Archive for September, 2007
WASHINGTON (AP) – Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will not run for president in 2008 after determining he could not legally explore a bid and remain as head of his tax-exempt political organization, a spokesman said Saturday.
Gingrich, 64, tried to rehabilitate his image this year by admitting publicly to his extramarital affair during the Clinton impeachment scandal. He made the admission in an interview last month with Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, and he won praise for the acknowledgment from another conservative Christian leader, the Rev. Jerry Falwell.
All I can say is: Thank God! I think this country is even less prepared for a Newt in office than a Hillary. Seriously, at this point, conservative that I am, there’s not a single candidate who has stood out and said to me, “I am the one.” Presidential politics is such a waste of time. And besides, I will not vote for one who consults with such non-partisan folks like the good Rev Dobson. Focus on the family, not the First Family! Stop telling us what you think about politics Mr. Dobson!
I’ll tell you this: The one that promises to cut taxes will likely get my vote. The one who actually makes it happen will win my eternal affection. At this point, Ross Perot is starting to sound like a viable candidate. (Uh, then again, no he’s not!)
I have posted many things about the so-called warming of the globe, the causes, and the hysteria. Here’s an interesting story at WND that will likely cause me to subscribe to Science magazine as soon as possible so that I can read the study.
A new peer-reviewed scientific study counters a major premise of global warming theory, concluding carbon dioxide did not end the last ice age
The study, led by University of Southern California geologist Lowell Stott, concluded deep-sea temperatures rose 1,300 years before the rise in atmospheric CO2, which would rule out the greenhouse gas as the main agent of the meltdown.
“There has been this continual reference to the correspondence between CO2 and climate change as reflected in ice core records as justification for the role of CO2 in climate change,” said Stott. “You can no longer argue that CO2 alone caused the end of the ice ages.”
The study will be published in the next issue of Science magazine.
I’m going to subscribe to science just so I can read this story. At this juncture, I don’t know what caused the end of the ‘ice age’, but I’m glad it did. I rather like our climate. Here’s to hope that man is the not the root of all evil after all! I wonder how long before this scientist is run out of his job?
The other day, my friend Jeff listed a whole host of blogs that belong to atheists that he has either found helpful or visited or simply found. I probably won’t list as many as Jeff because it’s late and I am tired, but I’ll add to them as I go along, and also add them to my blogroll. (Please don’t think the small number indicates a lack of sites available, I’m just not as ambitious as Jeff :) .)
Here are some Creation blogs (or ID) that you might enjoy:
Post-Darwinist (Denyse O’Leary)
Uncommon Descent (William Dembski)
Intelligent Design or Evolution Blog (I didn’t really know where to put this one; I think it’s ID)
[Now, I grant you that most of these are not strictly creation blogs. In fact, they are ID blogs (Intelligent Design). I believe in Genesis 1 and these blogs may or may not (mostly not) hold to a literal interpretation of that chapter of the Bible.]
Oh, I keep being told that evolution and atheism are only coincidentally linked. Here’s proof of that Evolution Space. Note the big A and the contrasting title: Evolution space. Right. But they have nothing to do with one another.
At William Dembski’s blog, you can link to a series of essays that will help explain how Darwinists think. See this Essay: Book Review: Science’s Blind Spot: Making Sense of Darwin’s Devout. I haven’t had time to read it all yet. Still, for what it’s worth, maybe you’ll find something to help.
Alright, that’s all for tonight. I have to write a little more on my Sunday sermon. I hope you are blessed.
Soli Deo Gloria!
In fact, if you would like to keep yourself informed of how the Darwinists of this world are continuing to perpetuate the lie of evolution, then visit Casey’sblog. (Rob Crowther also contributes to the blog.) There is a lot of stuff here that is valuable reading. It is very easy to get discouraged with so much propaganda in the news and from ‘big science.’
Christians need to be aware of the ongoing attacks on faith. This is not just about ‘figuring out where we came from’ or ‘getting answers.’ For man Darwinists, this is about the eradication of Christian faith.
I hope you find this blog as valuable as I have. I’ll be visiting more and I’ll keep you posted on any important news items.
My anonymous friend at Adeistic has a link to this wonderful editorial by Mark Morford at the San Fransisco Gate. The editorial The Fall of the Godmongers: Praise Jesus it’s the Collapse of Evangelical Christian Rule in America: Rejoice! is really a fantastic essay. I particularly enjoyed this part:
And why? Because the fundamentalist mind-set is not so much a firm and rational set of beliefs based on thoughtful interpretation of strict Biblical screed as it is, well, a paranoid wallowing in fear. Fear of the Other, fear of change, of progress, of the new and different and young and the sexual and the truly spiritual. And as we all know from almost seven years of Bush, fear knows no reason. It knows no stability. Fear is simply insatiable, voracious, and about as un-Godlike as Jesus with a machine gun.
Now, aside from the fact that the essayist is really far too concerned about sexual politics and makes an ignorant quip about the death of Jerry Falwell, his essay actually makes some rather valid points. In part, I couldn’t agree more with that first sentence. I have been saying it over and over again here at this blog: Christians need to get back to the fundamental root of their existence: The Holy Scriptures. And yet we continue to drift further and further away…
I especially appreciate his take on the influence that evangelicals of mega-churches have had on the political decisions of this current presidential administration. In my opinion, one of the worst decisions was the whole Faith Based Initiatives plan: Waste of tax money! Another bad decision was installing a phone in the office of the president that was linked to Tedd Haggard’s throne in Colorado: Big Mistake. Still another, from the church’s direction, is entrusting politicians with the propagation of Christian faith: Can you say, “I need re-elected.” Another is thinking that Pat Robertson is infallible and that he and his cronies have the only valid ideas concerning Scripture. (I can tell you that he doesn’t.)
