Saturday, January 31, 2009

Liberals in Love - Interview with Bernard Goldberg

Liberals in Love
By Bill Steigerwald | Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Award-winning network TV reporter Bernard Goldberg first hit pay dirt in the book world with Bias, his 2001 best-seller exposing how the news we saw was distorted by the liberal bias of the journalists he worked with during his long career with CBS News. Several media books later, Goldberg is back with A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media. The Regnery Publishing book, which goes on sale Monday, indicts mainstream print and electronic journalists not for having liberal biases, which are a given, but for becoming open and unapologetic activists for Obama.

Q: What’s your 60-second synopsis of your book?
A: This is not a book about the same old media bias. This time journalists cross a very bright line. This time they stopped being witnesses to history and they were intent on helping to shape history. They moved from media bias to media activism. In my whole life I have never seen the media get on board for one candidate the way they did this time around and -- this is very important -- they did it without even a hint of embarrassment.

It isn’t just conservatives that feel this way. Lots of people feel the media was in the tank for Barack Obama. They were because he was young, because he was cool, because he was black and because he was liberal. There’s no way in the world we would have seen this kind of slobbering if we would had just inaugurated the first black president who was conservative and Republican.
To read the rest click here

Wild About You Baby - Hound Dog Taylor & Little Walter

Excuses For Not Praying Part 3

I Feel No Need To Pray

This excuse is a trifle trickier than the first two. Few of us are so crass that we self-consciously reason, “I am too important to pray. I am too self-confident to pray. I am too independent to pray.” Instead, what happens is this: Although abstractly I may affirm the importance of prayer, in reality I may treat prayer as important only in the lives of other people, especially those whom I judge to be weaker in character, more needy, less competent, less productive. Thus, while affirming the importance of prayer, I my not feel deep need for prayer in my own life. I may be getting along so well without much praying that my self-confidence is constantly being reinforced. That breeds yet another round of prayerlessness.

What is God’s response? If Christians who shelter beneath such self-assurance do not learn better ways by listening to the Scriptures, God may address them in the terrible language of tragedy. We serve a God who delights to disclose himself to the contrite, to the lowly of heart, to the meek. When God finds us so puffed up that we do not feel our need for him, it is an act of kindness on his part to take us down a peg or two; it would be an act of judgment to leave us in our vaulting self-esteem.

A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers by D.A. Carson

Friday, January 30, 2009

Seinfeld - Anti-Dentite

Green Bibles

You knew it was only a matter of time before someone would release an environmentally friendly bible. Well it's here, HarperOne published a new bible with green ink to spotlight more than 1,000 verses about the goodness of creation and God's charge to mankind to care for it. Instead of using red ink to highlight the words of Jesus it's using green ink to highlight creation. The bible is printed with soy ink on recycled paper and eco-friendly linen. And of course instead of having commentary from theologians (mother earth forbid!) the Green Bible has essays by conservationists. It includes a reading guide tracking environmental themes.
"We need a bible like this" the Rev. Richard Cizik, vice president of the National Association of Evangelicals and environmental activist, told USA TODAY. I don't personally know the Rev. Cizik, but come on Rev. are you kidding me? When Jesus tells his disciples to "consider the lilies of the valley" does putting those words in green help anyone understand what Jesus is saying? Is the point of the message the environment? This kind of mush minded thinking is just dumber than dirt, this Rev. needs to turn in his collar and join green peace.

"Pride And Joy" - Stevie Ray Vaughan

It's time to get back to the blues. This song was recorded at Montreux in 1985 and the band is rockin'.

Excuses For Not Praying Part 2

I Feel Too Dry Spiritually To Pray

Hidden behind this excuse are two presuppositions that are really quite monstrous. The first is that the acceptability of my approach to God in prayer out to be tied to how I feel. But is God especially impressed with us when we feel joyful or carefree or well rested or pious? Is not the basis of any Christian’s approach to the heavenly Father the sufficiency of Christ’s mediating work on our behalf? Is not this a part of what we mean when we pray “in Jesus’ name”? Are we not casting a terrible slur on the cross when we act as if the usefulness or acceptability of our prayers turns on whether we feel full or dry? True, when we feel empty and dispirited we may have to remind ourselves a little more forcefully that the sole reason why God accepts us is the grace that he ha bestowed upon us in the person and work of his Son. But that is surely better than giving the impression that we are somehow more fit to pray when we feel good.

The second unacceptable presupposition behind this attitude is that my obligation to pray is somehow diminished when I do not feel like praying. This is to assign to my mood or my feelings the right to determine what I ought to do. And that, of course, is unbearably self-centered. It means that I, and I alone, determine what is my duty, my obligation. In short, it means that I am y own god. It is to act as if the Bible never says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Rom. 12:12, emphasis added).

Excerpt from A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers by D.A. Carson

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Peace With God

"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Romans 5:1-2)

The traditional approach to Romans is to divide it into four sections— 1) chapters 1-4 on justification, 2) chapters 5-8 on sanctification, 3) chapters 9-11 God’s dealings with the Jews, 4) chapters 12-16 practical matters. I agree with F. Godet, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones and James Montgomery Boice that what Paul is really presenting in Romans 5:1-11 is the beginning of a well-developed statement on the security in Christ that comes to a believer as a result of their justification.

Verses 1 & 2 of chapter 5 are one sentence in the Greek. Paul starts with “Having been justified by faith” and ends with “rejoice in hope of the glory of God”. The “hope of the glory of God” is glorification. Paul does the same thing in Romans 8:30 “And those He predestined He also called; those He called, He also glorified”. Justification then glorification. Paul is saying if you have been justified then you will be glorified. The implication is that if you are going to be glorified then you will be sanctified. Paul’s primary concern is to show the absolute character, the fullness and the finality of the believers salvation that is the result of justification.

Most Christians have grown up in churches where the main emphasis was on sanctification and have never been taught justification by faith alone (they equate it only to the new birth and think "I’ve got that let’s move on"). As a result they live in fear and uncertainty about their relationship with God and whether or not they will make it to heaven. The Gospel has been reduced to: Jesus saves you and one day He will take you to heaven. But until He does it’s going to take your best effort, your going to have to really try to be sanctified, you will never have real assurance because it all depends on your performance and we the church will load you up with a list of rules, a list of do’s and don’ts to insure you will make it— if you do all these things. Because of the failure to understand justification they live without the peace of God.

Putting Lipstick On A Stimulus Plan

Late Show Top Ten - Top Ten Ways Rod Blagojevich Can Improve His Image

Top Ten Ways Rod Blagojevich Can Improve His Image

10. Star in new television series, "America's Funniest Haircuts"
9. Quit politics and become a fat, lovable mall cop
8. Start pronouncing last name with Jerry Lewis-like "BLAGOOOOYYYYYJEVICH"
7. Offer a Senate seat with no money down, zero percent interest
6. Team up with John Malkovich and Erin Brockovich for hot Malkovich-Brockovich-Blagojevich sex tape
5. Change his name to Barod Obamavich
4. Safely land an Airbus on the Hudson River
3. I don't know . . . how about showing up for his impeachment trial?
2. Wear sexy dresses, high heels, and say, "You Betcha!" a lot
1. Uhhh . . . resign?

"Please Mr. Postman" - The Marvelettes

This song was Motown's first chart-topper in 1961. The song featured a young Marvin Gaye on drums. I was 11 years old when this song came out and remember listening to it on the radio.

