August 2013

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Theological critique of Escondido Two Kingdoms theology (IX): Religious persecution 101...

(NOTE: This post is part of a series showing the errors of so-called Two-Kingdom Theology. We refer to it as "so-called" Two-Kingdom Theology because what the church historically has meant by "Two-Kingdoms" bears little resemblance to what Escondido Theology men mean when they write it today. Thus sometimes we write "Two-Kingdom Theology," but more often we write "Radical Two Kingdom," "Rigid Two Kingdom," or "R2K.")

Now arrive the justices of the Supreme Court of New Mexico declaring they will not tolerate freedom of conscience concerning sodomite marriages or "commitment ceremonies." Announcing their decision in Elane Photography v. Vanessa Willock, the court declared Elane Photography was a "public accommodation" business, and therefore in violation of the New Mexico Human Rights Acts when the owner declined a job shooting pics of two women parading their shame through a public commitment ceremony.

Showing the utter degradation of legal reasoning in our law schools and courts today, the court preened itself over its enlightened devotion to civil rights: "when Elane Photography refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, it violated the (New Mexico Human Rights Acts) in the same way as if it had refused to photograph a wedding between people of different races."

Seeking to justify the moral cesspool they preside over within their state, these Supreme Court justices trot out two assumptions they believe unassailable within the boundaries of their decadent society...

Are you in a position to help bring Rhode Island's reform to your state?

By the way, the cost savings Rhode Island has enjoyed can be brought to your state, also. If you're in a position to provide an intro to your governor or some civil magistrate in a position of authority who is able to influence the disbursement of Medicaid in your state (state employee, journalist, legislator, etc.), and you are interested in what is being done in several states building on Rhode Island's success, please e-mail me.


It all starts (or stops) with Daddy...

An editorial in today's Wall Street Journal highlights the savings Rhode Island has seen the past few years in its Medicaid expenditures as a result of negotiating from the Feds some small liberties to decide for themselves how to fund healthcare for their poor. At the time Rhode Island received this privilege from the Feds, one of every five of its citizens were on Medicaid, a quarter of the state's budget was going to Medicaid payments, and the state's Medicaid expenditures were growing 7.6% per year. More recently, though, from 2009-2012 Rhode Island has reduced its growth in Medicaid expenditures to 1.3% per year as the other 49 states' expenditures increased 4.6% per year.

States rights is not only an ordering principle of our nation's Constitution, but also the necessary method of protecting our solvency. Return decisions concerning spending of Medicaid funds to Rhode Island magistrates and, that very minute, accountability returns and expenditures begin to decline.

How did they do it? 

Two major reforms in particular saved money. The first reduced costly emergency room visits by Medicaid recipients for routine medical needs, and the second reduced admissions to pricey nursing homes by offering home-care subsidies and promoting assisted living arrangements, which seniors generally prefer.

Whether ecclesiastical or civil, that government is best which is most decentralized and exercises authority over the smallest group of people. In Presbyterian government, the session (for church members) and presbytery (for pastors) are the courts of original jurisdiction; and that should be the end of it in everything but the most extreme cases.

If a humdinger of a controversy arises in... {C}

"Then watch me choose Jesus..."

Again and again, I trust that the flock under my care gives their eyes and attention to Doug Wilson. For Christians in America, reading Doug is part of the hard work needed that will yield the Christian's ability to discern between good and evil.

Today he teaches us how the Apple Pie/Motherhood/Stars and Stripes patriotism of the past has had "Hate is not a family value" patched into its fabric, and thus has turned to hatred of Christians who refuse to bow their knee to sodomy.

Faithful Christians, that is—not the quivering silent and saltless ones. Doug writes:

Force me to choose between Jesus and America, and then watch me choose Jesus.

The problem with the spirituality of the church men today is that no one is able to watch them choose Jesus. In fact, within many Reformed circles it is now a principle that the man out there in public visibly choosing Jesus has failed to think properly about, and appreciate sufficiently, that American value commonly referred to as "separation of church... {C}

The Apostle Paul against Reformed blogs, booksellers, and lecture venues...

