by David and Tim Bayly on August 13, 2005 - 2:42pm
It's been extremely hot this past week. When we first exited O'Hare a week ago, the heat was a welcome relief from the cool weather we'd had in Africa and England. But within a few minutes it became oppressive and it hasn't let up since.
The other day when I got in the car the heat brought to mind our Lord's account of the Rich Man and Lazarus in the afterlife, and how the Rich Man in Hell cried out for water, but could have none. For a few minutes I meditated on what an awful place hell is--a place where the heat is unbearable and the thirst can never be quenched.
Reputable evangelicals such as John Stott deny the eternity of hell torments and that is understandable. It's one of the most difficult doctrines to submit to in all of Scripture. But as Harry Blamires wrote in his classic, The Christian Mind, if we're going to start tearing difficult passages out of Scripture, shouldn't we start with the one that's always been more offensive than any other:
(Jesus) was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?" (Luke 9:23-25).
For men tempted to take Stott's shortcut and play with universalism and annihilationism, I highly recommend Jonathan Edward's sermon, "The Eternity of Hell Torments." Commenting on the Biblical account of the Rich Man and Lazarus found in Luke 16:19ff., Edwards exclaims over men like Stott:
It is strange how men will go directly against so plain and full revelations of Scripture, as to suppose notwithstanding all these things, that the eternal punishment threatened against the wicked signifies no more than annihilation.
Incidentally, for several reasons (including that, contrary to His habit in telling parables, our Lord actually names the central character in this account, 'Lazarus') John Calvin believed that this account was not a parable, but real history that Jesus knew from Heaven.
Today, my daughter Hannah and I were driving out in the country and we stopped at a farm stand. The stand's attendant was in her sixties and we waited while she finished her conversation with a customer of a similar age. Of course, the topic was the weather--specifically,the unbearable heat. The customer commented, "Preachers oughta tell their congregations tomorrow that this heat gives you an idea what hell's like."
Prayer: O Father, Creator of both Heaven and Hell, give us a living faith in the blood and righteousness of Your Son, Jesus Christ, that we might escape the fires of hell and be brought safely, along with all who love you with an undying love, into your presence where there is fulness of joy forevermore. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 28, 2005 - 9:52am
Absolutely essential to understanding the big-business entrepreneurial ethos of much of conservative Bible-believing evangelicalism today are these two pieces on Rick Warren--the man Fortune magazine aptly calls "the generation's great religious entrepreneur."
As I read about Mr. Warren, I'm in the middle of reading a couple biographies of Jonathan Edwards and preaching through Galatians. So I wonder whether, had Fortune been around at the time, its editors would ever have been tempted to call Edwards or the Apostle Paul "the generation's great religious entrepreneur?" Yes, everyone sees the world through their own lenses, but still I doubt it. Fortune's label is quite right for Mr. Warren but wrong for Jonathan Edwards or the Apostle Paul.
Here are excerpts from one--only one--forum where Rick Warren spoke. Every statement is a direct quote from that one day. Mr. Warren made his comments in the course of an extended conversation with the following elite journalists: The New Yorker's Elsa Welsh and Jeffrey Goldberg, The New Republic's Frank Foer, Dan Harris of ABC News, The Atlantic Monthly's Joshua Green and Wendy Kaminer, The New York Times' David Brooks and Anne Kornblut, The American Prospect's Sarah Wildman, NPR's Juan Williams, University of Pennsylvania's John Diiulio, Rebecca Haggerty of NBC Dateline, Philadelphia Inquirer's Jane Eisner, The Washington Post's E. J. Dionne Jr.,USA Today's Jill Lawrence, John Parker of The Economist, Reuel Marc Gerecht of the American Enterprise Institute, Luis Lugo of the Pew Forum, and Byron York of National Review. The forum was moderated by Michael Cromartie of the Ethics and Public Policy Center:
RICK WARREN SPEAKS
As a writer, you never know who is reading your stuff and so I just wanted you to know I am reading you. I read a book a day and I read tons of magazines, tons of articles, and I just devour enormous quantities of material, and thank God for the Internet. I get The New York Times and I get The Wall Street Journal, and I get the local papers in L.A., but the rest I have to read online or in the magazines that I subscribe to.
There is a verse in the Bible that says the intelligent man is always open to new ideas; in fact, he looks for them. And so when Mike invited me to come to this and I saw your names, I really jumped at the chance. I enjoy these smaller, intimate meetings. You know, when you speak to 23,000, 24,000 people every weekend, crowds don't impress you anymore. So really, anywhere I go is going to be smaller than the group I talk to on Sunday. So it's not like I'm going to get a big wow out of a crowd.
I would much rather come and do this kind of thing where we can dialogue and talk back and forth. Last night, I was in Miami speaking to this huge international convention of all of the Spanish-language publishers and they gave me the city key to Miami, but really I would have more fun with you here today.
* * *
Bono called me the other day...
(Tim) Seattle has a new graduate school rather infelicitously (or disingenuously) called Mars Hill Graduate School. The school has no connection with Mars Hill Church, also in Seattle; but more importantly, its curriculum bears no resemblance to anything that happened in the Areopagus when the Apostle Paul spoke there. Rather, it appears to be all about ceding points to the wicked culture surrounding it, and calling such cowardice and unfaithfulness to God and His Word, "transformation."
Mars Hill Graduate School offers two degrees, a Masters in Counseling Psychology and a Masters of Divinity. Here are the first few paragraphs...
(Tim) Since the decline of his health about a year ago, requiring him to move in with his daughter, leaving Washington D.C. behind, my favorite columnist on American culture and politics, Joe Sobran, has been on hiatus. His articles are few and far between, about every three months, now, and I've missed him quite a bit. So it was a happy day, today, when a new column arrived--this one on our recurrent theme of why Senator Obama rocks, as hip, chic, submergent types see it.
For my money, the keys needed to unlock the submergent church scene are chronological snobbery--after all, they are chrysalises emerging from the slime of our patriarchal, authoritarian, institutional roots--and they hate authority. Thus their support for Senator Obama. He's new, he's about change; what's not to like?
