy like that, too, wet finger gauging the wind. Of course Jeb is a “staunch pro-lifer”).

24 Dec 2015

The last, and only, good Star Wars film came out in 1977. Before George Lucas got cute, that film was simply called “Star Wars.”

It generated deserved excitement at the theater. It was audacious, it was original, and yet it had the familiar feel of an MGM swashbuckler like Captain Blood. It didn’t have a young and irrepressible Errol Flynn, but it had an erudite Alec Guinness and memorable characters. Like Blood, Star Wars started with the whip crack of a propulsive theme and title sequence which set off the adventure on an ebullient note that it rarely lost.

Many Christians discussed the theological, Zoroastrian errors of the Force, but I think that’s taking it too seriously. Most people just saw in the original film a vivid and noble adventure yarn. Heroism, good and evil, and dying for friends.

So what about the just-released and highly touted Star Wars: the Force Awakens? Well, Joe Sobran attended Bill Clinton’s 1993 inaugural speech and noted how the incoming president strained for grand effects he didn’t know how to achieve. So does Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The first half is derivative of the plot points and feel of the 1977 film, but without that flick’s boldness, creativity, and emotional power. It’s like they didn’t have the imagination to come up with anything so they settled on weakly reflecting the first film, as a piece of wax paper reflects the sun.

Everyone remembers the forlorn “Force Theme” during the Binary Sunset and Kenobi death scenes in the 1977 original. These were great little scenes that packed a wallop. Force Awakens tries – oh how it tries – to bring in that classic theme at various points to lend gravitas. It’s been a few hours since the movie ended and I honestly can’t remember what those scenes were.

The film goes downhill as it moves along. The semi-enjoyable nostalgia exercise of the first part of the film gives way to overlong action sequences in the second half. The action scenes in the original Star Wars were all watchable. They didn’t go on endlessly and the plot moved along. Force Awakens was more like the overrated series of Marvel action movies with their interminable CGI sequences. How many more movies do we need where a protagonist runs along and the ground blows up or collapses behind them? You’d think movie producers would realize that watching non-stop “harrowing” sequences becomes like watching a film loop or an assembly line. No matter how interesting it is, the repetition eventually renders it dull. (During the movie I was distracted by a 7 year old who kept standing up next to us– what is with adults talking and unattended kids at the theaters now? Given that I was checking my watch a lot that final hour, it would’ve been more enjoyable if that kid and I had gone out to the lobby to shoot the breeze.)

Force Awakens also features that most tiresome and ever-present cliche in modern films: the warrior chick. You can close your eyes and visualize feminist groups sitting at a large conference table with Disney executives and stressing the proper attitudes. It can’t be long until the franchise introduces its first homosexual. One wonders if in a decade the hero will be a cross-dresser.

All this would be even more annoying if the female protagonist was fleshed out. She was actually quite dull and underwritten, perhaps because she was so “empowered.”

As it turns out, the film’s most memorable character was a little red droid. Yes, a glorified machine stole the show. Or at least it would’ve if there was a show worth stealing.

10 Apr 2011

Although I think both parties are part of the abortion problem rather than the solution since they both support the entire entitlement state that undergirds it, this just takes the cake. Our evil emperor strikes again…

For more than an hour in an Oval Office meeting on April 7, House Speaker John Boehner had insisted that any compromise on the government’s budget include a prohibition on federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Obama already had reluctantly agreed to a provision banning the District of Columbia from spending funds on abortion services — and that was as far as he would go.

“Nope, zero,” he told Boehner, according to a senior Democratic aide. “John, this is it.” The room went silent.

And there there’s this. Listening to the balderdash the last few days, why you’d think that PP was all about breast exams (which shouldn’t be subsidized by the public either, by the way). They always run from what they are, amid clouds, misdirection, and euphemisms. Only 3% of our services involve abortion (never mind that we do 300,000+ a year). Serving women. Protecting women’s health. Blah blah blah.