Excuses For Not Praying Part 1

I Am Too Busy

Lillian Guild tells an amusing story of an occasion when she and her husband were driving along and happened to notice a late-model Cadillac with its hood up, parked at the side of the road. Its driver appeared somewhat perplexed and agitated. Mrs. Guild and her husband pulled over to see if they could offer assistance. The stranded driver hastily and somewhat sheepishly explained that he had known when he left home that he was rather low on fuel, but he had been in a great hurry to get to an important business meeting so he had not taken time to full up his tank. The Cadillac needed nothing more than refueling. The Guilds happened to have a spare gallon of fuel with them, so they emptied it into the thirsty Cadillac, and told the other driver of a service station a few miles down the road. Thanking them profusely, he sped off.

Twelve miles or so later, they saw the same car. Hood up, stranded at the side of the road. The same driver, no les bemused than the first time, and even more agitated, was pathetically grateful when they pulled over again. You guessed it: he was in such a hurry for his business meeting that he had decided to skip the service station and press on in the dim hope that the gallon he had received would take him to his destination.

It is hard to believe anyone would be so stupid, until we remember that that is exactly how many of us go about the business of Christian living. We are so busy pressing on to the next item on the agenda that we choose not to pause for fuel. Sadly, Christian leaders may be among the worst offenders. Faced with constant and urgent demands, they find it easy to neglect their calling to the ministry of the Word and prayer because they are so busy. Indeed, they are tempted to invest all of their activity with transcendental significance, so that although their relative prayerlessness quietly gnaws away at the back of their awareness, the noise and pain can be swamped by the sheer importance of all the tings they are busily doing.

Excerpt from A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers by D.A. Carson

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Word Of Knowledge 8-Ball

The 10 Most Redeeming Films of 2008

What do irresistible robots, racist curmudgeons, and sensitive pachyderms have in common? They're all key characters in the year's best redemptive movies.
posted 01/27/09 Christianity Today Movies

So, what's a "redeeming" film? The definition varies, but for our list below, we mean movies that include stories of redemption—sometimes blatantly, sometimes less so. Several of them literally have a character that represents a redeemer; all of them have characters who experience redemption to some degree—some quite clearly, some more subtly. Some are "feel-good" movies that leave a smile on your face; some are a bit more uncomfortable to watch. But the redemptive element is there in all of these films.

1. Wall*E

2. The Visitor

3. Gran Torino

4. Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears A Who

5. Rachel Getting Married

6. Fireproof

7.The Dark Knight

8. Shotgun Stories

9. Slumdog Millionaire

10. Man On Wire

To read random comments from our critics or to read a full review of each movie click here

"The Tears Of A Clown" - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

Stevie Wonder wrote the music for this 1970 #1 hit. It was recorded by the Miracles in 1967. It was released in the U.S. three years latter only after it became a #1 hit in England.

Is Your Truth Objective?

It is precisely because Christian faith presents itself as objectively true that it has always exalted teaching. If there is a religion in the world that “exalts the teaching office,” James Orr said, “it is safe to say that it is the religion of Jesus Christ.” He went on to note that the doctrinal element, the substance of what could be taught, was conspicuous by its absence in paganism, whereas, by contuse, one of the distinguishing characteristics of the New Testament is the fact that it is “full of doctrine.” The New Testament “comes to men with definite, positive teaching; it claims to be the truth; it bases religion on knowledge….A religion based on mere feeling is the vaguest, most unreliable, most unstable of all things. Al strong, stable religious life can be built on no other ground than that of intelligent conviction.” Intelligent conviction requires for its underpinning and, its explanation, a truth that is objectively true. Unless truth is objective, it cannot be declared to others, cannot be taught to others, cannot be required of others. Wherever biblical religion has been recovered, the recovery of the teaching office is never far behind. Nor is the kind of biblical preaching the life and force of which the truth of Scripture. And wherever this preaching takes root, there the desire to know and practice God’s truth begins to blossom. And this is the soil, the only soil, in which theology can grow.

No Place For Truth Or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology? by David Wells pg. 281-282

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Holy Hip Hop and Revival

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

I have to comment on the article from World News Daily. I hope you follow the link and read the entire article. The Barna Group conducted the poll and latter in the article defined the people who called themselves Born Again Christians. "For the study, "born-again Christians" were defined as people who said they had made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that was still important in their life today and who also indicated they believed that when they die they will go to heaven because they had confessed their sins and had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior."

This definition is important because it reveals how biblically ignorant most people who call themselves Christians really are. 50 percent of these so-called Christians don't believe Satan exists, and 33 percent believe that Jesus sinned while he was on earth. How can a person say they believe Jesus is their Savior and yet not believe that Satan, the devil exists? Jesus talked about the devil, he cast out demons, what do they think Jesus meant when he talked about the existence of the devil? One third of these people think Jesus sinned this is a clear cut give away that they don't understand the gospel at all.

What polls like this reveal is that there are many religious people who claim Christianity but have no clue what it is about. It also reveals that biblical ignorance is at an all time high, not only in the pew but also in the pulpit. Barna noted the millions of people who describe themselves as Christian and believe Jesus sinned, or those who say they will experience eternal salvation because they confessed their sins and accepted Christ as their savior, "but also believe that a person can do enough good works to earn eternal salvation."

There is a religious version of Christianity that is a" self-help, pull yourself up spiritually, earn your way into heaven and with a little help from God you can make if you try, because your a good person and if anybody deserves to be there you do"; this is a false spirituality that is no more than a load of spiritual crap. Get into the bible and read it yourself and attend a Church that faithfully preaches the true gospel. There is a cure for this kind of ignorance.


WND Exclusive
1 in 3 'Christians' says 'Jesus sinned'
Barna poll shows adults develop their own beliefs

Posted: January 16, 2009
11:40 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

Half of Americans who call themselves "Christian" don't believe Satan exists and fully one-third are confident that Jesus sinned while on Earth, according to a new Barna Group poll.

Another 40 percent say they do not have a responsibility to share their Christian faith with others, and 25 percent "dismiss the idea that the Bible is accurate in all of the principles it teaches," the organization reports.

Pollster George Barna said the results have huge implications.

"Americans are increasingly comfortable picking and choosing what they deem to be helpful and accurate theological views and have become comfortable discarding the rest of the teachings in the Bible," he said.

To read the rest go here

"Bernadette" - The Four Tops

Our Motown 50th Celebration continues with Bernadette by The Four Tops. Levi Stubbs is at his best and the great James Jamerson's bass line drives the song.

Are Feelings The End Of The Search?

Descartes argued “I think, therefore I am,” and people after Freud translated that into the modern vernacular by saying, “I feel, therefore I am a self”; modern evangelicals of the relational type seem to have added their own quirk to it by saying that “I feel religiously, therefore I am a self.” The search for the religious self then becomes a search for religious good feelings. But the problem with making good feelings the end for which one is searching is, as Henry Fairlie argues, that it is possible to feel good about oneself, even religiously, “in states of total vacuity, euphoria, intoxication, and self-indulgence, and it is even possible when we are found wrong and know what we are doing.”
No Place For Truth Or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology? by David Wells, pg 177

Monday, January 26, 2009

Impressionist Mike Macrae on Letterman

Objective Truth or Subjective Experience?