But of course, neither Arcbishop McLaren nor Cardinal Obama are about change, not to even the slightest degree. They're carbon copies of one another. They're both relentlessly superficial, adroit, and non-Christian, in lockstep with our superficial, adroit, and non-Christian information class. Why bother faulting them with wanting to be on the winning side? It's positively democratic, isn't it?
But I do fault them with claiming originality in their consummately predictable, boring opinions. Sobran says it so much better...
(Tim, w/thanks to Dave) Readers may have noticed I don't refer to the Emergent Church. Weak believers lacking discernment may be enticed into heresy and the shipwreck of their souls by wolves calling them to emerge, but men have a universal fear of being submerged. Hence my own habit of referring to these wolves and their broad highway of destruction as "The Submergent Church."
Really, no one should need anything more than their name to know to flee, but naivety is so chic today.
"Well not exactly. But we're glad you asked! The things you mentioned are so--how do I put it?--maybe misunderstood today? Yeah, there are arrogant and insecure men who demonize them. Maybe they're right and we're bad guys, but we like to think an integrated and fully evolved disciple of Jesus would be humble and secure enough to risk leaving the cocoon and realize the world has something to teach us, too. The conversation shouldn't be one-way.
"Jesus was all about love, you know, and if we love our neighbor, I like to think his metanarrative matters just as much as ours. Maybe more? My whole life, I've watched the church condemn the world and refuse to learn from others. Now some of us have the courage and humility to emerge from that cocoon into the life Jesus meant us to have. Why should the church be known for self-righteousness? For authoritarianism, insensitivity, proclamation, arrogance, discipline, submission, manhood, battle, the imperative, holiness, and blood? Dude, it's awesome when people get courage to allow their spirit to chrysalistisize. Hey, you want some rooibos or chai? I'm, like, over coffee, ya know? Ever had rooibois? It's smooth. No caffeine. It's gonna take me a decade to get the rush out of my veins. Used to live on coffee!"
I think the word is 'metastasize'.
This morning Pastor Dave Curell passed on this excerpt of an old sermon by Charles Spurgeon...
NOTE: IF YOU'VE READ THIS ONCE ALREADY, CLICK THROUGH AND READ THE FINAL PARAGRAPH ADDED JUST LAST NIGHT. IT'S NEW AND IT'S AN EXCELLENT CONCLUSION. -TIM
(Tim) Two friends copied me on the following correspondence. I have chosen not to identify the person asking the question. The answer is given by Brian Bailey, an Indianapolis attorney who, with his wife Nicole and their children, are a part of Church of the Good Shepherd here in Bloomington.
A friend asks Brian this question: A commenter here at BaylyBlog linked to another blog about a woman in the Presbyterian Church in America (Missy Irons) who says she is in favor of homosexual marriage because it is their civil right. She claims that since we Christians are afforded protection through civil rights, then we shouldn't be hypocritical and deny them the same. (That's basically me paraphrasing a few of her blogs into one sentence, I'll admit). How would I respond? Is there any "secular" reason to oppose homosexual marriage?
Brian Bailey responds: I'm happy to take a stab at answering your e-mail... I’ve numbered the paragraphs to streamline the response and give it more organization.
1. The proponent of sodomite marriage as a civil right seeks to change the status quo across all previous cultures, eras, and places. Any earthling would admit sodomite marriage is a radical innovation peculiar to our post-20th century Western culture. The promoter has the burden to prove the existence of that right.
2. To assert a right is necessarily to appeal to some source of authority beyond merely saying, This is the way I want things to be. The proponent must appeal to some source, beyond his predilections and preferences, for the alleged right to sodomite marriage. And to say that homosexual marriage is a civil right proves nothing. He must locate the source of the right.
3. There are two, and only two, possible sources of a right: God or man.
4. Historically, Americans have believed and declared that God is the ultimate source of their rights. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This is not a theoretical construct or a way to lend solemnity to foundational legal documents. A people steeped in the knowledge that they live, move, and exist in God (Acts 17:28), that the truth shall set them free (John 8:32), and that Thou shalt not steal (Exodus 20:15), will confess that God is the source of their rights. See, e.g., Indiana Constitution, preamble (“TO THE END, that justice be established, public order maintained, and liberty perpetuated; WE, the People of the State of Indiana, grateful to ALMIGHTY GOD for the free exercise of the right to choose our own form of government, do ordain this Constitution.”)...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 15, 2008 - 12:14pm
(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla) The memorial service for funk singer and musician Isaac Hayes, a longtime advocate of that particular idolatry called Scientology, will be held in Memphis' Hope Presbyterian Church. Hope is a congregation holding membership in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, a small presbyterian denomination whose reason to exist is primarily defined by being halfway between David's and my own denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, and the apostate Presbyterian Church (USA).
Many churches have left the PC(USA) this past year because of various acts of heresy and moral shipwreck on the part of the denomination's leaders, and almost all those congregations have jumped into the arms of the EPC rather than the PCA. The EPC allows them to continue to have women exercise authority over men in their church life, serving as deacons, pastors, and elders.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 16, 2008 - 3:02pm
(Tim) A friend just left me a voice message about the presidential forum being held tonight by Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Community Church. My friend was angered by Fox News reporting this afternoon that the forum will steer clear of divisive issues such as sodomite marriage and the slaughter of unborn children. Instead, Pastor Warren will focus on "human rights."
This is news? I'm not the brightest bulb in the room, but I knew this many months ago--long before the Iowa caucus or the New Hampshire primary. That Pastor Warren would do anything else is inconceivable.
