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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I've Moved

As of September, 2012, I will no longer be posting here at hipandthigh.blogspot.  My new home is,

hipandthigh.wordpress.com

Please update your blog roll if you are so inclined.
This site will remain active indefinitely as a road sign to the new place.

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Monday, September 03, 2012

Now for a Brief Announcement....

As of September 3rd, [That would be today] I will be taking a two-week hiatus from blogging.  That is because I am seriously thinking about moving my blog from a Blogger format to Wordpress. 

Since January 2010, I've been maintaining a Wordpress blog that deals specifically with my articles on premillennialism.  I've seen how much better it is with Wordpress to maintain posts, track folks who visit my blog, and more importantly, the ability to handle comments that Blogger just doesn't provide. 

For instance, with Blogger, I'm limited to really just a couple of options regarding what I can do with comments.  I can either approve them or delete them.  I can't edit them, nor can I go back and even edit a comment I left.  Wordpress provides a wide range of things I can do with comments and commenting including the ability of returning back to edit them for content.

Also, I have not at all been happy with the "new" Blogger.  I specifically don't care a lick about the new posting composition editor.  In fact, the Blogger posting editor has been a major bane during my blogging career over the last 7 years.  It has the terrible habit of just losing my posts in a blink of an eye. I can't tell you how immensely frustrating that is after you've spent an hour hammering out your thoughts on some important subject.
 
This past week, I had a long-time reader emailed me practically begging me to move my blog to Wordpress because he lost a comment that he was trying to post.  That apparently happens a lot, too with people on Blogger.  I told him that if I can do it with the certainty that I wouldn't lose seven years worth of blood, sweat, and tears contained in my articles, I'd seriously consider it.  He sent me some sites that tell me how to do it, and after reading them as well as doing my own personal research, I'd like to give it a try. 
 
So the next two weeks (at least), when I have a few spare moments, I plan to work on this project.  My goal is to have the Wordpress alternative "Hip and Thigh" operational by mid-September and I will run this blog and that blog together for a couple of weeks and then close the Blogger version in October if all goes well. 

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Friday, August 31, 2012

The David Barton Controversy

barton

I am beginning to think that as Gail Riplinger was to textual criticism, David Barton is to American history. He is the conservative equivalent of Howard Zinn.

If you don’t want to read through my “opinion,” at least make sure to scroll to the bottom and hit the audio links. Believe me: they are worth your time.

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If your family homeschools, or if you send your kids to a Christian school, or even if you are actively involved in Republican politics, listen to talk radio, and consider yourself a TEA party oriented person, the name David Barton has circled around your orbit at least a few times.

Barton heads up WallBuilders, a ministry that claims to “present America’s forgotten history” regarding our Christian faith, morals, and constitutional heritage. 

If you have watched any of Barton’s DVD presentations, he travels around Washington D.C. and other historical venues showing his viewers important landmarks and documents pertaining to Colonial America, the Revolutionary War, the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.   When Barton is interviewed on Christian TV programs, or even conservative TV shows like Glenn Beck, he always has with him a collection of “original” documents to show the audience.  Things like Ben Franklin’s Bible, or John Adam’s personal letters to some Baptist minister, or some unknown speech George Washington gave at a Methodist church.

Barton’s basic assertion in his DVDs, his books, and those TV interviews is that America’s founding Fathers – you know, the guys with their faces on our currency – were practicing evangelical Christians.  When they wrote up the Declaration of Independence and eventually the Constitution, they intended on founding a Christian nation.  Radical secular leftists, Barton contends, have hijacked American history over the last 50 years, revising it to teach that all the founding fathers were really deists and anti-Christian atheists and the last thing on their agenda was founding any country supportive of biblical Christianity.  His mission with WallBuilders is to set the historical record straight.

If you have heard him speak, his presentations are impressive and compelling.  Again, when he is making his case, he will have old, yellow documents with him that are laminated, which means they are really important.  He also has stacks of old, brittle looking books that were supposedly printed in 1798 or there abouts.

