September 2012

Recovering devotional reading (part 2): you simply must read the life and testament of Jim Elliot...

When I was young, I listened to some phonograph records on the life of David Livingstone. One story was about his encounter with a man-eating lion. When I listened to it recently, I cringed at the racist undertones. “Bwana, him big like house. Him big like mountain.” “I know Juma …". But I was also reminded why it was so helpful. It probably shaped me in ways of which I had no idea at the time. Even though Livingstone shot the lion, it kept charging and mauled his arm before the bullet finally killed it. “You know, boys and girls, God did deliver David Livingstone from the lion. But he was unable to use that arm for the rest of his life.” Narration like that taught me from a tender age that following God was no guarantee that I wouldn’t suffer, even if I was utterly faithful. 

I also remember one scene where terrifying natives were on one side of a river, hurling spears and shooting arrows and yelling at Livingstone and his friends. I can still hear the angry chief calling out in a low, ominous voice, “Go back … Go back ….”

Which blasphemy laws do you want...

In a recent blog post, Russell Moore laid out why he believes blasphemy laws are wrong. He writes, "Fundamentally... blasphemy laws and other uses of state power to enforce religious belief or worship are themselves a repudiation of the beliefs themselves. A religion that needs state power to enforce obedience to its beliefs is a religion that has lost confidence in the power of its Deity."

Take a minute to read his article. Don't worry, we'll wait.

Now, there are numerous problems with this article. For starters...

We now live in a nation under blasphemy laws. Some are written as diversity codes or hate crimes. Many others are unwritten. There is no god but Tolerance and Moral Relativism is his/her prophet. Try opposing sodomy, feminism, abortion, paganism, or antinomianism in the workplace, classroom, legislature, or boardroom...

A proposal for an amendment to the US Constitution...

In a recent email discussion about the upcoming election among Christian friends, one of them asked, "How can anyone not like health care reform?" My response was, "I'm all for healthcare reform. Let's do it again soon. Maybe we could actually work towards a constitutional solution next time around."

Another friend chimed in, questioning whether it was the "right debate" to focus on the constitutionality of the law, saying, "as of now I think its constitutionality is settled." He also cautiously supported Obamacare saying it "seems like a reasonable use of government powers provided that the care delivered meets the appropriate standards."

I felt that my response would be worthwhile to share, and I'm curious what others think about my proposal regarding an amendment to the constitution. Here's what I wrote:

Why I'm not Islamophobic...

This morning I read an article on CNN by Brian Mclaren calling Evangelicals to choose between allowing Islamophobia to spread further or seeking a "more charitable approach to our Muslim neighbors." In the article he said, "Many sincere and good-hearted evangelicals have never yet had a real Muslim friend, and now they probably never will because their minds have been so prejudiced by Islamophobic broadcasts on so-called Christian television and radio." 

Let me start with a few facts:

  1. I have had a "real Muslim friend." More than one, in fact. Hi **** and ****. How's your daughter ****? (Names withheld for their own safety.)
  2. I'm no friend of Christian television and radio.
  3. CNN doesn't claim to be Christian. Neither does BBC. Neither does The New York Times.

I've watched a number of news clips and read many articles in the last week that talk about Islam. In fact, I can't seem to get away from them. None of them have been from Christian news sources. Now maybe the news sources can't be trusted, but they are claiming that there has been a lot of violence and even an attack on a US Consulate that killed 4 US citizens. I must confess, Mr. Mclaren, I haven't checked their sources. It could all be a huge hoax. Maybe Christians and other non-Muslims are perfectly safe...

Recovering devotional reading (part 1): Lucado or Dallimore...

Devotional reading has gotten a bad rap, perhaps because it conjures up images of sappy stories whether a lightly baptized version of a Lassie episode or a Max Lucado book designed to bring us to tears. Still, the recovery of Christian devotional reading will help the evangelical and Reformed movements to recapture the spiritual vitality that was once theirs.

Over fifty years ago, John Warwick Montgomery surveyed the devotional literature available in the early sixties (see Christianity Today, September 25, 1961). It is gratifying to compare his list with those books currently available. Things have improved dramatically, partly due to the labors of our friends at Banner of Truth. Yet I wonder if believers are benefiting from this richesse. My hunch is we’re wasting too much time on Twitter and Facebook.