06 Oct 2010

Few things are as demotivating as motivational speakers. Today in Columbus, we had this event. Among all the shining luminaries — Laura Bush! Terry Bradshaw! Lola Heatherton and Dr. Tongue! — guess who was the keynote speaker? Yes, the same former board member of Dallas Planned Parenthood who has so many companies sporting pink ribbons on their packaging.

19 Apr 2010

Pastor Timmons had a conversation with Paul Young, author of The Shack. It’s a worthwhile read. Charm. Check. Pragmatism. Check. Gnostic speculation. Check. Denial of hierarchy. Check. Fudging. Check.

12 Apr 2010

The documentary First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women is well worth viewing. It confronts feminism in a friendly but uncompromising fashion. One day, perhaps I’ll blog on it more fully, but one of many points it makes is about the fungibility of abortion funding.

Planned Parenthood receives huge federal grants through Title X (administered by Health and Human Services) and other avenues such as Title XIX (Medicaid). Republicans tout the Hyde Amendment, which supposedly prohibits federal funding of abortions, but money is fungible in any budget. If the government gives a dollar to Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion family planning, then that’s one less dollar that Planned Parenthood needs to find to meet that budget. Non-targeted monies can then be directed over to abortion-related funding. (Not only that, “family planning” services such as contraception encourage sexual activity and thus create more opportunities for “unwanted” pregancies.)

What happened all those years that Republicans had both houses of Congress and the presidency? Title X funding increased. They could’ve nixed it altogether. They didn’t. (I don’t think George Bush was any more pro-life than Mitt Romney or John McCain, but that’s another matter.)

Ron Paul, who is disliked by much of the pro-life movement, is the only one I know of who advocates ending all entitlement funding. The goal shouldn’t be to put strings on Title X funding, the goal should be to eliminate it. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services should be abolished, too. Not one red cent should go to Planned Parenthood for any purpose. Any libertarian worth his salt would agree. How many Republicans would agree?

I know, I know, it’s not politically feasible to eliminate and abolish stuff in the short term. I’m all for interim steps. However, it’s hard to get to a destination if it isn’t really your goal. Eliminating entitlement funding simply isn’t the goal of most Republicans. Pandering while making as few waves as possible is.

Ron Paul and libertarians in general want to pull out the roots of these noxious weeds, not prune their branches. This is what needs to happen. After all, when you prune a plant, it often grows back stronger.

13 Mar 2010

It’s baffling to see how much conservatives direct fire at Ron Paul on abortion. Ron Paul has been pro-life his entire career. Consistent with his views on federal power, he wants to overturn Roe and send it back to the states. He notes that laws can be passed by Congress to restrict the courts using Article III, section 2.

Let’s not kid ourselves. There is no political support nationally to outlaw abortion. The Republicans did nothing when they held the legislative and executive branches. Tactically, Ron Paul would rather get power out of federal government’s hands. Why isn’t this acceptable? Extending federal power over the abortion issue is every bit as likely (and probably more likely) to work against abortion opponents. Sure, the federal government could one day outlaw abortion (and do so constitutionally), but its track record has been to extend abortion. That’s what it did by judicial fiat in 1973. Federal courts have also overturned modest state restrictions.

Furthermore, the explosion in federal entitlement spending has also been the backbone of the abortion industry in so many ways. Ron Paul is also the lonely voice in Washington who wants to eliminate all entitlement spending.

What’s really amazing is how many conservatives have thrown in their lot with Mitt Romney. Have a listen to “pro-lifer” Mitt Romney from 2002. At best, the guy is a phony.

28 Feb 2010

There is this commercial running almost non-stop during the Olympics entitled “The World’s Greatest Spokesperson… in the world.” It’s supposed to be funny, but all I hear is that one word: spokesperson.

The great columnist, Joseph Sobran, noted how egalitarian usages like “person” instead of “man” destroy the simple vigor and beauty of the language. A master of the English language like Sobran would find plenty of bad grammar on this site (the problem is that I don’t know where), but I don’t willingly abuse the language. “Spokesperson” is a grating and willful abuse of good taste.