Those documents and books are intended to bolster his case for his “evangelical founding fathers” view of American history because he says they are original source documents, meaning they haven’t been altered by secular leftists.  Of course, the audience, upon watching Barton lift up one of those documents to wave in front of the TV cameras, has to assume he is accurately relaying to them what that document really says.  Honestly.  What average person, let’s say living in Wisconsin or  Maryland, really has carefully examined one of John Adam’s original letters to Thomas Jefferson?  Barton says he has and so that person has to trust him that he is relaying accurate information about the contents of the letter. 

In recent months, however, Barton has come under fire for just that:  Other historians – [and by “other” historians, I mean Christian historians, and by “Christian” historians, I mean Bible-believing, Jesus loving historians, not those prissy liberal “the-Bible-is-full-of-errors” “Christians”] – have taken issue with Barton claiming he has the bad habit of cheery-picking historical citations and spinning them in such a way so as to present his evangelical narrative of American history.   In other words, he abuses the historical documents to embellish and exaggerate the truth. 

jeffersonA big example of this is found in the controversy surrounding his book published this past summer titled, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson.  In that book, Barton presents the case that what we are told about Jefferson is for the most part a leftist fabrication.  In reality, he was really a faithful evangelical Christian and it wasn’t until later in his life as he grew senile, that he began to write negative things about God and Christianity.

The claims Barton makes did not sit well with just any historians, but particularly a  number of those Christian historians I noted above.  They worked together to challenge Barton’s views of Jefferson by showing the gross, factual errors he has in his books and his outright re-reading of history.  In short, they demonstrate that  Barton was doing the exact same thing he accuses his secular liberal critics of doing: Selectively citing sources and reinterpreting them  so as to revise history.

The vetting these historians made to Barton’s book was so devastating that Thomas Nelson, the publisher, dropped it.  The management cited the overwhelming number of factual errors contained in the book as the reason for their canceling it.  I thought their reaction was ironic, seeing that they are so willing to toss out Barton’s book over “factual errors,” but still publish a bizarre book in which a child claims to have gone to heaven.  Barton didn’t make them enough money, I suppose; but I digress.

I personally have never read anything by Barton. I have seen one or two of his DVD presentations and I have watched him on a number of television interviews.  I have always been dubious of his assertions about the founding fathers.  When he waves the yellow, laminated letter on the TV screen, I’m a tad suspicious. Having read enough history in my lifetime, including a few original source documents, I thought his “evidence” never passed a sniff test.  There were question marks in my mind.

Liberals of course hate the man’s guts.  That is because they relish having a proctologist view of American history and reject America’s exceptionalism that makes it the most unique and special country in the world.  So when Barton gives his exaggerated claims about America’s founding fathers, they pounce on them as proof of how out of touch Christians are with reality and what hypocrites they truly are.  Certainly that is a moon-bat reaction, but while they may go overboard in the other direction to maintain their distorted anti-American narrative, I’d have to admit they have a point about Barton.

I have also been troubled with how Christians, and I mean respectable, ought-to-know-better Christians, go to Barton as a reliable source on American history.  Conservative pundits like Glenn Beck, I can understand, but Christians who have made a name for being pillars of spiritual discernment?  I’ve seen him interviewed by Todd Friel in the past, as well as Kirk Cameron for his Monumental documentary that was released early this spring, and many Christian reconstructionists have always recommended his materials. 

One of Barton’s historian critics has been Gregg Frazer who teaches history and political science at the Master’s College.  He published a book earlier this year called, The Religious Beliefs of America’s Founders: Reason, Revelation, and Revolution that puts our founding fathers in a more balanced and accurate perspective.  He argues that they weren’t rank atheists and deists, but nor were they committed Christians.  They were, as Dr. Frazer calls them, “theistic rationalists.” 