The attraction of evangelical faith, the, has been very intimately tied up with this reshaping of the American character. Evangelicals have always insisted that Christ is a person who can and should be known personally; he is not simply an item on a creed to which assent should be given. But from this point they have drawn conclusions that become increasingly injurious. They have proceeded to seek assurance of faith not in terms of the objective truthfulness of the biblical teaching but in terms of the efficacy of its subjective experience. Testimonies have become indispensable items in the evangelistic fare. Testifying to having experienced Christ personally is peculiarly seductive in the modern context, because it opens up to view an inner experience that responds to the hunger of the “other-directed” individual but often sacrifices its objective truth value in doing so. The question it poses to the outsider is not whether Christ is objectively real but simply whether the experiences is appealing, whether it seems to have worked, whether having it will bring one sensed the group and give one connections to others.
No Place For Truth Or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology? By David Wells, pg.172

"Reach Out I'll Be There" The Four Tops

There are few more tension-filled moments in popular music than the one-bar break that sits between this song's verse and chorus. We continue our celebration of Motown's 50th Anniversary with this 1966 #1 song by the Four Tops.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Being Pro-Life Christians Under a Pro-Choice President

January 20, 2009 | By: John Piper
Category: Commentary

That is the title of a sermon I preached January 17, 1993, three days before Bill Clinton was inaugurated president. It is just as relevant—or more—today.

The text was 1 Peter 2:17, “Honor the king.” I closed with eight ways to honor a pro-choice president. The seventh was this:

We will honor you by expecting from you straightforward answers to straightforward questions. We would not expect this from a con-man, but we do expect it from an honorable man.

For example,

  1. Are you willing to explain why a baby's right not to be killed is less important than a woman's right not to be pregnant?
  2. Or are you willing to explain why most cities have laws forbidding cruelty to animals, but you oppose laws forbidding cruelty to human fetuses? Are they not at least living animals?
  3. Or are you willing to explain why government is unwilling to take away the so-called right to abortion on demand even though it harms the unborn child; yet government is increasingly willing to take away the right to smoke, precisely because it harms innocent non-smokers, killing 3,000 non-smokers a year from cancer and as many as 40,000 non-smokers a year from other diseases?
  4. And if you say that everything hangs on whether the fetus is a human child, are you willing to go before national television in the oval office and defend your support for the "Freedom of Choice Act" by holding in your hand a 21 week old fetus and explaining why this little one does not have the fundamental, moral, and constitutional right to life? Are you willing to say to parents in this church who lost a child at that age and held him in their hands, this being in your hands is not and was not a child with any rights of its own under God or under law?

Perhaps you have good answers to each of these questions. We will honor you by expecting you to defend your position forthrightly in the public eye.

You have immense power as President of the United States. To wield it against the protection of the unborn without giving a public accounting in view of moral and scientific reality would be dishonorable. We will honor you by expecting better.

Jimmy Reed - Big Boss Man & Take Out Some Insurance

Friday, January 23, 2009

Abortion and the Early Church

Gene Veith recommends the book, Abortion and the Early Church: Christian, Jewish and Pagan Attitudes in the Greco-Roman World:
One of the best books I’ve ever read about abortion is Abortion and the Early Church by Michael J. Gorman. It turns out that, far from being a modern medical procedure, abortion was rampant in the ancient world. Especially in Rome. And Christians, as well as Jews, consistently opposed it, standing up for life from the very earliest days of the church. The book was out of print for awhile, so I’m delighted to see it is available again.
If you've had a chance to read the ESV Study Bible essay on "The Beginning of Life and Abortion" (in the Ethics section), there is a brief overview on the extrabiblical Jewish and early Christian literature in contrast to Roman culture:
Extrabiblical Jewish Literature

The noncanonical Jewish wisdom literature further clarifies first-century Judaism's view of abortion. For example, the Sentences of Pseudo-Phocylides 184–186 (c. 50 B.C.A.D. 50) says that “a woman should not destroy the unborn in her belly, nor after its birth throw it before the dogs and vultures as a prey.” Included among those who do evil in the apocalyptic Sibylline Oracles were women who “aborted what they carried in the womb” (2.281–282). Similarly, the apocryphal book 1 Enoch (2nd or 1st century B.C.) declares that an evil angel taught humans how to “smash the embryo in the womb” (69.12). Finally, the first-century Jewish historian Josephus wrote that “the law orders all the offspring to be brought up, and forbids women either to cause abortion or to make away with the fetus” (Against Apion 2.202).

Contrast these injunctions with the barbarism of Roman culture. Cicero (106–43 B.C.) records that according to the Twelve Tables of Roman Law, “deformed infants shall be killed” (De Legibus 3.8). Plutarch (c. a.d. 46–120) spoke of those who he said “offered up their own children, and those who had no children would buy little ones from poor people and cut their throats as if they were so many lambs or young birds; meanwhile the mother stood by without a tear or moan” (Moralia 2.171D).

Early Christian Literature

Against the bleak backdrop of Roman culture, the Hebrew “sanctity of human life” ethic provided the moral framework for early Christian condemnation of abortion and infanticide. For instance, the Didache 2.2 (c. A.D. 85–110) commands, “thou shalt not murder a child by abortion nor kill them when born.” Another noncanonical early Christian text, the Letter of Barnabas 19.5 (c. A.D. 130), said: “You shall not abort a child nor, again, commit infanticide.” There are numerous other examples of Christian condemnation of both infanticide and abortion. In fact, some biblical scholars have argued that the silence of the NT on abortion per se is due to the fact that it was simply assumed to be beyond the pale of early Christian practice. Nevertheless, Luke (a physician) points to fetal personhood when he observes that the unborn John the Baptist “leaped for joy” in his mother's womb when Elizabeth came into the presence of Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus at the time (Luke 1:44).

More than merely condemning abortion and infanticide, however, early Christians provided alternatives by rescuing and adopting children who were abandoned. For instance, Callistus (d. c. A.D. 223) provided refuge to abandoned children by placing them in Christian homes, and Benignus of Dijon (3rd century) offered nourishment and protection to abandoned children, including some with disabilities caused by unsuccessful abortions.

Pulpit Guardian

"I Wish It Would Rain" - The Temptations

I am continuing my celebration of Motown's 50th Anniversary with the 1968 song I Wish It Would Rain. When David Ruffin pleads "I gotta cry cause crying eases the pain" listen to the note he hits on the word "eases", great vocal.I wish it would rain because I'm tired of the snow and cold.

Free Will?