But it’s more than that. It’s even more than protecting smelly little orthodoxies. At heart, usages like “he and she” instead of “he” are a denial of the Scriptural truths of creation and and godly submission. These Biblical truths are an offense to rebellious hearts, and thus we get nauseous words like “spokesperson.”

12 Jan 2010

I’m out of the loop with popular culture, but apparently a book called The Shack is very popular. There are many articles and podcasts dissecting its errors. For example, here and here and here.

I first heard of The Shack when family members mentioned that it discusses the Trinity. Just a tip: When a popular work discusses the Trinity, warning flags should go up. Historically, attacks on the Trinity have been at the core of all sorts of heresies.

One of the chief heresies of the last century is feminism. While feminism may seem spent as a political phenomenon, its errors have invaded the church so deeply that they are unrecognized. Feminists hate the doctrine of the Trinity, not only because it speaks of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as “He,” but also because it is a model of godly submission. The Son submits to the father and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son in the same way that the church submits to Christ, wives submit to husbands, children obey parents, slaves obey masters, etc. (Ephesians 5:22-24, Ephesians 6). The head is then called to love the one submitting.

Here’s a helpful article on the Trinity.

25 Sep 2009

This article hits it on the head. Hollywood always treats abortion with plenty of dishonesty and euphemism. Usually the woman is raped or abused, or at worst she’s a teen who commits a youthful “indiscretion.” She earnestly ponders her situation, glad she has a choice. In the end she heroically decides to keep the child. Thus “choice” is celebrated while all the grimy emotions, moral degradation, and selfishness of aborting are swept nicely under the rug. It’s all so antiseptic.

Imagine a movie where a college student gets pregnant. The girl isn’t “ready” for a child and doesn’t want to impede her future, so she goes down to a clinic and writes a check for a few hundred bucks. The woman is in tears while they show the clinic workers skillfully using their tools. There is blood. Not the blood that attends the joy of a new life, but the blood that accompanies the draining of life. The blood of murder and death. Then later they show some nameless functionary putting the bloody remains into a garbage bag and throwing it in the dumpster out back.

That’s the flip side of the “choice” coin. It’s the side we never see in the “respectable” media or Hollywood. And we all know why. In all things, do no harm to the movement!

19 Aug 2009

It seems like The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and other mainline denominations have been debating sodomy forever. While some ELCA pastors are correctly saying that the debate is about the authority of the Word, that ship sailed long ago for the ELCA and the other mainline denoms. It sailed even before they decided that “I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man” didn’t really mean “I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man.” Sodomy is just the next exit down the highway.

I’ll hazard a guess that all of the mainline denominations would have capitulated on this issue years ago but for one reason: money. Namely, the dollars that older folks throughout small-town America give to the church. The hicks have sadly made their peace with egalitarianism– most don’t even know that it’s a Biblical issue any longer– but they won’t accept sodomy.

Their leadership knows it. They know it’s best to deny the faith at a subdued volume, using measured tones and well-starched collars. Better yet, let’s just talk about unity and teamwork and caring and skip the controversy altogether. How it must annoy these moderate modernists when the loudmouths on both sides start riling things up! Let us have peace, friends.

The mainline churches will continue shrinking. At some point they’ll reach that critical mass where the political activists in the leadership will finally outnumber their foot-dragging modernist brethren. And then the stragglers who still stand on a modicum of Biblical authority will see their leaders get the boot. And that will be that.

28 May 2009

I think it was Benny Hill who once did a skit where he slowly plays a G chord from top to bottom. When he comes to the final string where where you expect to hear that familiar high G note, he mistakenly hits G#. The disagreeable note is funny.