At the behest of my pastor, John MacArthur, Dr. Frazer has been going around to the various fellowship groups on Sunday mornings at Grace Church giving a presentation on America’s founding fathers, as well as addressing many of David Barton’s claims about them and what he calls “the Christian America movement” that is growing among homeschoolers.  My hope is that Dr. Frazer will be given a break-out seminar at this next year’s Shepherd’s Conference in March 2013.  I imagine many, many pastors have encountered promoters of Barton’s materials in their churches.

He gave two presentations recently that are worth downloading and considering.

The Religious Beliefs of America’s Founders [Part 1]

The Religious Beliefs of America’s Founders [Part 2] 

The first presentation gives historical background to the men we call “founding fathers,” where as the second presentation addresses specifically what David Barton claims.  If you want to hear his rebuttal and refutation of David Barton, listen to the second one first.  But make sure to get the first one, as well.

Christians need to be advocates of truth, even when the truth is not what we may want it to be.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Concerns with the “Neo-apologists”

A phenomenon I have witnessed growing among red state, evangelical churches is the rise of what I call "the neo-apologists."  Most of these “apologists” are tied to the classical school of apologetic methodology. Their emergence  within Christian circles is due primarily to the development of the internet over the last decade or so, roughly 2000 to the present.  The world-wide web has allowed groups of Christian apologists to network with each other, as well as disseminate information, tactics, and techniques for practicing apologetics with non-Christians.
Additionally, a number of Christian colleges have developed specialized "schools" or "programs" dealing exclusively with apologetics.  These programs can be a few weeks during the summer or more involved 1 to 2 year degree programs aimed at providing students extensive training in the area of apologetic philosophy and instructions in the ways of cultural engagement. 
On top of all of that, certain apologetic "ministries" will pull together popular, well-known instructors in apologetics for weekend conferences throughout the country. The conferences will be centered around a theme addressing cultural challenges for Christians like same-sex marriage, abortion, and evolution.  The instructors provide talks designed to help pastors, youth pastors, and even lay people, to become their own apologists of sorts so they too can engage the culture with the Christian worldview. 
Now. A lot of folks will ask, "Isn't it a good thing Christians are being trained to think critically about their faith and equipped to defend Christianity in the marketplace of ideas?" Well, Yes.  I certainly agree that it is a good thing having apologetically equipped believers engaging the world. Heaven forbid I come across as totally dismissive of the ministry from these "apologists." A few of them offer solid instruction that I know has benefited me personally. 
Yet, in spite of those positive elements there are some areas of concern I want to address.  Keep in mind I'm aiming broadly with my points.  Certainly there has to be exceptions. I definitely recognize that.  I base my concerns upon a general observation of this apologetic movement as a whole.  And… Rather than taking these concerns as mean-spirited criticisms, I hope they come across as blind-spots we can all bring into focus.
1) I don't see these "neo-apologists" anchored in a local church.  I have to believe all of them are involved with a church in which they attend regularly and serve faithfully.  Looking over their websites and hearing their presentations, however, I don't really encounter any emphasis placed upon a commitment to a body of believers.  Perhaps they believe church attendance is a secondary, back-seat issue that can be discussed at a later time because church isn't immediately relevant to their apologetics.  If this true, then I have to disagree.
If I am a youth pastor and I'm told my students will have a great opportunity to learn from a trusted Christian "apologist," I'd kinda like to know where he attends church.  That tells me a little something about where the guy is coming from and what his doctrinal commitments may be.  Think about it: If that "apologist" convinces an unbeliever of the "reasonableness" of the Christian faith so that he believes upon Christ and becomes a Christian, where will that new convert be told to attend church?  I don't consider that decision to be a secondary, back-seat issue. 
2) They are not necessarily Scripture focused. A more serious concern I have with these neo-apologist is the devaluing of Holy Scripture as the ground and pillar of our faith.  Instead, their presentations are saturated in philosophical rhetoric and anthropocentric appeals to logic. 
Simply put, they are suppose to be Christian apologists. The primary document for Christians is the Bible.  Why isn't it sufficient in and off itself as the sole means to convince unbelievers of Christianity?  I just find it woefully inconsistent that a Christian apologist, whose chosen worldview is derived exclusively from the Bible, appeals to outside, non-biblical authorities in order to convince people to choose his Christian worldview which is defined exclusively from the Bible. It looks like to me such a position sets up one of those "circular arguments" classic apologists so tend to despise. 
3) They invest way too much authority in novice, untested youth.  When I visited a few apologetic web portals that launch me out to a myriad of apologetic themed blogs and websites, an overwhelming number of them are maintained and operated by young, 20-something college grads.  I'm sure folks will say, "That's awesome! All these young men and women taking on the challenges of our secular culture."  Maybe that sounds encouraging, but I'm of a contrary opinion.
I think it lays hands upon people way too soon, particularly untested, immature youth, and sets them up as an "expert" in various fields of study.  Just because a 22 year old guy or gal attended an apologetic worldview degree program for a year and passed with flying colors doesn't make the person an "expert" apologist. 
But when I look at those websites, I see grad students hiring out their "expertise" to youth groups, Bible study fellowships, and churches, on subject like the reliability of the NT, proofs of God's existence, and ID and evolution debates.  As a pastor, should I truly expect a 24 year old guy who did an intensive apologetic program over the summer at a Christian college to be an "expert" who will train my college students how to refute Bart Ehrman?
4) Lastly, there is an artificial "office of the apologist" that has been established.  The Bible tells us God has appointed elders and deacons to serve the local churches.  These are the pastors and teachers who shepherd and take care of the people.  God has not, however, appointed apologists to guard the flock. 
Now I imagine most of these "neo-apologists" would not consider themselves in the "office of an apologist." They see themselves as coming along side and helping churches grapple with the cultural challenges they face by teaching them how to defend their faith. Yet in spite of their best faith efforts to keep their role as apologist distinct from biblically ordained leadership, their position as a "trained specialist" sets them apart as a unique authority in the minds of people that is in the same category as a pastor.  That may not be their intention, but it is reality in many cases.  
They're not entirely to be blamed for this. Pastors and other leadership have helped to create this identity problem by shaking off their responsibility of teaching and training the people in sound doctrine.  Rather than engaging in the cultural challenges their churches face with a Scriptural framework, pastors pass off that duty to trained apologists who they can hire for a weekend seminar. 
That's not to say specialized apologists aren't useful for Christians to hear.  They most certainly can be.  But pastors should be teaching the people how to defend the faith and their congregations should be exhorted in how to think theologically about apologetics in their daily lives.  In other words, specialized apologists can be useful, but they should not be who everyone looks to as the ones with all the answers.  All Christians must learn how to engage the unbeliever with the Christian Faith. 