"Whilst a man is persuaded that he has it in his power to contribute anything, be it ever so little, to his salvation, he remains in carnal self-confidence; he is not a self-despairer, and therefore is not duly humbled before God, he believes he may lend a helping hand in his salvation, but on the contrary, whoever is truly convinced that the whole work depends singly on the will of God, such a person renounces his own will and strength; he waits and prays for the operation of God, nor waits and prays in vain . . ."
- Martin Luther

Important Note : Many persons naturally assume that man has a free will. But what do they mean by this? You may want to ask them to define terms by asking,"Free from what?" "Free from sin?", "Free from God's decree?" No, neither. So what do people actually mean when they claim man has a free will? Perhaps many persons mean to say that man is free from external coersion. In this we all can agree, but just because someone is free from coersion does not mean his will is free. There are other ways in which man's will is not free. If the natural man make choices BY NECESSITY then he also lacks a kind of freedom. We might want to consider whether the Bible uses the expression 'freedom' to describe any fallen man. And the answer is no, not UNTIL Christ sets us free (Rom 6). Jesus says that prior to grace, persons are 'slaves to sin'. And, last time I looked, a slave is not free. If man is in bondage to a corruption of nature, as the Scripture attests, then he is not, in any sense, free as the Bible defines it. That is, until the grace of God in Christ sets him free. It would be correct to say man HAS A WILL and that his choices are VOLUNTARY (not coerced) but this does not make the choices free. Fallen man chooses sin of NECESSITY due to a corruption of nature, and this is just as much a form of bondage of the will from which we need to be set free by Christ, and a more properly biblical way of expression. Just because we make these choices, of necessity, does not alleviate our responsibility. If we borrow $5 million and squander it in a week of wild living in Las Vegas [like our condition of debt after the fall], our inability to repay the debt does not alleviate us of any responsibility to do so (see Rom 3:20). So I contend that whenever speaking about the concept of "free will," because of the confusion surrounding it, we should only define freedom as the Bible does: that man's will is not free, but rather is in bondage to sin. Clearly the Bible affirms that apart from a supernatural and merciful work of the Holy Spirit to change our naturally hostile disposition to God, no person would ever receive Christ (John 6:65). And Just as water does not rise above its source, so unspiritual men do not think or act spiritually (1 Cor 2:14). - J.W.H

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The President, the Passengers, and the Patience of God

This is an excellent article written by John Piper:

Sometimes we are so overwhelmed at being treated better than we deserve that we must exult in the all-sovereign God—the God of birds' flight and Obama’s rise. When King David pondered how many were God’s “wondrous deeds,” he said, “I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told” (Psalm 40:5). That’s the way I feel watching God’s public mercies in the last few days.

Have you considered how unlikely was the crash of USAir flight 1549 in the Hudson River on January 15—not just the rescue but the crash itself? Picture this: The Airbus A320 is taking off at an angle—maybe 30 degrees. It’s not flying horizontal with the earth. Not only that, it is flying fast—not full speed yet, but perhaps four times as fast as your car would go at top highway speeds.

The geese are flying horizontally with the ground, more or less. They are not flying in a cloud like a swarm of bees. They fly level with the ground, often shaped like a V. In view of all that, what are the odds that, traveling at this speed and at this angle, this airplane would intersect with the flight of those geese at that very millisecond which would put a bird not just in one of those engines, but both of them?

Two laser-guided missiles would not have been as amazingly effective as were those geese. It is incredible, statistically speaking. If God governs nature down to the fall (and the flight) of every bird, as Jesus says (Matthew 10:29), then the crash of flight 1549 was designed by God.

Which leads to the landing in the Hudson River—which is just as unlikely. The airbus now has no thrust in either engine. The flight attendants said it was as quiet as a library in the plane without the sound of engines. The plane is now a 77-ton glider with its belly full of fuel. Captain Sullenberger decides to land in the river. Anywhere else would mean one big fireball.

To read the rest click here:

Roe No More

The "Jane Roe" of Roe v. Wade was Norma McCorvey. In 1969 she was 22 years old, divorced, homeless, and pregnant for the third time (she had placed her first two children for adoption). Somehow an adoption agency connected her with two young lawyers fresh out of law school who were eager to challenge the Texas statutes on abortion. McCorvey only met with her lawyers twice--once for beer and pizza, the other time to sign an affidavit (which she didn't read). In order to speed things up McCorvey lied and told them she had been raped. She never appeared in court, and she found out about the infamous ruling from the newspapers. The baby she was seeking to abort was born and placed for adoption.

Today Norma McCorvey is pro-life, advocating for the unborn. You can read her sworn testimony recounting her experience as the plantiff in one of the most signficant cases to appear before the Supreme Court.

"Papa Was A Rollin' Stone" - The Temptations

This 1972 hit was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong. At the time some people thought this was the greatest record to come out of Detroit. This song had Norman Whitfield's production, Paul Riser's excellent orchestration and Dennis Edwards lead vocal.This appearance was from the Ed Sullivan show.

Is the Will Free by Nature or by Grace? By John Hendryx

Many persons may reason that if the will is voluntarily choosing something and not coerced, then it is free. Well, we all make voluntary choices but there is still another sense in which the will is not free. When we speak of freedom of the will we need to ask, freedom relative to what? Historically speaking, Biblical scholars have understood a "free will" to be one which has in its power the moral ability to choose good or evil. So when we ask whether man has a free will, we are asking if his will is free (or in bondage) relative to sin and evil. In this respect, of course, the will is not free because through man’s innate wickedness, due to the fall, he is of necessity driven to what is evil, that is, unable to do any redemptive good (Rom 8:7). The natural man's many good works, even though in accord with God's commands, are not well pleasing to God when weighed against His ultimate criteria and standard of perfection. The love of God and His law is never the unbelievers' deepest animating motive and principle, so it does not earn him the right to redemptive blessings from a holy God. And if a choice to do evil is made out of necessity (since the love of God is never the unbeliever's motive), then it is not free, because it cannot choose otherwise. Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, the natural person of uncircumcised heart is stiffnecked (of necessity) and will refuse to obey the commandments of the law and the gospel. And if the natural man chooses to sin of necessity, there is no sense in which he is free that ultimately matters to God. All choices we make are ethical ones, since, in them, we either glorify God or we do not, and God holds us accountable for these choices. And because God holds us accountable for every choice and thought, the ethical nature of each choice is of primary concern in determining whether the will is free or not.

Bad behavior itself, however, is really only a symptom of a much greater core concern. The natural man chooses/wills only what that inner principle desires most. But if the acts of his will are not determined by his internal nature, but rather are choices unconstrained by our nature and desires, as libertarians claim, then in what sense can it be said that those decisions are the results of a decision of the person himself? So any idea of a neutral will is absurd since our will is always driven by its moral nature which direct our desires (either we love God in our choice or we do not). Jesus said, "a good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree bad fruit." Thus, he is saying that it is the nature of the tree determines the kind of fruit it produces. Only by "making the tree good", Jesus says, will the fruit be good. In other words, unless Jesus redeems us from the bondage to sin (Rom 6; 2 Tim 2:25), we have no hope in the world to make any right (redemptive) choice, including believing the gospel (see John 6:65). Again, in what sense are we in bondage (slaves) to sin if not by our affections or wills? Our affections and desires drive the choices we make binding our will over to certain choices. Jesus said to Nicodemus,

" loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light ..." John 3:19-20 (emphasis mine)

According to this, and many other passages, people exercise their will, of necessity, according to what they love and hate. The reason anyone does not come into the light is because he hates it and his affection is exclusively set on something else. The natural man, without the grace of the Holy Spirit to open his blind eyes and turn his heart of stone to a heart of flesh, loves darkness and hates the light. His will is then exercised within the constraints of the affections, desires and passions of his nature. In Romans chapter 6 when it says we are slaves to sin, in what sense is the natural man a "slave to sin" if not by the will and affections? This is a legitimate question.