As a fan of the original Star Trek series (if not always its philosophies), I was hesitant about the new movie. There was little reason for this hesitance. Star Trek is a deeply satisfying action film and great reintroduction to the series. It’s arguably better than any of the preceding Star Trek movies. It may be as good as the first Star Wars film. The young stars, especially the guy who plays Kirk, were all well-cast, and that was no easy task given our long familiarity with these characters. The script is taut and the director keeps the movie rolling along. He never gets caught in the weeds of most action films (yes, you, Batman Returns), where there’s one mindless and overdone action sequence after another. Star Trek relentlessly pushes its story through the action. There is only a small amount of (totally pointless, of course) profanity.

Then, at the end, after the first five notes of the chord were struck beautifully, the G# sounded. The classic Star Trek intro was voiced over by Spock, and ended with this:

To seek out new life and new civilizations / To boldly go where no one has gone before.

Did you catch that? “No one” instead of “no man.” After a full-throated, masculine adventure, the movie ends on an effeminate G#. They changed what may be the most famous voice-over in TV history in the name of political correctness. I left the theater with a sour taste in my mouth.

I’d like to suggest that the director and producer grow a pair. If that sounds crude, it isn’t meant that way.

28 Nov 2008

Returning from a wonderfully pleasant Thanksgiving gathering, my lovely wife and I discussed something Peter Schiff wrote in his The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets. Namely, the basic uselessness of most college degrees. Liberal arts degrees are little more than an expensive job screening mechanism. A huge education bureaucracy benefits while countless middle class families take on a boatload of debt.

We lamented how much useless stuff was involved in our own education. The typing and computer classes were certainly useful, but we sure spent lots of time learning junk like social studies instead of dirty-fingernail things like home repair, construction, appliance repair, car repair, hunting, gardening, survivalism, etc. Why aren’t practical things considered part of education instead of just theoretical (and perhaps effeminate) pursuits? The practical stuff will prepare people for any economic environment, including a forthcoming depression that appears more likely with every massive Keynesian attempt to avoid it.

Schiff is blunt. As a liberal arts major, I have to say the “ouch” that one says when the truth hits close to home:

In the past 30 years or so, our government and business leaders collectively shot the U.S. economy in the foot by encouraging a major transition from a manufacturing-based economy to a service-based one. Today, more than two-thirds of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is produced in the service sector.

Many U.S. residents see this as a good thing, and no wonder. A service economy has many lifestyle advantages for the people living in it. There are no smokestacks to interfere with the view from million-dollar-mortgaged homes, and no need to follow a demanding factory schedule. College graduates with useless humanities degrees can always find work pushing pencils in an accounting, legal, or financial firm. Best of all, no more calluses on hands or aching muscles from the physical labor many factory and agricultural jobs require. Plus production jobs are capital intensive, requiring major investments in plant and equipment; service sector jobs, by contrast, require relatively little in the way of capital– perfect for a nation devoid of savings. It sounds like a good deal, but there’s a basic problem. Just as an individual can’t survive by only consuming and never producing anything, so the United States in the global economy must produce as well as consume. The only way to do this is to export, and services, for the most part, can’t be exported.

… As Americans are forced to curtail their spending, demand will fall sharply for services like manicures, therapy sessions, and legal advice. p.189-191

During the years that the United States was dominated by a service economy, it didn’t really matter if students graduated with degrees in political science, communications, or other liberal arts. There was always some sort of clerical or administrative work to be found. With the service economy withering and the US. job market shrunken, those options will not longer exist by the time today’s students become graduates. For some, trade school might offer a more useful– and much less expensive– alternative. For others, a degree in a practical field such as engineering, geology, animal husbandry, or computer science will provide a fighting chance at a good job in the tough years to come. In addition, don’t neglect the foreign languages portion of your education. p. 202

26 Aug 2008

Nikolai Yezhov and Lavrenti Beria remain notorious. Yezhov was a crazed, alcoholic, bisexual dwarf who enthusiastically oversaw Stalin’s Great Terror. Beria, his successor, was a sadistic killer and rapist. Neither, particularly Beria, was averse to getting blood on his shirt.