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Monday, August 27, 2012

The Reliant Robin

Even if you are not a car enthusiast, you're going to be thoroughly amused by the next 14 minutes or so.


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Friday, August 24, 2012

Podcasts Worth Your Time

I thought I would recommend three podcasts that I've been enjoying for a while now.

-- First. My friend Dan Phillips went to pastor Copperfield Bible Church in Houston, Texas. His preaching and teaching is excellent and is available for podcast, here:

Copperfield Bible Church - Sermons

Dan has been going through the basic doctrinal statement of the church where he pastors, which is really a brief, lay-friendly introduction to Christianity.

-- Second. My former colleague, Don Green, recently went to a new church plant, Truth Community Fellowship in the Cincinnati area. They currently meet at the Creation Museum of Answers in Genesis on Sunday mornings. Don has been teaching through the book of 1 John and just started a brief series on the providence of God. His last two messages on the atonement of Christ from 1 John 2:1,2 is some of the best preaching on that subject I've heard regarding particular redemption.

Truth Community Fellowship - Sermons

-- Lastly, James White turned me on to listening to Michael Brown's The Line of Fire program.

Dr. Brown is probably one of the better apologists addressing the onslaught of the current homosexual jihad by militant, gay activists in our culture. He has a daily, two hour program that addresses a myriad of topics, including issues pertaining to Israel and the Restoration of Israel in the future kingdom. If my Reformed brethren want to engage some of the better arguments for Israel's restoration from one of the better apologists on the subject, they need to listen to Michael Brown. He also provides a healthy anecdote to the radical Evangelical anti-Zionism promoted by the likes of Gary Burge and similar supercessionist theologians.