In my estimation, one of the worst things the Church can do is trust its work and its mission to government officials who will merely try to legislate morality. Morality can only be effected when people’s hearts are changed. Truly, there is very little doubt about the total depravity of man! The other poor choice we make is when politicians try to do the work that the church should be doing. The government has its divine authorization; the church has hers.
Finally, the author says this:
But when you come right down to it, the Great Truism has been validated once again: Righteous fundamentalism, be it Christian, Islamic, or otherwise, has the seeds of its own destruction built right into its very framework, a priori and de facto and by default. Powered by the deeply joyless engines of fear and shame, it can never quench its own impotent desires.
Again, I cannot help but agree whole-heartedly! So I propose a solution to the problem. I propose that Christians mind their own business and leave this country we live in to its own devices because the one problem I have with this essay is that the author is persuaded that he has no religious point of view. I say we should leave the USA to its own secular, humanist, materialist, sex-charged, socialist agenda. Christians should simply sit down, shut up, and never have an opinion. We should let the country be run by homosexuals and atheists and Darwinists (because they are separate from atheists) and liberals and abortionists and politicians and murderers and pedophiles and rapists and the like.
Because freedom is a great thing: “The Supreme Court, by way of just one example, has now been so front-loaded with righteous misogynists, we’ve already lost great hunks of women’s rights, environmental protections and many of the cornerstones of America’s moral foundation.” (Although, to be sure, the author cites no references to validate his assertions, which is strange because at the beginning of the essay he also asserted, “We’ve got urban smoking bans and Smart cars and women finally rising to the most powerful positions in the land.” So, I’m having trouble understanding how all these womens’ rights have been lost and yet women can also rise to the ‘most powerful positions in the land.’ I don’t think he has his fact straight on this, but that’s beside the point.) Let freedom ring!
I am also glad he criticized the mega-church movement because from my point view nothing has been more damaging to the Christian faith than the mega-church movement (especially the sorts associated with Osteen, Haggard, and their ilk.) I’m glad that Mr Morford is raising awareness of this dangerous trend towards such shallow easy believism.
In short, I’m grateful for Mr Morford’s essay. I hope more Christians will read it and give their approval. It is a dangerous thing when the church gets mixed up in politics because then politicians start expecting things in return. What belongs to Caesar should be kept by Caesar and what belongs to God should remain with God. The Church of Jesus Christ does not need the help of the government of the United States to accomplish its mission. The church has survived countless wars, countless rebellions, numerous attempts to eradicate it, numerous internal scandals, bad decisions, and scandals in its years of existence.
My only hope, for Mr Morford’s sake, is that the United States has the same wherewithal and the same courage and the same staying power as the Church. I hope the United States can survive the legalized infanticide; I hope the United States can survive the normalization of homosexuality; I hope the United States can survive a war fought with a woman as the Commander in Chief; I hope the United States can survive the ramifications of taking God out of every nook and cranny and replacing Him with empty Darwinism; I hope the United States can survive the blasphemies and scandals of our politicians; I hope the United States can survive the hubris of people who don’t understand Genesis 18:16-33; I hope the United States can survive a thoroughly godless culture filled with murder, rape, pornography, pedophilia, racial strife, hypocrisy, violence, hatred, anger, suicide and meaninglessness.
Yes, Mr Morford! Praise Jesus! The church will survive, thrive, and outlast all this. I wonder if the United States will?
PS–But what does it matter as long as none of smoke, as long as none of contribute to global warming by driving big cars, and as long as George Bush is not the president? I can’t wait until Hilary is elected. I can’t wait until she has to face the pressure daily of that job. I can’t wait to see how long it will be before she starts asking evangelical Christians to pray for her as she goes about the business of decided which men and women she will sacrifice to keep the rest of us safe. Yes, I agree Mr Morford, Evangelical Christians should be thoroughly, totally, completely stripped of all influence in this nation. Go Secular humanism! Go materialism! Go liberalism! Go Darwinism! Go Atheism! What a great place to live!
This story is making the rounds quickly. [See My Previous Post.] Turns out, our good friend, Richard Dawkins has been duped yet again by Creationists. You know, I have written about Prof Dawkins and how intelligent he is, but for the life of me I cannot understand why he continues to agree to interviews for films concerning creation and Darwinism. In this story, Dawkins rails at Creationist front, Dawkins says:
Professor Dawkins, who is speaking at the Atheist Alliance convention in Crystal City, Virginia, said in an email that had he known the film’s premise he would not have agreed to take part. “At no time was I given the slightest clue that these people were a creationist front,” he said. Other atheists said they were uneasy about the way they felt they had been duped.
Darwinists are fond of reminding Christians how easily we are being duped by creation fairy tales. Yet every time I turn around, Prof Dawkins has agreed to an interview that he did not carefully research. Then, later on when he finds out the ‘truth’, he claims he was ‘duped.’ This guy is such rube!
Why does he care if he was ‘duped’? Would his views change if he knew the ‘real motives of the film’s producers’? Would he talk differently? Reason differently? Would he answer questions differently? Like when I posted that video of Dawkins being unable to answer a question. Well, of course, he was duped! And when realized who and what and where and why, well, he immediately cut-off the interview! Those Christians and their devious methods of getting Dawkins to say things on camera are just plain devilish!
Look, if the Miracle Theater is not stupid in their latest publicity stunt to rebuke KG, then I don’t believe for a minute that Richard Dawkins, published author, seer, genius, Oxford Scholar, Charles Simonyi Professor of Public Understanding of Science (READ: PROPAGANDIST EXTRAORDINAIRE) was in any way ‘duped.’ This guy is like any other person: He wants to sell books, he wants his face on film, he wants to make a buck or a pound or a euro any way he can. He wanted his name on the credits!