Preceding these depraved Stalinist hangmen was the lesser-known Vyacheslav Menzhinsky. Menzhinsky was an intellectual of sorts. Like Himmler, he let his thugs do their thing in the cellars and kept his own collar clean. Menzhinsky would recline upon a divan, legs wrapped in a blanket, and interrogate his victims in a kindly fashion. And yet, the historian Donald Rayfield noted that the “excruciatingly polite” and efficient Menzhinsky was responsible for more murders than Yezhov and Beria.

That’s an imperfect segue to this: the ongoing focus on partial birth abortions has always seemed to me a case of playing at the edges, a case of accusing Beria and excusing Menzhinsky. First, there are thousands of late-term partial birth abortions, hundreds of thousands of first-trimester abortions. Second, for the doctor who “performs” the dirty deed, maybe the other types of abortion seem more clinical and less bloodthirsty than partial birth abortion. If we focus on results, though, how are these other forms less brutal for the child? To put it another way, if an executioner gave me a choice between (a) a partial birth abortion where he’d jam scissors into the back of my neck and suck my brains out, (b) a saline abortion where he’d scald me to death, or (c) his most common method, where he’d use a suction tube with a sharp cutting edge to dismember me… Well, I think I’d ask if an option (d) was available.

Beyond people playing Frankenstein and murdering the innocent and helpless, isn’t it the case that all of these methods are barbaric and vicious? No one should get kudos because they oppose one limited and little-used variety.

07 Jul 2008

The CoE’s “growth” continues…

05 Jun 2008

Doesn’t this get you pumped up about the latest Narnia film? (Yes, I know, the movie has been out for weeks and this is late… but fashionably late).

Yawn. The feminist hits keep-a-comin’ with this series; we heard this routine last time. Maybe it’s time for Disney and Walden Media to pack it in with this series so someone serious can come along in a decade and do Lewis right.

At least it avoided this dialogue from Walden’s “family film” The Bridge to Terebithia:

Leslie Burke: I seriously do not think God goes around damning people to hell.
Jesse Aarons: Why not?
Leslie Burke: He’s too busy making all this! [opens her arms, gesturing to creation, music swelling]

14 Mar 2008

In the recent newsletter of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio, a reader chastises the Rev. William Gartig for approving of sodomy and denying the “clear teaching of the church for thousands of years.” Gartig responds:

If you start from texts (whether biblical texts or later Christian writings), you can never get to an accepting attitude to homosexuality. … In my opinion, the homosexuality issue is one therefore that comes down to a sharp choice between starting from texts or starting from somewhere else. It involves some people consciously disagreeing with the biblical text and others being unwilling to disagree with the text. As I wrote in an earlier column (September 2005), the difference between theological conservatives and liberals can be boiled down to what is your ultimate authority.

Bingo. An honest appraisal. And that authority ultimately is either (A) God speaking through Scripture or (B) me. Gartig chooses B. Reverend Gartig then revealingly connects the issue to its Siamese twin:

I wish we Christians could disagree in good faith about this issue as we do about other issues and treat the issue of homosexuality like we treat women’s ordination.

In denominations not focused mostly on experience, sodomy is simply the next exit down the highway from egalitarianism. Both deny Scriptural authority, one is just more “progressive” (a term now generally synonymous with “abominable”). It just takes another generation of seminary rot and seared consciences.

01 Mar 2008

An old witticism notes that there are three sexes: male, female, and clergy.

For those of you not laughing, the comment alludes to a certain “softness” among some clergymen. I trust most of you who’ve been amid Catholic or mainline Protestant churches know what it means. Anyway, now that it’s becoming increasingly evident that today’s effeminate evangelical culture is headed down the same path as mainline protestantism last century, we may be seeing more fellows like this in the pulpit (except now they’ll be “on stage”).

And it won’t be just men, either. While “female pastor” is as phony a concept as “female husband” or “male bride,” you can bet that many of these lady impostors won’t be very… feminine. We’re back to that third sex again.

09 Feb 2008

Baylyblog is stirring the waters again with Carolyn Custis “two last names” James. Pastor Gleason has followed suit.