One word of caution. Dr. Brown is charismatic, though his convictions on those matters don't play heavily in any of his on-air discussions. The only place his charismaticism may bubble to the surface is how he entertains callers who tell him of "visions" the Spirit of God has given the person. To his credit, however, Dr. Brown is quick to offer rebuke and correction to some of the more wilder claims of "special spiritual knowledge." Hopefully that little smudge won't turn people off to giving him a listen. He has some good stuff to consider.


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Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

darkknightThe wife and I got around to seeing The Dark Knight Rises this past weekend.  I'm always a couple of weeks or more behind on the cultural uptake because we have to schedule a sitter way in advance and they're never available on opening weekends.  Anyhow, I wanted to offer just some brief thoughts.
Overall, the movie is outstanding. Better reviewers have outlined the basic premise of the film, so I won't plow old ground.  I can say, however, that Christopher Nolan did a fabulous job tying together his trilogy and bringing these movies to a satisfying conclusion.  The performances were all well done.  Anne Hathaway's Catwoman was exceptional and I was glad to see Gary Oldman's Commissioner Gordon having a prominent role.
The main villain this time is an anarchist terrorist named Bane played by Tom Hardy.  The character has a lot of great lines and Hardy delivers them well, though his modulated voice reminded me of Christopher Plummer's "General Chang" from Star Trek 6
The only smudge on the film I am aware of is a significant continuity error during the first major battle sequence.  It's daylight when the events begin, but in one quick transition, it's night.  It was weird.  I'm sure there are apologists who would say the battle started around 5 pm and by the time Batman gets in the mix, dusk had already fallen.  Maybe.
Michael Medved also complained in his review that the soundtrack was just way too loud to make the movie enjoyable.  Perhaps for the IMAX showing, but not for normal theaters, at least where I was. We saw it at the AMC Burbank and I didn't think it was too loud at all.  In fact, there were points where the sound of the dialog was so low my wife and I were turning to each other asking what the character said. 
A couple of "cultural" opinions.
It's truly is a crying shame this fine film had to be forever tarnished by the theater shooting that took place on opening night in Colorado by a wacko.  But contrary to the hysterical left and other "cultural" finger waggers, this movie was not senseless with the portrayal of violence.  I think I read some goofball anti-gun moralist opining how movies like this embolden the kind of human debris who thinks he can use 2nd amendment rights to shoot people in a movie theater.  The movie has violence, but the violence has a context. It certainly wasn't even close to being the wantonly gratuitous, stylized violence like the splatter-fests seen in the movies of grossly overrated Quentin Tarantino. The kind of "film-maker" anti-gun nuts tend to hold-up as an inspired "artist."  Anyone arguing the Batman movies are comparable and produce mass murderers is an idiot.
What about any Christian-themed motifs seen in the film? I honestly did not go to this film looking for them.  I realize there are "Reformed" cultural pundits who try to find "Jesus=Redemption" themes in some of the most "un-Christian" movies imaginable.  It's the excitable Christians I heard or read going on and on about how Neo waking up out the Matrix is a picture of Christian regeneration and new birth.  That is the kind of pabulum we occasionally hear from Doug Wilson and his minions.  I remember discussing with a Wilson disciple who had lived in Moscow, Idaho and attended his school about how in Titanic, Jack's "faithful" love for Rose is like Christ loving the Church.  Yeah. And their fooling around in the backseat of an old car demonstrates Christian purity how exactly?
I appreciated Carl Trueman's recent comments on this fad among young, hipster Calvinists to "redeem" movies.  He writes,
"I imagine the current trendy manifestations of reformed hipster theology will probably produce its fair share of people who found that conversion liberated them to watch exactly the same derivative and crass movies they did before, but now with an uncanny, Spirit-filled capacity to spot the redeemer figure in The Dark Knight Rises or The Expendables II."
Certainly Batman illustrated themes of overcoming, self sacrifice, doing what's right even if it may be your ruin, but those things are not necessarily exclusively Christian. They are more of a product of someone who recognizes core human values and is able to capture them well in a motion picture.
Which brings me to the "conservative" elements in the film.  I wouldn't necessarily go as far as Ben Shapiro's gushing review calling the Dark Knight Rises the "most conservative film of all time."  Maybe the most marketable film with conservative ideas woven throughout it, but the "most conservative of all time"?  I mean, where would that put D'Souza's 2016 documentary?
Conservative themes definitely run throughout the movie.  Whether or not that was intentional on Nolan's part I wouldn't know.  It could be one of those accidental things like what happened with the movie Forrest Gump.  There, the film makers and Tom Hanks became alarmed Republicans (94 being an election year) were warm to their movie because of the "conservative" values portrayed by Hanks' character.  If I recall, he went on the media circuit dismissing any such conservatism in the movie.
I will say Batman doesn't show OWS in a positive light.  In fact, I would argue that it shows the logical conclusion to their Marxist anarchy they promote, and that doesn't look good.  It makes me wonder about the real life OWS folks Nolan talked into being extras in a few key sequences in the movie.  Did they know they were going to be shown as brown shirted thugs beating on rich people and destroying property? (Oh wait, they are brown shirted thugs beating on rich people and destroying property. Never mind).
Law enforcement is also held up as heroic, even though the bulk of Gotham's police force is trapped underground by the terrorists through most of the film, the few who remain outside are shown as taking great risk to maintain the hope of law and order against the odds of Bane and his gang.
That said, I didn't go see The Dark Knight Rises because of the conservative themes or so-called Christian "redemptive" elements, though I will say the conservative ideas made the picture that much more enjoyable. I saw it because it was competent film making at its best that made me appreciate well-done story-telling we all know makes a movie great. 