He is just a crybaby. He’ll claim his statements were taken out of context or something stupid like that. But why anyone would need to take his statements out of context is beyond me. He’s not ashamed of who he is. What amazes me is that he continues to be ‘duped’. He is either really naive or he is easily duped or just a liar. I’m trying to be nice, but it is just absurd to think the Prof Dawkins or any other ‘scientist’ was duped into anything. One more thing:
Paul Zachary “PZ” Myers, a biology professor at the University of Minnesota and a leading critic of creationism, reproduced on Prof Dawkins’ website a letter from Mark Mathis, a producer for Rampant Films. It says: “We are in production of the documentary film Crossroads: The Intersection of Science and Religion … we are interested in asking you questions about the disconnect/controversy that exists in America between evolution, creationism and the intelligent design movement.”
Where’s the dupe? They said it was a film about the disconnect/controversy that exists between evolution, etc. It appears to me that all the producers did was change the name of the film. What are these people whining about? Gosh, ‘if evolutionists, Darwinists and atheists think that Darwinism and evolution and atheism are so interesting, the onus is on them to show that there is anything (or nothing) to talk about. Otherwise, they should just shut up about it’ (my take on a Dawkins phrase). Seriously! What I am tired of is Darwinists thinking they have a monopoly on knowledge. That’s what I think Dawkins is really miffed at: Someone is challenging him and that much he hates. He likes it when he controls the conversation (say, in a book). He doesn’t like being challenged at all. That much is clear.
I just came across this at WND, a new documentary film featuring Ben Stein is scheduled for release early in 2008. The film, called Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed , tackles the growing problem of un-diversity when it comes to the education of children in schools and the persecution of those who disagree with ‘big science.’ Says WND:
In the movie, Stein, who is also a lawyer, economist, former presidential speechwriter, author and social commentator, is stunned by what he discovers – an elitist scientific establishment that has traded in its skepticism for dogma. Even worse, say publicists for the feature film, “along the way, Stein uncovers a long line of biologists, astronomers, chemists and philosophers who have had their reputations destroyed and their careers ruined by a scientific establishment that allows absolutely no dissent from Charles Darwin’s theory of random mutation and natural selection.”
As “Expelled’s” official website asks: “What freedom-loving student wouldn’t be outraged to discover that his high school science teacher is teaching a theory as indisputable fact, and that university professors unmercifully crush any fellow scientists who dare question the prevailing system of belief? This isn’t the latest Hollywood comedy; it’s a disturbing new documentary that will shock anyone who thinks all scientists are free to follow the evidence wherever it may lead.”
For example, Stein meets Richard Sternberg, a double Ph.D. biologist who allowed a peer-reviewed research paper describing the evidence for intelligence in the universe to be published in the scientific journal Proceedings. Shortly after publication, officials from the National Center for Science Education and the Smithsonian Institution, where Sternberg was a research fellow, began a coordinated smear-and-intimidation campaign to get the promising young scientist fired. The attack on scientific freedom was so egregious that it prompted a congressional investigation.
In the film, Stein meets other scientists like astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez, who was denied tenure at Iowa State University in spite of an extraordinary record of achievement. Gonzalez made the mistake of documenting the design he has observed in the universe. And there are others, like Caroline Crocker, a brilliant biology teacher at George Mason University who was forced out of the university for briefly discussing problems with Darwinian theory and for telling the students that some scientists believe there is evidence of design in the universe.
This is exactly the problem I have been documenting. Darwinists want the right to teach their dogma, and only a few really deny they have a right to (I’m not one of them), but they want no one to challenge the premises of that dogma. Those who do challenge are often labeled in various ways from ‘believers in fairy-tales’ to ‘stupid Creationists’ to ‘uneducated Christians.’
Now I am not advocating the film. I am illustrating the point: IF evolution, Darwinism, is such a sound doctrine, why is no one allowed to challenge it? Why can’t it’s premises, which ARE NOT sound be uncovered? Why are alternative theories not permitted to be taught: AND PLEASE SPARE ME THE BS ABOUT THIS BEING SCIENCE BUILT ON FACT AND ‘ALTERNATIVES’ BEING RELIGION DISGUISED AS SCIENCE. We all know now that Darwinism is just as much a religion as Christianity. It is ignorant denial to say that it isn’t. (It is also just as naive to say that Darwinism doesn’t necessitate atheism or at least lead in that direction or at least facilitate it.)
If those who believe in evolution should have the right to have their theory taught, then why shouldn’t others have the right to have their theory taught regardless of what the theory entails? Teaching a theory that contains religious ideas is not even close to ‘making a law establishing religion.’ And despite what Darwinists say, their evidence is just sketchy at best. It remains an elusive theory, not remotely close to a proven fact, even though Darwinists would have us believe it is settled science.
I’m not even saying I want Scripture taught in school. I can handle that on my own, within my own family, within my own church. What I am saying to Darwinists who insist on teaching their insipid, foundation-less, theories and dogmas is this: If you have rights, so do the rest of us. You should be no more privileged than any of the rest of us. If you have a right to teach your beliefs, so do we. If you have a right to have your children taught ‘facts’ then the rest of us have a right to have those ‘facts’ challenged by other ‘facts’. I don’t understand why Darwinists feel they should have more of a right to teach their beliefs than anyone else should to teach theirs. Talk about inequality! Talk about one-sided hypocrisy! Talk about zealotry! I don’t understand what Darwinists are afraid of, but I have a feeling that this new film will educate me. What Darwinists want is compliance. They don’t want challenge because they know when the challenges are mounted their theory will crumble.