Why all this whining about pastorettes and deaconesses? Moody would’ve asked us to focus on winning souls. Today’s leaders might ask us to meet people where they are (or worse, to help defeat global warming). In any event, this whole “women thing,” we’re told, is something on which all Christians of good will can disagree. It’s adiaphora, a matter of indifference.

Really? Perhaps we can take the temperature of those fine denominations with ordained women. That great pragmatist, V.I. Lenin, said that peace treaties were scraps of paper. So are the confessions of faith of these churches. They have sodomy lobbies gathering steam, if not already in control. They have pastors who deny that anyone really needs the righteousness of Christ; why, any spiritual belief will do. The moderates who do so much damage in aiding this transition (“thus far, but no farther!”) find themselves, like the original Russian Marxists who welcomed revolution, cast into a whirlwind that carries them far from their intended destination. When you deny the obvious, when you deny what Scripture says directly and you deny its entire context (no female apostles, no female priests, etc.), then you’ve denied its authority. When doctrine divides and confessions and confessionalism just don’t matter, then church discipline doesn’t matter. Eventually the Gospel doesn’t matter. Eventually Jesus isn’t the heavenly high prophet, priest, and king, but just a fine man.

Fr. Bill Mouser has a post in the aforementioned Baylyblog post that is well worth reading. An excerpt:

Evangelical Protestantism in the second half of the 20th century fell [I’d say, more accurately, is falling] in exactly the same way that Protestantism fell in the second half of the 19th Century: its heart was captured by world dominating ideas that are fundamentally anti-Biblical and hostile to the gospel. In the 19th Century it was Darwinism and the zenith of post-Renaissance rationalistic hubris. In the second half of the 20th Century it was sexual egalitarianism and the zenith of modernist individualism. The beachhead in both defeats is found in the seminaries. Soon after these were well-infected, the contagion spread to the publishing houses and denominational and mission agencies. That is why Grudem’s recent book catalogs so completely the capitulation of American evangelicalism’s institutions to the egalitarian cause. That is why modern evangelicals virtually identify evangelism with modern marketing techniques aimed at consumers of religious products and services.

The interesting thing about the 19th century northern Presbyterian church is how quickly it fell. Towns across America are still filled with liberal mainline churches in beautiful old buildings. Many of the people in those churches are finally bleeding into megachurches with faulty underpinnings– vague theology, non-confessional, fad-driven. Would anyone be surprised to see Unitarians wandering the halls of Saddleback in a generation?

Meanwhile, the orthodox in the PCA have fight, but cleaning up the mess that has gotten to this point could be something like what the Baptists experienced some years ago. And the cries for “peace, peace” will be at every turn.

01 Feb 2008

Even mushy evangelicals aren’t enamored of feminist harpies. You know, the wild hairs who march around with coat hangers. But I find “Christian egalitarians” far more offensive. They deny things that no one seriously denied for two thousand years. They speak in measured tones about “mutual submission” and “creating opportunities for women” while reading their TNIVs and denying the authority of Scripture. That’s really what the whole debate about feminism, just like the debate about homosexuality, comes down to: denying that the Holy Spirit has come along as intellectually and morally far as us moderns.

That said, Gene Veith notes that it’s easy, given necessary wars against egalitarian heresies, to see passages like Ephesians 5:22 solely as dealing with authority and yet missing the point that the whole purpose of vocation, including marriage, is to love and serve one’s neighbor, and the husband is to take the lead in establishing it:

If marriage mirrors the relationship between Christ and the church, with the husband in Christ’s role, then the husband ought first to give himself up for his wife, whereupon in response the wife, playing the part of the church, will respond by submitting to his good intentions for her. –God at Work, p. 81-82

When we went through marriage counseling last century, my pastor at the time pointedly remarked how ridiculous it was to see women driving men around town. He imitated a guy sitting like a lump in the front seat, with the lady doing the work and leading the way. I think that remark came on a day when my wife-to-be drove me to the church. Now I drive most of the time.

