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

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Before they found the The Lost Tomb of Jesus...

The media is all buzzing about the new documentary The Lost Tomb of Jesus put together by Simcha Jacobovici and James "King of the World" Cameron.

James White has been doing some good early debunking of the documentary which is suppose to air this Sunday on the Discovery Channel. Also, here is an article by Darrel Bock and a really good overview of the ossuaries by Dr. Paul Maier.

One thing to note about Jacobovici and Cameron that may be of interest. Last fall they released a documentary called The Exodus Decoded. One of my volunteers loaned me his copy and I watched it last week before all the current Jesus tomb hype hit the public. All I can say is if the kind of research Jacobovici and Cameron present in the Exodus documentary is the same they will present in this Jesus tomb documentary, then prepare yourself to be underwhelmed.

Basically, the Exodus documentary opens up with Jacobovici and Cameron pointing to what they consider to be major components to the Exodus story. They identify whom they believe to be the Exodus Pharaoh, the presence of "Jews" in Egypt by way of a ring that was suppose to belong to the biblical Jacob, a mass expulsion from the land of Egypt of a large group of Canaanite people, and a volcanic eruption off the coast of Greece. They next present why they think they can "synchronize" all of the major elements at one point in time, 1500 B.C. It apparently doesn't matter to them that there is much debate among scholars as to when these events, especially the volcanic eruption, took place and the fact no credible scholar either secular or biblical, believes the volcano had anything to do with the Exodus.

That's probably the first 30 minutes of the show. The remainder of the program is Jacobovici and Cameron attempting to provide naturalistic, "scientific," anti-supernaturalistic explanations for the 10 plagues by way of snazzy computer graphics. Anyone who has read skeptical literature from atheists probably would recognize some of the explanations. The most comically absurd, however, was the explanation for the 10th plague, the death of the first born.

According to the Exodus documentary, carbon monoxide gas was released from the poisoned Nile river and it is the cause of their death. Of course the curious reader may ask, "Well. How exactly did everyone else survive and the gas single out just the first born?" Ah. That's a good question, and our two ark raiders are prepared with an answer. You see, the first born son held a place of prominence in Egyptian culture, and because they were the first born son, they had the privilege of sleeping on a special bed low to the ground. (I am a first born son and I never had such an honor). Mean while, as the first born are peacefully snoozing down stairs on bed low to the ground, all the other children had to sleep on the roof tops. Thus, when this monoxide cloud came creeping across the land, it only killed those individuals low to the ground.

Ahhhhh... I see. Makes all the sense in the world.

They of course appeal to modern day occurrences of similar phenomena that have happened in Africa, specifically the nation of Cameroon at Lake Nyos. But, in light of the disaster in Cameroon, neither men had an explanation as to why only the first born were killed, why it only affected the Egyptians, why the first born of all cattle were killed as the biblical text tells us (Exodus 12:29), and why only the first born of those in the dungeons were killed.

It is these sort of terrible errors and inconsistencies that only proves Jacobovici and Cameron are unqualified and incompetent to speak authoritatively on any thing archaeological. This in spite of the sweet computer graphics that drive the documentary. To get a feel of how bad these documentarians mishandle historical evidence, read Dr. Bryant Woods critique.

At any rate, Christians do have a great apologetic opportunity the next couple of weeks while this documentary is fresh on people's minds. Do seize the the moment to defend the faith and proclaim the true gospel, so get busy informing yourself as much as you can.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

The Big Squid

In case you missed it last week, New Zealand fishermen netted a colossal squid down in the Antarctica waters. Took 'em nearly two hours to drag the thing onto the boat and it weighed in at 990 pounds. If you were to cut it up in to calamari rings, they would be as big as tractor tires.

Oooooh... tractor tire sized calamari rings...

Of course I want see one of those super giant squids netted. The kind Thor Heyerdahl describes in his book, Kon-Tiki, that came to the surface at night to feed with the big, glowing eyes and estimated their size to be that of a whale.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Readings from Paul Johnson #1

Last spring I picked up a fascinating book from a used book store called The Birth of the Modern: World Society 1815 to 1830. It is a massive tome - right over 1,000 pages - with little bitty type, written by British historian Paul Johnson.

I have been slowly plodding through his material and I have to say it is one of the most unbelievable reads I have ever had. So much so, that I thought I would periodically share some selected portions on my blog:

Waterloo

Waterloo, fought from 11:25 A.M. until nightfall, about 10 P.M., on 18 June, was a peculiarly savage and costly battle, a fitting climax to Bonaparte's long career of large-scale bloodshed. Because Bonaparte's determination to destroy the army Wellington commanded by a frontal assault and because of the configuration of the ground, nearly 140,000 men and 30,000 horses, plus over 400 guns, were crammed into a lethal space of less than three square miles. Bonaparte had 71,947 men and 246 guns committed to the action, against Wellington's 67,661 men and 156 guns, and the majority of them were under fire, or actually in contact with their enemy, for several hours on that long, wet, misty and muddy day.

Waterloo, like New Orleans, was one of the decisive battles of history. It finished off Bonaparte for good and introduced a period of general European peace which lasted a century. No one doubted its importance at the time, least of all Wellington. But he was appalled at the cost. Battle-hardened as he was, the number of dead and savagely wounded, including many personal friends and old comrades, left him shaken.


When news of the horrifying casualties spread through London, some of the younger hospital surgeons immediately took coach for the Continent. They found an appalling scene at Waterloo. Many of the British wounded had been collected off the battlefield, but hundreds of them were still awaiting surgery. The field itself was still scattered with the stricken, lying amid the dead. Colonel Frederick Ponsonby had been cut up by French cavalry sabers and left for dead; he had been speared by a passing Polish lancer; given some brandy by a French officer; piled into a barricade of bodies by retreating French infantry; ridden over and tossed by Prussian cavalry; discovered by a British infantryman who stood guard over him throughout the night, while he felt the air pass in and out of his pierced lung; and finally taken off to a dressing-station at daybreak. He was known as "the Man Who Was Killed at Waterloo," and spotted twelve years later, as governor of Malta, by Captain Codrington's daughter, who found him "playing violent games of racquets with as much energy as the young soldiers around him." (Birth of the Modern: World Society 1815-1830 pp. 81, 83, 84)

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Bro. Cloud's Mailbox


To: David Cloud
Cc: Texe Marrs; Gail Riplinger
Subject: The Toyota symbol

Dear Bro. Cloud,

Greetings in the name of the Lord!