Or, they will say things like, “Oh, you just don’t understand how evolution works.” Riiiiiiiiiiightttttttttt!
If we live in America, then all Americans should be entitled to the same information: Not just one side of the story. If we live in America, then we live in a place where people should be educated to make a rational choice. We do not live in a place where we forcibly indoctrinate people to believe nonsense regardless of whether that nonsense is Darwinism or something vaguely labeled ‘religion.’ We should educate people to make a choice based on all possible evidence, of all possibly ideas. (PS–ALSO DO ME THE FAVOR OF NOT TELLING ME THERE IS NO EVIDENCE FOR CREATION.)
I’m following Joe’s advice and not painting all atheists with the same brush. Normally, at least as far as Richard Dawkins and others are concerned, atheists are the ones who are being persecuted by the religious. They call on atheists to stand up for their atheist rights. They denounce mostly Christians as being dupes or haters or something less than creatures made in the image of the Holy God. Well, here’s a story (a story I’m posting as a general picture of some atheists and not a specific story of all atheists) for you to check out and comment on: Atheists Blast Creationists in Copyright Battle.
I think I might comment a little more on this later, but for now I’m just putting a link up so that no one thinks I am accusing all atheists of being evolutionists who hate Christians. Only some of them are. I don’t know why atheists are so concerned that Christians believe in something beyond themselves. My friend Jeff said in one of his posts that if Christians would just keep their views to themselves there would be no real problems. I can say the same thing here: Why can’t atheists and evolutionists keep their Damned (n the religious sense) religious views out of the schools, out of politics, and out of the way? Why don’t they just leave Christians and other religious folks in peace? Why must they be so evangelistic and hateful–not all of them, but a significant portion of them? I wish atheists would quit cramming their religious views down everyone’s throats. Gee Wally, they are more evangelistic than most Christians!
Why do atheists think they have a monopoly on rational beliefs? Why do evolutionists think they have the only voice on origins? Don’t bother answering those questions. I’m not defending CSEM or Hovind. I’m simply pointing out that not all atheists should be colored with the same crayon.
John 14:22-31 (90 Days with Jesus, Day 68)
Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” 23Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. 25″All this I have spoken while still with you. 26But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.28″You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, 31but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. “Come now; let us leave.
Judas (not Iscariot) asks Jesus a question that Jesus evidently didn’t think was meaningful. Judas asks, Jesus ignores his question altogether and goes back to the subject he’s been hammering home since the 13th chapter: Love. I sense Jesus saying to all of us, “There are some things that, while important, are not nearly as critical as others.” Primarily here he is telling us that the love we have for him takes second seat to no one, no thing, no topic. He began this section of Scripture by showing us the ‘full extent of his love’ by washing the feet of the disciples. He told us to imitate him, to love one another, to love one another, and to love one another. He’ll say other things about this love later too.
Eugene Peterson has an interesting thought about this love. In Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places he writes,
As we develop genetically, things come into play that do require teaching and training: reading and writing, social skills, artistic and athletic competence, emotional and relational understandings, how to repair a transmission, how to program a computer, how to get to the moon. At the top of these learned behaviors, these achieved identities, is love” (327-328).
What? We have to learn how to love?
“Everyone more or less knows this, but after we’ve reached the age of thirty or so, having failed at it so many times, it seems so out of reach that many of us settle for a human identity that is more accessible—like the one associated with playing the violin, or playing a ten-handicap gold game, or repairing a transmission, or getting to the moon. When we run into John’s barrage of sentences on love, it just doesn’t seem very practical. We shrug our shoulders and say, ‘Well, I’ve tried it, tried it a lot. I don’t seem to be very good at it, and the friends I’ve tried it on don’t seem to be very good at it either. How about something a little more down to earth?” (328)
True, we are quick to quit. We easily give up when we fail at love—or, when others fail at love to us. If loving our friends and enemies whom we can see is difficult, imagine how much more difficult it will be to love Jesus whom we cannot see. But here’s where Peterson cinches it:
“This is who you are, your identity, loved by God. But being loved is not all there is to it. Being loved creates a person who can love, who must love. Getting love is a launch into giving love….Every sentence [of John] comes out more or less the same: God loves you; Christ shows you how love works; now you love. Love, love, love, love. Just do it.” (328-329; Peterson is talking about our love for one another and his context is 1 John. Nevertheless, the point is the same.)
If Jesus washed our feet (or if he died on the cross ‘for God so loved the world’ or demonstrated his love while we were yet sinners by dying on the cross) he has not merely created people who are grateful; he has created people who can and will love. This love transcends all the prejudice and hatred and anger and arrogance of others and of ourselves. Furthermore, I believe this love starts with Jesus. If the words Jesus spoke are the Words of the Father, then God is telling us the necessary requirements of his affection: If we are loved, we must love. If we truly love, we will be loved. I don’t think it is possible to say, “I Love Jesus” and not submit to his authority and to his Lordship. If we say we love Jesus then we will have no problems joyfully responding to his call with obedience and submission. But those who refuse to submit to Him in joy and obedience really call their own love into question for the very reason that they are challenging Jesus’ authority to set the standards of reciprocal love.
I don’t think Jesus is talking here about saving grace. I think Jesus is talking about the love that someone professing to be saved, someone professing to be a disciple, will demonstrate. By our obedience to Him, by our submission to him, we demonstrate our love and affection. Is it too much for Jesus to ask that we demonstrate our love for him? Does he even ask us to do so of our own strength? Or does ‘the Counselor’ sent in Jesus’ Name by the Father, guide and direct into the path of obedient love? Furthermore, doesn’t Jesus set the example: “…the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” Is this not the example we are to follow?