Another area where I have come to find a cheap and fresh joy is in seating my wife in the car before I get in. It seemed unnatural at first, but now I get such as pleasure from it that I can barely bear to not do it. It’s too enjoyable to miss. Similarly, it’s fun to let my wife off at the front door of a restaurant while I go park and trudge through the snow or rain. Does she appreciate it? You bet she does. My love and service is lacking in many other areas, but these minor victories are a small picture of Christ’s joyful service for us. As John Piper is fond of pointing out, Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2).

01 Jan 2008

As Chrsitians, we believe that God has revealed Himself in His word. The Bible is a revelation of what we need to know. It doesn’t tell us everything about everything, but it tells us, in the words of the Westminster Confession, “the whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life.” God created and God expects us to do what the Holy Spirit has revealed to us in the Bible (for example: repent and believe in the Gospel).

Therefore, picking and choosing what you want to believe from Scripture is obviously absurd. Why not just choose nothing and be done with it? It makes a mockery of revelation. It makes a mockery of the Holy Spirit speaking to us through the Scripture. Similarly, we should reject Hippie Jesus, Feminist Jesus, Global Warming Jesus, and the like. These are the fraudulent concoctions of false teachers. That the Scripture is silent about such nonsense is shown in that no one in the history of the church believed this stuff until the last century. If we believe that the Gates of Hell will not prevail against the church (Matthew 16:18), then we believe that it has not prevailed against it either. If politics and social matters were really the content of what mattered to God, you’d think that the Holy Spirit would have revealed this to our forefathers.

So, no to tired political journeys, no to Christianity and water, including the kind offered by the church growth movement, and no to mysticism (aka. direct, and usually contra-Biblical, revelation). Take the Bible for what it is. Take our Lord for who He is as revealed in His word. It’s the only serious thing to do.

26 Sep 2007

Law and Grace are not opponents; they are teammates working together for the salvation of God’s people. The law leads to grace, which is only to be found in Christ. This is what Paul demonstrated as he answered the question: “Why then the law?” (Gal. 3:19) -Philip Graham Ryken

What a great quote from Ryken’s Reformed Expository Commentary on Galatians. It is not my favorite commentary, but contains many worthy things. Alas, my enjoyment was tempered by Mr. Ryken’s irritating treatment of Galatians 3:28 (a favorite verse for feminists although it has nothing whatsoever to add to the egalitarian case). It’s not that Pastor Ryken is an egalitarian, but he sure spends a lot of time looking over his shoulder. Sure enough, a search reveals that the Bayly’s already covered similar ground with him: “…five apologies, four qualifications, three reservations, two reproaches of those who venture further and one whimpered admission.”

Do “weak complementarians” see the train wreck coming in the PCA? The conductor surely isn’t a cad in a wife-beater.

For every Fosdick, there is an Erdman.

01 Aug 2007

I have often recommended the Reformation Study Bible. Its notes are very helpful, but occasionally there is an oddity. Nahum predicts the downfall of Assyria, and verse 3:12 uses this allusion to the disintegration of its armies:

Behold, your troops are women in your midst.

Now, without further comment, let’s compare the RSB to Matthew Henry in discussing this verse:

In the face of the approaching army all the Assyrian troops are like women (i.e. not trained for warfare). -RSB

[T]hey have no wisdom, no courage; they shall be fickle, feeble, and fainthearted, as women commonly are in such times of danger and distress; they shall be at their wits’ end, adding to their griefs and fears by the power of their own imagination, and utterly unable to do anything for themselves; the valiant men shall become cowards. -Matthew Henry

12 May 2007

Reading another excellent post on creeping egalitarianism by the Bayly brothers reminded me of this Martyn LLoyd-Jones passage:

[The] process of change is never a sudden one. It is always a subtle and slow process.. Perhaps the clearest demonstration of this that one can give is what happened in the [19th] century in connection with the so-called Higher Critical movement. At the beginning of that century there were a numbr of evangelical denominations and bodies. Then gradually a change came in, a change of emphasis, a change of teaching, but the striking thing about it was the slowness and the subtlety with which it came.