No, I'm not watching Rick Warren build his name and fame tonight. Wracking my brain for something better to do, I think I'll see if I can find Bill Hybels interviewing Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 12, 2008 - 11:12am
(Tim) Donald Miller, author of Blue something or other, gave a benediction in Jesus' Name at the national meeting of the kill-millions-of-little-babies-and-bless-sodomy Democratic Party. Being cool and oh-so-non-authoritative, he's gone over well with Christians who hate discernment, so he's gotten rich and famous. After the Democratic party in Denver where he committed Balaam-like blasphemy, he started a new blog on which his first post was the complete e-mail exchange he and Senator Obama had the past couple of months.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 16, 2008 - 11:46am
(Tim, w/thanks to Dave) Last week, a friend in Florida wrote to call my attention to an article detailing the results of a political survey of the faculty at Covenant College, the school affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America. (Students were polled, also.)
Conducted by the school's Director of Institutional Research, Kevin Eames, the survey received responses from 47 faculty members. Here's what Covenant's administration wants prospective students and their parents to know about these faculty members:
Eighty-eight percent of Covenant's faculty have doctorates or
terminal degrees, earned from such institutions as Oxford, Stanford,
Yale, and the University of Chicago. Our professors regularly involve
students in their research activities. In fact, many students actually
help edit books that their professors are writing.
The administration goes on to describe faculty members as "passionate about teaching and sharing their Reformed faith in a
setting that sharpens the intellect and encourages increased awe of our
sovereign God." Then, by way of reassurance, Oxford and passion are anchored by the declaration that "all faculty members subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith."
So, what might doctorates from Yale and Stanford, combined with a passion for the reformed faith and the Westminster Standards, lead these men and women to profess to our children about Christ's dominion in these United States and our own confession of that faith in this election year?
Asked, "Do you believe John McCain is a Christian," 33 of the 47 faculty members responding said either "No" or "Not sure." This seems safe since I read just last night that Senator McCain has never received Christian baptism. Likely not one of those faculty members questioning Senator McCain's Christian faith knew that, though.
Still, my concern is certainly not to prove Senator McCain's Christian faith, to get others to agree that he's sincere in his Christian profession, or leastwise to write this post to the end that even one reader will decide to vote for him or the Republican party. Such concerns have not entered my mind.
But on to Senator Obama. Different candidate, same question: "Do you believe Barack Obama is a Christian?" Twenty-one faculty members are definite in their response with five answering "No" and sixteen "Yes."
What ocular disease has led sixteen of our best and brightest to say for the record among students they are paid to lead into a greater knowledge of Christ's Lordship over all the earth that a man who unabashedly promotes baby-slaughter and sodomite marriage is certainly a Christian? If Senator Obama is a Christian, Robert Mugabe is born again and Jean Paul Sartre was a strict subscriptionist Presbyterian pastor.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 22, 2008 - 8:05am
(Tim) Really, what more is there to say about "If my father were still alive, he'd have converted to Eastern Orthodoxy" Franky Schaeffer?
His trajectory was set twenty-five years ago with little but dishonor
and shame since. Here's the latest in that line, taken from a piece he wrote for the Huffington Post
(ephasis in the original). Yes, I know Franky's larger argument is to
move the Democratic Party toward electability by getting them to
distance themselves from the albatross of late term abortion, but the context of this piece is immaterial to me as I remember
Francis Schaeffer while reading these words...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 15, 2008 - 1:30am
"...even from the relative
safety of an in-house discussion among fellow believers and men
ordained to the ministry of
the Word and Sacrament, his language seems to deny our sister's moral
agency and the utter depravity of what she did to her own little ones."
(Tim, w/thanks to Joel) For quite a while, now, conservative reformed pulpits have been quiet about subjects that are controversial in our political context--particularly abortion. Here is a short article written by the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian (PCA) in New York City giving Pastor Tim Keller's explanation of this silence. The subject goes much deeper than the politics of abortion, to the very heart of our understanding of the Gospel and the place of the Law in Gospel proclamation and Lord's Day worship. First, this excerpt from Pastor Keller's article, followed by a response.
“Religion-less Spirituality” by Tim Keller
We will be careful with the order in which we communicate the parts of the faith. Pushing moral behaviors before we lift up Christ is religion. The church today is calling people to God with a tone of voice that seems to confirm their worst fears. Religion has always been outside-in-"if I behave out here in all these ways, then I will have God's blessing and love inside." But the gospel is inside-out-"if I know the blessing and grace of God inside, then I can behave out here in all these ways." A woman who had been attending our church for several months came to see me. "Do you think abortion is wrong?" she asked...
What's interesting is not so much what Tim wrote, but what his readers commenting beneath his piece said and didn't say. Or what they considered and what they didn't consider in weighing his claims and arguments.
Tim Keller's article must be interpreted in the larger context of his ministry at Redeemer. Only then will it be understood properly. The operative rule at Redeemer with regard to all things sexual is, "A woman may do anything a non-ordained man may do." So the working out of Redeemer's theology of sexuality is that women at Redeemer are allowed to teach and exercise authority over men everywhere and always except from the pulpit Lord's Day morning and in any way reserved for the elders as they exercise something they call "teaching authority." But whatever this "teaching authority" is, it's not when women teach Scripture to men because that precise thing they explicitly allow.
When Tim Keller claims to hold firmly to Scripture's Creation Order of sexuality, those weighing his claim should know that the actual implementation of that Order in his church would be unrecognizable to any previous generation of Christians...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 25, 2008 - 1:33pm
(Tim) Here's what I want to ask all the Christian profs fawning over the Christian faith of Senator Barack Obama as well as the Submergent types in lockstep with them: What possible criteria could you use to justify your claim that Senator Obama is a Christian that wouldn't also force you to affirm that Zimbabwe's thug leader, Robert Mugabe, is also a true Christian? Mugabe has killed his thousands, but Obama his millions.
If Obama wins the presidency, the slaughter he will preside over and promote is incomprehensibly larger than even the worst estimates of Mugabe's murderous regime--unless, of course, you are unconcerned about the murder of the newborn, feeble, and unborn children.
But if you are concerned, Mugabe has the innocence of a child playing in a sandbox compared to the obsccenely wicked slaughter at the center of Senator Obama's campaign platform.