We are loved, then, in order that we might love in return. We follow the example of Jesus. There is nothing but obedience for those who claim to love Jesus. If we love him, we will obey him and demonstrate that we truly belong to Him.
What does it mean to obey him? How do we demonstrate our love for him? How can we follow his example and be obedient to his will as he was obedient to the Father’s will? That’s the trick, isn’t it? But then again, is it hard? I think not because it all starts back in chapter 13 and the demonstration of the full extent of our love for one another. I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to say that our demonstration of love, through obedience, for Jesus starts with our obedience to his ‘new’ command that we love one another. Think about it: If we cannot obey this one simply command, to love one another, do you think it possible we can obey anything else that Jesus commanded us to do? Or, take it from this way, if we have never known or even experienced the Love of Jesus do you think for a minute we will be compelled to love Him or love one another?
In many ways, I think it is time for the world to see that Christians, those who follow Jesus, always do what Jesus commanded us. It is time for the world to understand that we follow no one but Jesus, that we serve no one but Jesus, that we love no god but Jesus. It is time for the world to see that Christians always do exactly what Jesus commanded us, and I think this starts with love. The first step to learning how to love is by being loved. Jesus loves us, and demonstrates that love, so that we can love, and will.
Soli Deo Gloria!
John 14:15-21 (90 Days With Jesus, Day 67)
15″If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
I have done a lot of talking on this blog, and in this series of meditations on John’s Gospel, about the nature of discipleship, what it costs, what its demands are. Being a disciple of Jesus is not cheap, nor is the grace that creates disciples in the first place. Cheap grace, according to Bonhoeffer, is the downfall of the Christian Church. And David Wells has written powerfully about how the church has become less powerful because we have adopted the methodologies of the prevailing culture rather than teaching the hard truth about God, the Cross, and the cost of discipleship. In a sense, we have lessened the demands of a Holy God by forcing God into our shapes and sizes and ideas instead of allowing His thoughts to shape us. So Wells,
“Holiness is what defines God’s character most fundamentally, and a vision of this holiness should inspire his people and evoke their worship, sustain their character, fuel their passion for truth, and encourage persistence in efforts to do his will and call on his name in petitionary prayer” (God in the Wasteland, 136)
Wells wrote many such things and we ignore his prophetic voice to our own peril. The author of Hebrews wrote it this way, “It is a dangerous thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Wells wrote, “In His holiness God is not to be trifled with; familiarity with God inherently borders on contempt and is subject to judgment” (Wasteland, 141). But the sad truth is that the American Church, in its ongoing charge to be taken seriously and be considered relevant and to have a voice that is heard, has trivialized God’s holiness and the demands of discipleship, the wonders of loving obedience, and blessings of Trinitarian fellowship. What is the solution?
Elton Trueblood wrote in his little book A Place to Stand that what is needed, desperately, ‘is the emergence of Christian intellectuals. If Basic Christianity is to survive, it must be served by a highly dedicated and highly trained group of persons who are unabashed and unapologetic in the face of opposition and ridicule’ (A Place to Stand, 20 1969). I wonder if this is true or not. Don’t get me wrong: We need highly trained specialists whose focus is in areas of apologetics and logic and theology. My question is where do they come from? I think those people come not from the high towers of academia, but from the rank and file of the church. Their training, thus, begins from the pulpit.
Now this all serves as a brief introduction to my thoughts about what Jesus said here in John 14. Jesus said: If you love me, you will obey me. He did not equivocate. He did not mince words. He did not pull punches. While we are certainly not saved because we obey commands, there is no doubt whatsoever that Jesus fully expected we would obey his commands—not to be saved—but because we are saved. As we thus grow in our love of Christ our obedience demonstrates the character of Christ and the Spirit whom Jesus gives shapes, molds, perfects and sanctifies the Christian. Eventually, there will be no doubt in the minds of those who see us that God lives in us by His Spirit.
The point, I think, is rather clear and far reaching. If we truly love Jesus then we are not merely going to be hear his word. Nor are we merely going to mouth words like ‘I love Jesus.’ If we truly love Jesus then we are committed to obey Jesus. He is the authority to whom we answer. He is the one to whose Lordship we submit. “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do these things.” Now what he says is this, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.” There is virtually no difference between these two statements. It is impossible to say that you love Jesus and not submit to his authority to dictate commands and his authority to demand of us holiness and perfection.
Am I advocating perfectionism? No. Am I saying we will never falter, fall, sin, do the wrong thing? No. Am I saying we should just be happy to rest in his grace and that we don’t really have to make any effort? No. What I am saying is that true love is true delight. In other words, if we really love Jesus it is a delight and an honor and pure joy to serve him by obeying him. We don’t think of this as an unreachable or unrealistic goal to achieve. We think of this as an everyday adventure to say, “Lord, how may I obey and serve you today?” It is, in the words of AW Tozer, the ‘Pursuit of God.’ It is the ongoing hunger and thirst for righteousness. It is the ongoing first seeking of His Kingdom and His righteousness. It is pure delight! Pure joy! It is pure blessedness! It is what we were created for and what we were not created for. That is, we were not created for slavish disobedience and slavery to the flesh. We were created for fellowship in Christ through obedience to His perfect will.
Is this not what he says? “If you obey…I will send the Counselor to be with you forever…he lives in you and will be in you…I will not leave you…I will come to you…Because I live you will live…I am in the Father…you are in me…I am in you…he who loves me will be loved by my Father…and I will love him too…and show myself to him…” Do you get it? We were created not to be pawns or playthings or disobedient devil worshipers. We were created to live in fellowship with God. Jesus is talking here about perfect fellowship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! (See 1 John 1-2.) If there is anything that is a hindrance to fellowship it is most certainly disobedience because in disobedience we have ceased pursuing God and righteousness first.