There were, of course, men who were very extreme, and who made bold statements, and almost everybody could see that they were wrong. They did not do the harm. They never do the harm. The obvious, open, arrogant heretic generally produces a reaction, and he is not the dangerous person. The really dangerous man is the man who introduces some very slight or very subtle change … Now the great Charles Haddon Spurgeon saw all this, but when he began to denounce what he called the ‘Downgrade’ movement he was attacked ferociously by evangelical people. They said, What is the matter with Mr Spurgeon? He’s become hypercritical; he’s turning molehills into mountains; he’s exaggerating! History has proved that he was not exaggerating. He saw these subtle changes. Others said of the men whose influence Spurgeon feared, They are still evangelical; they say this and they say that, but they are truly evangelical. They did not pay attention to some of the other things that these men were beginning to say, and therefore they missed the very subtle process which was insinuating itself into the life of the churches. -from What is an Evangelical, Ch. I

12 Mar 2007

I occasionally read the newsletter of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio. Now, the Episcopal church long ago entered the realm of absurdity. Hints of idolatry and disobedience abound in the newsletter, always couched in phony virtue. For example, Bishopess Schiori tells us (imagine the apostle Paul saying this):

While those who seek full inclusion for gay and lesbian Christians and the equal valuing of their gifts for ministry do so out of an undeniable passion for justice, others seek a fidelity to the tradition that cannot understand or countenance the violation of what that tradition says about sexual ethics. Each is being asked to forbear for a season.

Peace, peace. Mrs. Schiori never fails to disappoint. However, what’s interesting is how much of the Episcopal newsletter actually sounds orthodox. You may read, for example, how the “Spirit” moves in our lives, but it’s not clear that the “Spirit” they refer to is the process spirit who has evolved beyond the thundering, outworn judgements of the culturally-enslaved primitives in Scripture. They don’t tell you that in the newsletter. In other words, it’s difficult, as Samuel Miller said in reference to Arius, to drag artful chiefs from their lurking places. You may have the wolf trapped in a corner, but he’s not going to just walk into your cage. He’ll “go vague” on you. Perhaps you just don’t understand exactly what he’s saying. Maybe you are just overreacting, sinner. Who gives you the right to judge, anyway? Don’t you realize that you are hurting feelings? You hater. Thanks a lot for being “divisive,” and never mind those Scriptural calls to guard the flock, or that true unity never prevails where there’s fundamental disagreement. Get ready to prepare a lot of supporting detail.

Yes, history shows that handing heretics and apostates over to Satan (1 Cor 5:5) is hard, hard work. It’s like nailing jello to a wall. Gary North notes how many times wolves like Charles Briggs (of Brown, Driver, Briggs fame) and Henry Van Dyke toyed with the orthodox in the old Presbyterian church. Van Dyke boasted: “Heresy-trials are the delight of the ungodly and the despair of religion. . . . Do not try it on eager-hearted seminary boys. Try it on a grown man who stands with them in the liberty wherewith Christ made us free.” Translation: You want my head on a pole? Come get me!

Which leads to this: Tim Bayly has found that Reformed Theological Seminary and Carolyn Custis James are at it again, this time inviting a founder of CBE (perhaps the chief group agitating for women’s ordination) to speak at an RTS-sponsored ministry. Just another blinking signpost along the gentle slope. Is anyone in the PCA but the brothers Bayly seeing it? How long will it be until the PCA starts the process of cleaning house in its seminaries? If it doesn’t, I give it 30 years to fall to the feminists. If the history of the Presbyterian church tells us anything, it’s that it doesn’t take more than a generation for a church to teach the very opposite of what it once held dear once the groundwork is in place in the seminaries. In fact, in 5-10 years the cornered wolf may grow too large to fit in any cage. Then the the PCA will be where the old Presbyterian church was after 1900, and it’s just a matter of time before the wolf has that beloved institution for dinner.

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