December 2013

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Establish the work of our hands...

For whatever reason, I just spent five minutes reading a bunch of Reformed superstars' tweets being exchanged among Reformed groupies. Glorious truths of God are reduced to sound bites recirculated by fan-boys who come away thinking they have struck a blow for the Gospel by tweeting twenty words and attaching some super-apostle's name.

The Bible tells us "solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14). But we're fat Americans, so instead of "practice" and "training," we have become facile, glib, feebleminded, giddy, and frothy in our repetition of the banal, phylacteried, hackneyed, and bromidic.

If you don't know those words, there's a reason.

Typical of the stuff we cycle through is, "Jesus didn't die so he could say he did his part. No, he died to save his elect in full." Then we attach a name to these twenty words, as if anyone could own copyright on such an obvious truth repeated by every pastor since the Apostle Paul.

Poor Mark Driscoll was caught...

The joy of work...

At the top of Google news just now is the headline, "Long-term Unemployment Benefit Expires for 1 Million."

Good. What a horrible existence to be paid not to work.

No one should benefit from unemployment. The fact such a headline can top the Google news page is an indication our nation is deep into her dotage. We're talking "long-term unemployment" here, good buddies. Long, long periods of time when men get paid not to work.

There are so many commands of Scripture we are ashamed of today. For instance:

For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living. (2Thessalonians 3:10-12)

"But the men and women getting unemployment benefits want to work; they just can't find a job," you say?

Right now there are 1.3 million men and women you and I have been paying for 26 weeks for not working, and in the next couple of months...

The ghouls of nationalized health care..

This is so cruel. And similar cases will multiply as federal administrators take over every last health care decision for every last person in these United States. They will calculate the cost of submission to the Sixth Commandment and find murder quicker and cheaper. And Christian fathers will be helpless to protect their wives and children.

Mark my words.

New Year greetings under the pen name "Vladimir Putin"...

Breitbart has put out a new year greeting they attribute to Vladimir Putin. The fake oped piece begins:

Happy New Year to all you decadent and dictatorial Americans. Yes, I mean you, the people of the United States, where an elite of non-democratic dictators trickles its immorality—and incompetence—down upon the masses.

What do I mean? Aren’t you Americans supposed to be free? Sure, you are free: You are free to obey the ukase—that’s an old czarist word for a decree that must be obeyed, or else—of a judge acting on an ideological agenda. So the judge is free to do as he pleases, and then you are free to do what you’re told to do. Americans, how do you like that kind of “freedom”?

For example, let’s look at the way the debate over homosexual marriage has played out over the past few years in the USA. The American people were confronted with the issue of homosexual marriage, debated it, and then voted against it in the tens of millions; dozens of US states passed specific laws to ban homosexual marriage.

So then what happened? I’ll tell you what happened: Unelected judges simply overrode the will of the people—and legalized such marriage in much of the country, including the largest state, California. In other words, the judges acted as dictators to overturn not only the laws of America, but also the law of God; these are spelled out clearly in both the Bible and in the Christian tradition...

Sermon notes: Galatians Series, Number 9...

Note that God does not simply predestine the salvation of men, but also the means of their hearing that salvation message—namely, the preaching of Jesus Christ by men set apart to this work. Both the end and the means are the decree of God.

Today we like to think that so long as we know God’s ends, His purposes and goals, we ourselves are free to choose the tools as we like. So there is a tendency in the church today to denigrate the call of preaching, and to lift up the call of evangelistic Bible study leaders working out of their homes and dorm rooms; and gifted women Bible expositors who can be franchised across the country and whose evangelistic message can be broadcast through books and radio waves and study guides and videotapes far more effectively than the rather limited reach of a preacher of the Gospel speaking in the pulpit of a local church.

Surely our goal is not so much to contravene God’s divine purpose as as it is to assist the Holy Spirit’s efficiency. This is the great idol of the evangelical age, that the call of God to men to preach His Gospel, and the purpose of God in loving his Bride, the Church, and the promise of God of sanctification through the officers of that Church loving and exhorting and disciplining those sheep under their care are all rather dated methods for our own so-very-sophisticated age.

NOTE: This is number 8 in a series on Galatians. If this is your first time reading sermon notes here, please take time to read a helpful explanation at the bottom of this post.