I don’t know if I am adequately explaining this or not. I hope I am because what I see taking place in a lot of churches is exactly the opposite. I see striving and chasing and pursuit of many things that have nothing to do, necessarily, with the pursuit of holiness. There’s too much fluff; too much seeking of the ‘experience’ instead of the real Thing. Psalm 63:8 says, “My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me” (KJV). What I wonder is if all the fluff that exists in churches is fluff because we love Jesus or because we want stuff? What is the pursuit really of?
Christianity is not merely a discipline to be mastered. Christianity is a joy. We don’t obey to get saved or to get happiness or to get necessarily anything. We obey because we love. We love because we are loved. There is fellowship and peace in loving obedience to Jesus Christ. We pursue, followeth hard after God, because we love Him. Is this not what God truly desires of his people most? Does God require anything of us be the impassioned pursuit of his holiness? Can we think about the fact that He gave us life and be full of love and joy and so seek the One who has shown us such favor? “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land, where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1, NIV).
Just ask yourself what you are pursuing. Ask yourself why you are pursuing God. Why are you striving to be obedient? Is it because you truly love Jesus and desire perfect fellowship with Him? Or is it something else, something less, something here? “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; they will be filled.”
Soli Deo Gloria!
(**WARNING**: The story is offensive and graphic. Use extreme caution.)
The protagonist in this story says:
“I want religion to stop taking society and the vulnerable for idiots,” the 59-year-old artist, Stig Ramsing, told the online version of Helsingborgs Dagblad newspaper.
How did he do just that?
A Swedish artist unveiled Tuesday a sculpture depicting Christ as a well-endowed dog, saying he wanted to stimulate debate about religion and freedom of expression in the wake of a row over cartoons of the prophet Mohammed, Swedish media reported.
Uh, right. This will go a long way towards “religion [not] taking society and the vulnerable for idiots.” Wait, did he say he doesn’t want us to take him for an idiot or that he wants us to take him for an idiot? I’m not sure. Where’s Mr. Donohue and the Catholic League?!? This cinches it for me: Society and the vulnerable (READ: inconsequential artists from Sweden) are no longer idiots.
Furthermore, I agree: this will certainly stir debate. The debate will go something like this:
Did you hear about that Sweedish artist who can’t draw?
Yes, I did. He’s a sculptor right?
Right. And a moron. And an offensive nincompoop. And, evidently, he’s on the Sweedish debate team.
No. I think he’s a genius. He’s just saying what we atheists have believed all along.
No, he’s a moron who has no artistic talent and has to resort to mockery to get some attention for his otherwise non-existent career as an artist.
No, he’s great.
No, he’s not.
And so on and so forth. Is this really the best way to spark a debate? Wouldn’t a better way to start a debate be to say something like:
Atheists lead hopeless, meaningless lives that will eventually end in death at which time they will most certainly meet the God they have denied all their lives?
“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.'” (Psalm 14:1; Atheists love when Christians cite their myths (Scripture).)
“Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” And apart from faith in Jesus, atheists and all others will be completely lost?
Yes, I think that is a much better way to spark a debate. Anyone can put a crucifix in piss, or paint Mary Magdalene naked or depict the Last Supper as a homosexual S & M festival or paint a dog on a cross with ‘enormous sexual organs.’ Seriously, one must be profoundly intelligent, supremely in-tune with the earth’s rotation, and abundantly gifted with artistic talent. Move over Da Vinci! Move over Van Gogh! Move over Monet! And all the rest of you: The Swedish artists are on their way up!
Gosh, atheists are so pathetic. (Not you Joe and certainly not my friend Jeff. But all the rest of you Swedish atheists are certainly a lot of bother.) Seriously, is that really the best they’ve got?
Friends, (**WARNING**: If you click the link to this story, and you are a Christian, you are likely to be highly offended at the picture that is shown about half-way down the page. You’ve been warned.)
I don’t even know where to begin with this story. It involves, again, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League and something referred to as the ‘Folsom Street Fair.’ I am simply aghast. I really don’t know which is worse: That the Folsom Street Fair features people making mockery of the Christian faith:
The annual street event, which includes displays of nudity and sexual activity, is scheduled for Sept. 30. It describes its mission as organizing “world-class volunteer driven leather events, providing the adult alternative lifestyle community safe venues for self-expression, emphasizing freedom, fun and frolic, while raising money to benefit San Francisco charities.”
Or that fact that Mr. Donohue is concerned because Miller Brewing company is a sponsor of the event.
Responding to pressure from Christian groups, the Miller Brewing Co. is asking organizers of a “gay” street celebration in San Francisco to remove its logo from a promotional poster portraying Jesus Christ and his disciples as “half-naked homosexual sadomasochists.”
I’m not sure, seriously, why Mr Donohue cares that a Beer company is advertising at this festival. Is Mr Donohue threatening Miller Brewing by intimating that if they don’t stop advertising all the Christian Beer drinkers out there might stop drinking their beer? Well, it appears so:
Donohue said Miller’s subsidy of the “Sisters” could prompt a boycott and further exposure of what the event is all about, including photographs from recent years. “This is the most morally depraved, bigoted segment of gay population,” Donohue said of the anti-Catholic group.
And yet, homosexuals want to be included as part of the orthodox church of Jesus Christ. They want to be included as a normal representation of something lovely because it involves love. Now I know that not all homosexuals are involved in this fair, and not all of them are ‘Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.’ Still, this is homosexuality. It is rather difficult to make a distinction between one group and the other.