A couple weeks ago in the middle of our sermon series going through the book of 1Corinthians, I was preaching on the last few verses of 1Corinthians 11 which include the loving explanation from the Apostle Paul of God's kindly discipline of His sons and daughters by causing many of them to become weak and sick, and a number of them to die. Preparing, I read this commentary by John Calvin:

1Corinthians 11:30: For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.

After having treated in a general way of unworthy eating, and of the kind of punishment that awaits those who pollute this sacrament, he now instructs the Corinthians as to the chastisement which they were at that time enduring.

It is not known whether a pestilence was raging there at that time, or whether they were laboring under other kinds of disease. However it may have been as to this, we infer from Paul’s words that the Lord had sent some scourge upon them for their correction. Nor does Paul merely conjecture that it is on that account that they are punished, but he affirms it as a thing that was perfectly well known by him. He says, then, that many lay sick—that many were kept long in a languishing condition—and that many had died in consequence of that abuse of the Supper, because they had offended God.

By this he intimates, that by diseases and other chastisements from God, we are admonished to think of our sins; for God does not afflict us without good reason, for he takes no pleasure in our afflictions.

The subject is a copious and ample one; but let it suffice to advert to it here in a single word. If in Paul’s times an ordinary abuse of the Supper could kindle the wrath of God against the Corinthians so that he punished them thus severely, what ought we to think as to the state of matters at the present day?

An account of Abraham Kuyper's conversion: "one had to be born again"...

In connection with David Wegener's review of James Bratt's Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat and his discussion of Kuyper's conversion, here is a piece of correspondence that complements Bratt's own account. The letter was written by P. H. A. van Krieken, niece of Maria Hartman who was longtime housekeeper to the Kuypers, recounting her own knowledge through her aunt of Kuyper's conversion and subsequent change in his pastoral work and preaching. The account warmed my heart and I'm guessing it will strengthen the faith of readers of Baylyblog, also. It is used by kind permission of its translator, Prof. Harry Vandyke.

* * *

Some third-hand information about Kuyper’s conversion

[The following letter was found in a typewritten copy among the papers of M. C. Smit in the Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto. Presumably the original is in the Dr. H. Colijn Archive at the Free University, Amsterdam.]

Letter from: P. H. A. van Krieken Huize Zonneweelde, Looydijk 158, [name of town left off]

Addressed to: His Excellency Dr. H. Colijn; Minister of State, The Hague

Dear Sir,

I was delighted to read in the Utrechtse Nieuwsblad that on 29 Oct. 1937 a commemoration is to be held of Dr. Kuyper, and because I come from Beesd and was born in 1868 I heard a lot about him, since my Aunt Maria Hartman was his maid for five years and experienced his whole turnaround [omkeering] and also knew Pietje Baltus as friend and always visited her conventicle [gezelschap] on Sundays, who told me everything that she went through with him, and I knew the elders who sat with him in Church Council.

His first round of visits that he paid as pastor in Beesd was announced to Pietje Baltus: Rev. Kuyper is in the neighborhood and will soon come to you too.

She says to that neighbor lady: That rascal might as well stay away, I don’t care for him...

Abraham Kuyper: a giant we need...

A Review of James Bratt, Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat.

In history today, studying the “little people” is in and studying the giants is out. Kuyper was a colossus and has not been particularly well-served by biographers. When we study him, we can see further ahead since we are dwarves standing on the shoulders of a giant. Consider his accomplishments and the highlights of his life.

Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) had two conversions, three nervous breakdowns, and at least four vocations in his extraordinary life. He started a political party, a university and a denomination. He wrote book after book, column after column, gave speech after speech, and was one of the finest devotional writers of his era. As we say in my family, he was...

Fatherhood outside St. Mary's and inside Walmart...