I'm betting most profs who assert that Senator Obama is a true Christian would deny Mugabe's Christian faith. So why the double standard? Why the universal condemnation of Mugabe by the same people given over to the adulation of Barack Obama? Isn't it amazing how Christians regain our moral compass and discernment as soon as the evil being evaluated and condemned is committed by people far away? Particularly Africans.
Last night, I read a profile of Robert Mugabe, the brutal dictator who's plunged his nation of Zimbabwe into death and destruction. He'd be up there near the top of heads of state around the world viewed as pariahs by other nation's leaders. Maybe the very top.
The New Yorker's profile written by Jon Lee Anderson is titled: "Letter from Zimbabwe, The Destroyer: A founding father lays waste to his country." Near the beginning, Anderson informs us Zim's inflation rate is now two hundred and thirty million percent, the unemployment rate is eighty percent, two million Zimbabweans are entirely dependent on aid from NGOs for their daily bread, another two million have fled Zim for refuge in South Africa, twenty percent of the population is infected with H.I.V./AIDS, life expectancy for men and women is about 44 years, starvation is rampant, leaders of political opposition groups are routinely imprisoned, beaten, and murdered, and the list goes on.
Meanwhile, wreathed in jewelry and forty years younger than her husband, Mugabe's second wife, Grace, says because of her narrow feet she can "only wear Ferragamo" shoes...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 27, 2008 - 4:15pm
(Tim) It's hard reading the old guys. Think about Jonathan Edwards preaching any of his sermons to his flock in Northampton--any sermon at all, just pick one. In those days, the church wasn't a thinly sliced part of the town's demographic. Being reformed didn't mean smoking cigars, drinking single malts, keeping one eye on the Dow Jones and the other on the R. C. Sproul video. Rich and poor, young and old alike sat under Edwards' preaching and understood him.
Today, even pastors who spend our lives working with words are challenged just trying to read Edwards. If we'd been there to listen to him, the sermon's length, vocabulary, logic, and the prominence of biblical terrors would have left us stupefied. We would have left the church-house shaking our heads and clucking our disapproval.
The old guys require the reader to be literate and to have a heart knowledge of the Word of God. But who has the patience for such work today? And what congregation would put up with it?
by David and Tim Bayly on October 30, 2008 - 7:40pm
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, that the cross of Christ should not be made void. For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside." (1 Corinthians 1:17-19)
(Tim) Here are some thoughts about the state of our civil compact as we approach Election Day. And, following the political stuff, I make a stab at some applications to those who identify themselves as the prophetic voices of the Emergent Church. If your patience wears thin with the political part, buck up and finish it because it forms the perfect backdrop to grow in our understanding of the goals and strategy of church leaders today who have woman deacons, talk a lot about the city and contextualization, and have a staff member titled "Associate Pastor for Art, Weird Glasses, and Chai." First, then, let's look at the political scene...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 3, 2008 - 12:02pm
(Tim) If you ask Senator Obama's supporters where he stands on an issue, their responses are all over the board. No one actually knows where he stands on anything, so his supporters are free to state his position any way they like, without fear of contradiction.
His position on the Mideast?
"Senator Obama will get our troops out of Iraq, immediately." Or, "Senator Obama will not get our troops out of Iraq at the cost of destabilization in the Mideast." Or, "Senator Obama will do what is necessary to clean up Afganistan's border with Pakistan." Or, "Senator Obama is Irael's firm champion and he will see to it that Iran does not enter the nuclear fraternity."
Who can tell what Senator Obama will do about Iraq, Iran, Afganistan, Pakistan, or Israel? All the electorate really knows is that he speaks reassuring words of peace whereas our current president and Senator McCain speak harsh words of firm resolve.
So really, what's there to think about? Obama is handsome. He's an intellectual. He has the audacity of hope. And he's really really committed to family values. That's Submergent pastor Brian McLaren's promise.
Turning aside from the snake oil and smiles, let's speak directly...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 3, 2008 - 4:50pm
(Tim) One of my relatives posted a couple days ago arguing that the best way to oppose the slaughter of babies in America today is to keep abortion legal. To that end, she called us all to vote for Senator Barack Obama for president of these United States, making her case with a litany of facts that showed everything anyone had ever believed about abortion or Obama's position on abortion was woefully wrong. Start with her newly-discovered fact that Obama isn't pro-abortion at all, but pro-life.
It will help you understand my post below if you take a couple minutes to skim the original post she wrote. This dear sister is a graduate of Columbia International University and the Torchbearers, and she really likes Brian McLaren. So now, on to the facts.
* * *
Much of what Mrs. Fischer has written I'll leave alone. But some of the stuff is repeated so often by Submergent types that I thought it worth correcting publicly.
In her plea for votes for Senator Obama, Mrs. Fischer cited Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. CACG is a political action group working to get Roman Catholics to cast their votes for the Democratic Party, and thus for Senator Barack Obama. Real Roman Catholics are scandalized by such missionaries for Obama cloaking themselves in the name "Catholic." For instance, here's Archbishop Charles Chaput warning against CACG, recently:
...activism for Senator Barack Obama, and the work of Democratic-friendly groups like Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, have done a disservice to the Church, confused the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching, undermined the progress pro-lifers have made, and provided an excuse for some Catholics to abandon the abortion issue instead of fighting within their parties and at the ballot box to protect the unborn.
(Thanks to James) On this Election Day, here's an artifact of history from the editors of Touchstone, a Christian magazine I subscribe to and recommend. Originally run in 2003, this editorial is more pertinent today than it was five years ago. If you read nothing else, be sure to read the last two paragraphs...
Practical atheism revisited
Last week I came upon an editorial I wrote during the 2003 political season which seems to me even more applicable now. Today I would add that whatever one thinks about Senator Obama's plans for using government power to take money from those who have more of it and give it to those who have less, the social control which must be gained to make such things come to pass has never boded well for Christians in the countries where it has happened. The Gentiles, even--or perhaps especially--the religious ones, have not changed their opinions about people who regard them as morally unclean, nor will they fail to punish them for it when they gain sufficient power. What concerns them, I believe, is not so much that the poor be enriched, but that the middle classes be brought as low as possible by confiscation of their ethically significant wealth...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 5, 2008 - 8:24am
(Tim, w/thanks to Mark) Well, turns out the Constitution Party wasn't on Indiana's ballot, so that made my decision easy. Meanwhile, did you notice we haven't promoted the Republican Party or John McCain?