First I want to say how much me and my friends love your website. You are one of the few Baptist men preaching the true Word of God in the world today. We also appreciate how you are pointing out compromise and apostasy in the Church and we check your site almost every week, some times twice a week, to see who we need to separate from.

Because we benefit from your ministry, we value your opinion on a small difficulty me and my friends have encountered. It's like this,

Early last year, me and four friends felt called of the Lord to start a street preaching/soul winning ministry team. We were able to raise enough money between us to buy several thousand Chick tracts and comics and the materials to make a bunch of street preaching signs with Bible messages and pictures of false teachers burning in hell painted on them. One of our team members, Danny, was able to secure a bull horn so we could preach to large crowds and make sure everyone around us could hear our message clearly.

We first started out preaching in front of the Catholic church in town and at the local high school basket ball and foot ball games. We also preached at the county fair and then at the state fair, and then at a contemporary "Christian" rock concert that took place in a big mega-church about a 2 hours drive from us.

As God began to bless our ministry, we believed we needed to have some sort of van so we could all travel together instead of driving separately to our preaching locations.

We began to pray that God would provide us a van, and last month, a family who just moved into our area from California, sold us their Toyota van for a really good price. All of us were praising the Lord for providing us this van. We were able to use it right away to travel together to preach in front of some of the big churches we know are Purpose-Driven churches. However, Randy, one of our team members noticed the symbol for the Toyota van. Please see the picture I took of it:



All of us were unsure what to make of it, because we all drive Ford's and Chevy's and had never seen the Toyota symbol before. Travis thinks it might be the head of some Japanese devil god, though Danny says it looks like a picture of a woman's reproductive system he use to see in one of those secular humanist health books in public school.

We would really appreciate your comments about the symbol, because we want to keep our street preaching ministry pure and walk before the Lord with integrity and we would hate for some demonic symbol to curse our efforts.

Please emails us as fast as you can, because we were planning a road trip to Salt Lake City to street preach in front of the Mormon tabernacle during their convention and to Southern Seminary in Louisville to preach to that compromiser, Al Mohler.

God Bless,
Ray Hollis

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Evolution-ID-Creationism Lectures

One of the blessings my job affords me is the opportunity to teach and preach to two groups of about 50 folks each on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Most of these people are retired and have decided to spend their time serving our ministry. My duty is to oversee their work. One of my side privileges is the preaching.

I good bulk of these folks have been under John MacArthur's ministry from day one. For someone like me coming on the scene thirty years later, keeping the preaching of God's Word fresh can pose a challenge. What I decided to do for the most part was to present lectures and sermons on topics they would not generally hear, usually apologetic subjects.

Last year I gave 11 lectures on the subject of Evolution, Intelligent Design, and Creationism. Those lectures were available at my other website, Fred's Bible Talk, but because I preach to two separate groups, I can re-teach the material and fill in the holes and tweak the messages here and there if need be. Within the last few months, I have had opportunity to re-edit and re-master the entire series so that now it is available in clear, digital THX, 6.1 surround sound... Well, that may be a bit overstating the facts, but they are now available in MP3 format for download on your I-pods or MP3 player of your choosing.

At any rate, it is my conviction that Darwinian evolutionary philosophy will provide one of the greatest challenges for the Christian Church within the next decade, because evolutionary adherents have become strident, caustic, and censoring; not allowing any challenge to their beliefs from detractors and even running to law courts to fight their intellectual property battles. Evolutionary propagandists are already calling any dissent from Darwinianism "pseudo-science," and I can envision a future time when anyone who even hints at teaching something other than the accepted "truth" will feel the sting of persecution in some way or the other.

I did this series in order to inform the Christian community of the importance of having a firm grip on the arguments necessary to engage philosophical naturalism with the gospel.

What is Evolution-ID-Creationism?

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The Centurion's Servant

This past Monday evening (2/19/07), Gene Cook interviewed a "Christian" gay apologist named Rick Bretlinger who is the author of a forth coming book entitled Gay Christian 101: A spiritual self defense for gay Christians. The MP3 is currently available for download and I would certainly recommend listening to it.

The fine boys at Fide-O blogged about the interview a couple of days ago, and the discussion on the comment thread is worth the read for anyone seriously involved with apologetics, because Rick wandered onto the comment thread to defend his gay "Christian" beliefs and has been interacting with everyone who wishes to debate him. Gene Bridges, who has left the most lengthy comment, wrote an excellent response to Rick and it alone is worth the time to read.

I personally believe the gay "Christian" apologetics will be something the Bible believing Church will need to be prepared to contend with, because the issue of homosexuality is only going to become more heated in our society during the years to come. The one thing currently going in favor for Christians, however, is that the revisionist arguments put forth by gay "Christians" in an attempt to twist the Bible to allow a homosexual lifestyle are not too sophisticated.

Their arguments are not built upon any meaningful exegesis of the biblical text, but around the re-defining of certain original language words and re-inserting them back into the narrative or doctrinal passage in order to make the text teach something utterly foreign to what the original writer intended. This "apologetic" allows the re-interpreter to infer certain points in the passage under scrutiny and draw conclusions that may never had been apart of what the original writer of scripture meant to convey.

For example, Rick mentioned in the interview on Monday that Jesus never condemned the homosexual relationship of the centurion and his servant. A person listening to the interview had to pause and say, "What homosexual relationship between a centurion and his servant?"

The reference is from Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10 where a centurion comes to Jesus and asks for Him to heal his servant. Luke's gospel records that this was a servant dear to the centurion. In describing the servant of the centurion, Matthew employs the unique word pais. From these two bits of information, Rick concludes that this was a centurion and his homosexual partner in view here, because a) the servant is dear to the centurion's heart, and b) the word pais to describe the servant is a special word of endearment.