The subject of whether or not man has a free will is a more easily understandable than most Christians imagine. The fact is, it can easily be proven from Scripture, that man has no free will (to choose good or evil), and while many already hold to this idea inconsistently, all true Christians really do embrace this idea without consciously knowing it. Ask most evangelicals, whether man has a free will, however, and most will automatically answer, "yes of course", without showing scriptural evidence, but many other beliefs they already confess flatly contradict this assertion. Let me attempt to show you where this inconsistency exists. Here are two simple questions to ask anyone which will remove all false presuppositions and prove, once for all, that the natural man has no free will:

1. Do you believe that the Holy Spirit plays any role in the sinner coming to faith in Christ? (Because the Bible affirms this, all true evangelicals will answer 'yes')

2. Do you believe that, apart from any supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, the sinner, by nature, has the will, ability, affection and desire to come to Christ?
(Because the Bible denies this all true evangelicals will answer 'no')

Thus you have, in two simple questions, completely disarmed any and all argument against the free will of man. Here is plain proof that all Christians, without exception, believe that no man is found NATURALLY willing to submit to the humbling terms of the gospel of Christ.
To read the rest click here:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Clint At His Best - More On Gran Torino

In Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood uses his icon status to successfully take on the sensitive subject of racism | Megan Basham in World Magazine

AP/ Photo by Anthony Michael Rivetti (Warner Bros.)

Leave it to Clint Eastwood to make a drama that generates more belly-busting laughs than most recent comedies and more insight into what drives and satisfies the human spirit than the majority of 2008’s indie Oscar-bait put together.

As Gran Torino’s Korean War vet Walt Kowalski, Eastwood offers us a thoroughly unlikable character that manages, even in his unrepentant racism, to win our favor. He pulls this trick off by, first, realistically addressing the culture clashes that are as annoying as they are unavoidable in a melting pot like ours and, second, by depicting the ugly side of middle-class America just as much as he depicts the gang-violence typical of poor immigrant neighborhoods. It’s not pretty, and neither is Walt, but he is made more so in that he doesn’t pull punches no matter what group he’s assaulting, even his own. But doling out punches (however deserved) is hardly a path to a fulfilling life. Once he is forced to interact with his Hmong neighbors, Walt finds that empty tolerance isn’t the answer to overcoming differences; building real relationships is. Eastwood clearly understands what his persona as an actor has meant to American cinema, and with Gran Torino, he trades in on his icon status brilliantly. The gravel-voiced threat, the prolonged squint, the sotto voce snarl—all make regular appearances as Walt confronts gang-bangers of every ethnic stripe in his declining Detroit neighborhood. But rather than merely imparting an exhilarating sense of justice, these trademark elements are also used to cast light on some uncomfortable questions: Is clinging to every bit of nostalgic Americana really patriotic, or is it sometimes exclusionary? Do some immigrants fail to assimilate because they don’t want to or because natural-born citizens fail to reach out to them? It is precisely because of his status as an icon of heartland masculinity that Eastwood is able to take on this sensitive subject with far more integrity (not to mention authenticity) than films like 2004’s Crash managed. Gran Torino unquestionably earns it’s R-rating with more obscenities and racial invective this side of a Quentin Tarantino movie. But unlike the films of lesser directors, the language here is rarely window dressing. Though a few exchanges strike a gratuitous note, it would be impossible to fully convey the spiritual evolution of the bitter, godless, and racist Walt Kowalski without making him sound, well, bitter, godless, and racist. In a twist that elevates Gran Torino far above the typical vengeance-wreaking flick, Walt discovers that the greatest satisfaction comes not from proving you were right but from sacrificing to right your wrongs.

Your Best Teeth Now

"Shotgun" Jr. Walker & The All Stars

Continuing our Motown's 50th Anniversary with the 1965 song Shotgun. This is a moving song with an excellent solo sax performance, this will get you on your feet.


The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? JEREMIAH 17:9

Clear thought about the fallen human condition requires a distinction between what for the past two centuries has been called free agency and what since the start of Christianity has been called free will. Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and others spoke of free will in two senses, the first trivial, the second important; but this was confusing, and it is better always to use free agency for their first sense.

Free agency is a mark of human beings as such. All humans are free agents in the sense that they make their own decisions as to what they will do, choosing as they please in the light of their sense of right and wrong and the inclinations they feel. Thus they are moral agents, answerable to God and each other for their voluntary choices. So was Adam, both before and after he sinned; so are we now, and so are the glorified saints who are confirmed in grace in such a sense that they no longer have it in them to sin. Inability to sin will be one of the delights and glories of heaven, but it will not terminate anyone’s humanness; glorified saints will still make choices in accordance with their nature, and those choices will not be any the less the product of human free agency just because they will always be good and right.

Free will, however, has been defined by Christian teachers from the second century on as the ability to choose all the moral options that a situation offers, and Augustine affirmed against Pelagius and most of the Greek Fathers that original sin has robbed us of free will in this sense. We have no natural ability to discern and choose God’s way because we have no natural inclination Godward; our hearts are in bondage to sin, and only the grace of regeneration can free us from that slavery. This, for substance, was what Paul taught in Romans 6:16-23; only the freed will (Paul says, the freed person) freely and heartily chooses righteousness. A permanent love of righteousness—that is, an inclination of heart to the way of living that pleases God—is one aspect of the freedom that Christ gives (John 8:34-36; Gal. 5:1, 13).

It is worth observing that will is an abstraction. My will is not a part of me which I choose to move or not to move, like my hand or my foot; it is precisely me choosing to act and then going into action. The truth about free agency, and about Christ freeing sin’s slave from sin’s dominion, can be expressed more clearly if the word will is dropped and each person says: I am the morally responsible free agency; I am the slave of sin whom Christ must liberate; I am the fallen being who only have it in me to choose against God till God renews my heart.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Life - A Powerful Message

An ad airing in select markets of Black Entertainment Television. Watch it and share it.

Death by Love: Letters from the Cross

Driscoll and Breshears explore the many-splendored atonement in Death By Love.
Review by Collin Hansen posted 1/13/2009 08:07AM
Death by Love: Letters from the Cross by Mark Driscoll and Gerry BreshearsCrossway Books, September 2008272 pp., $14.99

Visiting Mars Hill Church in Seattle as a journalist can be a jarring experience. The writer expects to meet the Mark Driscoll whose confrontational style has made him a hero in some evangelical circles and a pariah in others. Indeed, Mars Hill members will go to the mat to defend their larger-than-life pastor against critics. And Driscoll will not feel the need to yield. Journalists looking for colorful copy will find it. Who would Jesus smack down? There are so many deserving targets, we learn, he wouldn't know where to begin.
But you meet another Mark Driscoll when you begin to spend more time around the people affected by his ministry. They don't always agree with him and cringe when he says things they know he will later regret. Yet it seems God has used his willingness to speak directly about the Bible and sin to deepen their love for Jesus Christ and their resolve to resist Satan's snares.
Death by Love is a book that might stir theological controversy, but it probably won't attract The New York Times's attention. Here we see Driscoll's pastoral side as he offers letters on the Atonement to friends, family, and acquaintances. The book is the second in the Re:Lit series with Crossway, which released Vintage Jesus in February 2008 and plans to publish Vintage Church at the end of January. Like Death by Love, both books were coauthored with Western Seminary theology professor Gerry Breshears.
Driscoll and Breshears aim their book at the popular level, but they do not shy away from using technical terminology. They believe all Christians should understand the meaning of words such as propitiation (Rom. 3:25; Heb. 2:17; 1 John 2:2, 4:10), because the cross is "at the crux of all that it means to think and live like Jesus." Each chapter begins with a letter written by Driscoll, often addressed to someone he knows who has suffered abuse. When discussing the details of some abuse situations, Driscoll is probably a little too vivid for sensitive readers. But he can also be gentle, such as when he suggests ways for a woman who was raped to remember Jesus' love for her.

Read The Rest Click Here

Spurgeon Bubble Gum Cigars

"Ain't Too Proud To Beg" - The Temptations

Continuing our Motown 50th Celebration with the 1966 Temptations hit Ain't Too Proud To Beg. As one writer said what man wouldn't beg if he could do it with David Ruffin's raspy tenor?

A Defense of the Reformed Understanding of the Human Will

The complacency with which many evangelical Christians today regard the question of free will in humanity is an unmistakeable indication of the radical shift in mainstream Protestantism from its Reformed moorings. To Luther and Calvin alike, the idea of a human will that is in all respects bound by its corrupted nature was not only a fact demanding strict adherence; but more than that, it was a principle foundationally requisite for a pure gospel. In The Bondage of the Will, some of Luther’s strongest rebukes to Erasmus address the absolute necessity of arriving at a clear understanding of free will. Replying to Erasmus’s “unheard-of assertion” that the doctrine of free will “is something non-essential”, Luther states,

I think it is vital. If it is ‘irreligious’, ‘idle’, ’superfluous’- your words-to know whether or not God knows anything contingently; whether our will is in any way active in matters relating to eternal salvation, or whether it is merely the passive subject of the work of grace; whether we do our good and evil deeds of mere necessity-whether, that is, we are not rather passive while they are wrought in us-then may I ask what does constitute godly, serious, useful knowledge? (1)

In fact, Luther, does not even stop there, but presses his assertion to the ultimate conclusion that, “If it is not really essential, and is not surely known, then neither God, Christ, the gospel, faith nor anything else even of Judaism, let alone Christianity, is left!” (2) Calvin is equally strong in his insistence that man’s will is completely bound to servitude of sin. In Book Two, Chapter Three of his Institutes of the Christian Religion, Calvin dedicates a lengthy and powerful discussion to the premise, “Conversion of the will is the effect of divine grace inwardly bestowed.” There, having quoted Ezekiel 36:26,27, he argues that,

If, therefore, a stone is transformed into flesh when God converts us to zeal for the right, whatever is of our own will is effaced. What takes its place is wholly from God. I say that the will is effaced; not in so far as it is will, for in man’s conversion what belongs to his primal nature remains entire. I also say that it is created anew; not meaning that the will now begins to exist, but that it is changed from an evil to a good will. I affirm that this is wholly God’s doing, for according to the testimony of the same apostle, “we are not even capable of thinking” [II Cor. 3:5 p.]. (3)

In summary, for each of these reformers, the bondage of the human will was a matter of foundational importance. For Calvin, the importance of this doctrine was primarily doxological: any merit attributed to man is, to that extent, a detraction from the absolute sovereignty and efficacy of God’s grace. (4) Luther’s emphasis, on the other hand, was the purity of the gospel message. But to both, the matter was of vital significance.

By Nathan Pitchford, to read the rest click here

Monday, January 19, 2009


Motivational Posters for the Post-Evangelical Chaos

Late Show Top Ten - Top Ten Signs Obama's Getting Nervous

Top Ten Signs Obama's Getting Nervous

10. New slogan: "Yes we can . . . or maybe not, it's hard to say"
9. In moment of confusion, requested a $300 billion bailout from the bailout industry
8. He's up to not smoking three packs a day
7. Friends say he's looking frail, shaky and . . . no, that's McCain
6. He's so stressed, doctors say he's developing a Sanjay in his Gupta
5. Been walking around muttering, "What the hell have I gotten myself into?"
4. Offered governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, $100,000 to buy his old Senate seat back
3. Standing on White House roof screaming, "Save us, Superman!"
2. Sweating like Bill Clinton when Hillary comes home early

1. He demanded a recount

Money (That's What I Want) Barrett Strong

Our Motown 50th Anniversary Celebration continues with Money - That's What I Want by Barrett Strong. This 1960 song was Motown's first top 40 hit. It was recorded 3 years latter by the Beatles.

False Assumptions By Those Who Reject The Bondage Of The Will - Part 2

Fallacy #2. Unless our will is free, then we are not responsible.

Or, "If not free, then not responsible." This means if we are unable to make a contrary choice, then our wills are not free. Thus, if we are completely bound in sin so that we can do nothing else but sin, then we are free from responsibility for those sins. This is irrational because the assumption behind this is the idea of neutrality.

A. The Bible does not present the concept of freedom in this way. According to Scripture, freedom is described as holiness. The ultimate freedom is absolute holiness. If that is true, then God is the most free being in the universe. Otherwise, we must say that God is the most enslaved being in the universe because He is the one least neutral on moral issues. Plus, God is not free in the libertarian sense to do something contrary His own nature. For example God cannot lie or be unholy or He would violate his own essence and thus no longer be God (an impossible supposition). but He is free in the Biblical from sin and the bondage of corruption ... as will be the saints in heaven when glorified on the last day. That they cannot choose otherwise [to sin] when glorified does not hinder their freedom, according to the Bible, who speaks of these persons as being the MOST free.

B. Likewise, if we affirm that bondage of will eliminates responsibility, then the best way to avoid responsibility for ours sins to be as bound by them as possible. The drunk who is bound by alcoholism is therefore not responsible for his actions. Should we encourage people to sin all the more therefore, so that they are not responsible any more?

C. The entire idea of neutrality of will is absurd. If the decisions of the will are not determined by the internal nature of the person, then in what sense can it be said that those decisions are the results of a decision of the person himself? How in fact could be a decision be truly a moral one if it is morally neutral? How can morality be morality at all and be neutral?

Fallacy #3. For love to be real, it must have the possibility of being rejected.

God wants us to love him freely, not by compulsion. Therefore, fallen man must have the ability to love God. It is simply that he chooses to love other things.

A. Scripture teaches that love for God is a product of His grace. 1Ti.1:14. If grace is necessary to make us love God, then it follows that we had no ability to love him before the arrival of grace. It also means that grace is not given because we chose to love God. We chose to love God because grace is given. Grace, not a virtue in man, takes the initiative.

B. This premise is similar to the one that says, "Contrary choice is necessary for freedom to exist." Does God periodically give the saints in heaven an opportunity to hate him so as to be ‘fair’? Did Jesus have some ability to hate the Father? Or was His love for the Father a reflection of what He himself really is?

C. If faith is a gift of grace, as we saw above, then why is it strange to think that love may not be also a gift of grace?

Fallacy #4. A person cannot be punished for what he cannot help doing.

If that is the case, then a Christian may not be rewarded for what his new nature compels him to do. Let us not forget that the nature of a person is not a thing he possesses. It is something he is.

John Hendryx adapted from a short essay by Roger Smalling

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Mercy Seat - Johnny Cash

Defiance - A Movie Worth Seeing

We had a mens movie night tonight and about 18 men went and saw this movie and then went to dinner to discuss it. I highly recommend this movie, the following review will fill you in. This movie raises difficult question's Christians don't usually think about. Follow the link below to Christianity Today's movie site which I also recommend, very helpful reviews.


Review by Russ Breimeier | posted 12/31/08


(for violence and language)

Genre: Drama, Action

Theater release:
December 31, 2008
by Paramount Vantage

Directed by: Edward Zwick

Runtime: 137 minutes

Daniel Craig (Tuvia Bielski), Liev Schreiber (Zus Bielski), Jamie Bell (Asael Bielski), George MacKay (Aron Bielski), Alexa Davalos (Lilka), Allan Corduner (Shamon), Mark Feuerstein (Malbin), Mia Wasikowska (Chaya)

Talk About It/Family Corner
What Others Are Saying

From The Diary of Anne Frank and Sophie's Choice to Schindler's List and The Pianist, there have literally been hundreds of films depicting the Jewish Holocaust. Most depict the Jews as helpless victims, unable to defend themselves from horrifying adversity and oppression. But sometimes they fought back.

Such is the case in Defiance, based on the book of the same name by Nechama Tec. The film focuses on the story of the Bielski partisans in Eastern Europe. Many irregular military groups formed in opposition to Nazi occupation, using guerrilla tactics to stay alive and hamper German operations. Most of these partisans involved local fighters from around Russia and Yugoslavia—loosely formed, but experienced soldiers nonetheless. The Bielski partisans were comparatively untrained civilians, based in what is now Belarus (between Poland and Russia), yet they still grew into the largest group of Jewish partisans during the Second World War.

Daniel Craig as Tuvia Bielski

The film begins in 1941 with the aftermath of the raid on the Bielski family farm; thankfully, the audience is spared this monstrous act of violence. Watching from the nearby woods until the Nazis leave, Brothers Zus (Liev Schreiber) and Asael (Jamie Bell) quickly recover whatever they can—including their youngest brother Aron (George MacKay), also in hiding—before burying their family and retreating back into the forest. They're soon reunited with their eldest brother Tuvia (Daniel Craig), who has returned home to check up on the family.

It isn't long before the Bielski brothers discuss (and exact) revenge on those responsible for murdering their family … but what then? Where can they go as the persecution spreads? As they continue to make camp in the woods and raid local farms for food and supplies, they encounter other displaced Jews, reluctantly welcoming them into their fold, uncertain whether they can accept responsibility for their safety and well-being. Before long, their camp evolves into a community, and word spreads throughout the region that there's a place for the Jews to seek refuge.

Some of the early ads and press materials position Defiance as a revenge story, suggesting a violent movie about Jews exacting revenge on their persecutors. There are some shootings early on, and a couple of battles later in the film evoke the war-time intensity of Saving Private Ryan. But this is not a graphic portrayal of the Holocaust like Schindler's List with a nonstop parade of torture and execution; much of the violence is surprisingly bloodless.

Tuvia and his brother Zus (Liev Schreiber)

Defiance is more a remarkable tale of survival and compassion than it is a story of bloodshed. One can't help think of Robin Hood in the way the Bielski partisans raid the surrounding area while hiding in the forest, and their plight echoes pivotal tales of Jewish history—from Moses leading the squabbling Israelites in the wilderness to the Maccabees fighting for their liberation. I was even reminded of Richard Adams' modern classic Watership Down in the film's exploration of social interaction and empowerment among the refugees.

Because Defiance is primarily about the camp's struggle to survive, there's no specific adversary. For sure, the Nazi threat is always present, but much of the film focuses on the Bielski partisans battling cold, starvation, and illness during a bitter winter not unlike the American revolutionary troops at Valley Forge. They also face adversity from within as fear and uncertainty threaten to overcome them, leading to unrest and sedition.

In this way, the Bielski story is one about community. With strength in numbers and their collective skills, the Jews must learn that they need each other if they're to survive on their own in the wilderness. As Tuvia puts it, their goal is not to exact vengeance on their Nazi persecutors—"Our revenge is to live."

To read the rest click here

Saturday, January 17, 2009

False Assumptions By Those Who Reject The Bondage Of The Will - Part 1

The following numbered items are common assumptions made by synergists in rejecting the bondage of the will and God's sovereign grace in salvation.

Fallacy #1. God would not command us to do what we cannot do.

God gave the Law to Moses, The Ten Commandments, to reveal what man cannot do, not what he can do.

A. Premise #1 is unscriptural. God gave the Law for two reasons: To expose sin and to increase it so man would have no excuse for declaring his own righteousness. Why? Because in the context, he does NO righteousness. As Martin Luther said to Erasmus, when you are finished with all your commands and exhortations from the Old Testament, I’ll write Ro.3:20 over the top of it all. Why use commands and exhortations from the O.T. to show free will when they were given to prove man’s sinfulness? They exist to show what we cannot do rather than what we can do. Yes, God gave commands to man which man cannot do. Therefore commandments and exhortations do not prove free will. Nowhere in scripture is there any hint that God gives commands to natural men to prove they are able to perform them.

[Here is the passage Luther quoted to Erasmus to show that law's purpose is to expose our bondage to sin, not show our moral ability to keep it: "Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin." Rom 3:19, 20]

B. This premise is irrational. There may be many reasons for commanding someone to do something, other than the assumption that the can do it. The purpose, as above, may be to show the person his inability to perform the command. Thus, NOTHING can be deduced about abilities from a mere command. Passages which state things such as "If thou art willing" and "whosoever believes” are spoken in the subjunctive (hypothetical) mood. A grammarian would explain that this is a conditional statement that asserts nothing indicatively. In such passages, what we "ought" to do does not necessarily imply what we "can" do.

C. The consequences of Adam's disobedience on his descendants includes spiritual impotence in several areas: man's inability to understand God (Psalm 50:21; Job 11:7-8; Rom 3:11); to see spiritual things (John 3:3); to know his own heart (Jer 17:9); to direct his own steps in the path of life (Jeremiah 10:23; Proverbs 14:12); to free himself from the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:10); to receive the Holy Spirit (John 14:17); to hear, understand or receive the words of God (John 8:47; 1 Corinthians 2:14); to give himself birth into God's family (John 1:13, Romans 9:15-16); to produce repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 6:64,65; 2 Thessalonians 3:2; Philippians 1:29; 2 Timothy 2:25); to come to Christ (John 10:26; John 6:44); and to please God (Romans 8:5, 8, 9).

Crossfire - Live - Stevie Ray Vaughan

Friday, January 16, 2009

J. I. Packer's Introductory Essay to John Owen's 'Death of Death in the Death of Christ'

Dr. J. I. Packer's excellent essay written for the 1958 reprint of John Owen's classic book 'The Death of Death in the Death of Christ' should be read and re-read by everyone who cares about the state and future of Christ's Church.

What exactly IS the Gospel message that we are called to preserve and pass down, and that we should be preaching as ministers, and hearing and obeying as Christians? It is interesting that Dr. Packer wrote this article in 1958, and although it is now almost fifty years old, it was as if he wrote it yesterday- -our problems and challenges are still the same.

May you read, and if you have already read, then re-read this fine introductory essay on the Gospel and the purpose and call of Christ's Church. May this article whet your appetite to also invest time and intellectual energy into reading John Owen's 'The Death of Death in the Death of Christ' (You can purchase this book at

As you carefully read this article , as yourself these questions whether you are an ordained minister or elder, or a ministering layperson:

1) What is the historic Christian gospel- -and why is it "good news" for sinners? Notice the difference between the "old" gospel and the "new" gospel that he makes.

2) How has the term "Evangelical" changed since the Reformation, and how can "Reformed and Always Reforming People" regain this term as a meaningful term (or can we?!)?

3) Why is it so hard (humanly speaking!) for confessing Christians to believe and take comfort in the Bible's teaching on 'Definite Atonement' (or 'Limited Atonement' in order to rightly preserve the 'TULIP').

4) Do you personally believe in an "old" gospel" or a "new" one? Is the "new" gospel really a gospel at all (cf. Galatians 1:6-9)?

To my Arminian friends, I would just ask: Before you discuss these things further with Calvinists and Calvinian theological believers, would you consider John Owen's treatise that has never been formally responded to by an Arminian? Would you consider the fact that perhaps he was right (with all respect!).

Enjoy reading (or re-reading) this important article by Dr. Packer! To quote Dr. Packer:

"[The Biblical Gospel] announces, not merely that men must come to Christ for salvation, but also that they cannot come unless Christ Himself draws them. Thus [the Gospel] labours to overthrow self-confidence, to convince sinners that their salvation is altogether out of their hands, and to shut them up to a self-despairing dependence on the glorious grace of a sovereign Saviour, not only for their righteousness but for their faith too."

IN Christ,
Pastor Biggs

Continue reading "J. I. Packer's Introductory Essay to John Owen's 'Death of Death in the Death of Christ'" »

Top Ten Signs You Might Be Taking This Emergent Thing A Little Far

10. You're not any good at art yet you continue to present the gospel by presenting stick figures.

9. When you present the Gospel heaven is renamed The Matrix and you call yourself Neo.

8. Instead of a tract you carry a can of play-doh in your back pocket.

7. You have yet to read the book of Romans believing Paul was too modern in his thinking.

6. You only curse around fundamentalists.

5. Every sermon illustration begins with "The other night I was drinking a beer".

4. You evaluate the truth by asking how many people hold to it, if it's too popular then it's wrong.

3. You leave your church because the sermon was not obscure enough.

2. You brag that you've never been pinned down theologically on any issue.

1. Your car has a bumper sticker that reads, "I think my boss is a Jewish carpenter but I can't be sure".

The Way You Do The Things You Do - The Temptations

Motown's 50th Anniversary - The Miracles Bobby Rogers and Smokey Robinson penned this song while driving back to Detroit from a gig in new York. Robinson produced the song turning it into the Temptations warn and smooth 1964 breakthrough hit.

Martin Luther on the Bondage of the Will - Part 4

" was not of the merits of Jacob or Esau, 'but of Him that Calleth that it was said of Sara: the elder shall serve the younger' Paul is discussing whether they attained to what was spoken of them by the power or merits of
'free-will"; and he proves they they did not, but that Jacob attained what Esau did not solely by the grace of "Him that Calleth"224

Now, since on God's own testimony, men are 'flesh', they can savour of nothing but the flesh; therefore 'free-will can avail only to sin. And if, while the Spirit of God is calling and teaching among them, they go from bad to worse, what could they do when left to themselves, without the Spirit of God? Your [Erasmus] observation that Moses is speaking of the men of that age is not to the point at all. The same is true of all men, for all are 'flesh'; as Christ says, 'That which is born of the flesh is flesh' (john 3:6) How grave a defect this is, He Himself there teaches, when he says: 'Except a man be born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God (v. 5)...I call a man ungodly if he is without the Spirit of God; for Scripture says that the Spirit is given to justify the ungodly. As Christ distinguished the Spirit from the flesh, saying: "that which is born of the flesh is flesh', and adds that which is born of the flesh cannot enter the kingdom of God', it obviously follows that whatever is flesh is ungodly, under God's wrath, and a stranger to His kingdom. And if it is a stranger to God's kingdom and Spirit, it follows of necessity that it is under the kingdom and spirit of Satan. For there is no middle kingdom between the kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan, which are ever at war with each other. 241, 253

"I say that man without the grace of God nonetheless remains the general omnipotence of God who effects, and moves and impels all things in a necessary, infallible course; but the effect of man's being carried along is nothing--that is, avails nothing in God's sight, nor is reckoned to be anything but sin. 265

"the Baptist's word means that man can receive nothing unless given him from above; so that free-will is nothing!"

I say that man, before he is renewed into the new creation of the Spirit's kingdom, does and endeavours nothing to prepare himself for that new creation and kingdom, and when he is re-created has does and endeavors nothing towards his perseverance in that kingdom; but the Spirit alone works both blessings in us, regenerating us, and preserving us when regenerate, without ourselves..." 268

"All the passages in the Holy Scriptures that mention assistance are they that do away with "free-will", and these are countless...For grace is needed, and the help of grace is given, because "free-will" can do nothing."

Quoted from Martin Luther's Bondage of the Will

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Congress Debates Adding Elaborate Dance To Obama's Inauguration Ceremony

Congress Debates Adding Elaborate Dance To Obama's Inauguration Ceremony

Barbie Dream Church

Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours) - Stevie Wonder

Our Motown 50th anniversary continues with a great Stevie Wonder song, Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'M Yours). This 1970 song has been described, "Motown on 425 degrees of groove, deep-fried and served with tangy sauce."

Martin Luther on the Bondage of the Will - Part 3

God Incarnate says; 'I would, and thou wouldst not." God Incarnate, I repeat, was sent for this purpose, to will, say, do, suffer and offer to all me, all that is necessary for salvation; albeit He offends many who, being abandoned or hardened by God's secret will of Majesty, do not receive Him thus willing, speaking, doing, and offering. As John says: "The light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness com comprehendeth it not' (John

And again: "He came unto his own, and His own received Him not. (v. 11)"The law indicates the impotence of man and the saving power of God..."if any man will come after me': 'he that wills to save his life'; 'if ye love me'; 'if ye shall continue'. In sum, as I have said-let every occurrence of the conjunction 'if', and all imperative verbs, be collected together (so we may help the Diatribe...) [indicating that all commands to believe or follow Christ are conditional, not stating man's ability]

Let all the 'free-will' in the world do all it can with all its strength; it will never give rise to a single instance of ability to avoid being hardened if God does not give the Spirit, or of meriting mercy if it is left to its own strength." p. 202

"omnipotence and foreknowledge of God, I repeat, utterly destroy the doctrine of 'free-will'...doubtless it gives the greatest possible offense to common sense or natural reason, that God, Who is proclaimed as being full of mercy and goodness, and so on, should of His own mere will abandon, harden and damn men, as though He delighted in the sins and great eternal torments of such poor wretches. it seems an iniquitous, cruel, intolerable thought to think of God; and it is this that has been such a stumbling block to so many great men down through the ages. And who would not stumble at it? I have stumbled at it myself more than once, down to the deepest pit of despair, so that I wished I had never been made a man. (That was before I knew how health-giving that despair was, and how close to grace.)" Luther BW pg. 217

Quoted from Martin Luther's Bondage of the Will

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Confident That God Will Guide

Christians are God's sons; and if human parents have a responsibility to give their children guidance in matters where ignorance and incapacity would spell danger, we should not doubt that in the family of God the same applies. "If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matt. 7:11).... Again God seeks his glory in our lives, and he is glorified in us only when we obey his will. It follows that, as a means to his own end, he must be ready to teach us his way, so that we may walk in it....It is impossible to doubt that guidance is a reality intended for, and promised to, every child of God. Christians who miss it thereby show only that they did not seek it as they should.
J.I. Packer, Knowing God pg 232-233