Now that it's over, this article will explain the ambivalence/antipathy/antagonism many of us felt as we looked at the Republican Party's candidate this year. Elections are never simply won. They're also lost, and political strategists need to understand the only demographic groups still having children in these United States are biblical Christians and Hispanics. Guess what both groups hold precious?
Children, born and unborn.
So the man who swallows the shame of taking the little ones in his arms and protecting them is the one we will support.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 5, 2008 - 10:18am
(Tim) Natalie is a longtime friend of the Bayly family--particularly our eldest daughter, Heather. This afternoon, Heather forwarded this e-mail she received from Natalie earlier today, and I asked Heather if Natalie would permit my posting it? Natalie was fine with it. I appreciated very much what she had to say and thought it would strengthen our readers, also. So here are the post-election thoughts and feelings of a young Christian wife and mother named (Mrs.) Natalie Calhoun.
* * * I'm feeling pensive and sad this morning. It has less to do with who won the election, though I am disappointed in that result. It has much more to do with who voted for him. Perhaps I was naive to believe that people I respected in college, who, I thought, shared my world view, would think the same as me. But I don't understand this wave of young Christian people who supported and voted for Obama. I really want to understand.
I have heard a lot about social justice with regard to this election. I'm for justice. I'm for taking care of "the least of these". I believe that "true religion is taking care of widows and orphans." What I can't get over is the complete disregard for the value of life that is represented by Obama and how a Christian can support that...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 6, 2008 - 5:19am
(Tim: This by Mark Chambers, although not the title. Incidentally, yesterday I received an e-mail from a longtime member of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan who estimated the number of Redeemer's members who voted for Barack Obama was fifty percent.)
There is nothing particularly unusual about the picture above; nothing fantastic or different. It is just the result and remains of the typical abortion; a bit of messy refuse to be discarded after the useful cells have been harvested. At least it is not an entire waste, we can be thankful for that after all.
The decapitation is interesting. The heads of fetuses, being too large for the vacuum tube must be pulverized to facilitate removal. Similar to certain seed pods that find their way into my garage that are too large for the shop vac I must take steps to reduce the size of them in order to suck them up. I find that stepping on them works quite well, and it is only a minor annoyance. Not nearly so complicated as finding the obstacle via ultrasound in order to crush it with forceps. But doctors are adept at accomplishing the difficult and we must salute them...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 6, 2008 - 6:35am
(Tim: Yesterday, our eldest son, Joseph, sent this to his old college friends.)
My grandfather, Joseph Tate Bayly IV, wrote a short article back in 1961 for his monthly column, "Out of My Mind," that ran in Eternity magazine. I start with an excerpt from that article. If you would like the whole article, just ask.
What do the Jews remember?
A trench two blocks long, 12 feet wide, six feet deep, "filled to overflowing with bodies of women, children, old men, boys and girls in their teens . . . frozen pools of blood . . . children's caps, toys, ribbons, baby bottles and rubber pants . . . torn off hands and feet . . . everything spattered with blood and brains." (Russian officers' evidence, Trial of the Major War Criminals, VII, 494, quoted by, Malcolm Hay, Europe and the Jews, Beacon Press, 1950.)
by David and Tim Bayly on November 6, 2008 - 1:18pm
(Tim) Jake Mentzel bought Mark Driscoll's new booklet and reports Tim Keller has waved his magic wand and Mark's now walking around in a trance repeating Tim's mantra: "A woman can do anything an unordained man can do." I'm disappointed.
But really, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise. When they hang out with each other, either Mark's going to rub off on Tim or Tim's going to rub off on Mark. And ninety-nine out of a hundred times, I'd have my money on Tim.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 7, 2008 - 8:53am
(Tim) At the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King preached a sermon calling our nation to repentance. That sweltering afternoon before a quarter million souls, King cast a vision of what America would be like when white racism finally bled itself to its long-deserved ugly death:
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a
nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of
Many are declaring the election of Barack Obama as the fulfillment of Martin Luther King's dream. In truth, it's the very opposite.
As Martin Luther King defined racism, what we've done has been racist to the core...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 8, 2008 - 4:16pm
(Tim) Sure, most NOOMA videos you've seen already, but here's one we're betting you missed. It's a clip of Bell's latest church leadership technique called "deformission." Like Bells' other videos, the letdown here's so quiet and soft most believers miss it entirely.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 12, 2008 - 12:00pm
(Tim) Filmaker Ken Burns endorsed Senator Obama for president, commending Obama's "moral courage" and comparing him to President Abraham Lincoln. Since Obama's election, many have made this same comparison pointing out the felicitous conjunction of Obama's Inauguration and the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birthday. Senator Diane Feinstein announced the theme of Senator Obama's Inauguration will be "A New Birth of Freedom" with words courtesy of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
Such comparisons are great theater, but sheer hypocrisy. Barack Obama is the leader of the bloodshed consuming our land and we all pat ourselves on our backs congratulating one another over our nation's great strides against racism? What is the injustice of racism compared to the slaughter of tens of millions of little babies?
Self-congratulatory about the end of racism in America, we point to a black champion of freedom we say bears the stature and moral authority of Abe himself. We look forward to sitting down with our families, having a good cry while we watch his Inauguration. Happily, no bloodshed has been required to reach our vision. Pull the lever for Obama and we all become heroes of truth and justice.
Obama's another Lincoln? Is he willing to do battle to end the slaughter of fifty million of our children by wicked oppressors? Is he preparing an Emancipation Proclamation for those little ones? Will he speak of them in his first Inaugural Address, warning his nation of God's holy wrath unleashed against those who offend even one of His "little ones?"