Much of his argument hinged on part b), the use of pais to describe the servant. What are we to make of this? It is true that pais is an unusual word to use to describe a servant. Normally, other words like doulos are often used. But, are we to conclude the use of pais means a homosexual partner is being described in the gospel narrative?

Most commentators understand this word to be in reference to a child servant or a servant who is younger than an adult. In fact, the word "child" is the main definition given in the standard language dictionaries for pais. Additionally, Luke uses pais to describe Israel as God's servant in Luke 1:54 and David being the Lord's servant in Luke 1:69. Surely our homosexual apologist wouldn't conclude there was a homosexual relationship between the Lord and Israel or David?

A much better way to understand the centurion's servant is that he was perhaps an adopted son. Hence the reason he would be dear to the centurion's heart, as well as described as a unique and special servant. Even so, just because a centurion is described as having endearing feelings for a faithful servant to the point of humbling himself to beseech a miraculous Jewish man in the hopes this Jew will help him, a hated gentile and Roman occupier, does not mean he was a gay man looking to have his partner healed.

This is purely the figment of an over active homosexual apologetic imagination.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

On Mattresses and Mormons

When my wife and I got engaged, we quickly learned there were many requirements we needed to meet in order to get our new marriage off to a good start. The first priority was securing a place to live, but also high on the list was purchasing a bed.

When we went shopping for mattresses, neither one of us were prepared for the dark and mysterious labyrinth we were about to enter.

We began by visiting some large, consumer style furniture warehouses where they had a large selection of mattresses. We laid on the beds to get an idea how they felt and then jotted down names and costs so we could visit some other furniture stores to comparison shop.

There is a large mattress chain in the LA area called "Sit-n-Sleep" that has some of the most annoying radio commercials in broadcasting history. The tag line, always read by the owner, is "I'll beat any advertised price or your mattress is freeeeeeee!" My then fiancee and I thought we would call them and read to a sales rep the names and prices of the mattresses we liked to see if they could beat the price. My wife-to-be talked with a sales rep and when she gave him the name of the mattresses he says, "Never heard of them." He went on, "Are you sure this is a legitimate mattress place?"

After the phone call, we thought we would call some of the smaller stores in the area. We received similar responses from the various places we contacted: "we never heard of those mattresses." We thought this was weird, because these were brand name mattresses like Sealy and Simmons. My wife finally asked one of the many sales reps we had spoken with, "You mean to tell me you never heard of a Sealy Night Rest mattress?" The guy said, "Well, I have heard of Sealy, but not a Night Rest mattress." We thought this was the most bizarre things we had heard... UNTIL we were told the secret of mattresses.

We were is what was probably our 10th furniture store and we were pouring out our mattress shopping woes to this salesman. He became all quiet, then looked around to see if we were alone, and with a lowered voice he says, "Let me tell you a secret." He moved in close to us and got a real serious look on his face like he was about to tell us how David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear. In a hushed voice he says to us, "All mattress stores basically carry the same mattresses, they just give them different style names so customers can't comparison shop." That is why no one had heard of a Sealy "Night Rest," because they sold Sealy "Beauty Rest" which is the exact same mattress, but with a different name. He went on to explain to us that what we needed to do was write down 4 or 5 main specifications of the mattresses we liked and present that information when doing price comparison.

Armed with this "top secret" information, we called the big mattress retailer who told us they had never heard of those mattresses we mentioned. "We know how your scam is played," my wife told the sales rep, "do you have a mattress that meets these specifications and can you beat the price offered by this other store?" There was a long, silent pause on the phone, and finally a voice replies, "we can give it to you for 9 dollars less."

No wonder this place never gives away a free mattress.

Even after all that we went through, we eventually went to Costco and bought one of the mattresses they sold.

So, all of that to tell you this...

Our mattress has been breaking down the last 6 months or so. Springs are poking out the sides and each morning when I wake up, my back is killing me. My wife experiences similar discomfort. We realized we needed to dig in and buy a new mattress. However, anyone who has shopped for mattresses realize how expensive they can be.

Last week my wife sees an ad in our local "Penny Saver" newspaper of a guy selling a queen sized mattress still in the wrapping for 100 bucks. We thought it would be below the average mattress, but would serve us well until we were in a financial position to buy a really good one.

My wife called the number and spoke with the guy who was selling the mattress and he said he had several others we could look at for a little bit more. The deal sounded shady to me, because he didn't have a store, but sold them out of a self-storage unit. He met us there at night, so my first reaction was that we were being set up to be mugged.

Well, we weren't mugged, and the guy shows up in a big pickup and leads us to his unit where he has lined up in a row seven beds of different makes and models. After sitting, laying, and bouncing, and him convincing us he was on the up and up as a liquidator for a bigger store down in Orange County, we bought a memory foam mattress. It was more than we anticipated buying, but worth every penny since it was delivered Saturday; my back will testify to that.

As the guy was writing up our invoice, my wife asks, "So, where do you go to Church?" He looked up and said, "I'm Mormon." "Really!?" my wife replied as her eyes brightened to his response, "We just had two Mormon missionaries over to our house for dinner." He was sort of stunned by her comment and said "Really? What did you think about what they said?" or something along those lines. I interjected that we had them over for evangelistic purposes because we wanted to share with them the true gospel. From that point on, and for about 20 minutes, I basically rehashed a mini-version of our conversation we had with the Mormon missionaries at our house.

One thing I thought was stunning was his ready appeal to postmodern, relativistic ideas of there being many "truths" and there is no need to really verify the evidence for the Book of Mormon, but we should just believe it with our hearts. I basically ended our conversation as I did with the previous Mormon missionaries by telling him, "Look, we both can't be right. Either I am wrong and you are right, or its the other way around." I concluded by saying, "You need to weigh the eternal consequences of your chosen faith in light of what I have told you here tonight." And with that we parted ways.

He dropped off the mattress at our house and we had a pleasant time chit-chatting with him, but our conversation never returned to his Mormonism. I just thought to myself about how all that run around the first time we bought a mattress in a way had a bearing upon this one moment nearly 7 years later in the life of one guy who may have heard the gospel for the first time.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

What are we to make of this one?