From the Pulpit of Church of the Good Shepherd/Clearnote Church, Bloomington

January 4, 2004; AM
Galatians Series No. 9
They Were Glorifying God Because of Me
Sermon Text: Galatians 1:11-24

This Lord’s Day, we turn to our ninth in a series of sermons on the New Testament book of Galatians...

Bishop N. T. Scrooge...

Jesus' birth usually gets far more attention than its role in the New Testament warrants. ...One can be justified by faith with no knowledge of it.

The birth narratives have no impact on my reconstruction of Jesus' public agendas and his mindset as he went to the cross. There might just be a case for saying that if his birth was as Matthew and Luke describe it, and if Mary had told him about it, my argument about Jesus' vocation to do and be what in scripture YHWH does and is might look slightly different. But as a historian I cannot use the birth stories within an argument about the rest of the gospel narratives.

- N. T. Wright, "God's Way of Acting" (emphases in the original)

Of the reading and quoting of famous spokesmen of religion there is no end. Take N. T. Wright, one of the more popular of this genre. Men burnish to such a beautiful sheen after rubbing up against him!

Actually, some of my best friends fawn over him but I have had real difficulty giving it up for a man whose only commendable trait seems to be...

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President Barack Obama, our First Victim...

President Obama lied to distance himself from his uncle. They're selling it as something less, but come on. A couple years ago when his uncle was arrested for drunken driving, the president's spokesman assured the press that their boss had never met the man. No sir, never met the man.

Now though, two years later, it comes out the president did know the man. In fact, the president lived with the man. Barack Obama moved to a Boston suburb to start studying at some law school near MIT, and when he hit Cambridge town, his uncle, Onyango Obama, was kind enough to take him into his home.

Boston's a small town and Cambridge is smaller...

The energy revolution...

Fascinating blog. Leads me to think something as radical as the green revolution is going to happen to cars and energy in the next decade or so. Fasten your seat belts, and maybe buy some shares of Tesla.

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Tolkien and Bilbo: a little Christmas gift to you and yours...

My family loves me, so they put up with my idiosyncrasies. One was the subject of several jocular comments during our early Christmas celebration several days ago. Our good readers know how I drone on about Christians confessing our faith by not giving up the name "man" for our race.

I'll cop to it. When Christians employ "human," "humankind," and "person" in place of "man," I get facial tics. Pagans bashing in the chest of English usage to conform to their homogenized world of androgynous beings doesn't bother me at all. But when Christians do it, I wonder where they DO choose to confess their faith? If language doesn't matter, why did God say "let there be light?" He didn't need to.

And why do we bother naming our sons and daughters? Why do we call God "Father," and why did He name our race "adam?"

Here's a little Christmas gift for y'all. A Christian brother forwarded a link to this crowd-sourced lament about Tolkien making Bilbo a boy. Trying to be helpful, they provide links to machines that reverse the oppressive patriarchy of historic English. So I tried to explain...

ObamaCare: What you need to know (Part 7): Samaritan Ministries and accountability...

This comment under a recent post about Christian health sharing ministries raises a very good point which should be addressed in greater detail. Here's the full comment:

The point I would stress here is that there seems to be a strange exception to the normal vetting process that occurs in dealing with these "ministries".

If a member of your church came to you for advice, and said they had been watching a televangelist with big hair at 2 a.m. on cable TV asking for money, and they had decided to send him $300 per month, you would raise an eyebrow, and politely start asking vetting questions about how the oversight board is appointed, actuarial audits, who is being paid how much, etc. These "health-sharing ministries" tend to get a free pass. Try getting real data, not summary un-audited financials--good luck. They shouldn't get less scrutiny than the company that insures your house, for pete's sake. The new law gives a break--finally!--to large families. Go to healthsherpa.org or kaiser subsidy calculator.org, and see for yourself.

"They shouldn't get less scrutiny than the company that insures your house" is right on, and that's why I decided to place a call to Samaritan Ministries...

ObamaCare: What you need to know (Part 6): Evaluating Medi-Share...

Medi-Share, run by an organization called Christian Care Ministry, is a healthcare cost-sharing program. It's like health insurance, but with a twist: it isn't technically insurance. However, becoming a member of this or other similar programs will exempt you from ObamaCare's individual mandate, so apparently such programs are enough like insurance to satisfy the federal government.

Medi-Share in particular seems to be very similar to traditional insurance, much more so than Samaritan Ministries...

To build a fire...

Steve Moxey. Or maybe Nathan Alberson.

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