What a wonder it would be if, to celebrate Lincoln's 200th birthday, Senator Obama were to model his first after Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address:
by David and Tim Bayly on November 20, 2008 - 7:52am
(Tim, w/thanks to Jeff) A year ago, the New Yorker ran a profile of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa titled, "Fault Lines." It wasn't flattering. Tom Hayden summed up Mayor Villaraigosa's politics: "Antonio’s pattern is to leave people in the dust." (Hayden protests the context, but not the content of this quote.)
Shortly after being elected Speaker of California's Assembly, Villaraigosa told the Democratic caucus the sad story of his childhood. Mayor Villaraigosa proudly reported to the New Yorker that when the story was over, “There were a lot of people crying. ...Then the most beautiful thing
happened—somebody said, ‘Let’s pray.’ And all of us got each other’s
hands, and we prayed. It was a very powerful thing.”
More recently Villaraigosa has been opposing Proposition 8. Last Saturday at a City Hall protest attacking the citizens of California for passing Proposition 8, Mayor Villaraigosa gave the same religious stump speech we've heard from Rob Bell, Brian McClaren...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 22, 2008 - 9:00am
(Tim w/thanks to Lucas) No, not that Hitchens, sillies; this one. Watching this trailer for a soon-to-be released documentary of the debate last year between Doug Wilson and purported atheist, Christopher Hitchens, I thought back to a conversation I had with longtime Village Voice columnist, ACLU board member, jazz expert, and one of the two or three best essayists against euthanasia, infanticide, and child-slaughter in our land, Nat Hentoff. He was in Madison for a speaking engagement and, being active in Presbyterians Pro-Life at the time, I asked Mr. Hentoff if he'd be open to an invitation to debate an abortion advocate at our Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly?
Quickly, he said "Yes," but then inquired, "Why would you want me?"
I responded that I thought he'd be perfect because he'd speak from the same presuppositional basis as our denominational leaders.
Another part of our conversation that sticks in my mind was Hentoff saying, "Every atheist should be pro-life because life's all we have."
by David and Tim Bayly on November 22, 2008 - 9:35am
(Tim, w/thanks to James) Of the stuff I've come across, this is about the best summary of the significance of our recent coronation of President-elect Barack Hussein Obama. Giving grace for it coming from a Brit who's not got perfect pitch about our country, it's something pretty close. For instance, here's what he says about Jessie Jackson's tears in Grant Park: "No wonder that awful old hack Jesse Jackson sobbed as he watched. How
he must wish he, too, could get away with this sort of stuff."
by David and Tim Bayly on November 27, 2008 - 8:05am
(Tim) On Facebook, a friend and former CGSer has been discussing sodomy, marriage, divorce and the civil law with several friends who have said things like: "semantics is a cheap reason to deny a minority their civil rights. None
of the many gay folk I know agree with the "semantics justification"
for denial of marriage. Also, such a social mandate (YOU live by OUR
rules) has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ--and
everything to do with the teachings of the Pharisees."
Wanting to say a couple things, I pointed the conversationalists to this page and here's my own contribution to their dialog. Sorry I haven't linked things, but I wanted to get this up before all our guests arrive for Thanksgiving Dinner. If any of you want to add links, just post them in the comments.
* * *
Sam, Scripture isn't just dogma; it's narrative. Descriptive isn't necessarily prescriptive. It can be, but with divorce, incest, polygamy, concubinage, etc. Scripture reveals both where it was that every culture got marriage and also the laws to which God bound all sexual intimacy.
So, for instance, when Jesus was asked a question similar to yours (but this one concerning divorce), He responded saying it wasn't that way from the beginning (Creation) and that God made male and female for each other for life with the two becoming one--not three, four, or a thousand (Matthew 19:3 ff.). So there's no inconsistency between the Old and New Testaments on this matter. The two, male and female, shall become one until, by God's decree, death parts us. (My dear wife and I are on our thirty-third year, now, and still chugging away in harmony and love, praise God!)
All Christians through all time have always spoken this truth...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 29, 2008 - 12:13pm
(Tim) A few weeks ago, David and I attended the national assembly of the Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches. The CREC meets every three years so this was a special occasion. Among other things, the denomination multiplied from two to seven presbyteries this year. God is blessing the work and David and I both greatly enjoyed our fellowship with the men and women there.
What did we enjoy? Well, any list is somewhat arbitrary, but for starters, the directness of communication. There were no Emergent ear-tickler types, so declarative statements were very much in order and welcomed. When disagreements surfaced, they were dealt with forthrightly. Men spoke their minds without acrimony or petulance. Passive-aggressiveness didn't show its face.
Scripture was honored by being used to support particular positions. Church fathers, catechisms, and confessions were cited regularly, too, but in a way that demonstrated they were subordinate standards--subordinate to the Word of God, that is. The singing was robust--even loud. The "Amens" were almost shouted.
David and I had several conversations with Federal Vision men...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 9, 2008 - 10:49am
(Tim) When I was a child, Dad subscribed to Time for a time. Then came the day they ran an ad for men's cologne pictured in a bottle shaped like a phallus. Dad wrote them strenuously objecting to such degradation.
Since then, our family hasn't been big on news magazines. The only one that's ever entered our home is World, to which we have a lifetime gift subscription kindness of its founder. Truth be told, I'm not at all fond of Time and Newsweek (especially), and Newsweek's current issue provides a good example of my reasons.
The cover story is a puff piece on sodomite marriage. The really disgusting thing, though, is that Newsweek's editors allowed their female (and yes, I believe sex matters here) religion editor, Lisa Miller, to play the schoolmarm to the nation on the true doctrine of Scripture concerning sodomy. The story's title tells it all: "Gay Marriage: Our mutual joy; Opponents of gay marriage often cite Scripture. But what the Bible teaches about love argues for the other side."
Yes, of course; Newsweek's religion editor is going to lecture us on the Bible's teaching on love. And I'm guessing she believes in the slaughter of little babies in their mother's womb, too, and could lecture us on Scripture's doctrine of love there, also. Our chattering class has Goebbels' principle down cold...