So over the weekend Britney Spears went into a Sherman Oaks salon (I use to attend a Bible study in Sherman Oaks) and shaved her head Sigourney Weaver Alien 3 bald. I reckon there are a few things we can conclude about this odd-ball behavior:

a) More evidence of how wealth and fame in the hands of an immature person can quickly bring them to a place of spiraling out of control.

b) She is preparing to fight aliens.

c) This is the new concentration camp style she plans to introduce to America's youth culture like the previous low riding jeans.

d) She has become a Reformed Calvinist and plans to join a Sovereign Grace Ministries Church and in her excitement over her new found friends, she got a little carried away.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

NT Scholar's Sudden Death Sure Sign of God's Judgment Claims KJV-only Apologist

Ararat, VA - Popular KJV-only author and lecturer, Gail Riplinger, proclaimed the sudden death earlier this week of New Testament scholar, Bruce Metzger, at the age of 93 as, "A sure sign that God judges apostates swiftly and with severity."

Speaking to reporters from the front porch of her Virginia mountain home, Ms. Riplinger said God acts with severe and sudden judgment against apostates who change His Word.

"The Holy Ghost will not tolerate the Bible to be tampered with by heretics and apostates and sadly, He has to strike down those people who attempt to change the AV 1611 to get this point across. This is what we have seen this week with the sudden death of Bruce Metzger who was in the prime of his life."

Dr. Bruce Metzger was professor emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary for over 40 years and was one of the leading experts on New Testament biblical criticism. He gave his expertise to the production of the United Bible Society Greek text and was the editor of the New Revised Standard Version.

Often the target of KJV-only advocates for his views on textual criticism, Dr. Metzger was believed to be one of the leading members of the "Alexandrian Apostate Cult," a secret and mysterious society whose membership is currently unknown. According to Ms. Riplinger, one of the goals of the "Alexandrian Apostates" is to introduce new age philosophy to the Christian church through modern translation work.

"Because this group is so dark and secretive ... the word "dark" being a symbol for "the grave" and "the underworld," which in turn is understood as the dwelling place of the dead ... and because Satan only brings "death" ... it is clear we are dealing with a highly organized, but Satanic group," stated Ms. Riplinger.

"Thankfully we have an advocate with the Father, and the Holy Ghost protects His people by sometimes passing a "death" sentence upon those who would twist the pure Words of God and produce New Age Bible Versions."

Ms. Riplinger also mentioned past deaths that were marks of divine judgment.

"Hebrew scholar Rudolf Kittel was suddenly struck dead at age 76, as was New Age theosophist and devil worshipper, B.F. Westcott. New Testament scholar F.F. Bruce had his life ended abruptly at 80, where as textual critic Kurt Aland only lived to 79. All these men had their lives cut short because they insisted upon criticizing and changing God's only true Bible, the Authorized Version of 1611."

Ms. Riplinger then had to cut her press conference short due to her failing health.

She has plans for a forth coming book on the life of Dr. Metzger.

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Answers for Atheists

A shroud of illness has blanketed my household the last couple of days. I even went home early from work on Wednesday with a fever and the chills. However, before I left, I cut and pasted Paul Manata's new article into a Word document (9 point font with 1 inch margins cut it down from 49 pages to 30) and spent the evening reading it while I sipped my Theraflu.

The Irrational Interrogator Squad

This post provides the background.

Paul's a tad too accommodating of the old earth creationist view on the local flood with some of his answers dealing with atheist objections to the Noah's flood record, but he is vague enough for the reader to look past that problem.

His paper makes for some encouraging reading. Check it out.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Science of Godzilla

Scott McClare may appreciate this article if he hasn't already seen it: The Science of Godzilla. A dinosaur expert explores the possibility of what it would be like if Godzilla was real. Read the comments following the article, as well.

Godzilla is probably my favorite monster ever. He is gigantic, can destroy buildings, has really cool spikes on his back, and breathes radioactive fire.

One time when I was a kid, an independent, local TV station, I think channel 11 out of St. Louis, had a week long Godzilla marathon at night. I believe they showed two movies a night starting at 7 pm and ending at 11pm. It was one of the rare times I begged my mother to let me stay up and watch them all the way to the end. I was allowed to stay up to 11 if I would get out of bed in the morning with out a fuss to get ready for school.

When King Kong apparently killed Godzilla at the end of Godzilla vs. King Kong, I was upset. How could a big monkey with no formidable weapons like rocket proof scales and radioactive fire beat Godzilla? It didn't make sense.

And in the environmental wacko Godzilla film, Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster, I thought it was so cool how Godzilla, a 300 foot tall animal, probably weighing 50,000 tons, could leap up into the air backwards, tuck his tail between his legs, and fly by propelling himself with his radioactive fire.

Those interested in all the Godzilla films ever made, and including some that never made it, will enjoy Jerry's Godzilla Movie Review.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

That Evil Media

Comedian Bill Maher, in collusion with his production staff, was smuggled through a back door and past the security screening at Answer In Genesis in an attempt to blindside the ministry with his "surprise" visit. Ken Ham has details here. I am sure he thought he could pull a fast one on those dim witted hill billies. After all, they do believe in "creeashun."

I bet if they do go to air with what they video taped, it will be a hamfisted cut and edit job that makes Bill look as though he was honest with his interview and AiG's upset reaction is really their response to some "hard" to answer questions.

Security camera photos of Maher waiting by the back door are here.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

The Exodus Pharaoh

The spring 2006 Master's Seminary Journal contained one of the most fascinating articles on the book of Exodus I think I have ever read. It was on the identity of the Exodus pharaoh.

I do not believe I have been as transfixed by a journal article as I was this one. Yes, yes, yes. Total geekdom I know; but the author, Doug Petrovich, who currently teaches in Russia at the Novosibirsk Biblical-Theological Seminary, and was only briefly a classmate of mine (he was preparing to graduate and I was just starting), managed to outline all the mundane historical and archaeological data and craft it into an engaging article. I envy his talent.