Anyhow, I guess this means, for all you Christians out there, that you should stop drinking Miller Beer (as if any of us do anyhow; can you say, ‘Bud’?) But all joking aside, it is stuff like this that persuades people like me that homosexuality is exactly what we’ve been saying it is: Sin. As such, it has no place whatsoever in the church.
PS–Just for the record, I do agree with Mr. Donohue. This is quite an abomination. I just don’t think calling for only Miller Brewing to remove its ad is the best idea since there are obviously many others advertising on the bottom of the post. Still, I am glad that he is out there drawing people’s attention to the obscenity and perversion that is homosexualism in America. On the other hand, this is similar to the KG case. We may not like what they are saying, but in America, God Bless her, they have a right to say it. I just wish so many people would quit listening.
John 14:1-14 (90 Days with Jesus, Day 66)
1″Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going.” 5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” 8Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
I mentioned in a post a day or two ago that I have been reading an older book by J. I. Packer titled Beyond the Battle for the Bible. The chapter I am currently reading, Inerrancy in Current Debate, centers around the idea that the Bible is, in fact, inerrant. I wholly agree with this conclusion. Inerrancy entails some very specific ideas concerning how we approach the Bible text. Packer proposes necessary entailments of inerrancy. I shall note only two.
First, he says that since the Bible is inerrant (and infallible) we should ‘see both words as safeguarding a particular procedure in interpretation.’ So he writes,
What are these words for? it is asked. What is their function? The immediate answer is: to declare that we accept as true what Scripture says. This is certainly part of the job they do. But the deeper answer to the question will surely be that we use them to declare our commitment to a way of interpreting the Bible which expresses faith in the truthfulness of the God who speaks to us in and through what it says and who requires us to heed every word that proceeds from his mouth.(51)
Second, he says that since the Bible is inerrant (and infallible) we should ‘recognize that the words have confessional significance and a self-involving logic.’ Thus,
Let it be understood that for me to confess that Scripture is infallible and inerrant is to bind myself in advance to follow the method of harmonizing and integrating all that Scripture declares, without remainder, and taking it as from God to me, however little I may like it and whatever change of present beliefs, ways and commitments it may require. (53)
Now if I apply these two statements to my interpretation of John 14:1-14 what conclusions will I come to and how will they affect my understanding of these verses? This is important because the current way of doing things, the popular way, is really to deny that Scripture is infallible and inerrant, and so somehow many have managed to create their own version of Christian faith which is really no Christian faith at all. In other words, we don’t change Scripture to conform to our experience, but we conform our experience to Scripture. It is quite dangerous that we should all create our own experiential religion. This also means that we accept the words of Scripture as implicitly true words that proceed from the mouth of God. For the Christian then, while it is conceivable that some may be led astray by errant teachers and fallible guides, it is inconceivable that it is because something in Scripture is not true. Again, when we begin with this premise, Scripture binds us and sets us free.
What can we then conclude from John 14:1-14 with this inerrancy and infallibility serving as the foundation upon which we build?
First, we can conclude that we are going to have reasons for being troubled in this world. No doubt. But, we can also conclude that Jesus who ‘went away’ to ‘prepare a place for’ us will come back for us. We accept this implicitly. It’s not a matter of if Jesus will come back any more than it is a matter of if he will be vindicated. No, Jesus said he will come back. He will not abandon us or leave us as orphans. We can have every reason for confidence that Jesus will indeed come back to this planet and rescue his people.
Second, we can conclude that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and that ‘no one comes to the Father except through’ him. Now many in this world are convinced of a couple of different things. On the one hand some are convinced that there is no God for us to ‘come to’ and thus Jesus’ words are meaningless drivel. On the other hand, it is taught in many places that there are plenty of different ways to the Father. I’ve even heard popular preacher Joel Osteen make a comment to this effect in an interview with Larry King. If the Word of God is inerrant and infallible then we accept that Jesus is the Only Way to the Father—There is no salvation apart from Jesus Christ. Period. But this also means that there is a Father for us to ‘go to.’ It makes no difference how many people deny it or mock it or ridicule it. If the Bible is the Word of God then this is what we believe and this is the way God has arranged salvation to happen: Through Jesus and Jesus alone. There is no Buddhist way, no Hindu way, no Muslim way, no Judaism way. There is only Jesus Messiah.
Third, we can conclude that Jesus if we want to now God the Father, if we want to see him, we have to know Jesus. This is tied tightly to the above paragraph. What is simply amazing is that Jesus here is thoroughly identifying himself with God. In other words, Jesus is saying, “I am God.” This is amazing and profound. If we begin with our premise of inerrancy and infallibility, the testimony of Scripture to itself, then the implications of this statement are more than I can write in this space. He carries this on through verse 11. Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Him. The Words he speaks are not just his words, they are the words of the Father. The miracles He does are from the Father. If we want to ‘see’ the Father, we must look to Jesus. There is no other way to see God. Only through Jesus can we behold the Almighty God of Creation, of the Universe.
Fourth, we can conclude that Jesus will ‘do whatever we ask in his name to bring glory to the Father.’ We can conclude that Jesus is the proper object of our faith. We can conclude, in short, that Jesus’ will is to bring glory to the Father and nothing will prevent that from happening. We can have confidence that what Jesus spoke, he meant. And what he meant he will bring to fruition. And what he brings to fruition will bring glory to the Father. What we learn here is that the Will of the Father and the Will of the Son are in complete harmony with one another. There is no ‘competition’ or ‘struggle of the will.’ Jesus ‘always does what pleases the Father.’