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gleanings in 1 Samuel [12]

saulThe Anointing of Saul (1 Samuel 9:26-10:27)

First Samuel 8-12 are the transition chapters in Israel’s history. Israel moves from being governed directly by God through the instrument of judges to the direction by kings.

In chapter 8, the people confront Samuel and wanted him to appoint a king so that they could “be like all the other nations.”

Chapter 9 introduced us to Israel’s first king: Saul, the son of Kish.

Saul was from a well-to-do family. Kish was described in 9:1 as being a “mighty man of power” which speaks to his influence.

Saul, in spite of coming from an influential family, wasn’t spiritually astute. His father sent him and his servant out to look for some lost donkeys. After three days of searching, the servant suggested they go see a man of God, who was Samuel. The impression we get from Saul’s reaction to that suggestion is that he never heard of the guy. That is highly unusually seeing that Samuel was a nationally recognized prophet.

Saul’s encounter with him changes all of that.

I) The Private Confirmation (9:26-10:16)

God had told Samuel of His selection of Saul (9:15, 17), so when Saul encounters Samuel, he is invited to dine with him.

After they dine together and Samuel treats Saul with kindness and respect, he sends Saul’s servant a head of them and takes a flask of oil to anoint him (10:1). The act of pouring oil was an act reserved for anointing priests and sacred objects. So by Samuel’s act of pouring oil on Saul means that God was staking a divine claim upon him.

Samuel tells Saul that God has appointed him to be commander (king) over his inheritance (Israel). He is designated as a leader, not a king yet, which means he is a “king-to-be,” like a prince.

Now, in order to demonstrate that he wasn’t “crazy” and had chosen the wrong man, Samuel tells Saul he will see three confirmatory signs that will come to pass with specificity.

- He will be told by two men sitting at Rachel’s tomb at Zelzah that the donkeys had been found.

- He will then encounter three worshippers who will be carrying goats, bread, and wine. They will greet Saul and give him two loaves of bread.

- Then he will meet a group of prophets near where a Philistine garrison is located and the Spirit of God will come upon Saul and he will prophesy with them.