Basically, Doug makes the case that Amenhotep II was the Exodus pharaoh and not Ramses II as is commonly held by most "biblical" scholars. I guess I could add liberal biblical scholars. Any how, He argues around five lines of evidence, one of which is the empire-wide defacing of the images of Hatsheptsut, a female ruler around the same time during the correct date of the Exodus (1440 BC) would have taken place. The defacing of her image (statues and paintings) took place, it is argued, because she was Moses' adoptive mother, the daughter of pharaoh who found him in the river (Exodus 2:5-10).

Last year the Biblical Archaeology Review had an article about Hatshepsut and her defacing. I would read it at the radiation oncologist office while I was waiting for my radiation treatments. It took me three days in a row to finish it, but the author's conclusion as to why her image was defaced was because she was a feminist and the all male establishment didn't like uppity females. I remember chuckling out loud as I was finishing up the article and one of the technicians who would set me up to be zapped asked me what was funny. I had the opportunity to talk with him about the entire Exodus narrative using Doug's article as a reference point.

I have been waiting months for Dennis Swanson, the seminary librarian, to get this article in PDF so I could link it and share it with my readers and it came on-line over the weekend. Print it out and read it. Not only is it riveting, but it will also get you excited about the infallibility of God's Word.

Amenhotep II and the historicity of the Exodus pharaoh

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Bro. Cloud's Mailbox


To: David Cloud
Subject: Long hair on Jesus


Dear Bro. Cloud

I want to thank you for being one of the few men of God who stands firm against compromise in these last days of apostasy. Even when it is unpopular, you stick by your guns and speak out against heresy and are willing to separate from other so-called "brothers." Every day I am saddened to see more and more Christians falling into disobedience and compromising with the worldly ways of neo-evangelicalism and the Purpose-Driven Life philosophy.

This sort of compromising, I fear, is even starting to happen in my own independent Baptist church.

Last week at children's Sunday school, the kids were being taught about who the greatest will be in the Kingdom of God (Matthew 18:1-5) and that the greatest will be those who become like little children. As an activity, the kids were given a picture of Jesus to color. See the attached example,
When my son came home with his picture, I was shocked, because the Jesus in this picture clearly has long hair like a woman. I know the Bible states that, "if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him," (1 Corinthians 11:14) and "neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God" (Deuteronomy 22:5). This picture presents an effeminate Jesus.

I went immediately to my pastor's office to show him the picture. I explained to him how this picture gives the children of our church the wrong view of Jesus' hair, and if we allow just a little leaven of sin to creep into our church, before we would know it, our kids will be thinking homosexual thoughts.

I have to say I was a bit disappointed his reaction wasn't as strong as mine. All he said to me was that he was sorry I was offended and that he would speak to my son's Sunday school teacher. I suggested that maybe our church could get some Baptist computer software that is capable of cutting Jesus' hair to look like a man's. He told me he would look into it. By the way, do you have any recommendations?

I just pray my reproof to our pastor won't be dismissed, because my church is the only one in the county that stands firm on the KJV and speaks out against TV. I would hate to have to separate from them, but I would if it comes down to it.

Thank you Bro. Cloud for reading my email. I just wanted to let you know that apostasy and compromise can be at our own doorstep, so we must always be on guard. I am thankful there are men like you who love the old paths of Baptist truth.

God bless,
Ernest Staggs

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Twenty Ways to Answer A Fool (Pts 11 & 12)

Does Christianity have a narrow view of morality and ignore real evils while accepting imaginary ones?

I return once again to examining the ramblings of Chaz Bufe, atheist, anarchist, Communist philosopher, and week-end blues guitar player. He wrote up a tract entitled 20 Reasons to Abandon Christianity. When I have had the time, I have taken it upon myself to consider each one of his reasons in turn so as to determine if it is a legitimate reason or not. So far what I have discovered is a man who is bitter against the Roman Catholic Church and has self-inflicted blindness to the severe problems of his own chosen world view of atheistic anarchy.

Points 11 and 12 are short and contain similar complaints, so I will consider each one in turn.


11. Christianity has an exceedingly narrow, legalistic view of morality. Christianity not only reduces, for all practical purposes, the question of morality to that of sexual behavior, but by listing its prohibitions, it encourages an "everything not prohibited is permitted" mentality. So, for instance, medieval inquisitors tortured their victims, while at the same time they went to lengths to avoid spilling the blood of those they tortured—though they thought nothing of burning them alive. Another very relevant example is that until the latter part of the 19th century Christians engaged in the slave trade, and Christian preachers defended it, citing biblical passages, from the pulpit. Today, with the exception of a relatively few liberal churchgoers, Christians ignore the very real evils plaguing our society—poverty; homelessness; hunger; militarism; a grossly unfair distribution of wealth and income; ecological despoliation exacerbated by corporate greed; overpopulation; sexism; racism; homophobia; freedom-denying, invasive drug laws; an inadequate educational system; etc., etc.—unless they’re actively working to worsen those evils in the name of Christian morality or "family values."

and

12. Christianity encourages acceptance of real evils while focusing on imaginary evils. Organized Christianity is a skillful apologist for the status quo and all the evils that go along with it. It diverts attention from real problems by focusing attention on sexual issues, and when confronted with social evils such as poverty glibly dismisses them with platitudes such as, "The poor ye have always with you." When confronted with the problems of militarism and war, most Christians shrug and say, "That’s human nature. It’s always been that way, and it always will." One suspects that 200 years ago their forebears would have said exactly the same thing about slavery.

As I have noted in previous entries, Chaz has what some would call "issues" with Roman Catholicism. It has impacted his psyche so much that his perspective on Christianity remains quagmired in the 15th century. Even though the Inquisition hasn't operated for a few hundred years, Chaz still maintains a jaundiced view of reality concerning the historic Christian faith, and of course shuts his eyes to the actions taken by leaders of modern secular societies, motivated by atheistic anarchist philosophy, who "force" their views of the world upon the populace by "special" means.

Chaz's complaint this time is that Christian morality is narrow and legalistic, and as a result, Christians have a warped sense of right and wrong. Christians focus on imaginary evils, as Chaz claims under number 12, while ignoring real evil like sexism.

Some quick thoughts in response:

First. I find his comment against Christians under number 12 to be fantastic. Chaz writes, When confronted with the problems of militarism and war, most Christians shrug and say, "That’s human nature. It’s always been that way, and it always will." Wait a second here, Chaz. I thought you affirmed biological evolution back up on number 8? Isn't it human nature, yea, the Darwinian explanation about human life, that we are to fight to survive? According to Chaz's world view of Darwinianism, how else could humanity even emerge from our primordial ancestors to be what we are today unless we took aggressive attitudes to stand and fight against those other life-forms that threatened to wipe us out? Pacifism and anti-war slogans are insufficient means to bring about evolution on Chaz's anarchist planet.

Moreover, Chaz is an atheist. Why is he concerned with the moral right and wrong? If the world sprung into existence by random processes and all biological life, including human, is a product of unpredictable naturalism, why should Chaz even care about right and wrong? Who is it that declares what is right and wrong according to Chaz? Individuals? Societies? Cultures? Who has set the morals from which Chaz, sitting upon his anarchist high horse, can pass judgment upon us goofball Christians? I thought Chaz was attempting to argue against restricted, narrow, and legalistic morality? Yet here he is wanting everyone else to conform to HIS perspective on morality. What a phony hypocrite.

Take for instance his complaining about homelessness and those suffering in poverty. As a materialistic atheist, why should Chaz care about such individuals? For all he knows their condition is brought upon them due to natural selection. Perhaps these individuals are mentally weak, what the old eugenists termed, "feable-minded," and their poverty and homelessness is the means by which evolution selects them out of the population so as to strengthen it? How could Chaz know one way or the other?

This is not to say Chaz is an immoral person, or atheists in general are unethical. The difficulty is with the justification of his chosen perspective on life. Sure, Chaz the atheist can live in moral uprightness toward his fellow man, but his world view of atheism, built upon the tooth and claw of Darwinian evolution, provides no sound reason as to why he should, and it certainly doesn't provide him with a gavel to use against the behavior of those people with whom he disagrees.

Second. It is a fact of historical note that Christians are the ones who addressed these societal ills Chaz lists way before atheists ever did. The Salvation Army tackled homelessness, as did George Mueller when he started his orphanage. Many Christians both in the north and the south addressed slavery before the Civil War began, and it was the steady activism of evangelical Christians in England led by William Wilberforce who eventually got the slave trade abolished.

Most of the other so-called societal problems Chaz claims Christians ignore are not really genuine social problems, but matters of personal, philosophical opinion. Over-population, ecological despoliation brought on by corporate greed, sexism, and homophobia, are extremely exaggerated as products of hysterical liberals, if not entirely fictional to begin with.

Ironically, as Chaz complains how Christians ignore serious evils in the world because of their narrow morality, in reality, it is those folks who agree with Chaz's socialist perspective on society who are the most intolerant and narrow. They are the ones who insist upon special sensitivity training of those who do not think the same way as they do on a given position. Anyone who disagrees with their view of racism is labeled a bigot and is made to take diversity training so as to get into line. If you don't conform, then you are tossed out like Arizona State University student, Ryan Visconti, who objected to the sensitivity training he had to undertake to be a resident assistant in one of the campus dorms.

I will say now that if Chaz and his ilk were in power, their flowers and freedom for all mantra would swiftly end as they forced everyone to fall into line under their anarchist way of thinking. He may say he is broad minded now and all about "free-thinking," but as soon as he was in power, Chaz would become even more narrow than those Christians he condemns.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Page 123 Tag

So I was googling my name and blog title to see if I could come up with additional links not listed on Technorati and one link I found was to the Doxoblogy blog. First I am envious of the cool name. Second, it is maintained by a consortium of guys who occasionally leave comments on my blog.

The link was for a new tag and I am it.

1. Grab the book closest to you. OK, the book nearest me is an American Heritage Dictionary I used in college, so it is at least 20 years old. I don't believe a dictionary is what this tag had in mind, so let me see what else I have near me. Ahhh, here is Strunk and White's Elements of Style, but it doesn't have 123 pages. Next to it is Patricia T. O'Conner's Woe is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English.

2.Open to page 123; go down to the fourth sentence. Alright, I have done that.

3. Post the text of the following three sentences. The fourth sentence starts a new section entitled Overwriters Anonymous with in a broader chapter called Verbal Abuse which deals with the misuse of verbs.

The text is an entry for the expression "at this time."

at this time. A bit overstuffed, no? (The doctor has no openings at this time.) Why not just now? (The doctor has no openings now.)

4. Name the author and book title. Uh, I already did that under number 1. Did I mess this up?

5. Tag three people to do the same. Oh man. I have no idea. I'm thinking maybe some co-workers here at GTY. Sean, Janeanea, and Nate. I'm not sure these folks even track my blog, so I will be curious to see if they respond.

I just realized, after re-reading which books I had nearest me, that I am a spectacular geek.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Our Dinner with the Mormons

Last week I come home from work and my wife greets me with a smile and a kiss and then says to me, "Guess who I spoke with today at the park?" She then proceeds to tell me how she and our boys were playing at our local park when a pair of Mormon missionaries stopped by where she was sitting and began chatting with her about their church.

I replied, "Really? So how was the discussion?"

"Oh, we talked a bit," she said, "But I invited them to eat dinner with us this weekend." She then added, "You have a few days to prepare."

I have had three significant encounters with Mormon missionaries since being a Christian.

The first time was the first week of my college sophomore year when I talked with some lady missionaries at a campus organization fair. I happened to walk by their booth and noticed a big painting of Jesus with angels descending from the clouds to earth. I said to them, "That's a cool picture," to which they replied, "Oh, do you know much about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?" I was taken back, because at the time all I knew was that they were a non-Christian cult, and with out hesitation I told the two girls they were a cult. That led to a spirited exchange between us as we debated whether or not Joseph Smith was a con-man. The conversation ended with me condemning their religion and telling them to repent. I think they said something like "God bless you" as I walked away.

The second encounter was a set up by a friend of mine who saw a TV ad for a free video about Jesus. He called the number and was surprised to learn it was a Mormon oriented video. The operator asked if some missionaries could drop it by his apartment rather than mailing it. He said sure and gave them MY contact information. He then calls me and tells me to be on the look out for these missionaries. They eventually called me and because I had a misunderstanding of the warning in 2 John 9-11, I arranged to have a meeting with them at our college library.

I took my friend Johnny along and we debated with these two guys for about an hour. This was a couple of years after my first encounter, so I was a bit more knowledgeable about Mormonism than I had previously been. Johnny and I challenged the legitimacy of Joseph Smith being a prophet of God, the historical accuracy of the Book of Mormon, and the whole idea of men becoming gods. The encounter was again spirited for me, and interestingly, the one guy who did all the talking was Robert Schuller's nephew- or so he claimed.

The third encounter was about 6 years ago out on a biking path one summer afternoon while I was taking a walk. I saw four Mormons approaching and one of the guys stopped me and said, "Hey, have you ever talked with someone dressed like me?" I quipped, "You mean an insurance salesman?" I then told him I knew what he was all about and like the previous times I had spoken with Mormons, I questioned Joseph Smith as a prophet and the validity of the Book of Mormon. By this time I was fully immersed in studying Calvinism comprehensively and I turned the conversation to the doctrines of total inability and sovereign election. All of the four guys expressed to me their hearty disdain for any notion of total inability and sovereign election and they made up an excuse to beat a quick retreat.

So after my wife tells me about these Mormons coming to dinner, my immediate reaction was to review all the resources I have on hand discussing Mormon history and theology. But as I pondered how I would approach any discussion I may have with them, my thoughts turned to what I have been learning the last few years about apologetics and how I have been sharpening my evangelistic methodology and delivery. I told my wife I would email a couple of individuals I knew who have a direct ministry with the Mormon people so as to get some advice, but rather than haggling with these two missionaries about Joseph Smith's shady character and the quirky beliefs of Mormon theology, I would take a renewed approach.

Instead, my main objective will be four-fold:


- To listen respectfully to their presentation,


- Contrast and defend biblical doctrine against any contrary beliefs they will present,

- Emphasize the key points of the gospel: man's sin and inability to save himself, God's just wrath against sinners, Christ's wrath appeasing death in place of sinners, and His imputed righteousness to our account,

- And trust the Holy Spirit to use my efforts regardless of how eloquent a debater I may or may not be.

I think I read a couple of articles from the Mormon Research Ministries, but most of my preparation was looking over important passages that speak of God's eternality and singularity (being the only true God), and reviewing important passages on men being unable to earn their own righteousness and Christ's righteousness being imputed to us.

The dinner was scheduled to start at 6 PM Saturday evening. Fifteen minutes past the hour the two guys show up. I went down to invite them in. I introduced myself with my first and last name, and they introduced themselves as Elder so-and-so. I asked them for their first names, but they insisted I call them elder so-and-so. My wife told me after they left that when she was at the park they told her their names were Rick and Roberto.

When you come through our front door, you will be greeted with a gigantic book case filled with just some of my books. Roberto said "Wow, you must like to read." I said, "Oh yes, I sure do." When you get to the top of our stairs that lead to our living room, you will see two other large shelves filled with even more books. Again Roberto says, "You have a lot of books." I told them I was a seminary graduate and I planned to pastor in the future. I could tell they were both a bit awed by my library as they browsed the titles, so I took that as a positive in my favor.

We all sat down for a nice spaghetti meal my wife prepared and I asked them where they were from. Roberto was from Salvador and Rick was from the Kansas City Missouri area. Roberto is on his 3rd month as a missionary and Rick is finishing up his 17th month. Both of them had parents who converted to Mormonism. Dinner was mainly chit-chat stuff. We talked about how to keep food from getting on our ties, and Rick was bold enough to ask me about the scar on my neck from my surgery last year for cancer. I told him the entire story.

After we finished up dinner, it was down to brass tacks. They began by telling us they were Christians like us and that they believed Jesus died for their sins. My wife stopped them and asked them to define who they think Jesus is. Both of them claimed He was the Son of God and even affirmed the virgin birth.

I then asked them to give me their testimony as to how they became Mormon. Though each of them gave a little more detail to their family up bringing, neither one of them really got around to explaining under what circumstances they were brought to a place to confirm Mormonism as being true. Both of them claimed they took the Mormon test at some point during their early life. That is, prayerfully reading through the Book of Mormon and asking God to confirm whether the book was true or not. Both of them spoke of experiencing a spiritual enlightenment, or what is known as the "burning bosom" sensation after they tested the Book of Mormon with prayer.

I then recounted to them the Joseph Smith story and asked if he had a similar experience, to which they replied yes, he had. I then asked if Smith believed he was restoring the true Church of Jesus Christ, to which they said yes. But then I asked about the other sects of Mormonism that have splintered off the main group due to various disagreements. I asked if whether or not their members had the same experience with the Book of Mormon as they did, and if they did, how then could you call them apostate or in error if the "Holy Spirit" was allegedly confirming the correctness of their beliefs with the "burning bosom" experience. In other words, if there are two hundred different sects of Mormonism all claiming to be the true representatives because they had an alleged experience with the Holy Spirit, how could anyone ever claim they were mistaken or in error? Their affirmation for what is true is based upon purely speculative and subjective means.

I am not sure either one of these guys had ever been challenged with this question, because both of them seemed a bit perplexed with what I asked. They had to ask me to clarify what I meant. At first I thought their hesitancy was due in part to my inability to ask my question coherently, so I rephrased and repeated it several different ways. However, in spite of my efforts, they didn't seem to have an answer to what is really a fundamental understanding as to how a person determines the Book of Mormon as being true. Rick eventually went to Matthew 7 where Jesus talks about a good tree producing only good fruit and tried to explain that any Mormon who claims to have the "burning bosom" experience will also be a faithful Mormon. But I tried to explain that the truthfulness of what the Book of Mormon teaches is still in the realm of the subjective if the person you say is not bearing good fruit insists he or she is certain of their experience. There has to be an objective standard by which we can judge the validity of the person's so-called experience.