(Prince) William says he practiced making sure the car seat fit securely before driving off. "Driving your son and your wife away from hospital was really important to me," he said.

Standing in line at Walmart, I watched a normal Joe ahead of me buying his daughter her school supplies. The man helped his eight-year-old daughter transfer pencils, notebooks, and other stuff I didn't recognize from the cart onto the small 20-items-or-less checkout counter. Halfway through the piling up, the girl looked up at her Dad and demonstrated her budding gift for commanding the male sex: "Dad, let me do it!"

He acted like he hadn't heard and, thankfully, Her Royal Highness didn't protest again. Last on the pile was the annual backpack with this year's graphics and colors. Then, having accomplished her part of the mission, the girl walked a few feet and sat down on a bench from whence she surveyed her domain and awaited her father's duty of paying for her life and happiness. You know, money.

Dad wasn't tall and wore shorts hanging down to his calves. Nothing notable in his looks or clothing, nor in the way he fulfilled the privileges of fatherhood. As he ran his credit card and punched buttons, the cashier smiled and asked if school was starting this week?

He said "yup, Tuesday" and they exchanged conspiratorial looks of knowingness. I thought for a second about getting down on my knees and pleading with this innocent father not to send his precious daughter...

76 Days a Year...

Priceonomics reports that nobody reads the fine print. We've mentioned it before, and some people have claimed that actually they do. How many do? Well, apparently in one case less than 1 in 3000. That one person won $1000, by the way. 

A study from Carnegie Mellon calculated that the average Internet user would need to spend 76 days a year to read and understand the privacy policies and license agreements of the websites and software they use. That is nearly 4 months of 8 hour workdays.

All I'm going to say is...


Carolyn Custis James is right...

The Carolyn Custis James who's made a name for herself dissing housewives and puffing theologettes has moved on to opposing spiritual abuse. In a post titled, "The Enablers of Spiritual Abuse... or when silence isn't golden," Ms. Custis James writes:

In July, when I was in the airport and spotted an abandoned backpack, I didn’t assume it was someone else’s responsibility. I knew the drill. “If you see something, say something.” So I did.

One of the many disturbing aspects of spiritual abuse and a prime reason that it thrives unchecked in so many churches and in highly respected Christian institutions and ministries is because instead of “saying something” when signs of abuse surface, we take the path of least resistance.

“If you see or hear something, mind your own business!”

Ms. Custis James is exactly right. The most wicked spiritual abuse suffered by sheep is pastors and elders who see sin and recognize error, yet betray their calling by saying nothing to oppose it. Take feminism, for instance...

Anyone know a good church in Washington D.C. or Grand Rapids?

We now have a topic titled "Good churches." Adding to our short list as of right now, I've received two inquiries recently it would be helpful to have readers respond to.

First, does anyone know a good church in the Washington D.C. area?

Second, does anyone know a good church in Grand Rapids?

We're happy to leave it to our readers to decide what "good church" means.

My intimate friendship with C. S. Lewis...

Well done, Andrew (Lazo). It is encouraging to see collaborative and respectful engagement between scholars, especially in the field of Lewis studies. You and McGrath have quietly set a high bar for better behaviour among researchers and writers. Hat tip to you and McGrath both. - Lancia E. Smith, First Things comments

Recently, there has been some discussion online about the precise date for the conversion (to theism) of C.S. Lewis. The consensus seems to be that Lewis himself misreported the date in his book, Surprised by Joy, and in his new biography of Lewis, Alister McGrath has set the record straight.

Of course McGrath's correction pleases me immensely. What a man! What a scholar! How utterly punctilious of him! I must say Alice (as McGrath's friends call him) has inspired me to make bold and bring forth my own more modest contribution to this scintillating discussion. The talk has centered on the quality of Lewis’ memory, which many consider prodigious. Well, was it?

Readers of this blog likely are unaware that I knew Jack (as friends of Lewis called him) in the early sixties and late fifties when I was a student at Cambridge...