The context for the present scandal is that Cizik had this question put to him during a December 2 Fresh Air interview with National Public Radio's Terry Gross:
couple of years ago when you were on our show, I asked you if you were
changing your mind on that. And two years ago, you said you were still
opposed to gay marriage. But now as you identify more with younger
voters, would you say you have changed on gay marriage?"
by David and Tim Bayly on December 17, 2008 - 6:40am
(Tim) Over under an old post, a man named Albert has been explaining why Tim Keller doesn't preach on abortion. Although he's written thousands of words, I think this gets at the nub of the issue:
Because, as I've said already,
to (address the issue of abortion publicly) would be to detract people from the real
issue. Would you be comfortable with the fact that if you brought up
the issue of abortion to a liberal, all they heard was nothing but a
Republican/Conservative ploy? ...Liberals will not buy your argument no matter how many
times you qualify that what you're talking about isn't political.
So, good readers, if one preaches in Manhattan and wants to avoid issues that could be misunderstood, precisely what would one preach against?
Brothers and sisters, this is not a joke--but it's howlingly funny...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 18, 2008 - 9:50am
(Tim) So everyone's talking about Rick Warren's payoff. He gets to
pray in front of millions during Senator Obama's inauguration, calling
down God's presence and blessing on a ceremony centered around the
national politician most committed to the slaughter of his
nation's children taking God's Name in vain as he falsely promises to
uphold the Constitution of these United States.
When our nation was founded, our Declaration of Independence declared our commitments this way:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men
are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit
Thus, in the "Preamble" to our Constitution, we state the Constitution's purpose to be to "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity."
how does a man swear by God's Holy Name to secure the blessings of
liberty to our posterity who himself is our nation's political leader most committed to the slaughter of that posterity? The wickedness of Governor Blagojevich pales by comparison.
Selling an appointment to the
U.S. Senate is child's play compared to the child slaughter which was a central
plank of Senator Obama's campaign. Talk about wickedness in high places!
no one's watching. We're all transfixed by our nation's little morality
play over there on Chicago's South Side.
Also, by the vision of Evangelicalism's own Balaam, the Warrenmeister, thinking gentle thoughts about how his invocation of
the Triune God can help heal our nation as we all unify behind our new
President. So Rick Warren, prophet of Israel, hoists himself on his donkey...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 18, 2008 - 10:43am
(Tim) Method often tells us as much as words themselves, do. Three cases come to mind.
First, when I had something to correct in what Phil Ryken had written, I wrote him privately asking him to issue the correction himself. He persisted in leaving the matter uncorrected so I took it public. But taking it public, I left the comments open below what I'd written so Phil could explain his words or actions.
When Phil had a complaint against me, though, he took it public first with no prior private e-mail to me. And when he took it public, he refused to allow any responses below what he wrote. Things he wrote were not true but they're likely to be out there uncorrected until the end of time...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 22, 2008 - 7:45am
Unless the bugle-notes are clear who will be called to arms? (1Corinthians 14:8; J. B. Phillips)
(Tim, w/thanks to Steve) Rick Warren is a bellwether for middle of the road religious people in these United States. He's scrupulous about sodomite marriage, then equivocates by his casual references to "gays and straights" and his fawning over lesbian gay rights activist, Melissa Ethridge. He's pro-life, but to him this means more concern for the environment, world hunger, and AIDS. The slaughter of unborn children isn't even an afterthought.
He's a master of self-promotion but it's difficult to see how his leadership causes the Kingdom of God to advance even an inch. His books sell in the tens of millions but, after the wave passes, things pretty much proceed as they were before. Idolatry, state-sanctioned murder, materialism, divorce, fornication, feminism, envy, child molestation and abuse, self-satisfaction, pornography, and pride suffer little to no repentance. Yet there in the national limelight, larger than life, stands a Southern Baptist pastor sprinkling holy water on us all.
So what's in it for Evangelicalism's chief priest? Well, for starters, a mountain of mammon. Don't ever forget it.
by David and Tim Bayly on December 24, 2008 - 8:58am
(Tim, w/thanks to Taylor) Well, this one's a gnash-your-teether. It's the account of a man winning the woman's RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship (golf) who's used drugs and knives to alter his appearance so he can pass for a woman.
Really, though, the long drive rules committee has only done for the world of golf what Evangelicals and Emergents are doing for the church. Which is more twisted? A man winning the women's long drive championship or a woman serving the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper?
Yes, indeed, we are a world that's "expanding our acceptance." But what will we do in the end?
by David and Tim Bayly on January 2, 2009 - 7:35am
But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life" (Ezekiel 33:9).
(Tim) Feeling some heat from the wicked because of his tepid opposition to homosexual marriage, Pastor Rick Warren wants to shrug his shoulders, making the blessing into an act of simple pastoral humility: "Prayers are not to be sermons, speeches, position statements nor
political posturing. They are humble, personal appeals to God," he says.
We respond, "So what humble request will you make of God the Father with the whole world watching, Pastor Warren?" Or better yet, "What humble request will you not be making of God the Father because such a request might be too easily mistaken for an arrogant 'sermon,' 'speech,' 'position statement,' or 'political posturing?'"
Keep in mind that the man Pastor Warren has agreed to invoke God's Name and blessing for has promised that his first act as president will be to further solidify the support of the laws of our nation for the slaughter of little babies.
With this in mind, here's my pastorally modest proposal. Let Rick Warren take this occasion to pray for a quick end to the slaughter of the babies across our land...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 5, 2009 - 10:15am
(Tim) Last week, Nat Hentoff was laid off at the (Greenwich) Village Voice. This brings an abrupt end to Hentoff's fifty year run there, appropriately and affectionately titled "Fifty Years of Pissing People Off" by fellow Voice columnist Allen Barra in his recent tribute to Hentoff.