Giving advice to preachers, Martyn Lloyd-Jones urged them to preface their prayer and Bible reading times by reading something that will “kindle a flame in your spirit” (Preaching and Preachers, p.170). So obviously, devotional reading cannot and must not replace our Bible reading; rather it should accompany it...

For diehard Cubs fans...

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What's that I see...

GrizzlyStandingTaylor, Mary Lee, and I are up in Glacier National Park. Nine grizzlies so far. Taylor took this pic last night. This sow (at least ten feet tall) had a cub following her as she gorged, preparing for hibernation. Ten points for guessing how he took the pic.

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Man, the master of destruction...

God's created order won't be violated forever. Traditions come and go, but, if patriarchy is woven through creation as Scripture indicates, the pendulum will one day turn. And when it does, it will destroy every feminist altar in its path, revealing father-rule to be every bit the law of creation that gravity is.

The question isn't whether the pendulum will turn, the real question is what the world will look like when it does. And that is a frightening thing to consider....

In a recent column, New York Times columnist David Brooks reflects the prevailing wisdom of Western society on manhood:

Forty years ago, men and women adhered to certain ideologies, what it meant to be a man or a woman. Young women today... are more like clean slates, having abandoned both feminist and prefeminist preconceptions. Men still adhere to the masculinity rules, which limits their vision and their movement.

Everywhere, the story is the same: men are losers in the modern interconnected world; men no longer wear the pants in the family economy; hookup culture is female empowerment; women don't need men like men need women; fatherhood is overrated, children really only need mothers....

Yet even as it's accepted that masculinity is a waning force in the West, our organs of influence and power are being forced to adapt to the resurgent patriarchy of fundamentalist Islam.

Why you have to love Texas (even if you don't like it)....

Wow. What a state. 

The New York Times has this article on a newly-opened 41-mile section of toll road between Austin and San with the highest speed limit in the United States. And lest you think 41 miles of tollway at 85-miles-per-hour a rather chintzy contribution to automotive freedom, there's 544 miles of freeway, Interstate 10, between El Paso and San Antonio, where the speed limit is eighty. 

Finally, this anecdote about Texans driving fast from the end of the Times article is the kind of thing that makes me wish Texas would secede--and that if it did, I'd go with it:

J.

Don Carson's promotion of gender-neutered Bibles...

One reader e-mailed asking if I was being fair in this prior post where I listed Don Carson with Gordon Fee and Roger Nicole as being guilty of the "betrayal of the Word of God's authority?" The short answer is Don Carson was paid to do so-called "translation" for the production of the New Living Translation in which thousands of words with male meaning components (adam, aner, adelphoi, etc.) were deleted in order to pacify the itching ears of our feminist culture. Carson's NLT also deleted a number of occurrences of the words 'Ioudaios' and 'Ioudaioi' in order to pacify Jews working to get Bible publishers to remove Anti-Semitic "Christ-hatred" from John's Gospel.

After being paid to do this work, Don wrote a book defending gender-neutered Bibles.

Now for the longer answer...

Go Daddy's taken down...

Can I say this gently? If your site is down right now, it serves you right for living with Bob Parsons' Go Daddy. We made that mistake for a while but our consciences got the better of us and we switched. I'm thankful. Everyone should switch. (And yes, I know Parsons sold the company recently.) Still.

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Burk & Trueman agree: feminism no "erosion of fundamental Evangelical commitments..."

(I)f a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit. (Matthew 15:14b)

"Seminary profs who make nice with feminists remind me of the Apostle Peter at a church potluck." - Anonymous (attributed)

Denny Burk has written a very polite and respectful response to Carl Trueman's defense of the egalitarian feminists' bona fides as faithful inerrantists (about which David and I commented in this and this post). A good summary of Burk's making nice is this commendation of Roger Nicole he gives in the middle of his post:

Roger Nicole remained a convinced egalitarian and an evangelical stalwart all the way to the end. We can think of other individuals for whom egalitarianism has not and likely will never lead to an erosion of their fundamental evangelical commitments.

It's notable that, in his follow-up to the original post defending feminists' doctrinal integrity at the point of the doctrine of Scripture, Trueman joined Burk in tipping his hat to the late Roger Nicole. Why such obsequiousness toward the late Roger Nicole who, having recently departed this world, no longer has a dog in this fight?

Because more faithfully than any other theologian of the last half of the twentieth century, Dr. Nicole defended the Evangelical Theological Society's confessional commitment to inerrancy. Among professional exegetes and theologians Dr. Nicole was Mr. Inerrancy himself...

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