I think what we see taking place in the American church today is that many feel like they have to skirt the issue of infallibility and inerrancy because they are afraid of being ridiculed by those who won’t believe. So what happens is that these preachers create a cross-less Gospel which involves believing in whatever you want to believe about the Scripture so long as Jesus is in there somewhere and so long as it has something to do with something vaguely referred to as church. But how can we believe this promises of Jesus if the Bible isn’t true at all points? How can I believe that Jesus is coming back to take us to the Father if in fact Jesus was really real, or if Jesus wasn’t really God, or if Jesus wasn’t really authorized to make such statements? If Jesus was not God then Jesus had no real authority to make such statements and we can rightfully ignore him.
When it gets down to the nitty-gritty, those who doubt the inerrancy and infallibility of the Scripture ultimately doubt Jesus. Scripture, from first to last, is a testimony to Jesus Christ (Luke 14, John 5). If Scripture’s testimony isn’t true can we reasonably assume that we are being told the truth about Jesus? There is great danger in reducing the Word of God from its God-breathed inerrancy to a collection of mere man-myths.
But if Jesus is God, and if the Scripture is inerrant and infallible, then Jesus does have the authority and the power to make such statements and to bring them to fruition. Many think that Jesus needs some help along the way. They think they are making God to be greater by ‘broadening’ the road and being more ‘tolerant’ and ‘inclusive’. Jesus didn’t think that was the way to bring honor to the Father. The way to honor the Father is by having confidence and faith in the Words that Jesus spoke, the Words that He means to bring to fulfillment when the ages have reached their conclusion.
Soli Deo Gloria!
I know most of you are going to be rushing right out to buy this book, so before you do, please read this review. It might just help you to save the $20 you will spend at amazon. Benjamin Wiker writes:
Stenger’s argument is this: We do know enough to disprove the existence of God (big G) because we can define the attributes or effects big G would have in His interaction with the world; and since we can define them, then we can test the particular big-G model against the evidence that would either vindicate or annihilate it. Thus, he isn’t actually arguing that no god exists, but that the big G (“a God having the attributes that are traditionally associated with the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God”) does not exist.”
Stenger argues that any claim of evidence put forth by a theist—be it an actual miracle or some scientific fact that seems to point to the existence of God—cannot count as real evidence “if a plausible scientific model consistent with all existing knowledge can be found” that makes God’s existence unnecessary. For if such a model can be imagined, “then the [theistic] claim fails.” And now hold your breath, because this is a direct quote of the very next line: “The [scientific] model need not be proven to be correct, just not proven to be incorrect.”
In other words, Stenger doesn’t actually put forth an argument at all. And, if what Wiker writes is true (and I have no reason to doubt it) then why is it always the so-called ‘Abrahamic’ God (big G) that is being attacked? I think it is just one more piece of evidence that suggests atheists are terribly afraid of the Abrahamic God. After all, doesn’t it make sense to suggest that you can only really attack something that is real? I mean, logically speaking, if the Abrahamic God didn’t exist, would Stenger, Dawkins, Harris, et al have anyone or anything to attack? Their books would be quite meaningless (they are anyhow).
But I have noticed this about these atheists who write these books attacking God or writing about why ‘he almost certainly does not exist’ (to borrow a chapter heading used by Dawkins). They never actually provide conclusive evidence that God doesn’t exist. They provide plenty of anecdotal evidence that the people who belong to said God cast him in a bad light because of their behavior. But for all their vitriol and hypotheses, they never have so much as a single shred of evidence that proves God does not exist. Their best argument is: “God doesn’t exist.” So Wiker:
As the history of science should make evident, since such models regularly replace one another, relying on consistency and practical use to define a scientific model only tells you that, as far as you know, this is the best way to describe such and such. It does not make a demonstrably definitive statement about all reality and hence all possible knowledge. No scientific model—on Stenger’s own definition—could demonstrate what it would have to demonstrate either to prove the existence of what it describes or to prove the non-existence of what doesn’t fit the model. Therefore, Stenger’s entire argument proves nothing at all.
Precisely. And isn’t that exactly what he set out to prove? Maybe someday atheists will come clean, be honest, and just admit that even though they know in their hearts that there is a God, specifically the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, they simply do not want to believe in Him because then they would be forced to submit to Him.
If you have the time, and get the chance, check out this blog by C Michael Patton concerning whether or not Joel Osteen is preaching a different gospel and worshiping a different God than that of the Scripture. Patton writes,
Let me be serious. I don’t know if Osteen’s God is different than mine. What I do know is that there are characteristics and motivations in his God that are completely opposite of mine. My God allows suffering and pain for His own purpose. My God is a potter, who has sovereign right over His creation. My God does what He will, not what I will. My God is loving, but He is also one of great indignation. My God does love everyone, but He also created a terrible place called Hell for his enemies. My God does not have it high on His agenda for me to be rich (or even pay the bills).
I also know that this theology [I presume he means’ Osteen’s here], while motivational for a time, destroys lives. It builds false expectation. It makes people put their trust in characteristics of God that just do not exist. When these characteristics fail (and they will fail —ever heard of “death”? It is hard to escape no matter how positive your thinking is), then, in these people’s minds, God has failed. I have seen too many people walk away from the “Jesus” that they created when he failed to heal them of their cancer or when he could not seem to get them a job. But the question is Did they walk away from Jesus or from Daikoku-Sonja (aka Jesus)?
Here is the question: Where does one draw the line? When has ones description of God become so foreign to the biblical God that it should thought of as a different god with the same name? After all, a name does not mean much if that which the name represents does not mirror its true characteristics.
I think Patton makes a pretty good point, but you’ll have to decide for yourself. There is no doubt in my mind that Osteen is not preaching the Gospel of the New Testament. What do you think? Do you think that Osteen worships the God of the Scripture or not?