Hentoff started as a staff writer for the Voice back in 1958. His dismissal fifty years later coincides, almost to the day, with Louis Menand's short history of the Voice that ran in the current New Yorker. Beyond the Voice, Hentoff has also published in the New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, JazzTimes (his best-known work may be as a jazz critic and historian), and Atlantic Monthly.
I note the dismissal of Hentoff, as well as the profile of the Voice in the current New Yorker, because this past week I've been enjoying a Christmas gift received from a friend in New York City who knows me well. A former member of Church of the Good Shepherd while studying at IU's School of Music, Regina Scow sent me an autographed copy of The Nat Hentoff Reader which I've been relishing this past week.
So far, I've read a short piece on jazz clarinetist, George Lewis; a longish one on my longtime favorite, Merle Haggard; some superb essays on racism in America including a good profile of Ken Clark titled, "The Integrationist;" and a rare glimpse of the racial suffering of Louis Armstrong in "Louis Armstrong and Reconstruction." The book also reprints Hentoff's classic essay exposing the practice of infanticide in America today titled, "The Awful Privacy of Baby Doe." I'll never forget reading it when it first appeared back in 1985. When I finished the piece, I remember feeling deep gratitude for Hentoff's leadership and courage.
I've been a fan of Hentoff for years now, largely (but not exclusively) because of his heroic defense of the First Amendment, the newborn, and the unborn. Interesting trio, aren't they? Imagine someone who tenaciously defends the First Amendment against the depredations of p.c. nannies also tenaciously defending the unborn and newborn against oppression and murder. He'd have to be a Christian, wouldn't he?
by David and Tim Bayly on January 12, 2009 - 10:11am
(Tim w/thanks to David W.) For those concerned about the privileging of mainstream evangelical civic religion represented by President-elect Obama's invitation to Rick Warren to give the inaugural invocation, the tide's come in and you may rest easy. Bishop Gene Robinson has also been asked to pray. He'll hold forth during the Inaugural weekend at the Lincoln Memorial, and both Obama and Biden will attend.
Readers will recall that the Bad Bishop Robinson is a committed, self-affirming sodomite whose elevation to the bishopric has torn the Anglican communion asunder. Robinson is not blushing over the entire world discussing the nature of the sexual couplings he's been choosing most recently. In fact, he's quite proud to be a spokesman for the latest oppressed minority yearning to be free.
Proud of it?
Thus we get a better understanding of the Apostle Paul's comment when rebuking another ecclesiastical communion that was arrogant...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 14, 2009 - 2:11pm
He who conceals hatred has lying lips, and he who spreads slander is a fool. (Proverbs 10:18)
(Tim) This afternoon, I was talking with a man who was describing how a young couple had been alienated from their church, in large part because of a bad report they heard from a couple who had left that church to escape the discipline of its elders. And yesterday, I heard a similar report from a couple who had been subjected to their church leadership repeating evil and malicious words against another church, while every indication was that their leaders had never spoken personally to those they were attacking. "Lying lips" and "he who spreads slander" are constants in pastoral ministry, and always have been. Thus the Apostle Paul writes:
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (Ephesians 4:31)
Man leaves church angry and bitter at church's leadership for their correction or rebuke of him. He's accepted into another neighboring church without question. Yet he's not content to have left his former church. From bitterness, he slanders it to anyone who will listen--starting with his new pastor, church board, and members.
But maybe it's not slander at all, right? Churches do abuse people and you can't be too careful guarding against church popes and dictators who oppress the souls under their care. So how do you know when you're listening to slander and when the bad report is actually true?
A few simple tests will make things clear.
First, ask the person badmouthing their former church whether he has been formally disciplined by that church...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 15, 2009 - 7:11am
When I say to the wicked, "O wicked man, you will surely die," and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. (Ezekiel 33:8)
(Tim, w/thanks to Michael) According to the Washington Post, Pastor Rick Warren issued a statement praising President-elect Barack Obama for his selection of Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson to call down God's blessing on our nation and new president during the Inaugural weekend. Robinson, a man infamous internationally due to his promotion of sodomy in the Name of Jesus Christ, is, according to Warren, a good choice because it is one more indication that Senator Obama has a "genuine commitment to bringing all Americans of goodwill together in
search of common ground." Warren concludes concerning Senator Obama's selection of Robinson, "I applaud his desire to be the president of
It sounds good. I could almost hear myself saying the same. But then you stop to think about it and you realize this is one more step in the silencing of the witness of the Church of Jesus Christ. Such statements are precisely the thing warned against...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 19, 2009 - 7:23am
(Tim, w/thanks to Dave M.) One of the higher-visibility churches in the Presbyterian Church in America is Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church of Senior Organist, Diane Bish, and the late Rev. Dr. D. James Kennedy. Yesterday, the church's pulpit nominating committee announced it had chosen Billy Graham's grandson, William Graham Tullian Tchividjian, to present to the congregation and Presbytery of South Florida for their approval as Coral Ridge's next Senior Pastor.
Denominational accountability is never rigorous, and rarely even present, when large churches appear on presbytery's docket. But being one of the last ecclesiastical communities confessing submission to the biblical commands concerning sexuality and authority, let's pray the men of the Presbytery of South Florida do due diligence on Pastor Tchividjian's commitment to Scripture...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 20, 2009 - 5:19am
(Tim; this from and by Rev. David Wegener of Ndola, Zambia)
* * * This is an open letter from an American Reformed Christian living in Africa to my African Christian friends on the occasion of the Inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the U.S.A.
20 January 2009
Dear African Christian Brother:
I would ask you to pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ in the church in America, particularly for those who believe in the complete truthfulness of Scripture.
I’ve just begun a new term at the college and one of the courses I teach is a survey of church history. Last week we learned about Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna, who was asked to curse Christ or die. The old man replied, “for 86 years I have served Him and He has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” Minutes after making this good confession he was burned alive... We also read about Blandina, a slave girl who endured indescribable tortures before being killed for her faith. In a few weeks we’ll study Athanasius, who was exiled from his pastorate five times because of his faith in our triune God and his willingness to stand alone against the world for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints.