Saturday, May 30, 2009

Monergism - Word For the day


(Greek mono-, “one” + Greek ergon, “work”)

The doctrine that God the Holy Spirit solely and independently acts to regenerate the heart of man so as to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In other words, God performs a unilateral inward action upon man’s heart to respond to the call of salvation.

The One Essential Condition

"The one essential condition of human existence is that man should always be able to bow down before something infinitely great. If men are deprived of the infinitely great, they will not go on living and will die of despair. The Infinite and the Eternal are as essential for man as the little planet on which he dwells."

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Possessed, chapter 7, section 3.

Robert Johnson-Love In Vain

Brave New World vs. Nineteen Eighty-Four

I've frequently told people that reading Neil Postman's classic Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business was a strange experience, in that I felt like a fish being pulled out of the water for the first time to see water for what it really is.

In the foreword to the book Postman contrasts the visions offered in
Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (1932) and George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949):
Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.
Stuart McMillen, on his cartoon blog, recently illustrated their contrasting visions (HT: Challies).

Friday, May 29, 2009

You Can't Talk With People Who Are Just Plain Nut's

Unfunny Man

A lack of real humor characterizes Pete Seeger’s legacy | Arsenio Orteza

Neilson Barnard /Getty Images

The folksinger Pete Seeger turned 90 in May, an occasion marked by a Madison Square Garden birthday party at which dozens of his legatees feted him—Bruce Springsteen, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, and Bruce Cockburn among them—and that made Seeger front-page news for the first time in decades.

Most of the stories disinterestedly recounted such highlights of Seeger's career as his having written or popularized, solo or as a member of the Weavers, "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," "If I Had a Hammer," "Wimoweh," and "Kumbaya," leaving it to the conservative gadfly Mark Steyn to point out that the essential childishness of "Flowers" and "Hammer" deserve the opprobrium of all thoughtful people for infecting several generations of left-wing social protesters with an apparently permanent case of arrested development.

Steyn also pointed out that it took Seeger half a century to denounce Stalin (whom Seeger, as a former card-carrying Communist, had enthusiastically supported for a time) and only then under duress. What no one pointed out was that, in retrospect, the most obvious element of Seeger's legacy—and ­perhaps that of the Left in general—is his humorlessness. (Not for nothing did Orwell include the "silly" among the "obvious" and the "true" as those things that must always be defended.)

Not that Seeger couldn't be a little funny. Indeed, "Little Boxes," a Malvina Reynolds-composed send-up of mass middle-class conformity that Seeger made popular, is nothing if not a little funny. But what keeps it from being funnier (and therefore more satirically effective) is that it refuses to laugh at itself.

It never dawns on the singer of "Little Boxes," in other words, that the Left might also be susceptible to mindless conformity, or that it might be a "little box," itself.

From World Magazine

Eric Clapton - Love In Vain

How Christians Can Make the Arts a Regular Part of Their Lives

From Jim Spiegel, "Aesthetics and Worship," The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 2.4 (Winter 1998): 52.
. . . [P]resent church leaders (pastors, lay ministers, youth leaders, etc.) must educate themselves in the arts and aesthetics. Of course, the usual demands of ministry are severe, and most pastors are over-worked as it is. I am not suggesting that they supplant their normal duties of ministry and counseling for the sake of this task. What I do suggest is that church leaders at least make the arts a regular part of their lives, whether that takes the form of attending plays and symphony orchestras, reading great literature and poetry, or perusing local art galleries. I believe that as few as two hours per week devoted to artistic edification can significantly enhance a person’s aesthetic sensibility. For those who complain that they do not even have that much time to spare, I would ask them to estimate the number of hours per week they spend watching television. If they are sincerely convinced that it is better stewardship of time to watch a sitcom or football game than to attend a play or read a classic work of literature, then nothing I have to say will convince them anyway.
In a 2004 lecture on Engaging the Renewed Imagination, Tim Keller said:
Christians cannot abdicate the arts to secular society. We must consume, study, and participate in the arts if we are to have a seat at the table. Whether it has a religious theme or strikes us as irreligious, we must be patrons if we are to have an impact on how the world interprets and responds to the arts. We cannot be wary, we cannot be afraid, we cannot be self-righteous. Christians must look, listen, read, and experience the arts if we are to lead our culture to renewal.
Keller also provides several questions you can ask yourself to determine the extent to which you are a "patron" of the arts.

For thoughts on how you can support the arts through blogging, see the presentation notes here by Steve McCoy.
HT:Justin Taylor

Thursday, May 28, 2009

He Tried? Lyrics

Verse 1

Here’s a controversial subject that tends to divide
For years it’s had Christians lining up on both sides
By God’s grace, I’ll address this without pride
The question concerns those for whom Christ died
Was He trying to save everybody worldwide?
Was He trying to make the entire world His Bride?
Does man’s unbelief keep the Savior’s hands tied?
Biblically, each of these must be denied
It’s true, Jesus gave up His life for His Bride
But His Bride is the elect, to whom His death is applied
If on judgment day, you see that you can’t hide
And because of your sin, God’s wrath on you abides
And hell is the place you eternally reside
That means your wrath from God hasn’t been satisfied
But we believe His mission was accomplished when He died
But how the cross relates to those in hell?
Well, they be saying:

God knows He tried (8x)

Verse 2

Father, Son and Spirit: three and yet one
Working as a unit to get things done
Our salvation began in eternity past
God certainly has to bring all His purpose to pass
A triune, eternal bond no one could ever sever
When it comes to the church, peep how they work together
The Father foreknew first, the Son came to earth
To die- the Holy Spirit gives the new birth
The Father elects them, the Son pays their debt and protects them
The Spirit is the One who resurrects them
The Father chooses them, the Son gets bruised for them
The Spirit renews them and produces fruit in them
Everybody’s not elect, the Father decides
And it’s only the elect in whom the Spirit resides
The Father and the Spirit- completely unified
But when it comes to Christ and those in hell?
Well, they be saying:

God knows He tried (8x)

Verse 3

My third and final verse- here’s the situation
Just a couple more things for your consideration
If saving everybody was why Christ came in history
With so many in hell, we’d have to say He failed miserably
So many think He only came to make it possible
Let’s follow this solution to a conclusion that’s logical
What about those who were already in the grave?
The Old Testament wicked- condemned as depraved
Did He die for them? C’mon, behave
But worst of all, you’re saying the cross by itself doesn’t save
That we must do something to give the cross its power
That means, at the end of the day, the glory’s ours
That man-centered thinking is not recommended
The cross will save all for whom it was intended
Because for the elect, God’s wrath was satisfied
But still, when it comes to those in hell
Well, they be saying:

God knows He tried (8x)

He Tried? A Theological Rap

Rapper Shai Linne gives us a great lesson in Particular Redemption

Jesus Found Hiding in a Kit Kat Bar

Kit Kat
The outline of the face of Jesus is clearly defined in the wafer center of the Kit-Kat... sort of

A chocolate fan has taken the biscuit after finding an image of Jesus after biting into a Kit-Kat.

The astonishing vision emerged on Good Friday after a website called for oddball religious discoveries. "I was amazed. I just took a bite and then I saw the face of Christ in it," the finder told the Dutch website. Other witnesses are less impressed. "It looks more like Darth Vader," said one.

Howlin' Wolf - Meet Me In The Bottom.

Money, Greed, and God: An Interview with Jay Richards

Kevin DeYoung has an interview with Jay Richards about his important new book, Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem.

Here's one exchange from their interview:
On page 35, you write "Spiritually you're better off a little mixed up about economics than indifferent to human suffering. Economically, though, only what you do is important, whatever your reason." This seems to be a very important point for the book. What are you trying to say in these two sentences?

When I wrote: "Spiritually you're better off a little mixed up about economics than indifferent to human suffering. Economically, though, only what you do is important, whatever your reason," I was trying to balance but capture Gilson's "Piety is no substitute for technique." To me, this is one of most important points I've tried to make. Motivation IS important when we're considering our spiritual state before God. It's just that our motivation for a policy has nothing to do with the real world effects of the policy. I think that Christians often weight our (and others') motivations far too heavily on economic matters. It's as if we think feeling bad about poverty is more obligatory than actually doing something that helps the poor. For instance, several times in churches I've pointed out why minimum wage laws don't really help the poor in the long run. I've never had anyone try to debunk the argument, but several times I've received the complaint that my argument shows that I'm not really concerned about the poor. It doesn't of course. But even if it were evidence that I weren't concerned about the poor, the argument's validity (or lack thereof) would remain the same.
Read the whole thing.

Reading Richards' book and Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy would help to dispel a lot of bad economics among Christians, would actually lead to serving the poor more effectively and efficiently, and would help people realize that folks like Jim Wallis frequently offer arguments that are nothing more than demagoguery (cf. pp. 37-38 of Richards's book).

Finally, here's a quote from Richards's book:
. . . [H]aving the right intentions, being oriented in the right way, doesn't take the place of doing things right. A pilot's caring deeply for his passengers and wanting to land a plane safely are no substitute for his learning how to actually land plans safely. . . . I hope you already have a heart for the poor. Lots of Christians do. But do you have a mind for the poor? Unfortunately that's in rather short supply. (p. 35)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wings Win!

Helm scores game winner in overtime to beat the Chicago Blackhawks. Now it's on to the Cup Final's against the Penguins, its time for back to back Cup's.

Sotomayor: "Empathy" in Action by Thomas Sowell

It is one of the signs of our times that so many in the media are focusing on the life story of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States.

You might think that this was some kind of popularity contest, instead of a weighty decision about someone whose impact on the fundamental law of the nation will extend for decades after Barack Obama has come and gone.

Much is being made of the fact that Sonia Sotomayor had to struggle to rise in the world. But stop and think.

If you were going to have open heart surgery, would you want to be operated on by a surgeon who was chosen because he had to struggle to get where he is or by the best surgeon you could find-- even if he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and had every advantage that money and social position could offer?

If it were you who was going to be lying on that operating table with his heart cut open, you wouldn't give a tinker's damn about somebody's struggle or somebody else's privileges.

The Supreme Court of the United States is in effect operating on the heart of our nation-- the Constitution and the statutes and government policies that all of us must live under.

What would the political spinmasters say if some white man said that a white male would more often reach a better conclusion than a Hispanic female?

For those who believe in the rule of law, Barack Obama used the words "rule of law" in introducing his nominee. For those who take his words as gospel, even when his own actions are directly the opposite of his words, that may be enough to let him put this dangerous woman on the Supreme Court.

To read the rest

Joel Osteen Wins First Ever ‘Worst Easter Sermon Award’

Chris Rosebrough of Pirate Christian Radio has sent out a press release regarding Joel Osteen’s dubious new distinction: the winner of the first ever ”Worst Ever Easter Sermon Award.’ You have to work really hard to get there in this day and age. Christian Newswire has the story.

This year’s winner of the first ever, Worst Easter Sermon Award went to Joel Osteen’s sermon “You Have Come Back Power”.

Commenting on Osteen’s sermon Rosebrough stated, “Jesus didn’t die and rise again on the cross so that you can have ‘come back power over life’s set backs’. Osteen completely missed the point of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection and as a result he missed the entire point of Christianity.”

Said Rosebrough, “I wasn’t surprised that Osteen was the first winner of this award. Osteen is like the Tiger Woods of heresy, he takes false teaching to a whole new level.”

Oscar Peterson - Love Ballade

I love this song, I first heard it on cassette tape, Saturday Night At The Blue Note Oscar Peterson Trio.This version is from: Oscar In Paris: Oscar Peterson Live At The Salle Pleyel. Let it wash over your soul and delight you.

The Myth Unbelievers Cling To

"You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist."
Friedrich Nietzsche

"If God did not exist, all would be permitted."
Feodor Dostoevsky

18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

Romans 1:18-19NASB

The Self-Suicide of the West

Malcom Muggeridge:
. . . [I]t has become abundantly clear in the second half of the twentieth century that Western Man has decided to abolish himself. Having wearied of the struggle to be himself, he has created
his own boredom out of his own affluence,
his own impotence out of his own erotomania,
his own vulnerability out of his own strength;
himself blowing the trumpet that brings the walls of his own city tumbling down, and, in a process of auto-genocide, convincing himself that he is too numerous, and labouring accordingly with pill and scalpel and syringe to make himself fewer in order to be an easier prey for his enemies; until at last, having educated himself into imbecility, and polluted and drugged himself into stupefaction, he keels over a weary, battered old brontosaurus and becomes extinct.
Malcome Muggeride, from his essay "Jesus: The Man Who Lives," in Seeing Through the Eye: Malcolm Muggeridge on Faith, ed. Cecil Kuhne (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005), 16.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Bacon Bible

Son House - Death Letter Blues

Simul justus et peccator

"Realism has never been a mean achievement. It is a hard-won asset. And it differs from cynicism, with which it is sometimes confused, by only a slender thread -- the thread, I believe, of God's grace. . . . We are thinking of the person who can say, on the one hand, 'I am an incredible idiot,' and at the same time, 'Life is good and the future holds out hope.'"

Paul F. M. Zahl, Who Will Deliver Us?, pages 47-48.

Bonhoeffer on the Difference Between the Counsel of Psychiatry and Christianity

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together (pp. 118-119):
The most experienced psychologist or observer of human nature knows infinitely less of the human heart than the simplest Christian who lives beneath the Cross of Jesus.

The greatest psychological insight, ability, and experience cannot grasp this one thing: what sin is.

Worldly wisdom knows what distress and weakness and failure are, but it does not know the godlessness of man. And so it does not know that man is destroyed only by his sin and can be healed only by forgiveness. Only the Christian knows this.

In the presence of a psychiatrist I can only be a sick man; in the presence of a Christian brother I can dare to be a sinner.

The psychiatrist must first search my heart and yet he never plumbs its ultimate depth. The Christian brother knows when I come to him: here is a sinner like myself, a godless man who wants to confess and yearns for God’s forgiveness.

The psychiatrist views me as if there were no God. The brother views me as I am before the judging and merciful God in the Cross of Jesus Christ.
HT: David Powlison

Monday, May 25, 2009

Eric Clapton - Going Down Slow

From the DVD "Eric Clapton & Friends in Concert" - a benefit for the Crossroads Centre at Antigua Eric Clapton - guitar and vocals/ Andy Fairweather Low - guitar/ Nathan East - bass and vocals Steve Gadd - drums

60 Days To Evolve

Together Through Life

A few months ago Bob Dylan surprised everyone—including his record company—with the announcement that he had recorded a new album, and last month Together Through Life was released, to the jubilance of Dylan cronies like me everywhere. At nearly 68 years of age, the great rock bard is nearing the end of his extraordinary career. So each new album is a yet more precious gift. What is most remarkable is that late-period Dylan is arguably his very best. The most recent trio of albums—including Love and Theft, Modern Times, and Together Through Life—form what I have begun calling Dylan’s Americana Trilogy, all having been produced by Jack Frost (Dylan’s pseudonym as record producer) and showcasing a rootsy, relaxed kind of energy to match consistently strong compositions. However many more albums he records, the first decade of the 21st century will surely go down as a peak Dylan period.

200px-together_through_lifeDylan’s voice is now a gravelly rasp but still quite capable of delivering powerful emotions, startling metaphors, and home truths. Dylan smartly surrounds his vocals with equally raw instrumentation, including David Hidalgo’s accordion which graces most of the songs on the album. What no one seems to have noticed is the prominence of guitar work on this album, thanks especially to Mike Campbell (of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers fame). No other Dylan album (among the 30+ he has recorded) features so many guitar solos. In fact, there are multiple solos on most of the songs—gritty but melodic stuff that richly accents the lyrics.

Here’s a quick survey of the tracks, most of which Dylan co-wrote with Grateful Dead wordsmith, Robert Hunter:

by Jim Spiegel read the rest

Why Memorial Day is Worth Remembering

Kevin DeYoung:
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was instituted to honor Union soldiers who died in the Civil War. After World War I, the purpose of the day was expanded to include all men and women who died in U.S. military service. Today, Memorial Day is mainly thought of as the unofficial start of summer–a long weekend with a car race, playoff basketball, and brats and burgers on the grill.

It is always tricky to know how the church should or shouldn’t celebrate patriotic holidays. Certainly, some churches blend church and state in such a way that the kingdom of God morphs into a doctrinally-thin, spiritually nebulous civil religion. But even with this dangers, there are a number of good reasons why Christians should give thanks for Memorial Day.
Below is an outline of Kevin's main points--but of course to see the explanation and justification for each you'll have to read the whole thing:
1. Being a soldier is not a sub-Christian activity. . . .

2. The life of a soldier can demonstrate the highest Christian virtues. . . .

3. Military service is one of the most common metaphors in the New Testament to describe the Christian life. . . .

4. Love of country can be a good thing. . . .

5. This may be controversial to some, but I believe the facts of history will demonstrate that on the whole, the United States military has been a force for good in the world. . . .

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bob Dylan - Slow Train

Slow Train Comin' This Memorial Day

Man's ego is inflated, his laws are outdated, they don't apply no more
You can't rely no more to be standin' around waitin'
In the home of the brave, Jefferson turnin' over in his grave
Fools glorifying themselves, trying to manipulate Satan
And theres a slow, slow train comin' up around the bend

Slow Train, by Bob Dylan

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Conduits of Divine Comfort (2 Cor. 1:3-7) by Sam Storms

Paul also discerned a divine design in his hardship. What might appear haphazard and serendipitous to the human eye comes wrapped in the package of God’s eternal purpose. Look closely at Paul’s statement in v. 4 where he asserts that when God comforts us “in all our affliction” it is “so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” Pain threatens to anesthetize us to any observable “so that”. It seems so senseless, so random, so utterly lacking in good and devoid of a goal. But Paul won’t hear of it. Whatever degree of suffering I’ve endured, says the apostle, it was to equip me to serve you who likewise endure affliction of body and anguish of soul.

This doesn’t immediately resonate with many of us. We are by nature so intractably selfish that we regard our own souls “as the center of all providences” and “naturally seek to explain everything by its bearing on ourselves alone” (James Denney). We struggle to envision how our pain and hardship could possibly have any relevance for or bearing upon anyone else. If nothing else, Paul’s confession “calls into question the individualism of modern Christianity and the sense of remoteness within and among many contemporary churches" (Paul Barnett, 73).

But there’s a vital lesson for us to learn in this truth. When afflicted, whatever its nature or source or perceived cause, stop and do two things: first, avail yourself of the corresponding comforts of Christ and, second, lift up your head, look around, and ask: “Who else, Lord?”

To read the rest go here

Top Ten Ugliest Sports Uniforms Of All Time.

Houston Astros, 1975 – 1993

To see the rest go here

B.B. King - Key to the Highway

Disaster Is On The Way


"God didn't save you to make you happy. That's a by-product. He saved you to make you holy. You were predestined to be conformed to the image of God's son." Vance Havner

Friday, May 22, 2009

B.B. King - Why I Sing The Blues

ACORN and Drummond Pike’s Tides Foundation - More Corruption

The "Glenn Beck Program" had a segment today on Fox News about the connection between ACORN and the Tides Foundation. (I can't find a video clip of the segment online yet.)

He said that Drummond Pike, head of the Tides Foundation, wrote a personal check for about $700,000 to ACORN to cover the bulk of the $948,000 that Dale Rathke, brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke, embezzled from the ACORN network.

The Tides Foundation is a pass-through entity. Wealthy liberals give the charity money, take the tax deduction, and then tell Tides which causes to give their money to. The money is then given in the name of Tides and the real donor's name is withheld. Pike has said that keeping the identity of Tides donors secret is very important.

Wade Rathke, who was expelled by ACORN's national board last summer for his role in covering up the embezzlement, is a member of the Tides board. Suspicious? You betcha.

Meanwhile, ACORN stands accused of election fraud, extortion, and racketeering, yet congressional leaders have no interest in investigating the group. House Financial Services Committee Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) and House Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers (D-Michigan) refuse to probe ACORN.

By Matthew Vadum



(Latin a-, “from” + se, “itself”)

Attribute or property of God describing his self-existence and non-contingency. In other words, God is the only absolutely independent being. His existence and well-being are not dependent upon any being or circumstance. He is the final and primary cause of all things, therefore, there is no cause that precedes him. He is in need of nothing.

Scripture Reference: Ps. 50:10–12; Acts 17:23–26, Ex. 3:14

HT:Word of the day

Top Ten Classified Pieces Of Information Revealed By Joe Biden

Late Show Top Ten

10. Biden confirmed vice president has no actual responsibilities
9. Obama also bought his kids a kangaroo
8. Nixon faked his death to escape gambling debts
7. In case of trouble, President's car can turn into a fighting robot
6. To enter Oval Office, you must know the president's secret fist-bump
5. Biden often skips staff meetings to watch "Jon And Kate Plus Eight"
4. America will declare that it's going out of business next Tuesday
3. Obama smokes in his sleep
2. When Bush ran out of pate at a state dinner, he fed Queen Elizabeth week-old taco meat
1. Dick Cheney once caught waterboarding himself

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Washington We Have a Problem!

Good Intentions

Car Crazy: Bankrupt companies making 39 mpg autos. Are we nuts?

This article is about the new standards that Obama wants — standards that will significantly increase the price of cars. From the Wall Street Journal:

"All that's left to arrive at the President's new destination for the American way of driving are huge, unanswered questions about technology, financing and the marketability of cars that will be small and expensive.

…We wish these folks luck "working together" with the Obama auto-design team. One thing seems certain by 2016: Taxpayers will be paying Detroit to make the cars Americans don't want, and then they will pay again either through (trust us) a gas tax or with a purchase subsidy. Even the French must think we're nuts."

This is not a plan to help anyone but the Federal Government to have more power. These morons in Washington are not competent to to run any private business, if you want something done wrong let the Federal government run it, just look at the United States Postal Service or Amtrak for examples. These are the Bluesman's thoughts not the Wall Street Journal.

Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton - Can't Find My Way Home

The Destruction of the Gods - Has Science Made God Obsolete?

by Vern S. Poythress, Ph.D. , Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Westminster Theological Seminary
Science has now proven those gods to be false idols. Soon all Gods will be proven to be false idols. Science has now provided answers to almost every question man can ask.--Maximilian Kohler, in Dan Brown, Angels and Demons.

Has science made God obsolete? Dan Brown's Maximilian Kohler argues that by giving rational explanations for the rising and setting of the sun, science has made the Greek god Helios dispensable. In every field, the growth of science pushes back the need to postulate the activities of gods. Kohler expresses what is on many people's minds in our day.

Ironically, the rise of science took place in the opposite direction from what Kohler depicts. Kohler suggests that science destroyed the gods. Actually, the destruction of the gods created an opening for science. How?

The polytheistic religion of Greeks said that there were many gods. There were as many divine plans and as many purposes as there were gods. Since the gods interacted in a chaotic fashion, people had no guarantee that the world would show any stable order. Greek religion discouraged any hope for a scientific exploration of a rational order.

Modern science arose in the context of Christian monotheism, which displaced the Greek gods and gave confidence to prospective scientists by means of three fundamental principles:

  1. One rational God rules all things (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 33:6), and so we can expect universal order.
  2. God made man in his image (Genesis 1:26-27), and so man is naturally in tune with God's mind and has hope of grasping the order that God had given.
  3. The world that God made is not divine, and hence is open for human investigation.

In fact, God's word is the foundation for scientific law. According to Genesis 1, God by speaking specified the regular order for the sun and moon and stars, and the regular pattern for the growth and reproduction of plants (Genesis 1:11, 14-15). What scientists call scientific law is in fact their guess about God's law, God's specification, "let it be so." Scientists in their investigation are in fact investigating the mind of God and thinking his thoughts after him--albeit on their limited, human level.

Early scientists like Copernicus and Isaac Newton understood that they stood before God's workmanship. The universe wasbuilt for us by the Best and Most Orderly Workman of all.How exceedingly fine is the godlike work of the Best and Greatest Artist. (Copernicus, The Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres)

To read the rest

Has Christian America Come to an End?

By Mark Driscoll
Pastor, Mars Hill Church

Has Christian America come to an end? That question has been hotly debated since Newsweek published their recent feature story reporting that the number of Americans claiming no religious affiliation has nearly doubled since 1990. Additionally, the percentage of self-identified Christians has dropped ten points in the past two decades.

As an evangelical pastor with one of America’s fastest-growing churches in one of its least churched cities, I do not find the report surprising or discouraging. Newsweek missed the subtle — but vital — difference between Christian America and Christendom America.

Christian America is comprised of those people who have had a truly transforming experience with Jesus Christ and are living new lives as practicing Christians. Experts such as sociologist Bradford Wilcox at the University of Virginia have well documented the fact that those who practice Christian faith by reading their Bibles regularly, attending church, praying, and so forth are far less likely to engage in acts such as adultery, divorce, substance abuse, and the like.
Christendom America is comprised of those people who have not had a truly transforming experience with Jesus Christ and are living lives virtually indistinguishable from those who are non-Christians. The confusion is that it was common in Christendom for people who did not practice Christianity to profess Christianity. This was often done for social reasons, such as living in a culture that expected church affiliation, being born into a religious tradition and assuming it was simply part of one’s identity (like a cultural or racial connection), or personally, socially, and vocationally benefitting from being connected, even loosely, to a church or denomination.

To read the rest

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Selling Crap To Christians

Three Strikes Against ObamaCare Government-run health care would force millions of Americans off of their insurance plans, ruin the private insurance

In a recent op-ed, Tom Daschle repeatedly invokes a baseball metaphor when discussing government-run health care. His apparent aim is to make it seem as American as baseball or apple pie. But government-run health care is really about as American as government-owned Chevrolet--and would prove even less beneficial to America's future.

Ronald Reagan said that "outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector." He believed the American people knew this as well. But that knowledge is exactly what Daschle, President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Senator Reid hope we no longer have--or will soon unlearn.

Sticking with Daschle's baseball metaphor, here are the three strikes against President Obama's health-care plan: One, it would force millions of Americans off of employer-provided insurance. Two, it would run private insurers out of business. Three, it would eventually lead to a government monopoly and rationed care.

By Jeffery H. Anderson, To read the rest

Eric Clapton: Standin' Round Crying

Imaginary Conversion

"I think this is the right moment to consider a question which is often asked: If Christianity is true why are not all Christians obviously nicer than all non-Christians?...If conversion to Christianity makes no improvement in a man's outward actions - if he continues to be just as snobbish or spiteful or envious or ambitious as he was before - then I think we must suspect that his 'conversion' was largely imaginary; and after one's original conversion every time one thinks one has made an advance, that is the test to apply...A tree is known by its fruit; or, as we say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. When we Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world."
C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity, Chapter 10.

I believe that Churches are filled with people who have never been converted. They have been baptized, catechized, filled out cards, walked down aisles, said a sinners prayer, have had their emotions manipulated, joined Churches but have never been converted. They have never heard the gospel or understood what it is that Christ did for them on the cross and are still living the same self centered life they were living before their so-called conversion.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Christ's Full Obedience is Imputed To Us

"Jesus lived the life we should have lived, and died the death we should have died!" - Dr. Tim Keller

Calvin said, "Now someone asks, How has Christ abolished sin, banished the separation between us and God, and acquired righteousness to render God favorable and kindly toward us? To this we can in general reply that he has achieved this for us by the whole course of his obedience. This is proved by Paul’s testimony: “As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience we are made righteous” [Romans 5:19]. In another passage, to be sure, Paul extends the basis of the pardon that frees us from the curse of the law to the whole life of Christ: “But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, subject to the law, to redeem those who were under the law” [Galatians 4:4-5]. Thus in his very baptism, also, he asserted that he fulfilled a part of righteousness in obediently carrying out his Father’s commandment [Matthew 3:15]. In short, from the time when he took on the form of a servant, he began to pay the price of liberation in order to redeem us.

Yet to define the way of salvation more exactly, Scripture ascribes this as peculiar and proper to Christ’s death. He declares that “he gave his life to redeem many” [Matthew 20:28]. Paul teaches that “Christ died for our sins” [Romans 4:25]. John the Baptist proclaimed that he came “to take away the sins of the world,” for he was “the Lamb of God” [John 1:29]. In another passage Paul teaches that “we are freely justified through the redemption which is in Christ, because he was put forward as a reconciler in his blood” [Romans 3:24-25]. Likewise: “We are …justified by his blood …and reconciled …through his death.” [Romans 5:9-10.] Again: “For our sake he who knew no sin was made sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” [2 Corinthians 5:21] I shall not pursue all the testimonies, for the list would be endless, and many of them will be referred to in their order. For this reason the so-called “Apostles’ Creed” passes at once in the best order from the birth of Christ to his death and resurrection, wherein the whole of perfect salvation consists. Yet the remainder of the obedience that he manifested in his life is not excluded. Paul embraces it all from beginning to end: “He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant …and was obedient to the Father unto death, even death on a cross” - Calvin's Institutes 2.16.5

Bob Dylan - Dead Man, Dead Man

TV Swine Flu

Fleeing High State Taxes

Economists Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore have an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that analyzes how people and capital leave higher tax states for lower tax states.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Updating some research from Richard Vedder of Ohio University, we found that from 1998 to 2007, more than 1,100 people every day including Sundays and holidays moved from the nine highest income-tax states such as California, New Jersey, New York and Ohio and relocated mostly to the nine tax-haven states with no income tax, including Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire and Texas. We also found that over these same years the no-income tax states created 89% more jobs and had 32% faster personal income growth than their high-tax counterparts.

…Or consider the fiasco of New Jersey. In the early 1960s, the state had no state income tax and no state sales tax. It was a rapidly growing state attracting people from everywhere and running budget surpluses. Today its income and sales taxes are among the highest in the nation yet it suffers from perpetual deficits and its schools rank among the worst in the nation -- much worse than those in New Hampshire. Most of the massive infusion of tax dollars over the past 40 years has simply enriched the public-employee unions in the Garden State. People are fleeing the state in droves.

This is a no-brainer: you get less of that which you tax; you get more of that which you subsidize.If New Jersey wants to run its millionaires out of state, all they have to do is raise the marginal tax rates.

Now who will pay the taxes in that state?

HT:Right Mind

Vladimir Lenin Quote of the Day

“Give me your 4 years olds, and in a generation I will build a socialist state.”

—Vladimir Lenin

Your government schools at work…

HT:Right Mind

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A Changin' - Unplugged

A fitting song for today, the times are changing but the changes are not good.

The Jitney Gods of Washington

Topic: Obama Nation Building

As the Obama saga gets weirder and weirder, Christians shouldn't forget to interpret all the news in the fundamental terms of who we want to be our god, and who wants to be the embodiment of that god. Worship is always the key to everything. And it is not the "key to everything" because we keep repeating that mindlessly like a mantra. It is the key to everything because it explains why so many people, otherwise intelligent, are doing such foolish things.

One of the central reasons why it is so important to insist on the absolute sovereignty of the triune God of Scripture (and for those just joining us, that would be the true God) is because if we dial that sovereignty back (not in reality, but in our fevered dreams) something bad always happens to us. We (also in our fevered dreams) think to step into the void that our imaginations created, the vacant spot recently relinquished by the Maker of heaven and earth. Denial of the true God is the first step of two. It is not that we want no God; it is that we want to replace Him. So the first step is to deny Him. The second step is a necessary one (meaning that it cannot be avoided once the first is taken), and it involves volunteering to pick up the slack created by the divine absence.

To paraphrase the great Francis Schaeffer, if there is no God above the state, the state becomes god.The regulatory state wants to be Lord, and with no veto power hanging over them from above. But the bad news for them is what we Christians call the good news. Christ is Lord. There is no other. And we serve a Lord who was crucified for us, not a lord who wants to crucify others for himself.
In short, Obama is proposing the policies he is because of a religious impulse, pure and simple. He wants the state to be Lord and Savior. We as Christians oppose this, but not because it would be bad if it succeeded. There is no possibility of it succeeding. We oppose it because our Lord and Savior has given us songs of praise with which to bind their dreams of glory.
By Doug Wilson

Defining Decency Down

Christians are foolish to sing the praises of Miss California, Carrie Prejean, simply because she uttered some inarticulate opinions against same-sex marriage and speaks of God. To find a heroine in her is to define decency down, just as social science defined deviancy down decades ago (as Daniel Patrick Moynihan pointed out in a ground-breaking article in 1993).

This young woman is a beauty queen, both ensnared by and loving that sad and silly skin game. However, the category should not exist. American society has created an unreal and cruel standard for women to reach: the beauty queen--a woman known for curves and perfect skin, heavenly hair and preternatural teeth. They prance and pose and preen; the cameras churn and burn; the media salivates and speculates. My stomach turns. It is all sinful a waste of the short time we have on this fallen planet. Moreover, in addition to the intrinsic immodesty and vanity of the beauty queen persona, this woman apparently posed for even more indecent photographs. This model is no model (of character).

Carrie Prejean is no heroine. She does not deserve any more attention. To give it to her, whether you are James Dobson or Sean Hannity, reveals the paucity of both real virtue and Christian discernment today. We have defined decency down. Perhaps we should lift some prayers up.
By Doug Grootuis

The Soft Despotism of President Obama

For the policies of the Obama administration are not designed to shelter and nourish what Edmund Burke called the "little platoons." They are designed to subject them to what Tocqueville called "soft despotism," which he identified as the natural tendency and potentially fatal weakness of American democracy.

Our would-be soft despots are offering Americans money and the promise of security against economic distress. The vastly increased cost of government will nonetheless nearly leave half of households free from the burden of paying federal income tax and eligible for occasional rebates. As CNN reporter Susan Roesgen said to a tea party protester, "Don't you realize that you're eligible for a $400 tax cut?"

In other words, take the money and shut up. Which brings to mind Tocqueville's warning: "Every measure which establishes legal charity on a permanent basis and gives to it an administrative form creates thereby a class unproductive and idle, living at the expense of the class which is industrious and given to work."

By Michael Barone to read the rest

Sunday, May 17, 2009


"Someone once said that staying angry is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. If your cause is just, you would still find the energy to fight for it even without anger."

Frederica Mathewes-Green, "Unrighteous Indignation," Christianity Today, 23 October 2000, page 117.

Bob Dylan - All Along The Watchtower - Unplugged


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bob Dylan - Tombstone Blues - Unplugged

Crazy Nancy

Does it bother anybody that this woman is 3rd in line to be President?

I Pity The Fool - Mr T's Take On Justice

Mr. T pities the fools who didn't show up to the Cook County Criminal Court building on April 27 for jury duty. That's because they missed out on spending their civic duty time with the colorful actor who starred in the hit television series The A-Team and in Rocky III. Chicago resident Mr. T signed autographs and posed for pictures with fellow potential jurors, court officials, and even the family of the defendant before jury selection. But the 1980s icon failed to make the final jury despite promising justice, T style. "If you're innocent, I'm your best man," he said. "But if you're guilty, I pity that fool."

Friday, May 15, 2009

A little Thing Called Reality - The Federal Goverment Is Incompetent

The blue chart comes from page 4 of this government report. Its meant to show how the unemployment rate will be much lower with the President’s stimulus plan in effect (the dark blue line) than it would have otherwise.

The folks at Innocent Bystanders added the red triangles which represent a little thing I like to call reality. Those are the actual unemployment numbers for the last two months. As you can see, it appears we’re now charting a course even worse (steeper) than the President’s worst predictions. But of course we did spend the stimulus money. So it’s really the worst of both worlds.

What exactly has the administration accomplished, beside digging a huge financial hole for the US?

The Hokey Pelosi

Cream - Sleeply Time Time

Seek The Welfare Of The City

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. Jeremiah 29:7

"That is not how Christians usually think about the city. Many Christians write the city off. At most, they try to establish their own fortresses within the city. But God does not tell his people to seek peace in the city; he tells them to seek the peace of the city."

Philip Graham Ryken, Jeremiah, page 415.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wings Win! Wings Win!

The Detroit Red Wings won an exciting game 7 over the Ducks, 4 to 3. Now its on to the Western Conference Finals against an original 6 team the Chicago Black Hawks. Only 8 more wins for another Stanley Cup.

Disney Labs Unveils Its Latest Line Of Genetically Engineered Child Stars

Disney Lab Unveils Its Latest Line Of Genetically Engineered Child Stars

The Gospel Gives You Psychological Freedom

The gospel gives you psychological freedom to handle the wrong things that you will do. You won’t have to deny, spin, or repress the truth about yourself. These things don’t make it impossible to know who you are. Only with the support of hearing Jesus say, “You are capable of terrible things, but I am absolutely, unconditionally committed to you,” will you be able to be honest with yourself.
Tim Keller

Born under a bad sign - Eric Clapton

Optimism Gone Wrong

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Talking Points The president offers unserious rhetoric on a vital security matter. By Thomas Sowell

One of the many signs of the degeneration of our times is how many serious, even life-and-death issues are approached as talking points in a game of verbal fencing. Nothing illustrates this more than the fatuous, and even childish, controversy about “torturing” captured terrorists.

People’s actions often make far more sense than their words. Most of the people who are talking lofty talk about how we mustn’t descend to the level of our enemies would themselves behave very differently if presented with a comparable situation, instead of being presented with an opportunity to be morally one up with rhetoric.

What if it were your mother or your child who was tied up somewhere beside a ticking bomb and you had captured a terrorist who knew where that was? Face it: What you would do to that terrorist to make him talk would make waterboarding look like a picnic.

You wouldn’t care what the New York Times would say or what “world opinion” in the U.N. would say. You would save your loved one’s life and tell those other people what they could do.

But if the United States behaves that way it is called “arrogance” — even by American citizens. Indeed, even by the American president.
The Left has long confused physical parallels with moral parallels. But when a criminal shoots at a policeman and the policeman shoots back, physical equivalence is not moral equivalence. And what American intelligence agents have done to captured terrorists is not even physical equivalence.

If we have reached the point where we cannot be bothered to think beyond rhetoric or to make moral distinctions, then we have reached the point where our survival in an increasingly dangerous world of nuclear proliferation can no longer be taken for granted.
To read the rest

No, Mr. President: John Piper's Response to President Obama on Abortion

How The New Birth Happens

First, the Holy Spirit freely gives life. There is no how-to here at all; he must sovereignly do this.

Second, this happens through the living and abiding Word of God. We see here the human agency of the divine sovereign awakening of dead souls.

Third, the gospel brings about faith. Believing is the result, not the cause of the new birth.

Fourth, Christ is received and believed upon.

These four steps cannot be carved apart—they must happen simultaneously
by John Piper
HT Challies

Ten Reasons we need to be Born Again.

Apart from the new birth we are dead
Apart from the new birth we are by nature children of wrath
Apart from the new birth we love darkness and hate light
Apart from the new birth we have hearts that are hard like stone
Apart from the new birth we are unable to submit to God
Apart from the new birth we are unable to except the gospel
Apart from the new birth we are unable to come to Christ or embrace him as Lord
Apart from the new birth we are slaves to sin
Apart from the new birth we are slaves of Satan
Apart from the new birth no good thing dwells in me
by John Piper
HT Challies

Robert Johnson-Last Fair Deal Gone Down

The Big 0.5% Ferderal Budget Trim

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The odious Democrat bootlicker Jon Stewart gets his tail handed to him in the Washington Times.

I have always considered Jon Stewart (The Daily Show) to be a thoroughly repugnant ass and his TV show a bunch of garbage for only the very stupidest of left-wing nobrains. As a result of my avoidance of the man and his works, I have seldom had occasion to write about him.

Thus I greatly enjoyed Andrew Breitbart's column about Stewart in today's Washington Times, in which he shows up Stewart as a partisan hack.

My only prior substantive reference to Stewart in this august publication, in fact, characterized him as "another open Democrat partisan talker" as opposed to him being any sort of comedian, and I dismissed him as an uninteresting Democrat water-carrier.

Predictably, Stewart has continued his old ways, attacking obscure and powerless Republicans while giving a free pass to President Obama as the Chief Executive and his complicit Congress attempt a grotesque and horrifying transformation of the United States into a combination of 1970s Great Britain and current-day Mexico.

Jonathan and his amazing technicolor dream-teleprompter (yes, he has one too) has for 10 years used sophisticated character assassination to slyly annihilate the political enemies of the Democratic Party.

The show's multitude of liberal, Ivy-League-educated writers—another Obama echo—feed the mildly successful former stand-up comedian irony-laden words that he offers up with his signature goofy facial expressions. And Jon Stewart has a studio audience of pliant seals commanded and trained to flap their fins at every smirk or sarcastic joke.

As a smug and pretentious elitist who portrays himself as more intelligent than the opposition when in fact he simply reads Democrat talking points in a snarky tone of voice while expressing mock astonishment, Stewart caters to an audience of people who likewise think themselves superior to the population as a whole and hence think that pseudo intellectuals such as themselves should be given the keys to the car and the rest of us should remain in the back seat and shut the hell up.

Bob Dylan - My Wife's Home Town - Fron Together Through Life

Killing Off American Comedy - By Gene Healy

A lot of folks are upset over comedienne Wanda Sykes's attack on Rush Limbaugh at Saturday's White House Correspondents' Dinner. She called Rush a "traitor," and said "I hope his kidneys fail." Limbaugh aside, though, there were deeper problems with Sykes's routine: it was the work of a courtier comic: embarrassingly sycophantic and unfunny.

Sykes began her routine by gushing to the president "you're so likable," and spent most of her time savaging Obama's critics. For her grand finale, she took on people who complained that the president didn't get a rescue dog: "Look, the man has to rescue a country that's been abused by its previous owner. Let him have a fresh start with a dog." Edgy stuff! Lenny Bruce would be proud.

A solitary flop at stand-up is no big deal, but Sykes isn't the only comic who has trouble making fun of Barack Obama. Jon Stewart's been a lot less amusing since his guy got elected.

Tearing into Jim Cramer makes for good TV, but Stewart's painful earnestness hardly provides the yuks. Comedian Jackie Mason--who summed up Bill Clinton with one razor-sharp line: "at least Nixon had the decency to twitch when he lied"--says that his fellow comics have fallen prey to "hero worship."

From AmSpecBlog

Population, Economy, and God - By Tom Bethell

World population, once “exploding,” is still increasing, and “momentum” ensures that it will do so for decades to come. But fertility rates have tumbled. In Europe every country has fallen below replacement level.

In rich countries, a total fertility rate of 2.1 babies per woman is needed if population is to remain stable. But in the European Union as a whole the rate is down to 1.5. Germany is at 1.4, and Italy, Spain, and Greece are at 1.3.

I believe that two interacting factors shape population growth or decline: economic prosperity and belief in God. As to the first, there is no doubt that rising material prosperity discourages additional children. Fewer infants die; large families are no longer needed to support older parents. The welfare state—which only rich countries can afford—has greatly compounded this effect. When people believe that the government will take care of them, pay their pensions and treat their maladies, children do seem less essential.

A rise in prosperity also encourages people to think that they can dispense with God. Religion diminishes when wealth increases—that’s my theory. But with a twist that I shall come to. Wealth generates independence, including independence from God, or (if you will) Providence. God is gradually forgotten, then assumed not to exist. This will tend to drive childbearing down even further. Hedonism will become predominant. Remember, Jesus warned that it’s the rich, not the poor, who are at spiritual hazard.

To read the rest

The Biggest Threat To America - Pork Flu

Monday, May 11, 2009

Why Would God Command Something That Is Impossible?

  1. God clearly does command us to do that which is impossible for fallen sinners: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). Moreover, the law of God itself demands to be obeyed perfectly, flawlessly (James 2:10)—thus demanding a level of obedience that has proven utterly impossible for every person who ever lived, except Christ.
  2. Therefore the fact that God commands us to do something is no proof that we have intrinsic power in our fallen state to obey Him. (Cf. Romans 7:15-16).
  3. One major reason God gives us moral standards we cannot obey is to reinforce our knowledge of our own spiritual impotence, so that we have no option but to turn to His grace as we seek salvation from our sin. (Cf. Luke 18:13-14).
  4. Nothing but sheer arrogance and a blindness to one's own spiritual poverty would lead anyone to think he is capable of obeying God or saving himself through human will power. (cf. Luke 18:11; Romans 10:3.)
  5. It is also a serious mistake to imagine that inability nullifies responsibility in the moral realm. The fact that sinners are spiritually dead and therefore morally unable to obey God does not remove them from the moral obligation to obey Him.
  6. I think you misunderstand the Calvinist objection to "free will." Every true Calvinist believes sinners are responsible moral agents, free from any external force or coercion in the choices they make. They choose freely. But they inevitably choose wrong, because their choices are determined by their own nature and their nature is sinful and corrupt. We can discuss this further if you're interested, but the point is simple: A call for the sinner to "choose" something good is in no way incompatible with Calvinist theology.
From Pyromaniacs

Bob Dylan - This Dream Of You - From Together Through Life

The New Spock

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bob Dylan- Feel A Change Comin' On (Together Through Life)

Don't Look Back To Your Sin, Look Back To Jesus

"Would you like to be rid of this spiritual depression? The first thing you have to do is to say farewell now once and forever to your past. . . . Never look back at your sins again. Say, 'It is finished, it is covered by the Blood of Christ.' That is your first step. Take that and finish with yourself and all this talk about goodness, and look to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is only then that true happiness and joy are possible for you. What you need is not to make resolutions and to live a better life, to start fasting and sweating and praying. No! You just begin to say, 'I rest my faith on Him alone, who died for my transgressions to atone.'"

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression, p. 35.

Sproul on the Distinction between Innocence and Righteousness

Saturday, May 9, 2009

It's All Good - Bob Dylan

Conviction Or Accusation?

"He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment." John 16:8
". . . the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down . . . ." Revelation 12:10

How can I tell the difference between the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit and the accusing attacks of Satan? Some thoughts:

1. The Holy Spirit puts his finger on a specific sin I have committed, something concrete I can own and confess, but the accusations of Satan are vague and simply demoralizing.
2.The Holy Spirit shows me Christ, the mighty Friend of sinners, but the devil wants me spiraling down into negative self-focus.
3. The Holy Spirit leads me to a threshold of new life, but the devil wants to paralyze me where I am.
4. The Holy Spirit brings peace of heart along with a new hatred of sin, so that I bow before Jesus in reconsecration, but the devil offers peace of mind with smug relief, so that I fold my arms and say, "There, that's over with."
5. The Holy Spirit helps me to be so open to God that I allow him to control the conversation, but the devil tempts me to take off the table certain questions I just don't want God to talk to me about.
We are thankful for our dear Friend, the Holy Spirit.
From Ray Ortland

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Much Bigger Threat Than The Swine Flu

An Interview with Os Guinness on the 25th Anniversary of Francis Schaeffer's Death

Justin Taylor recently asked Os Guinness a few questions about Schaeffer's impact and significance.

How did you first meet Schaeffer?

I first met Francis Schaeffer in 1965 when I was a student in London. I had come to faith in Jesus through a Christian friend and through reading such writers as Dostoevsky, G.K. Chesterton, and C.S. Lewis. But it would be fair to say that while we had extraordinary biblical exposition and deep, rich theological teaching in England, there was almost no encouragement to think Christianly or to understand what was going on in the wider culture. So there I was as a student in the middle of ‘swinging London’ and the exploding Sixties, and no Christians that I knew understood what was going on at all. Then a friend took me to hear a strange little man in Swiss knickers, with a high-pitched voice, terms all of his own such as ‘the line of despair,’ and appalling mispronunciations and occasional malapropisms. But I was intrigued and then hooked. Schaeffer was the first Christian I met who was concerned to, and capable of connecting the dots and making sense of the extraordinary times that puzzled and dismayed most people. Two years later, I went to the Swiss l’Abri myself, and my first three weeks there in the summer of 1967 became the most revolutionary period in my entire life. I have never been the same since.

Can you describe his influence on you personally?

Later on, I had the privilege of living with Francis and Edith Schaeffer for three years in their home, so I came to know them both very well. To be honest, I adored Edith and have never met a woman like her. I can’t say quite the same about Francis, and I have my differences with him. But I also owe the world to him, and he has influenced me profoundly even where I differ from him. His main influence was not intellectual. I owe far more in that area to my real mentor, Peter Berger. In fact I have not read many of Schaeffer’s books, because I heard them all delivered in lectures and discussions before they were written. So Schaeffer has influenced me more in an unspoken way. I often say simply that I have never met anyone with such a passion for God, combined with a passion for people, combined with a passion for truth. That is an extremely rare combination, and Schaeffer embodied it. It is also why so many of his scholarly critics completely miss the heart of who he was, and why his son’s recent portrayal of his father is such a travesty and an outrage.

We all serve as examples to others—both positively and negatively. What are some of the main things in Schaeffer’s life and ministry that we should seek to emulate, and what are some cautionary lessons we can learn?

Of all his own books, Francis Schaeffer’s favorite was True Spirituality. It tells the story of his passionate, even desperate, search for reality in faith. But that was what was so great about him. There was no gap between his trust in God, his praying, his wrestling with issues, his lectures, his preaching, his love of the mountains, his sense of fun, his appreciation of beauty, and so on. With all his flaws, he was a very real man. Nietzsche used to say, “All truths are bloody truths to me,” and the same could be said of Schaeffer. In a day when some of the best-selling Christian celebrities and authors are windbags and even hypocrites, and so many Christian leaders are great for shallow reasons, Francis Schaeffer was very real.

At the same time, although he was a brilliant thinker, with an uncanny ability to connect the dots and see the significance of things, he was not a scholar and he relied too much on reading magazines rather than books. So he allowed himself, perhaps, to believe his flatterers' hype, or at least to go along with the puffery of his publishers and others. In the end, he lost a bit of his earlier humility, and was portrayed as the great philosopher and scholar that he wasn’t – which means that real scholars have an easy time of debunking some of his ideas.

Is there something in particular that you think people today misunderstand about Schaeffer?

A host of misunderstanding swirls around Francis Schaeffer’s reputation today. The two that concern me most are about his apologetics and his significance. Many who cite his apologetic approach have a comically wooden understanding of how he approached people to win them to faith. I have yet to see the book that does justice to the sheer brilliance of his way of presenting the gospel.

As far as his influence, he had a massive impact on the lives of individuals, including me, but his wider significance was as a ‘gatekeeper,’ or a door opener. When almost no Evangelicals were thinking about culture and connecting unconnected dots, Schaeffer not only did it himself but blazed a trail for countless others to follow. Many who trumpet their disagreements with him today owe their very capacity to disagree to his influence a generation ago. A little man in stature, he was a giant in influence, and many who have gone further have done so only by standing on his shoulders. I for one owe far more to Francis Schaeffer than I can ever say, and I live daily in his debt.