That was a good lead into my two objections to Joseph Smith being a prophet. I again repeated the Smith story and asked them to correct and clarify anything I may get wrong. After I explained the Smith story, they both affirmed I had the details correct, so I told them I have two troubling problems with what Smith claimed:

First, he claimed he was restoring the true Church of Jesus Christ which allegedly had gone into apostasy only a few hundred years after the time of the apostles. I told them Jesus specifically said that He would build His Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18-20). Additionally, Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:20,21 that God's Spirit will always be operative in the hearts of God's people so that He will be glorified in the Church to all generations. This implies an uninterrupted Church. Though Christians may slide into error and fall away as the NT affirms in a variety of places, there will always be a faithful, redeemed remnant on the earth standing firm in the Faith once and for all delivered to the saints. Smith, I said, is contradicting this teaching by claiming God told him no denominations are correct and he was chosen to restore the true church. Essentially, Smith is claiming with his vision that Christ failed in his promise as described in Matthew 16.

Second, I pointed out that the Bible presents some important marks identifying a prophet of God. Deuteronomy 13:1-5 says that any person who claims to be a prophet by seeing visions and giving signs, BUT presents new revelation about God that contradicts the previous revelation and leads people away from the true worship of God, that person is not only to be rejected as a false prophet, but killed. I told them that from what I know of Mormon theology, Joseph Smith taught doctrine that runs the direct opposite from biblical Christianity, especially the notion that God was once a man who became a god.

Both of these guys, particularly Rick, affirmed this is what Mormonism teaches, and Roberto was insistent this is what the Bible teaches also. He took me to the classic passage in Psalms 82:6 where the text says, I said "you are gods," and all of you are children of the Most High, and then he related it to Jesus' words in John 10:34. I then backed up and read the entire Psalm and when we came to verse 7 which reads, But you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes, I asked them, "So if this passage is affirming the Mormon doctrine that men can become gods, does this mean once you become a god you can do something to die? What is it that can cause a god to die and what happens when a god does die? What sort of death" is in mind here?"

Stone silence. I began hearing creaking sounds as they shifted in their chairs.

It was at this point Roberto started to wrap the discussion up by telling us they were not here to convert us, that we could talk all night about these things, and that they only want to encourage us to take up the Book of Mormon and prayerfully ask God to show us that it is true. He further stated that neither one of them wanted to condemn any other church or denomination, and as far as they were concerned, God is blessing all of those churches and using them.

I then asked Roberto, "In light of that last comment, I need to know if there is anything of eternal value at stake here? Both of us cannot be right in our understanding of the Christian faith. Either I am correct and you are wrong, or you are correct and I am wrong." He repeated his exhortation for me to take up the Book of Mormon and pray about it, and then asked me how I personally knew the Bible was true. I responded by saying that the Holy Spirit does affirm its truth to me in my heart, but my faith is also set upon the historical reality of the Old and New Testament. The Book of Mormon does not have this historical reality.

That is when I recounted the gospel message. I told them about man's sinfulness and being separated from God, how God in His grace provided a substitute to satisfy His wrath against sinners and how God imputes Christ's righteousness to us on account of our faith alone. My wife added a passioned plea for them to repent, because, as she told them, they are in a false religion that will only lead to hell. "The works of Mormonism cannot save you," she concluded.

Both of them ended the night by thanking us for our hospitality and our spiritual concern and we walked them to the door. My wife's final comment to them was outstanding. She said, "Guys, if you are correct, we have nothing to fear and lose. However, if we are correct, you have your soul's to lose for all eternity. I pray that God will open your eyes to see the truth. Don't blind yourself to the lies of the Mormon Church." And with that, they thanked us again and left.

We went up stairs and prayed for God to use the words we spoke to work in the hearts of Rick and Roberto. Who knows what will happen, but over all, I was thankful the time was much more profitable on my account than my previous experiences with Mormon missionaries. Perhaps we will encounter them again, and maybe we will have further opportunity to bring them the truth of scripture.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Apologetic Preaching

I have been preparing for a Bible study I teach tonight on the book of First Samuel, so I have not had time to write up my next entry on apologetic evangelism. In the meantime let me exhort you to download a couple of MP3 messages delivered at the Gracelife Fellowship the last couple of Sunday mornings by Don Green. Don does a two part series on the subject of apologetics and evangelism that covers many of the same points I have been covering in my series. They are a couple of great messages to listen to over the weekend.

Confident Evangelism Part 1

Confident Evangelism Part 2

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Death on the High Seas

For those Alpha and Omega Ministry listeners who will be joining James on his apologetic cruise this fall, you may want to read this:

Death on the High Seas.

Cruise ships are docking in their final port missing a passenger or two.

I bet a kraken is to blame, or maybe an architeuthis.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

John MacArthur on Nancy Grace show

For those interested, I just received word that my pastor, John MacArthur, is scheduled to be on the Nancy Grace show Friday, February 2nd - that's Ground Hog's day - at 8 pm on the east coast, 5 pm on the west to address the Ted Haggard situation from last year.

A few things to keep in mind:

First, I am told Nancy Grace is on the CNN Headline News channel, not the regular CNN channel, so keep that in mind when you are looking for the show on your TV dial.

Second, these interviews are known to change at the last minute, so it could be that John will be canceled if, say for example, Michael Jackson wants to come on and share about his new pet monkey.

Third, these TV appearances also tend to be quick, sound bite interchanges with all sorts of irrelevant guests who appear with John. That is how it has been at times past with Larry King Live. So do not be alarmed if you have John, Deepak Chopra, Tommy Lee of Motley Crue, and some obscure Catholic priest all weighing in with their opinions about Ted Haggard.

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Sometime last night...

My blog reached 20,000 hits. I am truly amazed. Twenty thousand times folks have stopped by here.

Granted, you have to take into consideration the accidental hits from people shopping for creams and lotions for their legs and buttocks, but still, there are a whole bunch of people interested in what I have written.

I feel all proud and humble at the same time.

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