The last sign is unusual, but judges had experienced the Spirit of God rushing upon them. In this case, Saul would “prophesy” with the prophets. The idea is that a prophet is a mouthpiece for God. The king, in turn, was to obey His Word.

So. After Saul leaves Samuel, all the “signs” are confirmed beginning in 10:9. The writer chooses to center on the last one regarding Saul’s prophesying with the prophets.

He is described as receiving “another heart” from the Lord. The phrase can mean God “overturned” his heart. Saul became something different. It is not “salvation” because later we see how he did not obey God. However, it was a demonstration of the presence of God. The work of God was so surprising a proverb is created to describe the unexpected and the unexplained (10:12).

II) The Public Anointing (10:17-27)

All of these events in Saul’s life came rather rapidly and must have startled him because when he returned home he tells his uncle about meeting Samuel, but he did not tell him about being chosen as king over Israel (10:15, 16).

Later, Samuel calls the people together at Mizpah, a centrally located area where Israel had met for a major time of worship and public repentance in chapter 7.

Samuel begins by rebuking Israel’s rejection of God’s direction and governing (18, 19). He then tells God will present their king to them. In a public display of God’s hand, by casting lots that separates out Benjamin, then Saul’s tribe and family, and then Saul himself, Israel is presented their king.

When Saul is chosen he is not present, but is found “hiding among the equipment.” He was running from this calling God had placed on his life. In a way, his absence at his own coronation foreshadows a reign where he would vacate his spiritual responsibilities.

The people, however, bring him forward and hail him as their new king. A man who was “head and shoulders” above everyone else. A man who was physically impressive, but regrettably, spiritually weak.

God is gracious, though. He gives Saul a group of valiant men whose hearts the Lord touched and they unite themselves to him.

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Speed of Light in SLO-MO

This is a pure geek video, hence the reason I'm sharing.

What is exciting about things like this is how our technology tends to expose the shibboleths of dogmatic scientism. And I will be curious to see how the claims of anti-creationists will be debunked by stuff like this.


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Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Irony of Love

Recently a mosque was burned down in Joplin, Missouri. Arson is the suspected cause. Local Christians have come together to show support. The state media reports that the Christians will share in the iftar, the traditional Islamic meal to break the fast for the month of Ramadan.

Mark at Here I Blog offers a scenario for our consideration. Suppose your church was in the community where the mosque was burned and there was pressure put upon your congregation to join in the public support for these Muslims. The local opinion is such that if you delay joining in support, your church will be perceived as a group of haters who are prejudiced against "outsiders." He then offers a handful of options as a possible response and asks readers what they would do.

A thought or two.

Islam is cause celebre these days. Leftists in particular slobber all over themselves in order to prove their tolerant loyalty to Muslims. They turn a blind eye to the sharia based conduct codes popping up in communities around the country. They'll even work to stifle the first amendment rights of evangelistic Christians to distribute Christian literature at public Islamic festivals.

Yet the way the progressive leftists ingratiates themselves to Muslims is honestly laughable, especially in light of the wild inconsistency Islamic values have with leftist values. Someone, for instance, should ask the Muslims behind the ground zero mosque in NYC what they think of same-sex marriage. See if their answer generates the same vitriolic censorship and protest the Chic-Fil-A president received.

At any rate, it didn't surprise me to learn that the main churches involving themselves in the iftar feast were theologically liberal. Theological liberals just love pagan diversity. But there is a bit of irony here that is being overlooked. The feast was held at St. Philip's Episcopal Church, and both Peace Lutheran Church and South Joplin Christian Church are staffed by women ministers. I find that little factoid absolutely chuckle inducing. Two churches pastored by women lending support and encouragement to a world religion that is notorious for its misogyny. It's hard to find such comedy gold.

Curious. If the "church" in question that was burned by arson was a Mormon church - a real possibility considering our current presidential race - would these same churches be in a hurry to offer their support? Or would they even bother because, well, you know how Mormons have a history of keeping concubine sister wives.

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