October 2008

Barack Obama Rocks XXIII: Pomo politicians, profs, and preachers...

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...

Critique of Pastor Keller's promotion of woman deacons, part 4: Gleason, Keller, and deaconesses in the PCA...

(Tim) On this blog, there's a growing series of posts critiquing an article in byFaith magazine by Tim Keller promoting woman deacons. This is the fourth in that series. (Here are installments one, two, three, four, five, and six.)

Meanwhile, our friend, Ron Gleason, is doing yeoman's work opposing feminism in the Presbyterian Church in America and has undertaken a similar series. So far, he's put up five posts: "The PCA and Female Deaconesses I," "The PCA and Female Deaconesses II," "The PCA and Female Deaconesses III," "The PCA and Female Deaconesses IV," and "The PCA and Female Deaconesses V." They're well worth your time--check them out.

Ron and Tim Keller both got their M.Div.s at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

David Wells is a reasonable person...

(Tim, w/thanks to Jake) Day after tomorrow, my former prof, David Wells, will give a chapel lecture at TEDS titled, “How, Then, Should We Preach to Postmodern Persons?”

As a teaser question to get people interested, Dr. Wells was asked, "What is a postmodern person?"

He responded:

“Postmodern is how we are speaking about our current cultural mood.  While in some ways we become more and more modern—more technological advances, more information, more medical breakthroughs, and more things—in terms of a world-and-life view, we are adrift. The old Enlightenment paradigm with its belief in unaided, naturalistic reason, human potential, and the prospect of progress have all collapsed.  In the way we think about our lives, we are not modern but postmodern because we think about ourselves differently from what was true up though the 1960’s.”

Leaving everything else aside, did you notice the one absolutely glaring thing about Wells' lecture?

He stopped playing and got to work...

Pg2_chase_parents_300 (Tim, w/thanks to Taylor) Great story. After starting for Clemson for three years where he played alongside Oguchi Onyewu, Chase Hilgenbrinck spent a couple years playing professional futbol in Chile. After leaving Chile, he signed with MLS's New England Revolution and played a handful of games there.

The Revolution wanted to renew his contract, but Hilgenbrinck declined. He was off to seminary. Time to stop playing and get to work studying, worshipping, and praying. He wanted to play a little more soccer, first, but he read this sentence and it settled the matter for him: "Delayed obedience is disobedience."

Submergent men innoculate souls against the Gospel...

(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?

Submergent wolves know this...

Barack Obama rocks XXII: Isaiah's doing his part...

FocusWebSite (Tim) Chris Taylor is the father of Isaiah Taylor, the young man who wrote Barack Obama calling him to repent of his advocacy of baby-murder. We ran a copy of Isaiah's letter on this blog a few weeks ago. Earlier today, Focus on the Family put a pic of Isaiah on their home page. Chris Taylor writes: "For those of you who haven’t heard yet, here’s the scoop: Leslie was driving down the road a few months ago and passed a group protesting the killing of babies with large photos. It caused a lot of questions by our three older children (11, 9, 7). When they got home, Isaiah (9) was so disturbed that he decided to write a letter to Senator Obama to let him know that he hoped things would change in the future.

"Anyway, this little letter has made it’s way all over the states via newsletters, blogs, radio broadcasts, pulpits, and websites. Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece even sought to hand a copy personally to Senator Obama during the DNC up in Denver. Though, that never happened, Isaiah is still hoping for a response...

"Isaiah is getting a kick out of the fact that I am now being referred to as “Isaiah’s dad” at work."

Pastor prosecuted for spanking his son...

(Tim, w/thanks to David) Years ago, a missionary friend who worked in Sweden admitted to me that he couldn't spank his children without fear of government action, so he hid whatever spankings he gave them. This news item ran in Portage, Wisconsin, just a few miles from where I served prior to being called to Bloomington, Indiana.

Brothers in Christ, we live in a wicked day. Already, aided by the civil authority, our minor daughter can contract with Planned Parenthood to hire a murderer to kill her unborn son or daughter. And the government helps her to hide it from her father and mother.

As I've always said, this is the most wicked aspect of our current baby-killing regime. A godly father or mother cannot protect their minor daughter from those seducing her to become a murderer. They may well never know.

Meanwhile, spanking renders Christian parents vulnerable to losing custody of their children. The normal Christian parent who uses the corporal punishment commanded by God (Prov. 13:24; 22:15; 23:13; 29:15; etc.) is always in danger of prosecution and loss of parental rights.

Barack Obama rocks XXI: Why is he refusing to release his birth certificate?

Picture 2 (Tim) Some claim Obama has already released his birth certificate. But Factcheck is a pretty poor place to lodge his defense. On the left is a vault copy of his BC making it clear why Democrats and Republicans alike are raising questions (comments below LATimes piece).

The simple challenge made at the end of this video remains unanswered. McCain's released everything requested. Why does Obama refuse to do so?

Barack Obama rocks XX: Precisely where was he born?

(Tim) The grandmother of presidential candidate, Barack Hussein Obama, is reported as testifying she was present for Obama's birth at the Coast Provincial Hospital in Mombasa, Kenya. If true, Obama would be barred from holding the office of president by Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution:

No person except a natural born Citizen ...shall be eligible to the Office of President...

Despite growing controversy, Obama has refused to release his birth certificate. Our public servants are stonewalling the matter, also...

Barack Obama rocks XIX: Mugabe has killed his thousands, but Obama his millions...

Mugabe385_354955a (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.

Obama_3 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...

Critique of Pastor Keller's promotion of woman deacons, part 3: So, are your male deacons ordained?

(Tim) Pastor Tim Keller recently did a piece promoting woman deacons. It ran in the Presbyterian Church in America's byFaith e-monthly. Section by section, from time to time, I'm critiquing parts of Pastor Keller's article. This is the third installment. (Here are installments one, two, three, four, five, and six.) Readers will note I've not cut any of Pastor Keller's text. His words are indented, mine are not.

The Case for Commissioning (Not Ordaining) Deaconesses

by Tim Keller, published in byFaith, Issue Number 21, August 2008

Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City has since its inception commissioned (but not ordained) deaconesses working alongside male deacons in diaconal work. Why do we do this?

The first note struck is misleading. Reading Pastor Keller's words, we're led to believe that Redeemer is living well within the bounds of PCA polity, making a clear distinction between the men and women who serve in diaconal ministry. This is, of course, the one thing necessary in order to submit to Scripture's doctrine of sexuality--that male and female be clearly delineated in anything approximating authoritative function or office. So, according to Pastor Keller's words, here, he's led his congregation to make a distinction between the men and women serving as deacons. The women are commissioned, the men ordained, right?

That's what I thought when I first read the above. Yet in the back of my mind, a little bell was ringing, causing me to wonder if there wasn't some confusion, here...

Critique of Pastor Keller's promotion of woman deacons, part 2: Pictures at an exhibition...

Timkeller (Tim) Recently, the PCA's institutional public relations voice, byFaith magazine, ran a point/counterpoint on woman deacons. This is the second in a series of posts I'll be doing critiquing Tim Keller's article promoting woman deacons. (Here are installments one, two, three, four, five, and six.) Tim Keller argued the point, Lig Duncan the counterpoint. This only to say I found the pictures of Tim and Lig that ran above their respective articles quite humorous. Here's Tim. Here's Lig. Yes yes, I'm sure it's no invidious plot.

LigduncanLig's scowl reminds me of some of the wording in the paper distributed to members of Ohio Valley Presbtery in our October stated meeting by Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis. The twenty-one page untitled paper addressed the presbytery as follows...

Pages